The Prosecution had alleged that the Defendant, a Prison Officer at HMP Garth, had initiated a confrontation with a prisoner and had then retaliated with unnecessary and unlawful violence causing the prisoner actual bodily harm. It was alleged he had then attempted to cover up his unlawful actions in an attempt to Pervert the Course of Justice.
The jury who later acquitted the Defendant on both charges had heard evidence during the trial that HM Inspector of Prisons had carried out a 2-week unannounced inspection of HMP Garth in January 2017, just weeks before the incident and had issued a report which had stated:
- Levels of violence in the prison had increased substantially with many incidents linked to drugs, gangs and debt. Assaults on staff had increased and much of the violence was serious.
- Around three-quarters of prisoners said that staff treated them respectfully, which was similar to the proportion elsewhere and at the time of the previous inspection. The quality of the staff–prisoner interactions we observed was variable. We saw some helpful and proactive staff but too often staff lacked confidence or were dismissive and disengaged, and often grouped together in offices for long periods. We observed some poor, sometimes delinquent and antisocial prisoner behaviour go unchallenged.
The Defendant had previously received a commendation for bravery when he had stepped in to protect the No1 Prison Governor from a violent attack by a prison inmate.
HMP Garth is a Category B prison. It contains 800 male prisoners, over 300 of whom are serving indeterminate sentences.
JEREMY LASKER was instructed by Mr Jared McNally of CLIFFORD JOHNSON & Co Solicitors.