Lorraine Allen: Mother wrongly jailed for killing son in 'shaken baby' case loses Human Rights compensation bid
Ruling could have impact on other cases in which convictions have been overturned but compensation has not been paid
Friday 12 July 2013
A mother who was wrongly jailed for killing her four-month-old son has lost her case for compensation at the European Court of Human Rights.
Lorraine Allen, 39, was convicted in 2000 of the manslaughter of her son Patrick and sentenced to three years in prison. The conviction was quashed in 2005 after fresh medical evidence was put forward but she was denied compensation. He died two years earlier in what had been dubbed a "shaken-baby" case.
The Strasbourg court has ruled that the Government's decision had not breached her right to the presumption of innocence. The decision, which cannot be appealed against, is expected to have an impact on a number of miscarriage of justice cases in which convictions have been overturned but compensation has not been paid for the time they have spent behind bars.
Ms Allen, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, applied for compensation but this was refused by the Home Secretary because her claim, it was argued, did not meet the statutory criteria.
She took her claim to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg but failed today to win compensation.
A child born while Ms Allen was serving that sentence was taken away from her and placed for adoption. But her conviction was quashed in 2005 after new expert evidence.
After the home secretary refused her compensation claim, Ms Allen challenged that decision by judicial review but this was refused by the High Court in 2007 and the subsequent appeal was dismissed in 2008.
She took her fight for compensation to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which heard her case in November and delivered its judgment today.
The judges found unanimously that there had been no violation of Article 6 (presumption of innocence) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court found that UK judges properly considered whether any miscarriage of justice had taken place and concluded that this had not been established beyond reasonable doubt.
The court said: "The language used by the UK courts in their decisions to decide on compensation had not undermined Ms Allen's acquittal or treated her in a manner inconsistent with her innocence."
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