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Magpie

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BBC NEWS Thursday, 24 August 2006

 

Police prosecution report appeal
Police officers
The report said police should avoid delays in reporting alleged offences
Scotland's police forces and the prosecution service should work together more effectively, according to a report.

Police have been urged to avoid delays by submitting reports to procurators fiscal within 28 days.

The HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and the Inspectorate of Prosecution in Scotland compiled the report.

It examined the reporting of offences and the subsequent actions of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

As part of the reforms, the report said police should see how they can do more to submit reports to fiscals within 28 days.

It said: "During 2003, there was concern about the increasing number of cases marked by Procurators Fiscal for 'no proceedings', due to police delay in submitting reports.

I welcome these recommendations which highlight where further improvements can be made
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC

"The number of such cases in that year was exceptional, attracting political and media interest.

"However, late reporting had, for some time, been the subject of concern."

This led to 28 days being set as an "aspirational target" for 80% of reports.

Area fiscals have been urged to routinely share information with police about cases where the fiscal recommends no further action be taken, to help improve the quality of reports submitted by police.

Kenny McInnes, formerly Assistant Inspector of Constabulary, said: "This report shows that much has been achieved in improving case-management performance across Scotland.

"However, if meaningful progress is to be sustained, then Acpos (the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland), COPFS (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service) and their partners need to build on existing relationships and work together in a more co-ordinated way.

Further improvements

"We are operating at a time of significant criminal justice reform.

"Central to any change must be recognition that the public rightly, now more than ever, demand a justice system that doesn't just process offenders but recognises the needs of communities."

Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC pledged action on the reforms proposed.

"Much has been done in recent years to increase efficiency between the police and the prosecution," he said.

"I welcome these recommendations which highlight where further improvements can be made.

"We are committed to ensuring that the report's recommendations are acted upon and a substantial number are already being progressed jointly with the police as a part of our approach to summary justice reform."

 

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Latest from COPFS

Football and the Law

Due to the extensive media coverage and comment in relation to an incident involving the Glasgow Celtic goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, and in particular the claim that he has been prosecuted or cautioned and has acquired a criminal record for blessing himself before the second half of an "Old Firm " game in February 2006, we wish to clarify the position of the prosecution service in Scotland.

Lord Advocate visits Kilmarnock Prosecution Service

The Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd of Duncansby QC, visited Kilmarnock Procurator Fiscal’s Office today to meet with staff and listen to their views on current local issues.

Solicitor General Visits Airdrie Prosecution Service

The Solicitor General, Elish Angiolini QC, met staff and District Procurator Fiscal Anne Donaldson at the Airdrie Procurator Fiscal Office. The visit is part of a programme of summer visits to local Fiscal offices across Scotland.

Solicitor General Visits Hamilton Prosecution Service

The Solicitor General is particularly keen to hear how staff in Hamilton plan to help the department achieve its goal of having persistent offender fast tracking schemes in operation in all areas of Scotland by March 2008. This aim was set out in the department’s recently published Strategic Plan 06 – 08.


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CROWN OFFICE SETS OUT PRIORITIES FOR SCOTLAND'S PROSECUTION SERVICE

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service has today launched

its Strategic Plan, which sets out the aims and priorities for the service

for 2006-2008.

 

The Strategic Plan 2006-2008 outlines how the COPFS will develop over

the next few years.

 

In particular the department will focus on:

  • using the full extent of the law to tackle serious and organised crime by continuing to develop the work of the Civil Recovery and Financial Crime Units to achieve a sustained increase in the numbers of assets seized and recovered;
  • replicating the success of High Court reforms at Sheriff and District Court level by having 60% of these cases disposed of within 26 weeks of the date of caution and charge by March 2008;
  • improving the service provided to victims, witnesses and next of kin;
  • responding to the needs of Scottish communities by having persistent offender fast tracking schemes in operation in all areas of Scotland by March 2008;
  • continuing to listen to frontline staff to identify improvements to working practices and working environment.

The Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd of Duncansby QC, said:

"Over the past few years the Crown Office and Procurator

Fiscal Service has made considerable progress in tackling a

number of internal and external challenges. Reforms in the

High Court and changes in legislation have impacted on every

aspect of the department.

 

"I am pleased to say that our staff have risen to each and every

one of these challenges, to ensure that the service remains an

efficient and effective element of the Scottish criminal justice

system.

 

"There is still much which can be done, and many more challenges

in the coming years. The key priorities set out in the Strategic

Plan launched today demonstrate our continuing commitment

to delivering a quality service to victims, witnesses and

communities throughout the country."

Notes to editors:

1. The Strategic Plan 2006-2008 can be viewed on the COPFS website at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/publications

Communications 0131 247 2669


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Lady Smith

Lady Smith

 

Lady Smith abuses her judicial position to protect and promote private vested interests - such as law firm Shepherd & Wedderburn (her husband is the Chairman)

Her disgraceful treatment of a party litigant who has been the victim of crooked lawyers is currently under investigation. She has already assisted the crooked lawyers by ensuring the proceedings were heard in a closed court.


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Double jeopardy man admits guilt
Julie Hogg
Julie Hogg's body was hidden behind a bath panel
A Teesside man previously acquitted of the murder of a 22-year-old woman has finally admitted his guilt after a change in the double jeopardy law.

Billy Dunlop had confessed to the 1989 murder of Julie Hogg, from Billingham.

However, due to the 800-year-old rule under which anyone acquitted by a jury cannot be retried for the same crime, he could only be tried for perjury.

In April 2005 the law was changed and Cleveland Police re-opened the case, resulting in Dunlop's admission.

****************************************

ARCHIVE:

 

Suspect may face murder retrial after legal change

A MAN who allegedly confessed to killing his girlfriend in 1989 may be the first person to face retrial for murder after the new "double jeopardy" law comes into effect on Monday.

Police are to re-examine the murder of Julie Hogg, 22, a pizza delivery worker who was the victim of a sex attack at her home in Billingham, Teeside, in November 1989.

Her naked and mutilated body was found hidden behind her bath by her mother, Ann Ming, three months after the attack. Mrs Ming has long campaigned for a change in the law to allow those acquitted to be brought back to trial if there is sufficient fresh evidence.

Ms Hogg's boyfriend Billy Dunlop was tried for her murder but acquitted after the jury failed to reach a verdict on two separate occasions. Police and the victim's family always believed in Dunlop's guilt, although he could never be tried for murder again.

Under measures in the Criminal Justice Act, which come into force on Monday, the double jeopardy law - which dates back to the Middle Ages - will be amended so that suspects who were acquitted at trial can be brought to court again.

While serving a seven-year sentence for a serious assault on another woman, Dunlop allegedly confessed to a prison officer that he had killed Julie.

Mrs Ming welcomed the change in the law saying: "This could mean justice for victims, many of whom will tell you that they, not the perpetrators, do the life sentences in this country."

Earlier this week Cleveland's chief prosecutor, Martin Goldman, said there was a danger of the law jeopardising confidence in the justice system.

He said: "I don't envisage a lot of retrials. It's very rare we would do that because we want the certainty that when someone is tried for a criminal offence and found not guilty then that is the finality of it.

"Otherwise we never know where we are, and the public can never know if someone is guilty or not. Also, the defendants themselves can't get on with their lives."

Cleveland Police charged Dunlop with two counts of perjury in connection with the false evidence he had given under oath at the two trials.

In 2000, he was jailed for six years, consecutive to the jail term he was already serving for a different offence.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said yesterday: "We will re- examine the case in line with new legislation."

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service added: "The law will change from 4 April to allow, in special circumstances, the retrial of defendants who have previously been acquitted of an offence after trial. Any case which fits within those circumstances, requires the consent of the chief crown prosecutor, the director of public prosecutions and the Court of Appeal before any retrial can take place.

"Any such cases will be reviewed extremely carefully."


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16 September 2006
SLEEPING TESTS FOR DRIVER ON DRINK RAP

A MOTORIST accused of drink-driving is to be tested by experts after claiming she was sleepwalking behind the wheel.

The case against Virginia Bramwell has been adjourned so she can spend three days undergoing tests.

The 59-year-old is charged with driving last July while unfit through drink, being disqualified, having no insurance and refusing to give a specimen.

Her lawyer, Justin Atkinson, said Bramwell, of North Hykeham, Lincoln, was not able to plead to any of the charges until the investigation was complete.

He told Lincoln Magistrates' Court: "Her assertion is that she was sleepwalking. This report needs to be prepared before she can enter a plea."

Mr Atkinson revealed that Bramwell will spend three days at a specialist clinic next month. The Legal Services Commission had initially refused to pay for the report, but have had a change of mind.

Now taxpayers face a legal aid bill of £6000 for the tests.

Last year, a pub landlord who crashed while three times over the alcohol limit was cleared after proving he sleepwalked.

Matthew Sadler's wrecked BMW was found in undergrowth next to a busy road.

Sadler awoke to find police at his pub door, which he answered in a blood-stained T-shirt and with facial cuts.

He was arrested but claimed to have no memory of the crash on the A30 near Basingstoke.

He was cleared after medical tests and a family history of sleepwalking suggested he was prone to the condition.


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18 September 2006
WITNESS TO UNTRUTH

INNOCENT people could be being jailed because police and prosecutors unwittingly plant false memories in witnesses, a top psychologist has claimed.

Professor Elizabeth Loftus said the brain could easily be tricked into remembering events that didn't happen.

The University of California expert will tonight tell Stirling University that witnesses often believe they are telling the truth in court - despite evidence to the contrary.

She said: "Unfortunately, in far too many cases, the testimony of these supposed eyewitnesses is enough to send innocent people to prison."


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If the authorities know all this then why do these two blatantly obvious men not get what they are due?

 

No one can put a figure on being convicted of a MASS MURDER then spend 20 YEARS in prison fighting to clear their names.

 

Forget about spending anymore TAX PAYERS MONEY on flying round the world Jack promoting SCOTLAND for you and your office is a disgrace to the NATION and an insult to the PUBLIC'S INTELLIGENCE.

 

We all know there is a BAD SMELL in other cases and I can personally assure the FIRST MINISTER it will not go away!

 

PAY UP JACK & DO THE RIGHT THING EVEN THOUGH IT STICKS IN YOUR THROAT!

 

 

Tommy Campbell, Robert Brown and Paddy Hill wearing the new M.O.J.O 'Freedom of Speech' T-Shirts
Tommy Campbell, Robert Brown and Paddy Hill wearing the new M.O.J.O.
 'Freedom of Speech' T-Shirts
 
 
 
**********************************************************************************

Hi Admin2 and all. I have spent some time reading all the articles on the http://www.justiceforkevinlane.com website.

 

The conviction of Kevin Lane was based on the evidence given, provided by or involved DS Spackman who was also the officer in charge of the case/disclosure of evidence to the defence. The court took the view that DS Spackman, being a Police officer, was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, DS Spackman has since been found guilty of dishonesty and theft in a seperate case and received a four year prison sentence.

 

There is no evidence, independent of evidence given/provided by DS Spackman, against Kevin Lane to find him guilty of the murder + the fact that DS Spackman was and is a corrupt police officer = UNSAFE CONVICTION!

 

 

Kevin Lane should be released NOW and not a moment longer.

 

 

(ARCHIVE: MAGPIE) 


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The Times September 19, 2006

Police chiefs network proposed


A network of regional police chiefs to oversee forces and control gang crime is being proposed by the head of one of Britain’s biggest forces.

Bernard Hogan-Howe, Chief Constable of Merseyside, wants the powers of the inspectors of constabulary extended as an alternative to the Government’s failed attempt to merge the 43 forces in England and Wales into larger units.

Interviewed in today’s Public Agenda in The Times, Mr Hogan-Howe says he wants the number of inspectors increased to nine, mirroring the regional government boundaries. Mr Hogan-Howe said that many forces were too small and unable deal with terrorist attacks or big investigations.

 

The Home Office plans to bring the inspectors into a unified criminal justice inspectorate but Mr Hogan-Howe said that this would be a waste of their expertise.

 

Interview

Making the case for change

The Chief Constable of Merseyside Police tells Stewart Tendler that regional commissioners should be created to try to convince forces to work together

GOVERNMENT plans for mergers among the 43 police forces in England and Wales are dead in the water, but few officers dispute the fact that the police service must reform to meet 21st-century demands.

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, believes that he has an answer which would take the best of all solutions and create a workable formula guaranteeing local policing but enforcing co-operation on key areas.

He wants to take the network of inspectors of constabulary and turn them into nine regional police commissioners with the ability to drive forces to work together.

It is a controversial idea, but Mr Hogan-Howe believes it is “low cost, low tech but has a good chance of success”.

The chief constable, who supported amalgamations, says the case for change is irrefutable. “Some police forces are simply not large enough to do everything a force needs to do,” he says. They struggle to cope with major disasters, terrorist incidents or large complex investigations.

The present patchwork of forces means, for example, that highly mobile criminals “pass across police force borders while most police patrols stop at them”. Forces also ignore the benefits of technology in fighting crime. Drug dealing is a national problem yet just two forces account for nearly half of all the electonic surveillance. Have the others not heard about these methods, he asks.

Why should police helicopter units be based on force boundaries, he wonders. Then there is the question of IT: each of the 43 forces has an individual IT system which needs to replaced by a common system. He says: “The public must surely want each force to be able to talk seamlessly to each other with IT. The criminals can do it.” The taxpayer may also question why the police need 43 personnel and finance departments — savings on duplication would provide enough cash for 10,000 more police, he says.

Some of Mr Hogan-Howe’s collegues say that the solution to the police service’s problem is voluntary co-operation. But he says: “Every proposal that suggests police services should just collaborate more is likely to meet with failure.”

It relies on the agreements of 86 people, 43 chief constables and 43 police authority chairmen, and “even when they can agree on a direction of progress they are rarely likely to agree on the means of achieving it”, he says.

The Home Office plans to merge the inspectors of constabulary into one criminal justice system inspection unit in the Home Office. Mr Hogan-Howe regards this as rash.

Instead the inspectors, who are often former chief constables, should be transformed into regional police commissioners with powers to direct forces to work in a consistent way in specific areas. “This could bring the fighting of organised crime under their direct control. This regional layer of policing would concentrate on putting the organised criminals behind bars and seizing their assets and cash.”

The regional commissioner could insist on a particular IT solution for holding intelligence, 999 call handling management, personnel and finance and be a powerful champion in Whitehall. Chief constables, meanwhile, would retain control of the local force and answer to their police authorities. Regional commissioners could be accountable to the Home Secretary and a steering group drawn from police authorities. The commissioners, who would mirror the regional government boundaries, would meet regularly to thrash out issues. Something which Mr Hogan-Howe says the 43 chief constables have never done, let alone regularly.

Stewart Tendler is Crime Correspondent for The Times



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News Release

Glasgow Sheriff Court

Scope to improve consistency in sentencing

19/09/2006

The Sentencing Commission for Scotland has today published its report on the scope to improve consistency in sentencing. This is the Commission's fourth and final report.

The Commission is an independent, judicially led body which was set up by the Executive under its policy statement A Partnership for a Better Scotland.

The scope to improve consistency in sentencing is a topic on which the Commission was invited by the Executive to report, and follows publication of the Commission's earlier reports on

  • The use of bail and remand
  • Early release from prison and the supervision of prisoners on their release
  • The basis on which fines are determined

In launching this latest report, the Commission's Chairman, the Rt. Hon. Lord Macfadyen said:

"It is generally accepted that there should be consistency in sentencing at every level of our courts. That is an aspect of fairness and justice. These principles demand that similar crimes committed in similar circumstances by offenders whose circumstances are similar should attract similar sentences.

"Consistency in sentencing is thus important not only to the offender, but also to those directly affected by the crime and to the public, since a perception of inconsistency in sentencing is likely to lead to loss of public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"We have considered what steps might be taken to promote and improve consistency and we have made a number of recommendations, the central one being the introduction of a procedure for giving effect to sentencing guidelines.

"We have recommended the creation of a statutory body - the Advisory Panel on Sentencing in Scotland (APSS) - which would be responsible for the preparation of draft sentencing guidelines for consideration by the Appeal Court of the High Court of Justiciary.

"The adoption of such draft guidelines, with or without modification, would be a matter for the Appeal Court. We have recommended that the APSS should contain other than the judiciary among its membership but we consider that it is important that final decisions should be for the Appeal Court in order to ensure that sentencing remains essentially a judicial function.

"We envisage that the introduction of sentencing guidelines would be a gradual process. Under our proposals, particular guidelines, once promulgated by the Appeal Court, would guide sentencers, but would not dictate sentences in individual cases. We have, however, recommended that where a sentencer imposes a sentence which is outwith the guidelines he or she should be required to provide an explanation for this.

"This completes the Commission's remit. It has been a very challenging series of issues that we have tackled. I know that I can speak on behalf of all my colleagues on the Commission when I say that we have found the experience an interesting and rewarding one."

 

 

that`ll be a first if it ever happens!

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26 September 2006
CAN'T PAY, WON'T STAY PRISON CON

CRIMINALS jailed for refusing to pay court fines are exploiting a legal loophole to walk free just hours later.

Offenders face an automatic seven days behind bars if they fail to pay fines of up to £200.

Under Scots law that's reduced to three and a half days. But if they are jailed on a Thursday, crooks can be back on the street within 24 hours because jails are not allowed to free prisoners at the weekend.

Figures show 50 streetwise criminals a month are taking advantage of the system.

Margaret Mitchell, the Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman, said criminals were treating the system with contempt.

She said: "Most of them say 'I don't want to pay, I want to do the time in jail' because they know they'll get out before the weekend.

"The way to avoid this is to have supervised attendance orders rather than fines."


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27 months for lawyer who robbed 'friend' of £70,000... 

HE was once a successful and well- connected lawyer, a city councillor and a man tipped to be a future Westminster MP.

But yesterday, the political aspirations of Iain Catto were ended forever when he was jailed for 27 months for stealing £70,000 from a disabled client, who depended upon him as a close friend.

 

Catto took the money over two years from December 2002 to maintain his lifestyle of foreign travel and exclusive restaurants after losing his job as a solicitor. He now faces a hearing before the independent Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal, where he could be struck off.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard yesterday how the 41-year-old - a leading member and secretary of the right-wing Scottish dining club the Tuesday Club - befriended Francis Fleming, 59, who had been partially paralysed in an assault, and offered to look after his finances.

But Catto, a Conservative member of Lothian Regional Council from 1990 to 1994, was regularly withdrawing sums of up to £11,000 from the large criminal injuries payout his client had received. He also sold some of his victim's shares to get more cash.

To cover up his scam, he had all Mr Fleming's bank statements sent to his own home address. Mr Fleming, who was left partially paralysed and impaired following an attempt on his life in 1968, trusted the solicitor so completely that he even gave him a key to his home in Craigentinny Road, Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Catto was buying himself airline and train tickets for the UK and abroad, hotel rooms, restaurant meals, software, goods from Oddbins and expensive haircuts.

Mr Fleming, who separated from his wife and lost touch with his son, had gone to the legal firm where Catto was a trainee to get financial help. The former councillor befriended him and took over power of attorney in 1996.

Alison Innes, fiscal depute, told Edinburgh Sheriff Court that Catto lost his job as a solicitor in 2002 and turned to stealing from Mr Fleming for his own use between December 2002 and December, 2004. She said: "He became very close to Mr Fleming and used to come and go as he pleased. Mr Fleming, being the trusting soul that he was, did not have any problems with that."

Catto carried on with the scam until Mr Fleming was reunited with his son, Frank MacLennan, who first became suspicious about Catto when he tried to help them buy a home in Spain during a holiday.

"Had it not been for the son arriving, we can only speculate if the accused would have stopped at all," Mrs Innes told Sheriff Kathrine Mackie.

Mr MacLennan realised £4,000 had gone missing and arranged to take over the power of attorney from Catto.

In November 2005, Catto, of Edinburgh,

pleaded guilty to the theft and has sold a flat to repay the stolen cash.

Fiona MacDonald, the defence agent, said Catto had forged a promising career but when he was sacked could not admit the shame of it to family and friends.

The sheriff told him: "You callously took funds from Mr Fleming to support yourself when you knew that he depended on that money and you. It was a gross breach of trust."

Mr MacLennan, 42, criticised the sentence as too short. He said:

"He bled my father dry. We had been planning to move to Spain, but now that idea is gone. He lied to my dad and me from the start."

The Law Society of Scotland confirmed it would be looking into

Catto's case.

 


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28 September 2006
TWO JUDGES, SAUCY SEX VIDS AND A 'CHILLI-HOT' BRAZILIAN CLEANER
 

A BRAZILIAN cleaning woman was found guilty yesterday of blackmailing a lady judge who became her love rival.

Sultry Roselane Driza, 37, was also convicted of stealing two homemade sex videos from a male judge who had a steamy affair with her and nicknamed her "chilli-hot stuff".

Driza's lover was named publicly for the first time last night as judge Mohammed Ilyas Khan, 60, who works on immigration appeal cases. Driza is herself an illegal immigrant.

The Old Bailey heard lurid accounts of the love triangle involving Khan, Driza and the lady judge, who was identified only as Miss J.

J is a former lover of Khan who also sits at immigration hearings.

Driza said one of the sex tapes she discovered in Khan's London flat showed the two judges in bed together in Thailand, with J allegedly snorting cocaine.

The second video showed Khan in bed with a blonde woman some years his junior.

Raunchy emails from Khan to Driza were read to the court. In them, the judge described his lover as "real chilli-hot stuff" and "a lovely s**g".

Khan, a divorced father of two, also thanked Driza for "delicious sex" and begged her to shave her private parts.

The court heard of J's "volcanic" jealous reaction when she found Khan and Driza in bed together. And Khan admitted he was so besotted with the cleaner that he became her "complete and total puppy".

Driza cut a glamorous figure throughout the six-day trial, wearing a series of sexy outfits and blowing kisses to photographers outside court.

But she fought back tears yesterday as she was warned that she faces years behind bars.Legal chiefs are deciding whether to investigate both judges over their conduct.

The sordid saga began in 1999 when J hired Driza as a cleaner.

A few months later, Khan also employed her. Driza said he took her on after "observing" her while she did the ironing at J's home.

Driza worked for J until 2004, when the judge dismissed her for becoming "too intrusive in her personal life" and criticising one of her friends.

The sacking sparked a bitter feud between the two women. Driza claimed that when she rang J to ask for an explanation, the judge flew into a rage, calling her a "f****** Brazilian bitch" and a "f****** dirty woman".

Driza admitted writing two letters to J, asking first for £1400 and then for £20,000. But she said she was only asking for compensation for her sacking.

Khan also fired Driza, out of loyalty to J. But Driza, speaking through an interpreter in her native Portuguese, told the court: "He said we could still be friends."

Soon after, Driza and Khan began an affair behind J's back. David Markham, prosecuting, said the judge showed "a passion a man many years younger might have been proud of".

J discovered the affair on Boxing Day 2004, when she arrived at Khan's London flat late at night and found him in bed with Driza. He had spent the previous day with J at her home.

Driza said of J: "She was very furious. She seemed like a volcano."

She added that Khan was "pale and trembling" as J stood outside the flat, demanding to be let in.

Driza said of J: "She was always calling me names and was always aggressive to me. I ended up thinking she could pay someone to kill me."

Khan said he eventually decided to dump Driza to save his friendship with J. But he said the cleaner refused to move out of his flat and threatened to reveal that he and J had hired an illegal immigrant.

The judge said the threats left him "absolutely petrified".

The two sex videos then disappeared from Khan's flat. He said he confronted Driza and she admitted taking them as her "defence".

The judge recalled: "She said she had left them with a friend, with instructions on what to do with them if anything should happen to her."

Despite the alleged blackmail bid, Driza didn't move out of Khan's home and they continued to sleep together.

Kenyan-born Khan claimed he was trying to keep Driza "sweet" to stop her going through with her threats. He added: "She lived in my flat and we had sex but there was no relationship as such."

But Driza's QC, Frances Oldham, hit back: "You were using her as a cheap housekeeper with whom you were able to enjoy sex."

Driza said she destroyed the sex tapes after she was arrested in October last year. She also claimed Khan begged her to flee the country to avoid trial but she refused.

The jury of eight women and four men took less than four hours to find Driza guilty of blackmailing J and stealing the two sex tapes.

Driza was acquitted of using the tapes to blackmail Khan, and trial judge Peter Beaumont lifted an order protecting his identity.

The cleaner was remanded in custody to await sentence on October 20. She is likely to be deported when her punishment is complete.

There is no evidence that the judges knew Driza was an illegal immigrant when they employed her. J denied the allegation that she used drugs.

A Government spokesman said after the case: "The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice are considering whether to hold a disciplinary investigation into the conduct of the two judges involved."

SHE WAS MARRIED TO MAFIA MURDERER

ROSELANE DRIZA was once married to a convicted killer, it emerged yesterday.

Her ex-husband Mane Driza is serving a 20-year sentence in Italy for double murder.

And the Albanian Mafia gangster, who used the bogus name Sokol Drenova, is still wanted for the 1999 murder of Kosovan Bledar Mone, who was found dead in a Wembley house.

They met in a nightclub in September 1998 and married seven months later.

After fleeing her violent husband just two months after their wedding, she was quizzed by police after her next boyfriend was murdered in 2000.

Mane Driza claimed to be orphaned after the war in Kosovo when he arrived in the UK. He was actually wanted for trafficking in prostitution.

Police said he is still wanted in Europe for other offences


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Struggle to keep offenders out of court - and jail

TONY BLAIR has highlighted the failings of the antiquated criminal courts as one of the last unreconstructed areas of the public sector.

Six out of ten people believe that the criminal justice system is ineffective in bringing offenders to book and four in ten say it does not treat people who come forward as witnesses well.

So plans unveiled by ministers this summer for reforms to produce “simple, speedy, summary justice” were a renewed attempt to tackle a cumbersome and costly system.

At the heart of the proposals is the idea of taking a swath of offences out of the courts altogether and dealing with them by measures such as penalty notices or conditional cautions.

Such moves are controversial as they would mean that police or prosecutors would be imposing penalties for offences that some say should go before a court. But ministers argue that the time and expense involved in taking people to court have become disproportionate to the level of many of the offences.

Magistrates deal with two million cases a year at a cost of £43,000 per sitting day. But most cases take up to four months from charge to sentence and one in five trials does not proceed for some reason — such as witnesses failing to turn up. Ministers have cited a checklist of problems adding to delays, including: needless pre-trial hearings; incomplete or inaccurate court files; lack of communcation between the prosecution and defence; and late service of evidence by the prosecution.

But there is another imperative: with prison numbers at a record level, ministers are desperate for measures that will reduce the use of custody. They are also concerned about the effect of the increase in magistrates’ sentencing powers that will come into force this year.

One solution is the use of conditional cautions, which were introduced in 2003. These are imposed by police acting with prosecutors and could remove an estimated 30,000 cases from the courts.

Such cautions can be imposed if offenders admit their guilt and it is likely, had the case gone to court, that they would have been ordered to pay compensation or been given a conditional discharge.

If the offender agrees, he or she can be cautioned and given a condition, such as undergoing treatment or apologising.

Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, said that no suspect is required to accept the conditions and can “take his chance with the court”. But lawyers have argued that suspects will be under a “perverse incentive” to accept the deal.

Another measure is the fixed penalty, which can be imposed with no admission of guilt. The recipient can then decide whether to contest it.

The dilemma is how to improve the system without sacrificing the quality of justice. The Magistrates’ Association says that fairness should not be sacrificed to speed and expediency.

Cindy Barnett, its chairman, accepts the case for stream- lining procedures and change. “But public confidence will not be served by taking cases out of the courts, where punishments should be matched to the crime — and offenders’ underlying problems addressed.”

SYSTEM OVERLOAD

  • Magistrates deal with 95 per cent of criminal cases, a total of two million a year in England and Wales

  • Cases take an average twenty-one weeks to come to trial; ministers’ target is a maximum of six weeks

  • There are an average of six pre-trial hearings per case

  • The prison population now stands at a record 79,555

  • New measures, such as fixed penalties, conditional cautions and the bulk processing of TV licence offences, may take 500,000 cases out of magistrates’ courts

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    Alastair MacDonald
    Alastair MacDonald outside Inverness Prison

    Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson has defended the Scottish Executive's record of prison reform following an attack from an outgoing prison chief.

    The retiring governor of Inverness jail, Alastair MacDonald, told BBC Scotland that the prison service had suffered years of neglect.

    Mr MacDonald also raised concerns that prisons were being turned into a social service for the vulnerable.

    Ms Jamieson admitted the need to address reoffending rates.

    However, she said major investment in infrastructure was improving the prison service across Scotland.

    The public expects offenders to be punished but also rehabilitated. We want to do that
    Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson

    Ms Jamieson said: "We are trying to tackle the reoffending for the first time ever.

    "We have actually had a focus on this. We have changed the legislation, we have put in place new ways to do that.

    "We are also bringing in measures through legislation to, for example, deal with fine defaulters in an entirely different way so that they don't end up in prison at the public expense.

    "The public expects offenders to be punished but also rehabilitated. We want to do that."

    The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) also defended the executive's record of investment.

    Mr MacDonald said overcrowding meant reverting to practices of 200 years ago with prisoners being sent to jails far from their families.

    He also said 30% of those coming through the gates could not read or write and half of them had not reached primary six academic level.

    'Weekly basis'

    Mr MacDonald, who retires this week after 31 years, said prisons were increasingly becoming a social service.

    He said the population at Inverness, also known as Porterfield, had grown in the six-and-a-half years he has been in charge.

    "When I first arrived here the daily population was around 125 and now we are regularly having 150," said Mr MacDonald.

    "On top of that, on a weekly basis we have to send prisoners down south and indeed this takes us back to the situation that prevailed in the Highlands 200 years ago.

    Many policies are like the Easter eggs we hated getting as children - very large, very attractive but when you take off the silver paper it is a big hollow egg
    Alastair MacDonald

    "So we are going in a reverse direction at the moment sadly."

    Mr MacDonald added: "It is a very sad fact so many families now have to travel great distances to see their brothers, husbands, whoever, because we have to send them to places like Barlinnie because of overcrowding."

    The former governor of Shotts and Barlinnie ruled out any attempt to close Inverness, but said there was a "lack of will at many levels" to deal with unsuitable prisons.

    Community risk

    Citing statistics from two years ago showing that 135 per 100,000 people in Scotland were imprisoned, Mr MacDonald said: "A serious question has to be asked of the Scottish nation.

    "Why are we having to lock up so many of our citizens?

    "What has gone wrong? Why is the direction taking a wrong turning with regard to people who cause risks within our communities."

    He said more appropriate and less costly alternatives to prison had to be found for some of those who end up in jail.

    "If you look at the average prison population now more than 30% of prisoners coming through Inverness' gates cannot read or write," said Mr MacDonald.

    Interior of Inverness Prison
    Prison officials pointed to record investment in the service

    "About 50% of them haven't reached primary six academic level."

    He said 70% of admissions at Porterfield had substance abuse problems and 70% displayed psychiatric illness.

    "Many of my senior colleagues now are becoming acutely aware that we are becoming centres of social service," he said.

    "We are lifting many people out of poverty so it's claimed. We are certainly lifting many people into prison."

    The governor said the Scottish Executive, in consultation with the prison service, had produced helpful and valuable policies.

    However, he said they were not backed by adequate funding.

    "Many policies are like the Easter eggs we hated getting as children - very large, very attractive but when you take off the silver paper it is a big hollow egg," said Mr MacDonald.

    Record investment

    The Scottish Prison Service said the executive had made record levels of investment in renewing the prison estate over the last five years and was currently investing £1.5m a week.

    A spokesman added that the issue of alternatives to jail had been recognised by Scottish ministers.

    Scotland, he argued, had a great range of alternatives to custody and there had been a significant improvement in facilities in the community.

    The spokesman said importance should be placed on the quality of prison services and facilities - not whether or not they were resourced from the public or private sector.

    Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said Scotland should be following Ireland and Spain.

    She said: "Spain imprisons four times more people than Scotland relative to recorded crime and Ireland three times more.

    "Unsurprisingly, the deterrent is such that crimes per capita in both Ireland and Spain are around a quarter of the level here."


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