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Islington Council taken to court by convicted paedophile arsonist

PUBLISHED: 11:12 07 March 2012 | UPDATED: 12:22 08 March 2012

The case has reached the high court

The case has reached the high court

Archant

A convicted paedophile and arsonist has taken Islington Council to the High Court because he claims it has violated his human rights by refusing to support him.

The 24-year-old, whose identity is protected by a court order, is currently in prison after admitting a litany of offences – including sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl, witness intimidation, arson and burglary.

But, as his release date nears, Islington Council has found itself locked in a bitter legal battle with Northamptonshire County Council over who should take the burden of a potential lifetime of support to manage his risk to the public.

The man, who was caged in 2007, lived under both local authorities after being taken into care as a child but has written a letter from jail expressing his wish to return to Islington on his release.

However, Islington social services have eschewed responsibility for him, claiming the borough is “not his place of ordinary residence”.

Neither is Northamptonshire prepared to fund the man’s care and he cannot be released until the dispute is resolved.

In a bid to break the stand-off, he took Islington to the High Court last week, claiming its refusal to assess him for social care is a violation of his human rights.

His barrister, Felicity Williams, told the court: “Under Article 8 [of the Human Rights Convention] the claimant has a right to private and family life, and public authorities have a positive duty to protect that right.

“In this case, that includes his ability to establish a home and a private life and re-integrate into the community.”

She also said he was entitled to be free from discrimination and added: “In failing to protect the claimant’s rights to liberty and private life, the defendant (Islington) does not protect him from discrimination.”

The court heard a psychologist found he has “significant intellectual impairment” and his IQ was assessed as being in the bottom 0.4 per cent of the population.

She said he needs “strong, solid support” if his risk to the public is to be managed and recommended supported accommodation and a dedicated social worker.

Islington insists it is not required to carry out an assessment because there is no “current need for care and attention” while he is in prison.

A verdict on the case is expected in the next few months after Mr Justice Sales reserved his decision on the matter.


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