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Straw parole fiasco.

Byline: Joe Riley

I USED to think Jack Straw had PM potential.

Now, I wouldn't put him in charge of a village car boot sale. After the feckless fiasco over (not) releasing Michael Shields - for fear of upsetting any other countries staging future counterfeit show trials and falsely imprisoning UK citizens? - the injustice secretary has been forced to apologise to the mother of a 15-year-old Liverpool murder victim.

She had been needlessly prevented from addressing a parole hearing for one of her son's killers.

Straw has quite rightly issued a groveling apology to Liz Moss, from Crosby, whose son Michael was tortured to death on playing fields in Litherland nine years ago. Mrs Moss would have been one of the first to take part in a scheme allowing victims or their relatives to speak at parole hearings.

Her only mistake? That she wanted to read a prepared statement, allegedly prepared by a "professional." (In fact, says Mrs Moss, this was a man whose own son was also a murder victim).

Jack Straw assures Mrs Moss her "unfortunate experience" will not be repeated.

The truth is, it should never have happened in the first place.

It is simply not good enough for a senior government minister to claim "everyone concerned is on a learning curve".

The result so far is more suffering for the victim and a temporary victory for bungling bureaucracy.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2008
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