News Update - May
Thank you to all our supporters over the years.
Just to let you know Joe is doing well.
We have recently closed the Facebook account and we propose to close the website in approximately a year but we are pleased to say that we've been able to offer advice to several other families over the years who have contacted us through the email account.
However we're unable to continue to respond to requests by email so please contact the organizations listed below
Rethink Mental Illness
The Howard League for Penal Reform
The Prison Reform Trust
The Centre for Mental Health
MDF - The Bipolar Organisation - MDF is the national charity dedicated to supporting individuals with the much misunderstood and devastating condition of bipolar, their families and carers.
News Update - July
family has received an apology from the
E.London NHS Foundation Trust, saying that
it accepts that Joe was not cared for
properly after he tried to escape from the
ward and a mistake was made.
The Trust has said that Joe's psychiatric
history wasn't looked at properly when the
decision was made that he was not mentally
unwell and that he should have received a
forensic assessment when he was taken into
custody by the police. They have said
following such an assessment he could have
been transferred directly to the John Howard
Centre (the medium secure forensic hospital
where he is presently) from police custody.
The Trust ordered a Serious Incident Review,
more than two years after the incident. The
apology was given recently, during a meeting
about the Review and its findings.
The Campaign will continue: to overturn Joe's
criminal conviction for arson and to challenge
the practice, acknowledged in the above
meeting, that the Trust believes it can be in
a patient's interests to be charged and
convicted of a criminal offence if they are a
mental health patient, in a psychiatric ward,
at the time of the incident/offence. We do not
believe it is helpful to a mental health
patient to be stigmatised with another stigma,
that of being criminalised, when they are
severely mentally distressed and while they
are in the care of the NHS psychiatric
Hackney Citizen - Trust
Apology July 2013
See below for more information
Joe is now 22 and was diagnosed with Bipolar
Affective Disorder in 2007.
Joe was charged with arson in October 2010,
after he tried to set fire to the door of a
psychiatric unit in a hospital, in an attempt
to escape. Joe was not charged with
the more serious offence of arson with intent
to endanger life. He was a mental health
patient at the time and had been detained and
sectioned under the Mental Health Act less
than 48 hours earlier.
On 5th April 2011, at a Crown Court in London,
he was sentenced to an IPP (Indeterminate
sentence of imprisonment for Public
Protection): an indefinite term.
Joe has no previous criminal convictions.
Joe was imprisoned on 7th October 2010 where
he remained, in a Young Offenders Institution,
until 3rd November 2011. Only after an
independent psychiatric report had been
obtained by his family, was he transferred to
a psychiatric hospital, where at last he is
receiving proper care and treatment.
We believe Joe's conviction should be
overturned and that he should not have been
criminalised in the first place.
We call for an independent and thorough review
of such cases and for safeguards to be put in
place within the health system to ensure
mental health patients are given compassionate
care and treatment in hospitals, not diverted
into the prison system.
There have been no pictures of Joe on this
website except a photo of him when very young
(see Press articles); Joe is already a
vulnerable person at risk and has not been in
the position of giving consent. It is widely
documented that people with mental health
difficulties are at increased risk of verbal
and physical assaults.
Request for Members of
Parliament to form a Committee to discuss
the Criminalisation of Mental Health
See Open Letter to Meg
Hillier MP (pdf)
We hope this letter will prompt a debate
around this practice, which occurs in some
psychiatric hospitals. We are calling for a
thorough investigation into the circumstances
whereby a mental health patient can be
prosecuted while they are in the care of the
NHS. Whether as a detained patient (as Joe
was) or an informal one, we believe that Joe
(and many others) are owed an operational duty
by the psychiatric hospital to be protected;
many patients do not feel safe in psychiatric
wards, many become distressed. We believe that
all are deserving of compassionate care in an
environment where they feel both safe and
secure. Joe was not protected, he was not kept
safe: he was allowed dangerous, prohibited
items which he subsequently used in his
efforts to escape from the ward.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In SANE's opinion.
Psychiatric patient Joe
Paraskeva's arson conviction quashed - BBC
London News 12 December 2012
Conviction was not quashed, see details of
Mentally ill man jailed for
hospital arson has prison sentence quashed
- Guardian 12 December 2012
Court of Appeal victory in
'Justice for Joe' campaign - East
London Lines 13 December 2012
(this photo of Joe and his sister is the only
one approved for release by both of them at
CLARIFICATION of Verdict of
Court of Appeal:
Jail sentence quashed but criminal conviction
remains. Campaign still trying to overturn
criminal conviction for arson.
Appeal Court Judgement substituted the
prison sentence for a hospital order; Joe will
be treated as a patient now, not as a
prisoner. Despite 2 Court-appointed expert
Psychiatrists with view that Joe did not need
a further Restriction order on his hospital
order, the Judges imposed one. A Restriction
order means Joe will be intensively monitored,
the order is indefinite. (Both orders are
sections under the Mental Health Act)
Joe's family say this feels like a punishment,
when he has been doing so well; the hospital
have said they did not expect him to have a
Restriction order: it was said in Court that
they (hospital) viewed Joe as a model patient
and there had been no problems with his leave,
it was also said in Court that he had
intervened when a member of staff was been
seriously assaulted by a patient (Joe had
restrained the patient until help arrived;
management at the hospital later thanked him).
It was said in Court that Joe was mentally ill
at time of offence. Despite 3 expert
psychiatric reports saying this, no challenge
to his conviction was included in the grounds
Also, there was no mention at all of
Joe's previous diagnosis, 7 month inpatient
assessment and years of care and treatment in
child and adolescent mental health service. Dr
Farnham, Court Psychiatrist actually said in
court that this was the first time Joe had had
a long period of assessment and therefore the
first time his illness could be assessed. That
is not true.
All the medical evidence presented in court
referred to Joe as though he had just come off
the street and had no psychiatric history. Not
How can a sectioned mental health patient be
culpable for his distressed behaviour?
Campaign continues!!! Stop
the Criminalisation of Mental Health
Joe's IPP (Indeterminate term of imprisonment
for Public Protection, minimum tariff to serve
in prison before able to apply for parole on
licence, 2 years) was overturned on the 12th
December 2012. He now has a Hospital Order
which has been substituted in its place.
Joe spent more than a year in prison (7 Oct
2010 - 3 Nov 2011) and more than a year in
hospital (3 Nov 2011 - 12 Dec 2012) before
his IPP sentence was overturned. Total more
than 2 years, with no treatment until he was
transferred to hospital.
The Hospital Order means that Joe will
continue to be treated in a therapeutic
hospital and will not be returned to prison.
The family was told that the only evidence the
Judges could consider at this hearing was
The Judges considered the 2 expert psychiatric
reports commissioned by the Court of Appeal
and the expert psychiatric report which the
family had paid for in 2011 which led directly
to Joe's transfer from prison to hospital. All
3 Psychiatrists had the view that Joe was
mentally unwell at the time of the offence.
Both the Court-appointed Psychiatrists felt
Joe should have been given a hospital order
(not a prison sentence) and both recommended
he should now remain in hospital under a
hospital order to continue treatment, as
required, until he can return to the
community; both felt he did not need a
hospital order with restrictions.
The Judges granted a Hospital Order and
quashed the IPP.
They decided to impose a restriction order,
for Joe to continue taking his medication for
an indefinite period of time.
They, as Judges, can make this decision and we
understand it is a common judgement in such
H o w e v e r, the aims of the campaign
i to overturn Joe's conviction
for arson (he still has a conviction for
arson, he still has a criminal record for
a serious criminal offence, with all the
stigma and extra difficulties that will
bring for the rest of his life),
ii to get Joe the help and
treatment he asked for in the first place in
a therapeutic hospital not a prison
(Yes!!!!!!!!!!! we have won this!!!)
iii to get Government to review
this practice and stop the criminalisation
of mental health patients (still work to be
done but making progress, see below)
SANE comment on Joe
Paraskeva's appeal decision
to discuss the Treatment of Mental Health
Patients (looks possible)
The Campaign has asked supporters to write to
their MPs, bringing their attention to the
Letter to Meg Hillier MP on the Website and
asking them to support efforts to convene a
Committee of MPs to discuss the issues around
the criminalisation of mental health patients.
SUCCESS!!! Huge thank you to supporters!!
Diane Abbott MP has said due to contact from
supporters of the Justice for Joe Campaign,
she is interested in the idea of a
Parliamentary Committee to discuss the
treatment of mental health patients and will
be contacting Charles Walker MP, the Chair of
the existing All Party Parliamentary Group on
Mental Health as soon as she can.
Thank you everyone who has written letters to
their MPs, please keep doing this. It looks as
though we may only see change through moves in
Parliament, there are legal constraints on
lawyers and within the criminal justice system
at present which means it is extremely hard to
challenge a conviction such as Joe's.
page for recent Press Release from INQUEST (22nd June
Inquest held on Shaun Beasley, a prisoner with
an IPP with severe mental health issues.
Hackney Carers Speak Out -
A Film Premiere made by Adult Carers of
Adults in Hackney!
Watch Linda talking about Joe's case in a
series of short films made by Hackney Carers,
in a project commissioned by Hackney Council,
London UK. Linda was part of the Hackney
Carers Filmgroup which made the films:
interviewing, filming and editing them.
Several Carers made short (2-3 min) individual
films, the group also made a group film about
being a Carer in Hackney and a film about
making the films.
See Linda's story which is
featured as one of the individual films. She
also featured in both the group films.
of protest and delivery of petition to the
Prime Minister at Downing Street on 10
Why are some mentally ill
patients treated like criminals? See
2 June 2011 Guardian
article by Amelia Gentleman.
(See all press