Great train robber Ronnie Biggs set for release?

Lawyers for Ronnie Biggs given permission to challenge Jack Straw's decision to refuse him parole.

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has been given permission to challenge the decision to refuse him parole, his legal adviser said today.

Earlier this month Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused to release the 79-year-old from prison on the grounds that he was 'wholly unrepentant' about his crimes.

But Biggs's legal adviser, Giovanni di Stefano, said the High Court had granted his client permission to launch a judicial review of the decision.

He said: 'I am very pleased and proud to confirm that the High Court of Justice has granted us leave and permission to challenge the decision of Jack Straw MP refusing to accept the decision of the Parole Board to release Ronnie Biggs.'

Earlier today, Biggs's family renewed their appeal for his release from prison on compassionate grounds.

They wrote to Justice Secretary Jack Straw urging him to end 'further procrastination' as the 79-year-old's life hangs in the balance.

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Biggs, who turns 80 next week and is suffering from severe pneumonia, was taken from his cell at Norwich Prison to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital earlier this week.

He was also admitted to the hospital last month with a chest infection and broken hip.