A prisoner who has twice absconded from Approved Premises and was accused of using so called ‘legal highs’ has secured his re-release thanks to the efforts of Emma McClure of Swain & Co. After the prisoner’s first oral hearing the Parole Board directed that he should stay in closed conditions.
“We have heard from a lot of prisoners about warnings and adjudications regarding misuse of ‘legal highs’ where the evidence is essentially the prisoner’s word against the prison. We understand prisoners’ concerns about this,” said Emma.
“Prisons do not currently have a test for ‘legal highs’ in the way they have for other substances and in this case the allegations lead to the witnesses retracting their tentative support for progression.”
Emma was able to identify a flaw in the initial paper decision and successfully argue that a further oral hearing was necessary given the issues surrounding proof of using ‘legal highs’.
“Despite continued lack of witness support at the new hearing, the Parole Board were aware of the issues and ultimately disagreed with the risk assessments made by the Offender Manager,” said Emma.
“I am very pleased with this result which shows that with the right approach from an experienced advocate, it is possible to progress even where there has been very recent concerns over behaviour.
“In this case we were able to persuade the panel that there was very little substance to the recent allegations and that they did not represent an increase in risk.
“The prisoner was left feeling helpless when the allegations and negative decision arose but thanks to our efforts he was able to secure re-release.”