Tag: child abuse

NHS: £832,711 Sexual Harassment Pay-Out

A sexual harassment tribunal has awarded landmark compensation of £832,711 to the former HR Director of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. The court ruling acknowledged that over a period of four years, Mrs Marks had been sexually harassed, victimised, and unfairly dismissed. One male senior member of staff has resigned.

“Devoted lover and friend”

Alan Baines, the then Chairman of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, befriended Helen Marks in July 2010. In March 2012, Mr Baines invited Mrs Marks for drinks to celebrate her upcoming marriage to another man. At the meeting, Mr Baines hugged her and expressed his love, but Mrs Marks put his remarks down to well wishes. Mr Baines would go on to write love letters and compose text messages to Mrs Marks, declaring himself to be her “devoted lover and friend”.

The situation escalated in March 2013, when a male colleague bought a glass of wine for Mrs Marks at a staff party. Mr Baines became jealous, and sent a barrage of text messages to Mrs Marks accusing her of conducting an extra-marital relationship. Mr Baines also threatened to tell Mrs Marks’ husband of the alleged affair. Around this time, Mr Baines received a work-related complaint about Mrs Marks, and took the decision to have her escorted from the building without explanation.

Peter Marks, husband of Mrs Marks, said:

“It was Kafkaesque, it was like being on trial, but with no telling you what you were accused of.”

Sexual harassment tribunal

Mrs Marks took legal advice and launched an employment tribunal. Professor Steve Trenchard, Chief Executive of the Trust, allowed Mr Baines to resign with his name intact (Prof Trenchard was himself later suspended on full pay for colluding with Mr Baines on the termination of Mrs Marks’ contract – he received a £75k pay-off to walk away from his post). The sexual harassment tribunal ruled that Mr Baines’ actions had been devised to “violate her dignity and create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment for her”.

Other key statements from the tribunal include:

“We are satisfied that Professor Trenchard and Mr Baines colluded in an attempt to dismiss the claimant or alternatively obtaining her resignation.”

“There was not a shred of evidence to suggest that at any stage she had indicated that she would be willing to enter into a sexual relationship with him.”

After hearing about the pay-off received by Prof Trenchard, Pauline Latham, Mid Derbyshire MP, commented:

“I cannot understand or believe he has received such a payout when the tribunal has ruled what he did. He should not have had a payoff. That is wrong. And on top of that figure there is the £90,000 he has received whilst suspended. The Trust needs to ask itself some serious questions.”

“I feel totally vindicated”

Following the tribunal’s findings, Helen Marks commented:

“I feel totally vindicated in pursuing the action.

“I hope that the Trust will learn from its mistakes and make appropriate changes to its policies and procedures so that, in future, its staff are not subjected to similar behaviour.

“I would like to thank my family, friends and former colleagues for their support during a very stressful period that I now wish to put behind me as I look to the future.”

If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment or sexual abuse, speak to our expert team of solicitors today. We offer you a FREE and confidential consultation, during which we will listen carefully to the details of your situation and provide you with tailored legal guidance and support. For your free consultation, and to discover how we could help you, contact us today on 0800 888 6 888, or email info@hh-law.co.uk

Derby Telegraph

Merseyside Police Officer Dismissed over Misconduct

An officer working for Merseyside Police force has been dismissed, following an internal hearing today in which he pleaded guilty to making numerous sexual advances towards domestic abuse victims.

Mr Michael McMillan, from Crosby, had been an officer for the force since 2003 and at the time of the offences was part of their Family Crime Investigation Unit.

Liverpool Crown Court

The PC had previously entered guilty pleas when faced with five counts of misconduct at Liverpool Crown Court. Mr McMillan pleaded guilty last month to five allegations that he “wilfully misconducted himself by making contact with a member of the public… who he had met in the course of his duty as a Police Constable, for his own sexual purposes”.

However, today the former officer faced an internal disciplinary hearing in which Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy condemned him as the ‘worst kind’ of officer. The Chief Constable said at the hearing:

“I have been chief constable for six years. I have consistently made clear that I will not tolerate bad behaviour in any form and Merseyside Police is a force that is willing to wash its dirty linen in public in order to remove from the force those whose standards are below what the public deserve and expect.

“This officer, Constable Michael McMillan, is an officer of the very worst kind. He has utterly betrayed the trust of the public and, more importantly, the trust of five women who, when at their most vulnerable, he has preyed upon for his own sexual gratification.

“When I read the papers for the purpose of this hearing I felt sick to the stomach and angry that this officer should so easily undermine all of the good work that his colleagues do day in day out to protect the vulnerable and build police trust.

“The evidence is overwhelming. He has pleaded guilty at the crown court to five counts of misconduct in public office and he has repeated those pleas of guilt here in this hearing today.

“There can be no doubt on the basis of the evidence that this officer’s misconduct is gross misconduct of the worst kind. Constable 5334 Michael McMillan is dismissed without notice.”

Internal Hearing

Today’s hearing was held in order to decide if the offences committed amounted to a ‘breach of the Standards of Professional Behaviour, and to then decide what Mr McMillan’s punishment should be accordingly.

It has been reported that Mr McMillan did not attend the hearing himself, instead opting for a member of the Police Federation to represent him and enter his guilty plea.

He is due to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court next month.

Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice

Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner.
Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).

For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email info@hh-law.co.uk

You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.

Source: Liverpool Echo

Child Sex Abuse: Lower Burden of Proof Proposed

The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has recently proposed lowering the burden of proof required in cases of child sexual abuse, adding that the system that is currently in place is ‘not fit for purpose’.

Poppi Worthington

The commissioner’s suggestion comes after a ruling made by a family court judge with regards to the case of 13 month old Poppi Worthington. Based on the ‘civil standard of balance of probabilities’, the judge ruled that Poppy was sexually assaulted by her father before her death.

Poppi Iris Worthington died in December 2012 and her father, Paul Worthington, 46, and a 30-year-old woman were later arrested. However, the initial investigation – in which there were a number of police failures – ruled that the cause of death could not be determined and their bail was cancelled. A second police inquiry was then carried out in 2015.

Following this, it was decided by the by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that Mr Worthington would not face criminal charges due to the lack of evidence needed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Child sex abuse: Difficulty obtaining & providing evidence

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Longfield explained:

“What this case really sharply illustrates is the difficulty there is in giving evidence in the case of child sex abuse, especially within the family.

“We know that the vast majority of cases aren’t reported in the first place, but even those that are reported, the vast majority don’t go to court because the evidence just isn’t there. And when looking at the burden of beyond reasonable doubt, it’s very sharply in contrast to the kind of ruling we saw from the judge last week, which is about balance of probability.”