Convicted terrorist fails in High Court attempt to overturn his escape risk classification

11 Mar 2015

R (Khatib) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 606 (Admin)

Judgment, 10 March 2015

The High Court yesterday dismissed an attempt by a convicted terrorist to overturn his escape risk classification. Escape risk classification reflects the level of escape risk that a prisoner is thought to represent, and affects the security conditions that are applied to his imprisonment. The Claimant, a serving prisoner, had been convicted of conspiracy to murder in 2009 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in an Al Qaeda inspired plot to blow up transatlantic aircraft. By a claim for judicial review he challenged the Ministry of Justice’s 2014 decision to classify him as representing a high escape risk, arguing that the decision contained a number of legal errors. In an important judgment dealing with both the process by which such decisions are taken and their content, the Divisional Court (Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Simon) dismissed all but one of the Claimant’s complaints. Whilst the Court found that there had been a limited procedural error in the decision, it held that this was insufficient to justify quashing the decision. The effect of the Court’s judgment is that the decision to classify the Claimant as high escape risk stands.

Click to read the full R (Khatib) v Secretary of State for Justice judgment

Ben Lask acted for the Secretary of State for Justice.