Monthly Archive January 12, 2015

Recent Cases & News Round-Up


Hate crime has gone up by more than 20% London in the past year. The rise is due to world events but also due to the fact more people are prepared to make these complaints today. About 32,000 more crimes of a violent nature have been committed.

In July where a record number of faith hate offences were made 95% were anti-semitic in the aftermath of Gaza being invaded by Israel.

These revelations come on top of these further London crime statistics:-

Religion, racism and homophobia attacks are up dramatically               Faith related offences up 23% to 1048                                                       Violent hate crime up 21% to 1140                                                             Homophobic crime rose 21.5% = 100 cases a month with 175 reported in June alone                                                                               Transgender hate crime up 86.2%,  58 to 108 cases                               Disability hate crime up 12.5% and racist and religious up almost 20%. Crime in Haringey up 38%, Barnet 31%, Kensington & Chelsea 31%, Redbridge 29%, Hillingdon and Bromley about 28%, Kingston 7.5% and Ealing 10%

However only 43% of criminal incidents are thought to be reported.

The police said that since October they have attended nearly 5300 premises visits, 400 alcohol test purchases, seized 400 weapons in 5000 sweeps, 3000 out of 160000 stop and searches had positive results e.g. weapon retrieval.

A 25% rise in domestic violence charges  is likely to be made to April this year. There have been nearly 10,000 prosecutions from April to December this year which is up by more than 1000. The good news is that more than 65% have resulted in successful convictions with nearly 6500 either admitting/being found guilty over the last two quarters.

The UK taken as a whole paints a similar picture with just over 89,000 prosecutions expected by the first week of April, almost 20,000 more than the nearly 71,000 last year. A rise is rape proceedings is similarly reported.

Sexual violence has been described as being the worst in London for more than 30 years by the Metropolitan Police’s leading Commander.

Drinking whilst pregnant is not an offence

Three judges sitting in the Court of Appeal have recently ruled that if a woman drinks heavily during pregnancy and causes severe mental and/or physical deformity to her unborn child no criminal offence has been committed upholding an earlier ruling by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Delayed birth delivery – £7,000,000 awarded by the High Court

A 6 year old boy suffering from quadriplegic cerebral palsy due to the lack of oxygen to his brain has won the above captioned award.

As he was in the breech position he was required to be delivered by Caesarean. However due to delays at the south east London hospital when his mother was actually attended to it was too late for it to be performed and a normal delivery ensued.

He will require the use of a wheelchair and is not expected to live beyond the age of 26.

Solicitors in London hope that proper training will be given to all maternity staff especially to sub-contracted midwives.

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Debbie Purdy: Right-to-die campaigner dies

Right-to-die advocate Debbie Purdy, who succeeded with  a landmark judgment to clarify the law on assisted suicide, has passed away. The 51-year-old from Bradford had dealt with main progressive numerous sclerosis (MS) for nearly 20 years.

Ms Purdy had spent a year in the city’s Marie Curie Hospice and had  sometimes refused food. She died on 23 December. In 2009, she won a ruling to obtain explanation on whether her spouse Omar Puente would be prosecuted if he assisted her to end her life.


Debbie Purdy – Right to die Campaign

Lord Falconer, the former lord chancellor, said Ms Purdy’s role as a campaigner against the law on assisted suicide was “absolutely key” and she had transformed the dispute.

Mr Puente confirmed the death of his spouse in a statement, paying tribute to “a much enjoyed better half, good friend, aunt and sister”.
Debbie Purdy and spouse Omar Puente in 2010

“We would like to thank the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford for the care the staff provided her, which permitted her in 2013 to be as peaceful and dignified as she wanted,” he added.

David Ward, Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, where the hospice is situated, said: “Debbie was an amazing human and in spite of her condition she was an ebullient character. “In her own words she said if she was permitted to die it would help her live.”. Mr Ward stated he would remember Ms Purdy for the “great spirit she had and as an incredibly motivating person”.

Lesley Close, a friend of Ms Purdy and customer of the group Dignity in Dying, said: “Debbie was a fantastic person. “Every moment of life was fun when you were with her.”. Lord Pannick, Debbie Purdy’s barrister, who initially satisfied her in 2008 at the start of her legal fight, said: “Her body was already afflicted horribly by this terrible illness, she was in a wheelchair, she was in great pain for much of the time.

“But I do not think I have represented a more energetic customer in my expert career.”. In her final job interview with BBC Look North, Ms Purdy said the unpleasant truths of her condition indicated her life was “inappropriate”. She said: “It’s uncomfortable and it’s uneasy and it’s frightening and it’s not how I wish to live. “If someone could find a treatment for MS I would be the very first individual in line. “It’s not a matter of wanting to end my life, it’s a matter of not wanting my life to be this.”.

Debbie Purdy’s landmark legal success did not lead to a modification in the law but it forced the authorities to clarify exactly what the legislation indicated in practice.

Ms Purdy had looked for guarantee over whether her partner would be prosecuted if he assisted her end her life. Purdy’s priority concern was to learn if any actions her spouse, Omar Puente, took in aiding her suicide would result in his prosecution. The charge for those who “help, abet, counsel or acquire the suicide of another” is a maximum of 14 years. No member of any family of the 92 Britons who have travelled for an assisted suicide has  been prosecuted but some have been charged and have waited for months before hearing the charges have been dropped. Purdy said that if her spouse would be exposed to prosecution for assisting her travel to Switzerland to a Dignitas clinic to pass away, she would make the journey sooner whilst she had the ability to take a trip unassisted to conserve her partner from exposure to the law. This would have forced Purdy to make her decision on dying before she felt it was absolutely necessary.

When this may be the case after ruling the law was uncertain, in 2009 the Law Lords bought the Director of Public Prosecutions to define.

That triggered Keir Starmer – the then director – to publish standards in February 2010 setting out what was considered when weighing up a prosecution.

He stated a variety of aspects need to be considered, consisting of the inspirations of the person aiding and the victim’s capability to reach a informed and clear decision about their suicide.

The right to die is an emotive and highly charged issue. Some religions regard choosing the time to die should be above human intervention. Few of us would allow the life of a beloved pet to continue if this would cause them to suffer.

It still continues to be an offence to help a suicide or encourage or a suicide attempt in England and Wales.

Adapted from an article by the BBC


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£225,000 Out-of-Court Settlement for Salsa Fall

An ex-nurse has won £225,000 in an out-of-court settlement after falling dancing the salsa whilst on holiday in Tenerife.

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