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MPs will today continue to debate the Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill, which will require the Parole Board to take into account any failure by a prisoner serving a sentence for unlawful killing or for taking or making an indecent image of a child, to disclose information about the victim.
The bill is also known as “Helen’s Law” after Helen McCourt, who was murdered in 1988 by Ian Simms, who has since refused to reveal the location of her remains.
‘Helen’s Law’ aims to make it a legal requirement to consider the withholding of information when making a decision on whether to release an offender.
The Bill has been delayed several times – twice due to general elections – but will this week receive its Second Reading in the Commons.
Simms had been serving a life sentence for Helen McCourt’s murder, but was this week released from prison following a Parole Board recommendation. Despite a legal challenge by Helen’s mother, the High Court ruled that Simms should be released, despite the ongoing parliamentary process.
Sources: bbc.co.uk, 7 February 2020, ‘The week ahead in Parliament’. TheGuardian.com, 5 February 2020, ‘Helen McCourt killer’s release confirmed as mother loses legal bid’.