11th April 2019

We represent over 400 former inmates of Medomsley Detention Centre. Following the recent conviction of five former employees of the detention centre in relation to physical abuse, we believe a public inquiry is the only means by which our clients and substantially more than 1300 other inmates and the community can be reassured that these events are fully investigated and that they can never be repeated.

While we welcome the conviction of five employees, the truth is that Medomsley was an institution in which physical and sexual abuse were commonplace. Those convicted are the tip of an iceberg of others who took part, turned a blind eye or failed to investigate. This constitutes a shocking failure of our prison system. Currently the Home Secretary has refused calls for a full public inquiry. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) will eventually conduct an inquiry into those sexually abused who were under the age of 18. Such an inquiry will not get to the bottom of the failure of the prison system at Medomsley to protect all young offenders (all of whom were young men to whom the state owed a duty of care) from vile physical and sexual abuse.

We have today written to the Home Secretary and the Chair of IICSA calling for a full public inquiry capable of investigating the scale of abuse, those directly and indirectly responsible, holding them to account and discovering how such blatant abuse could continue for so long unchecked.

The Chronicle are supporting our call for a public inquiry and further details can be found here. Some of the survivors of Medomsley Detention Centre are also backing the call for a public inquiry and have shared their stories with the Chronicle.

Jonny Hall, Students from the Student Law Office with Andrew Freckleton and Rachel Floyd of Ben Hoare Bell LLP. Photo courtesy of Newcastle Chronicle
Jonny Hall, Students from the Student Law Office with Andrew Freckleton and Rachel Floyd of Ben Hoare Bell LLP. Photo courtesy of Newcastle Chronicle.

Blog by Andrew Freckleton, Partner