Handcuffed Daniel Roque Hall being taken to prison
Published: 27 September, 2012
EXCLUSIVE by TOM FOOT
THE Chief Inspector of Prisons has launched an independent investigation into the care of a severely disabled man being kept under guard at University College Hospital.
Nick Hardwick CBE has written to campaigners fighting to uphold the human rights of former Beckford Primary School pupil Daniel Roque Hall.
He said: “We are seeking information about Mr Hall’s treatment and care and will consider what further action we can take in the light of that.”
Mr Hall – who suffers from chronic illness and has been given a handful of years to live – deteriorated dramatically after being taken to Wormwood Scrubs prison in July.
Days after a judge ruled his 24-hour care needs could be met by the prison authorities he was taken to UCH by ambulance and was admitted to intensive care.
This week, Wormwood Scrubs prison officers refused to release a specially-adapted stand-up wheelchair, bought by the family, despite urgent calls from his consultant.
Mr Hall, 30, is serving a three-and-a-half year sentence after 2.8 kilos of cocaine – worth about £350,000 – were found stashed in the back of his wheelchair. He was returning on a flight from Peru but at his sentencing the court heard Mr Hall was “vulnerable”, had been “groomed” and could not have acted alone.
The decision to send a man needing round-the-clock care to prison will be contested at a High Court judicial review hearing in December. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has put a senior lawyer on the case.
Mr Hall suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia, an inherited disease that causes damage to the nervous system. He is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, hypotension, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, leg and back spasms causing insomnia and a spastic bladder.
His condition is so complex his friends said it was not uncommon for him to wake 12 times a night needing assistance. He is not expected to live beyond the age of 40.
His supporters stress the absurdity of stationing three prison guards around the hospital bed of a man who cannot walk unaided.
Mr Hall’s mother, Anne, who lives in Willesden, said her son was recovering slowly in hospital.
“Daniel did not have good days or nights on Friday and Saturday as his toxicity level went higher and it makes his mood very low,” she said.
“His vision is worse – he has less ability to control his eyes and keep an image steady – but I’m hoping that will improve as he gets stronger. Until he is stronger and his heart rate steady he won’t be able to have exercise to rehabilitate.
“He wants to see a clinical psychologist and that’s the first time Daniel has ever wanted to talk to anyone about how he feels. What he wants to talk about mainly is prison – it was horrific for him.”
A Prison Service spokesman said the department would not comment on individual cases, adding: “The claimant’s allegations are currently before the courts and will be resolved in that forum.
“We have a duty of care to those sentenced to custody by the courts. As part of that duty of care, we ensure that prisoners have access to the same level of NHS services as those in the community.”
Supporters of Mr Hall have set up a petition at www.gopetition.com/petitions/justice-for-daniel-roque-hall.html