Together Gibraltar has called for changes to be made to Gibraltar’s parole system to ensure that victims of crime are consulted before a prisoner is released.
It was reacting following the release of a convicted sex offender who had served a third of his five years and six months sentence and, in line with Gibraltar law, became eligible for parole.
“We understand that a man convicted of sexual assault against a four-year-old has been released on parole and that this has happened without any consultation with the family of the victim,” Together Gibraltar said.
“In a small place like Gibraltar, this sort of process can be very harrowing for the victim and their family.”
“There have been other high-profile incidents in the recent past, which have left victims of assault in a similar state of anxiety, while also left wondering if and when their attacker will be released from prison.”
Together Gibraltar pointed to the UK system, where victims of crime are able to make submissions to the parole board when convicts are due to come up for parole hearings, which takes into account physical, emotional, mental and financial effects on them.
It called for a similar system to be implemented in Gibraltar “without delay”.
In fact, however, Gibraltar law already provides for consultation with victims of crime and their families as part of the process of deciding whether a person should be released.
The Prison Act 2011 includes the issue of consultation in a list of matters to be taken into consideration by the parole board prior to the release of a prisoner on licence.
The Prison Act 2011 states that before advising the Justice Minister to release a prisoner on license the parole board shall consider any information provided by the victim or victim’s family in respect of the impact of the offence.
Additionally, the legislation provides for representations to be made on the victim’s behalf in respect of licence conditions.
It is not clear why the Parole Board did not contact the family of the victim in the case highlighted by Together Gibraltar prior to granting parole.