asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the replies by the Attorney-General on 12 March (Official Report, cols. 441-43), whether they will review the rules governing parole for prisoners convicted of a sexual offence who continue to protest their innocence; and [HL3323]
What consideration is being given to the case of Karl Smith, a prisoner at HM Prison Littlehey, who protests his innocence and has received legal advice that for that reason he may not be eligible for parole. [HL3324]
Applications for release on parole licence are considered by the independent Parole Board and it would not be appropriate to comment upon consideration being given to individual cases.
There is no requirement for an offender to admit guilt prior to making an application for parole, nor is denial of guilt a bar to release on parole. Whether an offender denies the offence or not, the Parole Board must always satisfy itself that the risk of reoffending is sufficiently reduced not to jeopardise the safety of the public before it directs release. In doing so its starting point will always be that the offender was properly convicted by the courts. The Government are satisfied that this is appropriate.