Petitioners: Clare Glassman, from campaign group Winvisible, left, Bruce Kent, Daniel’s mother Anne Hall, Sue Millman, John McDonnell MP and, right, an officer from the Ministry of Justice
Published: 26 October, 2012
by TOM FOOT
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to overturn a decision to send a severely disabled man to prison say they will bring manslaughter charges against governors if he dies on their watch.
The suggestion was made by the co-founder of CND, Bruce Kent, at a demonstration in support of Daniel Roque Hall outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday (Thursday).
Mr Hall, who suffers from a range of chronic incurable conditions, was rushed to intensive care in University College Hospital after a few days in Wormwood Scrubs. He remains in hospital.
His supporters say the prison service is woefully under-resourced and cannot meet his complex care needs. The 30-year-old is not expected to live beyond his 40th birthday.
Mr Kent said: “If he had died in prison you could try the governors for manslaughter. I think this is the biggest possible scandal. He certainly cannot be cared for in prison. This is an abuse of public office.”
Mr Hall pleaded guilty to drug-smuggling charges after 2.8 kilos of cocaine – street value around £250,000 – was found concealed in the back of his wheelchair. The court heard Mr Hall, who cannot walk unaided and spends most of his day in a wheelchair, had been “groomed and manipulated” and could not have acted alone.
His condition is said to be stable after he deteriorated rapidly in Wormwood Scrubs after being sent there in July.
Mr Hall’s mother Anne, speaking powerfully and spontaneously through a megaphone, said: “My son’s life will not be sacrificed for the pride of officials and politicians. I know my son cannot go back to prison.”
Labour MP John McDonnell, also at the demonstration yesterday, said: “The punishment should be proportionate to the circumstances. Beyond that it’s inhumane. This is not meant to be a death sentence.”
He has set up a Early Day Motion calling on the home secretary to “show compassion to Daniel Roque Hall by allowing him to serve the rest of his sentence at home where he can receive appropriate care and medical support”.
Glenda Jackson MP has also called for the home secretary to intervene in his case.
A petition of almost 1,500 signatures, handed in to the MoJ offices, includes those of a former chief inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbotham and the chief executive of the charity Ataxia UK Sue Millman.
She told the protest that Mr Hall’s degenerative condition meant that “the prison cannot care for him”.
A judge has refused a judicial review into Mr Hall’s time in prison but campaigners are appealing the decision.
• The campaign is growing and to get involved Daniel visit http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-daniel-roque-hall.html