Friday, January 22, 2010

Amazing British coverup of wrongdoing by officialdom

Even the judge in a serious criminal case has been refused access to the findings of an official inquiry into the matter

Care authorities have refused to allow a High Court judge to read a confidential report into their handling of two young brothers who sadistically tortured two children and left them for dead.

The report, prompted by an horrific attack on two children aged 9 and 11 in Edlington, near Doncaster, is said to reveal numerous failings by care professionals who dealt with the brothers and their violent family over years. A copy was leaked to the BBC, which says the report details 31 occasions on which nine different agencies failed to take action over the brother’s offending behaviour before the Edlington attack last April.

The brothers, who were aged 10 and 11 when the assault took place, will be sentenced today after jointly admitting grievous bodily harm, robbery and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

A request for a copy of the report was made by Sheffield Crown Court at the request of Peter Kelson, QC, representing the elder of the siblings, who had urged the judge, Mr Justice Keith, to read it before passing sentence. He said that a study of the boy’s case by a consultant child psychiatrist, Susan Bailey, had found “a causal link” between the failings of the care authorities and the brothers’ grotesque violence.

A request for a copy of the full serious case review was made on Wednesday to the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board, a multi-agency body including representatives from Doncaster Council, South Yorkshire Police and health agencies. Mr Justice Keith told the court yesterday: “I have been informed that I won’t be supplied with the document.”

The BBC has revealed that a shortened report that will be published after the boys are sentenced removes references to “very serious shortcomings” by care professionals and a failure “to comply with legal duties”.

Tim Loughton, the Conservatives’ spokesman for children, said there was serious concern that what really happened in the case would never come to light. “This adds to fears that we are witnessing a cover-up,” he said.

Mr Kelson told the court that Professor Bailey described the brothers’ home life as “toxic”. From the age of 9, the older boy had been smoking cannabis, drinking cider and vodka and watching ultra-violent and pornographic DVDs. It was a home characterised by “routine aggression, violence and chaos” and the boys had undergone a “lifelong, neglectful and abusive rearing experience”, according to Professor Bailey.

Mr Kelson said the psychiatric report showed that the help the older boy had been given by the care authorities was “too little, too late”. Proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes after the younger brother sobbed during the description of his home life.

Earlier the court heard that the brothers told police that they carried out the torture and sexual abuse because they were bored and “there was nothing to do”. They said they ended their attack only when their arms began to ache from the punches and stones they had thrown. A doctor who examined the more seriously injured victim, aged 11, said: “The outcome could have been fatal.”

Original report here

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