Deepcut deaths: Fresh inquest into death of Private Sean Benton to begin

24 January 2018

A fresh inquest into the death of Private Sean Benton – who was found dead at Deepcut barracks in 1995 – will begin at Woking Coroner’s Court today. 

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Two decades after Sean Benton died, let's hope 2018 brings the answers his family deserve

For Sean’s family, for those who served at Deepcut barracks, for everyone who wants people who fight for their country to be treated with the respect they deserve, we hope the new Coroner can finally uncover the truth about what happened to Sean Benton.

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Government to scrap archaic loophole that lets Armed Forces Commanding Officers investigate sexual assaults themselves

13 December 2017

The Government has quietly announced a major change to the law that will stop Commanding Officers in the Armed Forces investigating soldiers’ allegations of sexual assault themselves – but they still won’t have to refer complaints to civilian police.

The proposed changes to the Armed Forces Act 2006 come after years of campaigning by soldiers, bereaved families and Liberty – and after Liberty threatened the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with legal action on behalf of a serving soldier if it failed to close the loophole.

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Smoke and mirrors at the MoD

Liberty's Emma Norton on why the Ministry of Defence's proposed compensation scheme is about protecting itself, not soldiers.

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Attorney General grants permission for fresh Deepcut inquest application

25 March 2014

Today the Attorney General gave consent for Liberty, acting on behalf of the family of Cheryl James, to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into her death. Cheryl, 18, was undergoing initial training at Deepcut Barracks in 1995 when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose.

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Plans for a new Armed Forces Ombudsman fatally flawed

13 March 2014

Today the Secretary of State for Defence announced plans to create a Service Complaints Ombudsman to oversee the Armed Forces’ justice system. Liberty has long called for a properly independent and adequately empowered Armed Forces Ombudsman. The human rights group condemned today’s proposals as an Ombudsman in name only as the powers for this office are far too weak to provide much needed robust independent oversight.

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My HRA: Richard and Gillian Rabone

Given the most recent attacks on our post-war human rights framework, it’s fitting that this week marks the final instalment in our Common Values blog series showcasing the importance of the Human Rights Act. Today we focus on Richard and Gillian Rabone, who turned to the legislation after daughter Melanie committed suicide after being negligently allowed to leave hospital.

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My HRA: Verna Bryant

Today’s entry in our Common Values blog series on our new short films, showcasing the importance of the Human Rights Act, focuses on Liberty client Verna Bryant. Her daughter, mother-of-one Naomi, was killed by convicted sex offender Anthony Rice while he was on licence from prison in 2005.

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Metropolitan Police’s heavy restraint of severely autistic and epileptic child ‘unjustifiable’

14 February 2013

Today the Court of Appeal ruled that “nothing could justify” the way in which seven Metropolitan Police officers heavily restrained a severely autistic and epileptic child – known as “ZH” – while he visited a local swimming pool.

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State sanctioned abuse

Yesterday in the High Court some extraordinarily brave women were told that their human rights claims against the Metropolitan Police will have to be heard in the secretive Investigatory Powers Tribunal. These women were all the subject of undercover policing that involved sexual encounters with police officers - in many cases these encounters became long term intimate relationships. The exposure of this police tactic has caused enormous embarrassment to the Met - hence their eagerness to have the claims heard in secret, without the women being allowed to hear the evidence and without a right of appeal. Thankfully the High Court yesterday ordered that other important parts of the claims could remain in the open High Court.

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