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Prisoners lose 'slop out' court bid

Two prisoners have lost a High Court claim that their human rights were breached by having to "slop out".

Rapists Roger Gleaves and Desmond Grant complained about having to use a bucket as a toilet when they served time at Albany prison on the Isle of Wight.

However a judge in London, rejecting their argument that their rights had been violated, said: "Having seen and heard the two claimants, I have no hesitation in saying that they have utterly failed to convince me that either has suffered any distress, anxiety, feelings of humiliation or other harm as a result of the sanitation regime at HMP Albany."

The Ministry of Justice contested actions brought by Gleaves, 79, and 30-year-old Grant, which, if successful, could have forced the Government to spend millions on upgrading old jails.

Gleaves, who said he is due to be released from prison in seven months, was present in court for the ruling. The convicted paedophile, who was given a 15-year sentence at the Old Bailey in 1998 for the rape of two 14-year-old boys, had told Mr Justice Hickinbottom that slopping out was "demeaning and utterly despicable".

Both Gleaves and Grant claimed their rights under Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights were violated by the prison conditions. Article 3 provides that no one "shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and Article 8 covers the right to a private and family life.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled that the conditions in HMP Albany "did not breach the claimants' rights under Article 3 or Article 8 of the Convention".

The judge said: "The sanitation regime at HMP Albany is no doubt capable of improvement. The defendant itself accepts that, even if prisoners are only obliged to urinate in a bucket rarely and defecate in one very rarely, the practice is not ideal. Ideally, all prisoners would be housed in cells with integral sanitation.

"However, this is not a general inquiry about the sanitation scheme at the prison, nor is it concerned with whether the regime at HMP Albany is capable of improvement and how. These are matters for others."

The judge ruled that the sanitation system at Albany "does not substantially interfere with the dignity or privacy of the prisoners, and does not interfere with the claimants' Article 8 rights".


From Belfast Telegraph