A BANK robber who likened himself to a "modern-day Robin Hood" was granted day release from prison this week so he could represent himself in a legal bid to sue the Justice Secretary.

Stephen Jackley, 28, stole thousands during a string of "violent" bank and building society raids in 2008 - later saying he planned to give some of the loot to charity.

The eccentric ex-student was jailed for 13 years - later reduced to 12 years - at Worcester Crown Court in August, 2009, after admitting 18 offences, including five robberies.

Jackley, of Sidmouth, Devon, this week travelled from an open prison in Kent to London's High Court to pursue a bid for damages from Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

But a top judge ruled that Jackley's claim to have been unfairly excluded from serving part of his jail term in the comfort of his own home was "unarguable".

Mrs Justice Lang said the former University of Worcester student carried out a series of armed robberies, attempted robberies and burglaries in 2007 and 2008.

Jackley, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, was behind a series of raids in Devon, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, using imitation guns and knives.

"Some violence was used," the judge said.

In Jackley's notebooks, later discovered by police, he wrote that he'd planned to give £40,000 of the £100,000 he hoped to steal from banks, building societies and bookies to charity.

He was only caught after travelling to the United States and trying to buy a gun using a false identity.

Jackley served a jail term in America for those offences before he was sent back to Britain to face up to his UK charges, the judge said.

He later wrote in a letter to a local newspaper: "It became apparent I could fulfil the role of a hero, following in the footsteps of a legend who had broken the law to bring wealth and justice to the people.

"I could become a modern-day Robin Hood."

After travelling from HMP Standford Hill, on the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, Jackley challenged the Department of Justice's decision last year to bar him from home detention curfew.

Jackley said he had been led to believe that, if he could show "exceptional circumstances", he would be allowed to serve the final months of his sentence at home.

However, the former-geography student was told in August, last year, that he could not be put on home detention curfew as his sentence was longer than four years.

He told the judge: "This case further illustrates the immense damage caused by the Justice Secretary's sudden, retrospective, unannounced exclusion of home detention curfew.

"This matter has caused huge upheaval, distress, lost opportunities and disappointment, also for my family."

Jackley said the "blanket ban" on long-term prisoners being allowed home detention curfew was introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act 2012.

And he argued the change in the law was incompatible with his human rights and amounted to "indirect discrimination".

He told the judge the law was unfairly retrospective, also insisting that he had a "legitimate expectation" that he would be able to apply for home detention curfew.

Jackley argued he should be awarded exemplary damages to punish the Justice Secretary.

"By doing so, the Secretary of State would be challenged to act fairly and with less recklessness in discharging his duty," he added.

Fellow convict, Kramer Craft, 34, formerly of St Neots, echoed Jackley's arguments to claim he was also unfairly denied home detention curfew.

Craft was jailed for 13 years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs at Huntingdon Crown Court in April, 2009.

But Mrs Justice Lang said it was "unarguable" that LASPO did not effect prisoners who were already serving jail terms of over four years when it became law.

"The only possible interpretation of that section [of the act] is that it came into force for all prisoners, in December, 2012," she said.

Jackley had been unknowingly misled into thinking he might be eligible for home detention, but LASPO had put-paid to that belief.

There was no basis for arguing that LASPO was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Jackley had no right to damages and the judge concluded: "For all of the reasons I have given, the claim must be refused."

Speaking outside court, Jackley said he had been forced to represent himself in court due to Mr Grayling's Legal Aid cuts.