Sian Beaven, instructed by Malcolm Tebb of Kesar & Co Solicitors,represented a client at his parole hearing. He was serving an Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence for sexual activity with a child. In 2013 the client was released on licence but was subsequently recalled to prison having breached the terms.
The client was significantly over tariff and had served another nearly 5 years as a result of recall. He maintained that the courses he had undertaken in closed conditions had assisted in managing his mental health, which had been a significant risk factor in his index offending. He had also sought to demonstrate awareness of his risk indicators and increasing honesty and co-operation with the probation service, as well as highlighting his supportive family as a protective factor.
The test employed by the Parole Board of England and Wales when considering whether to direct a prisoner’s release is whether it is ‘necessary for the protection of the public that the prisoner remain in closed conditions.’ The panel must conduct a risk assessment and decide whether that risk can be managed in the community or not.
Sian assisted the client through questioning in being able to demonstrate his awareness of his offences and the reasons for his offending behaviour. Through his evidence, the client was able to show his increased understanding of his risk in light of his family’s changing circumstances, and articulate a plan for his future, including his relationship with probation.
In cross-examination of the professional witnesses, Sian was able to obtain positive examples of the client’s behaviour in custody and evidence of his improved emotional management, as well as challenging the risk management plan so as to demonstrate that the client was manageable in the community, and that his continued incarceration was not necessary.
Following confirmation of a placement at a PIPE (Psychologically Informed Planned Environments) Approved Premises to assist in the client’s psychological care and reintegration into the community, the Parole Board directed his release.