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CPS statement on men convicted of prison mutiny following Ford Prison riot

02/03/2012

CPS South East senior lawyer Simon Ringrose said:

"This was a serious and prolonged incident of disorder. The inmates involved caused substantial damage to prison property and it was pure good fortune that no-one was seriously hurt. The local community and the wider public were naturally concerned by the sight of prison buildings on fire and inmates effectively taking control of the prison. Prison staff were intimidated and threatened as were those inmates who did not take part, some of whom were trying to put the fires out. A number of witnesses gave evidence describing the fear and distress of being present during this incident.

"Sussex police conducted a thorough investigation and gathered a substantial amount of evidence, which had to be reviewed. This included eye witness accounts from a number of inmates and prison staff. As a result of this, a number of suspects were identified by description and identification procedures and were subsequently charged with involvement in the disturbance.

"This case could not have been prosecuted without the support and evidence from witnesses who were inmates at the time. The fact that these men were prepared to give evidence demonstrates the seriousness of this incident and I would like to recognise their courage in coming forward. The prosecution team also received the total support of HM Prison Service in putting this case together and this assistance was crucial in ensuring that all relevant evidence was gathered and presented to the court.

"People can be reassured that incidents of this kind are viewed with the utmost seriousness and where there is sufficient evidence, the public interest will almost inevitably require a prosecution."

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