Disturbing case of young offender goes to European court
Sunday 12 September 2010
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will this week hear claims from the British government that locking-up an emotionally disturbed young man and failing to prevent him from inflicting terrible self-harm does not merit an independent, public inquiry.
The Howard League for Penal Reform has taken the case of P to Europe after British courts ruled there was no need to hold an inquiry because, while the risk to P's life was real, it was not immediate.
P was taken into care after his mother injected him with heroin when he was 11 months old. By 18, he was using drugs, was in and out of prison and hurting himself. During the 15 months he spent on remand at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, P needed hospital treatment nearly 100 times for self-inflicted injuries using screws, razors and broken glass he claims some officers provided. He inserted staples into his face; put sharp objects into his penis; forced pieces of glass into his urethra; rubbed faeces into wounds; and severed the tendons in his feet.
While medical doctors were in no doubt his self-harm was "indicative of an extremely disturbed mindset", psychiatrists could not agree on his diagnosis or treatment.
Chris Callender, the legal director of the Howard League, says the state's failure to protect mentally ill P nearly cost him his life, and his treatment at Feltham was inhumane and degrading: "The Government must investigate in order for lessons to be learnt."
P's mental health is improving since a court ordered his transfer to a secure hospital in June 2008. Now 23, he wants to understand why he was punished for hurting himself and to stop it from happening to others.
The ECHR could recommend, but not order, the Government to carry out an inquiry as early as next spring. The Ministry of Justice declined to comment.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...
£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: The Jenrick Group: Finance Manager/Manag...
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a rare opportunity for ...