In a landmark judgment handed down on Friday 14 June 2019, the High Court has declared that a proposed Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) investigation instigated by the Home Secretary into serious mistreatment and abuse of detainees at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC), by officers of the private security firm G4S, is inadequate and lacks the powers to comply with the UK government’s investigative duties under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment). The judgment raises the question of whether a full statutory inquiry is now necessary.
In her judgment, Mrs Justice May declared that the PPO needed statutory powers to compel witnesses, particularly the officers responsible for the mistreatment and abuse, in order for the investigation to comply with Article 3. She found that there was “a real risk amounting to an overwhelming probability that former G4S staff will not attend voluntarily to give evidence.” She also held that the inquiry required hearings in public and proper funding for victims to be legally represented, both issues that the Home Secretary had refused to commit to.
Alex Goodman acted in this case instructed by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.
The full press release can be viewed here.
The final judgement can be found here.
The BBC report can be found here.