The New Barns court case ended with the acquittal of eight staff, but should they have been prosecuted in the first place? (30.5.00)

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Community Care, 30th May 2000

The New Barns court case ended with the acquittal of eight staff, but should they have been prosecuted in the first place? Barbara Kahan and Chris Beedell introduce the cases for and against school

The six-month trial involving staff at New Barns, an independent boarding school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in Gloucestershire, ended with the eight defendants cleared of cruelty and conspiracy to falsely imprison pupils, writes Audrey Thompson.
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But the trial raised serious concerns about the methods used to isolate children in residential care, and about what constitutes a legitimate reason to prosecute. Clearly, the defenders and critics of New Barns interpret the facts about what happened in the school in markedly different ways. One camp argues that the trial amounts to pronouncing guilt by association, the other that it would have been negligent not to prosecute.

The facts…

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