Sex offender compensated after administrative blunder

Posted: 31st July 2012

A dangerous sex offender has won damages from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after his human rights were violated in an administrative blunder.

Russell Haynes was jailed in 2008 after he admitted two counts of indecent assault and taking and distributing indecent photos of children. He received a five-year sentence - two years in custody and three on extended licence – after the sentencing judge ruled that he was a dangerous offender.

Haynes was also banned from working with children for life.

He was released on licence in April 2009, but was recalled to prison in June that year after he was seen close to the scene of the offences. He was freed again at the end of August 2009 after spending an additional two months in custody.

At the High Court, Haynes made ‘systemic complaints’ about the manner in which he was recalled to prison. Prior to the hearing of the case, the MoJ had accepted that, due to an ‘administrative error’, he had not formally been told why he had been taken back into custody and apologised to him.

Lawyers representing the MoJ argued that the apology and the acknowledgment of the error were enough to afford Haynes ‘just satisfaction’. However Deputy High Court Judge John Leighton Williams QC disagreed and awarded Haynes £1,500 damages for the admitted breach of his human rights.

Haynes had been ‘strongly advised’ not to return to the area where he committed the offences after his first release. However, the judge described the delay in telling him the reasons for his recall to prison as ‘appalling’.

Ruling that Haynes would have suffered ‘distress’ at being kept in the dark about the reasons for his recall, the judge said: ‘On the facts of this case, I do not consider that the acknowledgment and apology, which have been very late in coming, are just satisfaction. I consider an award of £1,500 appropriate.’