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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 17:58 GMT
Inmate fails to cut cost of calls
BT payphones
Davison said inmates were paying more than public phone booth rates
An inmate has failed to use human rights legislation to force a prison to charge him less for phone calls.

Richard Davison, serving 12 years for drugs offences at HMP Elmley, in Kent, wanted the High Court to back his bid.

But Mr Justice Mitting ruled Davison's right to family and private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights had not been infringed.

The fact that prisoners received visits and letters demonstrated their rights were protected, said the judge.

Davison, who is not due for release from the jail until September 2009, had applied for permission to challenge a Prison Service refusal in January to attempt to renegotiate its BT contract, which runs until 2011.

Ombudsman's support

Davison's lawyers had argued that the price of calling his girlfriend in Essex, or family members in Yorkshire, was unfairly higher from jail phones than from public booths.

They said prisoners currently pay 10p for the first 55 seconds of local or national calls to landlines, then 1p per every 5.5 seconds.

The cost of calls from BT public payphones is 40p for the first 20 minutes followed by 10p for each subsequent 10 minutes.

Davison had won the support of the prisons ombudsman who said his complaint was justified and recommended the Prison Service reopen negotiations.

The convict had hoped the High Court in London would issue a court order requiring the Prison Service to act on the ombudsman's recommendation.

But the judge ruled the case "unarguable" and said he was "wholly unpersuaded" such an order was appropriate or enforceable.

The judge said: "Not every restriction upon the use of telephone facilities can constitute an interference with family life that engages Article 8."

Prisoner wins phone rights case
20 Mar 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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