Sex attack sentence increased by Appeal Court

Stephen John Hayes
Stephen John Hayes

A man from Plymouth who sexually assaulted a “particularly vulnerable” woman at a nightclub has had his non-custodial sentence overturned by leading judges and ordered to prison for three years.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, declared that the 20-month suspended jail sentence imposed in February in the case of Stephen John Hayes, 27, of Hermitage Road, Plymouth, was “unduly lenient”.

Lord Thomas, sitting at the Court of Appeal in London with Mr Justice Saunders and Mr Justice Edis, replaced it with a term of three years’ imprisonment.

The judge said the victim, who has “very poor eyesight”, thought that a man who approached her at the club was a friend of hers, and they danced and kissed.

However, she felt unable to get away from the man and realised it was not the friend she had thought it was. Hayes admitted assaulting her during the encounter.

Lord Thomas said the woman was a “particularly vulnerable victim due to her personal circumstances”. She had described how the attack had a “devastating” impact on her.

Hayes had demonstrated remorse, which was accepted to be genuine, and had taken steps since to turn his life around. It was also accepted that there was no evidence that he had targeted the woman.

Lord Thomas said the court had “no doubt at all” that the suspended sentence imposed at Plymouth Crown Court was unduly lenient and an immediate custodial sentence was “inevitable”.

The judge said Hayes was an offender who would “plainly benefit” from a sex offender treatment programme in prison and said the court would like its remarks to be conveyed to those responsible for the prison service.

At the Crown Court, the sentence imposed on Hayes was suspended for two years, with a requirement that he attend a sex offender course as part of a supervision order.

Clifford: From West End To Wandsworth – “It’s inevitable he’ll face attack”

Jimmy_max_and_gary

The celebrity publicist Max Clifford is facing up to two years in jail after becoming the first public figure to be convicted of sexual offences under Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree inquiry.

Clifford, 71, was convicted of sexually abusing four girls following an eight-week trial at Southwark crown court in London, which heard how the PR guru used his celebrity connections to bully starstruck teenagers into performing sex acts over a period of 10 years.

After deliberating for around 37 hours, the jury convicted Clifford on eight counts of indecent assault and cleared him of two further counts. Jurors could not reach a verdict on one additional charge of indecent assault.

The guilty verdicts make Clifford the first conviction under Operation Yewtree, the £2.7m investigation into historical sex offences triggered by the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012. His conviction will also lift the pressure on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) following the recent acquittals of Tory MP Nigel Evans and Coronation Street actor William Roache.

Dressed in a blue blazer and listening to proceedings with the aid of a hearing loop, Clifford showed little emotion as the guilty verdicts were returned. He was bailed and will be sentenced on Friday.

Outside court, he refused to apologise to his victims, whom he labelled throughout the trial as fantasists and liars.

“I’ve been told by my lawyers to say nothing at all,” he said, before being ushered past a battery of camera lenses into a waiting car. His daughter Louise, who was by her father’s side during the eight days of jury deliberations, was comforted by several of Clifford’s supporters, including one friend who nodded his head when asked whether the PR man was the victim of a witch hunt.

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he seemed destined for a spell behind the gates of Wandsworth prison.

Mr Leech said: “Adult males convicted and sentenced to immediate custody at Southwark Crown Court go to Wandsworth prison in south London – where as a convicted paedophile and sex offender he will face a very diffficult path indeed.

“It’s likely that he will face a physical attack at some point, which shouldn’t happen but its almost inevitable that it will because he cannot be protected 24 hours a day.

“If sentenced to imprisonment Clifford’s safety is a task that Kenny Brown, the Governor of Wandsworth, will have to manage and I’m sure they are already looking at how they will do that.”

 

Offenders with learning disabilities being ignored say inspectors

Young-inmate-looking-depr

The needs of many people with learning disabilities are going unnoticed when they are arrested by police, go to court and are sentenced, according to independent inspectors. They have published the report of a joint inspection into people with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system which said their needs should be recognised and addressed.

The report, A joint inspection of the treatment of offenders with learning disabilities within the criminal justice system: phase 1 from arrest to sentence, reflects the findings of HM Inspectorate of Probation, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Care Quality Commission. The inspection covered activity at police stations, the prosecution and court process, pre-sentence report preparation and the assessment and planning undertaken at the start of the community order.

No clear definition or agreement exists across criminal justice and health organisations about what constitutes learning difficulties or disabilities. Although believed to be a sizeable minority, possibly as high as 30%, there is no way of knowing the number of people with such conditions within the criminal justice system. Adequate provision is, consequently, not always made by the agencies involved to cater for their specific needs.

Inspectors were concerned to find

  • little had changed by way of effective screening of detainees with a learning disability at the police arrest stage;
  • few medical or psychiatric professionals were specifically trained to work with people with learning disabilities in police custody suites;
  • a lack of knowledge and training led to offenders with a learning disability being perceived as a problem to be processed rather than an individual with particular needs requiring individual help;
  • too often, offenders with learning disabilities were not receiving the support they required to reduce their risk of harm to others or their likelihood of reoffending;
  • in some areas police custody sergeants said appropriate adults were not always available to assist with cases;
  • only one of the police forces inspectors visited had a mechanism to divert offenders from custody before arrest on the grounds of identified mental health problems or a learning disability;
  • in other areas, diversion schemes were implemented within the court building rather than before or at arrest. Earlier interventions might have avoided the need for a costly and stressful court process in some cases;
  • in two-thirds of the cases inspected, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was not provided at key stages with information regarding the offender’s learning disability; although all the decisions examined were correct, this information is vital to ensure they are properly informed; and
  • pre-sentence reports were not always based on an appropriate risk/needs assessment and in the majority of cases, the assessment emphasised the offender’s need rather than any risk they may have posed to the public. As a result, these offenders were sometimes denied access to interventions to address their offending.

In his review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system, published in 2009, Lord Bradley suggested that ‘the police stage in the offender pathway provides the greatest opportunity to effect change’. The recent government announcement confirming the decision to extend the provision of mental health and learning disability nurses to police stations and courts in ten pilot areas is a positive development.

The chief inspectors made recommendations for improvement for police forces, the CPS, the Department of Health and NHS England (Health and Justice), probation trusts, and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. These recommendations included the criminal justice agencies jointly adopting a definition of learning disability, ensuring information is shared and making effective screening tools available in custody suites.

HM Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service and Chair of the Criminal Justice Chief Inspectors Group, Michael Fuller QPM, said on behalf of all inspectorates:

“Although we found some excellent examples of professionals going the extra mile to ensure that individual offenders with learning disabilities received the appropriate support they required, such instances were exceptional and these deficits were mirrored across the criminal justice system.

“A balance needs to be struck between the support needs of those with learning disabilities and the need to hold them to account, where appropriate, for their offending. If offender engagement is to have any real meaning it has to start with an understanding of the offender’s learning ability and style based on an effective screening of all offenders.

“For those with a learning disability this is even more important as failure to identify and address their needs denies them their right to access services both inside and outside the criminal justice system.”

A copy of the full report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Probation website at:  http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-probation/inspection-reports-thematic

HMYOI Wetherby Keppel Unit – High standards of care in well run facility

A child in the Keppel Unit at Wetherby YOI
A child in the Keppel Unit at Wetherby YOI

The Keppel Unit at HMYOI Wetherby was extremely well run and provided a model for other specialist units for young people, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the special unit at the young offender institution in West Yorkshire.

HMYOI Wetherby’s Keppel Unit, which opened in 2008, is designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people in the country whose needs cannot be met in the mainstream prison system. It is the only unit of its kind in the secure estate. This was its third inspection. Each time inspectors have reported positively about the conditions and the way young people were being treated. On this inspection, inspectors found that the positive culture and work practices had developed to a higher level and now provided a model of how a specialist unit should be run.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • high quality care was delivered in an environment where young people had the chance to settle and the opportunity to thrive;
  • all young people had an up-to-date care plan which ensured that their needs were under constant review;
  • levels of self-harm remained a concern but those at risk were well supported;
  • relationships between staff and young people were very good and staff intervened quickly to prevent bullying and fights from escalating;
  • leadership of the unit was strong and consistent, helping staff from different disciplines to work well as a team;
  • the unit was well designed, which helped to create a calm atmosphere;
  • the education department offered a supportive environment and poor behaviour was dealt with effectively;
  • time out of cell was adequate and young people had regular time in the open air; and
  • progress had been made in co-ordinating resettlement work and there was now greater involvement by external partners in safeguarding and child protection arrangements.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • removal from the unit was still used as a punishment and routine strip searching still took place with force sometimes used to gain compliance; and
  • many young people struggled to maintain regular contact with their families, a key element of support working towards and on release, due to the distance they were held from home.

Nick Hardwick said:

“In the five years since its inception a positive ethos has been established and sustained within the Keppel unit and good work practices have become embedded. Despite their vulnerability, young people were provided with a high standard of care within a well-run facility. Our findings reflect the positive reaction from most young people and overall, the outcomes available were having a constructive and positive influence on some otherwise difficult young people. The secure estate has much to learn from the positive way the Keppel unit has been developed over recent years.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:

“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has recognised the excellent work being undertaken at the Keppel Unit.

“Staff look after some very challenging young people with highly complex needs, and the care they provide is outstanding. They can be very proud of this very positive report.”

A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmi-prisons/prison-and-yoi/wetherby

Police Do Not Owe A Duty Of Care To Either Victims Or Witnesses

witnessprotection

A former gangster who changed his name has failed in a High Court bid for compensation for “psychiatric damage” after accusing Greater Manchester Police of revealing his new identity to former criminal associates.

The man, referred to as PBD, claimed the police’s actions forced him to enter a witness protection scheme in December 2010 that caused him depression and anxiety because he had to spend a period separated from his partner.

He accused Greater Manchester Police of breaching a duty of care they owed him after he had given evidence “against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity” in the USA and had been shot and wounded.

Mr Justice Silber, sitting at the High Court in London, said he had no doubt that PBD, the former member of a criminal gang, was “terrified of being attacked” and believed there was a contract out to kill him.

But the courts had already ruled that the police “do not owe a duty of care to witnesses and victims”.

The judge said it was not possible to see why PBD, who was a suspect in a money laundering offence, “should be owed a duty of care when a witness and a victim does not have such a duty owed to him”.

In any event, PBD had not been “forced” into witness protection but was “keen” to join the scheme.

The judge also rejected a claim by PBD’s partner for damages. She claimed the police had breached an agreement to pay her £1,500 per month for six months as compensation for giving up her job and eventually joining him in witness protection.

The judge said he could not accept her evidence as credible.

The cases were heard at a private hearing in October, but the judge publicly announced the outcome.

The judge said PBD had claimed a duty of care because of three factors. First, he had co-operated with police and as a result received a reduced prison sentence in 2004.

Second, he had given evidence against another member of the Manchester criminal fraternity in the US and this had led to the man being jailed for over 20 years, and in return he had received immunity from prosecution.

Finally, an attempt had been made on his life. He had been shot and wounded by a person who was still at large and a contract on his life had been offered by other members of the criminal community.

Murder Inquiry Launched In Lincoln Prison

lincoln

A murder investigation has been launched after a 73-year-old prisoner – serving a nine-month sentence for voyeurism – was found dead in his cell in Lincoln.

Alan Goode, a serial peeping tom, was jailed in October after he was found lying on a cubicle floor in the women’s toilets of a Leicester shopping centre.

An ambulance attended after staff found him in his cell at Lincoln Prison at around 5:45am on Thursday morning but he was pronounced dead at the scene, the Prison Service said.

A 35-year-old male inmate – understood to have been sharing a cell with Goode – has been arrested in connection with the incident, Lincolnshire Police said, as it opened a murder investigation.

GLOUCESTER PRISON NOT SAFE SAYS INSPECTORS – Vulnerable prisoners targetted for attack

Inspectors who visited a prison in Gloucestershire where concerns had been raised before found that it seemed to have “stood still”, they said in a report published.

Gloucester Prison has many problems to address, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, as he introduced the report of an unannounced inspection.

Inspectors were concerned during their visit in July to find that the environment for vulnerable prisoners at the Category B local prison was poor, and there was evidence that they experienced abuse and intimidation from other prisoners.

Segregated prisoners were not continually supervised, though this was mitigated by low numbers and generally brief stays, while the accommodation was among the poorest in the prison system, and prisoners did not have enough time out of their cells.

There was not enough for prisoners to do and inspectors found well over half of the population locked up during the working day.

Mr Hardwick said in his introduction to the report: “Gloucester is one of the older establishments in the prison system, with a poor infrastructure and situated in a cramped inner-city location.”

He said there were relatively few incidents of recorded violence, despite underdeveloped structures to confront anti-social behaviour, and the incidence of self-harm was similarly low, though there had been two self-inflicted deaths since the last inspection.

But he added: “The treatment of vulnerable prisoners remained a significant concern. The environment where they lived was poor and their regime very limited, and there was evidence that they experienced abuse and intimidation from other prisoners.

“The experience for vulnerable prisoners who had to be held on mainstream locations, if numbers required it, was even worse.

“The treatment of segregated prisoners was similarly concerning – this high-risk group were not even continually supervised, although this was mitigated by low numbers and generally brief stays.”