Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Updates of Legal Affairs…

More than £17,000 of severance money to be given to Mr Huhne as payoff

February 29th, 2012

Chris Huhne the millionaire MP who was charged over allegations that he used his ex wife Vicky Pryce’s name to escape speeding penalty points would be the first Cabinet Minister in history to be forced to leave office by a criminal prosecution.

But he will get £17,000 worth of payoff despite being rich enough to own eight properties. The sum would be tax free. He stepped down to fight charges of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Huhne resigned as Energy Secretary on February 3 after he was charged over the penalty points.

The 57 year old MP who fiercely protested his innocence was under pressure from his opponents to forfeit the sum of £17,207 which under law is the allowed three months of his £68,827 ministerial salary. He gets another £65,738 salary as Lib Dem MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire.

But the cabinet office has confirmed that Mr Huhne will receive the money.
His decision to accept the money has triggered accusations of hypocrisy as senior Liberal Democrats have condemned ex-ministers for taking payoffs.

In 2010, Mr Huhne had shared a platform with Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi when she called for ex-ministers to forfeit the controversial taxpayer-funded payoffs.

She said had said that with countrymen being asked to tighten their belts to deal economic mess, it was not proper that the very people responsible walk away with up to £20,000 each.

Forfeiting this pay would be the first step towards accepting their responsibility she said.

Mr Huhne’s fellow Lib Dem David Laws refused to take the payment, when he stepped down from the Cabinet over his expenses days after the General Election in May 2010.

Mr Huhne and his ex wife face the charge of perverting the course of justice an offence for which, along with perjury, former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitkin was jailed for 18 months.

A jail sentence of more than 12 months would mean Mr Huhne’s Parliamentary career coming to an end, as well as his Cabinet one. MPs who are imprisoned for more than a year automatically lose their seats. It is not known whether Mr Huhne plans to keep the money. He was unavailable for comment last night.

A goof up that cost a family to lose their life has come into light.

February 29th, 2012

A desperate screaming call to 999 by a teenage girl while she and her family were being murdered has come to light.

A report revealed that the call that originated from the house in Pioneer Close, Northampton, on the day of the Royal Wedding was not identified correctly and disseminated to the police by the handler which led the police arriving at the wrong address.

The call had come from the home of University lecturer Jifeng Ding,46, his wife Helen Chui, 47, and their two children Xing,18 and Alice, 12. They were stabbed to death at their house.

Their bodies were not discovered for two days and when they did a world wide hunt was launched for the main suspect Anxiang Du, 52 a former business partner of Helen.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission had conducted an investigation into the way the call was handled and it said in its report that proper checks were not carried out to verify the address by the police. The call was graded as ‘priority’ when it should have been graded as ‘immediate’. And that the call was closed by a control room supervisor without sufficient consideration or effort put forward for the welfare of the caller.

The report said that the standard of handling of the call by the police was not acceptable and that the handler had insufficient training.

IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said though the findings were looked into against a high volume of emergency calls the police deal with, the investigation found in the instant case that 999 call was badly mishandled.

He said crucial time was wasted due to the goof up where the police visited the wrong address where everything was all right.

In a statement, Northamptonshire police said it recognises the fact that it was unlikely that the lives of the Ding family could have been saved, however there was a possibility that the prime suspect, An Xiang Du, could have been at the address had the call been handled correctly and officers dispatched.

Most wanted and named as one of the biggest criminals of Britain trying to flood London with cocaine is freed by the court

February 29th, 2012

Jamie Dempsey, 33, who was named one of the biggest international criminal, suspected for plotting to fill the streets of London with 299 Kg (660 pounds) of high purity cocaine in 2009 has been set free by the Leicester Crown Court.

He was accused to have attempted smuggling £80 million worth of cocaine into the UK. He once appeared as most wanted list of crooks hiding in the Costa Del Sol and featured in a BBC’s Crimewatch programme.

The investigation had lasted for two years to track him who was suspected of being in Spain evading arrest.

But the officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) arrested him with the help of the Spanish police in Benhavis, Marbella, on a tip off from public.

It was hailed as a great achievement but ended in anti climax as the 5 member jury found him not guilty in the court.

Speaking out side the court his sister Natalie Dempsey said that the family was overjoyed at the verdict and happy for his homecoming.
She added that the police had arrested him under mistaken identity.

Last year three people were arrested in the same police sting operation as Dempsey and they were jailed in total of 55 years all were sentenced to jail for conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Dempsey said that he was just relieved that the nightmare was over as he was innocent all along and was only a penniless plumber from Essex.

He added that his face was being shown over the TV and the Newspapers and one day when he was in Marbella at his parents home he was arrested.

Patronizing of elderly people could be considered for disciplinary action

February 29th, 2012

Belittling of elderly people in hospitals or care homes should be considered as severely racist or sexist abuse a report on dignity of older people has said.

People who are responsible for the elderly like doctors, nurses or care takers could be subjected to disciplinary actions for using words like “dear” or “chuck” without permission. It is to improve standards of dignity it is said.

The recommendation by a commission of senior NHS managers, charities and council chiefs drawn to weed out neglect and abuse in hospitals and in other care systems after the report found that the British society was treating older people as problems rather than equals.

The report says that the older people were suffering humiliation and undignified treatment on a daily basis with scant respect to their basic human rights.

The report has called for giving equal importance to human dignity as medical success rates or financial targets.

The commission had taken up collecting evidence from more than 40 organizations that are taking care of the elderly as well as doctors, nurses and carers, over a period of eight months. Most of the care homes, the commission found out were places which only fed, dressed and washed its residents but had not aspired beyond it.

The disregard for the needs and aspirations of older people has so permeated in the British system that the elders and their families fear that they will be branded as nuisance if they complain, the commission made up of Age UK, the NHS Confederation and the Local Government Association said.

It said that age discrimination was the most common form of prjudice in the UK. The increased life expectancy was being considered as a crisis or a population explosion rather than a major achievement the commission said.

It said that even neglectful care for just few days has devastating effect on the elderly which led to loss of self confidence as a result of ill treatment.
Patronizing was something which on daily basis left them depressed it was revealed.

One of the commissioners, Prof Trish Morris-Thompson, the chief nurse, said speaking to older people in a patronizing way amounted to a “failure of care” which should attract redress.

Scrapping of legal aid in medical negligence cases would affect families says campaigners

February 29th, 2012

Theodore who was left disabled with severe form of cerebral palsy due to the negligence of medical staff and was paid a seven figure sum by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation.

His mother Sarah Sargent said it was not like they had won a lottery but in fact everything costs much more when a family has a disabled child. The compensation would give a reasonable life to Theodore and his family which is taken as granted by normal families she said.

Theodore’s case may be one of the last of its type to be funded by legal aid with the bill for scrapping legal aid in such cases approaching the report stage in the Lords, a proposal has been made that medical negligence in future should be dealt under “no win, no fee” arrangements.

Campaigners are worried that scrapping legal aid for clinical blunders will mean future cases are denied the same kind of justice that Theodore has enjoyed and the access to a reasonable life that compensation can buy.

The legal aid concept which started in England and Wales in 1949 to ensure access to justice available even to the poorest of the society had increased to £2bn. The justice secretary Kenneth Clarke determined to reduce it with plans he says will cut overall costs despite the opposition by the NHS own lawyers who say that NHS legal costs will jump massively.

They say that the ministry of justice may save around £10m on medical negligence but the new system will add three times to the NHS costs as the success fees will be added to the amount paid out in damages if the claimant wins the case.

Theodore’s solicitor said that the new regime would mean the firms will have to find alternative routes of paying up to experts who assess the damages to a child as well as the needs of the child into his/her adulthood. The families cannot afford the huge costs.

The government’s suggestion that specialist insurance policies would cater to the needs is being seen by many in the legal profession as dubious which would not work.

When Clarke announced the changes in March last year he claimed he was attacking Britain’s “damaging compensation culture”. But it was said that it was offensive to suggest that medical negligence claims have been inflated by so-called ambulance chasing.

But Clarke being adamant said that denying legal aid to claimants in medical negligence cases would not see them suffer. Putting the onus on the lawyers he asked them to change their practices saying that most lawyers would not dare to charge success fees to people who were paying on their own account out of their damages.

In an act of re offending a serial thief strangles a ripe old man for almost nothing

February 28th, 2012

An offender who was serving a 42 month sentence for three street robberies and was released on license carried out an attack, just three months into his release, causing the death of an elderly man in his home.

Paul Cox lived in his house at Rednal, Worcestershire. He was disabled man who spent his nights in the living room since two years as his house was burgled twice in 2009 within the span of months.

The grandfather was so scared after the incidents that he slept downstairs in his armchair fearing he would be burgled again.

His fears of being the victim of burglary came true when he was throttled a drunken serial thief Cory Youlden, who made away with a bag of coins and Mr Cox’s car.

Mr Cox was found dead just four days before his 84th birthday slumped at the foot of his chair in the home he lived for 55 years. He was divorced and was living separately for last 40 years suffering with coronary heart disease, partially deaf and blind in one eye the court was told.

Youlden, the court heard, had a row with his girlfriend at her home and after storming out of her house smashed a window to break into the home of Mr Cox and committed the crime.

The court heard that footprints matching Youlder’s shoes were found upstairs and his fingerprints were found on the smashed window pane.

The re offending Youlden who tried to erase forensic evidence by cleaning up with bleach was sentenced for life with a minimum 22 years in jail for the crime.

Youlden with 24 other convictions was arrested two days after the killing in June. By then he had sold the car he stole from Mr Cox.

He admitted the charges of murder, theft and burglary earlier this month.

Judge Roberts Juckes QC said that the victim had offered little by way of resistance but was held in headlock for 15 to 20 seconds. he told Youlden that he was inexcusable record of burglary.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, of West Mercia Police, said Youlden was ‘deceitful, callous and calculated man whose brutal killing of a vulnerable man was a senseless act as he gained very little of it.

Extension of a house leads to the downfall of a neighbours home luckily no one was injured

February 28th, 2012

An extension taken out by a neighbour to his semi detached houses in Wolverhampton has caused an adjacent home to crumble.

The neighbours who had not foreseen such an event saw their house collapse into its foundation early morning after the neighboring property had made the ground unstable.

Eldern Noel 43 and his 13 year old daughter Christine living in the adjoining house which crumbled were shaken awake in the middle of the night after a rumbling sound.

Luckily there was no one in the house that had crumbled and no one was injured. It was being rented to some couple but no one had occupied the house in the past few weeks.

The structure is ready to topple at any moment with the front door almost ripped in half while one of the garage doors has come off its hinges and several windows lying shattered.

Firefighters evacuated the surrounding houses and isolated the gas supply to prevent an explosion.

But the families in the home with the new extension, and in the house adjoining the one that crumbled, face an uncertain future.

A neighbour from across the street knocked on the door of Mr Eldern and only then he knew that something serious had happened Mr Eldern said.
He said that he was waiting to know the damage if any caused to his home.

The family living in the house where the extension was being built at the front had fled.

The owner of the property, who did not want to be named, said that the work had been carried out by a ‘family friend’ who was not a qualified builder.

Steve Burson from City Council’s building control department said that they would assess the properties and most likely they would have to be demolished either in full or in part.

Antique guitars trading duo of father and son sentenced

February 28th, 2012

Rick Harrison, who owned music shops across Britain and claimed the clientage of Rolling Stones, Stone Roses, Bon Jovi, Chris Rea, The Cranberries and Blur among others had been selling guitars since 1974 and gained the reputation for procuring rare guitars, had been sentenced along with his son for their involvement in a £1million plot to sell rare guitars stolen from Italy. 

Rick and Justin Harrison the father son duo were caught following an international police inquiry when 157 rare guitars were stolen from an Italian collector in 2006.

Thirty of the guitars worth 170000 pounds were traced back to Music Ground Yorkshire based business owned by the Harrison’s.

The Harrisons owned a range of cars between the two along with Rolex watches, designer clothes and Harvey Nichols card.

The ex draughtsman lived in a 14th century renovated rectory bought for £1million in 2010 he also owned a villa in Spain.

The theft had taken place in October 2006 at Pierpaolo Adda’s Guitar Ranch museum in Verona and some most wanted guitars were stolen which included Telecasters, Stratocaster’s, Gibsons and Rickenbackers.

Mr Adda had emailed the list of stolen guitars to traders and collectors across the world and nine months later Mr Adda found an offering of the stolen guitar from Music Ground via email and on searching the website of Music Ground found other guitars matching his stolen guitars.

On contacting the Britain police and seizing some guitars a survey of antique guitar dealers was launched which brought into light Music Grounds involvement in the issue.

 Rick Harrison admitted a charge of handling stolen goods relating to ten guitars worth £42,000.

The Leeds Crown Courts gave him a 12 month sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered 200 hours of unpaid work on Fridays.

Justin Harrison who admitted two charges of handling stolen goods, relating to two guitars worth £4,500 was given a six-month sentence suspended for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work and told to pay £2,500 in court costs.

It is believed the burglaries were the work of Serbian gangsters.

A watchdog is critical of police handling rape case victims and the perpetrators

February 28th, 2012

An offender who was serving a 42 month sentence for three street robberies and was released on license, carried out an attack, just three months into his release, causing the death of an elderly man in his home.

Paul Cox lived in his house at Rednal, Worcestershire. He was disabled man who spent his nights in the living room since two years as his house was burgled in 2009 within the span of months.

The grandfather was so scared after the incidents that he slept downstairs in his armchair fearing he would be burgled again.

His fears of being the victim of burglary came true when he was throttled by the drunken serial thief Cory Youlden, who made away with a bag of coins and Mr Cox’s car.

Mr Cox was found dead just four days before his 84th birthday, slumped at the foot of his chair in the home he lived for 55 years. He was divorced and was living separately for last 40 years suffering with coronary heart disease, partially deaf and blind in one eye the court was told.

Youlden, the court heard, had a row with his girlfriend at her home and after storming out of her house smashed a window to break into the home of Mr Cox and committed the crime.

The court heard that footprints matching Youlder’s shoes were found upstairs and his fingerprints were found on the smashed window pane.

The re offending Youlden who tried to erase forensic evidence by cleaning up with bleach was sentenced for life with a minimum 22 years in jail for the crime.

Youlden with 24 other convictions was arrested two days after the killing in June. By then he had sold the car he stole from Mr Cox.

He admitted the charges of murder, theft and burglary earlier this month.

Judge Roberts Juckes QC said that the victim had offered little by way of resistance but was held in headlock for 15 to 20 seconds. he told Youlden that he was inexcusable record of burglary
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, of West Mercia Police, said Youlden was ‘deceitful, callous and calculated man whose brutal killing of a vulnerable man was a senseless act as he gained very little of it.

As feared it’s not the mentally ill who are violent but they are at the receiving end says a study

February 28th, 2012

Mental health charities say that general misconception that people with mental illness were prone to be perpetrators was unfounded as it was them that were more likely to be a victim.
Mentally ill people were four times more likely to be victim of violence an international study has claimed. One in four has been on the receiving end says the report.
The research carried out by Lancet for a more reliable answer into the issue of disability and violence was conducted in developed countries including five in the UK.
The research team from John Moores University in Liverpool and the World Health Organization in Geneva found that people with any sort of disability were at a greater risk of violence.
But people who had learning difficulties were more vulnerable with the adults suffering mental health problems and prone to more violence against them.
There may be several reasons that the mentally ill people may be exposed to violence which may include struggling with personal relationships increased chances of material abuse, homelessness, being imprisoned or living in poverty.
Prof. Mark Bellis, who led the research said that there was a much bigger problem as there was likely to be a very high number of victims who are exposed to lifetime violence, those threatened with or live in the fear of violence, that the research could estimate.
Simon Lawton Smith, of Mental Health Foundation said that results were not surprising as it proves what is already known.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of the charity Mind, said that its own research had also found that people with mental health problems often did not feel safe in their local area.
He added the people reported harassments like being stalked, verbal abuse in streets, their homes being vandalized and physical and sexual assault.
With social stigma and discrimination still rampant there is always a sad part to the story with the individuals becoming the victims in their communities or even in their homes.