Now, I’m not being pretentious or anything, but some things just sound better in Latin and this is one of them.
Mens Rea, Actus reus, simply means guilty mind, guilty act.
We’ve all committed the Mens Rea at some point or another, you know, those thoughts you have about strangling your boss or stabbing Iain dunked in sh*t.
Of course most of us don’t strangle our boss or stab IDS – we don’t carry out the Actus Reus. The guilty act.
Sometimes you can also have the actus reus without the mens rea. If someone was trying to kill you for example and you killed them in self defence, well you’d certainly have carried out the actus reus but without the mens rea.
So what about IDS. Has he committed mens rea, actus reus.
Well there can be no doubt now, following the publication of the mortality statistics yesterday, that thousands of ill, disabled and vulnerable people have died as a result of his departments policies (although a DWP spokesperson has stated that there is no causal link – I’ll come back to that in a minute)
The link to the mortality statistics report is here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortality-statistics-esa-ib-and-sda-claimants
Even if IDS tried to say he wasn’t aware of what Atos/Maximus or the decision makers were doing when carrying out the work capability assessments or mandatory reconsiderations there’s a thing called vicarious liability. This is where the employer (IDS) can be held responsible for what his employees (DWP) or contractors (Atos/Maximus) have done on the grounds that he knew or ought to have known what they were doing.
Click on the link below for a case which illustrates vicarious liability.
So it can be shown that IDS certainly had the mens rea, he after all signed off the policies that DWP and Atos/Maximus carried out and we know that he committed actus reus because the report bears that out.
So back to causal link – if there is a relationship between two things (fit for work decision and death of claimant) one thing (fit for work decision) is responsible for the other (death of claimant)
So to recap, IDS knew or ought to have known that finding somebody fit for work when they clearly were not, because they died soon after being found fit for work, makes him mens rea and he committed actus reus by not ensuring they were put in the correct group as regards their benefits. Much as he likes to do so, he cannot blame DWP employees or Atos/Maximus because he is vicariously liable for their actions.
Well for a start, IDS MUST resign. If he won’t go willingly, then CaMORON must oust him from his post.
There should be a full public enquiry into the deaths and it must be done expediently.
If the enquiry proves that the government were at fault, then the families of the deceased should be allowed to sue the government and be allowed legal aid to do so.
Going forwards, if a GP or NHS consultant or specialist tells a person that they are not fit for work because of their health condition, that should be it. These doctors go to medical school for 4 – 5 years, do 2 years post graduate training in their specialism and then consolidate that for another couple of years.
Who would you be inclined to listen to, a Dr/Consultant with years of training and modern diagnostic tools at their fingertips or a Atos/Maximus “health care professional” who ticks boxes?
Out of interest, here’s a copy of the FoI request I sent to DWP asking them if DWP or their contractors find a person fit for work when a qualified Doctor has said they are not, why don’t the DWP prosecute the Doctor for fraud.
“Does the DWP have a procedure in place for taking any action
against the GP/NHS specialist of those claimants who were
originally told they were not fit for work who subsequently (as a
result of the work capability assessment) are found to be fit for
work. If such a procedure exists, please provide me with a public
This was the DWP response
“The DWP has no procedure for taking action against medical clinicians who have advised that a claimant is unfit for work where the claimant subsequently does not meet the criteria for Limited Capabililty for Work or Work Related Activity for Employment and Support Allowance. “