Top lawyers review unit abuse case after U-turn

A SPECTACULAR U-turn by prosecutors investigating the abuse of mentally disabled patients in a Doncaster hospital unit has been met with cynicism by a fed-up mother.

The Crown Prosecution Service has revealed a team of specialist lawyers will re-examine the decision not to take former Solar Centre health workers to court.

The shock move comes just two weeks after the CPS announced there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against the perpetrators.

Four members of staff at the unit, based at St Catherine’s Hospital in Balby, were found to have attacked patients between 2004 and 2007 in a confidential NHS report leaked to the Free Press.

But Kathy Milnes, whose son Richie, 31, was assaulted at the Solar Centre, has reacted sceptically to the latest development.

Prosecutors have already dropped the investigation twice in the last four years.

Former teacher Mrs Milnes, who is Richie’s full-time carer, is demanding more answers after receiving a letter from police on Friday telling her of the U-turn.

Mrs Milnes, of Avoca Avenue, Intake, said: “When we got the letter it was a ‘huh’ and shrug of the shoulders.

“Why weren’t criminal charges brought? Why wasn’t there enough evidence? According to the police there was enough evidence.

“Why has the CPS made a complete U-turn after two weeks? And who directed them to make it?

“It doesn’t really tell us anything. There are so many questions raised from the letter.”

It is believed the CPS, a publicly accountable body, agreed to review last month’s decision after concerns were raised to the region’s chief crown prosecutor Martin Goldman.

Now the case will be examined by its complex casework unit - the highest CPS legal team in Yorkshire and Humberside.

It has refused to put a timescale on a final decision.

It is understood the unit, which will consider all evidence from 2007, may come to the conclusion previously reached by officers.

Mr Goldman said: “The deputy chief crown prosecutor Naheed Hussain has carried out an initial assessment of the decisions taken in this matter.

“As a result it is clear to me that a full review of this case is now needed.”

The Free Press exclusively revealed how the Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health Trust (RDaSH) launched a probe into claims staff hit, threatened and humiliated patients, witheld food and drink, and drove patients to well-known sex spots for their amusement.

Health bosses concluded some of the abuse did happen and has paid compensation to two victims.