Prison law specialist and departmental manager Irene Tolley secured a transfer to open conditions directly from the high security estate in a very complicated case before the parole board.
Her client had originally been serving a life sentence for an allegation of conspiracy to murder. The minimum term imposed in 2009 was one of 17 years.
He had initially been a Category A prisoner. Irene had earlier been successful in persuading the Category A board that his categorisation be downgraded to Category B.
Irene’s client had maintained his innocence in relation to the allegation of conspiracy to murder so he appealed the conviction. The Court of Appeal directed a re-trial and he was acquitted. Although appeals against conviction for the robbery matters were refused, a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection was imposed instead with a minimum term of 7 years.
Oral hearing before the Parole Board
Immediately following the successful appeal, Irene made representations that her client needed the benefit of an oral hearing. Because of the complications his case should not be dealt with as a paper review.
She requested that his oral hearing be brought forward to take into account a significantly reduced minimum term. As a result, his oral hearing was heard just a fortnight after the expiry of his tariff.
Joint Representation with Queen’s Counsel
As the history of the case was complicated, Irene contacted counsel James Wood QC because he had undertaken the successful appeal on behalf of her client. Irene had worked with counsel on many occasions over a 30 year career in criminal representation and prison law. As a result he agreed to jointly represent their client at the oral hearing.
Neither release or open conditions were supported by the offender supervisor, offender manager or psychologist. Application was made on his behalf for release despite the fact that our client was still in the high security estate. The report writers were of the view however he ought to remain in closed conditions in the Category B estate.
Full argument was made to the panel on his behalf, with additional argument that if the panel did not agree with release he still ought to be moved to Category D open conditions.
Recommendation of move to open conditions
After argument from both lawyers the parole board decided to recommend a move to open conditions. This has now been approved by the Secretary of State. A further review was set for 15 months time to allow for resettlement and further risk assessment. Bearing in mind his good progress in prison so far, despite his sense of injustice, it appears likely that following compliance he will be released following the next review.
Appropriate representation and argument was provided on behalf of our client by both Irene and Queen’s Counsel. He was very pleased with the result.
Contact prison law specialist Irene Tolley
If a friend or family member needs advice in relation to any aspect of prison law then please contact us. Legal aid is still available for many aspects of prison law including parole board hearings. If legal aid is no longer available then we will discuss the possibility of representation under an affordable fixed fee.
Irene can be contacted on 0115 9599550 or you can use the form below to contact us.
Contact - Prison Law