News Round-Up Week Ending 18th April 2014
By Charlotte Rowles on 13/04/14Share:
Attorney general demands answers from CPS over failed sex offence cases
The cuts imposed on the CPS have led to severe challenges to the way it copes with its workload. More than 730,000 defendants were prosecuted by the organisation last year. Between 2007-08 and 2012-13 CPS conviction rates for rape cases rose from 57.7% to 63.2% – the highest recorded CPS conviction rate for rape since its records began.
Independent Police Complaints Commission plans overhaul after review
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to overhaul the way it investigates deaths involving the police in England and Wales. The organisation considers appeals from people who are not satisfied with a police force response to a complaint.
The IPCC's review into its own practices follows criticism of how the watchdog has dealt with some cases. Last year, an independent review last year found that the watchdog made mistakes when investigating the death of Mr Rigg, a 40-year-old schizophrenic who died at Brixton police station, south London, in August 2008.
There were also concerns that its remit and the scope of its investigations into deaths were "too narrow" to answer key questions as to why a person had died.
A previous report by The Home Affairs Select Committee said the IPCC was overshadowed by the might of the 43 police forces in England and Wales. Woefully under-equipped and hamstrung in achieving its original objectives, it is smaller than Scotland Yard's own internal investigations team.
BBC Democracy Live
When the bill was in the Commons, MPs threw out a clause inserted by peers that would have required both Houses of Parliament to approve the government's plans for the future of probation services.
Lord Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons, urged: "measured evolution is a more responsible approach to a duty to protect the public than the avoidable upheaval of an enforced unproven revolution."
Justice Minister Lord Faulks disagreed, maintaining that radical reform is needed to "provide long overdue support to some of the most vulnerable people in our criminal justice system".
Peers sided with the minister in that choice, voting 263 to 243 against Lord Ramsbotham's amendment insisting on parliamentary approval for the break-up of the National Probation Service.
Supervision of the most dangerous ex-offenders, including those with convictions for violence and sex crimes, will remain with the National Probation Service.
New York man Jonathan Fleming freed after 25 years in prison for Brooklyn murder after review turns up new evidence
The Independent ,10 April 2014
Rob Williams writes about the case of man cleared after spending 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
After a quarter of a century behind bars, Jonathan Fleming looked towards his mother as family members cried out 'thank you, God!' as he was freed. The moving moment came after Jonathan Fleming, who had served 24 years and 8 months of his prison sentence for the murder of Darryl "Black" Rush, was cleared of the killing.
Fleming had maintained his innocence from the beginning, but authorities had refused to accept the explanation and had suggested the shooting was motivated by a dispute over money. An eyewitness woman had testified that she had seen him shoot Rush.
She recanted her testimony soon after Fleming's 1990 conviction, saying she had lied so police would cut her loose for an unrelated arrest, but Fleming lost his appeals. The defence asked the DA's office to review the case last year. The review produced a hotel receipt paid in Florida about fiver hours before the shooting.