The mother of young offender Joseph Scholes won the first round of
her legal battle for a public inquiry into his death this
Yvonne Scholes, whose 16-year-old son committed suicide at Stoke
Heath young offender institution in 2002, told the High Court he
should not have been sent there given his extreme vulnerability and
history of suicide attempts.
Mr Justice Newman declared her 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
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.
Scholes’s counsel, Tim Owen, said the “failure to take reasonable
steps” to prevent Joseph killing himself amounted to a violation of
his right to life under the European Convention on Human
Owen told the court that the Shropshire institution had been
“unable to meet Joseph’s complex needs” and that a pre-sentence
report had recommended a community punishment.