§ Sir Anthony Meyer
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why, in view of the possible danger to young girls, he did not accept the recommendation of the probation officer concerned with John Victor Subrenski to recall him to serve the remainder of the life sentence imposed on him for molesting children.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
Mr. Subrenski was convicted in 1957 of indecently assaulting a girl aged 8 and of raping another aged 9 and was sentenced to life imprisonment. In April 1976 the Parole Board recommended that he should be released, and this recommendation was accepted. Mr. Subrenski was released on 29 April 1977, having been detained for a little over 20 years.
A life sentence prisoner is released on a licence, which remains in force for the whole of the remainder of his life. Mr Subrenski's licence required him to be under the supervision of a psychiatrist as well as that of a probation officer.
If a licensee's behaviour gives cause for concern his licence can be revoked and he is then recalled to prison to continue serving his life sentence. The procedure for this was laid down by Parliament in section 62 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967. Except in cases of emergency, the case is referred to the Parole Board, and if it so recommends the Home Secretary may revoke the licence and recall the licensee to prison.
In May 1979 Mr. Subrenski's supervising officer reported that his attitude to supervision had been unsatisfactory and suggested that his licence should be revoked, if only for a limited period, to impress on him the need to comply fully with his obligations under the supervision conditions of his licence. There was no suggestion of immediate danger to other persons requiring emergency action. The case was therefore referred to the Parole Board and was considered by a panel of the board on 22 June 1979. The panel decided that it was not satisfied that recall was justified but that Mr. Subrenski should be warned that if he continued to behave in the same way he could expect his licence to be revoked. 284W The Home Secretary was, under the 1967 Act, bound by that decision.
On 7 September the Home Office was informed that Mr. Subrenski had been charged with abducting two small girls and had been remanded in custody until the following day. His licence was then immediately revoked so that, irrespective of the outcome of the court proceedings, he would be recalled to prison.
Mr. Subrenski will continue to be detained under his life sentence for as long as is judged to be necessary. This will be until the Home Secretary of the day is as satisfied as it is reasonably possible to be that he no longer presents a risk to children.