Allowing secure training centre staff to restrain young offenders for the purposes of “good order and discipline” is a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights, the Court of Appeal heard last week.
A test case brought by a young person, known as AC, and backed by campaign group Inquest, claims the Ministry of Justice’s change to secure training centre (STC) rules last summer violated three convention rights, including the right not to be subjected to torture or inhuman treatment.
Previously, restraint could be used only to prevent trainees escaping, significantly harming themselves or others, or damaging property.
Representing AC, who was remanded to an STC although charges were later dropped, Patrick O’Connor QC said the change constituted a “substantial widening” of the circumstances in which restraint, including deliberately inflicting pain, could be used.
In February, in the same case, the High Court ruled the MoJ breached legal duties to consult children’s commissioner for England Al Aynsley-Green and to carry out a race equality impact assessment on the rule change, but did not violate the rights convention.
The Appeal Court has reserved judgement on the case.