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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 17:22 GMT
Rapist claims human rights breach
David Laidlaw was jailed for six years for the rape
A convicted rapist has launched court action claiming his human rights are being breached because he has not been granted early release from jail.

David Laidlaw, 52, from Midlothian, is serving a six year sentence in Dumfries Prison for raping a 42-year-old woman, while armed with a knife.

However, the former taxi driver claims that he was entitled to be freed last October under the early release scheme.

The parole board said the public risk he posed was considered "unacceptable".

In an action for judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, lawyers acting for the rapist said he would not be released from custody until October this year - after serving two-thirds of the prison term.

Claim refuted

Mr Laidlaw alleges that parole authorities acted unlawfully in failing to recommend his early release under the Human Rights Act.

The parole board is refuting his claim.

It said the decision not to recommend early release had been made in light of his denial of guilt, his anger towards his victim and lack of empathy with her and his refusal to undertake offence-related work in prison.

Laidlaw, formerly of Park Avenue, Loanhead, in Midlothian, was found guilty of raping the woman in December 2000, while her seven-year-old son was sleeping. During the attack he held a knife to her throat.

He denied the attack during his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2001 but was convicted. He was freed pending an appeal in 2003, but returned to prison in February 2005 when it failed.

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