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News Round-Up Week Ending 24.4.15

(Posted on 26/04/15)


Justice for Janner!

The Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to prosecute Lord Janner. Those calling foul included the Daily Mail's Stephen Glover:

“This pillar of the community, and apparently admirable man, is also alleged to be a paedophile, and stands accused of 22 sexual offences, said to have taken place from 1969 to 1998, involving nine children and young adults. These range from indecent assault to buggery.

“So says the Crown Prosecution Service, which regrets it can’t bring a case against 86-year-old Janner as he is suffering from dementia. This hasn’t prevented him from attending the House of Lords hundreds of times since the diagnosis was first made in 2009, his most recent attendance being little more than a year ago. Nor has he been deterred from claiming more than £100,000 in parliamentary expenses and allowances during this period.

“Indeed, Janner signed a letter saying that he wanted to remain a peer just a week before he was judged unfit to face child sex charges. Either his dementia is not as severe as it is said to be — or someone induced him to sign a letter he could not understand.”

Guilty by a Hair

Ed Pilkington wrote in the Guardian from New York this week about ‘hair comparison evidence’: “a ‘dirty bomb’ of pseudo-science” responsible for at least 268 cases of flawed convictions, including that of George Perrot, jailed for nearly 30 years for a rape he did not commit.

“In July 2013, the FBI admitted that the foundations of what it called ‘hair comparison evidence’ – a technique that its agents had used in hundreds of criminal cases nationwide and spread through the training of state-based detectives potentially through tens of thousands of other cases – were scientifically invalid.

“Microscopic analysis of hair – the very analysis that put George Perrot and so many people behind bars – is virtually worthless as a method of identifying someone. It can only safely be used to rule out a suspect as the source of crime-scene materials or in combination with the vastly more accurate technique of DNA testing.

“The [US] government has identified almost 3,000 cases in which FBI agents may have given testimony involving the now-discredited technique. So far only about 500 of those cases have been reviewed.”