Civil Claim for Neglience

A very short post, just to note a very interesting legal claim, in the civil courts —

Alexander Lewis-Ranwell was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity after three killings in 2019.  Prior to the killings, he had spent time under arrest in police custody for a serious offences and was bailed without charge only travel to Exeter where the tragic killings took place and he was arrested again.  There was discussion at the time of his criminal trial about how the agencies involved had assessed and responded to his mental state whilst in police custody, including reference in a press release by the police after the verdict was returned to issues around the defendant’s mental health.

It now emerges he has brought a civil claim for negligence against Devon and Cornwall Police, Devon Partnership Trust, Devon County Council and G4S (who provided medical services in police custody at the time of his arrests).  A recent legal hearing saw all parties other than Devon and Cornwall Police attempt to have the civil claim struck out on the basis of it resulting from public policy and because the claimant had committed an unlawful act.  Interesting to note for whatever it is worth that Devon and Cornwall Police did not ask to have this struck out.

All four defendants deny liability for negligence.  You can read the legal claim for yourself if you want detail — it’s fascinating!  In essence, the three defendants are arguing the legal point that those who have committed criminal acts should not be allowed to profit (through compensation) for those acts.

This will be worth watching: civil claims by mental health patients for negligence after killing are exceptionally rare and those precedents cited in the judgment for kicking out cases on principle tend to be for patients guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.  Mr Lewis-Ranwell was not found not guilty, and this is why his claim has been allowed to proceed to a full civil trial, unless there is a settlement achieved before that happens.

Winner of the President’s Medal,
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award


All views expressed are my own – they do not represent the views of any organisation.
(c) Michael Brown, 2022

I try to keep this blog up to date, but inevitably over time, amendments to the law as well as court rulings and other findings from inquests and complaints processes mean it is difficult to ensure all the articles and pages remain current.  Please ensure you check all legal issues in particular and take appropriate professional advice where necessary.

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