Nicholas Bowen QC acting for the victims of rapist Joseph McCann
Nicholas Bowen QC, has been instructed in a significant civil claim against the Probation Service Ministry of Justice in a claim for damages. The proposed claim is in negligence and for violation of their human rights following appalling ordeals at the hands of McCann. The claim will be brought seeking damages in negligence and just satisfaction under the Human Rights Act.
Joseph McCann was found guilty of 37 offences at the Old Bailey on 9th December and sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. He was given 33 life sentences following a string of sex attacks on 11 women and children across England.
Nicholas Bowen QC is a leading expert in civil and human rights claims against public authorities having recently acted in the two leading case in this area, see the Supreme Court judgments in Michael v Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire which have re-defined and explained the principles of law in this area.
McCann should never have been free to attack his victims. He had been given an IPP sentence designed to protect the public from serious offenders. He had been released on licence and reoffended committing a burglary in 2017. That burglary should have triggered a recall to prison on the terms of his IPP sentence. He would not then have been released until such point as he could have completed a Parole Board assessment and satisfied them that he was no longer a risk.
This did not happen. Instead of being recalled to prison on the terms of his IPP sentence he was tried for the burglary offence and given a determinate sentence which resulted in him being released at the midpoint. The Judge in his criminal case highlighted this as an issue. Judge Foster said in the Luton Crown Court that McCann should have been referred to the Parole Board and recalled. Despite this the Probation Service failed to take appropriate action.
As a result of the failings four Probation Officers from the Watford office face disciplinary proceedings. Dr Jo Farrar, Chief Executive of HM Prisons and Probation Service acknowledged following the trial that there were failings and apologised unreservedly.
The victims now seek damages for the preventable sexual assaults that they suffered.
The same legal team have already acted in other leading cases in this area’ particularly against probation and social services and now hope to successfully secure damages for McCann’s victims.
Sentencing remarks can be found here.