INQUEST informs vital House of Lords justice debates
4 November 2016
Lord Toby Harris referenced the work of INQUEST twice this week in the House of Lords, highlighting our role in keeping parliamentarians informed of our vital work with people facing a death in contentious circumstances.
In Wednesday’s debate on the Policing and Crime Bill, Lord Harris spoke in favour of an amendment – later withdrawn – to provide families with “parity of legal funding” in inquests following a death in the care of the state.
He told the House: “If it were not for charities like INQUEST, with which I have worked over the years, which provides support for such families and has a panel of lawyers to assist them, many families would essentially go unrepresented at inquests. Yet it is important that those families have the right to challenge the evidence being presented to make sure that they are satisfied that as far as possible, the truth has been obtained at the inquest.”
The following day, Lord Harris used information provided by INQUEST on the death of Levi Cronin at HMP Highpoint to question the Lords over self-inflicted deaths in prison. Listing the “inadequacies and failures” identified at the inquest into Levi’s death, he asked the House: “Exactly how does the Minister think it will be possible to deliver the sort of personalised care and support that are necessary in the absence of better staffing levels, which the announcement today does not seem likely to deliver?”
‘The decision to publish the Cass report is an extraordinary victory for INQUEST… Belatedly, it lifts another layer of camouflage from the secrets, lies and impunity that prevail in large sections of the British state and make such terrible events not merely possible but more likely…What INQUEST, Celia Stubbs and countless others around the world – say, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Disappeared in Argentina – keep reminding us is not just that the instincts of the powerful are wrong, but that they can also be defeated, however long it may take.’
– David Ransom, friend of Blair Peach and former editor of New Internationalist magazine