Monday, 16 October 2017

"Victoria" TV series ~ Daniel M'Naghten

Daniel M'Naghten
The second series of the television programme "Victoria" ended on Sunday 15th October.  (There is to be a Christmas extra episode).  At times, the series touched upon some of the great issues of those days.

Victoria (1819-1901) was Queen from June 1837. The final episode of Series 2 touched upon the Parliamentary struggle for the repeal of the "Corn Laws" which essentially had come to protect wealthy landowners from the impact of allowing grain to be imported.  A poem of the time summarised the situation: "Ye coop us up, and tax our bread, And wonder why we pine; But ye are fat, and round, and red, And fill'd with tax-bought wine."

The Corn Laws were repealed during the premiership of Robert Peel (1788-1850).  Peel's private secretary was the civil servant Edward Drummond (1792-1843) who was shot by Daniel M'Naghten (1813-1865) whose name still lives on in English criminal law due to the much-criticised M'Naghten Rules which set out the requirements to establish a defence of "insanity."  Drummond was actually shot from behind and he died of complications which arose following surgery to remove the "leaden bullet" fired from M'Naghten's gun.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Ian Stewart-Brady

" .....even in the sordid history of crimes against children the murders committed by Hindley jointly with Ian Brady, were uniquely evil" - Lord Steyn in R (Hindley) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2000] UKHL 21.


On 15th May, the "Moors Murderer" Ian Brady died - previous post 18th May 2017.  He was convicted at Chester Assizes in 1966 (Fenton Atkinson J and a jury) of the murders of John Kilbride (12), Lesley Ann Downey (10) and Edward Evans (17).   Myra Hindley, who died in 2002, was convicted of the murders of Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Brexit Notes - Round 5 and other items

Round 5 of the Brexit negotiations has concluded with statements by the EU Chief Negotiator (Michel Barnier) and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (David Davis).  Some British politicians will be most unhappy to have heard Mr Barnier state - " ... as things stand at present, I am not able to recommend to the European Council next week to open discussions on the future relationship."

Although the talks clearly made a certain amount of progress, the major sticking point appears to be the financial settlement which Mr Barnier said had not been discussed apart from some technical details.  He said, "We are, therefore, at a deadlock on this question. This is extremely worrying for European taxpayers and those who benefit from EU policies."

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Brexit - Theresa May's statement to Parliament 9th October

Brexit negotiations are entering the 5th Round and, on 9th October, the Prime Minister made this statement to the House of Commons - see Hansard 9th October.

Mrs May emphasised that the government wishes to secure "a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union which spans both a new economic relationship and a new security relationship" but the UK will not be part of the EU single market or customs union. Also, the idea is rejected of "something based on European Economic Area membership."   Instead, the UK is seeking "a unique and ambitious economic partnership" which will "reflect our unprecedented position of starting with the same rules and regulations."  The UK will maintain its "unequivocal commitment to free trade and high standards."

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Suicide Act 1961 ~ Mr Noel Conway

Mr Noel Conway is 67 years old and suffers from Motor Neurone Disease (MND) which he described as "a relentless and merciless process of progressive deterioration."   When the time is appropriate, he wishes to have assistance to end his life but assisting suicide is a criminal offence in England and Wales - (Suicide Act 1961 section 2).  In the High Court he argued that section 2 of the Suicide Act is incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and he asked the court to make a declaration of incompatibility as permitted by section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The court held that section 2 is compatible with the Article 8 rights of Mr Conway and declined to make the declaration.

The Queen (Noel Douglas Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice and others [2017] EWHC 2447 (Admin) - Sales LJ, Whipple and Garnham JJ.  The judgment is also available in pdf format via the Judiciary website.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Judiciary ~ Swearing in ceremonies

Sir Ian Burnett LCJ
The new Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales - Sir Ian Burnett - has been sworn in today (2nd October) - see the Judiciary announcement and the short video statement made by Sir Ian. The Lord Chief Justice holds the office of President of the Courts of England and Wales and is Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales - Constitutional Reform Act 2005 section 7.   Sir Ian is also Head of Criminal Justice but it is permissible for the him to appoint another to that position - CRA 2005 section 8.

Sir Ian is the 19th Lord Chief Justice since the major court reforms of 1875 and he is the 12th since the end of World War 2.  He is the youngest appointee since Lord Parker of Waddington who was appointed in 1958 at the age of 58.

Note 12th October - It has been announced that Sir Ian Burnett will receive a life peerage - Downing Street Press release

Change also took place at the Supreme Court .....