Operation Kalmia

Bellamy Forde and Clare Evans of MW’s Civil and Commercial Litigation Division are instructed by Owen Crooks in pursuing claims of Misfeasance in Public Office and Malicious Prosecution against the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police arising from his wrongful conviction and subsequent acquittal in 2012.


Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

Owen was convicted along with 5 others for the murder of Kevin Nunes, a drug dealer from the Whitmore Reans District of Wolverhampton in 2006.  After being convicted, a report was commission by the Court of Appeal which followed a disclosure made by a police officer.

It has subsequently come to light that Staffordshire Police’s Sensitive Policing Unit was riven with bad practice and ultimately, unlawful conduct in relation to a number of very important practices that underpin the Criminal Justice System.  That conduct subsequently led to the acquittal of Owen and others.  In turn, that led to the Independent Police Complaints Commission establishing an investigation (Operation Kalmia) into Staffordshire Police, a report that is eagerly awaited.

It has been reported that the report will criticise a number of police officers and the force as a whole. 

Owen eagerly awaits sight of that report as he seeks redress for the conduct of officers and the force as a whole with at least one newspaper describing the force as being  “out of control”.

Media and Press Reports

UPDATE (4th October 2017) - Operation Kalmia Report Published by IPCC

on 4th October the IPCC published their long awaited Operation Kalmia report of the investigation into Staffordshire Police.

 

Extradition Justice

MW Solicitors is proud to announce its ranking in the 2018 Chambers & Partners UK Guide for Crime: Extradition.

Despite being a newly formed Department, MW has been quickly recognised by fellow practitioners, Judges and clients alike as a leading firm specialising in this niche area of law.

The Department is well known for successfully challenging extradition requests from all over the world, focussing on complex and technical legal challenges as well as on human rights and political grounds. The Department has been involved in some of the most novel points of extradition law and has challenged requests from USA, Peru, Nigeria, Albania, Croatia and most other European Countries. It also advises on Mutual Legal Assistance and challenging Interpol Red Notices.

Chirag Patel - Partner, Head of Extradition and Deputy Head of Crime


Chirag Patel
Chirag Patel
Partner & Head of Extradition and Deputy Head of Crime

Ranking

Leader in the Field

Practice Areas

Chirag Patel practices in complex criminal defence and extradition law. He set up the Extradition Department at McMillan Williams in 2015 and heads a team of 11 talented lawyers. Chirag robustly and energetically challenges extradition requests and defends the rights of his clients with considerable success. Chirag also advises on Interpol Red Notices, their removal, Mutual Legal Assistance, and Human Rights. Recent highlights include representation in the only Nigerian extradition request (ongoing), being granted the first ever application for permission to appeal against extradition out of time, and securing discharge for a Requested Person allegedly involved in a €60million tax carousel fraud in Germany.

Career

Chirag qualified in 2003, obtained his Higher Rights of Audience in 2010 and was promoted to Partner in 2015.

Comments

Chirag Patel has "a very good way of breaking down something complicated and making it simple." Alongside his own work in extradition cases and appeals, he heads the extradition department and has been credited with "ensuring the firm maintains the highest of standards." One commentator notes: "He has a lovely manner with clients which means they have absolute trust in him."

David Siebler -  Partner, Crime & Extradition


David Siebler
David Siebler
Partner - Crime & Extradition

Ranking

Noted Practitioner

Practice Areas

David Siebler practices in crime and extradition and has experienced considerable success in defending extradition requests from various countries. He is extremely conscientious, meticulous to detail and hardworking. David has been a continuing part of the success of the McMillan Williams Extradition Department. He has represented clients on numerous issues. David continues to identify and successfully argue novel and emerging points, whilst maintaining a thorough knowledge of his area. Recent highlights include litigating in the Supreme Court analysis of “any other warrant” under section 2 Extradition Act 2003, and the interpretation of “charge” and “try” under section 12A.

Career

David qualified in 2003 and was promoted to Partner in 2016.

Comments

David Siebler is "an extremely well-organised and efficient solicitor," according to market commentators, who add that he "prepares his cases meticulously." He regularly appears as an advocate and has experience representing vulnerable clients.

Noam Almaz


Noam Almaz
Noam Almaz
Partner - Crime & Extradition

Ranking

Recognised Practitioner

Practice Areas

Noam is a senior crime and extradition solicitor with a background in serious crime. He has been working in extradition since 2005. Noam appears at Initial Hearings, Case Management and Review Hearings and conducts advocacy at his own Full Hearings, including the preparation of oral submissions and skeleton arguments. In the short time he has been at McMillan Williams, Noam has personally secured the discharge at full hearing of numerous clients. Noam always seeks to gather evidence from every conceivable source and leaves no stone unturned. He has identified many entirely novel points of law, which have been litigated to Supreme Court level and beyond. Renowned for his creativity and tenacity, Noam is fearless in the defence of each and every one of his clients.

Professional Memberships

Law Society Defence Extradition Lawyers Forum (DELF)

We Can Help

If you need representation in a criminal defence or an extradition case, our talented and specialist Crime and Extradition Solicitors are here to help you.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Young Detainee

Despite what some media outlets might suggest, UK detention facilities are no holiday camp for those spending time inside.

Whilst images have surfaced in the media showing inmates playing computer games and taking ‘group selfies’ that could well fool us into believing that there is enjoyment amongst those on the inside, no one has considered what it is like for those that are mistreated and harmed when their care is within the hands of the state, and what it would be like to loose the basic human rights that we are all granted.

What Happens When Detention Facilities Reach Capacity?

When detention facilities start to reach capacity, in a similar way to any institution that is designed to house human beings, the pressure on that institution, and the staff that work within it, increases. When capacity turns into over crowding, the ratio between the supervisors and the supervised becomes disproportionate, unsafe and creates an environment such that incidents occur which would normally have otherwise been prevented.
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. Whilst those that are detained may have to suffer the curtailment of certain rights, such as personal freedom and the right to vote, they are still entitled to share the benefit of and receive the protection of all other basic human rights, and in particular the rights to life and prohibition of torture. We must consider whether we are doing enough to protect the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

The Tragedy of Restraint Techniques

The issues surrounding the mistreatment of detainees was brought into the centre of media storm in April 2004 when Gareth Myatt, at the age of 15 years, became the first child to die in a privately run Secure Training Centre (a young offender’s institution equivalent to a prison). Gareth died after being restrained by three adult officers, under a Home Office and Youth Justice Board approved restraint technique known as the ‘seated double embrace’. Gareth weighed a mere six and a half stone. The restraints system, introduced in 1998, came with a promise that the use of it would be constantly reviewed, however a medical review into the use of restraints was ordered after Gareth’s death, and the ‘seated double embrace’ technique was withdrawn.

In August 2004 Adam Rickwood became the second individual to die in a privately run Secure Training Centre. Adam hanged himself, taking his own life, after being restrained by centre staff.
The mistreatment of detainees, especially those under the age of eighteen, is not a subject that has been greatly reported on, nor is it considered to be one of the major pressing issues of today’s society, a troubled child is more easy to pass by, Oliver Twist, and not Artful Dodger, got the happy ending.

Independent Review of Restraint in Juvenile Secure Settings

Following the tragic deaths of Gareth Myatt and Adam Rickwood, reports were commissioned and opinions were sought. One such report was the Independent Review of Restraint in Juvenile Secure Settings, commissioned in 2008. This was carried out by two social workers with many years’ experience in practice and management, and they attended, quite freely, many Secured Training Centres to speak directly with the children and staff on the topic of restraint.

Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint

The Ministry of Justice, followed up on the recommendations with a new behaviour management and restraint system known as Minimising and Managing Physical Restraint (MMPR). The aim of MMPR was to provide staff with the knowledge and ability to recognise certain behaviours in young people, and to use de-escalation and diversion strategies, through the application of behaviour management techniques to minimise the use of restraint. The report also highlighted that staff must be able to clearly demonstrate why restraint was necessary.

We have also seen the introduction of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, which brings in the construction of ‘Secure Colleges,’ in place of the Secured Training Centres, where the emphasis is on greater education for the young offenders for rehabilitation purposes.

Young and Vulnerable People are Still at Risk

The introduction of the MMPR, together with the Act, arguably demonstrates that the Government  has recognised the need to overhaul the rehabilitation of young offenders. It paints a picture that there will not be a reoccurrence of the tragic events that led to the death of the two young individuals.

However, when a copy of the MMPR was requested by charity Article 39, a largely redacted version was provided. The reasoning given for the large redaction was that the techniques used on young offenders, are also used on adult prisoners, and it was argued that disclosure of the manual will allow adult prisoners to develop counter measures against the techniques.

Changing Culture Takes Time

The report stated that ‘it is recognised that the required cultural change is expected to take a sustained period of time.’ However, many would argue that there has been no significant change in the way in which the human rights of detainees are being safeguarded and that the Secure Colleges are merely a cheaper and easier to run alternative to the Secured Training Centres as they are intended to house more offenders in one location than their predecessors.

Some believe that the new systems, and not the actual restraint techniques themselves, are what have been specifically designed for children.  It certainly raises the question “have we honoured the deaths of Gareth Myatt and Adam Rickwood?”. 

Only time will tell.

The Fight for Civil Liberties Goes On

At McMillan Williams, we strive to uphold the rule of law and challenge any abuse to the human rights of those who have been detained. We believe that as a nation, we must protect each other from those who seek to harm us or prevent us from enjoying all civil liberties, and whilst Government reports  bring much needed public scrutiny and awareness of the issue, there is still a way to go to ensure that we are fully protecting those that are detained by the state.

A special consideration should apply to those most vulnerable, such as the youth members of our society.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including vulnerable young people who find themselves detained in Secure Training Centres.

If you believe that your or a family members Human Rights have been breached and you wish to discuss the case with one of our experienced and dedicated Civil Liberties Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, announced a Review into Deaths in Police Custody after official figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) revealed a shocking rise in custody deaths.  At McMillan Williams, we welcome the Review and believe it is long overdue, the delay has been inexcusable, as has been the loss of life that has precipitated it.

However, we believe that if it is to make a difference, it must make a real attempt to bring about the accountability of the police, IPCC and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and their co-operation with bereaved families who demand a full and fair investigation into the death of their family members.

The current system suffers from systemic failures which we have witnessed first hand. For example, we represented the family in an Inquest where the police were criticised for a number of failures in locating a missing person before he was found dead and cases in which they have not properly understood mental health issues which we understand is an area of concern and will be within the scope of the Review.

On 30 April, Theresa May announced a major package of measures to reform the way the police use stop and search powers, particularly in their use against Ethnic Minorities. Many of our Lawyers are from Ethnic Minority backgrounds and as an employer we have been recognised for our Diversity, but more importantly we understand that Justice is a Birthright and fully support any reforms which combat inequality.

We hope that the Reforms and the Review will be thorough and comprehensive in getting to the root causes of these failures and make vigorous enquiries into why deaths in custody have risen in the last 5 years.

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