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Archive for January 7th, 2010

Leading lawyers call for quicker ‘no-fault’ divorces

Independent: Britain’s medieval fault-based divorce system must be reformed so that couples are free to end their marriage without having to blame each other for the break-up, an overwhelming majority of lawyers have told the Government.

The call for a change to a law which has its origins in the matrimonial disputes of Henry VIII is supported by senior judges who share concerns that the rules create an acrimonious divorce culture.

Three out of four of Britain’s top 100 divorce lawyers said they want ministers to revisit the controversial subject of “no fault” divorces proposed by John Major’s government in 1996.

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Jilted woman ‘laced former lover’s curry with poison’

Independent: A spurned woman poisoned her former lover and his new fiancée by lacing their curry with an ancient poison, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.

Lakhvinder Cheema, 39, died and Gurjeet Choough, 21, nearly lost her life in January last year after Lakhvir Singh spiked their meal two weeks before their wedding on Valentine’s Day, it was alleged. The couple had eaten a curry together at Mr Cheema’s home in Feltham, west London, and had become violently ill, said Edward Brown, QC, prosecuting. Mr Cheema died within an hour of being taken to hospital, but Ms Choough, who had eaten less of the meal, came out of a coma and recovered.

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Light-fingered ‘shoppers’ stealing one item a minute

Independent: The number of shoplifting incidents has risen by more than a third in the past year, costing retailers more than £1bn and leading to higher prices for customers.

According to the British Retail Consortium’s annual crime survey there were 498,405 thefts – almost one every minute – during 2009, with the number of thefts per 100 outlets rising from 2,914 in 2008 to 3,902 last year.

Incidents of violence and verbal abuse against shop staff doubled, with at least 22,000 workers being targeted by customers. Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said that store crime was not treated seriously enough. “We need tougher sentencing and more consistent use of fixed penalty notices between police forces,” he said.

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Gordon Brown: the snowstorm mutiny melts

Guardian:

• Hoon and Hewitt call for secret vote on PM’s leadership
• Key cabinet figures throw support behind Labour leader
• After long silence Miliband offers lukewarm endorsement

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DNA matches solve only a fraction of crimes, police admit

Guardian: Only 33,000 of the 4.9m crimes the police recorded last year were solved as a result of a match on the national DNA database, police admitted today .

However, Chief Constable Chris Sims, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ spokesman on the DNA database, told MPs it had played a much more significant part in the detection of serious and specific offences. He said DNA matches had played a crucial role in solving up to 40% of detected burglaries.

Sims, the West Midlands chief constable, was defending the rapid growth of the police DNA database in England and Wales, and the continued retention of DNA profiles of innocent people who have been arrested but never convicted of an offence.

He was giving evidence to an inquiry by the Commons home affairs select committee inquiry into the DNA database, which is the largest in Europe. Sims admitted there wide variations in the approaches of the 43 chief constables across England and Wales to requests from innocent people for the removal of their DNA profiles.

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Advice for 2010? Love your clients and taking nothing for granted

Times: Last year was traumatic for many law firms. Few avoided staff cutbacks or shorter time working. In many cases partners took home significantly less than they had earned in recent years and managing partners have had to take tough decisions to deal with the downturn.

So does this week represent a turn of the page? Does a new decade mean a new chance?

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FSA takes a hard line with iSoft four

Times: The founder and three former directors of iSoft Group, the software business embroiled in an accounting scandal while working for the NHS in 2006, are being prosecuted for the criminal offence of misleading the stock market.

Patrick Cryne, iSoft’s founder and former chairman, who now owns Barnsley Football Club, and three former colleagues have been charged with conspiracy to make misleading statements.

Timothy Whiston, the former chief executive of iSoft, which was worth £1 billion at its stock market peak, and the former directors Stephen Graham and John Whelan have also been charged in the prosecution brought by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

The four have been summoned to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates Court this month.

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