Mr Tadesse Kersmo, an Ethiopian refugee in London, has asked the police to investigate his concerns that he was placed under surveillance by the Ethiopian Government while resident in the UK. Mr Kersmo is represented by Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy and supported by Privacy International.
Read more about the case on Privacy International's website here.
Read further coverage in the Independent here and on Wired's website here.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has listed a hearing in July to consider the legality of UK surveillance programmes, as revealed by Edward Snowden. Mark Scott and Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy act for Privacy International and Bytes for All.
Read more about the case here and here.
On Thursday 20 February 2014 Jed Pennington of Bhatt Murphy and Tim Buley of Landmark Chambers will present a seminar on unlawful immigration detention. For further information, including on how to book a place, see the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association website.
The High Court has handed down judgment admitting similar fact evidence of four previous unsubstantiated complaints against a number Metropolitan police officers. Megan Phillips of Bhatt Murphy acts for two of the Claimants, Omar Mohidin and Basil Khan.
The link to Sir David Eady’s judgment is here.
The Legal Aid Agency has now decided to grant inquest funding to the father of a 15 year old boy following adverse media coverage of its previous refusal of funding. Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy acts for the father.
The Legal Aid Agency has been criticized by The Observer newspaper for refusing inquest funding to the family of a 15 year old boy who died in custody. Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy acts for the boy’s father.
Read the leader in The Observer here.
The Court of Appeal has today provided important guidance on the Home Office’s policy for detaining those with mental illness in immigration detention. The judgment in R(Das) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mind and Medical Justice intervening  EWCA Civ 45 is here. Hamish Arnott acted for Mind.
Read MINDS's press release here.
A jury has returned a highly critical verdict at the inquest into the death of Shaun Elliott, a vulnerable adult who died after Thames Valley Police failed to follow lines of enquiry to find him. Alice Hardy of Bhatt Murphy acted for Shaun’s family, with Martha Spurrier of Doughty Street Chambers.
The jury found that Thames Valley Police should have raised Shaun to high risk earlier and followed a line of enquiry Shaun’s family gave them. They found that had these things happened, Shaun’s life could have been saved. They also found that Shaun’s care home should have reported him missing earlier.
Read the full press release here. Read the IPCC's report here. Read more about this story on the BBC's website here.
Ryan Fleming of Southend has accepted £24,000 in damages from Essex Police in settlement of his claims for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution arising from an incident with his neighbour, an Essex police officer. Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy acted for Mr Fleming.
Mr Fleming was arrested and charged as a result of allegations made by his neighbour. He was acquitted and made a formal police complaint that he had been unlawfully prosecuted.. The IPCC upheld his complaint finding that his neighbour had given a dishonest account of the circumstances leading to Mr Fleming’s arrest.
On 21 January 2014 Hamish Arnott spoke at the BID AGM which focused on immigration detainees held in prison.
His paper is here.
In an out of court settlement, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has agreed to pay £44,000 to a young black man who was stopped and searched on at least 28 occasions over four years. Alice Hardy of Bhatt Murphy acted for the claimant, together with Fiona Murphy and Alison Gerry of Doughty Street Chambers.
The claimant is a qualified engineer of good character. Nothing was ever found during the searches and during one search he was sprayed with CS gas, struck in the face and threatened with a Taser. The Metropolitan Police have now asked the claimant to contribute to their officer training programme in the hope of preventing others being stopped in this way.
The family of Mr Bijan Ebrahimi has released a victim impact statement provided to the Court in connection with the sentencing of Lee James for murdering Mr Ebrahimi and of Stephen Norley for assisting James to incinerate Mr Ebrahim’s body. Tony Murphy and Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy act for the family.
Tony Murphy said: “The question that now must be answered is whether Bijan’s death could have been avoided had he been afforded the protection from the authorities he deserved”.
Read the family's statement here. See further coverage on the BBC's website here and in the Observer here.
Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy has been nominated for the National Council of Civil Liberties’ Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award for his "outstanding work for the victimised and marginalised."
Read Liberty's press release about the nominations here.
Shamik Dutta has been instructed by Mark Thomas and the National Union of Journalists in a proposed legal challenge to the police blacklisting of journalists on the domestic extremism database.
The proposed challenge follows the landmark Court of Appeal ruling in the case of Catt v Association of Chief Police Officers and Metropolitan Police Commissioner  EWCA Civ 192 that it was unlawful to gather and retain on the database information about Mr Catt’s peaceful protest activities.
Read about the NUJ case here and here.
Read Shamik Dutta’s Q&A on the database here.
An inquest jury at Surrey Coroners Court has concluded that Sarah Shepherd died as a result of a series of failings by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust whilst she was detained under the Mental Health Act. Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Shepherd family.
Read the full press release here.
Bail for Immigration Detainees has been granted permission to intervene before the Court of Appeal in the case of David Francis (C4/2013/2215B)(on appeal from the High Court of Justice, His Honour Judge McKenna  EWHC 2115 (Admin). Jane Ryan acts for BID.
Read more about the intervention here.
The Home Secretary has agreed to pay damages of £40,000 to a mentally ill woman detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC under immigration powers for over 19 months between 2 April 2010 to 14 November 2011. Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant.
The Claimant, whose identity is protected by an anonymity order, issued judicial review proceedings challenging her detention on 27 May 2011. An application for interim relief resulted in the Claimant being transferred to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983 and thereafter being released. The matter was due to be heard at a full judicial review hearing on 29 October 2013; however settlement terms have now been agreed with the Home Secretary agreeing to pay the Claimant £40,000 damages as well as her legal costs.
An Inquest jury has concluded that serious procedural failings and inadequate formal training contributed to the death of Sarah Higgins on 8 May 2010 whilst detained at HMP Bronzefield. Jasmine Chadha and Megan Phillips of Bhatt Murphy acted for the family.
Read the full press release here.
Jasmine Chadha said as follows:
“It is to be hoped that the new procedures instituted at HMP Bronzefield in 2010 are now being firmly adhered to by prison staff so that the serious failings by the prison service in Sarah’s care are not repeated”.
The family of Mr Bijan Ebrahimi have released a statement in response to the murder conviction at Bristol Crown Court of Lee James for beating Mr Ebrahimi to death. Michael Oswald and Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy act for the family.
Read the press release here. Read further coverage on the BBC's website here, the Guardian here, the Daily Mail here and the Telegraph here.
Simon Creighton gave oral evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights as part of their investigation into the impact of legal aid cuts on prison law. A recording of the evidence can be heard here.
The High Court has handed down judgment on whether the UK should create a system for independently investigating the deaths of detained psychiatric patients. Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant Dr Michael Antoniou.
Please see the judgment here and a press release from the charity INQUEST here.
GMP has settled claims brought by Dane Kelly, Paul Sutcliffe, and Jason Travis in relation to their treatment by police officers on 20 March 2010 in the course of a protest against the English Defence League. Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors acted for the three men.
The protestors brought claims for false imprisonment, assault, and breaches of the Human Rights Act, as well as for malicious prosecution in the case of Mr Kelly and Mr Sutcliffe. Mr Kelly received £15,000 in damages, while Mr Sutcliffe and Mr Travis each received £12,000. Further coverage can be read in the Bolton News.
The High Court has ordered that an immigration detainee, ASK, who suffers from severe mental illness, be released on bail on 25 September 2013 unless by then he had been admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1948. Mr Justice Mitting made it clear that he expected the Claimant to be admitted to hospital and he has now been transferred to hospital. Jane Ryan acts for the Claimant.
See the Court order here.
We are delighted to announce that Carolynn and Nogah will be joining the partnership at Bhatt Murphy on 1 October 2013. Carolynn has been with Bhatt Murphy since October 2001, having started with us as a trainee solicitor. She specialises in civil actions and complaints against police and inquest work arising from deaths in police and/or prison custody. Nogah has been working as a civil liberties solicitor since 1997 and she joined Bhatt Murphy in 2010. She specialises in civil claims and public law challenges against the police, immigration authorities and other bodies within the criminal justice system. Their full profiles and key cases can be found here.
The High Court has quashed the IPCC investigation into the death of Olaseni (‘Seni’) Lewis as being unlawful, paving the way for a fresh investigation. The ruling marks the third anniversary of Seni’s death. Raju Bhatt and Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy act for Seni’s family.
The charity INQUEST has worked with Seni’s family since his death in 2010. A full press release including statements from Raju Bhatt and Seni’s mother, Ajibola Lewis, can be read here.
Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy is delivering training on stop and search at a series of workshops organised by Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL) and Migrant Rights Network on 13, 20 and 21 August 2013.
The workshops form a series of events in support of the “Go Home Campaign: Supporting Immigrants in London” in venues across London. They are designed to support migrant and refugee community organisations, activists and interested individuals.
Details of the meetings can be found here.
Download Sophie’s briefing on immigration “spot-checks” here.
Mark Scott and Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy have sent a letter before action on behalf of Privacy International to six of the world’s largest telecoms companies requesting details of their involvement in the NSA and GCHQ global surveillance regime revealed by Edward Snowden.
Snowden’s revelations highlight the so called ‘Prism’ and ‘Tempora’ programmes which in combination appear to allow the British and American governments almost unfettered access to the world’s digital communications. The letter to the telecoms companies follows papers being lodged in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“IPT”) challenging the legality of the British government’s actions.
Read further coverage of this story in the Guardian here.
The coroner in the inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga has published a comprehensive and highly critical report that makes a series of recommendations to the Home Office and agencies involved. Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy represents the family of Mr Mubenga.
Read the full press release on the INQUEST website here. Read the transcripts of the inquest here.
A client of Bhatt Murphy has given an interview to Channel 4 News about her experience of an unlawful ‘spot-check’ by police and immigration officers. The Home Office recently paid damages to settle her discrimination claim. The claim against the Metropolitan Police is ongoing. Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy acts for the claimant.
Sophie Naftalin said: “Interrogating ordinary Londoners about their immigration status on the basis of their racial origin or accent is discriminatory. This case shows that victims of Home Office immigration spot-checks can take successful legal action to enforce their rights.”
Further details of the case can be found here.
Police officers and social workers failed to uncover the fact that a Nigerian teenage girl was living as a domestic slave in East London despite investigating three times over a period of two and a half years. Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy represented the girl in her compensation claim.
Concerns were raised about the girl going hungry, being used as “cheap labour” and being subjected to abuse. When she finally escaped and gave an account to the police no proper investigation took place for almost a year and a half. A criminal investigation is now underway.
Three Nottinghamshire Police officers will remain in post in spite of yesterday’s finding that all three were guilty of gross misconduct in having made false, incomplete and/or misleading entries in the custody record, and for permitting a heavily pregnant woman to be detained in humiliating, violent and distressing conditions. Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy acts for the complainant Lynnette Wallace.
Lynnette Wallace was 7½ months pregnant when she was brought into custody on the basis of a malicious allegation. In spite of her condition, and on false information that she was trying to self-harm, she was subjected to a brutal, humiliating and gratuitous assault and then left in handcuffs for 11 hours. She was assaulted again a short time after that. She later went into premature labour and her baby was born 10 weeks early.
Read the Guardian's coverage of this story here and the BBC's coverage here.
A high court challenge to the system for investigating deaths in psychiatric detention in England and Wales will begin on Thursday 25 July. The challenge is being undertaken by Dr Michael Antoniou, whose wife Jane died while detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act (‘MHA’). Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy represents Dr Antoniou.
Read the full press release on INQUEST's website here.
Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme, File on 4, A Place of Safety?, to hear interviews with Tony Murphy and Dr Michael Antoniou.
On 17 July 2013 the High Court granted permission to challenge a decision not to charge a former Detective Inspector with perverting the course of justice and perjury in relation to a false allegation of murder made against Michael O’Brien in 1988. Nogah Ofer acts for Michael O’Brien.
Michael O’Brien spent 11 years in prison after a Detective Inspector fabricated a “cell confession” to bolster a murder prosecution. He alleges that the decision not to charge the officer was itself unlawful and results from lack of even-handedness by the CPS.
An inquest jury has found that ambulance staff, police officers and a police doctor committed multiple gross failings in their treatment of an intoxicated detainee, Mr Andrjez Rymarzak, who died in Chelsea Police Station. Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy acted for the deceased’s family.
The jury sitting at Westminster Coroner’s Court returned the neglect verdict on 15 July 2013. Following Mr Rymarzak’s death, the Metropolitan Police conducted research which revealed consistently low levels of compliance with policies designed to safeguard intoxicated detainees across London. A Met Chief Superintendent gave evidence at the inquest that these research findings were “shocking”.
The Home Office has settled a claim brought by a British woman of Croatian descent who was stopped and surrounded by Metropolitan police officers. She was then referred to a Home Office immigration officer for an immigration check which confirmed her to be British. It was the Claimant’s case that the only explanation for her prolonged stop was that she did not have a British accent, which amounted to discrimination and harassment. Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy represented the Claimant.
Read the full press release here.
In a landmark judgment today the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg has ruled by 16 votes to 1 that it is unlawful for Courts to impose “whole life” sentences without any possibility of parole. The case was brought by three lifers who had received such sentences in England, including Gary Vinter, sentenced after committing a second murder. Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy acted for Gary Vinter.
The judgment does not prevent “whole life” orders being made for the most heinous of crimes, but will require the UK to put in place a mechanism for review of such sentences at a later date to reflect the principle in international law that “all prisoners, including those serving life sentences, be offered the possibility of rehabilitation and the prospect of release if that rehabilitation is achieved.” One of the judges referred to this as “the right to hope”.
Read Bhatt Murphy's press release here. The Court’s press release can be read here.
A jury has returned a verdict of unlawful killing in the inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga. The Crown Prosecution Service has said that it will reconsider a decision not to bring criminal charges over Mr Mubenga's death. Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy represented Mr Mubenga's family.
The charity INQUEST has worked with the family of Mr Mubenga since his death in 2010. A full press release and a statement from Adrienne Makenda Kambana, Jimmy Mubenga’s widow, can be read on the INQUEST website here. Further coverage can be read on the BBC website here and on the Guardian website here.
Bhatt Murphy lawyers Mark Scott and Shamik Dutta act for Privacy International in a challenge to the British government and its participation in a wide ranging global surveillance regime as revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The revelations in the international press highlight the so called ‘Prism’ and ‘Tempora’ programmes which, in combination, appear to allow the British and American governments almost universal and unfettered access to the world’s digital communications. Bhatt Murphy have lodged papers on behalf of Privacy International in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“IPT”) challenging the legality of the British government’s engagement in this surveillance regime.
Read Privacy International's press release here.
Read further coverage of this story in the Guardian here.
Lynnette Wallace was 7½ months pregnant when she was assaulted by police, and left in handcuffs for 11 hours. The IPCC has upheld her complaint about the use of handcuffs but have rejected her complaint of unnecessary force. Four police officers who oversaw her detention in July 2011 will now face misconduct proceedings. Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy acts for Lynnette Wallace.
Wrongly informed that Ms Wallace was at risk of self-harm a number of officers, including male officers, entered her cell and forcibly removed the clothing from her upper body, including by cutting her bra off with a knife. She was left handcuffed and face down on the bed until a nurse intervened. She remained in cuffs for a further 11 hours, but was assaulted and cuffed again 2 hours later when she objected to being taken from her cell at 2am for fingerprints to be taken. She started experiencing contractions and her child was born by emergency caesarean around 48 hours later.
The IPCC have indicated that they will now reconsider an earlier decision not to refer the matter to the CPS.
More details of this case and quotes from Lynnette Wallace and Carolynn Gallwey can be read here.
Further coverage of the story can be read on the Guardian's website here and on the BBC's website here.
Janet Farrell and Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy, with Elizabeth Prochaska of Matrix Chambers, assisted Medical Justice to draft submissions for the forthcoming 55th session (8 – 26 July 2013) for the UK’s Seventh Periodic Report following the concerns identified in the Medical Justice report: Expecting Change: The case for ending the detention of pregnant women.
Read more about the report here and see the submissions here.
Raju Bhatt, one of the founding partners of Bhatt Murphy, received the award for outstanding achievement at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. Raju accepted the award on behalf of Legal Aid lawyers everywhere and dedicated it to his clients.
Read more about the awards on the Legal Aid Practitioners Group website here and on the Law Society Gazette website here. Read the Independent's article about Raju here.
The jury in the inquest into the death of David Emmanuel have concluded that he died from a self inflicted stab wound to the heart on 15 March 2011 during a raid on his property by four Metropolitan Police officers. The Coroner indicated that he would be sending a report to the Metropolitan Police Service to highlight systemic failures with a view to preventing future deaths in similar circumstances.
A full press release can be found here.
The President of the ICTY has granted early release to Momcilo Krajisnik, former President of Bosnia. He was represented in his application by Simon Creighton. The President's decision can be read here.
On Monday 24 June 2013 Jed Pennington of Bhatt Murphy and Tim Buley of Landmark Chambers will present a seminar on unlawful immigration detention. For further information, including on how to book a place, see the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association website.
The Home Secretary has agreed to pay damages of £40,000 to a mentally ill man detained under immigration powers over 19 months between 26 January 2011 and 9 August 2012. Jed Pennington of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant.
The Claimant, whose identity is protected by an anonymity order, issued judicial review proceedings on 26 July 2012. In the face of an order for an expedited hearing, the Home Secretary agreed to release the Claimant and he was restored to his liberty on 9 August 2012. The Home Secretary also conceded that the claim was arguable and permission was granted by Mr Justice Burton in December 2012. The matter was due to be heard at a full judicial review hearing on 10-11 July 2012; however settlement terms have now been agreed with the Home Secretary agreeing to pay the Claimant £40,000 damages as well as his legal costs.
The family of Daniel Morgan have welcomed the Home Secretary’s written statement announcing her decision to appoint an Independent Panel led by Sir Stanley Burnton to examine the circumstances surrounding Daniel’s murder in 1987. Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy represents the family of Daniel Morgan.
Read the statements made by the Home Secretary and Sir Stanley Burnton here, and further coverage of the story on the BBC website here, here and here; the Guardian website here; and the Independent website here.
The Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Ms Jacqui Cheer has admitted that Cleveland officers falsely imprisoned a leading defence solicitor, Mr James Watson together with members of his family; and unlawfully searched his premises and those of his colleagues in Teeside on 3 June 2009. Mr Watson, his family and his colleagues are represented by Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.
Read the full press release here. See further coverage of this story on the BBC website here and on the Guardian website here.
The inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga will begin at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday 13 May. Mr Mubenga died on 12 October 2010 following restraint by three G4S security guards on a flight from Heathrow airport to Angola. Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy, Henry Blaxland QC of Garden Court and Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street represent Mr Mubenga's family.
The charity INQUEST has worked with Mr Mubenga's family since his death in 2010. A comprehensive briefing note on this case can be read on INQUEST's website here.
On 22 May 2013 the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees will hold its annual general meeting, including a panel discussion about the growth of immigration detention in the UK. Speakers include Francesca Cooney, Prison Reform Trust, Dr Mary Bosworth, University of Oxford & Monash University and Ali McGinley, AVID. Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy will chair the panel.
The meeting will take place at Matrix chambers. Read more about AVID here and read more about the AGM here.
The Guardian newspaper has published a letter exposing the Justice Minister's confusion about Government proposals to further restrict prisoner's access to legal aid. The letter, which was signed by several leading prison lawyers, including Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy, can be read here.
The Solicitor's Journal has reported on the Justice Secretary's demands for further cuts in eligibility to legal aid for prisoners. Read the full article, including Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy's response to this news, here.
Simon also commented on behalf of the Association of Prison Lawyers in the the Law Society Gazette's coverage of this story here.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has decided to independently investigate a complaint lodged by a black fireman that he was unlawfully arrested, tasered and racially discriminated against by Metropolitan Police officers.
The complaint was originally investigated internally by the Metropolitan Police, against the wishes of the fire-fighter. The IPCC has now, over a year after the investigation into his complaint began, decided to reject the Met’s findings and launch an independent investigation due to its concerns regarding the effectiveness of the Met investigation. Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy acts for the complainant.
Read the full press release here. Read the Guardian's coverage of this story here.
Shamik Dutta has been featured in the Law Society Gazette as 'Lawyer in the News'. Shamik acts for Mr John Catt, a political campaigner who recently won his appeal to have his details removed from a police extremism database.
Read the Gazette article here. Read the press release about Mr Catt's case here.
All of us at Bhatt Murphy wish to congratulate Fiona on being admitted to the Bar. She will be leaving Bhatt Murphy on 6 April 2013 to take tenancy at Doughty Street chambers. Fiona was a founding partner at Bhatt Murphy and she has played a significant role in the firm’s development and success over the past 14 years. We are delighted that Fiona will be taking her energy and dedication to her clients to the Bar and we wish her success as she embarks on this exciting new stage of her career.
Following a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice this morning, permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal has been granted in the case of R (Roberts) v Commissioner of Police Metropolitan Police.
Ms Roberts brought a challenge to the lawfulness of the powers under section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which allow for authorisations to be made in a specified area permitting officers to stop and search individuals within that area without any need for reasonable suspicion. Her claim was dismissed by the High Court in July 2012 and today’s decision means that it will now be considered by the Court of Appeal.
For further information, see the press release from StopWatch here.
In a landmark judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal today, three of the country’s most senior judges have found that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe violated the human rights of an 88 year old peaceful protestor, Mr John Catt, by subjecting him to almost a decade of state surveillance. The Court found that the conduct of the police involved “a significant interference” with Mr Catt’s right to respect for private life, protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy acts for Mr Catt.
Read the full press release here. Read the Judgment here.
See further coverage on the BBC's website, the Guardian's website, the Telegraph's website and on Channel 4's website.
The Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal by a prisoner concerning prejudicial material submitted by the Secretary of State. He succeeded in his argument that the Board does have the power to hold an interlocutory hearing and to exclude such material in appropriate cases. The Board did not consider that such a power existed. The prisoner was represented by Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy and Sam Grodzinski QC of Matrix Chambers.
Read the full Judgment here.
A new legal basis for quashing police cautions has been established by the High Court in a judicial review brought by a survivor of domestic violence. This is believed to be the first occasion on which a caution has been quashed on the basis that it is was not in the public interest. Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant.
Ms C admitted slapping her then partner after he came home inebriated and disclosed that he had been unfaithful. During the incident Ms C self harmed and experienced violence from her partner. Notwithstanding, the police treated Ms C’s then partner as the victim, whilst she was arrested and cautioned for assault. The High Court has found that it was inconceivable that Ms C would be prosecuted and that it was not in the public interest for her to receive a caution.
A Chief Constable has paid £35,000 in compensation to a vulnerable victim of crime as a result of one of his police officers abusing his position by engaging in sexual contact with a woman who had contacted police to report childhood sexual abuse. Despite dismissing the officer for gross misconduct, it has taken over a year and a half for the Chief Constable to provide an apology and pay compensation. Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant.
In an eleventh hour concession, the UKBA accepted the need for a policy on the use of force against children and pregnant women in the exercise of immigration powers. Janet Farrell and Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy act for the claimants.
The four Claimants in this judicial review, a pregnant woman and three children, brought this claim on behalf of all children and pregnant women within the immigration system, challenging the legality of the UKBA’s practice of using force against these two groups in the absence of any clear policy limiting its use.
Read the full press release here. Read the Guardian's coverage of this story here.
The Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law has published an article by Jed Pennington on the work Bhatt Murphy has been doing on the immigration detention of mentally ill people by the UK Border Agency.
A copy of the article, which is based on a talk given at the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association Annual General Meeting in November 2012, can be obtained by subscribing to the journal through Bloomsbury Professional.
The Home Secretary has decided not to pursue an appeal against Mr Justice Singh’s decision that a Nigerian asylum seeker, HA, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, was unlawfully detained and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment during two periods of detention in 2010. Hamish Arnott of Bhatt Murphy acts for HA.
Read the briefing note about this case here.
In a landmark judgment handed down in the Court of Appeal today, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson has rejected an attempt by the Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to justify the conduct of his officers in an incident where “ matters escalated to the point where a wholly inappropriate restraint of an epileptic autistic boy took place.” Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy acted for ZH.
Full details of the case can be found here. Read more about this story on the BBC's website here and on the Guardian's website here and here. Watch further coverage on the Channel 4 News website here.
In a two day hearing starting on 29 January 2013 three Court of Appeal Judges, including the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, will consider whether police forces in England and Wales can gather and retain information concerning peaceful protestors on the National Domestic Extremism Database. Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy acts for the claimant, Mr John Catt.
The appeal is brought by an 87 year old war veteran, Mr John Catt: a peaceful protestor of good character, who , even on the police account is not suspected of any criminal offences. The appeal is against a High Court judgment in May 2012, which found that details concerning the activities of peaceful and law-abiding protestors can be retained on the National Domestic Extremism Database.
Mr Catt’s solicitor Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy said: “The Court of Appeal will determine whether protestors forego their right to privacy when they engage in lawful protest. If this appeal is successful, police forces will need to review the way in which they gather and retain information concerning protesters who have never committed any offence”.
Read the full press release here, Read the Independent's article about this story here. Read more on the BBC's website here.
Simon Creighton presented a paper on prisoners’ rights in the UK at a conference in Paris organised by the French Consultative Commission on Human Rights and the Observatoire International des Prisons. A copy of his paper can be found here.
On 22 January 2013 the Court of Appeal will hear the Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis’ appeal against Sir Robert Nelson’s judgment dated 14 March 2012 in ZH v The Commissioner  EWHC 604 (Admin). This is the first judgment in this jurisdiction to find that police officers inflicted inhuman and degrading treatment on a member of the public; and the first finding of disability discrimination against a police force in a non-employment context. It is also the only occasion in which a police force has sought to rely on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to justify a restraint. The BBC has covered this story on its website here. ZH is represented by Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy and Heather Williams QC.
Read the full press release here. Read more about this story on the Channel 4 News website here. Listen to Tony Murphy's interview on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Radio Five Live here.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has issued a highly critical report of the UK Border Agency’s handling of immigration detainees suffering from mental illness. The report refers to the four judgments handed down since 2011 in which the High Court has found immigration detention of men suffering from mental illness to constitute inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Bhatt Murphy acted for the claimants in three of the cases.
Read the full press release here. Read the Home Affairs Select Committee's report here.
Jane Ryan won a “best lawyer” award from Medical Justice in recognition of the work she does with women detainees at Yarl’s Wood IRC and her contribution to the pregnant women in detention project. Read further about Medical Justice here.
On 28 November 2012, Simon Creighton was part of the legal team that presented the case challenging the legality of whole life tariffs to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. A webcast of the proceedings can be viewed here.
The challenge came after the Chamber of the European Court dismissed the initial challenge by a narrow majority of 4 judges to 3 in January 2012. The case seeks to argue that the imposition of a whole life sentence with no prospect of release amounts to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and breaches Article 3 of the Convention on Human Rights. The concept of a whole life tariff that cannot be reduced whatever progress the prisoner may make is relatively recent in English law. Up until 2004, all such sentences were subject to a review by a Minister after 25 years but this power was removed when judges took over responsibility for setting tariffs. England is not only out of step with the rest of Europe on this issue, but also with Scotland and Northern Ireland where such sentences always remain subject to review.
Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy represents the lead applicant and was required by the European Court to present the case for all three applicants. The legal team also consisted of Pete Weatherby QC and Professor Dirk Van Zyl Smit from Nottingham University.
Read the Guardian's article on this story here.
The Guardian has published a comment piece by Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy about the failure of IPCC investigators to interview police officers in death in custody cases.
Read Sophie's article here.
Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy has been nominated for the National Council of Civil Liberties’ Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award for his "outstanding work in the field of civil actions against the police".
Read Liberty's press release about the nominations here and the press release about the awards here.
Jed Pennington spoke at the Annual General Meeting of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, a membership organization of leading immigration practitioners on 17 November 2012 about the immigration detention of mentally ill migrants. He was also elected to ILPA’s Executive Committee.
Read Jed’s talk “Deplorable failure, bureaucratic inertia and callous indifference: the immigration detention of mentally ill people by the UK Border Agency” here.
The family of Andrzej Rymarzak have received the maximum compensation payable for his death in Chelsea Police station, where a police doctor left him dying in a coma on the floor of a police cell. Nogah Ofer acted for the family.
Dr Hisham El-Baroudy was acquitted of gross negligence manslaughter at Southwark Crown Court earlier this year but faces a hearing before the General Medical Council in March 2013. The custody sergeant was to face disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct however he took retirement prior to the hearing.
An inquest jury has found that failings by the Prison Service contributed to the death of Nicholas Saunders, an 18 year old prisoner who took his own life at Stoke Young Offender Institution on 2 April 2011. Jed Pennington of Bhatt Murphy and Alex Gask of Doughty Street Chambers acted for the family. The family was also assisted by the charity INQUEST.
The inquest took place over 10 days between 10 and 25 October 2012 and heard from over 50 witnesses. The deceased had made a serious attempt to take his own life in January 2011 whilst on remand at Wood Hill prison and had been monitored as a suicide risk. The Coroner made recommendations to the Ministry of Justice to prevent future deaths. A copy of the Inquisition and the Coroner’s letter can be downloaded here.
The Law Society Gazette has reported the serious concerns of the Police Action Lawyer's Group regarding costs reforms that will come into force next year.
From April 2013, litigants not entitled to legal aid could be left with no means to challenge civil rights breaches. Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy coordinated PALG’s submissions and is quoted in the article, which can be read here.
In a judgment handed down on 27 September 2012, Mrs Justice Lang DBE ruled that the Home Secretary unlawfully detained a survivor of the Rwandan genocide over a three month period from November 2010. The Home Secretary has also agreed to pay damages of £35,000. Jed Pennington acted for the Claimant.
A copy of the judgment can be downloaded here and our briefing note here.
Detention Action’s AGM was held at Amnesty International on 24 September 2012. The panel of speakers discussed their ideas for campaigning against the use of detention. In addition to Jane Ryan, the panel included speakers from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Bail for Immigration Detainees, Medical Justice, National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, Student Action for Refugees, as well as those who have experienced detention.
Further information can be found on the Detention Action website here.
On Wednesday 12 September 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel presented its Report to the Hillsborough families, explaining the outcome of its work to secure maximum possible disclosure of documents relating to the disaster at the Hillsborough Stadium on 15 April 1989 and its aftermath. Raju Bhatt is one of nine members of the Panel which was chaired by The Right Reverend James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool.
Further information, including the full report, can be found on the panel's disclosure website here.
Two Police Officers from Greater Manchester Police have been summonsed to appear before Magistrates’ in relation to charges of perverting the course of justice. The charges arise out of an allegation that the officers gave false accounts, causing Mr Alan Clough to be charged with a public order offence in relation to his participation in a demonstration against the English Defence League in Bolton on 20 March 2010. Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy acts for Mr Clough.
Inspector Cantrell and PC Glover of the Greater Manchester Police Tactical Aid Unit have been summonsed to appear before York Magistrates’ Court on 11 September 2012 in relation to charges of perverting the course of justice.
The IPCC press release can be found here.
The report of the matter in The Guardian can be found here.
Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy has spoken to the BBC about the case of a Humberside Police Officer who was captured on CCTV smacking a 15 year old boy on 31 October 2011.
See further coverage of the incident in the Grimsby Telegraph.
The Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of a victim of human trafficking on the basis that her conviction was unsafe. Sophie Naftalin of Bhatt Murphy acted for the appellant.
Read the press release here and the full judgment here.
The MOJ has agreed to pay £8,500 compensation to a young man who was sexually assaulted by a prison officer whilst detained as a young offender at HMYOI Huntercombe in 2010. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has also agreed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the sexual assaults.
Nancy Collins acted for the claimant.
The Crown Prosecution Service has said that there is insufficient evidence to charge anyone over the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who collapsed while being deported. Mr Mubenga died whilst being restrained during a removal from the UK on 12 October 2010. He was being escorted by three private security guards working for G4S contracted by the UK Border Agency.
The family’s solicitor, Mark Scott, said: “The family are devastated that the circumstances of Mr Mubenga’s death and the people restraining him will not be called to explain their actions in criminal proceedings. The DPP’s decision not to prosecute is deeply troubling. The evidence is that Mr Mubenga died after crying for help whilst under restraint. This is not capable of being determined behind closed doors without a full examination of the witnesses and the medical evidence. It is a surprise and shock that the DPP has not learned the lessons of earlier decisions and still sees fit to act as judge and jury rather than allowing the normal path of criminal justice to be followed.”
Read the full press release here.
The European Court of Human Rights has referred the challenge to the lawfulness of the whole life tariff to the Grand Chamber for a hearing on 28 November 2012.
Simon Creighton, who is representing the lead applicant commented: “My client is delighted with the recognition by the Court that the increasing use of this sentence by the UK demands further and more detailed scrutiny.”
The Court of Appeal has refused three children permission to appeal in relation to the Metropolitan Police policy of kettling them at student protests in winter 2010.
Michael Oswald, the Claimant's solicitor, said: “While our clients are disappointed with the rejection of their challenge to the policy in force on 24 November 2010 they are pleased with the clear statement that the courts have given to police officers in relation to their duties under section 11 of the Children’s Act. The judgments of the High Court and Court of Appeal leave open the possibility of children who have been kettled challenging the deprivation of their liberty in the civil courts.”
Read the full press release here.
Simon Creighton was one of the speakers at the Law Society's Graham Turnbull competition.
The event was established in memory of Graham Turnbull who was killed in 1997 whilst working as a human rights monitor in Rwanda. The theme of this year's competition was prison reform and Simon spoke on the subject of the Human Rights Act and prison reform. The keynote speaker was Lord Ramsbotham.
Jed Pennington has won the Young Legal Aid Solicitor award at the 2012 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards. Launched in 2003, the LALYs are the only awards aimed solely at those doing legal aid work. They are organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
Read further coverage on the Law Society Gazette's website here.
The High Court has granted permission in a claim for judicial review challenging the legality of the detention of a Somalian national who arrived in the UK in 1991 when he was 11 years old. Jane Ryan of Bhatt Murphy represents the Claimant.
The Claimant was detained for more than 5 years ‘pending his removal’ from the UK between 10 December 2006 until his release on 24 April 2012, save for the period from 11 May 2009 until 21 July 2009 when he was detained pursuant to a six month custodial sentence. He has been granted permission to challenge his detention from 21 July 2009 to his release on 24 April 2012 i.e. nearly 2 years and 9 months. The Claimant’s first period of detention (i.e. from 10 December 2006 to 11 May 2009) is relevant to determining whether the overall length of his detention was reasonable and whether there was a reasonable prospect of removal within a reasonable time (i.e. whether his detention breached the Hardial Singh principles).
West Mercia police force has agreed to admit liability, apologise and pay £10,000 compensation to Anthony Finnegan, who was wrongfully arrested for taking a photograph of a high street bank. Fiona Murphy of Bhatt Murphy acted for Mr Finnegan.
Further coverage can be read on the Guardian’s website here, on the Daily Mail's website here and the Shropshire Star's website here.
In a judgment handed down on 30 May 2012, the High Court has ruled that police forces can gather and retain information about peaceful protestors on the National Domestic Extremism Database. Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy acted for the Claimant, Mr John Catt.
The claim was brought by an 87 year old peaceful protestor, Mr John Catt, who is of good character. Mr Catt will be seeking permission to appeal the Court’s finding that details about peaceful protestors can be retained on the National Domestic Extremism Database, even when they relate to their exercise of the democratic right to peaceful protest.
Shamik Dutta said: “This judgment raises matters of constitutional importance and could impact upon anyone engaging in peaceful protest. Mr Catt has therefore instructed me to seek permission to appeal.”
Read the judgment here.
Further coverage can be found on the BBC's website here and the Independent's website here.
An inquest jury has made serious criticisms of the medical care provided to Janey Antoniou leading to her death while detained under the Mental Heath Act. Her husband Dr Michael Antoniou’s search for justice continues. Dr Antoniou is represented by Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy.
Coverage in The Observer newspaper can be read here.
Listen to Dr Michael Antoniou speaking on BBC Radio 4's programme, All in The Mind.
Michael Oswald and Sophie Naftalin are representing fifteen individuals who were arrested and detained by the Met Police on 29 April 2011. The hearing before Richards LJ and Openshaw J starts on 28 May 2012.
Read the full press release here.
The High Court has granted permission in a claim for judicial review challenging the legality of the detention of a Lebanese man in HMP Wandsworth who has mental ill-health. Our client, who is represented by Nancy Collins, has been assessed by two psychiatrists as suitable for transfer to hospital under s48 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Permission has also been granted to challenge the refusal of the SSJ to transfer him to hospital under s48. Read more here.
Ashness House, a private care home, was strongly criticised by His Honour Judge Marks for having in place “plainly wholly inadequate” supervision arrangements for mentally ill residents.
Serif Aslan, a service user of Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, was a resident at the care home in Tottenham when he killed 15 year old Kasey Gordon in January 2011. Mr Aslan was convicted of Kasey’s murder on 18 April 2012, and he received a life sentence on 16 May 2012.
Raju Bhatt acts for the family of Kasey Gordon in their efforts to bring public scrutiny to bear on the circumstances of his murder.
Read the Independent’s report here and the Guardian’s report here.
The family of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan have met with representatives of the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to hear what they have to say about their handling of the case, some fifteen months after the collapse of their last attempt at a prosecution for the murder. Raju Bhatt acts for Daniel Morgan’s family.
A full statement on behalf of the family can be found here.
A copy of the ‘review’ as published by the CPS and the MPS can be found here.
Further coverage can be found on the BBC's website here and here; and on the Independent's website here.
A Freedom of Information Act request by the BBC has revealed the amount of compensation paid to the victims of police misconduct over the last six years.
Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy said: "It is not unusual for the commissioner to pay damages and apologise in cases where failures in the police complaints system nevertheless allow the officers involved to keep their jobs. Nothing will change until there is an effective police complaints system and until officers are ready to give evidence against colleagues who are guilty of misconduct."
Read the full story on the BBC's website here.
A Judge at Central London County Court has found that the Home Office unlawfully detained a Zimbabwean man between 30 November 2007 and 14 January 2009. The Judge found that from 14 May 2008, there was no realistic prospect of removing our client due to official Government policy to suspend removals in view of the violence and dire humanitarian circumstances in Zimbabwe following the March 2008 elections. Jed Pennington acted for the Claimant.
Read our briefing note on this case here and relevant parliamentary statements here.
Read the full Judgment here.
Michael Oswald and Sophie Naftalin are acting for fifteen individuals arrested to prevent a purported breach of the peace on the day of the Royal Wedding.
The Guardian's report on the case can be found here.
Inside Time has published an article by Bhatt Murphy’s Carolynn Gallwey in the wake of judgment in a case brought by the Children’s Rights Alliance of England. That case sought to compel the Secretary of State for Justice to inform former detainees at the privately run Secure Training Centres who had been subjected to the use of force and restrained simply to enforce ‘good order and discipline’ that they had been the victims of an assault.
Read the full article here. The judgment can be read here.
A full inquest hearing into the death of Jane Antoniou, a well known mental heath campaigner begins on Monday 30 April 2011. Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy acts for Dr Michael Antoniou.
Please read the full press release here.
The Independent newspaper has uncovered evidence that intelligence from the failed Daniel Morgan murder investigation was leaked from the highest ranks of the Metropolitan Police. Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy acts for Daniel Morgan’s family.
An investigation by The Independent has revealed the existence of a suppressed police intelligence report, written in 2006, which reveals that a member of the senior management board of the Metropolitan Police was responsible for leaking intelligence from the then ongoing police investigation into Daniel Morgan’s murder. Read more here.
Read The Independent's report here.
Shamik Dutta of Bhatt Murphy is acting for Mr Edric Kennedy-Macfoy in a race claim against the Metropolitan Police, arising from an incident on 4 September 2011 when Mr Kennedy-Macfoy was shot with a Taser, handcuffed and prosecuted by officers.
Mr Kennedy-Macfoy was found not guilty of any charges at Brent Magistrates Court after a trial on 6 and 7 February 2012. He was represented at trial by Mr Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors.
The Metropolitan Police Directorate of Professional Standards initially declined to refer the matter to the IPCC but have now agreed to do so after concern was raised by Mr Kennedy-Macfoy.
Shamik Dutta said:
"Why was a black off-duty firefighter, wearing a pinstriped suit and offering assistance to the police, dragged from his car, shot with a Taser, locked up and prosecuted? This question must be answered by an independent IPCC investigation, including the role Mr Kennedy-Macfoy’s race played in these disturbing events."
Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors said:
“Given the number of officers who were willing to give evidence against him, had Edric not had the benefit of effective legal representation in the Magistrates court there would have been a much greater risk of conviction; this entire story may never have come to light.
Unfortunately due to changes in the law which Parliament is likely to vote upon next week, professional people like Edric who do not qualify for legal aid are likely to be left without representation in the future as they would not be able to recover their legal costs even if they are found not guilty of any offence.”
Read more about the case on the Guardian's website here and on the BBC's website here.
The CPS has announced that it has decided after all to instigate a prosecution of a police officer for a racially aggravated public order offence in relation to his conduct on 11 August 2011 towards Bhatt Murphy's client, Mr Mauro Demetrio.
Read Bhatt Murphy's full press release here. Read the Newham Monitoring Project's press release here.
Further coverage of this story can be read on the BBC's website here and on the Evening Standard's website here.
Read the background to this story on this site here and here.
A High Court Judge has today ruled that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully in August 2010 in making changes to the Home Office policy for detaining those with mental illness in immigration detention. Hamish Arnott of Bhatt Murphy represented the Claimant.
The full press release can be read here and the full Judgment can be read here.
Bhatt Murphy’s briefing note explaining the circumstances of the Claimant’s detention, the history of the Home Office policy and the impact of the judgment can be read here.
H.M. Chief Inspector of Prisons’ report published in February 2012 criticising the detention of those with mental illness at Harmondsworth IRC can be read here. A letter from the Immigration Law Practitioners Association to UKBA raising its members’ concerns regarding the changes to policy can be read here and UKBA’s response can be read here.
Press releases relating to two previous Bhatt Murphy cases in which the High Court found the Home Secretary in breach of Article 3 can be found here and here.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has said that it will investigate why a client of Bhatt Murphy's was arrested again just hours after he had made a complaint about his treatment by the police.
Read the full story on the Guardian's website here.
See more about this story in the news item below.
Bhatt Murphy is very pleased to announce the introduction of an annual summer placement scheme to commence in summer 2012. The scheme is designed for undergraduate university students interested in becoming legal aid solicitors in our areas of work. Further information can be found on the recruitment page of the website.
The Crown Prosecution Service has agreed to review its decision not to charge officers heard racially abusing our client on a recording he made on his mobile phone at the time of his arrest.
The full story, including the recording, can be found on the Guardian's website here.
Watch the Channel 4 News report of this story here. Further coverage of this story can be found on the BBC's website here and on the Telegraph's website here.
Michael Oswald is acting for the client.
A High Court Judge has today found that Metropolitan Police officers subjected a sixteen year old boy with severe autism, learning disabilities and epilepsy to assault and battery, unlawful disability discrimination, false imprisonment and multiple breaches of the Human Rights Act by forcing him into handcuffs and leg restraints during a school trip to Acton Swimming Baths in West London on 23 September 2008.
This is the first judgment in this jurisdiction in which police officers have been found to have subjected a member of the public to inhuman or degrading treatment and to unlawful disability discrimination .
Read the full press release here and the judgment here.
Further coverage can be found on the BBC's website here, on the Independent's website here and on the Guardian's website here. Watch further coverage of this story on the Channel 4 News website here.
Tony Murphy acted for the Claimant.
The Ministry of Justice have paid £3,500 to Joseph Coleman, whose arm was broken during the course of a restraint by prison officers at HMP Wandsworth on 9 January 2009.
Alice Hardy of Bhatt Murphy, who acted for Mr Coleman, said: “It is shocking that someone in a vulnerable position such as Mr Coleman has suffered this injury while in the custody of those responsible for his safety.” Please see a full statement here.
On Wednesday 29th February 2012 at 4.00 pm Tom Watson MP will address an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall on “The death of Daniel Morgan”. He will outline the background to the private investigator’s murder in 1987 and give details of the five failed murder investigations, many of which have never been made public before.
The debate has been called in support of representations by the Morgan family to the Home Secretary seeking a judicial inquiry into the police’s handling of the murder.
The Morgan family is represented by Raju Bhatt. A statement from the family can be read here.
The Metropolitan Police paid £10,000 on 1 February 2012 to Piotr Poleski, who was arrested at a fireworks display in East London.
Mr Poleski was attending a fireworks display on 5 November 2008 when he saw his friend being pulled away by police officers and her bag searched. He was concerned for his friend and went to observe what was happening but he was arrested and taken to Stoke Newington Police Station where he was strip searched and made to wait in a police cell for nearly 16 hours. He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour and taken to Thames Magistrates Court where he was granted bail. On 11 February 2009 the Met added a further charge against Mr Poleski – for assaulting a police officer. Finally, on 23 June 2009, the day before trial, Mr Poleski was informed that all charges against him had been dropped. Now, after two years of litigation the Met have paid Mr Poleski £10,000 in compensation and have agreed to pay his legal costs but they have refused to apologise or admit liability.
Alice Hardy from Bhatt Murphy acted for Mr Poleski and said: “Piotr Poleski was seriously distressed by his arrest and prosecution and has suffered a significant loss of confidence in the police as a result. This outcome vindicates his struggle to have his lamentable treatment acknowledged.” Mr Poleski said: “Although I am pleased overall with the way the case has turned out it saddens me that the police could not offer a simple apology. It would have been the right thing to do and it makes no sense to me that they could not simply admit their wrongdoing or apologise for it.”
In 2005 a number of children represented by Bhatt Murphy commenced judicial review proceedings of the Home Office’s policy for disputing the age of asylum seekers. This policy permitted immigration officers to treat child asylum seekers as adults and to detain them without first properly assessing their age.
In response to this judicial review, the Home Office changed its age dispute policy in November 2005. However the Home Office refused to formally accept that its pre-November 2005 policy was unlawful until January 2007, when it stated that the policy: “did not strike the right balance between, on the one hand, the interests of firm and fair immigration control and, on the other hand, the importance of avoiding the detention of unaccompanied children”.
Read the full press release here
Further coverage can be read on the Guardian's website here and on the BBC's website here.
The CPS and Metropolitan Police disclosed the name and address of the child witness to a violent criminal gang despite a promise that this would be kept confidential. The family were compelled to relocate within a witness protection scheme. After 3 years of litigation the CPS and MPS agreed to pay compensation of £550,000, to offer apologies and to pay the legal expenses. The claimants’ anonymity is protected by court order.
The Claimants have made a statement, which can be read here.
Further coverage, including Fiona Murphy's interview with John Humphrys on the Today programme, can be found on the BBC's website here.
The Independent have covered the case here and further articles can also be read on the Daily Mail's website here and the Evening Standard's website here.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has formally censured the Prison Service for allowing designated safer cells at HMP Bullingdon to be modified to include shower rails offering ligature points.
On 13 February 2012, in only the second time Crown Censure proceedings have been brought against the Prison Service, the HSE described how these cells had fallen “far below” any acceptable standard. This censure arises from the death of Danny Rooney at HMP Bullingdon on 26 September 2006. On the day he died, there was evidence available to prison officers to suggest that Danny Rooney was at serious and imminent risk of death by hanging. Instead of referring him to the care of the prison healthcare team, the officers’ response was to put him in one of the safer cells which had been modified. It was a manifestly unsafe environment for a vulnerable prisoner and within about 40 minutes he was discovered hanged from one of the shower rail fittings.
Read the full press release here.
Carolynn Gallwey represented Mr Rooney's family.
Bhatt Murphy solicitors acted for Mr John Catt in his judicial review concerning the retention of data about him on the National Domestic Extremism database. The case was heard before the High Court on 9 February 2012 and judgment is expected within the next month.
His solicitor Shamik Dutta said: “In this case the Court has been asked to determine an issue of fundamental constitutional importance; to what extent do we give up the right to respect for our private lives if we engage in political protest?”
Read more about challenge to Domestic Extremism database on the Guardian's website here.
Gwent Police has paid compensation to 70 year old Robert Whatley as a result of an incident during which an officer smashed his car window 15 times with a baton whilst another officer jumped onto his car bonnet and kicked in his windscreen. Although the force has not admitted liability the payment indicates that it seeks to compensate Mr Whatley for post traumatic stress disorder.
The payment follows threats by Bhatt Murphy solicitors to bring civil proceedings for excessive use of force. It comes in stark contrast to the findings of an internal police disciplinary panel in June 2011 which concluded that the officers’ actions were entirely justified.
Read the full press release here. Read further coverage of this story on the Daily Mail's website here .
The trial of Dr Hisham El-Baroudy for causing the death of Andrzej Rymarzak in police custody is due to begin on 16 January 2012 at Southwark Crown Court. Nogah Ofer acts for his family. Read INQUEST's press release on this prosecution here.
The Guardian has today published an internal police memo that appears to have been circulated as a result of the grant of permission in the Bhatt Murphy case of R(on the application of Roberts) v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis. The full hearing judicial review hearing will commence on 3 May 2012.
Read the Guardian's article here. A copy of the memo can be read on the Guardian's website here.
In a judgment handed down on 11 January, a High Court Judge says it is highly likely that large numbers of children were unlawfully restrained in privately run secure training centres (STCs) for at least a decade (1998-2008). Furthermore, none of the statutory agencies charged with monitoring children's care took action to stop the unlawful treatment.
The full press release can be read here. The judgment can be read here.
The High Court has overturned the decision of the Justice Secretary to refuse permission to the BBC to interview Babar Ahmad in prison. A press release can be found here. A full copy of this landmark judgment on Article 10 rights can be read here.
Nottinghamshire Police have apologised and paid £20,250 compensation to Philip Abrahams, a former further education lecturer, following a claim for false imprisonment, assault and race discrimination. Full details of the case can be found here.
A High Court Judge has today found that a protestor attending a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in January 2009 was the victim of an assault by a Metropolitan Police officer.
Kelly Minio-Paluello attended the demonstration in protest against the bombing bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Army during ‘Operation Cast Lead’. After raising concern with the police about the arrest of her friend, Ms Minio-Paluello was removed from the scene by an officer twisting her arm behind her back and then lifting her off the ground by her locked arm. This caused a serious fracture and long-term injury to her arm.
Mr Justice Eder held that the officer had used “very considerable force” effecting an “obviously dangerous” hold, thereby causing “entirely avoidable injuries” for which he awarded Ms Minio-Paluello £14,300.00.
Read the full press release here.
The full Judgment can be found here.
Further coverage of this story can be read on the BBC's website here.
MS and her daughter brought proceedings against the MPS, which included claims for racial discrimination, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office. In satisfaction of their claims, the MPS has now agreed to pay damages of £27,000 to MS and £5,000 to her daughter.
On 7 November 2008, MS was in her home with her daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, when officers from the Metropolitan Police Service attended to arrest her son. In the course of the ensuing events – having arrested him – they declined to explain to MS why he had been arrested or where he was being taken. Instead, in the face of her insistence that she was entitled to know where he was being taken, they repeatedly told her to ‘shut up’. When MS, who is black, suggested that the officers’ behaviour was racist, they arrested her.
When the officers took MS to the police station, they failed to make any provision for the care of her daughter who was left to fend for herself on the street outside her home on a Friday night. Without anyone to care for her at home, she had to make the journey to her aunt’s house in another area of London, accompanied only by another child.
The officers subsequently alleged that MS had directed racist abuse at them and as a result she was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence. She was forced to attend trial and give evidence in her defence following which she was found not guilty.
At a hearing in November 2011 Lord Justice Elias and Justice King granted permission to 15 people to challenge their arrests by the Metropolitan Police Service on 29 April 2011, the day of the Royal Wedding.
The 15 claimants, all of whom are represented by Bhatt Murphy, were all arrested in Central London on the morning of the Royal Wedding, purportedly in order to prevent a breach of the peace. It is their case that the arrests were carried out pursuant to an unlawful policy being operated by the Met on that day to suppress lawful protest and other peaceful dissent. A full judicial review hearing will now take place in 2012.
Further coverage of the arrests made on the day of the Royal Wedding can be read on the Guardian's website here.
Jane Winter, Director of British Irish Rights Watch has given evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into the wider effects of computer hacking. Jane, who is represented by Bhatt Murphy, also provided written evidence to Lord Justice Leveson.
Fiona Murphy was shortlisted for the Liberty award for the human rights lawyer of the year. She was shortlisted in recognition of her work promoting accountability and defending the rights of vulnerable poeople in the criminal justice system.
In a judgment handed down on 26 October 2011, the High Court ruled that the UK Border Agency, unlawfully detained a man with severe mental illness between 21 June and 7 October 2011 and that the circumstances of his detention at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre between 4 July and 6 August 2011 amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). A full press release is available here.
The death of Mr Murphy aged 21 years at HMP Swansea was contributed to by serious failures and inadequacies on the part of both South Wales Police and HMP Swansea according to the verdict returned at the conclusion of an inquest into his death before HM Coroner for the City and County of Swansea.
Read the full press release here.
The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire Police has paid £20,000 in compensation to Rizwaan Sabir for his wrongful arrest under the Terrorism Act 2000 on 14 May 2008 and the seven days of detention that followed. Mr Sabir was arrested after downloading the ‘The Al-Qaeda Training Manual’ from a US government website for his postgraduate research on Al-Qaeda. Further details can be found here.
The Daily Mail has published an apology to Jody McIntyre concerning the articles published about his role in the student protests last year.
The apology was published after Mr McIntyre made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. His complaint was not initially upheld but Bhatt Murphy represented him in judicial review proceedings which resulted in a reconsideration of the matter. After the apology was published, the PCC issued the following Resolution Statement:
Mr Jody McIntyre complained to the Press Complaints Commission through Bhatt Murphy Solicitors of London that two articles published in the Littlejohn column in December 2010 were inaccurate and misleading, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy), and had discriminated against him on the basis of his disability in breach of Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code.
The Commission initially adjudicated on the complaint in March 2011. The complainant’s solicitors challenged the terms of the Commission’s adjudication, which led to further correspondence with the newspaper. The complaint was subsequently resolved through the publication of the following clarification and apology in the newspaper:
When I made fun of wheelchair protester Jody McIntyre over his role in last December's student riots in London, I was commenting on his behaviour, not suggesting he was faking his disability. If Jody McIntyre or anyone else has interpreted my comments in that way, I'm sorry."
We are delighted to announce that Shamik Dutta has joined Bhatt Murphy where he will continue his specialist areas of practice in private and public law challenges to the criminal justice and immigration detention system. Shamik has specialised in these areas of law for 6 years and his knowledge and dedication to his clients are a welcome addition to our team
On 25 August 2011 the High Court has, in what is thought to be one of the longest periods of immigration detention, ruled that the detention of our client, Mr Amin Sino, for 4 years 11 months was unlawful throughout.
In a judgment which is strikingly critical of the Secretary of State, the High Court found that the Secretary of State had detained Mr Sino in circumstances where there was no reasonable prospect of removal in a reasonable time and failed to act with reasonable diligence in seeking to deport Mr Sino.
Read the full press release here.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has concluded that the failings of an investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service Directorate of Professional Standards into the treatment of Jody McIntyre have allowed an officer to escape criminal sanctions.
Read the full press release here.
See The Independent's report of this story here.
Tom Watson MP is calling for the murder of Daniel Morgan to be examined as part of the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.
Read further coverage of this story on the BBC's website here.
Listen to the 18 August edition of "The Report", a BBC Radio 4 programme about the case, featuring an interview with Tom Watson MP, by following the link here.
Further details about this case can be found on our website here and here.
In a landmark decision , the High Court has ruled that the detention of a man with severe mental illness at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”). Full details can be found here.
It is believed to be the first time that a UK court has found that detention at an immigration removal centre to have breached article 3 ECHR.
The Claimant, whose identity is protected by an anonymity order in the proceedings and is known only as “S”, had a history of serious ill treatment and abuse prior to arriving in the UK which had been accepted by a number of medical experts. After serving a prison sentence, a criminal court made an interim hospital order under the Mental Health Act in December 2009. He remained at the secure psychiatric hospital until his discharge on 23 April 2010. It was well documented, both from his time in prison and at the psychiatric hospital, that detention had caused deterioration in his psychiatric state, precipitating psychotic symptoms and incidents of serious self harm. The medical reports that followed S from the hospital on 23 April 2010 specifically warned that detention would cause him to regress to a state that he would once again require hospital admission.
Lawyers acting for the family of Daniel Morgan have sent today to the Home Secretary a detailed submission setting out the grounds crying out for a judicial inquiry into the case. The full press release can be found here.
Read further coverage of this story on the BBC's website here.
On 13 July 2011 Hamish Arnott and Jed Pennington will provide training with Medical Justice on mental health and immigration detention. The seminar will take place at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, 27 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN from 6-8pm.
Bhatt Murphy are representing a woman seeking to challenge the use of stop and search powers by the Metropolitan Police. The BBC news report on the case can be read here.
On 5 and 6 July 2011, the High Court will hear a claim for judicial review against the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis, brought by Rosie Castle, aged 15, and Adam
Castle and Sam Eaton, both aged 16. Full details of the case can be found here. Read more about the case in The Indpendent.
Babar Ahmad calls for urgent consideration of the police misconduct issues and publication of the MPA review of the pattern of similar complaints against these officers. Bhatt Murphy’s press release can be downloaded here, a chronology of Babar Ahmad’s long fight for justice can be downloaded here and Babar Ahmad’s personal statement can be found here.
Jody McIntyre has expresed his disappointment and frustration at the Metroplitan Police's investigation into his treatment while exercising his right of protest. His full statement can be found here.
A jury at Newport Coroners Court has concluded that a 22 year old local man, Andrew Sheppard, died on 1 October 2006 after being detained in Newport police station, as a result of failings by Gwent Police. The jury found gross failings both by individual police officers and the systems operated by Gwent Police for supervising vulnerable detainees. The inquest commenced on 10 May 2011 and concluded on Wednesday 25 May 2011.
On 30 September 2006 Andrew was removed by police to Newport Police Station and held in a police cell as a ‘place of safety’ under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Police involvement followed calls for urgent help from Andrew’s family due to his vulnerability. Despite the police being on notice that Andrew was at risk of drugs overdose, he was not properly searched or checked whilst being detained overnight at the station. As a result, medical experts have concluded that Andrew probably took an overdose of painkillers whilst in a CCTV observation cell at the police station. Four Gwent Police custody sergeants have admitted in misconduct proceedings that Andrew was not properly checked in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. As a result he slipped into a coma and had to be rushed to the Royal Gwent Hospital on 1 October 2006, where he died later that morning.
Read the full press release here. See the report in the Guardian here.
A High Court Judge has today declared that the Metropolitan Police Service (‘MPS’) violated the human rights of four victims of human trafficking and child slavery by failing to investigate the alleged perpetrators when asked to do so in 2007.
In a landmark judgment, Mr Justice Wyn Williams found that police owe a duty under the Human Rights Act to investigate credible allegations of ongoing or past servitude. This will apply to police forces throughout England and Wales. In failing to investigate, the court found the MPS to have breached the victims’ rights under Articles 3 and 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The victims were also awarded a total of £20,000 plus costs for the distress caused to them by the MPS’ failure to investigate their abusers.
The full press release can be read here. The Judgment can be read here and a letter of apology from the Metropolitan Police to one of the victims can be read here.
NXT was separated from her three children whilst unlawfully detained by the Home Office. The children were scattered across the UK in separate foster care arrangements of varying degrees of stability, isolated from each other and their mother. Mr Justice Blair found that the Home Office should have released their mother when it became obvious the Home Office could not assess the children’s best interests whilst she remained in detention.
Read the statement to the press here and the judgment here.
On the 24th anniversary of Daniel Morgan’s murder, his family have seen that the criminal justice system is simply not fit for purpose to address the crime with which they have been required to live over the last two and a half decades. So, they have been left with no option but to call upon the Home Secretary today to order a full judicial inquiry into the handling of the case by the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service through five separate investigations and two separate prosecutions over these years.
Read the full statement to the press here.
Further coverage can be read on the Guardian's website here and on the BBC's website here.
Nogah Ofer of Bhatt Murphy is representing two women who have been trafficked into the UK for prostitution and domestic servitude in a judicial review challenging the Ministry of Justice tender for services to victims of trafficking. The tender proposes a new funding model which is likely to lead to a severe reduction in the accommodation and support services currently received by the two women and contravenes the Council of Europe Convention on human trafficking.
The case has been expedited in the Administrative Court.
For further details see the report on Channel 4 News
Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy is representing the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) in a judicial review challenging the Justice Secretary’s refusal to identify child victims of unlawful restraint. Inquests into the deaths of 14 year old Adam Rickwood and 15 year old Gareth Myatt revealed that systemic failings within privately run child prisons, which went unchallenged by government bodies for years, led to deliberately painful and unlawful restraints being used routinely on children.
CRAE believes that other child victims are entitled to be alerted to their rights under domestic and international law. The case is awaiting urgent consideration in the Administrative Court.
The jury at the second inquest into the death of 14 year old Adam Rickwood in Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham on 8 August 2004 today returned a damning narrative verdict criticising failings by Serco, the private company running Hassockfield, the Youth Justice Board, Prison Service restraint trainers and the Lancashire Youth Offending Team. Before the verdict was issued, these parties agreed that a series of actions preceding Adam’s death had been unlawful.
For further details see this press release.
On 11 October, Megan Phillips, a solicitor at Bhatt Murphy, obtained summary judgment in her claim for libel against the proprietor of the website “Solicitors From Hell”. The claim was brought in respect of a posting on the website which was entirely fictitious. After entering summary judgment on her behalf, Mr Justice Eady awarded damages to Megan and noted that the posting was completely untrue. A press release can be found here.
The Defendant to the claim, Rick Kordowski, informed the court that he accepted the posting was untrue and that he believed it had been entered onto his website by a convicted cyber stalker. The person he believes is responsible for the posting has never been a client of Bhatt Murphy or Megan Phillips. An injunction was also granted preventing any future repetition of the defamatory comments.
On 8 October 2010, Fiona Murphy spoke at the conference with senior members of the judiciary from Belfast, London and Dublin concerning the relevance of the Human Rights Act to Bhatt Murphy’s practice over the last decade.
A copy of Fiona's talk can be downloaded here.
MXL was separated from her two young daughters whilst unlawfully detained by the Home Office. The children were forced to rely on private foster care in the community while their mother was detained. In a highly critical judgment Mr Justice Blake found that the Home Office had not properly taken into account the interests of the children when exercising their power to detain.
For further information see our press release here. A copy of the judgment can be read here.
On 22 September 2010 TSG officers PC Mark Jones, PC James-Bowen, PC Cowley and PC Donoghue were committed for trial on a joint charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the events of 2 December 2003. The criminal proceedings will now take their course and the decisions in this case will be from a jury. It would not be appropriate for Babar Ahmad or Bhatt Murphy to make any further comment at this time and we have removed material touching upon the circumstances leading up to this prosecution from our website pending its outcome.
The CPS has admitted that it made the wrong decision in offering no evidence against an alleged perpetrator in a criminal prosecution for sexual assault and has agreed to pay his victim sixteen thousand pounds (£16,000) in recognition of its failure to protect her human rights. The CPS has also issued the victim with a detailed apology and agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of how it prosecutes sexual offences in the light of her treatment. The victim, the alleged perpetrator and the potential witnesses at trial cannot be identified due to a court order. A full press release can be found here.
The victim said as follows:
“No amount of money can ever compensate me for the failure to bring my assailant to justice. The way I was treated at trial felt like I was being assaulted all over again and the way I was blamed after the trial was even more devastating. I am relieved that that the DPP has acknowledged these failings and I hope it will mean that other victims of sexual violence will not be failed as I was.”
The victim’s solicitor, Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy, said as follows:
“Policies designed to improve the prosecution of sexual assault cases have been in place for years. The criminal justice system does not need new policies; it needs transformational change to put those policies into practice. Without this victims will continue to be failed and perpetrators will continue to go free.”
The High Court has set the tariff for a prisoner repatriated to the UK from Laos following his conviction for drugs offences at 6 months. Mr Watson had already served a very lengthy sentence in Laos where he suffered horrific experiences and these served to mitigate the sentence imposed upon him by the Court. He was represented by Simon Creighton and supported in the application by Prisoners' Abroad.
The Metropolitan Police have apologised and paid £12,500 each to twin brothers Ashley and Russell Inglis for unprovoked assaults by police officers in the course of the protests outside the Israeli Embassy in London on 3 January 2009 against the Israeli military operations in Gaza. This outcome is a telling prelude to the appeals due to be heard on 13 July 2010 in the Court of Appeal against the draconian sentences imposed upon a number of other protestors convicted of violent disorder in the same series of protests.
Read the full press release on this story here.
A jury at Suffolk Coroners Court has returned a highly critical verdict at the inquest into the death of 36-year old Iqbal Khan at HMP Highpoint.
Further information about this case can be found here, and the full press release can be found here.
We are delighted to announce that Nogah Ofer has joined Bhatt Murphy where she will continue her specialist areas of practice in private and public law challenges to the criminal justice system. Nogah has a wealth of experience and her talent and dedication to her clients will be major boost to our team.
The High Court today gave judgment in HXA v Home Office, a case brought by an Iraqi who was detained for 10 months in 2005 whilst the Government sought to return him to Iraq on condition that he be held in detention. The ruling set out clear constraints on the use of detention for deportation. Details of the case can be found here.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) today released the report of Commander Cass into the events surrounding the death of Blair Peach in Southall, west London, on 23 April 1979.
The full press release on this story can be read here.
Raju Bhatt has been appointed by the Home Secretary to the Hillsborough Independent Panel. The Panel has been established to oversee the maximum possible public disclosure of governmental, police and other agency documentation on events surrounding the Hillsborough disaster of 1989.
Look here for the Home Secretary’s written statement on the appointment, here for the terms of reference for the Panel here for relevant press reports.
An inquest jury returned its verdict on the police shooting of a vulnerable man in Kent in December 2009. Dan Tucker, a 39 year old welder with a history of depression, was shot dead by police officers in a country lane near Stanstead whilst holding a replica weapon. The inquest heard that two officers fired one bullet each at Mr Tucker. The first shot hit his groin and was not fatal. The second shot hit his chest, killing him. The officer who fired the first shot gave evidence at the inquest that Mr Tucker was already falling to the ground when he was shot the second time.
There were no witnesses to the shooting, other than police officers. The officers who shot Mr Tucker were allowed to confer with one another and others for a number of days before providing their accounts of why he was shot. Mr Tucker’s sister (Corinna Tucker) judicially reviewed the decision to allow the officers to confer in the High Court in October 2008. This led to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) changing the rules on conferring on 23 October 2008.
Corinna Tucker’s solicitor, Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, has issued the following statement on her behalf:
“Dan Tucker was the second vulnerable person to be shot holding a replica firearm by Kent police within the space of six months. His loved ones understandably had a burning need to understand why he was shot. This process was not helped by the officers who shot Dan being allowed to confer with one another and others before writing down what happened. It is some comfort to my client to know that the police are no longer allowed to do this, in part as result of this case”.
Corinna Tucker or her representatives do not intend to release any further information to the media. She and her family ask not to be contacted by the press so that they can now grieve the loss of their loved one.
On 29 January 2010 the High Court approved the financial settlement of £100,000. Carmen Quiroga and her 4 young children were detained unlawfully at Oakington Detention Centre for 42 days in 2004. Carmen and her children suffered appalling conditions of detention and sustained psychiatric injuries. On 1 October 2009, the Home Office admitted that they had falsely imprisoned the family.
The full press release can be read here.
The second edition of Hamish Arnott and Simon Creighton's book 'Parole Board Hearings: Law & Practice' has been published by Legal Action Group. Copies of the book can be purchased direct from LAG.
In R (on the application of Keith Lewis) v. HM Coroner for Mid and North Division of the County of Shropshire, the Court of Appeal has found that in order to satisfy the requirements of Article 2 ECHR, inquests must identify system failings that might have prevented deaths in custody even where it can never be known whether the defects in the system would have prevented the death.
A copy of the full press release can be found here.
A copy of the judgment can be found here.
On 26 November 2009, Fiona Murphy spoke at the ICCL’s second annual lawyers’ dinner concerning the work of Bhatt Murphy solicitors and the journey we have followed to craft a practice in human rights work.
A copy of Fiona's talk can be downloaded here.
A jury at an inquest into the death of 32-year old man in Brixton Prison returned a damning verdict on 24 November 2009 finding that neglect, systemic failings and gross failure to provide basic medical care contributed to his death.
The deceased had a history of vulnerability and had made a serious suicide attempt nine months previously. A letter that accompanied him to prison from his housing support worker warned that he had expressed on numerous occasions that he would commit suicide if he ever returned to custody. No-one at the prison admitted to having seen the letter.
On his arrival at HMP Brixton the deceased was referred twice to the mental health outreach team for an assessment of his mental health needs. Neither referral was followed up. Nor was any attempt made to obtain his community health records which would have made clear the level of risk that he presented to himself. In addition he was prescribed the wrong medication and ceased taking his medication altogether in the weeks before his death but no attempt was made to act upon either omission.
The jury found:
"The Jury believe that [the deceased’s] death was contributed to by neglect and that there was a gross failure to provide basic medical care …The Jury also believe that there is a clear and direct causal connection between the failures for rendering care and that if these failures had not occurred, this may have prevented [his] death."
In addition to the findings of the jury the coroner indicated that he would be making a number of recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths in similar circumstances, including that the healthcare department be involved in the continuous care of a prisoner from the moment he is identified at being at risk of suicide or self harm.
The deceased’s family was represented by Alice Hardy of Bhatt Murphy and Ruth Brander of Doughty Street
The jury's verdict can be found here.
A jury at an inquest into the death of 15 year old Liam McManus returned a damning verdict finding that “systemic failings” in both the prison and the community contributed to his death. These failings meant that an accurate picture of Liam was never established by the prison resulting in him never receiving the right level of support.
Liam had been recalled to custody for breaching the terms of his licence. He had only 23 days left to serve before release when he was found hanging from a bed sheet tied to the window of his single cell on 29 November 2007. Liam was the thirtieth child to die in state custody since 1990. This is the second inquest in less than two years into the death of a child in HMYOI Lancaster Farms.
Throughout the seven week inquest the jury heard evidence of failings by many agencies involved in Liam’s care.
The jury found:
"…whilst some of the defects and factors identified may appear to have had a minimal impact, collectively they contributed to systemic failings in the care and support of Liam that contributed to the actions of Liam McManus that contributed to his death."
In addition to the findings of the jury the coroner reported that there were serious inadequacies in the performance of Social Services who had lost significant documents and had closed Liam’s file just before he was due to go into custody without apparent review on the assumption that Liam would be safeguarded by the prison. He also recommended that the YOS ensured that important information about young people was sent to Young Offender Institutions in a format that was readily accessible to the officers. The coroner indicated that he would be writing to the Youth Justice Board to ensure that his recommendations would be implemented.
Read the full press release on this story here and the jury's verdict here.
See the Guardian article on this story here.
The Chair of the Haringey Stop and Search Monitoring Group, who is also a member of the Black Independent Advisory Group to the Metropolitan Police, has been awarded compensation in litigation against the British Transport Police.
Ken Hinds, carnival organiser and community worker, took proceedings against the Chief Constable of British Transport Police in the High Court alleging false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The trial was due to begin on 2 November 2009. The Chief Constable has now agreed to pay £22,000 compensation, has apologised to Mr Hinds and agreed to pay his legal expenses.
On 28 May 2004, Mr Hinds stopped to observe police searching a young black male at Seven Sisters Underground Station. PC Lucas, a constable of the British Transport Police told Mr Hinds to “Fuck off" and then falsely claimed to his colleague, PC Iroko that Mr Hinds had sworn at him. PC Lucas arrested and handcuffed Mr Hinds before taking him to Wood Green Police Station where he was detained for 4 hours. Mr Hinds was charged with using threatening words and behaviour.
Mr Hinds stood trial before Haringey Magistrates Court on 6 May 2005. PC Lucas and PC Iroko were cross-examined about the striking similarity between their statements, which they had not made together. PC Iroko denied relying upon PC Lucas’s statement to assist in making his own. Mr Hinds was acquitted: the Court indicated that it did not consider PC Iroko's account credible.
Mr Hinds fully cooperated with the police complaint process which took over 3 years to resolve. It emerged that PC Lucas had sent his statement to PC Iroko electronically and PC Iroko had then transposed parts of that statement into his own. This conduct was in flagrant breach of police procedures and entirely inconsistent with PC Iroko's evidence. Nevertheless, the officers received a written warning in relation to the manner in which they had compiled their evidence and the investigation did not address the false account they had given in evidence.
Read the full press release on this story here.
Simon Creighton and Hamish Arnott have had a brand new textbook on prison law published by Legal Action Group. Copies of "Prisoners: Law and Practice" can be purchased direct from LAG.
The Court of Appeal has indicated that sentencing judges must be careful as to the order in which consecutive sentences are passed because of the effect on ‘Home Detention Curfew’ (HDC). Bhatt Murphy instructed Pete Weatherby of Garden Court North Chambers and full details of the judgment can be found here.
Do police officers have the power under the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop the ordinary citizen from using a camera or mobile phone to record their conduct in the normal course of events? That is the question that is to be brought before the High Court in a challenge on behalf of Gemma Atkinson who was detained, handcuffed and manhandled when she used her mobile phone to record police officers searching her boyfriend. Further details on the case including footage of the incident can be found on the Guardian's website (here) and the BBC website (here).
Under the pretext of the Terrorism Act 2000, the officers demanded to see her phone and threatened her with arrest when she refused. The challenge seeks to address not only the lawfulness of the conduct of the officers involved in the incident but also the adequacy or otherwise of the guidance available to officers in such circumstances.
Details of the guidance published by the Metropolitan Police on 9 July 2009, apparently in response to this challenge, can be found on the MPS website (here).
A jury this week returned a narrative verdict into the death in custody on 31 July 2005 of Faisal Al-Ani. They found that Mr Al-Ani was suffering from an acute psychotic illness and an acute cardiac dysrythmia at the time of his death and died following “prolonged energetic restraint”.
They found that insufficient consideration had been given to his physical health in the course of the restraint but nonetheless concluded that the force used to restrain him was appropriate, and also that it was appropriate for the police to deviate from their training in restraint, and to use techniques which the police trainer who gave evidence to the inquest described in a report to the IPCC as “inappropriate”, “high risk” and “in contravention of all guidance”.
This is a disappointing outcome for the family, not least because of the very shocking nature of the CCTV images which can now be broadcast of the restraint which preceded the death, which shows Mr Al-Ani being dragged to the ground by means of an elbow strike to the back and a side neck lock, and thereafter being very forcibly restrained including by one officer apparently kneeling across his neck and back with his full weight for some minutes before being handcuffed and placed in a police car. Save for the police’s own accounts of having punched him and struck him with batons as he lay handcuffed in the back seat, the family feel that they may never know what happened in the car, such that Mr Al-Ani emerged minutes later at the police station apparently in a state of fatal collapse. They also heard that he was left lying face down in cuffs in the police station for several minutes following his arrival before an ambulance was even called but that he had by then already suffered a cardiac arrest from which he could not be saved.
Unfortunately, the Al-Ani family felt very let down by the IPCC’s subsequent investigation into the death eg they published wrong information in press releases, the dates on the officers’ notebooks were mis-read, witnesses were not questioned etc. As a result they have felt unable to place any reliance on the evidence the IPCC gathered or the conclusions they reached and have been concerned about the inevitable impact of those conclusions on the inquest.
Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy represented the sons of the deceased. She says “This inquest has raised some disturbing questions about policing priorities and the ability of Essex police officers to identify and deal appropriately with mentally ill individuals. The inquest jury was effectively told that the police objective of securing “control and compliance” of even those suspected of trivial offences over-rides their right to be dealt with safely; that any level of force including very dangerous methods could potentially be justified to that end. In fact, we heard from one police support officer that Mr Al-Ani probably never even recognised as police officers the men who restrained him”.
Carolynn’s comment piece about the case can be found on the Guardian's website here, and their full story on the death can be found here.
The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police has agreed to pay a young man with learning difficulties, Gareth Williamson, £20,000 in damages and at least £50,000 in costs in recognition of a serious failure by the police to properly investigate a robbery committed on Mr Williamson in Rushden, Northants on 15 April 2007.
A detailed apology recently extended to Mr Williamson on behalf of the Chief Constable in response to a civil claim apologises for “basic errors” made by Northamptonshire officers in their investigation of Mr Williamson’s repeat robbery by local criminals.
Mr Williamson, who is 19 years of age, was mugged twice in 2007 whilst he was travelling on his moped, first in January and then in April. On both occasions thieves made off with his moped and appeared to be targeting Mr Williamson due to his learning difficulties. A successful criminal prosecution was taken against the person responsible for the January robbery. However just before Mr Williamson was due to give evidence in court against for the first robbery, he was forced off his moped a second time in April 2009 and chased into a nearby pub where customers and staff came to his aid. All of these events were captured on CCTV.
Mr Williamson and his family immediately contacted the police, not least as they were concerned that the two robberies might be linked. The response Mr Williamson received from the officer assigned to investigate the crime and his supervising officers was deeply inadequate. The Williamsons were particularly concerned that Gareth was not being treated as a reliable witness purely as a result of his mild learning difficulties and notwithstanding that his account was confirmed by witnesses in the pub and CCTV. Mr Williamson reported his concerns to Northamptonshire Police’s internal watch dog, the Professional Standards Department, who initially failed to respond to his complaint and took no steps to arrange for his attackers to be apprehended. This left Mr Williamson with no choice except to instruct solicitors to begin legal proceedings against the Chief Constable for disability discrimination and breaches of the Human Rights Act at Central London County Court in October 2007. The Professional Standards Department later partially upheld Mr Williamson’s complaint in August 2008.
In response to civil claim the Chief Constable has finally acknowledged that the investigation into the April robbery was “poor” and that the police “did not give Mr Williamson the service we should have done”. The Chief Constable has also accepted that “failings in the investigation” were not picked up by senior officers and “this failure allowed a poor investigation to continue”. In recognition of this but without making any formal admission of liability, the Chief Constable has agreed to pay Mr Williamson £20,000 in damages and £50,000 on account of costs. The full amount of costs has yet to be decided.
Gareth Williamson said as follows:
“I hope that lessons will be learned from my case so that other people with learning difficulties will be protected by the police. I was not believed because I had learning difficulties and as result the people who attacked me still have not been brought to justice. That means I got less rather than more protection from the police as a result of my learning difficulties, which cannot be right.”
Mr Williamson’s parents Alison and Mark Williamson said as follows:
“What shocked us most was that senior officers, even within the Professional Standard Department, did not treat Gareth’s concerns seriously or take steps to catch his attackers. It should not take a court case for that to happen and the people who robbed him are still out there. We hope that publicising this case will mean that other people with disabilities will receive better treatment from the police. ”
Mr Williamson’s solicitor, Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy solicitors said:
“The Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act required Northamptonshire police to conduct an effective investigation into the robbery on Gareth Williamson, which the police accept did not happen. This outcome shows that the police can be made accountable in the courts for failed investigations, although it should not have required litigation for the police to honour its duties to people with disabilities in Northamptonshire. Sadly I am dealing with these kinds of cases nationwide.”
Click here for the full text of the Northamptonshire Police apology.
Click here for the Guardian coverage of this story
A high court judge has this week approved an out of court settlement in which the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has admitted that his officers assaulted and false imprisoned five protestors during a lawful protest outside an Embassy in London on 30 October 2006. The protestors issued a claim against the Metropolitan Police at the High Court in 2007 and the Commissioner took the unusual step of formally admitting legal liability in the face of overwhelming evidence that his officers had abused their position.
The Commissioner has agreed to pay the protestors £85,000 in damages plus costs, which will bring the total figure to over £100,000.
A detailed apology has been issued to the protestors on behalf of the Metropolitan Police stating that it was in: “no doubt about the significant effect that this matter has had on you and your democratic right to peaceful protest”.
One of the protestors Mr Jeremie Fernandez said as follows:
“We were jumped on by police officers during a peaceful protest, handcuffed, locked up for forty hours, denied police bail and then dragged through the criminal courts on false charges - all in an attempt to silence our protest.”
The protestors’ solicitor Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy said as follows:
“What we are seeing, not least with G20 clients, is a culture of violence within the police and the systemic abuse of protestors’ rights. This case shows that if the police do not make a retreat from coercive policing, the cost to public confidence and to the public purse will be devastating.”
The full text of the apology can be found here.
Read more about this story in the Guardian here and in The Times here.
Tony Murphy is acting for a number of protestors in challenges to the policing of the G20 protests and is pursuing both claims for assault and challenges to the lawfulness of the policing itself. Tony spoke to The Observer and The Guardian about these issues .
The High Court has ruled that the prison service does not have the power to destroy a prisoner's property after it has been confiscated, even where the property is not permitted in a prison. A sumary of the judgment can be found here.
The case was brought by Bhatt Murphy on behalf of a former prisoner, Mark Coleman, who complained that a mobile telephone confiscated from him while in prison should not have been destroyed but should have been given to him on his discharege from custody. Mrs Justice Dobbs concluded that the prison Rules do not authorsie the destruction of such property as once it has been removed from the prisoner, it no longer poses a threat to prison security.
Raju Bhatt acted as the "Specialist Adviser" to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for the purposes of their Legislative Scrutiny of Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Bill (Coroners Reform) as reflected in the Committee's Eighth Report of Session 2008-09. A copy of the report can be found here.
In a settlement approved by the High Court on 9 February 2009 the Home Office accepted that a family from the Republic of Congo were unlawfully arrested and unlawfully detained at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre
The family - who included a one year old baby and a child of eight - were asylum seekers at the time and they have now been given leave to stay in the country. Their claim related to their arrest and detention between the 6 June 2006 and 3 August 2006 (57 days) and 29 September 2006 and 2 October 2006 (3 days). On both occasions they were detained at Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre.
In the face of court proceedings brought by the family, the Home Office has accepted that their arrests and subsequent detentions was unlawful as they could not have been lawfully removed from the country.
Both detentions followed much criticised “dawn raids” with large numbers of uniformed officers arriving to arrest the family at their then homes in the West Midlands, as well as the controversial practice of detaining children under the Immigration Act.
These events caused both children to suffer psychiatric damage, the younger child suffering from an adjustment disorder and the older child also suffering post traumatic stress disorder. The children remained in detention despite the fact that Bedfordshire Social Services and a psychologist raised with the Home Office their concerns about the impact of the detention on them.
Mark Scott, of Bhatt Murphy solicitors who acted for the family commented that;
“this case demonstrates not only the very damaging impact that detention has on children but the wholesale failure of the Home Office to comply with their own policy and the commitments given to Parliament that detention of children is only used as a measure of last resort and even then for the shortest possible time.”
The identity of the children is protected by a Court Order.
The Administrative Court has found that a Coroner acted unlawfully when conducting an inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood, a 14 year old boy who died in Hassockfield STC. The Coroner for the North and South Districts of Durham and Darlington refused to rule on the legality of the force used on Adam shortly before his death and Mr Justice Blake considered that this resulted in a flawed inquiry and verdict. A new inquest will now have to be held.
Read Bhatt Murphy's press release here. Read the full judgment here.
The House of Lords have upheld the Secretary of State's appeal against the finding that it was unlawful for him to reject a parole recommendation to release a prisoner serving a long determinate prison sentence.
The case had been brought by Wayne Black - represented by Bhatt Murphy Solicitors - who is serving a prison sentence of 24 years. He was recommended for parole in 2007 but the Secretary of State rejected this recommendation. The Court of Appeal ruled that this breached Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights but that decision has now been overtutrned by a 4-1 majority in the House of Lords.
The Lords (Lord Phillips dissenting) found it "bizarre" that Jack Straw should want to keep this power as this is the only group of prisoners whose release he can now veto. However, they did not consider that previous European Court decisions allowed them to reach the conclusion that the parole procedure for prisoners serving detemrinate sentences engaged Article 5(4) of the Convention which would require the release decision to be taken by an independent court rather than the executive.
On 14 .11.08 partway through a final hearing before the High Court, the Home Office accepted liability for the unlawful detention of an unaccompanied asylum seeking child.
It was accepted that after the Claimant notified the Border and Immigration Agency she was a child, their policy required that she should have been referred to the Children’s Panel at the Refugee Council for independent specialist advice and support. There was evidence before the Court that had the referral been made, the Panel would have secured the Claimant’s release. The failure to make the referral was therefore considered causative of the Claimant’s detention.
It was accepted that the Claimant was unlawfully detained with adults for a period of 42 days. A copy of the basis of the Home Office’s concession can be found here.
A coroner returned a verdict that was highly critical of the treatment given by Kettering General Hospital to Mrs Benson, who was just 29 years old when she died. The coroner expressed concern that a failure to properly record patient observations meant that treatment opportunities were lost.
Further details can be found here.
A High Court Judge today called for reform of the practice which allows police officers to confer with one another before recording their recollection of a fatal police shooting. Mr Justice Underhill delivered his judgment this morning in response to applications for judicial review brought by the family of Mr Dan Tucker who was shot by Kent Police on 29 December 2007 and the family of Mr Mark Saunders who was shot by Metropolitan Police Offices on 6 May 2008.
The families argued that the investigations conducted into the deceased’s death by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) failed to comply with the Human Rights Act owing to the fact that the police officers involved in the shootings were allowed to confer with one another in each case before recording their first account of the shootings. This raised a risk of collusion between the officers and/or contamination of their evidence, thus rendering the investigations ineffective, not least as the families could not be expected to have confidence in an investigation founded on potentially tainted evidence.
Mr Justice Underhill’s judgment echoed the IPCC’s longstanding concern that allowing officers to confer in these cases risked breaching the State’s duty under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights to conduct an effective investigation into deaths and/or serious injury involving the police . The IPCC has expressed concerns in this regard since 2006, including in relation to the deaths of Harry Stanley and Jean Charles De Menezes. It is calling on the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Police Federation to revise the guidance provided to officers so that the presumption is against officers conferring before providing their first account in these cases save in exceptional circumstances. This is in order to obtain the best evidence from officers and to engender the confidence of bereaved families and the wider public in these investigations.
ACPO responded to the public concern about the practice of officers conferring by initiating a review of its existing guidance, which permits conferring. This review has so far taken over two and a half years and has been met with opposition from the Police Federation. On 23 October 2008 ACPO’s Chief Constable’s Council is to consider revised guidance. Following this, a national circular outlining the proposed ACPO position in relation to this issue will be issued.
The Court of Appeal has held that the rules currently in force allowing children in custody to be restrained for reasons of “good order and discipline” are unlawful and must be quashed. The challenge was made in relation to amendment to the Secure Training Centre Rules which were brought into force in July 2007.
Read the full judgment here. Read Bhatt Murphy's press release here.
In an order agreed at the High Court today, the Secretary of State will reconsider whether Kevin Lane should remain a category A prisoner. Kevin maintains his innocence for an alleged gangland killing and despite his exemplary prison behaviour, remains cateogry A some 10 years after his conviction.
Kevin has been refused downgrading until he attends courses that are designed to "address his offending behaviour". However, in order to complete the courses he must admit his guilt. Kevin has an application pending before the CCRC to challenge his conviction and feels that he is caught in a "catch 22" situation where the secretary of State is trying to force him to choose between clearing his name and making some progress in prison.
Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy is currently acting for four NGOs (INQUEST, JUSTICE, Liberty and Mind) in an intervention before the House of Lords in two landmark cases on public authorities' duties to protect victims of crime (Van Colle v The Chief Constable of Hertfordshire; and Smith V The Chief Constable of Sussex). The four day hearing commenced on 19 May and judgment is awaited.
The Secretary of State has accepted that the monitoring of telephone calls between Harry Roberts and his solicitor, Simon Creighton of Bhatt Murphy, should not have happened. In a written Ministerial Statement he has set out steps to prevent a reoccurence.
Whilst the acceptance that this should not have occured is welcomed, Mr Roberts takes issue with some of the findings. He maintains that he did notfiy the authorities of his legal telephone numbers and he is disappointed that no proper explanation has been given for the failure to notify him of the breach. The matter only came to light by accident and it is a matter for concern that no-one thought to take responsibility voluntarily.
Simon Creighton, on behalf of Mr Roberts, commented:
“My client is pleased that the Minister has acknowledged that there was no justification or lawful basis for his legally privileged calls to have been monitored. He remains worried, however, that this could have occurred at all and it is difficult to understand how the system failed to provide any real safeguards in terms of self-regulation. He also wishes to make it clear that he did inform the authorities of his legally privileged numbers and has provided a copy of the form he used to do this to them. It must be remembered that this all occurred against the backdrop of a secret court procedure that had already been strongly criticised by two senior law Lords and this makes it all the more reprehensible that the basic principles of justice were not followed. I am also concerned that no-one saw fit to admit what had happened and that there is no proper explanation given for the failure to notify my client of this breach, even after the secrecy order in relation to his parole review had been lifted. My client remains deeply concerned at this course of events and is worried that there are still not any proper safeguards in place to prevent a reoccurrence in the future.”
The Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal brought by Wayne Black that the Secretary of State breached his Convention rights by rejecting a Parole Board recommendation for his release.
Wayne Black is serving a prison sentence of 24 years. The Parole Board recommended he should be released but this recommendation was rejected by the Minister for Justice. The High Court upheld that decision but the Court of Appeal has ruled that the legislation is in breach of Article 5(4) of the European Convention as thedecision should be made by a judicial body and not the executive.
The full judgment can be read here.
Court finds that there was flawed and unlawful decision making leading to the introduction of new rules governing the use of restraint on children in secure training centres.
Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy said:
"It is disappointing that an application to Court had to be made for the true nature of the change in the rules governing the use of restraint of vulnerable children in STCs to be recognised by the Ministry of Justice. Albeit that it is to be welcomed that the court have recorded the unlawful failures of decision making prior to the introduction of the rules, it is of concern that the rules have been allowed to stay in place when important safeguards of consultation and a race assessment have still not been carried out."
Read the INQUEST press release about this story here.
Read the full judgment here.
Lawyers representing complainants in respect of police misconduct have withdrawn their participation from the Advisory Board of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in a damming vote of no confidence in the watchdog body.
The Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG), a nationwide coalition of lawyers representing members of the public on complaints against police, has been involved on the IPCC Advisory Board since its inception in April 2004. Over the years, PALG members have found themselves inundated with an endless flow of cases where the IPCC has failed to properly handle complaints about police misconduct, ranging from racism, violence and fabrication of evidence, to corruption and even deaths in police custody. As far back as 2005, PALG submitted to the IPCC a dossier of cases highlighting serious failings which had remained unaddressed depsite repeated representations. The continuing lack of any progress in the organisation has now left PALG with no option but to resign from the IPCC Advisory Board and call for immediate action to address the growing crisis of confidence in the IPCC.
PALG representative Tony Murphy said as follows:
"The rigorous investigation of complaints against the police has long been held as essential for our democracy. The IPCC leadership is failing to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to that vital task. Urgent action is needed if the IPCC is not to become another obstacle on the road to police accountability "
Read Tony Murphy's Comment is Free article here.
Further articles in the press about this story can be found here and here.
Read the response from the Chair of the IPCC here.
The Court of Appeal have upheld the finding that the Parole Board is not sufficiently independent of the Secretary of State in a case started by Bhatt Murphy. Details of the case can be found here.
The judgment maintains the finding that the Parole Board is not sufficiently independent of the Secretary of State for Justice and suggests that a clearer sponsorship arrangement is necessary. The Secretary of State will also need to decide how properly to commodate the Parole Board within the Ministry of Justice to ensure that there is no appearance of bias in the future. The full judgment can be read here.
Bhatt Murphy are delighted to announce that Tony Murphy has joined the firm as a new partner. Tony, who was previously a partner at Bindmans, specialises in actions against the police.
Bhatt Murphy represented a life sentenced prisoner who has successfully challenged the refusal by the Secretary of State to move him to open conditions.
Robert Hill succeeded in establishing that the decision to reject a parole recommendation on his move was unlawful on the individual facts of his case. Mr Justice Irwin, went on to hold that the Secretary of State was operating an unbalanced policy whereby he always accepted advice from the Parole Board which was unfavourable to prisoners but that he now rejected advice which is positive to prisoners in nearly 40% of cases.
Bhatt Murphy acted for a former prisoner who has successfully challenged the lack of independence of the Parole Board from the Secretary of state for Justice. The full judgment of the court can be found here.
Hamish Arnott, who acted for the prisoner, commented that: "the case is important as it demonstrates the need for judicial bodies to be independent from the executive, both in practice and in form. Given that the Secretary of State is a party to all parole applications, it is difficult to understand how he can also retain ultimate responsibility for appointments to the Board and its funding. Although leave to appeal has been granted, I am hopeful that the Court of Appeal will uphold this decision."
The family of Roger Sylvester, who died after being arrested and restrained by police officers, have expressed their disappointment at the decision of the Independent Police Complaints Commission not to recommend any disciplinary action against the officers involved. Further information on the decision and a statement from the family can be obtained from INQUEST.
Bhatt Murphy have successfully challenged a refusal by the Secretary of State to move a lifer to open conditions. Robert Hill succeeded in establishing that the decision to reject a parole recommendation on his move was unawlful and the High Court wnet on to hold that the Secretary of State was operating an unbalanced policy whereby he always accepted advice from the Parole Board which was unfavourable to prisoners but that he now rejected postive advice in nearly 40% of cases.
The Judge who presided over the inquest into the death of Gareth Myatt, the only child to die in custody following restraint, wrote today to the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor saying that it would be ‘wholly unforgivable and a double tragedy’ if there was any delay in learning from and acting upon the lessons of Gareth’s death. further details can be found here.
Harry Roberts was granted permission by the High Court to challenge the decision of the Parole Board to rely on secret evidence at his parole review which concluded in December 2006. He argued that the secrecy was unnecessary and prevented him from having a fair hearing of his case. A full hearing of his challenge will take place in 2008.
The just has returned an verdict into the death of Gareth Myatt who died while being restrained is a secure training centre. The verdict outlined a series of failings by the authorities. Further details of the verdict can be found here.
The jury delivered a narrative verdict at the conclusion of the inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood. Aged just 14 years at the time of his death, Adam is the youngest person to have died in penal custody for a quarter of a century. A press release issued on behalf of Adam's family can be found here.
Very substantial damages and an apology have been agreed in respect of the repeated sexual assault of a young girl by a police officer and her professional carers. Damages were sought in respect of the negligent investigation by the police of the victim's allegations. The police and the relevant local authority have made a payment of compensation and provided an acknowledgement of the sufering our client endured.
On 17 April 2007 the House of Lords will begin to hear an appeal in the case of R (Al-Skeini & Ors) v Secretary of State for Defence. The hearing will concern the extent to which the jurisdiction of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 may extend to civilian deaths at the hands of British soldiers in Iraq. Bhatt Murphy has been given permission to intervene at the hearing on behalf of 11 organisations – The Law Society of England and Wales, The Bar Human Rights Committee, Amnesty International Ltd, Justice, Liberty, Interights, The Association for the Prevention of Torture, British Irish Rights Watch, Kurdish Human Rights Project, The Redress Trust and the AIRE Centre.
The House of Lords dismissed an appeal by the Home Secretary in the case brought by Bhatt Murphy on behalf of Paul Stellato. The Home Secretary had argued that it is lawful for the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to impose a harsher parole system retrospectively but this argument was rejected and the Lords ordered the release of Mr Stellato. The full judgment can be found here.
Fiona Murphy gave a presentation to the All Party Parliament Group on Army Deaths concerning the legal and human rights issues relevant to public funding for controversial inquests concerning members of the armed forces. A copy of her paper may be downloaded from here.
Home Office admits it has operated an unlawful policy resulting in the detention of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Following litigation on behalf of a group 34 Claimants, all of whom were children when detained, the Home Office admitted today that the age dispute policy which permitted immigration officers to treat child asylum-seekers as adults and so subject them to detention was unlawful.
See full press release for further details.
The High Court today approved the terms of an agreed settlement between 197 Claimants and the Home Office in a claim arising out of the inadequacy of the medical care the Claimants were given on entering prison.
It is well established that prisoners are entitled to the same standard of healthcare as that offered in the community. In this case it was clear that the medical care offered to the Claimants in this action fell below acceptable standards. The Home Office have accepted that this was the case in admitting full liability in all cases and settlement figures have now been agreed.
It is to be hoped that this case will contribute to ensuring that those in prison are given the same standard of healthcare as that expected to be offered within the community.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, has ordered a fresh inquest into the mysterious death of HH Judge Andrew Chubb in July 2001.
The decision comes upon a hearing of proceedings before the High Court brought by Kerry Sparrow with the authority of the Attorney General. Quashing the verdict of accidental death returned by the East Somerset Coroner in December 2001, Lord Phillips ruled that “it would be contrary to the interests of justice to leave undisturbed, in a case which has been the subject of wide public interest, a verdict which is based on only part of the relevant evidence and which the balance of the relevant evidence suggests may be open to doubt”.
Ms Sparrow was represented by Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy, first in her application to the Attorney General for his authority, and then in her ensuing proceedings before the High Court. See attached press release on behalf of Ms Sparrow and approved judgment for details.
An inquest jury has held that failures by state agencies to properly safeguard a vulnerable young man were ‘contributory factors' in his death. Karl Lewis, whose family was represented by Bhatt Murphy solicitors at the inquest, was just 18 years old when he was found hanged in his cell at Stoke Heath Young Offender’s Institution. See INQUEST press release for details.
An inquest jury has found that a vulnerable prisoner died because the prison in which he was held did not properly recognize his vulnerability. Bhatt Murphy acted for the family of Dennis Williams who was found hanged in Bedford prison in December 2004. The jury noted that the prison’s monitoring system had been closed too early and as a result, Mr Willams had died 'unintentionally from his own hands'. See the INQUEST press release for details.
The High Court has ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Rachel Whitear. Rachel, a recovering heroin addict, was found dead on 12 May 2000 holding a syringe. Rachel’s parents, who were represented by Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy, had complained about the adequacy of the original investigation and the Court held that as well as other failures in the first inquest, Rachel’s family had been denied the opportunity to properly participate in the inquest. See attached BBC news report.
On 15 September 2006 Simon Creighton and Hamish Arnott both gave papers to a conference about the Parole Board organised by the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University and the Parole Board. All of the conference papers are to be published in a book later this year. Hamish spoke about the standards of fairness at recall hearing and Simon Creighton on the independence of the Board. See attached details.
Bhatt Murphy successfully challenged a police caution issued to Mr Wyman on the grounds that the police did not have sufficiently clear evidence or admissions to administer the caution. The court issued guidelines on future conduct in such cases and the caution has been expunged form our client’s record. See attached judgment.
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors are currently acting for a number of prisoners who have been removed from open prison conditions or refused release because of the chaos at the Home Office about the status of foreign national prisoners (see article). The problems run from prisoners who do face the prospect of deportation being refused release at the end of their prison sentences through to those prisoners who have British citizenship but are being treated as if they are susceptible to deportation. Judicial review proceedings have been brought on behalf of two prisoners in this second group.
Simon Creighton discusses the current issues regarding legal aid for parole hearings (see comment).
High Court highlights long standing failure by the Home Office to comply with legal requirements to protect torture victims from being detained at Oakington Immigration Detention Centre.
On 22 May 2006 The High Court gave judgment in a case which highlighted a “persistent and sustained failure” by the Home Office to abide by the legal requirement to ensure that detainees in immigration detention centres are medically examined within 24 hours of their detention. This failure led to the unlawful detention of two asylum seekers at Oakington Removal Centre in May 2005, who should have been assessed as unsuitable for detention as there was medical evidence that they had been tortured in their countries of origin. Read More
Very substantial damages and apology were agreed in the Sheffield High Court in respect of the assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution of the claimant arising from an unlawful and racially motivated stop and search. The case raised novel and complex issues of causation in respect of the psychiatric illness developed by the claimant after these events and the level of damages achieved together with the apology, reflected acceptance on the part of the Chief Constable that his officers’ actions had caused the claimant severe mental health problems.
Bhatt Murphy was commissioned by the Deepcut Review to provide an opinion concerning the rights and entitlements of bereaved families within controversial death inquiries. The opinion of Fiona Murphy has been published as an appendix to the Review on 30 March 2006. A copy can be downloaded here. The full Review document is available at www.deepcutreview.org.uk.
In Butchart v The Home Office, 15 March 2006 the Court of Appeal has considered a strike out application by the Home Office in respect of a psychiatric injury claim by Mr Butchart arising from the suicide of his cell mate, Ian Holms. Read More
Public law litigation undertaken by Bhatt Murphy exposed serious child protection concerns about the policy and practice of the Immigration Service in detaining children asylum seekers whose age was disputed without undertaking full age assessments and which had led to many children being wrongfully detained and fast tracked led to a change in the policy to provide greater protection for children before decisions were made to detain and fast track.
Hamish Arnott and Simon Creighton’s new book, Parole Board Hearings: Law and Practice was published by Legal Action Group in January 2006. The book is the first practitioners’ guide to the parole system and the preparation and presentation of cases to the Parole Board.
Sir Duncan Nichol, Chairman of the Parole Board, has prepared the forward to the book and stated, "I wholeheartedly welcome the chance to commend this book to its audience.”
The first review of the book by Andrew Keogh on Crimeline commented, “The authors are two of the most respected names in the field; they combine a sometimes rare feat in being able not only to practice at the highest level in their field, but also in being able to identify and explain to a beginner the core knowledge needed.”