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News Round-Up Week Ending 20.3.15

(Posted on 20/03/15)


Were the three porn-viewing judges rightly sacked?

That was the question asked by barristerblogger following the dismissal of three judges for “inexcusable misuse of their judicial IT accounts and wholly unacceptable conduct for a judicial office holder”. The blog cites examples of past judicial moral lapses which went unpunished.

“The disgraced threesome may have every reason to feel somewhat aggrieved at their treatment. If it is ‘excusable’ for a judge to fall asleep – or appear to do so – during a child’s evidence in a rape trial, why should the legal and harmless sexual activities of judges in the privacy of their chambers be ‘inexcusable’? Is the Judicial IT account really such a tender flower?”

UK justice minister 'complacent' over 38% rise in prison deaths, say MPs

The Guardian reported the results of a year-long inquiry by a cross-party group of MPs, which accuses Chris Grayling of complacency in playing down any link between prison staffing cuts and a sudden rise in self-inflicted deaths and violence in English and Welsh jails.

“We considered it improbable that there is no link between estate reconfiguration, benchmarking and changes in operational policy, including the incentives and earned privileges scheme, and the shift in safety across the prison estate,” the inquiry states. 

“The committee has repeatedly emphasised the dangers of allowing the prison population to escalate and consume huge resources that could be better spent on preventing crime,” chairman Sir Alan Beith said. “The public look to the criminal justice system to demonstrate that crime is taken seriously, but that means tackling and preventing crime effectively, not merely locking up more and more offenders at massive cost to the taxpayer.”

High Court judge dismisses Satanic cult abuse claims

Mrs Justice Pauffley was called in by social services to review a mother’s claims that the father of her two children was the leader of a north London cult of more than a hundred people who were “doing sex” with the children. The two children were made to describe satanic practices in filmed mobile phone conversations.

“The allegations were circulated online, including the names of the children and video footage and photographs identifying them,” the Independent reported. “The judge said more than four million people around the world had viewed material relating to the case.”

“I am able to state with complete conviction that none of the allegations are true,” the judge said. “They are baseless. Those who have sought to perpetuate them are evil and/or foolish. Torture is a strong word but it is the most accurate way to describe what was done to the children. The internet campaign is likely to have the most devastating consequences.”