Crown Court

When we were kids, off school with a bug, flu or other illness, we’d snooze in front of the big old (tiny) TV. ‘School programmes’ (shudder) in the morning followed by a less dull but still dull drama (was it a drama? I dunno… maybe it was based on actual cases) called Crown Court at lunchtime.

Crown Court. A kind of ritual endurance, marking the mid point to the crawl to the end of school time and delights like Little House on the Prairie. Time for lunch if not already scoffed. A soft, non medical drug to easily bring on slumber if you felt like shite.

I dug out the theme tune on Youtube earlier. Rich, in another room, unexpectedly shouted “Is that Coronation Street?”

Off sick to the same tune/drama. Capturing the ennui, traffic free streets, all male advocates, a dose of beige and a baby Zoe Wanamaker.


On 18 September Sloven pleaded guilty to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecution of LB’s death at Banbury Magistrates court. The magistrate referred the ‘case’ to the Crown Court. The next hearing was held in Oxford Crown court on October 13*. The judge then set a date – 27 November – to decide a sentencing date. [I know.]

A second HSE prosecution for the death of Teresa Colvin was raised during this hearing. Teresa died a year before LB. Months after Mike Holder, a health and safety expert, meticulously documented patient safety risks which Katrina Percy and the Sloven board ignored.

[Edward Hartley, in turn, died months after LB’s death flagged up issues around epilepsy training and understanding, risk assessment and observation levels. Edward’s death, like so many others, has yet to edge or inch towards proper scrutiny and answers.]

On 20 November the HSE prosecution relating to Teresa Colvin’s death was held at the Oxford Magistrates court. [Sorry. It’s complicated].

Tomorrow (Monday) a hearing at Oxford Crown Court will pin down the timetable for the sentencing date.

The judge will be asked to sentence both HSE prosecutions together. Or formally agree to do so.

This is for various reasons, not least the importance of joining the dots between what happened to Teresa and LB and for the judge to understand the extent of (repeated) failings. Other considerations are the importance of consistent sentencing and costs.


Crown Court. Childhood memories. The never ever. The never colliding.

LB. Teresa Colvin. Shades of Edward Hartley. And so many others.

The sentencing hearing

The sentencing hearing is, we’ve been warned, likely to last for up to two days and will probably happen between next February and June. Time has lost any meaning as next year becomes dusted with various dates or anticipated dates. I can’t imagine what life without the stench and stain of NHS related processes looks or feels like.

The HSE barrister will present the two ‘cases’ in turn and the Sloven barrister will present a set of mitigating circumstances to try to reduce or contain the punishment (fine). They have a statutory duty apparently, as a public sector body to do this.

There is no such statutory duty to prevent a failing Chief Executive disappearing with a year off and around a £200k pay off. There is no statutory duty to stop a public sector body from recording a preventable death as one of natural causes. From openly and publicly withholding information that is in the public interest. From wasting public money on dubious training programmes. And the rest.

One grotesque rule for the bloatedly powerful and another for the rest of us herbs.


*I had at the time, and have had since, visions of Richard Partridge telling me to turn to page 908 in a massive legal bundle to confirm that, yes I was not present at this hearing. And then scuttle back to page 26, para 4…

I was in the US. I wasn’t supposed to be there.



4 thoughts on “Crown Court

  1. In timely context of BBC’s excellent coverage of the lack of continuing support for post school children – Mark (Neary) has written a moving blog on every parent’s fear of what will happen when we are no longer here,

    A couple of interlocking things within Sara’s and Mark’s blog..

    Sara’s beautiful boy Connor died because of an organisation. He died from it’s indifference towards him, and it’s incompetence in both leading it’s people and caring for other people’s sons and daughters.

    Other sons and daughters suffer from organisational incompetence, and their mums an dads meet similar aggressive indifference towards any responsibility and accountability. Some sons and daughters live on,- broken from this: indifference and incompetence.

    And they live on in the care of the people and the organisations that did not prevent it.

    Theise parents have a ‘choice’.

    To trudge on with all that combines in the knowing all that was not prevented and knowing that every waft of challenge is recorded. Trudge on, fearing that a nail may be banging into son or daughter’s coffin with every unwanted – question.

    For organisations have choices too.

    The can respond honestly and kindly when they make mistakes; and learn.

    Or respond very nastily indeed towards floored families forced reluctantly and wearily towards the law – just for answers and accountability .

    Solicitors employed by the latter can scourge the souls of ‘mums and dads’ and In the process kill lawful challenge.

    Parents can be viewed as ‘just banging on; and ‘just ‘not getting over it’ by these organisations, who are not kind to their staff either, and where blame is the appraisal tool of choice.

    Bruises, internal and external remain on file and in the organisational memory, forever

    So.does ‘mum and dad’ cut ‘ losses ‘ – abandon truth – and justice ..Swallow injustice – including the less than half life lived by a broken beautiful boy or girl….

    …for fear …of worse ?

    Just to ensure that when we die, no worse happens.

    As our ‘death plan’. ?

  2. I used to love the series ‘Crown Court’ if I was home to see it – I’m sure it came on at 1pm. Brilliant actors.
    The most important thing I think is not to let go of trying to improve our children’s lives; that’s our biological function, purpose for living; just like the same professionals and careworkers who might or might not be doing right.
    We do it whatever the cost to health, time, finances, other family members. Because failure isn’t an option, however much we swim against the tide.
    On good days, the rewards are better than anything – seeing a happier child is heaven.
    On hard days, it’s indescribable, because our health is linked to theirs – that’s why we insist on better care.

  3. Pingback: Three-up | Campaign for Reform At Southern Health

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