Heart Attack & (Civil Case)
I had telephone conference this week to hear my application for specific disclosure. Yet again, there were problems connecting to the court. I sat there for 20+ minutes whilst the prison’s litigation person tried to sort it out; the telephone conference company even called in at one point to connect another prisoner; what a farce. Eventually, I connected to the telephone conference which was well underway between the judge and the MOJ’s barrister.
This is what I was seeking:
. disclosure of numerous documents, including bedwatch logs;
. disclosure of the disciplinary files of 4 members of staff;
. disclosure of previously disclosed but heavily redacted files and documents;
. contempt proceedings against the MOJ.
This is what I got:
. No more disclosure. The judge said that once a party has made a reasonable search the court could not get involved. A
reasonable search’? The barrister claimed that the few disparate documents they disclosed was all they could find. This is a high-security prison on information and paperwork; under the DPA98 and the MOJ’s own procedures, they cannot destroy it; certainly not for many years. In fact, the litigation person, who had signed the statement of truth on the disclosure paperwork, told me that the documents would still exist and all be together; of course they would.
The barrister was expecting me and the court to believe that all of these documents, which support my case, were not filed and archived for ease of location but strewn all over the prison. C’mon?!
. Disclosure of the disciplinary files of the 4 members of staff but only disciplinaries relating to the mistreatment of prisoners on escort and the use of restraints. As I was not party to the first 20+ minutes of the hearing, I’ve no idea who suggested this but I suspect it was the MOJ’s barrister. It is common knowledge that some of these staff have been
disciplined for mistreating prisoners; however, if the barrister suggested this compromise I don’t expect any disciplinaries to be disclosed.
No matter, I will just question them when they are forced to appear in court after I issue them with witness summonses. This was something the barrister was not aware of as I had also filed an application to serve witness summaries. The MOJ will not want their staff to be questioned about their dsciplinaries; especially not by a prisoner.
. The barrister issued me with a big apology about the redactions they had made. The reality is that they had acted unlawfully; they cannot use DPA exemptions when the data is required for a legal action. Once again, they had covered up
evidence which supports my case. Despite me writing to the Government Legal Department, informing them of their unlawfullness, they did nothing to put it right. It was only because I had previously obtained unredacted copies of these documents that I was able to catch them out. The barrister blamed it on a guy who is now retired; implying that he was old and doddery.
They now have to serve me with unredacted copies.
. Even though I could have, I didn’t argue the contempt issue; I’m going to wait and see if they follow the court order to
the letter or not. I suspect they will try it on again.
Be happy, be safe.
Graham Coutts, 11th February 2018