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Archive for August 4th, 2009

BBC reporter faces jail for hitting boy during fight at pub
BBC: A BBC news reader faces jail after being found guilty of wounding a teenager with a pub umbrella pole.

The former Watchdog presenter Ashley Blake was convicted of unlawful wounding at Birmingham Crown Court after swinging a patio umbrella pole above his head and hitting Greg Jones, 17, in the face at an 18th birthday party in January. The incident took place at the pub Blake then owned, The Place II B in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

The 40-year-old, who now works as reporter for Midlands Today and on the Inside Out current affairs show, was acquitted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm but was also found guilty of intending to pervert the course of justice by throwing the pole into a neighbouring garden centre in an attempt to conceal it from the police….

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‘Why did the judge say no to me?’
Independent: When Johann Harrison and Louise Carley emerged from the High Court in London last Wednesday with their daughters India and Ashleigh, they should have been ecstatic.

The two women had been fighting a court case against their local council in Corby, Northamptonshire. They insisted that the council had caused their children to be born with serious deformities by releasing dangerous materials into the atmosphere during destruction of the town’s steelworks.

While Corby Borough Council was found negligent, the judge stipulated that his ruling did not apply to the two youngest of the 18 children whose cases had been heard. India, nine, and Ashleigh, 10, were those two children….

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Afghan war unlawful, says ‘deserter’
Independent: A soldier facing court martial over his refusal to serve in Afghanistan is expected to claim in his defence that the war is unlawful.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who appeared in court for a preliminary hearing into his case yesterday, maintains that British soldiers are dying in the interest of American foreign policy and should be brought home.

L/Cpl Glenton, 27, of the Royal Logistic Corps, did not enter a formal plea during proceedings in Wiltshire yesterday, where he was charged with desertion. He had been active in a campaign organised by the Stop the War Coalition and delivered a protest letter to Downing Street. The soldier’s counsel, Hugh O’Donoghue, indicated that his client would deny the charge and may call an expert witness to give evidence on the lawfulness of the war….

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Labour unveils points system for immigrants
Independent: The government has proposed the creation of a new category of “probationary citizen” whose application for a British passport can be sped up or slowed down on the basis of a points system that evaluates their conduct.

Migrants who contribute to “the democratic life of the country”, by canvassing for political parties for example, or who show “active citizenship” by serving in their communities, may have their application process shortened from three years to one.

But those who show an “active disregard for UK values”, which could include protesting at homecoming parades of British troops, may find their applications blocked. The proposals, unveiled yesterday by Immigration minister Phil Woolas, would make it much tougher for the 150,000 people who apply for British citizenship each year….

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Assisted suicide law will apply to deaths in Britain and abroad
Telegraph: Keir Starmer, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, is to clarify whether people should be prosecuted for aiding a suicide following a landmark ruling by the Law Lords last week. It had been assumed that this guidance would affect only cases in which friends or relatives helped people to die abroad, such as at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich.

However, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Starmer said the “broad principles” of his new guidelines wo

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Juries return to Japanese justice in Katsuyoshi Fujii trial
Times: A petty squabble between two elderly neighbours that escalated into a brutal, deadly stabbing attack became the centrepiece of the most radical shake-up of Japanese justice since the Second World War.

Thousands queued to be in the Tokyo District Court and millions more watched on television as the unfamiliar show began. Apart from foreign courtroom dramas and the pages of history books, most Japanese have never seen a jury trial before.

The excitement did not centre on the complexity of the Katsuyoshi Fujii case — an acrimonious though relatively straightforward murder — but the groundbreaking presence of six members of the public on the judge’s bench: the country’s first jury trial since the general public was ejected from the justice system by the country’s military government in 1943.

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Criminal trials from 18th and 19th centuries go online for first time
Times: On March 2, 1882, Roderick Maclean brandished a pistol outside Windsor railway station and attempted to shoot Queen Victoria.

Things did not go according to plan. The monarch lived and Maclean was charged with high treason, but acquitted on the ground of insanity. Ordered “to be kept in strict custody and gaol until Her Majesty’s pleasure shall be known”, he spent the rest of his life in Broadmoor Hospital.

His case is one of 1.4 million criminal trials from the 18th and 19th centuries that feature in registers that go online for the first time today.

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