Acquitted of prison knife attack
We acted for a prisoner charged with inflicting GBH with intent (s18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861) on another prisoner. He was accused of using a blade to slash the other person's face.
The victim gave a statement to police, naming our client as his assailant, saying that he slashed him twice across the face. He said that our client said, “You deserved it.” The victim needed 27 stitches. Our client was immediately detained by prison officers, one of whom stated he saw our client with a blade. Our client was permitted to go to the toilet and the prosecution alleged that he had flushed the blade down the toilet.
Our client’s case was that he was present when the assault took place but it was in fact another inmate who had been responsible. He said that he did not have a blade on him, but he did have a mobile phone and it was that which he flushed down the toilet as it is a criminal offence to possess one in jail. He was not prepared to name the actual assailant.
The prosecution case was that either no one else witnessed the attack or, due to prison culture, no one was prepared to assist in the investigation. Our client identified a number of persons who had been present at prayer who might assist. We traced two of these people who confirmed that our client was not the attacker. Further enquiries established that our client’s clothes had not been seized so it was not possible to comment on whether they had blood on them and that one witness had told prison officers that our client was not involved. This information was only provided to us when we made full enquiries.
The victim did not attend trial but the prosecution were allowed to read his statement to the jury. Furthermore the jury was told that our client had previous convictions for GBH, possession of a bladed article and conveying articles into prison.
Notwithstanding the difficulties our client faced it took the jury only 90 minutes to unanimously acquit him.
Aysha Moore prepared our client’s case and instructed Jonas Milner of 2 Bedford Row.