Par­ents face a fur­ther le­gal bat­tle over son’s ‘avoid­able’ mur­der

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS 15 - BY LEON SY­MONS

A COU­PLE who have fought for five years for jus­tice for their mur­dered son will have to face the full might of the gov­ern­ment at a House of Lords ap­peal next month.

Ir­win and Corinne Van Colle have al­ready won two judg­ments against Hert­ford­shire Po­lice in the High Court and the Court of Ap­peal. On both oc­ca­sions, judges de­cided that the po­lice force had failed to pro­tect their son Giles, who was mur­dered by one of his for­mer em­ploy­ees in Novem­ber, 2000.

Next month, the cou­ple, who live in North Lon­don, face what could be the fi­nal round in their long fight, be­gun in 2003, to prove that their son died un­nec­es­sar­ily, when Hert­ford­shire Po­lice will ask the law lords to over­turn the judg­ments made against them.

But this time, Hert­ford­shire Po­lice will not be alone in chal­leng­ing the de­ci­sions, since the law lords have given per­mis­sion for the Home Of­fice to make an in­ter­ven­tion in the hear­ing. This means it will be able to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions about what it be­lieves will be the im­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery po­lice force in the coun­try if the Ap­peal Court de­ci­sion is up­held.

While he would not com­ment ahead of the House of Lords hear­ing, Mr Van Colle said af­ter their Court of Ap­peal judg­ment last year: “This will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the pub­lic sec­tor. The wel­fare of wit­nesses will be bet­ter served than be­fore, which will help to pro­tect many from in­tim­i­da­tion. Our case has clar­i­fied the law, and though we will suf­fer his loss for the rest of our lives, Giles’s death was not in vain.”

Mr Van Colle was just 25 when he was mur­dered in Novem­ber, 2000, by for­mer em­ployee Daniel Brougham. The young op­ti­cian was due to give ev­i­dence in a theft case against Brougham and had told the of­fi­cer in charge of the case, Det Con David Ri­d­ley, that Brougham had threat­ened his life. But the po­lice­man did noth­ing to pro­tect Mr Van Colle.

Mr and Mrs Van Colle sued Hert­ford­shire Con­stab­u­lary un­der hu­man­rights leg­is­la­tion and won a judg­ment by Mrs Jus­tice Cox that Hert­ford­shire po­lice should have acted to pro­tect their son. They were also awarded £50,000 dam­ages, al­though the cou­ple made it clear that their de­ci­sion to pur­sue Hert­ford­shire was not about money.

Hert­ford­shire ap­pealed and, al­most ex­actly a year ago, three Ap­peal Court judges, led by Mas­ter of the Rolls Sir An­thony Clark, said they agreed unan­i­mously with Mrs Jus­tice Cox’s de­ci­sion. They con­curred that Hert­ford­shire had breached Mr Van Colle’s hu­man rights by fail­ing to pro­tect him from his killer. How­ever, they halved the mone­tary award.

Now Hert­ford­shire has one last throw of the dice at the high­est court in the land. If the law lords de­cide for the Van Colles, Hert­ford­shire can go no fur­ther. If Hert­ford­shire wins, though, Mr and Mrs Van Colle can take the case to the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights in Stras­bourg.

Giles Van Colle was killed by one of his for­mer em­ploy­ees

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