5 Essex Court

Peter Taheri

Call 2007


Peter is regularly instructed to represent the interests of various public bodies, including NHS Trusts and other healthcare providers within prisons, in high-profile cases with the potential to affect organisational reputations. He has considerable experience of multi-week Article 2 Inquests and is frequently entrusted with front-line briefs from IPs whom are the main focus of the inquest.

Peter is also experienced in both a wide range of employment law – from discrimination to unfair or constructive dismissal to contract or wages claims – and in general civil law – appearing regularly in High Court and County Court hearings on all tracks.

Examples of cases in the healthcare realm in which Peter has been instructed include:

  •  Inquest touching the death of Joseph Phuong: A 4-week Article 2 Inquest with jury, in which Peter represented the NHS Trust responsible for the psychiatric hospital in which the deceased patient lost consciousness before passing away. A complex set of issues was covered, including community mental health provision, Mental Health Act (‘MHA’) assessments, s.136 MHA detention procedures, restraint of patients in crisis, inter-agency information sharing, and seclusion and emergency response in in-patient mental healthcare. The medical cause of death was found to be unascertained and a narrative conclusion was returned and PFD report made.
  •  Inquest touching the death of Ateeq Rafiq: A 5 day Article 2 Inquest with jury, in which Peter represented an NHS Trust providing healthcare in a prison. The deceased had complained of first a panic attack, then chest pains, prior to his death owing to a heart attack. It was in dispute as to whether healthcare staff were informed of the chest pains and whether the observations and medical assessments carried out on the prisoner were sufficient. Peter’s client faced a very difficult set of facts, with witnesses of questionable reliability, requiring careful handling, in a case with intense conflicts of fact with other parties.
  •   Inquest touching the death of Richard Walsh: A 4 day Article 2 Inquest with jury, considering a prison suicide. The jury found neglect on the part of the medical practitioners who assessed the deceased, while he was at the Police station post-arrest. The Jury found that the deceased should have been detained in a hospital rather than conveyed to prison. No criticism was made of Peter’s client.
  •  Inquest touching the death of James Cartledge: Forthcoming inquest into what the pathologist has described as a medically “very complex” death, involving multiple organ failure, related to sepsis and pneumonia. The deceased was admitted to hospital several hours after release from police custody, and remained in hospital for several weeks, where his condition deteriorated, he contracted MRSA and he ultimately sadly passed away. Although he complained of breathlessness and pain from a fractured sternum while in police custody, he was seen by two different doctors in police custody, whom reported no signs of sepsis.
  • Inquest touching the death of Benjamin Rich: Forthcoming Article 2 inquest with jury, into a case in which the deceased absconded from detention under s.136 MHA at a psychiatric hospital, was subsequently found by police visiting family members and was then involved in a high-speed police pursuit that concluded with the deceased passing away in a road traffic collision. Issues arise in relation to availability of space in s.136 units, ‘step-down’ decisions in relation to patients detained under s.136 to move them to less secure units and to free up space in s.136 units, and the security of units in psychiatric hospitals (including the locking of doors so that detained patients cannot abscond).