HK v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – We acted for a young black man of good character in a claim against the Metropolitan Police, who was stopped in his car after being mistaken for another person who discarded a knife, the only similarity between the two being their ethnicity. He was not believed when he put forward his account of where he had been that day and he was put in handcuffs in a public highway despite being cooperative throughout his encounter with the police. He was detained in cells. We sent a letter of claim to the Metropolitan Police alleging discriminatory treatment as a result of his ethnicity and false imprisonment on the basis that his arrest was unnecessary. The police settled for £3,000 in May 2021
Inquest touching the death of JOR – acted for the family in a eleven day inquest with jury into the death of a young man who sadly died from a self-inflicted ligature wound at HMP Belmarsh in January 2021. Despite having a long and well documented history of self-harm and suicide attempts on his prison health records, and a rapid deterioration in his mental health resulting him in self isolating for weeks, poor information sharing between prison healthcare and prison staff meant he was assessed as being of no risk of suicide, the words ‘no history of self harm’ put on his record and he was not put on suicide watch as he had been in all previous times in remand. As it was an Article 2 inquest, the jury were allowed to comment on failings and identified numerous failings by both the prison and healthcare staff. The Coroner made numerous recommendations to the prison and healthcare in relation to information sharing and the policy for self-isolators was amended following this inquest. A civil claim is being pursued.
Inquest touching the death of AM– acted for the family of an elderly gentleman suffering from dementia and epilepsy who was allowed to escape from a state run care home, in a two day inquest in January 2021. He was sadly found dead days later by a member of the public. The inquest explored staffing levels, the frequency of checks and the adequacy of the missing persons search. The coroner’s ruling highlighted the fact that the care home had allowed him to escape through an unsecured unmonitored door and a civil claim is being pursued against the care home.
Inquest touching the death of TT (2020) – GT Stewart’s inquest team acted for the family of Ms Teyneen Taylor, who died in October 2018 at a psychiatric hospital following a second incident of self-harm in the course of one night. Ms Taylor was a mental health campaigner who had raised awareness by blogging about her own experience with borderline personality disorder. The jury at the inquest concluded that her death was accidental and that there were failings in the care provided by the hospital. The jury found that, in light of the high risk of self-harm, the level of monitoring and removal of items from Ms Taylor’s room were insufficient. The outcome of the inquest was reported on the BBC here (link https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-51420490).
MH v Ministry of Justice – GT Stewart were instructed to bring a claim on behalf of a vulnerable client who was unlawfully detained in HMP High Down despite receiving a community order rather than a custodial one. He had very limited experience of custody and was shocked and distressed by the experience. The team successfully argued that the case related to fundamental civil liberties and obtained £1,000 in compensation for our client.
WB v G4S Security Service - We acted for a client who, while in prison custody, was subjected to offensive and discriminatory treatment as a result of his HIV-positive status and LGBTQ+ identity. Our client was subjected to false allegations regarding the deliberate transmission of HIV, and the prison refused to investigate his complaints regarding his treatment on the incorrect basis that HIV status is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. Our client was also denied access to vital support from helplines run by organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and National Aids Helpline, and, despite having no history of violence, was designated as ‘high risk’ apparently as a result of his HIV status. We were able to secure a settlement of £7,500 for our client as a result of this distressing conduct by the prison authorities.
“Thank you so much for all of your efforts, empathy and professionalism while dealing with my case.”
VG vs Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis – We represented a client whose prized personal belongings, a collection of firearms which had belonged to his late father, were seized and later accidentally destroyed by the police. We successfully obtained a settlement for this client of £8,500 in compensation for the destruction of these items.
“Once again, thank you Harriet for your professionalism, patience, kindness and understanding of my needs; you demonstrated compassion to someone that suffers with long term debilitating mental health disorders, and spoke with me with such soft tone. I hope and pray that your efforts are acknowledged, as I assert, with my hand placed right up against my heart, you are an exceptional young lady and an absolute credit to the firm…. I must and will, take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you and of course the team that work with you. So far as you are concerned, I will say this, you have been superb in everything you do.”
AA v Ministry of Justice – The Civil Liberties team secured a settlement in an action for false imprisonment, on behalf of a client who was held in HMP Wandsworth despite having been granted bail. Our client has learning difficulties and was extremely distressed by his continued detention without explanation. We argued that the prison’s error violated our client’s fundamental rights and obtained a settlement of £950 for the additional day he spent in custody.