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IN THE MATTER OF D

The civil standard of proof on the balance of probabilities was finite and unvarying; however, situations where a court or tribunal might have to look at the facts more critically or more anxiously than in others before it could be satisfied to the requisite standard might be the inherent unlikelihood of the occurrence taking place, the seriousness of the allegation, or the consequences which could follow if the allegation was proved.

24 June 2008

The appellant Life Sentence Review Commissioners appealed against a decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal allowing an appeal by the respondent life prisoner (D) and quashing the commissioners’ decision declining to recommend D’s release. D, who had been convicted of murder, was released on licence in 1996. In 1997 his niece made allegations against him of buggery, indecent assault and gross indecency. His licence was revoked. Further allegations were made against him by another niece and charges were brought against him in respect of the first complaint. The charges were later withdrawn. In 2001 the commissioners reviewed D’s case, and were satisfied on the balance of probabilities that D had sexually abused both victims. The commissioners held that he should not be released at that stage because there was a significant risk of him committing serious harm. D sought judicial review of that decision, arguing that the commissioners had erred in failing to apply a highe...

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