Giving her judgment (sic) at The High Court in London today, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies condemned Ashfield for its “wholly inadequate system” for disclosing case papers and “woeful absence of knowledge” of legal duties displayed by staff. Mrs Justice Davies also found the boys’ right to a fair trial had been violated.Oh, noes! The poor wee lambs!
The court heard that the boys, aged 17 at the time and now all 18, were punished after they were involved in a protest on a synthetic sports pitch.
It was witnessed by a district judge, who was visiting the site at the time in his role as an independent adjudicator.
Despite being invited not to conduct the boys’ adjudication hearings or pass sentence on them, he did so and imposed extra days’ custody on each of them, totalling 90. A claim against the independent adjudicator was settled in the boys’ favour last year and the additional days were taken off their sentences.Funny. We don't hear about what happened to him...
The court today heard Serco had failed to provide essential documents to legal representatives in advance of the hearings before the adjudicator.
And five of the boys were subjected to an informal “shadow segregation” regime, known as “restriction on the wing”, which lacked safeguards required for formal segregation procedures. All seven claimants have been represented by the Howard League.Well, of course they have! Who else?
The charity’s chief executive, Frances Crook, said: “This judgment confirms what we have been saying for a long time, and what the Government has now recognised – Ashfield is no place for a child.
“If staff don’t know what the prison rules are and make them up as they go along, how can children be expected to comply and learn to be good citizens?”Why, by coddling them and telling them everything bad or unpleasant that happens to them is someone else's fault and never, ever a consequence of their own actions, of course! That'll work!