Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Stonehenge Summer Solstice Sunrise, June 1999
Protesters calling for justice for the Cambridge Two, London, March 25th 1999. Photo: Richie Andrew.

No Comfort For Cambridge Two

Two social workers are still in jail for not 'grassing up' their homeless clients

28th March 2000

Campaigners gathered in London on March 25th 2000 demanding justice for two social workers jailed in 1999 for incredible reasons.

Ruth Wyner and John Brock, now known as the 'Cambridge Two', were jailed for five and four years respectively under the Section 8 of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act for "knowingly allowing" the sale of drugs on the premises of the Wintercomfort homeless drop-in centre in Cambridge. Wyner, a 49-year-old mother of two was the director of the centre and Brock, a 49-year-old father of two was Wintercomfort's manager.

They were arrested after a five-month police surveillance operation as a result of which eight drug dealers were charged and convicted. The judge ruled that as managers of the drop in centre, they had failed to do all in their powers to stop the use of drugs on the premises, although it was accepted that the extent of the dealing was not known by anyone - including Wyner and Brock - until the completion of the police operation. The judge further accepted that the two social workers had taken no part in the drug dealing but gave them large sentences because in his words they were "unwilling to use any reasonable means that were readily available to prevent the prohibited activity."

During trial Wyner and Brock told the judge that breaking confidentiality agreements with homeless clients and passing on information to the police would go against their remit and even put themselves at the risk from reprisal attacks.

To add insult to injury, Ruth Wyner has now been asked to provide her expertise in the social care system of the prison in which she is incarcerated. In effect, to repeat the work that got her locked up in the first place. The precedent set by the Cambridge Two's convictions have wide implications: any charity worker involved in caring for the homeless and countering drug abuse - i.e. doing their job - is now at risk.

In a recent letter sent by Ruth Wyner to Home Secretary, Jack Straw, she points out that Straw himself could also be liable for conviction if the law used the two social workers were applied equally.

• Also check the SQUALL website’s frontline communique section for words written from HMP Highpoint prison by Ruth Wyner and John Brock on how they feel about the situation
• Give money to help the families and the campaign contact Dr George Reid on 01223 338627 for details.
• Write to John or Ruth:
Ruth Wyner EH 6524, HM Highpoint, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9YG
John Brock EM 4946, HM Highpoint, Stradishall, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9YG

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