The Parole Board has decided that grooming gang leader, Mubarek Ali, is not eligible for release from prison at this time. This follows his original early release in 2017, which was strongly opposed by Lucy Allan MP. Ali’s early release occurred less than 5 years after his trial, causing significant distress for his victims who had given evidence.
Ali was originally sentenced in December 2012, to 22 years: 14 in custody and 8 on licence. Under the law existing at that time, Ali was eligible for automatic early release after serving half of his sentence. Taking into account time served on remand, he was out less than 5 years after the ordeal of the trial. No notice was given to victims and they felt re traumatised by his release.
Lucy repeatedly raised her concerns about the sentencing system with Ministers and the Department for Justice and campaigned with victims for justice. Soon after his release, Ali broke his bail conditions, resulting in his return to prison until 2032. If he had not broken his licence terms, he would still be on the streets today, under the law in place at the time of his trial.
Sentences are intended to protect the public and it is inconceivable that a sexual predator responsible for such serious sexual offences against young Telford girls was deemed fit for release so soon after sentencing. Lucy has campaigned for many years, based on this appalling case, to change the law to see serious sexual and violent criminals kept behind bars for longer.
Following Lucy’s extensive lobbying, the newly elected Government in 2019 introduced a change in the law. The failure to deliver justice to victims and the lenient treatment in the Mubarek Ali case convinced Ministers that more had to be done to protect the public and deliver justice for victims.
The Government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act abolishes the automatic halfway release of adult offenders from prison for serious violent and sexual offences and introduces a new requirement to serve two-thirds of a custodial sentence. These reforms will mean that hundreds of serious sexual and violent offenders sentenced each year will spend longer behind bars. In addition, the Act creates a new power to prevent the automatic early release of offenders who are found to pose a danger to the public after they have been convicted and sentenced.
This case shows that MPs with energy and conviction can drive change and that through lobbying they can represent the views of their constituents, such that the law is changed. This Government is listening to concerns and Lucy will continue to ensure that victims have a voice in Parliament.
Lucy Allan MP said:
I am pleased that Mubarek Ali will remain behind bars following a recent review of his custody. I campaigned hard to ensure that serious sexual offenders could no longer be eligible for automatic early release. I was motivated by the injustice to victims in this particular case.
Their suffering and their ordeal has brought about real change, making a difference to the lives of other victims. MPs can make real change happen, and I am proud that it was possible to get Government to listen to the concerns of my constituents and that changes to the law followed.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act is a huge step towards toughening up our justice system and ensuring that serious criminals are kept off the street for longer. I believe that there is still scope to go further.
I am grateful to the Justice Secretary Dominic Raab for his pledge to further review sentencing and the role of the Parole Board and for the new Victims Bill being introduced to Parliament with this year’s Queens Speech.