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European court sides with convicted rapist

LONDON — The British government has been ordered to pay damages to a convicted rapist because of delays to a review about whether he should be released.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Samuel Betteridge should be compensated for waiting 13 months for a Parole Board hearing.

He was jailed in 2005 for raping a 14-year-old.

Betteridge was awarded ‚750, plus ‚2,000 in costs after the court decided his rights had been breached.

The court said his right to have “lawfulness of detention decided speedily by a court” had been breached.

First stage towards release

The parole board finally heard his case in January 2010 and recommended that Betteridge, who was serving an indeterminate sentence with a three-and-a-half year minimum term, be transferred to an open prison – the first stage towards his release.

In its ruling, the ECHR said: “The delay in reviewing Mr. Betteridge’s case was the direct result of the failure of the authorities to anticipate the demand which would be placed on the prison system following the introduction of IPP [imprisonment for public protection] sentencing and that it was for the state to organise its judicial system in such a way as to enable its courts to comply with the requirement under the convention of a speedy hearing to review the lawfulness of detention.”

It is the second time that a court has ruled in Betteridge’s favour. (BBC)

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