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Archive for October 5th, 2009

Revenue’s cash rewards and confiscation targets ‘skewing justice’

Times: Senior prosecution officials have received personal bonuses for seizing defendants’ assets under an incentive scheme which, it is feared, could create miscarriages of justice.

The Times has learnt that £44,000 in bonuses for the “most senior staff” at the Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO), which pursues tax fraud cases, were linked in part to hitting confiscation targets.

The prosecuting authority also receives 18.5 per cent of the money seized from people convicted of fraud and subjected to confiscation orders. But leading lawyers are increasingly concerned that the setting of targets and provision of financial incentives will, in the words of one, “skew justice”.

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Child rapist assaults five-year-old eight days after being freed by judge

Telegraph: A Judge is being investigated after he freed a child rapist who kidnapped and assaulted a five-year-old just eight days later.

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Neighbour tells of police gun battle terror

Independent: A man told of his terror as armed police shot his neighbour who was brandishing a weapon.

Painter and decorator Fred Eaton, 55, was ushered away from his bedroom window by officers from the Metropolitan Police specialist firearm unit CO19 as he went to investigate the noise.

Officers opened fire yesterday on a 43-year-old man who lives below Mr Eaton after he failed to drop his weapon.

It is believed the man, who neighbours say has long-standing health issues, had called police and was threatening to shoot passers-by.

Officers quickly swooped on the block of flats in Kiver Road, Holloway, north London at around 9.30am ordering the man to drop his weapon.

He is thought to have shot twice in the air before police opened fire.

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MI5 chief reveals 2005 bombing fears

Independent: The head of MI5 during the 2005 London bombings today said she feared at the time the service would not be able to cope with continuing terror attacks.

Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller said following the 7/7 suicide bombings and the failed attacks a fortnight later, she suspected terrorists could try to bomb the capital on a regular basis.

She said investigators did not immediately know the attack on the capital’s public transport system – which killed 52 people – was carried out by suicide bombers.

Lady Manningham-Buller, director general of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency between 2002 and 2007, was speaking ahead of the publication of MI5’s first official history today.

In a BBC interview she said: “My recollection of 7/7 was a feeling of ‘It’s happened’, what we half expected would, what we had prepared for, what we had trained for, so it was a bad day for everybody.

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David Cameron retreats on European referendum

Guardian:

• Boris Johnson claims no rift over call for public vote
• Decision may bring Blair presidency closer
• Party will attempt to claw back UK powers

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Fired UN envoy claims third of Hamid Karzai votes fraudulent

Guardian: A former senior United Nations diplomat in Kabul has made a scathing attack on the UN’s handling of Afghanistan‘s disputed elections, claiming that almost one in three of the votes cast for president Hamid Karzai were fraudulent.

Peter Galbraith, the former deputy head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, singled out his former chief, Kai Eide, for criticism, saying he had deliberately played down the level of cheating in an election where, in one region, “10 times as many votes were recorded as voters actually cast”.

Galbraith was sacked last week, after his disagreements with Eide, a Norwegian diplomat in charge of the UN mission, about how to deal with electoral fraud became public. Galbraith said the extraordinary level of fraud in the August vote “has handed the Taliban its greatest strategic victory in eight years of fighting the United States and its Afghan partners”.

The election was a “foreseeable train wreck”, he said, with Eide standing idle as Afghan election authorities and ministers loyal to the president avoided taking steps that could have reduced massive fraud.

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Court setback for mobile phone companies over roaming price caps

Times: The mobile phone industry’s attempts to block European regulatory caps on roaming rates have been dealt a severe blow after a key legal adviser told the European Court of Justice that the price caps were valid.

Britain’s four largest mobile phone companies — Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and O2 — have fought to overturn plans by the European Commission to regulate the price they can charge customers to use a mobile phone while abroad.

However, the challenge, which questioned the legal basis of the regulatory move, appears to be running out of steam after Luis Miguel Poiares Pessoa Maduro, the Advocate General and a key adviser to the European Court of Justice, ruled that the regulation was in the interests of the internal market in which “free movement of goods, services and capital is ensured”.

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