Lifer loses claim over lack of exercise

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The Independent Online

A lifer who sued for up to £50,000 damages over a lack of exercise while in segregation has lost his High Court action.







Leslie Malcolm, 46, complained that he was not given an hour in the open air each day during the 159 days he was detained at HMP Frankland in County Durham in 2007.



He asked Mr Justice Sweeney to award him compensation against the Ministry of Justice - which denied liability - alleging misfeasance in public office and a breach of his human rights.



Malcolm, who was jailed for life for rape in 1996, watched proceedings via video link from Wakefield prison in West Yorkshire during the hearing in November 2009.



His counsel, Phillippa Kaufmann said that apart from the "30 minutes or so" he spent outside daily, the only other time he left his 10ft by 6ft cell was to shower across the hall, which did not involve exposure to the open air.



Malcolm, who had insisted on going to the Segregation Unit on arrival at Frankland, complained of loss of residual liberty, increased stress, physical discomfort from joint pain and a general feeling of unfitness.



Dismissing his claim today, the judge said that Malcolm was "quite right" in his assertion that over a long period of time, Frankland had failed fully to comply with the relevant part of Prison Service Order 4275.



"Whilst right about that basic assertion, the claimant has however tried, in significant part, to lie his way to monetary success in claims for misfeasance in public office and for breach of the defendant's duty under section six of the 1998 (Human Rights) Act."



He added that his finding should not be taken as an "unqualified endorsement of the failure to fully comply with the PSO".



His judgment was not intended to provide any indication of the future outcome of any appropriate judicial review proceedings by another claimant, let alone of any other complaint to the Ombudsman or an inspection by the Chief Inspector of Prisons, he said.



His judgment was not intended to provide any indication of the future outcome of any appropriate judicial review proceedings by another clai