The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has launched a “full review” of its failure to prosecute any of the NHS staff accused of abusing 18 disabled people in a day centre.
Two weeks ago, the CPS agreed to re-examine its decision not to proceed with any charges over the alleged abuse at the Solar Centre in Doncaster.
Now Martin Goldman, the chief crown prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside, said he had seen an “initial assessment” of the decisions the CPS had taken in the case and “as a result it is clear to me that a full review of this case is now needed”.
The review will be carried out by the CPS complex casework unit, with lawyers considering all the evidence “completely fresh”.
A CPS spokeswoman said the decision to review the case had been taken following concerns raised by Disability News Service (DNS) and relatives of former users of the day centre.
Adrian Milnes, step-father of Richie Rowe, one of the disabled men allegedly abused at the day centre, said: “Obviously, we are all hoping for charges and a prosecution but by no stretch of the imagination am I going to be applauding the police or the CPS if we do get a prosecution.
“The first question I will be asking is: ‘Why did it take so long? Why were so many mistakes made in the previous five years?’”
DNS has also passed to the CPS a series of concerns over action that may not have been taken by the force that has twice examined the abuse allegations, South Yorkshire police.
An internal NHS investigation, which reported on the Solar Centre allegations in 2008, found evidence of 44 incidents between 2005 and 2007, involving abuse of 18 people with learning difficulties and high support needs.
The report by the trust which runs the day centre, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), makes it clear that nine members of staff claimed they witnessed abuse.
DNS has questioned why no charges have been possible when RDaSH appears to have taken at least nine witness statements, which seem to show there is clear evidence against three former members of staff.
6 October 2011