§ Mr. Marland
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether non admission of guilt by a convicted criminal affects his application for parole;
(2) what were the implications of Roger Payne's refusal to admit to being guilty of murder for his application for parole;
(3) how many applications for parole have been made by Roger Payne; and why they were refused.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
There is no statutory basis, rule or policy which automatically prevents any prisoner who denies guilt from being released from custody on licence. Mandatory life sentence prisoners who deny their guilt, can be and have been released on life licence—not parole—if the Parole Board, which advises on risk, so recommends and the Secretary of State accepts the recommendation.
Mr. Payne's case has been reviewed by the Parole Board on seven occasions since his conviction for murder in 1968. Following the Parole Board's last review in 1990, the risk to the public in releasing Mr. Payne was still considered to be unacceptable.