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A man with learning disabilities who was convicted of attempting to rape a female doctor has been cleared of the crime six months after his death.
Ian Shaw from Inverness was found guilty by a majority jury verdict in 2013 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He was later freed after 8 weeks pending an appeal and now the Crown will not oppose the appeal.
An examination of Ian’s computer showed that he was on social media sites a short time before the woman was attacked on the banks of the Caledonian Canal and could not have travelled almost three miles to the scene and committed the assault within the time frame of the attack.
Yet somehow following interviews by police, Ian said he had met the woman on the towpath, and tried to kiss and cuddle her. He said he wanted to have sex with her but she had said no, struggled and ran off. He allegedly told the police officers he would not have raped her saying "I walked home in disgust, thinking it is not in my nature to have done that."
However none of that was true and in fact he was home at the time.
Much of this evidence was available at the original trial.
- · Ian had lodged a special defence of alibi, claiming he was on the internet at the time of the offence.
- · A computer expert confirmed his computer was in use during those times.
- · The prosecution and defence agreed in a joint minute that after assessment by two psychologists, he was of below average intelligence and highly susceptible to leading questions and suggestions. The experts said he was prone to making things up.
- · The doctor was twice unable to pick him out of an identity parade, and there was no DNA evidence connecting him to the woman.
It does not appear that there will any further investigation into how it was decided to proceed with a case against Ian with the only evidence against him coming from his confessions when there were clear evidence of his disability and susceptibility to leading questions. Ian spent 8 weeks in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and died with a conviction he didn’t deserve.
Our April newsletter has just been published and is being sent out to regular subscribers. If you would like to get your own copy by email then please let us know.
Our first article is on the remarkable rise in Guardianship application for people with learning disabilities in Scotland. New research by LDAS shows cases are never turned down leading to questions about the robustness of the process. Read the article here
Our second article in on our work helping people with learning disabilities get ready to vote in the General Election. You can get lots of information on our website. Read the article here
Finally we continue our look at Care Homes for people with learning disabilities. Since our last edition, the question of care homes for people with more profound disabilities has come before the Scottish Parliament. You can find out what we think about it. Read the article here
You can also download an Audio version of the newsletter here. And please remember all our articles on this website can be read aloud by simply highlighting the text and clicking on it.
Manifestos tell you what a political party believes in and what they say they would do if they won the election. We hope that “Easy Read” manifestos will be produced by all the main political parties to help people with a learning disability decide who to vote for.
But so far we have full manifestos from
the Lib Dems
The SNP is due next week and you will be able to read it when available by clicking here.
The Labour Party have also published their 5 main pledges in Easy Read form. You can read these and they will help you make up your mind who to vote for:
But they can still be quite long and take time to read. So we have produced an Easy Read guide to the policies of the main parties in Scotland. This gives the 10 main policies of each party in easy read and puts them all on a single page for each party. Read It Here.
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland are using these as part of their popular General Election workshops (see picture).
Research by the disability charity Scope estimates that on average, disabled people spend £550 a month on disability-related expenditure, including higher heating bills, buying specialised equipment, paying for taxis to get around or covering higher insurance premiums.
Paying for social care charges can make this even worse so it is important to have such Disability Related Expenditure properly recognised when it comes to any financial assessment
Legal Basis for Charging and Disability Related Expenditure
The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 provides the legal basis for charging for non-residential care. Under s87 of the Act charges must be both “reasonable and practicable” for an individual to pay.
Understanding the associated additional daily living costs of living with an illness or a disability is essential if local authorities are to ensure charging levels meet this test. Failure to take Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) into account as part of the financial assessment could result in charging levels which cause financial hardship and undermine the right of people living with an illness or disability to live independently.
COSLA’s National Strategy & Guidance on Charges Applying to Non-residential Social Care Services 2015/16 recognises the importance of taking DRE into account and states in paragraph 7.31 on page 31 that “to ensure the extra costs of being disabled are be taken into account by charging policies councils should be proactive in considering further disregard of income where additional expenditure is incurred by a service user as a result of living as a disabled person.”