Rapists win compensation for emptying chemical toilet
MINISTERS were facing a new slopping out row yesterday after two convicted rapists were each awarded £500 damages for having to empty a chemical toilet.
It is believed thousands of similar claims are pending in courts throughout Scotland.
Seven years ago, a judge ruled in favour of a prisoner who complained of conditions in Glasgow's Barlinnie jail, especially having to use a chamber pot in a shared cell and being forced to empty it each morning, and awarded him 2,450.
That led to thousands of actions, and compensation running into many millions of pounds was paid by the Scottish Government on behalf of the Scottish Prison Service. In the latest cases, Robert Greens and Robert Stanger had a single cell in Peterhead prison and the use of a chemical toilet.
A judge rejected the fundamental accusation that such sanitary arrangements infringed the men's rights as being "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
Lady Dorrian also said the current regime in Peterhead, introduced in 2007, where work parties emptied the chemical toilets or "porta potties", did not amount to a breach of the inmates' rights to respect for their private life.
However, she held that the previous system, when the men had to queue up to empty their own toilet, was contrary to that right.
Lady Dorrian said: "I am also satisfied that this is a case in which damages should be paid in just satisfaction of the infringement, and I consider that the sum of 500 should be awarded to each of the prisoners."
Greens, 33, carried out the "brutal" assault and rape of a Dutch student near the historic Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian in 2005.
Dubbed "the Da Vinci rapist" because the chapel had featured in the best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code, Greens was jailed for ten years.
Stanger, 42, a fisherman from Stromness in Orkney, raped two women in his car on separate occasions when they were drunk.
After the first incident, he was released on bail but on condition he did not return to Orkney.
The condition was lifted when he challenged it, and he went on to commit the second attack.
He was jailed for eight years in 2005, and has been released on licence.
A third man, Thomas Wilson, 26, from Glasgow, also sought damages at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
He was given a sentence of six and a half years for rape, but as he had not gone to the prison at Peterhead until 2008, Lady Dorrian said he would receive no payment.
The men claimed the sanitary arrangements in Peterhead diminished their human dignity.They said they felt frustrated, worthless and degraded.
Lady Dorrian said that unlike the original Barlinnie slopping out case in 2004, none of the men in the actions before her had to share a cell.
In Peterhead, the evidence was of, overall, a humane regime.
However, the judge said when individuals had to slop out the chemical toilet themselves, and queue to do so, it constituted an interference with the respect for the petitioners' private life.
Catalogue of complaints by killers
* In 2005 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that UK legislation preventing convicted prisoners form voting was a breach of human rights.
* In 2007 Stewart Potter, serving 21 years in Glenochil prison, argued that the pre-recorded message alerting recipients the caller was making the call from a prison was a breach of his human rights under Article 8 of the European Convention right to "respect for his private life, his home and his correspondence."
Lord Glennie found in his favour but this decision was set aside by the appeal court.
In February, MPs voted in favour of retaining the current ban on giving prisoners the vote, however the European court ordered otherwise and has given the government until October to comply.
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