Criminal justice failings identified over bus stabbing

Failures in the criminal justice system have been highlighted by the solicitor general following the fatal stabbing of a bus passenger by a man wrongly released from jail.

Anthony Joseph is currently serving an indefinite sentence in Broadmoor after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Richard Whelan on July 29th 2005.

The 23-year-old had been released from the privately-run Pendlebury prison in Greater Manchester earlier that day despite an outstanding warrant for his immediate arrest from Liverpool crown court over an alleged burglary.

Mr Whelan, 28, was stabbed five or six times on a bus in the city centre after confronting Joseph when he threw chips at his girlfriend.

A report out from the solicitor general today, which was commissioned by Home Office minister Tony McNulty last December, criticises the “lackadaisical… nonchalant approach” of the way in which individuals accused of other crimes are on bail.

Solicitor general Vera Baird said the government “very much regrets” the death of Mr Whelan and said the authorities were “determined” to learn lessons from the incident.

But a statement added: “The report makes clear there was nothing in this individual’s offending history that would have suggested him to be capable of the extreme, spontaneous violence that took place on July 29th 2005 and which resulted in the death of Richard Whelan.”

She is calling on police, probation service and court officials to work together more closely in the future to avoid a repeat incident.

The report explains the crown prosecution service has since revised its legal advice and the government is reviewing bail and murder implications ahead of a consultation paper due to be issued shortly.

Click here to read the full report