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News Round-Up Week Ending 6.2.15

(Posted on 09/02/15)


Rude Judge Under Investigation.

A Liverpool family court judge has been criticised for using “unrestrained and immoderate language”.

Judge Robert Dodds told a 13-year-old girl that her case was “codswallop” and asked: “If the child had told her legal representatives that the moon was made of green cheese, whether they would have answered ‘yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full’.”

“There are a lot of people very concerned about the manner of [his] judicial performance, if nothing else,” John Pugh, Liberal Democrat MP for Southport, told the Independent. “There is a certain standard which judges must observe. Judges are not above the law, nor are they above criticism. Judges are allowed some flexibility and discretion and even allowed to be witty at times, but there is a case where there was no discretion and no wit.”

“Of equal concern is the cursory way in which he has dealt with some cases,” Mr Pugh added. “Justice needs to be seen to be done.”

GCHQ/NSA Spying ‘Unlawful’

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has declared that GCHQ’s access to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.

“For far too long, intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law,” said Eric King of Privacy International. “Today’s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along. The only reason why the NSA-GCHQ sharing relationship is still legal today is because of a last-minute clean-up effort by the government to release previously secret ‘arrangements’. That is plainly not enough to fix what remains a massive loophole in the law, and we hope that the European court decides to rule in favour of privacy rather than unchecked state power.”

“We now know that, by keeping the public in the dark about their secret dealings with the NSA, GCHQ acted unlawfully and violated our rights,” added James Welch for Liberty. “That their activities are now deemed lawful is thanks only to the degree of disclosure Liberty and the other claimants were able to force from our secrecy-obsessed government.”

A GCHQ spokesperson was less convinced: “We are pleased that the court has once again ruled that the UK’s bulk interception regime is fully lawful. It follows the court’s clear rejection of accusations of ‘mass surveillance’ in their December judgment.”