Tag Archives: Prosecution

‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions

The “overwhelming majority” of rapists are walking free because of a collapse in prosecutions in England and Wales, campaigners have warned.

Only 1.5 per cent of almost 55,300 rapes recorded by police in 2019 saw a suspect charged, down from 7 per cent four years before.

An alliance of women’s groups attempted to launch a legal challenge accusing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of changing its practices,  but were refused permission by the High Court in March.

On Tuesday, they published testimonies from complainants, statistical analysis, a CPS whistleblower’s allegations and other evidence from the case.

Some of these testimonies need to be read to be believed. Try this:

A woman who alleged that a man had raped her at gunpoint was told in a CPS letter that the weapon “was not a serious threat” during the alleged attack, and that the man may have thought she consented.

Who wrote that? They should go into the dock alongside the alleged rapist, as an accessory to the crime.

In a separate case, a gay woman who said she was raped by a man was accused of “engaging with the defendant” before the attack. Charges against a suspect, who was caught on CCTV, were dropped.

So there’s video evidence against this person but they weren’t charged because someone said the victim “engaged” with them. What does that even mean?

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) has accused the CPS of dropping a “merits-based approach” credited with increasing the number of rape prosecutions, but officials said they had not.

The High Court refused permission for a judicial review of the plummeting prosecutions, saw EVAW has appealed, and has raised more than £80,000 via crowdfunding to back the action.

That seems like an appeal worth supporting.

Here’s the web address.

Source: ‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions, campaigners warn | The Independent

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Tories refuses to abolish coronavirus law that has been wrongly used in every prosecution

When every single prosecution under new legislation is found to have been carried out unlawfully, that is poor law-making and should be repealed.

The Tory government is wasting the time of the police, the public and the courts with this silliness.

But it won’t repeal or change the Act of Parliament responsible for it.

Why not? Are these petty politicians taking delight in causing mischief for no good reason?

Who voted these clowns into a position where they could do this?

And do those voters now regret their hasty choice?

The government is refusing to repeal a “draconian” coronavirus law – despite it being used to wrongly prosecute scores of people.

The Coronavirus Act has not been used lawfully in a single criminal case since it came into force on 25 March, according to a review by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Human rights lawyers and campaigners have condemned the creation of “unnecessary” new offences, which have been used against children and vulnerable people.

They include a woman who was fined £660 for a crime she had not committed, five days after the Coronavirus Act became law. Charges have so far been withdrawn or overturned for 53 people and more cases are being reviewed.

Asked by The Independent whether it would abolish the Coronavirus Act in light of the changes and unlawful prosecutions, the Department of Health said it would not.

Source: Government refuses to abolish coronavirus law used unlawfully in every prosecution | The Independent

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Expert legal advice supports law graduate in crowdfunded private prosecution of Dominic Cummings

Mahsa Taliefar: there is a case against Dominic Cummings and she needs your help to take it to court.

Dominic Cummings could find himself facing an unlimited fine for breaching the Covid-19 lockdown after expert lawyers said there is a case against him.

Law graduate Mahsa Taliefar launched a funding campaign to help her bring a private prosecution against Cummings over his now-notorious trip to Durham at the end of March this year.

She sought legal advice from Benjamin Douglas-Jones QC and Nathaniel Rudolf on the practicalities of bringing a prosecution.

Their opinion is that he could indeed be prosecuted under Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020
Prosecutions.

These state that “during the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse”.

The lawyers’ advice states: “The published guidance… in our view reinforces the conclusion that there is a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to this conduct.”

The penalty, if such a conviction is won, would be an unlimited fine.

Concerns had been raised that Regulation 11 of the same law prevents private prosecution. It states: “Proceedings for an offence under these Regulations may be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and any person designated by the Secretary of State.

The advice states: “At first blush this may be seen as preventing a prosecution by anyone other than the CPS or a person designated by the Secretary of State. In other words preventing a private prosecution.

“The regulation is not drafted with any precision: a literal (and absurd) reading would be in that in the absence of anyone designated by the Secretary of State the CPS may not prosecute.

“It seems to us that… permitting the Secretary of State to designate people who can prosecute the section simply clarifies that this does not oust the ability of the CPS to do the same. It does not go further.

“If Regulation 11 were to be read as excluding private prosecutors, it would also exclude the police from prosecuting, unless the police were designated by the Secretary of State as persons who can prosecute. As far as we can tell no such designation has taken place.

“Our view is that the Regulation 11 is sufficiently clear so as not to warrant, at this stage, our consideration of whether the right to bring a private prosecution had been prevented by its language. A private prosecution may be classed as a ‘constitutional’ right founded in statute (or common law). It would require the most explicit language to extinguish that right.”

So not only could Cummings face a large fine if found guilty of breaching the regulations, but it seems entirely possible that a private prosecution may be launched against him, in order to ensure that he does so.

As This Site has already reported, Ms Taliefar is already crowdfunding for this purpose and her site may be found here.

If you agree that Cummings should be brought to book, feel free to contribute to the fund.

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Law graduate launches private prosecution bid against Dominic Cummings. Will you help fund it?

Mahsa Taliefar: she has already received abuse from supporters of Dominic Cummings. Have a guess at their reasons – then scroll down through the article to see if you’re right.

How will the populist, propagandist supporters of our far-right government de-legitimise Mahsa Taliefar, the 25-year-old law graduate who wants to take Dominic Cummings to court?

Well, for a start she has a foreign-sounding name (her background is Iranian), so obviously she’ll be trying to harm all good, right(-wing)-thinking British people, right?

And from the photograph she’s physically attractive, so she’ll be talked down as a know-nothing bimbo (qualifications notwithstanding).

Undoubtedly Gina Miller will be able to provide advice on some of the other ways.

Oh hey! It’s already happening:

She has … been targeted by abuse and misogynistic comments from Dominic Cummings’ supporters on social media.

“I have been subjected to nasty comments about my facial features and hairstyle,” she said.

“There have also been many Cummings supporters who have suggested that the money may be going towards aesthetic lip fillers and hair maintenance.

“I find this totally unacceptable. This campaign has nothing to do with my gender or looks. Many people supporting Dominic Cummings have also aggressively told me to ‘move on’ – but we should not until he does.”

Ms Taliefar – like those of us who know right from wrong – was incensed by Cummings’s decision to ignore lockdown rules and drive off to Durham with his wife and son.

These feelings were undoubtedly aggravated by his decision to (again) ignore rules – this time relating to government advisers – to hold a press conference in which he defended his behaviour.

So she has launched a funding campaign to help her launch a private prosecution against Cummings.

“It was like Dominic Cummings was spitting in the face of everyone who adhered to the lockdown,” she said.

“People were not able to see their families and friends and were not even able to bury their loved ones and grieve properly.

“This is because we were all following the laws that were put into place to protect the public.

“Dominic Cummings had a direct hand in the making of those Covid laws and I was extremely offended when he didn’t even apologise for breaking the rules – he seemed very arrogant and there were people in government standing by him.”

She makes good points about the insult Cummings’s behaviour represents to people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds:

Mahsa, who is from an Iranian background, says Dominic Cummings’ behaviour is also a kick in the teeth for people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities who have been harder hit by coronavirus and are more likely to die of it.

“People from ethnic minority backgrounds are affected more by this virus and have less money and resources and are less likely to have powerful friends and connections,” she said. “Everything Dominic Cummings has, most people from ethnic minorities don’t.

“That makes me angry as when people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by coronavirus, why should someone well off and more powerful put other people’s lives at risk by breaking his own laws?

“People from ethnic minority backgrounds also tend to have more people in our households and a lot of families have grandparents living with them. So it is really difficult for these communities to understand why someone like Dominic Cummings would travel so far and potentially put his parents at risk.”

Ms Taliefar reckons it will cost £300,000 to take a lawsuit all the way – and any funds not used for the private prosecution will be donated to Vision Aid Overseas – a charity dedicated to helping those with eyesight problems.

Here’s that GoFundMe campaign address again. With no interest in justice from the government, it seems this is the best way to get it.

Source: Law Graduate Pursues Private Prosecution Of ‘Arrogant’ Dominic Cummings | HuffPost UK

DWP persecutes claimants rather than scammers over ‘industrial scale’ benefit fraud

Despair: It seems the DWP’s plan to tackle Universal Credit fraud is to prosecute the victims, rather than the criminals.

Only one scammer has been prosecuted by the Department for Work and Pensions in connection with a fraud that has cost the nation an estimated £150 million per month.

The 145 dedicated staff hired by the DWP to investigate seem more interested in prosecuting genuine benefit claimants – with one already convicted and 28 facing prosecution.

Doesn’t that seem the wrong way around?

The scam works because people who need to claim benefits have been made increasingly desperate by the economic conditions created by the Conservative government.

Here’s how I described it, back in July:

“The scammer approaches the victim – a person in need of quick cash – and offers to get them a government grant or a payday loan for a small fee. They demand the victim’s identity details.

“The scammer then simply goes online and makes a Universal Credit claim in the victim’s name, demanding an advance loan in the process.

“The DWP’s online system automatically approves the claim because it doesn’t know any better and transfers the money into the victim’s bank account – from which the scammer then takes a huge amount of the money that has been handed over.

“The victim is left with a small fraction of the loan, but owing the entire amount back to the DWP. Not only that, but any other benefits they may have been claiming will have been cancelled.

“So the victim is left much worse-off – and the government department doesn’t care. It will pursue them for the full amount.”

This is what we are seeing now – the DWP is apparently pursuing the victims, rather than the perpetrators.

“It seems the scam works because of Universal Credit’s ‘digital by design’ nature; the computerised system automatically approves the application, no matter how bizarre the claims in it.

“So thousands of pounds have been given in response to claims on behalf of (allegedly) a 19-year-old with six blind children, people with children called Lisa, Bart and Homer – or indeed Ha, Ha and Ha – and people claiming “Harry Kane” is their landlord.

“Apparently 100,000 or more such advances are being paid every month. At up to £1,500 a go, that’s a lot of money.”

It seems the DWP’s 145 investigators are currently looking into 85,000 cases, with the caseload increasing all the time.

Has anything been done to stop the computerised Universal Credit claim system from automatically allowing these scams? If not, why not? Do the Tories see it as another way to persecute the vulnerable?

It seems to This Writer that there is only one way to stop the scammers from exploiting the vulnerable – and to stop the Tories from persecuting them.

Elect a Labour government that will end Universal Credit and implement a fair system in which people won’t be pushed into the arms of criminals.

It’s that simple.

Source: DWP: Just one scammer prosecuted so far for snaring people in Universal Credit fraud – Mirror Online

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Judges in Johnson case give ‘green light for every politician to lie to us about our money’

‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ – a Leave campaign lie endorsed by Boris Johnson.

Charming.

According to Lady Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Supperstone, Boris Johnson was well within the law to lie to us about the amount the UK sends to the EU every week, and the uses to which it cold be put instead.

They have not given a reason for this decision. That is to follow later.

Hmm.

I reckon they’ll probably say that the case was vexatious because it was politically-motivated – a plan to disrupt Brexit.

That’s what Mr Johnson’s lawyer said.

But the fact is that the case brought privately by Marcus Ball, is accurate.

Mr Johnson was both a member of Parliament and Mayor of London at the time he claimed that the UK gave £350 million a week to the European Union (it doesn’t) and that all of this money can be used to fund the NHS instead (it can’t).

In fact, the UK pays significantly less into the EU once rebates and the support this country receives back from the bloc are taken into consideration.

And the money could not be diverted solely into the NHS because it will be needed to ameliorate the adverse effects of Brexit on the economy.

That is, if any money is left. Estimates have suggested the weekly cost of Brexit is £800 million – more than twice the amount painted on the side of Mr Johnson’s silly red bus.

Mr Johnson would certainly have known that there would be a cost attached to Brexit, when he made his extravagant claim. And he would have known that the money the UK sends to the EU would have to be used to cover part of that cost.

We know that many people have said they voted ‘Leave’ because they were persuaded by the claim on the Brexit bus – and that they felt betrayed when they discovered it was false.

So it had a direct impact on public trust in the words of someone who, as Mayor and MP, was expected to conduct himself honestly.

That is exactly what Mr Ball’s lawyer said.

He has also said he’ll wait to see the judges’ reasons for throwing the case out before making his next move, but This Writer reckons an appeal is clearly on the cards.

Let’s hope we get clarity before the result of the Conservative leadership election is announced.

Source: Boris Johnson wins court challenge over £350m Brexit claims | Politics | The Guardian

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Mercer’s threat may be toothless, but it demonstrates May’s loss of control

Show of defiance: Johnny Mercer reckons he can exploit Theresa May’s weakness to demand action on a single issue. What if large numbers of Conservatives follow suit?

There’s not really much point in withdrawing support from the government over everything but Brexit when Brexit is all that’s left on the agenda.

Still, Johnny Mercer’s decision to make a stand – no matter how weak – on the prosecution of British servicemen over historical allegations demonstrates very clearly Theresa May’s loss of authority.

She has no Parliamentary majority now; her alliance with the DUP has been used up and it will cost another vast amount of public money to renew it, if she even thinks that would be worthwhile.

Some Conservative MPs have quit to join Change UK and one is facing the loss of his seat after being convicted of expenses fraud.

Now Mr Mercer has made a show of resistance.

Will others – who may be in a position to do more damage – do the same?

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer says he has withdrawn his support for the government over the historical prosecution of British servicemen.

A former Army officer, Mr Mercer called on Theresa May in a letter to end the “macabre spectacle of elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland” to face possible prosecution.

In his letter to the prime minister, the Plymouth Moor View MP said he found investigations into historic allegations surrounding ex-services personnel “personally offensive”

He said he was not to prepared to vote for Government legislation – except on Brexit – until the Government took “clear and concrete steps” to end the “abhorrent process”.

Source: Johnny Mercer: Tory MP withdraws support for government over historical prosecution of servicemen | The Independent

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Hillsborough families will ‘fight on’ after CPS drops charges against Norman Bettison

Case dismissed: Sir Norman Bettison speaking outside court. He was not exonerated; it seems that there has been so much delay in prosecuting a case against him that one witness died and evidence from another became questionable.

Who can blame the Hillsborough Family Support Group for being incandescent with fury about the way charges against Sir Norman Bettison have been dropped?

Bettison, formerly a Superintendant in South Yorkshire Police, had been charged with four offences of misconduct in public office relating to telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans. Given his role as a senior police officer, the CPS had declared an intent to show that this was misconduct of such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.

This declaration was made in 2012 – 23 years after the disaster in which 96 people were killed in a crush at Hillsborough while supporting Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

The families of the deceased have spent years demanding answers about Bettison’s involvement for South Yorkshire police, particularly as he went on to become the chief constable at Merseyside in 1998.

Wasn’t that a potential conflict of interest? Have a think about that one.

It has long been believed that a full investigation into the disaster was delayed because of political interference and it could be argued that this delay has served its purpose. Here’s the reason:

The case against Bettison was not dismissed because he was found to be innocent in the light of the evidence. It was dismissed because one of the chief witnesses against him, Mark Ellaby, had died. When the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) visited another key witness – aged no less than 85 – “significant contradictions” emerged in her evidence.

Delaying an investigation into high-profile allegations of wrong-doing is a tactic we all recognise now, I hope. In this case, it has led to the death of one witness, while another has now reached great age and her evidence is no longer reliable.

That is how Norman Bettison has escaped prosecution.

(As a sidebar, This Writer has experience of investigations into police conduct, and I would not trust the IOPC’s verdict on the second witness for a single second. That’s a personal opinion.)

So it comes as no surprise to me that Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said members had “grave concerns about the handling of this case by the CPS”.

She said: “We … can confirm that we will be exercising our right to an independent review under the right to review scheme.

“It is our view that the wrong charge was brought in the first place and we will be using the review process to argue this point strongly. We know how our supporters will feel about this decision and, of course, we all share all of those feelings.”

And she pledged to “fight on” while saying that the families struggle at times to “find the strength to keep going”.

All things considered, this is entirely understandable.

The collapse of the case against Bettison leaves five others facing charges over Hillsborough:

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire police chief superintendent in command of the semi-final at Hillsborough, is charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Graham Mackrell, the former secretary and safety officer for Sheffield Wednesday, is charged with three breaches of safety legislation; former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent Donald Denton and chief inspector Alan Foster are charged with doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice, as is the force’s former solicitor, Peter Metcalf.

Duckenfield’s trial is due to start in January.

The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped all cri

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire police chief superintendent in command of the semi-final at Hillsborough, is charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Graham Mackrell, the former secretary and safety officer for Sheffield Wednesday, is charged with three breaches of safety legislation; former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent Donald Denton and chief inspector Alan Foster are charged with doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice, as is the force’s former solicitor, Peter Metcalf.

Duckenfield’s trial, which is listed first, is due to start in January.

minal charges against Sir Norman Bettison relating to his conduct as a South Yorkshire police chief inspector in the force’s response to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Bettison, who was subsequently appointed chief constable of Merseyside and then West Yorkshire police, was charged last June with four counts of misconduct in a public office for statements he allegedly made about Hillsborough and his role, which the CPS claimed were untrue.

Bettison had made an application for the charges to be dismissed, which was due to be heard at Preston crown court on Tuesday, but the CPS barrister, Sarah Whitehouse QC, told the judge, Sir Peter Openshaw, that all four charges against Bettison were being withdrawn and the prosecution discontinued.

Bettison was not charged for his actual conduct or role in the South Yorkshire police’s response to the disaster. Instead, the CPS alleged that Bettison lied about his role in statements he made years later, in 1998 and 2012. Two charges alleged that in late 1998, during his application process for the Merseyside position, Bettison described his Hillsborough role as “peripheral” and told the Merseyside Police Authority he had “never attempted to shift blame on to the shoulders of Liverpool supporters”.

The two further charges related to press releases he issued in September 2012 after the Hillsborough Independent Panel published its report, in which he stated that he had never “besmirched” Liverpool supporters or suggested privately or publicly that they had caused the disaster.

Source: CPS drops all charges against former Hillsborough officer | Football | The Guardian

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No prosecutions: Were Tory tax evasion laws to protect their friends rather than prosecute OUR enemies?

Draw your own conclusions from this report by Left Foot Forward:

Not a single person has been jailed or even prosecuted for tax evasion since the Tories brought in what they claimed were “tough” new measures against tax dodgers, it was shown today.

Two new laws criminalising corporate tax evasion came into force last September, but not a single person has faced prosecution, it’s been revealed, despite tax dodging amounting to at least £7bn last year alone.

Responding to a written question, Mel Stride, Secretary to the Treasury admitted:

“To date no prosecutions have been either brought to court or completed under the ‘failure to prevent the facilitation of UK and foreign tax evasion’ clause of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.”

And it was revealed in February that the Tories’ tax avoidance measures since 2010 are raising billions less than the amounts first promised.

Source: Revealed: not a single person has been prosecuted under the Tories’ offshore tax evasion laws | Left Foot Forward


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Did Damian Green allow police to find porn on his computer in order to avoid prosecution?

[Image: Reuters.]

Does anybody know who has authority, in Westminster’s Parliamentary offices, to delete material from computer hard disks?

A friend with experience of such matters suggested to This Writer yesterday that it is possible nobody in Damian Green’s office, including the MP himself, had authority as an administrator to edit or remove the offending images, once they had been downloaded. The person who did download them may not have known this until they tried to remove it.

The material was discovered by police, during an investigation into the leaking of embarrassing information from Parliament into the public domain that happened a matter of weeks before the images were due to become illegal according to a change in the law.

My friend suggested that allowing the police to find the material, while it was still legally viewable, as part of an investigation in which it would be incidental, would allow it to be removed before the change in the law took place. This would mean the person responsible for downloading it would not have to fear prosecution for possessing it, at a later time.

There are problems with this suggestion, of course. But it is an interesting theory and I invite readers to consider and discuss it.


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