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UK Crime

Cannabis use drops to 10-year low

Published: 14 October 2006

The use of cannabis has dropped with 600,000 fewer people smoking or eating it than three years ago.

Attacks on Muslims rise after veils row

Published: 14 October 2006

Islamophobic attacks have surged in the past month in the wake of controversial remarks by ministers about British Muslims, say campaign groups.

No changes for key drugs laws

Published: 13 October 2006

The Government announced today that it will not make changes to two key areas of drug policy.

Briton admits plot to detonate series of 'dirty bombs' Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 13 October 2006

A British man has admitted he plotted to use a radioactive "dirty" bomb and other devices to carry out terrorist attacks in Britain and the US

MPs raise concerns over tagging of prisoners Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 12 October 2006

Electronic tagging of prisoners released early can save the taxpayer money and ease pressure on jails, MPs have concluded.

Soldiers charged with gun smuggling

Published: 12 October 2006

By Joe Sinclair, PA

Jails crisis warning over young offenders Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 12 October 2006

Young adults in jail are among the worst affected by Britain's prison overcrowding crisis, campaigners have claimed.

Foreign prisoners offered cash to return home Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 10 October 2006

Foreign criminals are to be offered financial incentives to return home to help ease prison overcrowding.

Damilola killers given eight-year sentences Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 10 October 2006

Damilola Taylor's father has criticised the eight-year sentences given to his son's killers, which means they could be free in three years.

The Big Question: What are the alternatives to prison? Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 10 October 2006

Why is sentencing in the news?

Damilola killers sentenced to eight years' jail

Published: 09 October 2006

The two brothers convicted of killing schoolboy Damilola Taylor made a defiant gesture with their handcuffed hands as they were jailed for eight years today.

Reid's prison plan 'will not put public at risk' Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 09 October 2006

John Reid is being warned the prison system faces its worst crisis for a decade as he prepares to announce emergency measures to combat overcrowding.

Man critical in suspected race attack

Published: 09 October 2006

An Asian man was in a critical condition in hospital after a suspected racist attack, police said yesterday.

Police to toughen approach to Islamic extremists Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 07 October 2006

Scotland Yard are to clamp down on Islamist extremists demonstrating in London following a series of complaints that radicals are being allowed to break the law, and are misrepresenting the views of the Muslim community.

Police cells may be used as prisons near capacity Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 06 October 2006

Emergency plans to deport foreign prisoners and accommodate hundreds of offenders in police cells could be announced within days as jails become full.

Prison van escaper arrested

Published: 06 October 2006

Police today arrested a violent and dangerous prisoner who escaped from a prison van on the way back to jail last week.

Muslim policeman excused from duty at Israeli embassy Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 06 October 2006

Scotland Yard has defended a decision to excuse a Muslim police officer from guarding the Israeli embassy arguing that it was about "safety and risk", not "political correctness".

Cold cases 'could be solved' with new DNA testing

Published: 04 October 2006

Tens of thousands of unsolved crimes could be cracked with a new forensic technique, it was claimed today.

Escape from war to a senseless death in Britain Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 04 October 2006

After years of struggling, Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba could have been forgiven for feeling his efforts had started to pay dividends.

Father of two murdered after confronting youths Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 03 October 2006

A father of two young children was stabbed to death by a gang of youths after he asked them to stop making a noise outside his home.

Intruder with knife scales No 10 railings

Published: 03 October 2006

Security at Downing Street is under review after an intruder with a large kitchen knife climbed into a secure area near No 10. Police officers had to overpower and arrest the man after he scaled 2m (6ft) iron railings.

Intruder arrested in Downing Street

Published: 02 October 2006

A man was arrested after apparently intruding into the secure area of Downing Street late last night, police said today.

George Michael cautioned over cannabis

Published: 02 October 2006

Pop star George Michael was today cautioned by police for carrying cannabis when found passed out in his car.

Sex offender to be questioned over death of Polish student Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 02 October 2006

Detectives hunting the killer of a 23-year-old Polish student whose body was found hidden inside a Glasgow church are to question a man in London.

Lucie Blackman's father in £450,000 'blood money' row Independent Porfolio Content

Published: 01 October 2006

Family divided as Tim Blackman accepts payout from friend of man accused of his daughter's rape and murder in Japan

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Edited highlights of Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's announcement of the Lockerbie breakthrough

Monday April 5, 1999
Guardian Unlimited

Two years ago when I first entered this building I asked for a review on the Lockerbie file. The conclusion I came to was that we were getting nowhere; and I found it hard to meet the relatives of the victims, and to hear from them how they could see no prospect of obtaining justice or of seeing a legal process. I came to the conclusion that we could not secure progress on Lockerbie without a fresh initiative, and at the end of 1997 when Madeleine Albright stayed with me at Christmas, we agreed that we would try to put together an initiative for a trial in a third country as an offer to the Libyan government.
I will be frank, I am not entirely sure, when we started out on that process, that we understood quite what a long slog we were letting ourselves in for. It took 9 months of tough legal negotiation in order to secure the arrangements for that trial in a third country. I would want to express my thanks to the government of the Netherlands who willingly agreed to be the host for the trial and have reinforced the Netherlands' reputation as a seat of international justice. I have visited Camp Zeist, which they have made available to us and which is now under Scottish jurisdiction. Camp Zeist will provide excellent facilities for a modern courtroom, a strong prison and also a very large gymnasium for the ladies and gentlemen of the press who will be in attendance at the court.

I would also want to record my appreciation of the close cooperation that we have had throughout this entire project from the Lord Advocate and his staff, without whose whole-hearted commitment to this project we would not have succeeded in making those legal arrangements.

We launched the initiative in August in this room, and since then we have put in long, hard, patient, diplomatic effort. I do not think there has been a week since August in which at some time I have not asked what effort more we can put in to convincing Libya that this was an offer made in good faith and without a hidden agenda. By the end of last year we had met all the concerns of the Libyan government, bar one - which was the place of imprisonment - and for a while it looked as if negotiations would break down over the demand by Libya that if convicted the two suspects should not serve their sentence in Scotland. That was a point of principle on which we could not compromise, and on which we have not compromised.

But at the end of the year I did offer that we would accept UN observers to monitor the conditions and the health of the two suspects if they were convicted. We have nothing to be ashamed of in Scottish prisons, we have nothing to hide, we are very happy to welcome that international observation provided our requirement that if sentences are passed are served in Scottish jurisdiction, in Scottish prisons. That offer appears to have cleared the last obstacle and all that effort and those patient negotiations have today brought the handover of the two suspects who are about to land in the Netherlands where they will quickly be handed over to Scottish jurisdiction. When that happens I will instruct our representatives at the United Nations to confer with the Secretary General about starting the process to suspend sanctions on Libya.

I would want to state that it is not for me or for the government to judge whether these two men are innocent or guilty, that is a matter for the court, and they will have a fair trial in that court. I have always stressed that if the two men are innocent they have nothing to fear from Scottish justice. The obligation for the Foreign Office and for government was to secure the presence of the two accused before a court, and that we have now done.

Today's development is important as a breakthrough for three reasons: first, this breakthrough ends a stalemate of 10 years in diplomatic relations and negotiations; secondly, it creates legal history, this is the first time that any country has attempted to carry out a trial under its laws and procedures in a third country; and thirdly it is important because of the relief that it can bring to the relatives of those who died that night over and in Lockerbie. I have met them a number of times over the past 18 months. The most difficult thing for me is that I have not been able to tell them what we know and what we suspect about what happened to their loved ones. Now those relatives will have the opportunity of hearing in open court all the evidence we have which is the result of the longest and largest police investigation in British history. Just before coming here I met with Pam Dicks, the Secretary of the UK Families Group. She expressed her huge relief at this development today.

Often what we do in this building as diplomats must appear remote to the people we serve. In this case diplomacy is having a direct impact on the lives and the emotions of our people. Some people have said in the past that there never would be a trial into the Lockerbie bombing. I must confess there have been moments in the past year when I wondered if they might be right - but we have now proved them wrong, we have secured the surrender of the two suspects and there is going to be a criminal trial into this act of mass murder.

QUESTION: How crucial was Nelson Mandela's role in this whole business? How significant was his statement at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Edinburgh in 1997 about the inappropriateness of having a trial in Scotland? FOREIGN SECRETARY: Nelson Mandela and a number of other international leaders, particularly from Saudi Arabia, have been very helpful to us in securing this outcome. You are absolutely right to pick up that Nelson Mandela proposed a trial in a third country at the CHOGM in Edinburgh in October 1997, and one of the great strengths of our initiative was that these people such as Nelson Mandela had made that suggestion after consulting with the government of Libya. And when we accepted that proposal and made it as an offer to Libya, they were then able to go back to Tripoli and say, 'look, you asked us to invite Britain to make that offer, they have now made that offer, having put our own reputation behind the offer we want you to accept it.' That pressure, I think, was very helpful in getting the result. I would also wish to particularly mention the work of Kofi Annan and his legal team. We tasked them in August with making the arrangements for the handover and negotiating the detailed agreement with the government of Libya, I know that they have put in many, many hours of negotiation to make this possible and we are grateful for their patient diplomacy.

QUESTION: How quickly do you anticipate relations between the UK and Libya to get back to normal? FOREIGN SECRETARY: The United Nations sanctions will now be suspended, and after 90 days will be lifted depending on Kofi Annan's support; that will resolve the international sanctions on Libya.

The United Kingdom does of course also have issues of its own bilateral concerns with Libya, notably the case of the murder of WPC Fletcher. We have said that we would wish to address those issues, and we hope to achieve cooperation with Libya in resolving those issues - hopefully with some good reasonable speed now that we have resolved the Lockerbie case.

QUESTION: If the two men are found guilty, are you expecting the Libyan government to pay compensation? FOREIGN SECRETARY: Yes, if the two are found guilty and if they acted on behalf of the Libyan state, we would expect the Libyan state to pay compensation. Currently that is what is underway in relation to the UTA bombing where France has produced a guilty verdict against six Libyans, and where it appears that compensation will be paid. So there is that precedent, and we would expect Libya to meet compensation in those circumstances, but that of course can only happen once we have a verdict from the court.

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Lockerbie retrial demand over new evidence.

THE Lockerbie bombing conviction seems certain to be sent back to the appeal court after it emerged Scottish prosecutors suppressed "absolutely crucial" German police evidence at the trial, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

The evidence - papers suggesting a key prosecution witness was implicated in the mass murder - will form part of an official report by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC).


The results of the German inquiry were passed to the Crown Office in Edinburgh years before the 2000 trial and translated into English at considerable public expense.

But lawyers for Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Libyan serving life for the atrocity, were refused access to the documents by the Crown Office before the historic case opened in Holland.

Scotland on Sunday has established that the defence was forced to obtain the papers direct from the German prosecutors just before Megrahi's trial but did not have the time or money to translate them.

The papers could, it is claimed, have transformed the outcome of the case. German investigators established that a Palestinian terrorist called Abo Talb, funded by Iran, could have placed the bomb on board Pan Am flight 103. They also established that the Iranian government paid millions of dollars into a Swiss bank account belonging to one of Talb's colleagues two days after the Lockerbie bombing.

However, Talb was produced at the trial as a vital witness for the prosecution, in return for lifetime immunity from prosecution. Defence sources claim this provided the motive for the Crown to suppress the German evidence.

The Lockerbie disaster, on December 21, 1988, claimed the lives of 270 people in the aircraft and on the ground. Megrahi was found guilty in January 2001 after a three-month trial at Camp Zeist and his appeal dismissed the following year.

But a team of lawyers and investigators has continued working on the case. The SCCRC is due to complete a report on Megrahi's conviction early next year.

Sources close to the SCCRC have admitted that vital new evidence is contained in its report and concede it is almost certain it will order a fresh appeal. One source confirmed: "The documents are absolutely crucial. They would have proved very useful to the defence at the trial."

If, as expected, the case is referred back, it could result in the original decision being upheld, a retrial or even Megrahi's conviction being quashed.

Meanwhile, the Libyan's defence team is understood to be furious at the failure of the Crown to comply with standard trial procedure. A source close to the defence said: "The Crown refused to hand over these vital documents. That is unacceptable and a complete breach of all the rules about 'equality of arms' and disclosure and a fair trial."

Jim Swire, spokesman for the Lockerbie families, said: "We have always believed that the man in jail for the bombing should not be there. This seems to be a very important step in proving that and getting justice for the victims of the bombing."

Tony Kelly, Megrahi's lawyer, said: "This case is being dealt with by the SCCRC, and we await its findings. Out of deference to it, I cannot comment on any aspect of the case."

No one from SCCRC was available and the Crown Office refused to comment.

A spokesman for the German federal police service confirmed it had carried out a number of investigations that were linked to the Lockerbie affair.

Related topic

(The departure of the late Lord Advocate Colin Boyd QC ........when the shit hits the fan he is down in London town eh?)


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


Missing evidence may free Megrahi. 

LONG before she saw anything, Majorie McQueen heard Pan Am flight 103 come apart and tumble through the night sky above Lockerbie.

"I was out in my garden at the time... I thought it was a clap of thunder, but it just carried on getting louder and louder all the time and there was an enormous crash."


Wreckage landed 200 yards from the home of McQueen. "We couldn't figure out what it was until my husband received a call from a colleague who said that the nose of a plane was lying in the field."

They knew it was an aircraft but, almost 18 years later, they are not sure much else is clear. Despite the conviction of Libyan Abdelbaset ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the questions not only remain but continue to mount.

And early next year, it seems all but certain the doubters and conspiracy theorists will receive official backing when the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) sends the conviction of Megrahi back to the appeal court.

Four years ago, at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, three Scottish judges, sitting without a jury, accepted the Crown case that Megrahi was an intelligence officer working for Libyan Airlines in Malta, and that he planted the bomb by placing a suitcase on a connecting flight from Malta to Frankfurt, which ended up on the London Heathrow leg to New York.

But many people have long believed the attack was carried out by Palestinian terrorists working for the Iranians, who wanted revenge for the downing of an Iran Air airbus by a US warship in July 1988.

According to the theory, this line of inquiry was acceptable until the Gulf War when cooperation, rather than conflict, with Tehran became necessary.

The German federal police, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), were already investigating Palestinian terrorists, including the Swedish-based Abo Talb and a number of contacts in Malta.

Talb had been a Lockerbie suspect early in the investigation. A calendar was found in his Swedish flat with December 21 circled and he was known to have visited Malta in the months before the bombing.

Megrahi's team at the Lockerbie trial lodged a special defence, saying Talb was responsible. But Talb, who during the 1990s was jailed in Sweden, appeared at the Lockerbie trial as a prosecution witness, testifying that he was not responsible.

Until now, the defence have not had documentary evidence placing Talb in Malta at the precise time of the bombing.

But the BKA documents, gathered from investigations in Germany and Malta, are understood to provide that missing link. They are said to include surveillance reports which place Talb in Malta less than four weeks before the attack.

They also reveal crucial details about cash transactions which may be linked to Lockerbie. One account, held by Palestinian terrorists arrested by the Germans, was in Lausanne, Switzerland. On December 23, two days after the bombing, the Iranian government deposited £5.9m into this account.

Some German technical documents also open up another possible alternative to the Crown's theory, that the device could have been planted at Frankfurt Airport rather than Malta. Such an explanation has always been ruled out by prosecutors.

The information from the BKA documents locate Talb in Malta on a date in the four weeks prior to the bombing.

Although Megrahi's defence are now in possession of this crucial detail, and it has been passed on to the SCCRC, it was never available at the trial because of what is claimed to have been obstructive behaviour by the Crown Office.

As the trial approached, Megrahi's defence knew the Crown had access to huge numbers of reports from the BKA. The defence demanded that all the documents were handed over as was normal in criminal trials to guarantee a fair hearing. If made available, they would have destroyed Talb's credibility and very possibly provided the doubt necessary to acquit Megrahi.

One source said: "The Crown said that they couldn't hand over anything which came from a 'foreign power' because it would be wrong without the permission of that 'foreign power'."

Eventually, with the trial just a few weeks away, the defence took things into their own hands and went to Germany to see the chief prosecutor in Frankfurt.

"They got all the papers, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of them. All in German," the source said. "From interviews and surveillance reports, many hand-written, to documents about the freight and baggage movements in and out of Frankfurt airport, and no one could figure out which ones were important to the case."

Another source close to the defence revealed that a frenzied attempt was made to translate the papers.

He said: "The Crown had had them translated at taxpayers' expense, but wouldn't give the defence access to the translations. The papers had to be sent to professional translators, costing tens of thousands of pounds, and they began working with the trial just a couple of weeks away.

"The papers were still being translated during the trial and the costs were beginning to hit the hundreds of thousands of pounds. The defence had to go into court not having access to a lot of useful information."

Another insider close to the defence said: "The papers do not absolutely 100% prove the Palestinian link, but that's not the defence's job. What they do is substantially boost the alternative explanation."

In Lockerbie, the dispute over responsibility brings cynicism from McQueen. "I don't know who did it, but even if the guy who's in prison did it, he wasn't the main player," she says.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Move to end sentencing confusion
By Danny Shaw
BBC home affairs correspondent

Never mind cigarettes and booze - the government should apply a health warning to sentencing.

The process is so complicated that trying to work out how a sentence has been arrived at is likely to leave with you a severe headache.

First there is legislation - setting out maximum sentences for each offence, and in some cases, minimum sentences too.

There are previous cases - case law - which courts must have regard to.

Then there is the Sentencing Guidelines Council's advice on the appropriate sentences for particular crimes.

Prison guard
Judges could get powers to keep offenders behind bars

When all that has been considered, the judge must take into account mitigating factors - such as remorse or youth; aggravating features - such as whether threats or violence are used; and previous convictions.

Reports may have been prepared by probation staff or doctors about an offender's background and medical problems - these cannot be ignored either.

Courts are also required to pay heed to the impact on victims, through victim impact statements and, in some cases, direct representation by a victim's advocate.

But when a prison sentence is in the offing, there may be a reduction if the offender pleads guilty early.

And if the offender has already served time in jail, on remand, that will have to be deducted from the sentence as well.


Confused? The government believes the public is, which is why it wants to clarify the process.

One option is to state precisely how much time an offender will serve in prison, and how much on licence in the community.

So, goodbye to the "four-year prison sentence" - in which an offender really spends only half the time behind bars.

And hello to the "two years in prison plus two years on licence in the community" sentence - a more accurate reflection of what it means, but less concise.

'Hamstrung' judges

Another possibility - where a sentence is open-ended and a minimum term is set - is to say clearly what the minimum and maximum terms are.

For instance, an offender given an indeterminate sentence with a 10-year minimum term would be told that they would spend "between ten years and life in prison".

The Home Office's other aim is to minimise the risk to the public posed by dangerous offenders by giving judges greater powers to impose tougher sentences.

At present - as we've seen - judges are hamstrung by rules and regulations.

But the only way the Home Office can envisage giving judges more discretion would involve a series of new rules and regulations.

One of the options suggests that a further risk assessment be carried out before a minimum term is set; another option proposes "additional years" to reflect "public confidence issues"; while a third possibility - in fixed sentence cases - is that a High Court judge would be able to send a case to the Parole Board if an offender's early release might pose a risk to the public.

Confused? Devising a clearer sentencing structure and beefing up sentences for dangerous offenders may be worthy objectives.

But the government will have its work cut out achieving both at the same time.


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Shamed professor 'accused mother of hanging her son'

Professor David Southall

Allegations: Professor David Southall.

A shamed paediatrician had a grieving mother's child taken into care after falsely accusing her of murdering her ten-year-old son, a disciplinary panel heard.

Disgraced consultant Professor David Southall, 58, acted like a "crown prosecutor," accusing the distraught woman of drugging and hanging the boy, it was claimed.

The General Medical Council was told that despite having no medical evidence to back up his theory, the specialist reported her to social services.

This meant the younger son was taken into care.

Professor Southall is the paediatrician who accused the husband of solicitor Sally Clark of murdering their children, Christopher and Harry.

He called police after watching a television documentary on the deaths in 2000.

Mrs Clark was jailed for the murders but freed on appeal in 2003.

Professor Southall was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the GMC in 2004 for his "high-handed intervention" and was banned from child protection work for three years.

A disciplinary hearing was told he had pointed the finger of blame at another parent whose ten-year-old son hanged himself with a belt at home after allegedly being bullied at school. Richard Tyson, QC, for the GMC said Professor Southall subjected the mother, an auxiliary nurse, to a barrage of "aggressive and intimidatory" questions during an interview in 1998.

The paediatrician told her that if she did not answer his questions then she must be guilty of murdering her child, Mr Tyson said.

He said Professor Southall had told the bereaved mother: "I will tell you how he died."

"You drugged him after obtaining drugs from the operating theatre as he would not allow you to kill him."

"You waited for him to go to sleep and you then wrapped the belt round the curtain pole, lifted him up and then buckled the belt around his neck and then waited until he had died."

After the interview, Mr Tyson said that the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was "extremely distressed."

Mr Tyson said: "In particular she was extremely upset by the accusation made to her face that she murdered her own child."

Earlier, Mr Tyson read from the mother's statement after the death of her eldest.

In it she said the boy had been bullied at school, a claim reinforced by his teacher.

On the day he died she said she saw him in the window and realised something was wrong.

She ran to the bedroom to find him "hanging from a wooden curtain rail from a belt around his neck."

The mother said the buckle was digging into the right-hand side of his neck and added: "I realised straight away by his pupils being dilated that he was dead."

She rang 999 and told the operator: "My 10-year-old son has just hung himself."

A coroner recorded an open verdict on the boy's death in June, 3, 1996, after being unable to determine whether it was a suicide or an accident.

But Professor Southall was asked by social services to report on the woman's second son in February 1998 after the boy apparently made suicide threats.

The consultant at the Royal Brompton and North Staffordshire Hospitals recommended the second child, then aged ten, should be removed from the family home in North Staffordshire.

In his report he suggested that the mother was suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy, where parents harm or fake illness in their children, concluding: "He was only ten and in my experience, ten-year-olds do not kill themselves and especially not in this way."

Mr Tyson added: "Professor Southall put pressure on her to admit that she had drugged and then murdered him by hanging him and effectively accused her of committing homicide."

"It was overwhelmingly likely that he (Professor Southall) was going almost blindly down one track, namely to suggest that there had been an unlawful death. He acted as a detective or crown prosecutor."

Now retired, Professor Southall is also accused of tampering with another child's medical records, keeping secret medical files and abusing his professional position in regard to four other children.

He denies serious professional misconduct but could be struck off if found guilty of all 18 charges.

The hearing continues.


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Mental health row set to reopen
Depressed man
Mental health campaigners are concerned
Controversial laws allowing people with untreatable personality disorders to be detained, even if they have not committed a crime, are to be revived.

The draft Mental Health Bill was axed by ministers in March after years of opposition.

But some of the key proposals are to be retained in an amending bill to be announced in the Queen's Speech.

Campaigners said the plans to update England's 23-year-old laws would represent an abuse of civil liberties.

The draft Mental Health Bill had proposed allowing people to face compulsory treatment even if their condition could not be treated. Under the plans, they would have been able to be held for 28 days before facing a tribunal.

If the government pushes ahead with this it will mean people with mental health problems have fewer rights than someone suspected of burglaries
Jane Harris, of Rethink

The bill was first published in 2002 but redrafted several times among much opposition from campaigners, doctors, politicians and academics.

One of the main criticisms was that it made it too easy to detain people with some warning even those with mild conditions may be locked up.

The desire to change the law was largely driven by Michael Stone's 1998 conviction for the brutal murders of Lin and Megan Russell.

Stone was regarded as a dangerous psychopath and it has been assumed he was not held under mental health powers because his condition was considered untreatable.

However, a subsequent inquiry has found this not to be the case as he was receiving treatment but gaps in his care meant he was not given the correct care.


Under the 1983 Mental Health Act patients can be sectioned, but only if their condition is treatable.

The plan to amend the act is expected to be introduced quite soon, possibly before Christmas.

It is likely to propose allowing compulsory therapy if "appropriate treatment will be available".

Jane Harris, campaigns manager at the Rethink mental health charity, said: "If the government pushes ahead with this it will mean people with mental health problems have fewer rights than someone suspected of burglaries.

"It will be an abuse of our civil liberties."

And Andy Bell, of the Mental Health Alliance, an umbrella group of charities and professionals, added: "We have some major concerns about this. The law is getting outdated and needs some changing to bring it up to date with human rights legislation.

"But if it goes ahead it will be a missed opportunity."

It is also expected that the Government will seek to revise the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to give single women and lesbian couples an entitlement to fertility treatment.

The present law states that fertility doctors should take account of a child's need for a father before offering a woman treatment, irrespective of whether it is on the National Health Service or private.

A crackdown on internet sites selling sperm is also likely to be part of the plans.




Psychiatrists condemn draft mental health bill.

Psychiatrists last night condemned the government's latest attempt to reform mental health law in England and Wales as "objectionable, unworkable and likely to bring NHS services to their knees".

They were responding to a draft bill from Rosie Winterton, health minister, setting out the biggest overhaul of mental health legislation since the 1950s.

Ms Winterton had been trying for months to broker a compromise between the Home Office's desire to lock up all potentially violent psychopaths and the medical profession's view that mentally ill patients deserved the best possible care.

A previous draft bill in 2002 was rejected by the profession because it could have obliged psychiatrists to order the detention of people with severe personality disorder, even if they had committed no crime and had no prospect of a cure.

Under the new proposals, it would be left to clinical staff to decide whether it was "clinically appropriate" to order compulsory treatment. This might mean sectioning psychopaths who could not be cured of their personality disorder, but might benefit from treatment of depression or anxiety.

But Louis Appleby, the government's mental health tsar, conceded that there might be dangerous psychopaths who would not benefit from care. If they posed a threat to society, they would have to be handled by the criminal justice system, not the NHS.

The bill is due to go before a scrutiny committee of MPs who will have to decide whether it is an effective compromise or falls between two stools.

The 284-page draft bill, with 141 additional pages of explanatory notes, includes a wide range of measures to improve care for the vast majority of mentally ill people who are no threat to anyone.

Ms Winterton said: "Patients in the community who are ill and vulnerable or at risk will now be able to get the treatment they need." The bill would tackle the "revolving door syndrome" suffered by patients who are discharged from psychiatric hospital and allowed to deteriorate until their condition becomes serious enough for readmission.

Extra safeguards for patients will include the right to refuse electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) if they retain mental capacity, and increased maximum sentences for people convicted of ill-treating patients. An independent tribunal will review every detention beyond 28 days and there will be an independent advocacy service to help patients assert their rights.

Ms Winterton said 130 extra psychiatrists and about 770 other staff would be needed to implement the bill, mostly because of the new safeguards.

Paul Goggins, Home Office minister, said: "If we are to protect the public, we must ensure those with a mental disorder who are a risk to others receive the high quality mental health treatment they need."

The Mental Health Alliance, a coalition of 60 mental health groups including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Nursing, user groups and charities, said: "The revised bill could bring mental health services to their knees. It remains objectionable in principle and unworkable in practice."

Mike Shooter, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "We are worried the bill will extend use of compulsory powers to a wider group of patients than is medically necessary, thus putting pressure on psychiatric services, and infringing people's human rights."

Tony Zigmond, vice president, said the legislation should be about reducing the stigma of mental illness.

Range of new powers

The draft bill would:

· Allow non-offending psychopaths to be detained indefinitely "if clinically appropriate"

· Introduce compulsory treatment in the community to protect patients in danger of relapse

· Allow people to refuse electroconvulsive therapy if they retain mental capacity

· Increase maximum sentences for those convicted of ill-treating patients

· Establish a new independent tribunal to review every detention lasting longer than 28 days

· Provide an independent advocacy service to help patients assert their rights


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Reply with quote  #53 

Criminal justice refers to the system used by government to maintain social control, prevent crime, enforce laws, and administer justice. Law enforcement (police), courts, and corrections are the primary agencies charged with these responsibilities. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of "justice", "fairness" or "process", essentially the pursuit of an ideal.

Hey that shark has pretty teeth dear and he shows 'em pearly white.
Just a jackknife has Macheath dear And he keeps it way out of site.

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Reply with quote  #54 

Hi mac great posts as always and thank you for the links....I have used this one for now:

History of criminal justice

The modern criminal justice system has evolved since ancient times, with new forms of punishment, added rights for offenders and victims, and policing reforms. These developments have reflected changing customs, political ideals, and economic conditions. In ancient times through the Middle Ages, exile was a common form of punishment. During the Middle Ages, payment to the victim (or their family), known as wergild, was another common punishment, including for violent crimes. For those who could not afford to buy their way out of punishment, harsh penalties included various forms of corporal punishment. These included mutilation, branding, and flogging, as well execution.

Though a prison, Le Stinche, existed as early as the 14th century in Florence, Italy [1], incarceration was not widely used until the 19th century. Correctional reform in the United States was first initiated by William Penn, towards the end of the 17th century. For a time, Pennsylvania's criminal code was revised to forbid torture and other forms of cruel punishment, with jails and prisons replacing corporal punishment. These reforms were reverted, upon Penn's death in 1718. Under pressure from a group of Quakers, these reforms were revived in Pennsylvania toward the end of the 18th century, and led to a marked drop in Pennsylvania's crime rate.



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Reply with quote  #55 

Machiavellian intelligence


In cognitive science and evolutionary psychology, Machiavellian intelligence (political intelligence or social intelligence), is the capacity of an entity in successful political engagement with social groups. The term refers to Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince (1513) and the hypothesis that the techniques which lead to certain kinds of political success within large social groups are also applicable within smaller groups, even within the family-unit. The term "everyday politics" was later introduced in reference to these various methods. These arguments are based on research by primatologists such as Nicholas Humphrey (1975).

Such behaviors include: The capacity of non-humans to lie, blame, misdirect and mislead was demonstrated by orangutans and gorillas during the 1980s and 1990s.


Some theorists believe that autistic people lack Machiavellian intelligence. One hypothesis is that they lack a "theory of mind" which is necessary for both cooperation and deceit. However, various aspects of autism, including wavering eye contact and the body language often give the false impression to those around them that they are lacking in honesty.

See also


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Reply with quote  #56 

British FBI' to fight the scourge of gang chiefs.

Find More Results for: "turning queen's evidence "

GANGLAND CHIEFS will face the evidence of more "supergrasses", suffer longer sentences and be monitored after their release in a crackdown on the pounds 40bn scourge of organised crime announced yesterday by David Blunkett.

The Home Secretary's plans also involve the creation of a "British FBI", the establishment of witness protection schemes to shield former gang members who give evidence and the likely use of surveillance material, such as phone taps, against crime lords.

The strategy is largely drawn on American efforts to tackle crime bosses, recognising that so-called "Mr Bigs" are often beyond the reach of traditional policing methods. An example is the gang chief Al Capone. The Chicago killer, who also ordered many murders, was never convicted of a violent crime but served nine years in Alcatraz for tax evasion. He was released in 1939 and died in 1947, after an apoplectic stroke.

In a White Paper on combating organised crime, Mr Blunkett told MPs crime gangs operated across borders using modern technology to stay ahead of the police. He also said the package of measures will help the fight against terrorists who often finance their activities through conventional crime.


Mr Blunkett said the proposals marked a "step change" to the fight against organised crime, vowing: "We will make the UK one of the most difficult environments in the world for organised crime."

Encouraging more gang members to give evidence against their former members is at the heart of the Home Office plans. "Turning Queen's Evidence" will be put on a statutory basis, with criminals being offered the incentive of sentence reductions of more than two- thirds or even, in extreme cases, immunity from prosecution. They will lose the "discounts" if their information proves false or worthless.

The Home Office has been struck by the 26 per cent of defendants in American drug-trafficking prosecutions who have their sentences cut because they co-operate with the authorities. Only in 1 per cent of cases brought by Customs and Excise last year did defendants turn Queen's Evidence.

Caroline Flint, a Home Office minister, said: "Whether we like it or not, information from people inside these organisations is helpful and we are lagging behind America and Australia in using this type of evidence." She also raised the prospect of lengthier prison terms for organised crime. The White Paper points out that traffickers of Class A drugs in the US, for example, are routinely sentenced to 20 years. In Britain, sentences usually run between five to 14 years.

The new regulations would also enable the authorities to monitor the financial affairs of gang leaders after they are released from prison. For their first five to 10 years of freedom, they could be required to file detailed accounts of their income and spending, including bank and credit card statements. Released crime bosses would also face tighter restrictions on who they associate with and where they travel. Breaking rules would lead to them being sent back to prison.

The White Paper announces the establishment of a Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which would work closely with police, specialist prosecutors and border agencies. It is expected to be operational by 2006. The Special Branch, Immigration Service and Customs will also pool their resources in efforts to bring criminal "godfathers" to justice.

It proposes new conspiracy laws to trap the lawyers and accountants who work with crime bosses and the establishment of a witness protection scheme. They will also be required to disclose documents which could put their bosses behind bars.

The White Paper also proposed that surveillance material from phone-taps is made routinely admissible in British courts for the first time, subject to a review to conclude in June. The contentious step has already been backed by Mr Blunkett.


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Reply with quote  #57 

most of these regulations are being used now by the courts and have been for quiet some time now.reguarding gangland chiefs im sure that puts micheal howard in that category as he did organsise a well covered up crime and organised for his family to be released after they had only served a shit and a shave sentence.


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Reply with quote  #58 
Archive: House of Commons Hansard

Customs and Excise

Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton): I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to hold this debate on a subject whose history goes back nearly 10 years. That may lead hon. Members to ask why I should raise the matter now. It has been precipitated by a recent court case in Liverpool, which came to an end two weeks ago last Monday, and by the press comments and speculation on that case and its history.

In July 1993, 50 kg of high-grade heroin, with a street value of £18 million, were seized in my constituency. That led to the arrest and conviction of eight men for their part in the smuggling ring that had brought that heroin into the country. In July 1996, two of those criminals, John Haase and Paul Bennett, were given a royal pardon by the then Home Secretary--10 months after they had been jailed for 18 years on those charges.

Having heard that those criminals were back on the street, I was about to leave my home to talk about the matter on Sky News when I was telephoned by the then Home Secretary. He asked me not to comment as it would imperil their lives and they had provided significant information to the authorities. Since then, I have discovered that only two people in the witness protection programme were involved in the case--to my knowledge. One was a woman informant who was a friend of one of the Turkish people convicted. The other person was a Customs officer, who had helped to penetrate the ring.

The two villains were on the streets, bold as brass, and back up to their old tricks almost straight away. I deferred, nevertheless, to the privileged information and advice of the then Home Secretary and did not publicise what was happening. However, I took the precaution of telephoning the then shadow Home Secretary to tell him what had eventuated. Sky, The Observer and the Sunday Mirror all came under heavy Government pressure not to run the story, but eventually it came out.

The intervention of the then Home Secretary came at the instigation of the trial judge--David Lynch--who had sentenced Haase and Bennett. He, in turn, was reliant upon information from Customs and Excise. That was the key to the release of those two criminals. A self-styled tough Home Secretary extraordinarily pardoned truly vicious, serious criminals, at the behest of the judge who had handed down 18-year sentences in the first place.

I have heard all the sophistry and the reasoning behind those decisions, but the matter is not easy to explain to people on the street. All that was to protect two Customs and Excise informants--the two criminals concerned. What was their valuable information? In effect, it fell into two areas, according to their Customs and Excise handler, Paul Cook. I have in my hand his witness statement, which is the key to what eventually happened.

One area was primarily concerned with the seizure of more than 150 weapons, including Armalites, Kalashnikovs and Uzis. The second area concerns an

7 Mar 2001 : Column 393

alleged potential hostage taking in Strangeways prison. During the intervening years, I have examined the matter in great detail.

In Liverpool, it was, and is, generally thought that the gun caches that were given up to Customs and Excise through the handler were an insurance policy for Haase and Bennett--something that they could trade with the authorities. A senior source in Merseyside police had confirmed that view. After all, no arrests took place in connection with those weapons seizures. It has been further alleged that all those weapons were bought for £82,000 from decommissioned stock held in a west midlands police depository and a north Wales police store, allegedly somewhere in Liverpool. I am cautious about those allegations because so many have been made. I am not interested in unsubstantiated allegations, some of which are very bizarre. However, an issue that, in my view, requires further investigation is being raised in this debate.

The second critical area in Mr. Cook's statement to the judge involves a gun that was smuggled into Strangeways prison. Again, there is a strong case to be made that Haase and Bennett were behind that, to curry favour with the authorities. Such new arrangements were certainly recognised by Metropolitan police as having set a precedent for a new type of bargaining between the law and criminals. The behaviour of Haase and Bennett in that case was later aped in the south-east, leading Scotland Yard's directorate of intelligence to alert all the agencies--the prisons, the police and Customs and Excise--to that plea-bargaining scam.

It is my belief that Haase and Bennett set up the arms caches in Liverpool and the smuggling of a gun into Strangeways prison. I ask the Paymaster General whether her Department, for example, has interviewed Paul Ferris about Haase and Bennett's attempts at weapons purchases. Does she know whether John Lally, Dominic Donnelly or Roger Jordan have been interviewed in connection with the smuggled guns?

I ask that question because there is deep concern that Customs and Excise has been gravely misled by two practised liars--Haase and Bennett--who have manipulated their handlers. The evidence is there for all to see. In particular, John Haase, who went down for another 13 years in the recent case, had a long history of doing deals to extricate himself from legal problems. As I say, happily, he was sent down two weeks ago, revealing him to be the recidivist that we all knew him to be. His confederate, Bennett, is on the run, facing drugs importation charges.

Yet Mr. Cook told the judge:

    "It is my considered opinion that such is the impact of this case on the defendants that, for differing reasons, it is highly unlikely that they would revert to a life of crime upon their ultimate release."

How wrong he was. Since his pardon, Haase has been arraigned on firearms, drugs and money-laundering charges. He cut Peter Flanagan's throat in the view of surveillance officers and he has intimidated witnesses, but he was accepted as a credible informer.

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Everything to do with Haase, in particular, remains suspect. From the original arrests in the Turkish connection drugs case onwards, there are urgent questions to be asked. I do not expect the Paymaster General to answer my questions, but the Government should. What should we make of the role of Detective Sergeant Williams--the only person retired from the south-east regional crime squad on ill-health grounds, according to an answer that I received to a parliamentary question, who had been charged with stealing seized heroin, corruptly demanding money and rape? He was suspended for more than four years on full pay, before being dismissed. None of the 34 original charges against him ever went to court.

What of the serious allegation that Haase planted a gun on Thomas Burke in Strangeways prison? The allegedly planted gun was a critical determinant in that man's conviction for murder. Although those matters are the responsibilities of other Departments, they stem directly from the handling of Haase and Bennett as informers. I specifically ask the Paymaster General whether she can tell me when John Haase ceased to be an informant.

I have a copy of a memo--written as late as 3 August 1998--that the assistant chief investigation officer, Steve Rowton, sent to Paul Cook, his subordinate, in which he tells him to cease contact with Haase and Bennett because of on-going political interest in the case. I shall, of course, place the documents in the Library. That happened after I had expressed an interest and had been afforded the opportunity to meet senior Customs officers to tell them about my disquiet about what was going on.

Has the Paymaster General been shown a report into the gun-smuggling incident at Strangeways? I understand that there was a report, but it has never been published. I wonder whether it will ever be published. If it is not published, why not? I appreciate security considerations, but major matters of public interest are involved. I also ask why there was no liaison with Merseyside police over the arms caches. Is it because they might have been seen as a set-up, which was the eventually expressed view?

The vast majority of our law enforcement personnel, across all the agencies, do a good job in difficult circumstances, but there have been some faux pas involving Customs and Excise. I may be wrong, but I believe that officers are still suspended both in the north-east and in Yorkshire because of cases that went spectacularly wrong. The Charrington case remains fresh in my memory and, in many ways, it overlaps with the case of Haase and Bennett.

It is interesting that the Dutch found themselves in a similar situation some years ago, with informers running their handlers rather than the other way round. A root-and-branch reform of procedures ensured that that did not happen again. Indeed, the Dutch succeeded in locking up a major league drug dealer, Curtis Warren from Liverpool, when Customs and Excise had failed to do so. However, when the case against Warren and others failed, he was able openly to boast to the investigating officers that he had made £87 million out of the deal and that there was not a thing they could do about it.

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The changes in Holland came about only after a full inquiry. I would go a lot further than having an inquiry. I propose two inquiries: one into the procedures for dealing with informers; the other into all the cases touched upon by Haase and Bennett. It is important to put on the record that many of the cases involve villains. "None of them are guilty, they are all innocent" is the clarion call that Members regularly hear in our constituency surgeries. It is never easy to divine who is telling the truth in these matters and I do not underestimate the mendacity of some of the people involved. However, even villains are entitled to justice. Such an inquiry would obviously need to be independent and transparent, so that justice might at last be lifted from the mire in which it has found itself in this sorry saga.

Although I was not to know, it is entirely appropriate that this issue has been raised on the day that my right hon. Friend the Chancellor announced a bold and brave initiative and lots more new funding for the fight against drugs in our towns and cities. It is appropriate that we start off with a clear idea of where we are going. Every Member in the House knows of the damage that is done by these people. I just ask us to consider the damage that was done by allowing Haase and Bennett back on the street, on the basis on which they got out. Could anything usefully have been achieved by pretending that one could handle such people?


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Reply with quote  #59 

HEY Magpie how are you?.....I hope all is well


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Reply with quote  #60 
hi magpie. excellent post you done there.seems after eleven years theres never going to be any form of enquiry reguarding the saftey net treatment that micheal howard dished out to his family.disgusting how micheal howard still receaves a fat pay packet every month and his family still on the streets spreading misery.
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