DANIEL ROQUE HALL IS FREE AND GOING HOME!
At 10.30 this morning the Law Lords at the Royal Courts of Justice reduced Daniel Roque Hall`s original prison sentence to 18 months so he was released from custody this morning and will be going home today! The only restriction imposed is a two year ban on foreign travel.
The Court recognised that Daniel’s serious disabilities – which leave him unable to move his limbs, feed himself, hold a pen or a telephone, or read a book unaided – and complex health needs which require 24/7 care, meant that he should not be returned to prison.
On hearing the verdict, Daniel said: “This is tremendous news. I want to thank my mum, my carers, my legal team, WinVisible and all those who have supported me, and I’m looking forward to resting and recovering fully at home”.
In court, supporters clapped and embraced Anne Hall, Daniel’s mother. Visibly moved and relieved, she said:
”This is a fantastic result for Daniel, who suffered a great deal while in prison. I think the judges recognised that and I am grateful for the mercy they have shown. This result is not just because of the court’s judgement, but is thanks to our dedicated new legal team and ongoing support from a large number of people, many of whom have campaigned tirelessly. I’d like to thank everyone, especially his carers and friends, and WinVisible and the Global Women’s Strike, whose support has been invaluable. This is a very important ruling not just for Daniel but also for people with disabilities and complex health problems, because it confirms that prison is not an environment which can meet their needs.”
Daniel was unable to attend his appeal hearing because the High Court does not have adequate disability access. Instead he had to follow the proceedings from hospital via video link – an unsatisfactory and expensive alternative.
“Many disabled people supported Daniel’s fight to be released from prison, and identified with the vulnerability of having to be dependent on people who don’t care about you. Daniel should never have been put in prison and we’re sure there are many other prisoners, women and men, who are being tortured and even killed by inadequate or even complete lack of care. The neglect Daniel suffered in prison is happening in many institutions including hospitals, from geriatric to psychiatric wards, as the recent report into Mid Staffordshire hospital shows. That even the High Court does not have adequate disability access is evidence of the discrimination disabled people face at every stage of the criminal justice system.”
The Global Women’s Strike added:
“This judgement would not have happened without the determination of Anne Hall, Daniel’s mother, who has been relentless in pursuing justice for her son. There are serious questions about the treatment Daniel Hall has received in prison and about how the NHS deals with people who are serving sentences in prison but who need to be in hospital. Those in high places who are responsible for neglect or grand theft from the public purse costing many lives, are mostly allowed to get away with this behaviour. Prisons are overcrowded with women and men who pose no threat to the public. We hope they will be able to use this judgement to get their sentences changed so they can get out.”
Although the judges showed mercy because of Daniel’s exceptional circumstances, they did not agree that his treatment at Wormwood Scrubs breached his human rights. Yet, after only seven weeks he had become so ill that he was taken to UCLH where he spent over a week in Intensive Care. His mother was called to the hospital at 3am and told to kiss him and “say goodbye” – she thought he was expected to die. It took a further five months of hospital care for Daniel to partially recover. While the hospital was prepared to release Daniel back to prison, accepting the prison’s assurances that it could now meet his needs, his mother and other carers were convinced that he would not survive in prison. On 2 January an emergency injunction was granted preventing his discharge back to prison. His appeal against sentence was expedited with the help of his dedicated new legal team, which resulted in today’s judgement.
Andrew Sperling, Scott Moncrieff solicitors, who prepared the appeal with barrister Flo Krause, was delighted at the result but sorry that Daniel’s human rights case had been rejected.
“Daniel’s case is exceptional but he is certainly not the only prisoner in England and Wales who has serious disabilities or health problems. All are entitled to expect the equivalent level of care they would have access to if they were in the community, but there are very serious concerns about the ability of the prison service to care for them. Where there is a conflict between the demands of security and the need to provide proper care for seriously ill and disabled prisoners, there is a danger that security is prioritised over health needs. This is compounded by lack of resources. Someone with Daniel’s disabilities posed no risk to the public and he was assessed as a Category C prisoner. Yet he was kept in a category B prison like Wormwood Scrubs because the prison service does not appear able to deliver sufficient levels of care in prisons with lower security. As a result, his conditions were even harsher than they should have been, an additional discrimination.”
Barrister Flo Krause added:
“Daniel’s case is extreme, yet it took all that a lot of people had, to ensure that his life was preserved and he was not subjected to additional suffering. This highlights how wrong systemic approaches are. Daniel is going home. Not a minute too soon.”
For more information contact:
Global Women’s Strike www.globalwomenstrike.net 0207 482 2496