Site Meter

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paedophile's writ over smoke in cells affecting his human rights could cost taxpayers £16m

Paedophile's writ over smoke in cells affecting his human rights could cost taxpayers £16m

Aug 28 2011 Exclusive by Mark Aitken, Sunday Mail

PAEDOPHILE Mahmood Qadri’s anti-smoking writ could end up costing Scots taxpayers up to £16million.

The pervert, jailed for seven years for abusing two young girls at the mosque where he worked, claims his “human dignity” has been infringed by passive smoking behind bars.

Papers lodged at Glasgow Sheriff Court claim he suffered “significant and prolonged physical and mental distress” after being forced to share a cell with smokers.

Qadri, 63, wants £10,000 compensation and human rights experts last night warned his test case, if successful, could lead to a flood of claims from non-smoking inmates.

There are an estimated 1600 non-smokers among Scotland’s 7800 prison population. If they are awarded similar compensation, the final bill could top £16million.

Qadri is being represented by lawyer Tony Kelly, who has already helped prisoners win millions after claiming the practice of slopping-out breached their human rights.

Since Robert Napier won his test case against slopping-out at Glasgow’s Barlinnie prison, inmates have claimed a total of £11million. Qadri says he suffered “mental anguish” while in prison in Edinburgh and Dumfries and that his health was affected.

He has now launched a civil action and applied for legal aid funding.

Top human rights lawyer John Scott said: “This was bound to come up, particularly after the smoking ban and an increasing intolerance of passive smoking.

“Slopping out affected hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners and this has the potential to affect similar numbers.

“The main reason for this happening is overcrowding. If our prisons weren’t so ridiculously overcrowded, you wouldn’t have so much sharing of cells between smokers and non-smokers.

“No one likes seeing compensation money being given to prisoners. We would much rather see money spent on sorting out problems in prisons.”

Leading QC Paul McBride said: “I suspect many prisoners will jump on this. This is like prisoners seeking compensation for slopping or being denied the right to vote.

“A spectacular amount of money is being given to serial criminals when law-abiding members of the public are feeling the pinch.

“This is an example of why Scotland should have its own bill of rights, instead of following the European Convention of Human Rights provisions, which are ruining this country financially.”

Qadri, an ex-mosque teacher, says he made several complaints about having to share cells with smokers at prisons in Edinburgh and Dumfries but “no prompt action” was taken to resolve the issue.

His court papers claim: “At times he found it difficult to breathe.

“The smoke caused him to cough, he found it difficult to sleep and would hold his blanket over his face at night to try to avoid breathing in the smoke. The pursuer found it extremely ­uncomfortable and distressing to be ­subjected for such ­considerable periods of time to passive smoking.

“He suffered significant physical and mental distress due to prolonged periods of exposure to passive smoking.”

Qadri is awaiting a decision on whether he has secured legal aid before a date can be fixed for any future hearing.

The fiend was convicted three years ago of abusing his young victims during Koran lessons at Edinburgh’s Polwarth Mosque. He had been due to appear at the High Court in 2005 but headed to Pakistan claiming he was doing charity work. He was eventually caught in Germany.

Jailing him, Judge John Morris QC told him: “I am concerned that young children are protected from you.”

Qadri’s compensation bid follows a European Court of Human Rights ruling in favour of a murderer in Romania.

Anesti Elefteriadis claimed his health was damaged over six years locked up with three smokers. He was awarded £3450. Scottish ministers are battling Qadri’s compensation claim.

A government spokesman said: “This is an operational matter for the Scottish
Prison Service. Any challenge would be vigorously defended.”

A prison service spokesman added: “We make every effort to ensure non-smokers are not forced to share cells with smokers but it is not always possible.”

Comment: The Scottish Prison Service cannot defend the indefensible, that is, placing a non smoker in a cell with a smoker. I would advise making an offer of £3,500 in a full and final settlement. The court should also make an order to prevent this happening again.

The two girls should sue for damages @ £1,750 each from Mahmood Qadri.

Paul McBride QC, is talking out of his backside, just like David Cameron, on the issue of a separate Bill of Rights. And it is dishonest of him to blame the European Convention of Human Rights for the economic decline.


richard said...

Is a prison not a public building, John?

jailhouselawyer said...

Richard: It is save for the cells which are deemed to be private. In the past the cells were deemed to be public when it came to prosecuting for homosexuality. Now when it suits the department...