Justice for Joe
JUSTICE FOR JOE - Joe Paraskeva, London UK
This website has been set up by the family and friends of Joe Paraskeva.

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. He remains a convicted prisoner at present.

The Court of Appeal has granted leave to appeal; no date has been given yet.

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.

Appeal for donations.

For more information email

In SANE's opinion.

We have set up a campaigning page to highlight Joe's case on Facebook.

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Appeal News
Read latest press article on Joe's case: Hackney Citizen July 2012

Joe's new Barrister has been granted leave to appeal Joe's IPP (Indeterminate sentence for Public Protection)! Joe's mum, Linda, sister Lauren and dad Chris were all at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand on Thursday 17th May 2012 to hear the news.
Linda told Joe the news the same day and he was really pleased!
We do not have a date for the Appeal Hearing. When we have a date, this will be put on the website.

Update on legal case
Joe's solicitor submitted grounds of appeal based on the IPP being an excessive sentence, he has not included grounds to challenged the conviction on the basis that Joe was unwell at the time of the offence and was unfit to plead. The solicitor is no longer involved as legal aid stops for solicitors once the Barrister has been given leave to appeal. The grounds of appeal cannot be changed. So what we can hope for at this stage is that the IPP is overturned and Joe is given a hospital order instead. Doctors' reports will be submitted at the appeal hearing in evidence. Overturning an IPP is a difficult legal hurdle: it is by no means certain that we will be successful. The hospital order, if granted, will replace the IPP so that Joe can continue to receive proper care and treatment in a hospital and will not be returned to prison. The campaign seeks to overturn Joe's conviction. If Joe is granted a hospital order he will still have a conviction for arson. This will blight his future for the rest of his life so the campaign continues after the appeal, to challenge the fact that Joe was arrested and charged even though he was a mental health patient detained under a section of the Mental Health Act at the time of the offence.

We will only get Justice for Joe when his conviction is overturned. We will only succeed in our efforts once safeguards are in place to stop the criminalisation of Mental Health Patients and when psychiatric patients are no longer denied the human right to fair and proper care in well-resourced hospitals at times of mental distress.
See IPP page for recent Press Release from INQUEST (22nd June 2012):
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. space
See Photo-diary of protest and delivery of petition to the Prime Minister at Downing Street on 10 December 2011
Why are some mentally ill patients treated like criminals? See 2 June 2011 Guardian article by Amelia Gentleman.
(See all press articles)

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Please contact us for any further information.

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