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Parole Policy

Volume 115: debated on Wednesday 29 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has now completed his consideration of the implications for Scotland of the European Court of Human Rights' judgment in the case of Robert Weekes and the English High Court judgment in the case of Brian Handscomb; and what changes in parole policy he now intends to implement.

The Divisional Court judgment in the case of Handscomb and others was critical of certain aspects of the arrangements in England and Wales for setting the date of the first formal review by the parole board machinery for those cases in which a life senntence is not mandatory. The arrangements which operate in Scotland are rather different and do not appear to be open to the same criticism. I shall, however, consider what implications the judgment may have for our system, in the light of the conclusions on which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has announced that he will make a statement shortly.My right hon.Friend the Home Secretary has also announced today his decision in the case of Mr. Robert Malcolm Weekes, who was also subject to a discretionary life sentence. I shall be considering further with my right hon. Friend the implications of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in this case for our domestic law, and shall review Scottish practice in the light of this judgment, which does not refer to life sentence prisoners in general.