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Charles Bronson Becomes First Prisoner To Ask For Public Parole Hearing

Emily Brown

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Charles Bronson Becomes First Prisoner To Ask For Public Parole Hearing

Featured Image Credit: George Bamby/Alamy

Charles Bronson has become the first prisoner to ask for a public parole hearing after rules were changed in a bid to remove the secrecy behind the process.

Bronson, who is now 70 years old, asked for the public hearing amid a new parole application after spending nearly 50 years in prison.

He has claimed to have made significant progress since first being imprisoned in 1974 with a seven year-sentence, which kept getting extended as he attacked prison staff.

Bronson was first jailed in 1974. Credit: Alamy
Bronson was first jailed in 1974. Credit: Alamy

Bronson is able to request a public hearing after the government changed the law on 30 June, making it so that victims, members of the public and the media could request hearings to be heard in public in a bid to boost transparency in cases and increase public confidence.

The change in law, which came into effect today (21 July), also means the deputy prime minister will get extra powers to challenge Parole Board decisions.

The Parole Board will have the final decision on whether Bronson's hearing will be public, with their decision taking into consideration the welfare and interest of victims and the ‘interests of justice’.

Discussing the changes in June, Dominic Raab MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, said: "This is the first step in our reforms to the parole process.

"We are making proceedings more transparent, so victims and the public can see justice being done. I am also making sure there is one, crystal clear, recommendation from the Justice Secretary when it comes to the risk of release of the most serious offenders. We are overhauling the system, to make sure public protection is the overriding the priority."

Dominic Raab made the rule changes to parole hearings. Credit: Alamy
Dominic Raab made the rule changes to parole hearings. Credit: Alamy

News of Bronson's request comes after he begged the justice secretary for a pardon, arguing that for the last five years he has not added to the series of attacks that kept him in prison for so long.

In an audio message to Sky News, the prisoner said: "I bet you can't believe I'm still in, can you?

"It's an absolute liberty. I'm 70 years old now, 70 years old. I've never murdered anyone; I've never raped anyone. What am I in jail for? People don't believe it. They think I'm a serial killer."

In a letter written to Raab, Bronson's solicitor, Dean Kingham, wrote: "The evidence in excess of the last five years is clear that his risk of violence has significantly reduced."

Kingham went on to argue that while Bronson may pose some risk to the public, 'The Parole Board regularly releases people that have been convicted of murder'.

Bronson was initially jailed for armed robbery.

Topics: UK News, Crime

Emily Brown
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