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Refusal of inter-prison visits does not breach human rights

O’Neill and Lauchlan v Scottish Ministers (2015) CSOH

The Outer House of the Court of Sessions in Scotland has dismissed challenges brought by two convicted paedophiles to the Scottish Prison Service’s decision to deny inter-prison visits. 

The applicants brought the judicial review after making several unsuccessful requests to visit one another in accordance with rule 63(8) of the Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules 2011 which permits a prisoner to visit a fellow prisoner in a different prison in ‘exceptional circumstances’. 

The applicants argued that as they were in a relationship, prior to incarceration, the refusal to deny contact violated their Article 8 ECHR rights and that they had suffered discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. 

The Court considered that the relationship the applicants had together was not of sufficient quality to engage Article 8.  Their brief periods of liberty had been focused on finding victims to groom and sexually abuse and therefore the Court held that their ‘relationship’ was ‘so negative that it cannot engage family life as that concept should be understood.’   

The Court concluded by rejecting the applicants’ claim of discrimination on the basis of insufficient evidence to prove that they had been discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality at any stage of the process. 

Read commentary from UK Human Rights Blog here

Prisoners' Rights