“Yes to a jury…”

Wow. Not words I ever anticipated writing. Or tweeting. With a hint of triumph. There is no triumph. But then there is, kind of. In a pretty crap and thankless way. In the painstakingly laborious, relentless and distressing process of trying to get some sort of accountability for the preventable death of your child in a hospital bath [crumble].

The coroner agreed to a jury at LB’s inquest yesterday. At the second pre inquest review meeting. An article 2 inquest was already agreed. Whether or not there would be a jury was still to be decided. The decision hinged on whether or not LB was detained. Or not free to leave the unit. The unit with the locked door. And a care plan that stated that he was only to leave accompanied on a one to one basis. The dude who had never stepped outside without someone with him.

The discussion/arguments/submissions highlighted how coroners (and others) don’t necessarily understand how life is for some people. Why would they? With apparent good intentions the coroner tried to make sense of the evidence available to interpret LB’s ability/capacity/wherewithal to simply leave the unit as he chose. A locked door can be opened on request. He asked for evidence, for facts and not legal submissions, to underpin his ruling.

LB wouldn’t ask for a locked door to be opened. Particularly after being restrained face down for over 10 minutes in response to trying to come home on his first night in the unit. [Howl]. After such an inhumane and barbaric experience it kind of becomes irrelevant whether or not the unit door is locked. Simple power rules operate. And if staff had opened the door on LB’s request (which they never did), he would have waited for us to come and collect him.

He was detained. As simple as. Whatever way you want to try and interpret it. The coroner recognised this – after lengthy arguments (both legal and factual) from our legal team- and ruled in favour of a jury.

I was left wondering what would have happened if we hadn’t had legal representation.

13 thoughts on ““Yes to a jury…”

  1. I bet that’s ‘wondering with overwhelming terror and anguish’. Hope your heartbeat has now wound down from a whine to a purr…. So glad LB’s legal team are taking such good care of his interests and of you. It shouldn’t be this hard.

  2. every time I read about LB being restrained face down, I cry inside for you all and for the fear of some swine doing that to my girl. Delighted to hear you are one step closer.

  3. It is clearly a false imprisonment on the facts, s,o right to jury.

    But as you say, if no legal advice even, how would you know, and therefore you would not get a jury.

    This is the scandal of our present no legal service’s country, thanks to destruction of the profession, who often charge too much for inadequate advice, if you can afford to pay, and find a lawyer, you can trust.

    As far as I am aware, there is no right to legal aid per se for a coroner’s inquest , but if deciding, as her illegal detainment, and on benefits, might stand a chance, again though, you’d need a lawyer to know that, or at least a good citizens advice bureau, again closed down.

    So much for the rule of law, that states all must be equal before the law, and the law itself, which is no use, if no one knows about it, or has the means of finding it out, and even then can’t enforce it.

    Thank god, though they keep trying to abolish the jury, if you jump through all these hurdles, you can see get a jury, but for what?- to show what in tort is res ipsa loquiitor- ie the deed speaks for itself.

  4. Some justice at last but not without financial and emotional cost to you. Meanwhile, Sloven can rely on getting as much legal representation, all paid for by us. Twisted. listened to R4’s bit with Nico’s family, about legal representation in coroner’s courts – or lack of – yesterday and felt so enraged that families have so little voice, are actively encouraged not to have a voice and no-one in charge seems to understand the basics about power imbalances.

    • They want power imbalance, and have put systems in place to ensure this.

      A good lawyer showing up illegality is the last thing they would allow, but is essential to maintain our freedoms and justice.

      This government has removed legal aid, restricted coroners inquests, and turned the legal profession into a money making cabal ,deliberately, so that it is impossible for a citizen, particularly if disabled, to begin to protect themselves, from the wolves of commercialisation.

  5. What about real legal justice muscle being flexed around the LA and NHS Boards who fail to Govern and very bad things happen to frail, ill and disabled people in their care.

    If I break my toe on a dodgy pavement I can sue ’em for failing to maintain the blooming pavement! Naughty pavement. Naughty repair budget reduction….Naughty……who?

    My son was injured for ever by his LA carer. My son and another learning disabled person told me so. They do not lie. I believe them. So do most of the LD Adult Care staff around at the time.

    The man who caused this additional life long disability to my son and neglected them both horribly, did not ‘properly record’ his actions. (said Ombudsman who found lengthy and many serious neglects ) So off the hook.

    The same man said he had not been appraised or had any new instruction on his job for years. No guidance no governance? and he was off the hook again, and later was promoted. Not his fault? …then whose………?

    We may be seen by these orgs as just a neurotic bunch of nothing better to do; miserable moaners with a hod of bricks on both shoulders ….who just cant let go. But, (weary sigh) as many have stated here if we had hurt our sons and daughters through our negligence, we would be treated as criminals and dealt with as such ,,,,toot sweet…by same orgs..

    The blooming pavement is apparently more honest and valuable than my son? A toe stubbed on a dodgy pavement more worthy than my boy?
    My son is broken forever, and he can never been mended. For he has no value or no ones fault ? ……..or is it really just another dodgy dangerous and still very unmended……. failure to Govern.

    • Unless there is accountability, the vulnerable will continue to die and suffer. And services will remain inadequate. And the public continue to be bullied by the ‘experts’.

      The NHS and LA systems have been created, to make it almost impossible, for the state, to be made accountable for their actions. This is deliberate.

      A recent survey has said only 15% of social workers feel they would be supported, if they whistle blew.

      So, as would therefore, be expected from this, bad practice is endemic, and the system, is put in place to follow government policy, and that at the moment, that is to make as much profit as possible from the ‘patients’.

      £4,500 a week, as opposed to parents £200. from encaging, and often killing the autistic. Without the big pharma kick backs.

      And obviously the mentally disordered are a capitalists dream, as they cannot complain, and usually their family are cut out, and at most, if allowed visits, it is their word, against the highly paid by the system, experts.

      The law of the land should come to the rescue,,,,, but.

      serious case reviews are rare, internal, and do not apportion blame, so nothing changes.

      we have seen what happens in coroners courts …..

      public enquiries make jobs for the boys, and at most- see Staffordshire- result in fines, which we, as taxpayers, pay.

      The only real accountability is to sue in the tort of negligence for damages. This then allows at least an open adversarial fight but …..

      to do so you have to find ,and pay a lawyer. ( no legal aid unless on benefits), no win no fee can be available, but only if the lawyers decide you have a good case, and then you have to pay insurance premiums, and a winners premium. So may end up will little for a lot of stress, frustration and more upset.

      The Lawyer must be trust worthy, and know law … in these days of anonymous legal services corporation, who work on a commercially aware basis.. ie charge for 5 letters, when one would have done, recent cases were a medical negligence award of £5,000 lawyers charged 15,000 reduced to 8,000 on costs appeal. This is rife.

      Already lawyers are setting up companies to sue others for poor service. They too will have to be paid. ie standard form filling hugely expensive lawyers don’t have loss of amenity on their form.

      You then have to pay the court fees, which are ever increasing, and soon to be privatised and worse..

      But then the biggy…. you run the risk, if you lose, of being ordered to pay the NHS legal costs, which would often be more than the claim, and result in bankruptcy.

      Meanwhile, the NHS have the biggest, best, and most expensive lawyers, all the experts, and all the evidence.

      They also have systems in place, where boxes are ticked, deliberately devised to avoid negligence claims and/or off load liability.

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