Victims and Sadiq Khan welcome ruling on John Worboys release challenge
Two judges ordered that the serial sex attacker should remain in prison pending a full hearing next month.
Victims of black cab rapist John Worboys have welcomed a ruling giving them the go-ahead to challenge what they describe as the “irrational” decision to release him from jail.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was also allowed to proceed with judicial review action against the Parole Board, said the decision by two High Court judges on Wednesday was a “relief”.
He commented: “The victims of John Worboys, and all Londoners, will be relieved at this ruling.
“I’m pleased that there will now be an opportunity for thorough scrutiny of this decision by the Parole Board.”
As 60-year-old Worboys listened from the dock of the London courtroom, Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice Garnham ruled that the challenge to the lawfulness of the board’s decision should be considered at a full hearing, starting on March 13.
The judges also ordered that a temporary bar on Worboys’ release, imposed by the High Court last month, should continue pending that hearing.
Solicitor Harriet Wistrich, who is representing the victims, said after the hearing: “We are obviously very pleased that permission has been granted to proceed.
“We are looking forward to being able to understand and scrutinise all the material before the Parole Board, to consider how to bring forward a challenge.”
She said one of the victims, who was in court throughout the hearing, found it “very, very difficult” that Worboys was brought there from prison.
She added: “She felt it was really necessary to be there and to say she wasn’t going to be frightened of him being there, and to challenge his power.
“But obviously it is hard seeing him there in the flesh after all this time.”
Ms Wistrich also said it was a “huge relief” for the victims that the court ordered Worboys should remain in prison pending the outcome of the full hearing.
Lawyers representing the Parole Board and the Justice Secretary said during the hearing that they were not opposed to a full judicial review going ahead.
Worboys was jailed indefinitely in 2009, with a minimum term of eight years, for drugging and sexually assaulting women passengers.
He became known as the black cab rapist after attacking victims in his hackney carriage.
Sir Brian said it should be a matter of “priority” for “appropriate legal aid” to be granted to Worboys, who now goes by the name of John Radford, “in order that he can participate in these proceedings”.
He said: “It is our view that it is of critical importance that emergency legal aid be granted to Mr Radford so he can be assisted at the hearing.”
A Legal Aid Agency spokesman said: ” “Legal aid is available in judicial review cases. Decisions to fund are based on the applicant’s financial means and the merits of each case.
“Lawyers acting in a case must first submit an application for consideration by the Legal Aid Agency. The LAA awaits such an application in this matter and will endeavour to expedite this once received.”