The Court of Appeal has found that a ‘culpable’ three and a half month delay in facilitating the release of a former prisoner did not breach Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Francis Dixon was recalled to prison after being accused of assisting Dale Cregan escape after he murdered two police officers in the Manchester area. Mr Dixon was later acquitted of aiding Cregan, but in the meantime he was recalled to prison as he was on licence in relation to a previous, unrelated, offence.

The Parole Board directed that a psychological report be produced to see whether Mr Dixon needed any further interventions. A report which should have taken around three months took around nine months to produce. The High Court found there was a ‘culpable’ delay as the Secretary of State had failed to take proactive steps to mitigate staffing issues. Nonetheless, it found that ‘in all the circumstances’ of the case, there was no breach of Article 5 ECHR.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court’s decision, finding that the lower court had been correct to find that the case fell within the ‘ancillary duty’ under Article 5, rather than Article 5.4.

Mr Dixon has sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the basis that the Court of Appeal made an error of law in finding that the case did not fall within Article 5.4, and in any event that a ‘culpable’ delay could not amount to a breach of Article 5.

Adam Wagner appeared for Mr Dixon, instructed by David McCorkle of Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

The full judgment can be found here.