Friday, 14 January 2022

In the news 14 January 2022


Covid 19:  The pandemic continues with hospital admissions standing at 15,591 in the period 1 January 2022 to 8 January 2022. Data for 12 January showed a welcome fall in the number of positive tests but deaths within 28 days of a positive test had increased - 1724 in the period 5 to 12 January.  83.1% of the UK population aged 12 and over had received two doses of vaccine. 62.5% had received the 3rd (booster) dose which continues to be strongly recommended by the medical profession and the government.

Government data 

Law and Lawyers: Coronavirus Log ~ Part 11 ~ from 19 July 2021 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

On 13 January

it was reported that Sir Jonathan Van-Tam is leaving his post as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.

The High Court held that the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Michael Gove MP) acted unlawfully by giving a contract to a communications agency run by long time associates of him and Dominic Cummings. The Court found that the decision to award the £560,000 contract to Public First was tainted by “apparent bias” and was unlawful.  Read the judgment. The action was brought by the Good Law Project - see their website for comment on the case.

Freedom to protest:

I have written before about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which the government is seeking to further amend albeit at a late stage in the parliamentary process - Law and Lawyers: Limiting freedom to protest - late-in-the-day government amendments to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (obiterj.blogspot.com)

It is good that some media commentators are now recognising the impact of this Bill on freedom to protest. To do so without breaching the criminal law will become almost an impossibility.

The Guardian 13 January - How the Police and Crime Bill limit the right to protest

George Monbiot, also in The Guardian, has commented about the "authoritarianism" in the Bill. He wrote - 

"At last, we are waking up to the astonishingly oppressive measures in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, intended to criminalise effective protest. At last, there has been some coverage in the media, though still far too little. The Labour party is finally feeling some heat, and may find itself obliged to stop appeasing the Daily Mail and vote against the government’s brutal amendments in the House of Lords next week. 

But as we focus on this threat, we’re in danger of forgetting something else buried in this monstrous bill. It’s the provision that turns trespass from a civil into a criminal offence, allowing the police to arrest people who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT) and confiscate their homes, if they stop in places that have not been designated for them. Under the proposed law, any adult member of the group can be imprisoned for up to three months. Given that authorised sites and stopping places cannot accommodate the GRT people who need them, this is a deliberate attack on a vulnerable minority."

See the full article at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/12/uk-authoritarianism-minority-policing-bill-roma-gypsy-traveller

Offences against the person Act 1861:

On 5 January, in answer to a written question from Mr Barry Sheerman MP (Huddersfield), the government said that it had "no current plans for a comprehensive update to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861." The Minister (Mr James Cartlidge MP - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice) continued his reply by giving some examples of recent changes to the law in connection with offences against the person including the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

Offences against the Person Act 1861: 5 Jan 2022: Hansard Written Answers - TheyWorkForYou

It is now almost 7 years since, as part of its 11th programme of law reform, the Law Commission reported on the 1861 Act and recommended replacement of the "outdated" 1861 Act. One might have thought that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was an opportunity to action this recommendation but the Law Commission's report will continue to gather dust !

A good book:

I have no hesitation in recommending Nazir Afzal's book "The Prosecutor (One Man's pursuit of Justice for the Voiceless)". My copy had rested in my study for some time but it proved to be a superb account of Mr Afzal's efforts - as a Crown Prosecutor - to bring to justice offenders who had committed truly heinous crimes - e.g. the Rochdale sex offenders, honour killins and modern slavery.

Chapter VII tells the story of Gurda Dhaliwal, a 45 year old mother of two who ended her life by hanging in a shed  in Southall, West London back in February 2005. This led to the case of - 

D, R v [2006] EWCA Crim 1139 (16 May 2006) (bailii.org) - where the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) held that psychological injury, not amounting to recognisable psychiatric illness, did NOT come within the ambit of bodily harm for the purposes of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

See now the Serious Crime Act 2015 section 76

Giuffre v HRH Prince Andrew:

The law suit, in New York, against Prince Andrew was again in the news. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan handed down his decision about the the Prince's claim that the case should be dismissed because a 2009 settlement of another case between  Virginal Giuffre and Jeffrey Epstein prevented further claims.

Law and Lawyers: In the news 6 January 2022 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

The judge's decision is set out in a 46 page document - 21CV6702 JAN 11 2022 0900.pdf (uscourts.gov)

The decision appears to open the way to the next stages of the civil case. It is reported by The Guardian that Veronica Giuffre is unlikely to accept a settlement - The Guardian 13 January. David Boies (Giuffre's lawyer) is reported to have said that it was important to Giuffre that the matter be "resolved in a way that vindicates her and vindicates the other victims."  That may present a problem since the majority of out of court settlements are without admission of liability.

The Prince denies the allegations and Buckingham Palace declined to comment about the actual case.

Update 20 January - Maxwell seeks retrial

Prince Andrew's military affiliation and Royal patronages:

On 13 January Buckingham Palace announced that - "With the Queen's approval and agreement, The Duke of York's military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to the Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen" citizen."   

Statement from Buckingham Palace regarding The Duke of York | The Royal Family

The Guardian - Veterans ask Queen to strip Prince Andrew of honorary military titles

This action has been reported by some media outlets as "stripping" Andrew of his some of his roles even though it is clear from the announcement that the Queen proceeded by agreement. Strictly speaking he remains "His Royal Highness" and Duke of York. He is also 9th in the line of succession to the throne.

The Guardian 14 January - Calls to strip Prince Andrew of the Duke of York title

The Prince will continue as a "Counsellor of State" - https://www.itv.com/news/2022-01-18/andrew-can-deputise-for-queen-despite-no-royal-patronages-how-it-works

Criminal legal aid:

An Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid reported in November 2021 - Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). A government response is expected by the end of March 2022.

The reaction of the Bar Council notes - "The report contains a comprehensive analysis of the underfunding of the criminal justice system over decades and its dire consequences, not just for lawyers, but for defendants, victims of crime and witnesses. The conclusion could not be clearer; urgent additional funding is needed if the entire system is not to face collapse with the profound societal problems and loss of confidence in the justice system that this would cause."

Bar Council reacts to publication of Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid report

Manchester City FC:

A number of claimants sought compensation from Manchester City Football Club Ltd for sexual abuse perpetrated by Barry Bennell in the early 1980s when they were aged between 10 and 14 and playing for football teams coached by Bennell. They claimed that Bennell was working for the defendant football club and that the club was liable for his conduct.

The claims failed because it was held to be inequitable to extend the limitation period. Further, the judge held that vicarious liability could not be established to make the Club liable for the actions of Bennell. 

The full judgment is a lengthy 572 paragraphs and is at TVZ and others v Manchester City Football Club Ltd [2022] EWHC 7 (QB) - Mr Justice Johnson.

UK Supreme Court:

11 January to 13 April is the Hilary Law Term/ The Supreme Court has published the list of cases for the term - Judicial Sittings Hilary Term 2022 - The Supreme Court.

The justices allocated to each case are mostly the full-time Justices of the Supreme Court but, in two cases, judges from the judiciary of Northern Ireland will sit. In R v Maugham, Sir Declan Morgan will be the 5th member of the court and in R (Coughlan) v Minister for the Cabinet Office, Dame Siobhan  Keegan will be the 5th member. Sir Declan was Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 2009 until his retirement in 2021. Lady Chief Justice Keegan replaced Sir Declan and is the first female to hold the post

Lady Chief Justice The Right Honourable Dame Siobhan Keegan | Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (nijac.gov.uk)

14 January 2022

No comments:

Post a Comment