A Nottingham man has now been held in custody for two weeks after he was accused of “threatening behaviour” due to comments he allegedly made during his Atos benefits assessment.
Steve Topley is a 49 year old father with multiple serious health problems who was required to attend a Work Capability Assessment with the notorious IT firm Atos – the company responsible for stripping benefits from hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people. During the process Mr Topley made some comments about someone not present at the assessment. His family say these comments were misunderstood and were in response to questions from the assessor about his personal life.
These comments led to Atos staff calling the police and Mr Topley was asked to attend Queens Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham. When he refused to do so he was arrested. At QMC he was de-arrested and received a mental health assessment but no reason was found to detain him under the mental health act. He was then re-arrested and taken in handcuffs to Nottingham police station where he was later charged.
He has now been refused bail twice in closed courts which his family were not permitted to attend. His sister Gina Topley, who says the family are being kept in the dark about the legal process, has said:
“My brother has not been given any opportunity to speak and give his side of the story to a judge and he was not offered an appropriate adult to accompany him when he was arrested.”
His family have not been allowed to visit him in prison and have raised concerns that his medication may not be being administered properly. Mr Topley will face another appearance in a closed court tomorrow (Friday 26th April) and there are major fears that he will be remanded once again pending psychiatric reports.
His family and supporters have called a demonstration outside the court tomorrow calling for his immediate release.
Meet outside Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 26th April from 9.30-11.00am – please help spread the word. For more details and the latest news visit: http://freestevetopley.wordpress.com/