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Archive for October 12th, 2009

Gazza’s ex in libel damages win

BBC: The former wife of Paul Gascoigne has accepted undisclosed libel damages over a claim her financial demands caused his relapse into alcoholism.

Sheryl Gascoigne went to London’s High Court over “sensational and highly offensive” claims in the Daily Star.

Her legal team said the June articles suggested she demanded extra maintenance payments as the ex-England star was in a drug rehabilitation unit.

Express Newspapers apologised and admitted the allegations were untrue.

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Judges unsure about prefab courts

BBC: Judges have voiced concerns about plans to build prefabricated courtrooms next to a court that hears high profile terrorism and organised crime trials.

BBC News has learned that the portable units will be assembled in a car park at London’s Woolwich Crown Court.

More space is needed because caseloads have risen in England and Wales.

The Council of Circuit Judges said it was concerned the units might not provide the best facilities for vulnerable witnesses and jurors.

Woolwich Crown Court is currently one of the main centres for hearing high-security cases that require armed protection.

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Justice for Wounded: Judges to rule on compensation for injured servicemen

Telegraph: Appeal judges will rule today on a legal attempt by the Ministry of Defence to reduce the compensation paid to two servicemen, a move that drew widespread condemnation.

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Rooftop protest continues as MPs return

Independent: More than 20 environmental campaigners remained on the roof of the Palace of Westminster today in a protest over climate change, while another 20 were being held by police.

The Greenpeace activists hope to greet politicians as they arrive for the start of Parliament with a 12-point manifesto calling for zero carbon emissions by 2030, a stop to airport expansion, more wind power and new pollution taxes.

The group is looking to upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen as the ideal opportunity to address the climate problem.

The demonstrators climbed on to the roof, ramparts and a turret on top of Westminster Hall yesterday, unfurling yellow banners which read: “Change the politics, save the climate.”

They said there was little resistance from police when they moved quickly to prop ladders against the wall and climb on to the roof.

After four and three quarter hours on the roof, 20 protesters climbed down one by one using a ladder and safety harness and were arrested for trespassing on a “protected site”.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said all 20 remained in custody.

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Millionaire peer and the flat in which he never spent a night

Independent: A Labour peer with a family fortune of some £500m claimed a one-bed flat as his main residence in order to claim £38,000 in expenses – and admits he hasn’t spent a single night there.

The steel magnate Swaraj Paul, 78, a close friend of Gordon Brown, has lived in London for 40 years. But he registered the flat – in a three-star hotel in Oxfordshire owned by the Paul family – as his main home when it was in fact occupied by one of his employees. The arrangement allowed the peer to claim up to £20,000 in cash allowances for two consecutive years between 2004 and 2006.

The revelation comes as a blow to Labour, who have reportedly received around £400,000 in contributions from the peer, the 88th richest person in Britain, including a £45,000 donation to Mr Brown’s leadership campaign.

Lord Paul defended his decision to designate the flat as his main residence on the grounds that it was “available” for use by him and he could have removed the employee living there had he needed to stay. The flat, inside the Bignell Park Hotel near Bicester, has been used as living-quarters by managers at the hotel for several years.

“There is no law in this country which says that if you have a little wealth, you are not entitled

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Damian Green affair: police “unwise” to pursue arrest after Government pressure

Times: Scotland Yard will today be accused of “unwisely” pursuing the arrest of Damian Green, the Tory MP, after being pressured by the Government to investigate a series of Whitehall leaks.

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Lovells in merger talks with leading US legal firm

Times: Lovells, the City’s sixth-biggest law firm, is in merger talks with Hogan & Hartson, a leading American group, in what would be the biggest tie-up in the legal sector in nearly five years.

A deal would create a firm with $1.8 billion (£1.1 billion) in revenue and 2,500 lawyers, vaulting Lovells and Hogan & Hartson from the second tier in their respective markets to become the world’s ninth-largest law firm, just behind Allen & Overy. Other mergers are expected as the legal market begins to consolidate.

A spokesman for Lovells said that it had “recently been taking a major look at market developments” in the US, but declined to comment further. Hogan & Hartson had no comment.

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