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News Round-Up Week Ending 5.12.14

(Posted on 04/12/14)


Hooded Men Back to Europe

The Irish Government has asked the European Court of Human Rights to reopen the 1978 ruling on the UK’s treatment of 14 ‘hooded men’ interned in Northern Ireland.

“On the basis of the new material uncovered, it will be contended that the ill-treatment suffered by the Hooded Men should be recognized as torture,” Irish Foreign Minister Charles Flanagan said.

"We've just been told about the decision to take the case to Europe. We're absolutely delighted by this,” responded Liam Shannon, one of the ‘hooded men’. “We've waited 43 years and we want to thank everyone involved, our legal team and all the researchers who turned up the relevant information in order that we could make a case." 

Killer’s Appeal Rejected

The Lord Chief Justice has thrown out an attempt at appeal by one of the two men convicted of Fusilier Lee Rigby’s murder, describing it as “wholly misconceived and completely unarguable”. 

Michael Adebolajo claimed he did not have a fair trial because he had been fighting a war for Islam. 

“He has claimed that the reason he killed Fusilier Rigby was solely because he was a serving soldier,” said his barrister, David Gottlieb.

"We are relieved this is over and justice has been done,” Lee Rigby's widow, Rebecca, commented.

Sun Has Whip Hand

A High Court Judge has rejected former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell’s libel case against the Sun.

“I am satisfied at least on the balance of probabilities that Mr Mitchell did speak the words alleged or something so close to them as to amount to the same including the politically toxic word 'pleb',” Mr Justice Mitting said.

“I am delighted to hear again my innocence, my reputation and my integrity as a police officer has been recognised,” said PC Rowland. “I hope now that a line can be drawn and everyone can be left in peace.”

“Obviously I am bitterly disappointed by the result of the judgment today,” responded Mr Mitchell. “This has been a miserable two years but we now need to bring this matter to a close and move on with our lives.”

Mr Mitchell may face costs of £2m.

Alcoholic Mother not a Criminal

The Court of Appeal has ruled that a seven-year-old girl, born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, is not entitled to compensation.

“The central reason is that we have held that a mother who is pregnant, and who drinks to excess despite knowledge of the potential harmful consequence to the child of doing so, is not guilty of a criminal offence under our law if her child is subsequently born damaged as a result,” the three judges ruled.

The verdict was welcomed by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).

“Both the immediate and broader implications of this case are troubling,” said Ann Furedi of the BPAS. “Making one particular form of behaviour during pregnancy into a criminal offence would lay the ground for criminalising a wide range of other behaviours because they may too pose a risk to the health of the baby.”

“I am a Mason”

Members of the London Assembly have tabled a question for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, asking whether officers should be obliged to declare that they are Freemasons.

“For the sake of transparency, I think that Freemasons and Co-Freemasons should have to declare themselves if they are members of the Met Police and that list should be available to any internal investigations within the Met,” said Green Party representative Jenny Jones. “The public need to be reassured that relationships built by officers and staff outside of work do not unduly influence how the job gets done.”

“I am a Mason,” said Chairman of the Met Police Federation, John Tully, “It's been widely publicised and I'm not ashamed of it, I'm quite proud of it actually. The Freemasons are the second biggest giver to charity after the National Lottery. Where is the evidence to say there has been a Masonic conspiracy in any investigation? I can't think of one where Masonic conspiracy has been proven to have changed the nature of an investigation."

A previous attempt in the late 1980s by the then Home Secretary Jack Straw, to force all police officers and members of the judiciary to declare membership of the Freemasons, was scuppered amid fears of a clash with human rights laws.