Firm fails to stop compensation bid

A WORKSOP firm has failed to stop two prison officers making compensation claims for unfair dismissal against sacking them for allegedly assaulting a prisoner.

Saturday, 15th December 2012, 4:56 pm

G4S Care & Justice Services (UK) Ltd, based on Carlton Road, Worksop, which provides prison staff, objected against the case going ahead at Birmingham Employment Tribunal.

The 21-year-old prisoner was alleged to have been pushed and pulled from a cell by his shirt and struck by three prison officers at Birmingham Prison.

The incident was revealed as two of the sacked prison officers, Andrew Mountford and Paul Perry, were told they could go ahead with a full tribunal hearing for compensation claims for unfair dismissal.

Nicholas Sheppard, representing the respondents, applied to have the compensation claims struck out because he alleged the G4S employees had little or no prospect of winning their claims.

He said: “This was an incident involving serious misconduct. The prisoner was upset and agitated and made a complaint and an investigation was carried out.”

Tribunal judge Helen Harding was shown CCTV footage. The prisoner was seen to put a leg on a table during a family visit and was later led to another room where the footage showed him being searched by the three prison officers.

The tribunal was told that the search had been necessary after the family visit because drugs or other substances could have been concealed in the prisoner’s trousers when he put his leg on the table.

Mr Perry had been a prison officer for eight years and Mr Mountford for seven years.

Both had an unblemished record and deny the allegations. They said the prisoner became violent and said they put up their hands to defend themselves and tried to calm him down.

Miss Harding told the claimants they could go ahead with their claims at a full hearing.

She said the CCTV footage had not made it clear exactly what happened and there had been no sound track, adding that a lot more evidence was needed.

A G4S spokesman said: “We are satisfied that in this case, our internal investigation and the subsequent appeal reached the right conclusion. We believe that where there is reasonable doubt over a member of staff’s commitment to the safety of those in their care, we must take action, and we await the full hearing in March.”