Infected Blood Inquiry: Lawyers Say Time Won’t Bar Prosecutions

Infected Blood Inquiry Lawyers Say Time Won't Bar Prosecutions
credit: telegraph

London (Parliament News) – The National Police Chiefs’ Council is reviewing the infected blood inquiry’s final report for potential prosecutions. Despite the time elapsed, lawyers believe there is sufficient evidence to pursue charges against culpable individuals and organizations.

Will infected blood inquiry lead to prosecutions?

A small team has begun looking at the infected blood inquiry’s final report on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, as lawyers expressed the time that has passed since the alleged transgressions should not be a bar to prosecutions.

Sir Brian Langstaff did not handle the issue of criminal liability in his report, as this fibs outside the remit of public inquiries, but his conclusions of NHS and government culpability, as well as a cover-up, including shredding of documents, have intensified calls for prosecutions.

Speaking after the publication of the report on Monday, many campaigners were cynical about the possibility of such a development, given the time elapsed. But, on Tuesday, cabinet minister Mel Stride told GB News that prosecutions would be examined “very carefully”, while the Guardian has discovered that the National Police Chiefs’ Council is examining Langstaff’s report.

David Claxton, a lawyer with Red Lion Chambers, stated: “It [the inquiry] has plainly been able to identify individuals and organisations which are at fault or culpable in one way or another. So I would have thought that there is enough evidence available to prosecute, provided that the individuals and organisations are identified sufficiently and in the case of individuals [they] are still around and in the case of organisations [they] still exist.”

What charges might arise from the infected blood inquiry?

Among the potential charges that have been mooted are corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and wrongdoing in public office. Claxton ruled out corporate manslaughter on the grounds that it was only presented in 2007 after the alleged offending occurred, but he stated there could also be health and safety offences with “some possibility to prosecute NHS Trusts, the NHS, government units, laboratories, for that sort of wrongdoing”.

Lord Saville, a former supreme court justice who headed the Bloody Sunday inquiry, said that prosecutions were “certainly conceivable”, while the ex-director of public prosecutions, Max Hill KC, said the station he was unable to express whether prosecutions were feasible, but that the criminal law could “deliver answers … even decades after the event”.

Can time elapsed prevent justice for infected blood scandal?

Claxton stated that while it was harder to prosecute charges when a long time had passed because less proof may exist, that may be less of a problem in the contaminated blood scandal as there was “plenty that the inquiry head has been able to rely on and to gather as evidence”.

In the cases of those individuals who have passed away, the inquiry’s conclusions have come too late for prosecutions.

After the publication of the report, Jason Evans, who established the Factor 8 campaign and who was four years old when his father passed after receiving blood contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C, called Prof Arthur Bloom, who led the Cardiff haemophilia Centre, and Dr Charles Rizza, head of the Oxford haemophilia reference centre, as medical professionals condemned in the report who could not be brought to justice because they had passed.

Langstaff stated it was “astonishing” and “unfathomable” that Bloom shade the risk posed by commercial blood products operated to treat haemophiliacs even after one of his own patients in Cardiff acquired Aids. He also criticised a joint letter Rizza transmitted along with Bloom to haemophilia centre directors, which Langstaff expressed “suggested that treatment should continue as before, despite the dangers of Aids in addition to hepatitis

Massimiliano  Verde

Massimiliano Verde is a journalist at Parliament News, He is covering Society and Culture News. Boasting a Master's Degree in Political Science, stands as a prominent figure in the Italian cultural landscape. His presidency of the Neapolitan Academy, a scientifically and sociolinguistically renowned group, attests to his relentless dedication to safeguarding and promoting Neapolitan language and culture. His activism and profound expertise have propelled him into the role of interlocutor for UNESCO as part of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), a prestigious acknowledgment highlighting the significance of his efforts in preserving the linguistic and cultural diversity of our planet.

Verde's fervent passion for the history and culture of Southern Italy has driven him to immerse himself in research, resulting in numerous essays and articles that delve into the peculiarities and beauties of the region. His commitment extends beyond academia, manifesting in ongoing dissemination activities aimed at acquainting the general public with the rich cultural heritage of the South. His endeavors transcend national boundaries, as evidenced by his participation in international conferences and collaboration with various foreign institutions, rendering him an ambassador of Southern culture on the global stage and fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.