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Archive for July, 2009

High Court revokes control order
BBC: The government’s anti-terror strategy has suffered a blow after the High Court revoked the control order of a suspect accused of links to al-Qaeda.

The ruling comes after the Law Lords said terror suspects held on house arrest-style conditions must be allowed a better idea of the case against them.

Mr Justice Mitting revoked the order against a British man, known as AN.

It comes after Home Secretary Alan Johnson chose to drop part of the case against AN rather than reveal it.

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Former GP Michael Irwin questioned by police over Dignitas death
Times: A former GP known as Doctor Death was questioned by police this morning after admitting that he helped a terminally ill man pay for assisted suicide.

Dr Michael Irwin, 78, dared the authorities to prosecute him for helping fund 58-year-old Raymond Cutkelvin’s death at the Swiss clinic Dignitas, promising to highlight the “hypocritical British system” surrounding euthanasia.

Dr Irwin was arrested and taken to Battersea police station in South London a day after Debbie Purdy won a historic victory at the House of Lords to force the Director of Public Prosecutions to clarify the law. Keir Starmer, QC, is expected to issue written guidance on the circumstances in which prosecution is appropriate within eight weeks.

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Debbie Purdy case: MP David Winnick pledges to launch Bill calling for assisted suicide to be legalised in UK
Telegraph: A Bill is being proposed that would allow terminally ill people to end their lives with the help of loved ones in their home country, rather than having to travel to “suicide clinics” overseas.

It comes after five Law Lords ruled in the case of Ms Purdy, who has multiple sclerosis, that the Director of Public Prosecutions must state exactly when prosecutions would be launched against those who accompany people to commit suicide abroad.

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Banking reform ‘largely cosmetic’
BBC: The government’s plans for reforming the regulation of banks are “largely cosmetic” and “lack clarity”, MPs in the Treasury Select Committee say.

In its report on the banking crisis, the committee says that responsibility for strategic decisions and action remains “a muddle”.

The report also says that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) “failed spectacularly” in supervising banks.

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Solicitors boycott virtual courts
BBC: A government scheme to allow defendants to be dealt with via “virtual courts” is being boycotted by solicitors who say it is “justice on the cheap”.

The initiative lets prisoners face magistrates via video link from a police station instead of in court.

But solicitors in Kent are refusing to take part in the pilot, claiming it is unfair on both defendants and lawyers.

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Hacker Gary McKinnon loses appeal against extradition to US
Guardian: The British computer hacker Gary McKinnon failed today in his last-ditch attempt to avoid extradition to the US where he could face a sentence of up to 60 years in a high-security prison.

The high court upheld a refusal by Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, to sanction a trial of the 43-year-old “UFO eccentric” in Britain.

Alan Johnson, the home secretary, is unlikely to halt the extradition. He has said a thorough assessment was carried out to ensure that the necessary extradition criteria were met.

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Iraqi government officials may have colluded in British hostages’ kidnap
Guardian: An investigation into the kidnapping of five British men in Iraq has uncovered evidence of possible collusion by Iraqi government officials in their abduction, and a possible motive – to keep secret the whereabouts of billions of dollars in embezzled funds.

A former high-level Iraqi intelligence operative and a current senior government minister, who has been negotiating directly with the hostage takers, have told the Guardian that the kidnapping of IT specialist Peter Moore and his four bodyguards in 2007 was not a simple snatch by a band of militants but a sophisticated operation, almost certainly with inside help. Only Moore is thought still to be alive….

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