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Ministry of Justice ordered to pay 52,500 GBP for failure to protect prisoner from attack by other prisoners

Related Member(s):
Adam Sandell
Related Practice Area(s):
Prison Law, Public Law

The Ministry of Justice has been ordered to pay £52,500 in damages to a vulnerable, high-profile prisoner for negligently failing to prevent three other prisoners from holding him down and cutting his throat, leaving him with severe post-traumatic stress disorder.

The attack was planned retaliation by radicalised Muslim prisoners: the successful claimant, Radislav Krstić, was serving a sentence for aiding and abetting the Srebrenica massacre during the Bosnian War, charges which he has consistently denied.

The court found that Mr Krstić should never have been moved to HMP Wakefield, which lacked the necessary facilities to keep him safe from very dangerous prisoners housed there who had obvious motives for harming him. The prison then could and should have acted upon an accumulation of intelligence showing that prisoners were planning to attack Mr Krstić, but failed to do so. And, after the assault and Mr Krstić’s development of PTSD, the Ministry compounded its negligence by locating him in conditions where continuing physical and mental hostility exacerbated his psychological condition.

The court considered that the Ministry should have settled the case but had instead ignored Mr Krstić’s reasonable offers to settle and had unreasonably refused mediation. The court also criticised the Ministry’s litigation conduct, including disclosure failures and the loss of crucial documents.

Mr Krstić was represented by Adam Sandell, instructed by Kate Maynard of Hickman & Rose.

Media reports: Daily Mail; Guardian; Times (paywall).

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Ministry of Justice ordered to pay 52,500 GBP for failure to protect prisoner from attack by other prisoners