The mother of Joseph Scholes has this week won the first round
of her legal battle for a public inquiry into the
16-year-old’s death, writes Maria
Yvonne Scholes, whose son Joseph committed suicide at Stoke Heath
Young Offender Institution in March 2002, told the High Court this
week that he should not have been sent there given his extreme
vulnerability and history of self-harm and suicide attempts.
Her QC, Tim Owen, said the “failure to take reasonable
steps” to prevent Joseph killing himself amounted to a
violation of his right to life under Article 2 of the European
Convention on Human Rights.
Owen told the court that Stoke Heath YOI had been “unable
to meet Joseph’s complex needs” and that a pre-sentence
report had recommended a community punishment.
Mr Justice Newman declared Scholes’ case
“arguable,” opening the way for her to mount a full
judicial review challenge to the Home Secretary’s refusal to
order a public inquiry into her son’s death.
The judge said there was a “strong public interest
element” in the case and directed a full hearing to take
place as soon as possible, expected to be in October.