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Together Gibraltar tables parole proposals

Together Gibraltar Movement 2017 ( Photo John Bugeja) 27-09-17. Marlene Hassan Nahon announces a civic platform designed to allow citizens to make their voices heard.

Together Gibraltar has set out its proposals for the reform of the current parole process in Gibraltar, which were in-turn welcomed by the Minister for Justice, Neil Costa.

In a letter to Mr Costa, the Leader of Together Gibraltar Marlene Hassan Nahon explains that victims of crime and their families are owed “more consultation and sensitivity” when convicted criminals are due for parole.

To this end the party has therefore drawn up four proposals.

These include ensuring that the Parole Board is “explicitly obliged” to seek the views of victims of crime in respect of license conditions.

“It is not enough that the Parole Board is obliged to have regard to any relevant information that may be available, which is what the current law provides for,” the party said.

Additionally, Together Gibraltar insists that there should be a legal obligation for the Board to advise victims of a crime of their right to make representations and to facilitate this.

“For example, when a letter of advice is sent to the Minister, stating that a prisoner is eligible for parole, it should also be sent to the victims of crime and to the prisoner.”

“The letter of advice should be delivered by a police officer, or other official trained to deal with victims, who must explain what the contents of the letter mean in a sensitive and thorough manner.”

Together Gibraltar has also called for a provision that ensures that when a judge hands down a custodial sentence, he or she also states publicly the length of time after which the person will become eligible for release on license.

“This will put victims of crime on notice and allow them to prepare mentally for receipt of the letter around a particular date in the future.”

And lastly, the party seeks to ensure at the conclusion of a Parole Hearing, the Board produces a summary decision for the public, explaining the rationale for whether or not release on license has been approved.

“Consideration should be given to whether the advice should also be made public, depending on the circumstances of the case.”

In response Mr Costa thanked Ms Hassan Nahon and Together Gibraltar for their “constructive proposals”, adding that he hoped to discuss these proposals with the party at an early opportunity and, in the meantime, said he would circulate them to the Law Commission for their consideration.