Belfast Telegraph

Lawyer wants police to investigate Dunmurry Manor scandal

A senior Northern Ireland lawyer has called for the PSNI to investigate whether the senior management within the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust should stand trial following revelations at Dunmurry Manor Care Home.

Belfast law-firm KRW Law's Joe McVeigh made the call on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show on Thursday.

The South Eastern Trust allocated the majority of patients to Dunmurry Manor and were considered the "lead trust".

However they were not the only trust to allocate patients to the care home.

Mr McVeigh's call comes in the wake of the Commissioner for Older People in Northern Ireland's report into poor conditions and poor treatment of residents at Dunmurry Manor care home.

Among the shocking catalogue of deficiencies found at Dunmurry Manor was a failure to act over resident-on-resident sex abuse, elderly people left for hours in urine-soaked clothing, residents going without food and water and some going without medication for three weeks at a time.

In one particularly upsetting example of neglect uncovered by the Commissioner, a resident’s bone was exposed as a result of a pressure sore that had been left to fester.

An independent review will be carried out in relation to the actions of the Health and Social Care system's involvement in failings at the care home.

Mr McVeigh is demanding the PSNI investigate senior management within the South Eastern Trust to establish if they should stand trial for misfeasance in public office

"It's the offence that's used if police officers do something wrong, it applies to people holding public office i.e an MP or civil servant and it's a common law offence so there's no statute that covers it," Mr McVeigh said.

"In actual fact if you or don't do something and you cause damage to a person, whether you intended it or not, then you can fall foul. You can't recklessly go about your business as a person in public office.

"I think the offence is designed to deal with indifference, a person in public office, for example if a police officer stood and watched you drown in a puddle that would be misfeasance in public office."

He said that it was the duty of management not to send patients to Dunmurry Manor if they knew there were issues at the facility.

"If someone was aware that a place was unsafe and they redirected people from their home or fold or another care home into that care home then it raises a suspicion that there has been some form of misfeasance in public office," Mr McVeigh said.

"There may be other offences I'm not aware of, but that person, if they know that home is not safe really should be using their discretion to direct people away from it, not into it.

"The police in my view do have grounds, if that is the case, to investigate as it raises a suspicion."

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