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Killer uses human rights laws to block Britain's new parole reforms

Killer uses human rights laws to block part of Britain’s key parole reforms by arguing he has a ‘right to liberty’

  • Adrian Bailey, 46, was jailed for life after inflicting fatal brain injuries on a man
  • Victim David Beech, 42, died of medical complications from the injuries in 2004
  • Bailey’s lawyers brought a High Court challenge to get him out of prison early
  • Judge ruled it’s ‘strongly arguable’ that Dominic Rabb’s parole reforms were unlawful or beyond his legal powers

A murderer has used European human rights laws to block a key element of UK parole reforms – just weeks after they were introduced.

Lawyers for Adrian Bailey, who was jailed for life after inflicting fatal brain injuries on a man, brought a High Court challenge in a bid to get out of prison early. 

A judge granted an interim ruling in his favour, throwing Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s reforms into confusion.

Bailey’s legal victory hinged partly on his ‘right to liberty’ under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Adrian Bailey and a friend were found guilty of killing Andrew Beech, 42, who died more than seven years after being left paralysed by an attack outside a Stoke pub in 1998. Pictured: A Staffordshire Police handout of Bailey at the time

Bailey and another man left victim David Beech in a pool of blood in a fight outside a Stoke pub in 1998. 

Mr Beech, 42, suffered severe brain injuries and was paralysed. Unemployed Bailey was initially jailed for five years for assault.

But in 2004 Mr Beech died of medical complications as a result of his injuries and – in a legal first – Bailey was charged with murder. He was convicted and jailed for life. 

Now aged 46, he is coming up for parole. Mr Raab’s reforms are designed to make it tougher for dangerous crooks to win their release.

Last month he changed parole hearings guidance to set out how his department would ‘present a single view on the prisoner’s suitability for release’.

As a result, probation officers and official witnesses such as prison psychologists must not give the Parole Board their own individual ‘view or recommendation’ about whether an inmate should be freed.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s parole reforms are meant to make it harder for convicted criminals to be released early but a judge ruled that his guidance to official was unlawful or beyond his legal powers

The judge who heard Bailey’s legal challenge agreed it was ‘strongly arguable’ that Mr Raab’s guidance to officials was unlawful or beyond his legal powers.

Judge Nigel Bird declined to make on order against the main element of Mr Raab’s parole rules, but did grant ‘interim relief’ against separate guidance to officials on how they should answer questions during hearings. 

Bailey’s challenge is now awaiting a full hearing. It was unclear last night if the interim ruling would affect other parole hearings.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the package of reforms were aimed at ‘keeping our streets safe’.

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