News Round-Up Week Ending 19.2.16
(Posted on 19/02/16)Share:
â€˜Met Wrong to Doubt Claims of Abuse.â€™
Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, has disagreed with the Metâ€™s new policy of not automatically believing alleged abuse victims.
â€œThousands of victims of sexual abuse have been denied justice through the attitude the Met commissioner now advocates,â€ she said. â€œSexual abuse is extremely difficult to report, because of its intimate nature and its undermining impact on victims. They have to be told that police will not doubt them as they have habitually done in the past, but will believe them as they do in any other kind of complaint, ensure that they get support and investigate the case thoroughly.â€
Baird, a Labour Party activist and former Solicitor General, said criticism of the Met commissioner had arisen after the premature publication of two individualsâ€™ names, against whom no charges were ever brought.
â€œThe key problem was the irresponsible, presumably glory-seeking publication of their names, not that complaints should not be believed in sexual abuse cases in the same way that a burglary victim is believed and their complaint investigated,â€ she said.
Others have suggested that Hogan-Howe has been attempting to deflect criticism of the Metâ€™s badly run investigation, Operation Midland.
No Compensation in Sight for Miscarriages of Joint Enterprise
Thursdayâ€™s Supreme Court ruling may lead to the re-examination of hundreds of joint enterprise convictions for serious offences thanks to a 32-year-old judicial error.
However, anyone found to have been wrongly convicted is unlikely to secure compensation for time in prison as such an award depends on exoneration following discovery of â€œnew or newly discovered factsâ€, which will not be part of many joint enterprise appeals. This paradox is only too familiar to the likes of Victor Nealon and Sam Hallam, wrongfully imprisoned without compensation.
â€œThose who are successful and are now found to have suffered a miscarriage of justice because of the 30-year long misinterpretation of the law on joint enterprise will not receive any compensation for time served in prison and financial loss,â€ said Daniel Machover of law firm Hickman and Rose.
Legal Aid Victory for Domestic Abuse Victims
The Court of Appeal has found flaws in the Governmentâ€™s changes to legal aid access for victims of domestic abuse, particularly one rule change denying legal aid in claims more than two years old.
â€œThis ruling means that access to safety and justice will no longer be denied to the very people the Government expressly sought to protect with its amendments to the regulations,â€ Law Society President, Jonathan Smithers, added.