The Parole Board has acknowledged the "serious suffering" and "courage" of victims of black cab rapist John Worboys during a landmark High Court action brought in a bid to block his release from jail.
As 60-year-old Worboys watched proceedings via video link from prison, Ben Collins QC, said: "Can I just say this in relation to the victims at the outset of my submissions.
"We are acutely conscious that underlying this forensic and analytical debate are stories of real and serious suffering on the part of the victims.
"I wish to acknowledge that on behalf of the board at the outset, and also to acknowledge the courage of the victims in pursuing their claims."
Victims say the Parole Board should have considered "wider allegations" against Worboys, but Mr Collins told the court on Wednesday that it was not the board's function to decide the "guilt or innocence" of a prisoner.
The board was not a criminal court, but an "independent and impartial tribunal".
The barrister said: "The board indeed does not have to determine whether there has been a crime, or what it is, because there has been a criminal trial and a sentencing exercise."
He also said it would be "unfair" for the board to consider allegations of which a prisoner had not been charged, as the panel would then have to reach its conclusions about such allegations.
He added: "We say it is impossible for the board to find that a prisoner is guilty of a crime for which he has not been charged, consistent with the requirements of fairness."