By Scott Hamilton
THREE CARE workers suspended from their jobs at the John Daniel Centre for vulnerable adults more than a year ago have pleaded not guilty to ill-treating people in their care.
Benjamin Jenkins, Philip Sowden and Christine Keller, who no longer work at the centre in Heamoor near Penzance, appeared at Truro Crown Court for the first time today.
Sowden, 59, of Alverne Buildings, Penzance, pleaded not guilty to ill-treating a man "who lacked mental capacity" on a date between April 2007 and December 2012, and a second man on June 10, 2011.
Jenkins, 22, of Penbeagle Crescent, St Ives, also pleaded not guilty to ill-treating two men "who lacked mental capacity", once on June 10, 2011, and the other on June 13, 2011.
Keller, 57, of High Lanes, Hayle, pleaded not guilty to one charge of ill-treating a woman "who lacked mental capacity" in her care on June 2, 2011.
The three were released on conditional bail.
As part of their bail conditions they have been told not to contact staff or students at the John Daniel Centre.
An eight day trial is expected to take place in February, the court heard.
The charges arose out of an investigation launched in November 2011 after Cornwall Council said concerns had been raised about the care of vulnerable adults at the centre.
Up to 15 staff at the centre in Penzance were suspended during the lengthy investigation.
Sowden, Jenkins and Keller are the only ones who were charged.
Other staff have since been cleared of any wrongdoing but a number have still not returned to work.