Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Peterloo Massacre - Bicentenary

"In the name of Him who made us, We will perish, or be free" - Samuel Bamford

On Monday 16 August 1819, St. Peter's Field, Manchester was the site of what is known as the Peterloo Massacre.  On the orders of Magistrates for the Counties of Lancaster and Chester*, cavalry, sabres drawn, rode into a crowd of some 60,000 who had gathered to call for reform of parliamentary representation. An estimated 18 people, including four women and a child, died from sabre cuts and trampling. Nearly 700 men, women and children received serious injuries.

The word Peterloo

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


13 August 2019 - 79 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.08 Euro.  £1 = 1.21 US $.  The clock continues to run down to Exit Day.

Court of Session - Scotland:  

Back in the news is the possibility that the Prime Minister might secure a prorogation of Parliament in order to prevent the House of Commons stopping a "no-deal" (crash-out) Brexit - BBC News 13 August 2019.  A legal challenge to try to prevent such a prorogation is underway before Scotland's Court of Session.  The petition, brought by the Good Law Project, is supported by more than 70 MPs and peers.  The project seeks

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Could Parliament stop "no-deal" Brexit

6 August 2019 - 86 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.09 Euro.  £1 = 1.22 US $.  The clock continues to run down to Exit Day.
The possibility that the House of Commons may wish to prevent a no-deal (or, more accurately, a "Crash-out") Brexit taking place on 31 October is producing further constitutional talking points.  In March 2019 the House was opposed to no-deal - BBC News 14 March 2019.  The new Prime Minister has said that Brexit will take place on 31 October “whatever the circumstances” - The Guardian 5 August.  A no-deal Brexit entails leaving a deeply-integrated and barrier-free market with 27 other member States and over 510m people.  The UK will also leave Euratom.  No-deal will also have serious consequences in other areas such as Police and Judicial Co-operation - Law Society February 2019.

This previous post (1 August 2019) reported

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Emergency at Toddbrook Reservoir, Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire

Updates at the end -

Recent rainfall has certainly been exceptionally intense and has threatened the dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.   A huge effort is taking place to try to prevent the wall collapsing including use of a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter assisting with emergency efforts (pictured) - Metro News 3 August 2019.

Toddbrook Reservoir opened in 1838 and is located near the south-western part of the town with the dam wall facing the town.  The present situation is not the first at Toddbrook.  As shown in the following paper, heavy rain in 1964 also caused serious concern.  Remedial works

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Brexit uncertainty

1st August 2019 - 91 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.10 Euro.  £1 = 1.21 US $.

The lack of clarity over Brexit is deeply concerning for everyone.  Will there be a deal or will it be a no-deal Brexit?  If a no-deal Brexit then what will happen?  If no-deal, what will be the situation in Northern Ireland regarding the border?  What might happen in Parliament when it eventually emerges from its lengthy summer recess?

No-deal preparation:

HM Treasury has announced

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Manchester Arena ~ Inquest Pre-Hearings

On the evening of Monday 22nd May, at 22.33 hrs BST, a bomb was detonated in the foyer of the Manchester Arena – BBC News 23rd May.   22 people were killed and over 100 injured (many seriously) – BBC News 27th May.   The bomb was detonated as people were leaving the Arena following a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

The attacker was identified by police as Salman Ramadan Abedi – (see BBC 26th May) - a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan ancestry who detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device at one of the exits as concertgoers were leaving.  Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994, grew up in the Whalley Range area and lived in Fallowfield.  It appears that he was known to British Security Services but was not regarded as high risk – The Guardian 23rd May. 

A number of individuals were arrested

Friday, 26 July 2019

Insane automatism and driving

On 25 July, in the House of Commons, the death of 15 year old Katelyn Dawson was raised by Mr Barry Sheerman MP (Huddersfield).  Mr Sheerman asked the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP) -

"On 10 January 2018, Katelyn Dawson was killed and two other women were very badly injured when a white BMW crashed into a queue of people as Katelyn was going to school. She was 15 and an only child. Could we have an early debate on what is going on in the Crown Prosecution Service? It has been many months and now the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to bring any charge against the driver ....  He got off because the CPS thought he was going to argue insane automatism, which is increasingly being used by wealthy and well-connected people to get off charges when they kill people."

Thursday, 25 July 2019

A new government forms

The ritual transfer of executive power took place on Wednesday 24 July 2019.  The outgoing Prime Minister (Theresa May) attended the House of Commons for her final Prime Minister's Questions and then went to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to HM The Queen.  Mrs May will have advised the Queen to appoint Boris Johnson, the successful candidate in the Conservative Party leadership election.  Mr Johnson then attended the palace and was duly appointed Prime Minister.  This time-honoured ritual emphasised the constitutional facts that HM The Queen is Head of State and that the government is Her Majesty's Government.

Mr Johnson returned to No.10 Downing Street, spoke briefly

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Boris Johnson becomes Conservative Party leader

With exactly 100 days to go before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU), the Conservative and Unionist Party announced that Boris Johnson is to be party leader.   Mr Johnson won 92,153 votes (66%) to Mr Hunt's 46,656 (34%).

On Wednesday 24 July, the Queen's first visitor will be the outgoing Prime Minister - Theresa May.  Mr Johnson will then visit the palace to be formally appointed as Prime Minister. 

During a lengthy campaign, Mr Johnson made clear that he plans to lead the UK out of the EU by 31 October 2019 - i.e. to "deliver Brexit."   His stance has been that this will take place with or without a withdrawal agreement.

Appointment of Prime Minister:

In law, the Queen may

Friday, 19 July 2019

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - (2)

An earlier post looked at the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill when it was before the House of Commons.   The principal purpose of the Bill is to extend the period for forming an Executive under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 and to impose a duty on the Secretary of State to report on progress towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

The reporting requirements are in Clause 3 of the Bill.   Originally this was a short clause of just 3 subsections.  It has now expanded to 21 subsections.

On Thursday 18 July,

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

European Parliament 16 July 2019 ~ Brexit and no deal

On 16 July 2019 the European Parliament narrowly approved the nomination of German politician Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.  The Parliament has 751 members.  733 votes were cast and those divided 327 against and 383 in favour - (51% of the total number of MEP or 52.25% of the votes cast).

Ursula von der Leyen was nominated by the European Council at the Council meeting held on 30 June - previous post 3 July 2019.  See HERE for background to the nomination.


Sunday, 14 July 2019

An Ambassador resigns ....

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, writing for the Mail on Sunday (7 July), revealed comments made by the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the USA (Sir Kim Darroch) about the administration of President Donald Trump.  The comments were in diplomatic communications (Diptel) between the Ambassador and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

In one document Sir Kim wrote:  'We don't really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.'

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill received its First Reading on 4 July 2019.  It was introduced as a Bill to:

"Extend the period for forming an Executive under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 and to impose a duty on the Secretary of State to report on progress towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland."

Northern Ireland is supposed

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Stephen Laxley-Lennon ~ Guilty of contempt of court

Updated 9 July 2019  - with link to High Court reasons.

Updated 11 July 2019 - sentencing

The Attorney-General's Office has announced that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka "Tommy Robinson") has been found guilty of contempt of court following a trial held at the Old Bailey before Dame Victoria Sharp P (QBD) and Warby J.   Dame Victoria Sharp was appointed President of the Queen's Bench Division upon the retirement, at age 70, of Sir Brian Leveson.

The contempt proceedings have an interesting and quite lengthy history.

Crown Court at Leeds - 25 May 2018:

In April 2017, Kirklees Magistrates' Court sent a number of men, accused of serious sexual offending against young females, for trial

Friday, 5 July 2019

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson v Westminster Magistrates' Court and others

This previous post (30 May 2019) looked at the decision by  District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) Margot Coleman to issue a summons to Boris Johnson alleging three offences of misconduct in public office.  The alleged offences related to the 2016 EU referendum campaign during which it was said that Boris Johnson repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership, expressly stating, endorsing or inferring that the cost of EU membership was £350 million per week.

The summons was later quashed by the High Court (Rafferty LJ and Supperstone J) for reasons set out in a judgment dated 3 July 2019 and published on the Judiciary website.

It is no surprise that 

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

EU Council ~ 30 June to 2 July 2019

EU Council:

The European Council has met over 30 June 2019 to 2 July 2019 and future key EU appointments were considered.  Prime Minister Theresa May attended on behalf of the UK.

The European Council plays an important role in certain appointment procedures for high profile EU level roles. In particular, it is responsible for:
  • electing the President of the European Council
  • proposing the President of the European Commission
  • appointing the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • officially appointing the entire body of Commissioners
  • appointing the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), including the ECB president

Electing the President requires a qualified majority. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Erskine May online

Thomas Erskine May
"Parliamentary Practice" is the title of the late Thomas Erskine May's authoritative and influential work on parliamentary procedure and constitutional conventions affecting Parliament.  Rather than a set of rules, Erskine May is a description of how procedure in the House of Commons and House of Lords has evolved and the conventions that apply.

Now in its 25th Edition, Erskine May is published online via Parliament's website - HERE.  It continues to be available in printed form.

Thomas Erskine May himself was born in 1815 and became Clerk of the House of Commons in 1871.  He served in that post until shortly before his death in 1886.  His work

Monday, 1 July 2019

20 years of devolution

Scottish Parliament
The Scotland Act 1998 section 1(1) states - "There shall be a Scottish Parliament."

The newly created Scottish Parliament was formally opened by HM The Queen on 12 May 1999 and the Parliament assumed its legislative powers on 1 July 1999.  It was the first time since March 1707 that Scotland had its own Parliament.  The creation of the Parliament resulted from demands for constitutional change that went back as far as the mid 19th century.

Further demands for constitutional change

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Lord Sumption - Reith Lectures 2019

In January 2012, Lord Sumption was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court directly from the Bar.  In December 2018 he reached the compulsory retirement age of 70 years and had to retire even though he can be invited to sit as a member of the court until he reaches age 75 - See his Valedictory via the Supreme Court website.  In May 2017, Lord Neuberger said - “ ... the situation is demonstrably illogical as judges who must retire at 70 are able to sit as part-time judges until reaching 75, and people can be jurors until 75.”

Lord Sumption has delivered the BBC's annual Reith Lectures

Monday, 24 June 2019

Human Rights in the UK

European Convention on Human Rights
An overview of the position regarding "human rights" in the UK.

Rights in general - a basic note:

There appears to be no universally agreed definition of  the terms "right" (or "rights") but the concept of rights is important and there is an abundance of literature in which numerous legal thinkers have sought to analyse and explain rights.

At a basic level. a right appears

Friday, 21 June 2019

Choosing the Prime Minister

Theresa May announces intention to resign
Updated 30 June - see Articles below

Some thoughts on the process of choosing the Prime Minister.

On 24 May 2019, battered and broken by the stormy waters of Brexit, the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP) announced that she would resign from the leadership of the Conservative and Unionist Party.  Mrs May had been forced into this position by her party's MPs - (see the media articles - links below). 

The resignation duly took place on 7 June and the party began the process of electing their new leader. At the time of writing,  two candidates remain in the race - Rt. Hon Boris Johnson MP and Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP.  Their names

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The concept of Rule of Law

In R (Unison) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51, Lord Reed said at para 68 - "At the heart of the concept of the rule of law is the idea that society is governed by law."

The important concept of "the Rule of Law" is much more than one of the clichés of modern life. The rule of law is invoked by lawyers and politicians but there is no precise definition to which one can turn.  Nonetheless, authoritative sources contain references to the rule of law and offer descriptions of the concept.

References to rule of law:

The rule of law is mentioned

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Prorogation of Parliament to achieve "no deal" Brexit

Let's take back control
The destructive testing of the UK's uncodified constitution continues as the possibility of a Prorogation of Parliament is suggested to enable a new Prime Minister to push through a 31 October "no deal" Brexit.   The new PM will be the winner of the Conservative Party leadership contest - selected by 313 Conservative MPs and, in the region of, 160,000 party members.  The party does not have a majority in the House of Commons and governs with a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Removing Parliament

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Justice Report ~ Prosecuting sexual offences

Justice Report:

Justice has published the report of Working Party - Prosecuting Sexual Offences

"Recent years have seen a surge in sexual offence allegations. The uncovering of non-recent crimes, a rise in reporting, shifting cultural attitudes and the internet have all contributed to a large increase of cases entering the criminal justice system. In turn, this increase has thrown into the spotlight the complexities of prosecuting sexual offences. The report calls for important reforms to protect complainants and vulnerable individuals and recommends stronger obligations on internet companies to safeguard children and stop online sexual offences from taking place."

Friday, 7 June 2019

Dennis Hutchings ~ Application for Judicial Review

"Trial by jury is a hallowed principle of the administration of justice ..." - per Lord Judge CJ in R v Twomey [2010] 1 WLR 630.

A previous post looked at the on-going case of former soldier Dennis Hutchings - Northern Ireland - talking Points (30 October 2018)

Mr Dennis Hutchings (now aged 78) served with the Life Guards Regiment in Northern Ireland.  He is facing trial

Thursday, 6 June 2019

As the Brexit Clock ticks

Updated 11 June - 14 June:

The Brexit clock is ticking.  It is now 56 days since the Article 50 "flexible" extension to 31 October was agreed on 10 April 2019 - read the Council Conclusions and Council Decision 10 April.   147 days are left until 31 October.  The 56 days have seen the elections for the European Parliament, the announcement by Theresa May that she is to resign as Conservative Party leader on 7 June, and the commencement of a Conservative Party leadership election.   The seemingly intractable problem of Brexit remains.

Leadership election:

In the leadership election

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Private prosecution commenced against Boris Johnson

Updated 7 June

A District Judge sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court has decided that a summons will be issued to bring Mr Boris Johnson MP before the court in respect of allegations of misconduct in public office.

The decision to issue the summons was handed down by District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) Margot Coleman and has been published by the Judiciary - see Marcus Ball v Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

It is important to note

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Notable cases - (6) - R v R

House of Lords - Last Judgment 2009
For centuries, rape has rightly been regarded as one of the most serious criminal offences.   Under common law it was defined as 'the unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman by force and against her will.'  The required state of mind (mens rea) was an intention on the part of the defendant to have intercourse without consent.  The common law position was considered by the House of Lords in the Morgan case in 1975 - reported [1976] AC 182.

In 1736, Sir Matthew Hale commented

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

European Parliamentary Election 2019 ~ Facts

The European Parliamentary Elections were held throughout the European Union over 23-26 May 2019.  The UK election was on 23 May.  The Parliament has 751 seats and the UK allocation is 73.

The powers of the European Parliament's powers derive from Articles 223 to 234 and 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

After the elections one of the first tasks of an incoming Parliament is to elect a new President of the European Commission (the EU’s executive body).  Member states nominate a candidate for the post, but in doing so they must take account of the European election results.  Moreover, Parliament needs to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one). - see How are the Commission President and Commissioners appointed.

The overall voting turnout in the EU

Friday, 24 May 2019

Emmerdale - the Jacob and Maya storyline

Emmerdale is a an ITV Yorkshire "soap opera" set in a fictitious village in the Yorkshire Dales. The programme is known for tackling difficult subjects and a recent storyline has been about teacher Maya Stepney (played by Louisa Clein) and her pupil Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant).  Maya Stepney was the girl friend of Jacob's father David Metcalfe (played by Matthew Wolfenden).  The story began when Jacob was aged 15 and he and '30-seomthing' Maya became friendly.  It developed into an intimate relationship once he became 16. 

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is the key legislation containing the definitions of many sexual offences.  The background to the legislation is set out in the Explanatory Notes.  This post looks at two offences

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Notable cases (5) - Attorney-General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel

Prerogative powers have considerable importance in modern times.  This is particularly the case in foreign affairs and defence.  In practice, the powers are exercisable by Ministers who are accountable to Parliament.

In Burmah Oil v Lord Advocate [1965] AC 75,  Lord Reid observed that there was practically no authority on the prerogative from the Revolution Settlement of 1688-9 until World War 1.  Attorney-General v De Keyser's Royal Hotel is a key House of Lords decision from that period.

De Keyser:

1916, in the midst of World War 1, the

Monday, 20 May 2019

Notable cases (4) - Conway v Rimmer

In Conway v Rimmer [1968] AC 910, [1968] UKHL 2 the House of Lords (Lords Reid, Morris, Hodson, Pearce and Upjohn) brought about a major change in the way in which claims, usually by Ministers, to avoid disclosure of evidential material were to be handled.  Such claims were based on what was then referred to as "Crown Privilege."  That term has been replaced by Public Interest Immunity (PII).

Duncan v Cammell Laird:

Thetis, a name from Greek mythology, was also the name given to a T-class Royal Navy submarine built and launched in 1938 by Cammell Laird, Birkenhead.

On 1 June 1939, HMS Thetis undertook diving trials in Liverpool Bay to the north of Llandudno.  103 men were on board.  Due to excessive water intake via the torpedo tubes, Thetis sank and her bows became stuck in the sea bed.  She was unable to get free.  Four men (including the captain) escaped via a small escape hatch but a build up of carbon dioxide in the submarine resulted in the deaths of the other 99.

It took

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Notable cases (3) - Scott v Scott 1913 - Open justice

Viscount Haldane LC (1856-1928)
'In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity there is no justice.” “Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial' - Jeremy Bentham

Open justice:

Scott v Scott  was decided by the House of Lords in 1913 - Viscount Haldane LC, Earl of Halsbury, Earl Loreburn, Lord Atkinson and Lord Shaw of Dunfermline.

Mrs. Scott (appellant) filed her petition

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Privacy International in the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2019] UKSC 22.  The appeal was heard on 3 and 4 December 2018 before 7 Justices - Lady Hale, Lords Reed, Kerr, Wilson, Sumption, Carnwath and Lloyd-Jones.   By a majority, Privacy International's appeal was successful.  The Regulatory Powers Act 2000 s67(8) as it stood at the relevant time was not sufficient to exclude (oust) the jurisdiction of the High Court to conduct judicial review proceedings.


The case concerned

Monday, 13 May 2019

Notable cases (2) - Anisminic

Dark forest to sunrise
It is just over 50 years since the seminal House of Lords decision in Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission which brought about a major change in the approach to statutory provisions seeking to protect decision-making bodies (mainly tribunals) from judicial review.  Many such bodies have a specialist remit but nevertheless one that is limited by the relevant legislation.  In very simplistic terms, a tribunal given power to make decisions about apples is not empowered to make decisions about oranges.  Of course, such bodies have to decide whether a particular matter comes within their remit.  The question arises - What is the effect if the body makes a legally wrong decision?  Should such a decision be capable of 'immunisation' from judicial review?

History - Judicial Review:

The first common law court was the Norman Curia Regis at the time of William I (1066 - 1087).  After the Norman conquest

Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ~ Judicial Review ~ Privacy International

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) was created by Part IV of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and it replaced a number of tribunals created by earlier legislation - e.g. under the Interception of Communications Act 1985 s.7 (as originally enacted).

Although its name includes the word "Tribunal" it lies outside the general tribunal structure .  The President of the IPT is Lord Justice Singh and there are nine other members including 2 High Court Judges - Edis and Sweeney JJ.  The qualifications for tribunal membership are set out in RIPA Schedule 3.

The Tribunal

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Coroners ~ Suicide ~ Standard of Proof

At around 5.20 in the morning of 11 July 2016 James Maughan was found hanging in his prison cell at HMP Bullingdon. A ligature had been tied to the bedframe and attached to his neck. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. There was evidence that in the past he had mental health and other problems and that there had been previous attempts at suicide and self-harm.

In such circumstances, an inquest was required to be held and was held. The inquest took place between 9 and 12 October 2017 before the Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire and a jury.

The principal issues raised

Friday, 10 May 2019

Notable cases (1) - Woolmington

John Sankey 1866-1948
In 1935, Reginald Woolmington (W) was tried for the murder, in December 1934, of his wife (Violet).  His trial was held at the Somerset Assizes in Taunton on 23 January 1935 but, after only one hour and twenty-five minutes, the jury was unable to agree.  In those days a jury had to be unanimous and majority verdicts were not introduced until the Juries Act 1974.  Mr Woolmington (W) then faced a second trial at Bristol Assizes (Mr Justice Swift and a jury) on 14 February.  He was convicted and sentenced to death.  The death penalty for murder lasted until the Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965.

One remarkable feature of the case is the short timescale of less than 2 months from the alleged murder to trial and sentence.  Timescales today are usually very much longer.  For instance,

Law Reporting - in brief

Thanks to generations of "Law Reporters" we have an extensive heritage of law reports in which are recorded the details of cases, the legal arguments, the reasoning of the judges and their decisions on the law.  Case law, as found in the various law reports, is a source of law through the mechanism of the doctrine of precedent. According to this doctrine, a court is bound by the decisions of a court above it in the hierarchy and, usually, by a court of equivalent standing.  Superior courts have the power to overrule decisions of lower courts and in certain cases to depart from their own decisions.  The modern doctrine of the binding force of judicial precedent only fully emerged when there was good law reporting and a settled judicial hierarchy.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Donations to Political Parties

European Parliament
In a televised interview, Mr Nigel Farage would not reveal the name of a donor who gave s "small" donation of £100,000 to his recently formed Brexit Party - The New European 5 May 2019.  Mr Farage told his interviewer - Sophy Ridge of Sky News - that the name would be revealed at the end of July which is, of course, well after the European Parliament Elections currently scheduled for 23 May 2019.  In an earlier interview with LBC's Iain Dale, Mr Farage was similarly "coy" about sources of money though he said that 70,000 people had registered at £25 each (= £1.75m).

According to

Monday, 6 May 2019

Line of Duty ~ Legal angles

Series 5 Episode 6 of BBC Television's Line of Duty (Cast List) was screened on Sunday evening 5 May.  The programme has offered gripping viewing as the fictitious AC12 led by Police Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) battled to reveal corrupt elements in the Police Service.   With at least one more series on the horizon, it is perhaps no surprise that the programme delivered some, but not all, of the answers viewers had been waiting for - Digital Spy 5 May.

We discovered that Ted Hastings was not "H" because there is no "H" even though we had been led to believe that there was!  In a previous series,

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Updates ~ Sunday 5 May

In February, the Home Secretary deprived Shamima Begum of British Citizenship.  That decision was considered in this post of 23 February 2019 and it is understood that she is appealing the decision.  It is now reported that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister has said that she would "face the death penalty" for terrorism if she came to Bangladesh - BBC News 3 May 2019.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Gavin Williamson MP and the NSC / Huawei leak - No.2

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Office appeared to be hoping to draw a line under the dismissal of the Secretary of State for Defence - Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson MP - see previous post 2 May 2019.  Things may not necessarily work out that way.

1.  A letter (dated 2 May) from Mr Tom Watson (Labour) to the Prime Minister requests that information gathered by the inquiry into the leak is passed to the Metropolitan Police.  Watson argues that - "It is not for the ministers or civil servants in the Cabinet Office to determine whether the information they have gathered meets the threshold for a criminal investigation.  Public interest dictates that it is the Police and CPS that must make this assessment."

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Gavin Williamson MP and the NSC / Huawei leak

Gavin Williamson MP
The Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP is Member of Parliament for South Staffordshire and was appointed Secretary of State for Defence in November 2017.  On Wednesday 1 May 2019 he was dismissed.

The National Security Council (NSC) met on 23 April 2019 and it appears that one of the matters discussed was the possibility of involvement by the Chinese company Hauwei in the provision of 5G technology in the UK.  On 24 April the Telegraph published a story (£) with the headline - "Theresa May defies security warnings of ministers and US to allow Huawei to help build Britain's 5G network."

It was clear that

Onasanya ~ Recall Petition successful

The Member of Parliament for Peterborough - Fiona Onasanya - has been successfully "recalled" under the provisions of the Recall of MPs Act 2015.   Previous post - 4 February 2019 - Fiona Onasanya MP - 3 months for perverting the course of justice

The Speaker of the House of Commons announced the outcome of the recall petition which will lead to a by-election.   The Petition  was supported by 27.64% of the electorate in the constituency.  The threshold is 10%.

Onasanya narrowly won

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Forensic Science in crisis

Forensic Science is in crisis and must be reformed.  The UK was once regarded as world-leading in forensic science but an absence of high-level leadership, a lack of funding and an insufficient level of research and development now means the UK is lagging behind others.  The forensic science market is not properly regulated creating a state of crisis and a threat to the criminal justice system.

That is the view of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee as set out in its report of 1 May 2019.

Science and Technology Committee Report

There can be no doubt

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Infected Blood Inquiry

The Infected Blood Inquiry, under the Chairmanship of Sir Brian Langstaff has commenced with an Opening Statement from the Chairman, Opening Remarks from Counsel to the Inquiry (Jenni Richards QC) and oral evidence from witnesses.  The Inquiry operates under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The Inquiry was announced by the Prime Minister in 2017 - The Telegraph 11 July 2017.  The Inquiry Terms of Reference were finally issued in September 2018.  The terms are the outcome of a process which included a consultation with interested parties.

The Chairman's opening remarks

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) ~ SB, R [2019] EWCA Crim 565

SB, R [2019] EWCA Crim 565 was an interesting appeal heard in March this year.  SB was convicted of four counts of assault of a child under age 13 by penetration.    The complainant in the case is a teenage girl referred to as M and SB is her grandfather.

A person guilty of this offence is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for life.  SB was actually sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and an extended period of 1 year under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.236A.  [Note:  236A was introduced by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 but is not considered further here].

Complaints about

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Abduction of the Shrigley Heiress ~ R v Edward Gibbon Wakefield and others 1827

Wakefield Trial 1827
Deceit and Abduction:

William Turner's family arrived in Blackburn at the beginning of the 19th century and they built a prosperous calico printing mill.  William was the youngest of four sons of the family and was destined to become High Sheriff of Cheshire in 1826 and Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1832 to 1841.   He acquired the Shrigley Estate near Macclesfield and, in 1825, built the present Shrigley Hall - now a country hotel and spa.  Turner's two daughters were Ellen (born 1811) and Mary Jennett (born 1812 - died in 1817).  Ellen was therefore heiress to Turner's considerable wealth.

Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the son of a farmer and land agent, was born in 1796 in London.  In 1814, aged 18, he entered the diplomatic service and travelled extensively in Europe.   Within two years, he had fallen in love and eloped with Eliza Pattle, a 16-year old heiress and ward of chancery -(see here for wardship today).

Thursday, 18 April 2019

European Parliament Elections - May 2019

The United Kingdom will, almost certainly*, take part in elections to the European Parliament which will be held over 23-26 May 2019.

The European Parliament is directly elected and comprises 751 Members (MEP) who serve for a 5 year term.  The UK has a total of 73 MEP.

Elections in the UK will take place over 12 REGIONS: 9 English regions plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The number of MEP per Region are: