Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Updates of Legal Affairs…

Home secretary fighting a legal battle to deport a Russian who is suspected of conspiring to kill a Chechen separatist

April 2nd, 2012

A Russian man who was only named as E1 is being sought to be deported to his native country as the man is being seen as a threat to the national security and also suspected of being involved in a seemingly plot to murder a British based Chechen separatist.

The Home Secretary has been fighting a legal battle to deport the man after the MI5 was reported to have warned her about the potential conspiracy involving E1, to kill Akhmed Zakayev, a Chechen actor turned politician who was granted asylum in the UK.

Before fleeing to UK Zakayev a politician in the breakaway Russian republic was in danger from Chechenya’s pro-Russian president Ramzan Kadyrov is thought to be behind the conspiracy to murder Zakayev.

According to Telegraph’ papers, the MI5 issued a specific warning to judges, telling them that “Kadyrov, has been behind the assassination of several of his opponents and has a blacklist of individuals which also carried the name of Akhmed Zakayev the exiled prime minister of Chechnya.

The home office also told the court that an attack on Zakayev was likely to be carried out by E1 who was acting as the middleman to the plot.

MI5 said that E1 was involved in the murder of a former Kadyrov bodyguard who was shot dead in Austria in 2009.

Even after all this E1 had successfully challenged May’s decision to exclude him in the court of appeal.

E1 who came to UK in 2003 along with his family and claimed asylum citing war in Chechnya was given indefinite leave to live in UK but was refused citizenship but his wife and children were given British citizenship.

His position was changed since 2010 when he went out of the country and was told not to return to the UK and start appeal from inside the country but he arrived at the Heathrow airport where he is believed to have been detained by the security services. The home secretary personally directed that his name should be excluded.

After going through different courts to appeal from within the country his appeal was finally heard and was granted by appeal court judges last month. But the home office is continuing its fight to remove E1 stating any foreign national posing a threat to the country and its public would be removed.

Zakayev had told Sunday Telegraph that there were more Russians in the UK at present than they were in the cold war era.

An asylum seeker waiting to be deported commits rape while on bail

March 30th, 2012

 

UKBA

An asylums seeker from Palestine, Ali Aboalkassem, 29, who was released on bail, after being arrested by the UK Border Agency a year ago, after he entered Britain illegally to claim asylum, has been jailed for punching a woman to the ground and raping her in a park.

He was awaiting deportation. But immigration officials released him back into society on bail as there was no realistic prospect of an imminent removal from the UK.

The 32 year old victim was approached by the rapist when she was walking along Parker’s Piece, in the middle of historic Cambridge, and asked for a light for a cigarette, then offered her an alcoholic drink.

When she refused his offer he grabbed her and dragged her off the path, punched her and after she passed off raped her on the grass.

He ran away after taking her mobile and the distressed woman than waved to a passing cyclist for help who called the police.

Aboalkassem’s DNA was later discovered on the victim and on a bottle of absinthe, which was recovered from the crime scene.

After admitting his crime he was sentenced to six year in jail at Cambridge Crown Court and will be deported when he is released.

The attack happened shortly after 6am on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 as the victim walked to work, Aboalkassem was arrested at a cafe in Mill Road just after midnight on Sunday, October 16.

Stating it was an appalling case the Conservative MP for Beckenham, Bob Stewart, said that it was the failure of the border agency.

He added that the man should have been deported almost immediately once his plea for asylum was rejected.

He said the case was a classic example of why the deportation matter should be sorted immediately failing to do so would now mean putting him in prison for six years at the cost of the exchequer.

Law serves right for everyone irrespective of their personal difficulties

March 30th, 2012
A Romanian gypsy who was convicted for rape in Romania and served seven years in Romanian jail for rape, five years for robbery and three year for aggravated larceny has now been jailed for breaking into six homes in a single day by the Chester Crown Court.
He targeted elderly residents in Crewe, Cheshire on Jan 25 and admitted at Chester Crown Court.
Viorel Dumitrascu 43 stole jewellery, laptops, digital cameras and items of sentimental value from six elderly victims in the town.
The court heard that all the properties were empty when he had broken into them.
The father of three also had five previous convictions for seven offences of dishonesty in UK. He was arrested on the M6 later that day on his way back home to Birmingham.
The defence counsel for Dumitrascu said that he faced lots of difficulties as a Roma gypsy traveling around Europe.
But the Judge David Hale said discrimination suffered by gypsies was no excuse for them to commit burglaries.
The defence had added that it was not the right way to provide for one’s family but Dumitrascu had returned the stolen jewellery and he wanted to stay in this country.
But Judge Hale added that Burglary was a serious offence in UK and that he believes it was same in Romania too. This was deliberate offences with high culpability. He sentenced Dumitrascu to 32 months in jail.
Speaking after the sentencing, DS Andy Mcgillan, from the Crewe burglary team, said it was a great result for the team and it would also reassure the victims that the person who violated their homes was behind bars.

A council asked to pay multi million compensation for not properly maintaining a road

March 30th, 2012

Devon County Council which tried to put all the blame on the driver of the Land Rover who had lost control while driving on a stretch of road at Limers Cross between Honiton and Semaphore in November 2006 for causing an accident over a pothole are facing a multimillion payout after the court had found the council guilty for negligence in maintaining road.

car crash illustrative

 But the High Court Judge ruled that the council was responsible for the serious crash by not repairing the pothole on the stretch where the accident occurred.

The judge Mrs Justice Slade, who kept the name of the driver and his two passengers anonymous to protect their identity found the council guilty of breach of duty in not properly maintaining the road. Both the passengers suffered severe injuries the judge said.

The judge said the driver, named TR, was overtaking another car in his Land Rover when he went over the pothole at the side of the road making him swerve across the road resulting in crashing into the trees on the other side.

The court ordered £3m lump sum and £275,000 a year for life to AC who lost an arm and became tetraplegic.

DC the second passenger suffered brain and multiple skeletal injuries was given a lump sum of £1,250,000.

The damages were paid by the insurers of TR after he admitted his liability but now the insurers are seeking to recover the money from the council.

The council claimed that it was not liable and even if found in breach of duty the driver was equally responsible for contributory negligence by the way he drove the Land Rover.

But the judge ruled that it was a rural road and he had overtaken at straight section where the verges came into play.

The court eventually declared the council guilty and cleared the driver or any blame. The judge said it was reasonable to expect that the Devon Council knew the poor condition of the offside edge and verge of the highway which was likely to cause damage to traffic.

The exact amount the Council will have to pay will be decided later.

New evidence of inducement to prosecution witness in Jeremy Bamber’s case would take the case to appeals court for the third time

March 30th, 2012

In a record third time appeal against his conviction the lawyers of Bamber have claimed that charges against Bamber’s ex girlfriend Julie Mugford were dropped to make her give evidence for prosecution.

Jeremy Bamber who is serving 26 years for killing five members of his own family is making another attempt for freedom after it came out that the assistant director of public prosecutions had dropped proceedings of drug trafficking and fraud allegations against a key prosecution witness.

The defence counsels are to argue that her charges were dropped as an inducement to give evidence against Bamber.

Bamber, who is 51 now, was found guilty in October 1986 of shooting his adoptive parents, sister and twin kid brothers at their Essex farmhouse. All through he had maintained his innocence.

The witness in question Julie Mugford was Bamber’s girlfriend when the killings had taken place. Their relationship ended following the murders and Mugford had told the police that Bamber had confessed before her of hiring a hitman to kill his family.

The theory collapsed when the man who was supposed to be the hitman proved a cast iron alibi, but Mugford’s evidence was so crucial that the judge had told the jury that they could convict him based only on her evidence alone.

Now the emergence of the details, which has shown Mugford testified against Bamber as the police had decided to drop investigations into her criminal offences committed prior to the trial, has led the defence team of Bamber launching another appeal for his freedom.

The documents which were disclosed to Bamber only recently had details of Mugford’s accusations of burglary, smuggling cannabis into the UK from Canada and cheque fraud.

The newspaper Guardian had seen a letter from the then assistant director of public prosecution John Walker to the chief constable of Essex telling him to advise Mugford of dropping charges against her and then appear as witness to testify against Bamber.

The new evidence is being sent to Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) by the lawyers of Bamber to get his case back to the court of appeal for a third time.

They have also asked the CCRC to take into account the evidence from ballistic experts indicating the murder weapon a rifle was used without any silencer attached to it which was crucial evidence to the prosecution case.

“Sleepwalking” through a crime is not that easy

March 30th, 2012

Zack Thompson, 20, was eighteen when he had gone on a holiday to a Portugal holiday resort with a 17 year old girl and was accused of raping the girl for which he was jailed for six years.

illustrative

 

After the rape the girl immediately returned to Britain and lodged a complaint. Thompson of Newark returned to the UK and surrendered before the authorities. Even though he did not deny the attack he refused criminal liability from the start claiming he was sleepwalking and having no memory of the act. Even the judge said he could not rule out the possibility of the amnesia being genuine.

The Nottinghamshire police had to take advice and guidance of experts on sleepwalking defence eventually being referred to Professor Mark Pressman, an American psychologist with the long expertise in treating sleep disorders.

He interviewed Thompson and went through the evidence and found that his behaviour was not consistent with the actions of people normally displayed during sleep walking.

He found Thompson’s memory loss was due to drinking of excessive amounts of alcohol.

Thompson finally withdrew the sleepwalking defence, after it was successfully challenged. He went on to claim that he was insane at the time he committed rape and also assessed by a psychiatrist who rejected the claim and finally Thompson pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court in March.

Sentencing Thompson at Nottingham crown court, the judge, John Milmo QC, said the crime has had a devastating effect on the victim.

In 2011 John Docherty of Glasgow was found guilty of attempted murder, despite claiming he was sleepwalking at the time.

She said she did no wrong which was absolutely right, and the sentencing would make her feel happy young girl that she used to be he added.

Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said Thompson was 18 when he raped the girl, who is now 19, while they were on holiday in Albufeira.

A joint statement from the victim and her family said that the past two and a half years were exhausting and emotionally draining for all of them.

A judge has ruled that even a blackmailer has the right to freedom of speech

March 29th, 2012

An elderly businessman who wanted to stop his Russian mistress from telling his wife and grown up children, about him becoming the father of twins with the mistress, lost his case in the High Court when he was not allowed any gag orders against her.

The judge in fact ruled that even blackmailers had the right to freedom of expression and they could say what, when and to whom to say, as long as it was not violating anyone’s privacy.

A man who was identified only as SKA, sought an injunction order to stop his mistress from blackmailing him by threatening to disclose his affair with her and about the forthcoming birth.

The pair who started their affair in 2007 saw each other twice a day Justice Tugendhat was told. SKA was considerably older than his young partner but still both wanted to have children.

Only known as PLM the mistress had confided the affair and paternity issue between a very close and trusted group of friends and she was not going to register the name of the father.

The court was told that a East European man purportedly an associate of the mistress had demanded £150,000 to withhold evidence of his affair with the woman and their private life.

SKA said that the world of his second wife, with whom he has no children, and the grown-up children of his first marriage, would be “shattered” by the revelation and his relationships with them “destroyed”.

But while the judge granted an injunction prohibiting “private and confidential” information being passed on to others, he refused to go further and ban disclosure of the “bare facts” about the relationship and the prospective birth to his children and his wife.

The judge said that CRH the associate’s identity was protected as he was accused of being a blackmailer which he denied. He said that under the European Convention on Human Rights “everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.”

But he said that alleged blackmailers did not always forfeit their right to freedom of expression under the Convention just because of the “unwarranted demands” they make.

Landmark judgment in case of employees exposed to workplace hazards to affect thousand of claims

March 29th, 2012

The families of workers, who died of an asbestos-related cancer, started a legal fight for compensation more than five years ago.

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that the insurance liability liability was triggered when employees were exposed to asbestos dust and not when symptoms of mesothelioma emerged.

Legal luminaries say the ruling would mean that the employer’s insurers will have to pay compensation and would affect thousands of claims.

Other relatives of the victims want to make claims on policies from the late 1940’s to 1990’s.

In 2008 the relatives had won their first battle in the High Court where the court ruled that workers had inhaled fibres and the insurers were liable.

But two years later the Court of Appeal said that in some cases the liability started only when symptoms developed sometimes decades after exposure. Lawyers said that the ruling left the victim’s families confused and uncertain.

But the Supreme Court convened a five bench panel and heard lead cases at London in December and delivered their judgment eventually.

The Supreme Court ruled that though the manifestation of the disease in an employee may have come late but the disease in itself was sustained by an employee in the period when it was caused or initiated.

Lord Clarke said there was sufficient casual link to the negligent exposure of an employee to asbestos and subsequent sustenance of mesothelioma, within the policy period, triggering obligation of the insurer.

The largest union of Britain and Ireland, Unite’, welcoming the landmark judgment said that it will affect many of the 2,500 people who were suffering with mesothelioma every year.

It said it had gone for appeal after the Court of Appeal decision challenging on behalf of the family of Charles O’Farrell a member who died after retirement due to mesothelioma in 2003.

A ten year old girl captures the abusive act of a paedophile for evidence which puts the man behind the bars

March 29th, 2012

A paedophile who had been abusing a ten year old girl for some time was cleverly caught in the act by the girl in a Nintendo Computer game console which helped the court in sending the man to jail for three and a half years.

John Fisher, 46, a family friend of the victim had first committed the act of touching the girl when she was nine years old when nothing was done about it.

After 22 months since the first time Fischer groped the girl he indecently assaulted her again when she was alone and playing with her Nintendo DSi. The prosecutor told the Ipswich Crown Court.

Prosecutor Robert Sadd said she had the presence of mind to photograph him committing the act and shown it to her mother who immediately contacted the police.

Fisher who is married with a daughter and grandchildren at first denied assaulting the girl. But had to admit it when police confronted with the photograph.

Even though Fisher’s face was not visible in the photograph the detectives were able to prove the image was of him as it showed features of his hand and items of his clothing.

Nintendo DSi consoles which have been available since 2009 feature two digital cameras which are usually used by young players to take photographs of their friends.

Fisher of Lowestoft, Suffolk, admitted two offences of assault by penetration in January 2010 and November 2011.

Judge John Holt told him the offences were very serious and he did not think it appropriate for him to receive treatment in the community.

Now Fisher has also been included in the sex offender’s register indefinitely and given a sexual offences prevention order, restricting his contact with children under the age of 16 for the next ten years.

Det Con Annabelle Bunn of Suffolk Police praised the girl for her courage after the hearing.

She said quick thinking in taking a photograph, of him touching her inappropriately, provided indisputable proof of what had happened and she was brave enough to come forward and report the incident by giving a full and accurate account of what had happened.

Television cameras to be allowed in the courts to let public see how sentences are carried out

March 29th, 2012

court room

The idea of ‘open justice’ system, where the public would be given the demonstration of how the offenders are being punished and allowing them to engage with the justice system, will open the court proceedings to the public through television by allowing cameras inside the courts to film the sentencing of serious criminals.

The plan is to be announced in the Queen’s Speech in May.

The move, first proposed in September last year and supported by David Cameron, has been given confirmation by the Ministry of Justice and is expected to become operational from May.

The access though will not be unlimited but it is believed that initially strict limited access would be granted allowing only filming of the sentencing and judge’s final summary at the end of the case.

The opening and closing statements of lawyers, the testimony of witnesses or verdicts will not yet be allowed to film.

It would be introduced in the Court of Appeal, before gradually letting to filter down to Crown Court proceedings.

Kenneth Clarke, justice secretary, has said the Government and judiciary were united in trying to improve transparency and public understanding of court by allowing court broadcasting.

He added that they believed television had a role in increasing public confidence in the justice system.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice last night told the Independent newspaper that ‘Open justice’ was a longstanding and fundamental principle of the British legal system. He added that justice must be done and be seen to be done if it was to command public confidence.

There was a campaign by broadcasting agencies including BBC, ITN and Sky News where they said it was a fundamental freedom to witness justice in action from the public gallery and television was the medium to open it to all.

It is also supported by Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions saying that it would result in greater transparency in the justice system.

He added that within the move there was a need of appropriate safeguards, particularly in cases involving vulnerable individuals, and any requests to televise any part of the court process should be subject to the judge’s individual discretion.