Jaskiran Kainth Pronounced Dead Four Days After Being Found Asphyxiated In Cell At Leicester Magistrates’ Court
The father of a teenager who died after been found unresponsive in a cell at Leicester Magistrates’ Court is calling for lessons to be learned after an inquest found a lack of mental health training contributed to his son’s death.
Jaskiran Kainth, 18, was found unconscious in his cell on 29 April, 2019, where he had been detained awaiting a hearing. He was taken to hospital but died on 3 May, 2019.
Family asks lawyers for help following son fatally injured in court custody
Following Jaskiran’s death his father Charnjit Kainth, of Leicester, instructed specialist public law and human rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help investigate and support the family through the inquest process.
The hearing was told Jaskiran had previously been detained under the Mental Health Act in March 2019 and had self-harmed in police custody in early April 2019.
The court was told that in the two days before the incident at court Jaskiran visited Leicester Royal Infirmary twice reporting he had tried to strangle himself and that he had tried to take an overdose. He was deemed fit to be allowed home on both occasions, the hearing was told.
Inquest told details about teen's mental health history not shared
Shortly after his return home Jaskiran, of Leicester, damaged two family cars. His family were unable to stop him so called police who arrested him. When he was taken into police custody his family informed officers that Jaskiran was vulnerable.
The following day, April 29, he was transferred to the custody of GeoAmey, private contractors which run custody services at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.
However, the inquest was told the prisoner escort form did not include key information about his attendance at hospital on 27 and 28 April or his self-harm in police custody earlier that month.
Court staff told the inquest that they were unaware Jaskiran had been to hospital and they were not treating him as a suicide or self-harm risk. Two mental health nurses in the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service had access to that information but did not pass the information on to police or GeoAmey.
The inquest heard that, while in the court, staff reported Jaskiran was behaving oddly. He was seen by a mental health nurse who reported no concerns about his mental health to the custody officers.
At 12.30pm, court staff removed Jaskiran’s jumper and shoelaces. They left him unclothed with a bare chest and feet and just his trousers on. Jaskiran told an officer that he was cold. The incident was not treated as high risk, but staff were subsequently told to check on Jaskiran six times an hour.
Twelve minutes after the first incident, staff returned to the cell. They found Jaskiran unresponsive. Staff and paramedics attempted to revive him before he was taken to hospital, where he died a few days later.
The court also heard that key court staff had not received training on mental health, self-harm and suicide prevention for up to 20 years.
Jury concludes inadequate mental health training contributed to Jaskiran's custody death
After two weeks of evidence an inquest jury concluded that Jaskiran’s death was by misadventure. In a narrative conclusion, it also found that the following contributed to Jaskiran’s death:
• Inadequate recording of information on his mental health;
• Inadequate sharing of information on his mental health;
• Inadequate assessment of self-harm and suicide risk while in custody at Leicester Magistrates’ Court; and
• Lack of training and skills in frontline staff on assessing risks posed by detainees with mental health difficulties.
The coroner will consider whether to make a Prevention of Future Deaths report, ordering authorities to say how they will take action to prevent deaths, within seven days.
Expert Opinion“The jury’s conclusion mirrors what Charnjit has always believed – that this tragic death resulted from a cry for help and was preventable.
“Charnjit firmly believes warning signs as to his son’s mental state were clearly visible and more action should have been taken to prevent his death, and if GeoAmey had robust policy and training of its staff it would have been.
“It is also a tragedy that such significant risk information was known to the health care professionals and police, but not shared.
“While nothing can make up for Charnjit’s loss we’re pleased to have helped secure him answers. We join him in urging for lessons to be learned so other families don’t have to suffer like Charnjit has.” Juliet Spender - Associate Solicitor
Father calls for lessons to be learned over son's death
Charnjit added: “Jaskiran was a sensitive person who was not only academically bright but also very talented at sport.
“My son had his whole life ahead and could have had a bright future but opportunities to help him were missed.
“I am grateful to the jury for highlighting inadequate action by multiple authorities entrusted to look after Jaskiran.
“That Jaskiran will never get to fulfil his potential is heartbreaking for our family. All I can hope for now is that lessons can be learned from his story. I miss him every day and always will.”
Selen Cavcav, senior caseworker at the charity INQUEST, said: “It is clear, in our view, that a litany of failures by multiple agencies resulted in the loss of life of an 18-year-old.
“The safety of court cells has been ignored for far too long, with private providers too often delivering poor standards of care to thousands of people, often at their most vulnerable.
“GeoAmey has a corporate responsibility to ensure what happened to Jaskiran never happens again. In light of this inquest, there must be radical improvements in managing mental ill health in courts nationally.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by mental health and human rights issues at our dedicated protecting your rights section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.