Permission granted to challenge CPS refusal to prosecute staff, Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service following self-inflicted death at HMP Woodhill

Mr Justice Swift has today granted permission to the relatives of Robert Fenlon to challenge the CPS’s refusal to prosecute any member of staff or organisation following Robert’s death at HMP Woodhill on 5 March 2016. At that time HMP Woodhill had the highest number and rate of self-inflicted deaths of any prison in the country. Twelve men had taken their own lives between May 2013 and Robert’s death. All were found hanging in their cells.

At an oral hearing on 27 May 2021, Mr Justice Swift granted permission on all grounds. The claim will now proceed to a full hearing to consider the CPS’s refusal to prosecute two prison officers for gross negligence manslaughter and a healthcare assistant for an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The Administrative Court will also consider the decision not to prosecute the Ministry of Justice and/or the National Offender Management Service for corporate manslaughter arising from their alleged under-resourcing of the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) in Robert’s case, which resulted in a lack of case manager continuity and inadequate safety and risk management.

Jesse is instructed by Jo Eggleton of Deighton Pierce Glynn and led by Rajiv Menon QC of Garden Court Chambers.