Archive for September 18th, 2009

Government may shield websites from libel claims with ‘single publication’ rule

OUT-LAW: The Government could scrap a part of defamation law that makes newspapers liable many times for material in a single article. The Government may prevent people suing every time a web page ‘publishes’ an article.

Defamation law currently states that someone has the right to sue every time defamatory material is published. This means that publishers could be liable many times over for the online publication of an article if a court agrees that the mere delivery of a web page to a reader counts as publication.

“Part of the law on defamation originates from the 1840s, long before the internet arrived and changed the way that opinions and comment are often communicated,” said a statement from the Ministry of Justice, which has launched a consultation on the proposal.

“Existing defamation law needs to be updated so it is fit for the modern age, and it is important we listen to views on the best way to achieve this,” said Justice Secretary Jack Straw.


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Mother killed herself and daughter in car fire

Independent: A single mother who was the focus of a sustained campaign of abuse from a gang of youths killed herself and her teenage daughter by setting her car on fire, an inquest heard yesterday.

Fiona Pilkington, 38, committed suicide in October 2007 by parking in a lay-by in South Leicestershire with her daughter, Francecca, 18, dousing the back seat in petrol before setting it alight with both women still inside

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Killer finally unmasked after 30 years

Independent: DNA evidence solves mystery of who killed Teresa De Simone – and shows an innocent man could have been freed 10 years earlier

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Lord Strathclyde severs links with oil trader Trafigura after waste scandal

Guardian: The leader of the Conservative party in the Lords, Lord Strathclyde, is to sever his links with the controversial oil traders Trafigura.

Evidence was disclosed in the Guardian today that the London-based firm has carried out a huge cover-up of its role in an African waste-dumping scandal.

Strathclyde said: “I’ve read today’s stories about Trafigura with concern and I am making inquiries about the situation.”

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Hold the front page (lawyer’s request)

Times: Journalism is changing faster than at any time in its history but still not as frequently as the law. The editors of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists need to revise their textbook roughly every two years which, since an up-to-date edition is required reading for media students, must be fine for royalties but involves constantly beating deadlines. As journalists turned academics they should feel comfortable with that.

To publish before the new university year was supposed to be completed by February. But as pages were en route to the printers new information was being added almost daily as laws were being prepared for change or being changed.

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Should intercept evidence on terror suspects be made admissible in court?

Times: The control orders regime for detaining suspects who have been neither charged nor prosecuted has been widely discredited.

But, ministers ask, how else can they deal with terrorist suspects whom they cannot prosecute (because the key evidence is based on secret intercepts and is inadmissible in court)?

This crucial question will probably not be addressed in the wholesale review of the regime announced by the Home Secretary. So it is no surprise that the announcement of a review has not brought the welcome that it might once have commanded.

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Mandelson to shelve laws aimed at cutting binge drinking

Times: Measures to curb binge drinking top a list of regulations to be shelved in the latest U-turn forced on Labour by the economic downturn.

New laws to improve rights for agency workers are also likely to be delayed as part of a Cabinet-wide clear-out of “anti-business” measures ordered by Lord Mandelson.

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