Friday, October 09, 2015

Dangerous bitch

A doctor stuck to her own theories when acting as an expert witness in several shaken baby death cases, a disciplinary panel heard today.  Dr Waney Squier, of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, gave advice and evidence at civil and criminal proceedings.

The General Medical Council (GMC) said her 'preconceived and blinkered' approach was 'irresponsible, deliberately misleading and dishonest'.

The hearing is focusing on six cases in which the consultant neuropathologist was involved in, including the deaths of four babies and a 19-month-old child.

In all of the cases the 67-year-old took the view that brain damage caused was not due to inflicted injuries, a Medical Practioners Tribunal Service panel in Manchester was told.

It was said that her views on shaken baby syndrome were in contrast to the opinions of the 'majority of experts' in the field.

Opening the case for the GMC, Tom Kark QC said: 'In each of the cases being considered Dr Squier provided a report and gave evidence in court to the effect that the injury received was either non consistent with non-accidental injury, or was more likely to have been caused by other means.

'Far from doing so in an objective and helpful way, as an expert is expected to, Dr Squier, the GMC says, conducted herself in a way that was demonstrative of her clinging to a theory so that in fact her evidence was misleading and biased, and the GMC say that when analysed the evidence demonstrates that she must have known that what she was doing was misleading and thus it was dishonest.

'To act as she did in such serious cases, the GMC says, was to fall far below the standards expected of a doctor providing expert evidence and was likely to bring the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute.'

Mr Kark said the issue of whether a baby had suffered brain injuries as a result of a non-accident was 'complex'.

He said: 'It is generally accepted by the majority of experts that the so-called triad is a strong indicator of trauma, although not diagnostic of a non-accidental head injury (NAHI).

'It is regarded as an important indicator of shaken baby syndrome or an abusive head injury caused by severe rotational acceleration and deceleration forces.

'Dr Squier has written extensively on shaken baby syndrome and she holds the view that the triad of injuries are not strongly indicative of shaken injuries unless there is other evidence of external or internal injury.

'She has expressed the view that the force to shake a baby hard enough to cause brain injury would inevitably severely injure its neck and/or cause other external trauma. It is also her view that it is not possible to shake a baby hard enough and long enough to cause the sort of brain injury damage leading to death which were seen in these cases.

'The great majority of experts in this field hold that external marks, bruises and fractures are not essential for a reasonable conclusion of shaking to be made and that such shaking can cause brain injuries leading to death or other serious injury.'

Mr Kark said Dr Squier was well within her rights to provide an opinion, but he insisted her opinions needed to be backed up by the facts of the case and also supported by the research they cite.

He said: 'Whilst they (experts) are perfectly entitled to put forward a particular view, they must do so on the basis of the facts of the case, and their view must be properly supported by the research which they cite and by their own clinical experience.

'In a number of cases in which she provided a report and gave evidence, the GMC suggests that Dr Squier went well outside her sphere of expertise and gave evidence and opinions in relation to areas of medicine and physiology in which she was not an expert.

'On occasions she misquoted or mis-stated the facts upon which her expert opinion was said to be founded in order to fit in with her preconceived ideas. On occasions she purported to rely upon medical and other research which upon close examination does not in fact support what she was saying. She failed in her overriding duty to the court to remain objective and to assist the court.

'This case is in essence about whether in these cases Dr Squier lost her objectivity as an expert witness and simply wrote her reports and gave her evidence with a particular goal in mind. The goal being to give her opinion that no non-accidental head injury was involved in each case.

'The GMC submit that Dr Squier took a set position in each case, namely that the child did not receive its injuries through inflicted injury and she deliberately took that position because of her own preconceived and blinkered approach to these cases.

'If that case is made out then the charges that she failed to be objective and unbiased in each case would we submit be proved.'

Dr Squier, represented by Sir Robert Francis QC, denies misconduct.

The barrister told the panel that it was 'important' they avoided the trap of trying to decide the original issues in each case or deciding whose expert opinion was to be preferred.

'That is not the point of these proceedings,' he said.

But he said a question the panel would have to answer was whether Dr Squier's opinions had a 'significant effect' upon the various proceedings between 2008 and 2010.

In most of the cases, Dr Squier - who was said not to have worked in paediatrics for several decades - was the sole expert instructed on one side of the litigation.

Among the allegations she faces is that she provided expert opinion outside her field of expertise and she failed to discharge her duties as an expert by not working within the limits of her competence, not being objective and unbiased, and not paying due regard to the views of other experts.

Her actions and omissions were said to be misleading, irresponsible, deliberately misleading, dishonest and likely to bring the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute.

Dr Squier also denies misconduct in relation to an expert witness report she was said to have submitted in April last year to a Court of Appeal civil case involving a child.

It is said she failed to disclose to those instructing her, or the court, that there were outstanding disciplinary proceedings against her.

The hearing in Manchester is scheduled to last up to six months.

Original report here

Roy Meadow got off so I imagine she will -- B

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Australia: Student, 24, says he was bashed by police during a routine traffic stop - and claims they confiscated his phone and 'edited' his footage of the incident

A Cairns man facing charges of assaulting police is considering suing the Queensland Police Service after claiming he was bashed by an officer during a routine traffic stop.

Kenneth Wong says police took his phone and edited footage of him being assaulted by a male constable.

But the QPS will not look into the allegations until Wong, 24, has been through court for a string of charges himself, including failing to stop, contravening a direction and assaulting police.

'As the matter is currently before the court it is not appropriate to comment further,' a police statement read.

Wong says he was repeatedly punched in the face by the constable after he was pulled over on August 29 for failing to completely stop at an intersection while on the way to visit his sick mother in Cairns.

An emergency department report obtained by AAP shows Wong suffered two black eyes, a cut under his left eye, bruises to both wrists and a bruise to his right shoulder.

The law graduate and education student says the officer called for back-up when he questioned why he had to hand over his licence.

After realising Wong was recording him, the officer then allegedly took Mr Wong's glasses off, punched him multiple times and tried to pull him from the vehicle while he was still strapped in.

Once at the police station, he was pressured into giving police his phone's passcode, Wong says. He says police then disabled the iCloud function so he could not download the video remotely.

Wong's phone was returned last week and he is convinced the video has been 'trimmed' to remove possibly incriminating evidence. He plans to have a computer expert look at it.

Wong can be heard on the video file telling the officer: 'No, you can't do that. You don't have the power under PPRA (Police Powers and Responsibilities Act).

'I give you licence, you better leave me alone.

'Do not touch it, it's my property.'

The officer repeatedly replies: 'Don't start, mate.'

Wong says his facial injuries have prevented him from continuing his placement at a Cairns high school, while the incident itself has left him frightened and distrustful of police.

Wong approached the Crime and Corruption Commission to investigate the officer, but the complaint was forwarded to the QPS's Ethical Standard Command.

Wong has sought advice and said he is considering legal action.

It comes amid a QPS review into a recent spate of police brutality incidents on the Gold Coast.

The Queensland Council of Civil Liberties, which has been assisting Wong, says police behaviour is a growing concern.

'We're receiving at least one complaint or allegation about police violence or brutality a week,' acting president Julie Jansen told AAP.

Original report here

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wrongfully imprisoned Alton Dandridge joins EJI in call for conviction integrity

Beniah Alton Dandridge, who spent 20 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, joined his lawyers today at a news conference calling for state officials to investigate credible claims of innocence, like the one that overturned his conviction.

Dandridge, 49, joined Equal Justice Initiative Executive Director Bryan Stevenson to talk about the need for authorities to examine potentially wrongful convictions and to allow forensic tests than can help determine the truth.

Stevenson says Dandridge's case is just one example of the need.

In April, authorities released Anthony Ray Hinton after he had served 30 years for capital murder.  New tests could not match Hinton's gun to the fatal shootings of two fast-food workers.

In Dandridge's case, a fingerprint match that led to his conviction turned out to be wrong.

Dandridge, with relatives standing behind him, gave a short statement and said he would have more to say later.  "Right now the only thing I want to do is give praise to my higher power Jesus Christ for guiding my attorneys," Dandridge said.

Dandridge was convicted of intentional murder in the 1994 slaying of Riley Manning of Montgomery. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1996.

State and federal appeals courts upheld the conviction.

Manning, 71, was beaten and strangled. His son found him dead in his east Montgomery apartment.

Investigators said fingerprints in blood found on a bathroom wall at the crime scene matched Dandridge.

A few days after Manning's murder, police in Florida arrested David Sudduth, who was driving Manning's truck. Sudduth later pleaded guilty to capital murder and is serving life without parole.

Sudduth implicated Dandridge in the crime, but would later, after Dandridge's conviction, give a sworn statement saying that Dandridge was not involved.

Aside from the fingerprints, prosecutors relied on a jailhouse informant who testified against Dandridge but later admitted he lied in exchange for a lighter sentence for a pending felony charge.

EJI became involved in Dandridge's case in 2008.

Last year, three fingerprint examiners, using the most recent technology and methods, concluded that the fingerprints were not Dandridge's.

They found significant agreement between the prints and those of Manning's son, who had found his father's body.

Based on those findings and the discredited testimony of the jailhouse informant, EJI filed a petition for relief in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

The Montgomery County district attorney's office asked the court to nolle pross, or stop prosecution of the case, for lack of evidence.

On Sept. 30, Circuit Judge Truman Hobbs ordered the state to release Dandridge from Kilby Correctional Facility.

But the EJI's Stevenson said it took far too long for the truth to emerge.

Stevenson said state officials and prosecutors refused their requests to retest the fingerprint evidence.

He called on the Legislature to create and fund a conviction integrity unit.

"We are also calling on state law enforcement agencies and state prosecutors to change their policies so that when credible claims of innocence are presented, they will do the testing that would confirm whether someone is guilty or innocent," Stevenson said.

"There is no reason for Mr. Dandridge to have been in prison for 20 years for a crime he did not commit. There was no reason for Mr. Hinton to have stayed in prison for 30 years."

The EJI represented Hinton, as well as Dandridge, and is working on about two dozen more cases involving Alabama inmates who have credible claims of innocence, Stevenson said.

Stevenson said he believes there are more innocent people in Alabama prisons than ever before.

He said he bases that belief partly on the overall growth in the prison population, which has grown from about 4,000 in 1977 to about 25,000.

"We don't have the money for indigent defense that people need," Stevenson said. "We don't provide people with the expert assistance that they need.

"We're using more forensic and technical, scientific evidence to convict people. And if you don't provide people with the means to test that evidence, to make sure that those claims are reliable, then there's this kind of false confidence that you develop that this person is guilty. That's what happened to Mr. Dandridge."

The attorney's general's office said it was reviewing the suggestion for a conviction integrity unit and had no other comment.

Original report here

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Shocking video shows the moment a mother was pinned to the ground by police officers and repeatedly punched in the face

A mother was pushed to the ground and punched in the face by police officers while her young children watched after allegedly being pulled over for a seatbelt violation.

Cindy Hahn, 40, of Valencia, is suing the city of Carlsbad and a number of its police officers after the violent confrontation on July 31 in 2013.

She said the video recorded on ‘the worst day of her life’ shows her screaming ‘help me’ as one cop hits her in the face repeatedly while another pins her to the ground.

Hahn says her two children, aged seven and 11, screamed as they watched from the car – and her son remains traumatized. ‘The only thing that he’ll talk to me about is ‘I couldn’t protect you, Mom,’ she told  ‘I could’ve. I could’ve got him off you. I could have helped you.’

Hahn, whose father is a retired police officer, says the incident was triggered after she asked an officer, who standing next to a car with its alarm blasting, what was going on.

‘He says, ‘Is this your car?’ And I said, ‘No, sir.’ And then he says ‘Then, mind your own f******* business,’ she said.

Shocked, Hahn told a man nearby what the officer has said and then started to record a video.  She said she reported the incident to police after the cop continued swearing at her, but then left the scene.

But a short while later, she alleges the same officer pulled her over and said it was due to a seatbelt violation.  She says that within moments, she was forced to the ground and claims things escalated further when back-up arrived.

The clip shows a third police officer keeping witnesses away from Hahn, who is eventually helped to her feet as the officer in a motorcycle helmet hikes down her dress.

According to court documents, Hahn suffered permanent memory loss and brain trauma.

In July this year, the San Diego District Attorney dropped felony charges against Hahn for battery on a police officer and resisting arrest – which her attorney Mark Geragos says was due to the video.

However, she is going ahead with the lawsuit due to the ‘senseless act of egregious police brutality’ and wants the police officers involved fired and reformed. Court documents alleged that they lied about the incident under oath during Hahn’s criminal proceedings.

Hahn’s father Mike Dalton, who has retired from the San Fernando Police Department, said the incident should never have happened. ‘There was no need to punch her in the face,’ he said.

A spokesman for the Carlsbad Police Department said: 'The City of Carlsbad looks forward to bringing this lawsuit before the proper judicial authorities as soon as possible.

'We are prepared to provide a complete and detailed account of the facts of this incident in a courtroom, not in the media.'

Original report here

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Settlement not reached for wrongfully convicted man seeking more than miserly Oklahoma wants to give

City attorneys say one man’s efforts to be given more than a million dollars for a wrongful conviction went unresolved.

Sedrick Courtney and his attorney walked in silence Tuesday as they left the courthouse after a day full of negotiations where a solution was not reached.

"Both sides I think worked very hard. Both sides came in good faith to look at it. Judge Wilson did a great job. He worked very hard. We just, we just couldn't get there today."

In 1996 Courtney was convicted of robbing a woman at her east Tulsa apartment and spent 16 years of his life behind bars.

Under the Innocence Project, Courtney was able to uncover DNA evidence that ultimately proved his innocence.

The state only provided $175,000 for damage, so Courtney sued the City of Tulsa and individual police officers, saying that the Tulsa Police Dept. didn’t do its job in investigating the case.

Attorneys for Courtney are heading back to New York but say they will continue to negotiate over the phone.

"We can resolve the case over the phone if the judge is willing and the other side is willing."

Original report here

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Sunday, October 04, 2015

SC Family seeks community support in alleged wrongful conviction

His appearance would have made a jury want him off the street.  An account of the trial here

Jamar Huggins was found guilty of burglary, kidnapping, and armed robbery last September, but his family says he was wrongfully convicted.

"Someone who was actually involved in the crime walked into the courtroom and looked at him and said, 'Oh no, that's not him. That's the wrong person' and still nobody stopped it,” Jamar’s sister, Dinedra Smith said.

She said after her brother was convicted, the family started doing some research.

They realized wrongful convictions happen more often than you might think.

The family is seeking community support to help free Jamar.

"The justice system is definitely backwards. For him, it was guilty until proven innocent," Smith stated.

Dinedra said Friday's awareness event would focus on three key themes found in wrongful conviction cases, “A miscarriage of justice, over-criminalization, and malicious prosecution."

Dinedra also said the detective, prosecutor, jury, and judge all had the chance to prevent an innocent man being locked up.

Jamar was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The family is currently in the process of appealing the conviction.

Original report here

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Saturday, October 03, 2015

UK: Former Army chief fighting 'entirely unfounded' child sex abuse claims should be 'exonerated at the earliest opportunity'

The former Army chief who is fighting ‘entirely unfounded’ allegations of child sex abuse should be ‘exonerated at the earliest opportunity’, a close friend said last night.

Field Marshall Lord Bramall, 91, has been under investigation since March following lurid claims by an alleged victim known only as ‘Nick’, who said he was abused by him more than 30 years ago.

Retired Major-General Michael Tillotson declared he was in no doubt that Lord Bramall will be cleared of any wrong-doing.

Police raided the home of D-Day veteran Lord Bramall and weeks later he was also interviewed under caution before being released without charge. He is accused of abusing Nick in his office at a military base in the West Country.

Dementia sufferer Lady Bramall was having breakfast with her husband and carer when police raided their home on the Surrey-Hampshire border at 7.30am in March.

Lord Bramall took her into his study where she stayed while police searched the property.

Several hours later, when they were ready to search the study – the frail woman was moved to the drawing room where she lay in a bed as detectives completed their inquiries.

Despite his advancing years – and the death of his wife of 66 years in July – Lord Bramall remains under investigation by Operation Midland, the increasingly controversial Scotland Yard inquiry into so-called VIP paedophiles.

On Tuesday, the BBC’s Panorama programme will question further the credibility of the inquiry and last night his close friend and former colleague General Tillotson called on police to be ‘humane’ and exonerate the former forces chief ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

He said: ‘I am as certain as I am that the sun will rise in the morning that Lord Bramall is innocent of all these allegations. That being the case it would be a humane act of the police and the prosecuting authorities to draw these investigations quickly to a close and clear Lord Bramall of all the allegations. That is what he wants more than anything now.

‘He has been through the wringer, but he is as tough as old boots. You don’t get to be a field marshall without knowing a thing or two and without being able to carry yourself in the face of adversity. Throughout these past months he has behaved with complete dignity and he has cooperated with the police in every possible way. He has, of course, nothing to hide.

‘Lord Bramall has told me he has no fundamental objection to the police doing their duty whatsoever. Complaints and allegations are made and they have to investigate them. That is the way society works.

‘The only caveat is that he believes they could have acted with a little more discretion at the outset. He didn’t see what was to be gained from coming to his home in numbers at 7.30 in the morning complete with men in white, crime-scene suits.

‘I think he also found some of their questions a little bemusing and he was a bit put out that it was a detective constable who interviewed him.’

Lord Bramall’s wife Avril, the mother of their two children, died in July at 93. General Tillotson, who has known him for more than 60 years, said: ‘Their marriage was one of absolute bliss. They were totally in love with each other.’

He added: ‘To lose his wife at this time, when he is fighting these allegations, has been particularly hard. Lord Bramall rang me on the day she died and said, “My lovely wife Avril died this morning.” He was next to her when she died.’

The general’s intervention will increase pressure on police to ‘put up or shut up’ following their 11-month inquiry into alleged abuse and murder by a ring of VIP paedophiles in the 1970s and 1980s. Senior Scotland Yard officers have distanced themselves from Nick, the key witness at the centre of the extraordinary claims.

Lord Bramall is a Second World War hero who won the Military Cross for bravery. He rose to be chief of the general staff – Britain’s top Army officer – and then chief of the defence staff, the officer commanding the forces.

He is alleged to have been one of a number of VIPs who abused Nick at the Dolphin Square apartment complex near Parliament and at military bases. Others accused include ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-Tory Home Secretary Lord Brittan and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

Last month, former director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC accused police of having a ‘medieval contempt for the accused’ by backing Nick’s uncorroborated claims so publicly. One officer had described the claims as ‘credible and true’.

Original report here

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Australian State denies duty of care to injured police

This appalling story is from over a year ago but there seems to have been no advance on it since then.

The state government and Victoria Police are using an arcane legal technicality to block seriously injured police officers from suing the force for compensation, claiming they owe no duty of care to members hurt in the line of duty.

The use of the contentious tactic comes as Victoria Police are fighting at least three lawsuits from former officers who allege they received permanent physical and psychological injuries on the job.

In a bid to avoid a payout, the government is claiming that police officers are not technically employees of the state but "public officers" conducting "independent duties", absolving the government of civil liability for their injuries.

The defence has been filed in a lawsuit brought by former mounted police officer Justin Boyer, who alleges he sustained severe psychological trauma at the hands of fellow officers after he reported allegations of corruption to authorities.

The government’s argument is based on an interpretation of the wording of a police oath written more than 56 years ago which sees Victorian officers sworn into service of "our Sovereign Lady the Queen".

"[The government] denies that [Mr Boyer] was employed by [the government], and says further that at all material times [Mr Boyer] was executing independent duties cast upon him by reason of his oath taken under the Police Regulation Act 1958," the defence filed in the Supreme Court says. "[The government] denies that it owed a duty of care to [Mr Boyer]."

Police Minister Kim Wells and Chief Commissioner Ken Lay have refused to comment on whether they personally authorised the defence used by the external law firm hired to represent the government because the matter is currently before the court.

A source said the government has used the defence in the past in a bid to block civil claims despite police officers being apparently recognised as employees in some industrial relations legislation and by WorkSafe.

But Giuseppe Carabetta, senior lecturer at the University of Sydney Business School, said the government’s defence could be difficult to refute because police have long been recognised in law as “office-holders” rather than employees.

“Essentially the Crown is denying that the plaintiff is an employee in the strict common law sense. As the law currently stands, the Crown will, in my view, succeed,” he said.

The decision to fight the claim also comes despite the government acknowledging Mr Boyer had received a "serious injury certificate" early last year.

Mr Boyer claims to suffer from a knee injury and severe post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after being subjected to a campaign of  "harassment, discrimination, vilification, intimidation and bullying" by fellow officers for reporting allegations of misconduct and corruption. He is seeking more than $250,000 in damages.

The government has denied the allegations but also claimed that Mr Boyer could be "guilty of contributory negligence" for failing to report to superiors that he was allegedly being victimised.

The Police Association has declined to comment on the government’s defence because the case involves a former officer making claims that include other members of the force.

 Original report here

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

In a great waste of resources,  British plods run after insubstantial fantasies

A woman who falsely claimed Leon Brittan raped her in 1967 is a veteran Labour activist with mental health problems.

The Tory grandee went to his grave under a cloud of suspicion that he was responsible for a sordid sex assault.

Scotland Yard exonerated him five months after his death following a drawn out inquiry. It found ‘absolutely no evidence’ to support his accuser’s account.

Now it can be disclosed the woman, known by the pseudonym Jane, may have had a political motive because she is a Labour activist who admits hating Tories.

She has endured a troubled life which has included bouts of severe depression, paranoid delusions, relationship problems and various referrals to psychiatrists.

Prior to her allegations about Lord Brittan, she had previously suspected – also wrongly – that a close relative was a paedophile.

Yet despite her mental health problems, and the absence of any supporting evidence, Scotland Yard spent two and half years probing her claims. Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution following political pressure.

Disturbing details of how the Met handled the allegation against the peer, who died in January aged 75, can be revealed as a row rages over the force’s investigation into claims that a VIP paedophile ring murdered three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Privately, a number of detectives have ‘grave doubts’ about the testimony of the key witness behind the extraordinary allegations.

The man, known only as Nick, claims he was abused by a murderous paedophile gang including D-Day hero Lord Bramall, ex-prime minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-home secretary Lord Brittan and former heads of MI5 and MI6. But police have found no credible evidence to substantiate his account.

The VIP murder probe continues amid claims that politically correct Met chiefs are ‘too scared’ to shelve it. Insiders concede, however, there are clear parallels between the Met inquiries into the allegations of Nick and Jane.

Like Nick, Jane had close dealings with Labour deputy leader Tom Watson and a controversial ‘investigative’ news website.

In May last year, Jane told the Sunday People she was raped by Lord Brittan as a 19-year-old student. The woman said the peer – then in his late 20s and a rising star in the Conservative Party – raped her at his London home after they went on a blind date. She reported the alleged attack to police in late 2012 when detectives opened the probe into an alleged VIP paedophile ring.

In an interview she claimed: ‘It lasted just a few minutes. But they were long moments in my life. It was dark in the bedroom, and I could not see much. I remember him on top of me being very forceful.’

Legal sources confirmed there was no evidence to support Jane’s claims. Nor was there any proof that she had even met the former home secretary.

The exhaustive investigation, which included tracking down key witnesses and examining Lord Brittan’s job and domestic arrangements at the time of the alleged offence, undermined his accuser’s story.

Lord Brittan was questioned in June last year shortly after Mr Watson [Labour deputy leader Tom Watson] complained to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the case was not being handled properly.

Prior to his intervention, the CPS had concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove a rape offence – even if the woman had met Lord Brittan.

In his letter to the DPP, Mr Watson described the alleged rape victim as a ‘very credible witness’.

Late last year, the CPS again advised the Met that there was insufficient evidence. But detectives insisted on carrying out a further review of the case, which continued after Lord Brittan’s death from cancer.

Original report here

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dickless Tracy suspended for 'gross misconduct' over claims she told friends of Amber Peat's suicide before her parents knew she had died

A police officer has been suspended over claims she text friends about Amber Peat's suicide before the schoolgirl's parents knew she had died.

The female Nottinghamshire Police officer is accused of sending messages to a friend and family member containing confidential information regarding the missing person's investigation.

Amber Peat, 13, was found hanging in a hedge in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in June this year after being reported missing.

Deputy Chief Constable Sue Fish said: 'I am deeply upset that we are investigating such allegations.

'As soon as they came to light the officer involved was suspended from duty and an internal investigation commenced.

'We are now pursuing fast tracked misconduct proceedings to ensure the officer is dealt with appropriately as soon as possible.

'My colleagues have informed those victims or families who are referred to in the messages sent and apologised to them for the suffering this news will undoubtedly cause them.

'The cases they relate to have been reviewed independently and I am confident that the outcome of those investigations has not been adversely affected by this disclosure and/or the attitudes expressed.

'In addition I give my personal apology to those victims and their families for this disrespectful, shameful behaviour.

'As an organisation we pride ourselves on the high standards of professionalism and integrity we set for our officers and staff.

'We will take swift and robust actions against any person who falls below this standard.

'I hope that the actions of this officer does not detract from the efforts of the hundreds of people who represent Nottinghamshire Police on a daily basis and who work very hard to keep our communities safe and protect vulnerable victims of crime.'

The suspension for  'gross misconduct' relates to a number of 'shameful' incidents involving the same police officer since 2012.

It is alleged that she sent text messages sent which included racist and derogatory language, information disclosed about police officers stopping someone the sender and recipient both knew, identifying the person stopped and describing what happened.

She is further accused of sending texts including derogatory comments about victims of crime with whom the officer had professional contact in their role, sending messages that included an image of an adult vulnerable victim from a police interview with whom the officer had professional dealings and about whom they made derogatory comments.

The final allegation against the policewoman is that she sent text messages to a friend and a family member which contained confidential information relating to Amber Peat's missing person's inquiry the officer was working on and its progress.

Nottinghamshire Police were criticised earlier this year after it emerged officers took two days to investigate what turned out to be the final sighting of tragic Amber.

The schoolgirl went missing from the home she shared with her mum Kelly Peat and stepdad Danny Peat, in May but it was four days before her body was discovered nearby on June 2.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission found that a man called police claiming he saw a young girl matching Amber's description disappearing into bushes close to her house.

But it was 48 hours before police took him to the spot to discover the teenager's dead body.

Social services have also come under fire after we revealed how Amber begged them for help 17 months before her death and asked to live with dad Adrian.

But bosses in Derbyshire failed to tell colleagues in Nottinghamshire about Amber's complaints when the family moved just a few miles over the border weeks later.

Original report here

UPDATE of Oct 8:  Pc Samantha Goodwin has now been fired

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE or here

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Australia: Case dismissed against accused bikies arrested while buying ice-cream

A HIGH-PROFILE lawyer has rubbished Queensland’s anti-bikie laws, describing them as totally useless and nothing more than a political stunt.

His comments came as a court dismissed the case against five alleged bikies who were arrested under anti-association laws after they bought ice-cream during a Gold Coast holiday in January 2014.

The dismissal in Southport Magistrates Court this morning came as the prosecution revealed it had no evidence against any of the accused.

Bill Potts, who represented two of the five men, said the case cost $500,000 of public money and was the latest example of the laws failing to meet the burden of proof in court.

He added that his clients were guilty of nothing more than arguing over what type of ice-cream they wanted.

“The offence in effect is buying ice-cream in a public place,” Mr Potts said.  “The biggest controversy was whether it should be a choc-top or a vanilla ice-cream.”

Victorian friends Bane Alabejovic, Kresimir Basic, Darren Keith Haley, Dario Halilovic and Daniel Morgan Lovett were all arrested and charged while leaving an ice-cream shop at Surfers Paradise during a holiday with their families.

The five were accused of being bikie gang members and charged under a law introduced by the former Liberal-National Party government to prevent members of a criminal organisation from knowingly gathering in a group of more than two people in a public place.

At the time of their arrests, a woman who claimed to be the partner of one of the men said she was disgusted by what had happened.

“Basically the boys have gone to get the kids ice cream and the police have got them and locked them up,” she told reporters after the men were detained.

“To me I think it’s gross, gross, inhumanity, you wouldn’t even treat dogs like this.”

Mr Potts told the Australian at the time: “The police found no drugs, no guns, no evidence of any criminality.

“Their offence is walking down the street and looking for ice creams. It is now illegal to be friends in a public place looking for an ice cream in Surfers Paradise.”

Queensland’s anti-bikie laws attracted scathing criticism when they were passed in October 2013, with senior barrister Stephen Keim telling a lawyers conference on the Gold Coast last year that the laws breached human rights.

This morning, after the case against the men was dismissed, Mr Potts said he hoped the anti-bikie laws would be abolished when they were reviewed by the current Queensland government.

He added that this was the latest anti-association case to be thrown out without proof.  “Not one prosecution has been able to be sustained,” he said.  “Anti-association laws don’t work ... it prevents nothing and saves nobody.”

All five men spent more than two weeks in custody following their arrests, including time in solitary confinement, before being granted Supreme Court bail.

Mr Potts said his clients were considering their legal options regarding possible civil action.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE or here

Monday, September 28, 2015

British police devote huge resources to investigating lurid allegations by a convicted fraudster

A child protection officer who first named former Home Secretary Leon Brittan and other prominent figures as members of an alleged VIP paedophile ring was once jailed for fraud, it has emerged.

Chris Fay, a social worker who headed a child welfare charity, brought up the allegations of organised child sex abuse at Elm Guest House in London.  Fay, now 69, claimed on oath that Brittan had been involved in abuse and that in March 1990 he had seen a photograph of the former Tory politician in a French maid’s uniform, with a young boy.  The photo had been shown to him by Carole Kasir, co-owner of the Elm Guest House, he said.

A list of famous alleged attendees, including Cabinet ministers, MPs, churchmen, pop stars, spies, judges, tycoons and members of the royal household, was also drawn up by Fay.

It was later uploaded to the internet at a time when claims emerged that Downing Street had been aware of the operation of a powerful paedophile sex ring.

But Fay’s evidence has been brought into question by his 2011 fraud conviction, reported by the Sunday Telegraph. The former Labour councillor was sentenced to a year in prison for being part of a scam in which pensioners were conned out of almost £300,000.

Victims were told they were buying shares in property and Tesco but were issued with fake certificates.  Fay, of Blackheath, south-east London, was involved in helping to launder cash through false bank accounts.

Police are continuing to investigate allegations of historic sex abuse at the now-defunct Elm Guest House in Rocks Lane, Barnes, South West London.

While supporting evidence for the presence of most of those named on Fay's list remains elusive, police accept that the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, a known child abuser, was indeed a visitor to the guest house.

Fay told The Telegraph he regretted the list had been made public and conceded that some of the public figures named were innocent.  He insisted he was never meant to see the light of day but that a former colleague had posted it on the internet.

Other names on the list included Harvey Proctor, a number of other Tory MPs, and Ron Brown, a former Labour MP, who is now dead. Mr Proctor has vehemently denied the allegations.

Fay said his list was based on conversations he had with Kasir. She was found guilty at the Old Bailey in 1983 only of running a disorderly house and possessing obscene videos. She was given a suspended sentence.

Kasir always denied that child abuse had taken place at Elm Guest House and maintained that the business was nothing more sinister than a gay-friendly hotel.

After years of drug and alcohol abuse, Kasir was found dead of an insulin overdose in 1990.  A coroner decided that she had killed herself, again with a drugs overdose, but child protection campaigners, including Fay, claimed she was murdered as part of the VIP cover-up.

One friend previously told MailOnline that Kasir had boasted she had a stash of incriminating photographs in a bank vault, for which she had turned down an offer of £20,000. One of those pictures allegedly included Cyril Smith.

Earlier this month a police inquiry into alleged murders by VIP paedophiles was left in crisis when the Metropolitan Police said it was no longer prepared to say that the key witness is ‘credible and true’.

An internal investigation has been launched into the running of the £1million Operation Midland inquiry after police found no evidence that a string of senior Establishment figures were responsible for killing three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

In an extraordinary volte-face, Scotland Yard will not now say publicly that it still believes the account of the VIP murders by the ‘main witness’ – known only as ‘Nick’.

Operation Midland started nearly a year ago after Nick, 47, claimed he was abused by a murderous paedophile gang linked to the luxury Dolphin Square apartment complex including former armed forces head Lord Bramall, former prime minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-home secretary Lord Brittan and former heads of MI5 and MI6.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE or here

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Man in prison denied medication.  Dies

Xanax and Klonopin are just benzodiazepines, related to Valium.  So providing them should have been no problem.  Providing Methadone, an opioid, may have had other issues.  One notes that a  2009 Cochrane review found that methadone use did not affect risk of death.  Authorities may have been aware of that. So the person below could be said to have died of his heroin addiction, or side-effects of that

A disturbing case of police negligence has rocked America after footage emerged of a man who slowly died in his cell after being jailed over a traffic offence.

David Stojcevski, 32, was sent to prison for thirty days for failing to pay a $US772 fine stemming from careless driving. But the Michigan man was a drug addict and was taking prescription drugs Methadone, Xanax, and Klonopin to treat his addiction. Without his badly needed medicine, he began having hallucinations, lost over 20 kilos and his body eventually shut down.

Stojcevski was under self-harm watch due to a misdiagnosis of mental instability, not drug addiction, and jail officials were supposed to be watching him constantly, reports WDIV Detroit.

He should have been checked every 15 minutes. Instead police seemed to take little notice of his erratic behaviour and despite being under constant video surveillance, he died in his cell after 17 days.

The family is suing the county “for a substantial amount” their lawyer Robert Ihrie told CBS. “This is shameful, substantial and unconscionable neglect,” he said.

The lawsuit was filed earlier in the year but the story broke Thursday with the video below. The family says they want the public to see the footage from inside the cell, but some may find the vision confronting.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE or here

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Were these cops high?  Totally irrational and aggressive behavior

But they get off Scot-free.  How can Americans put up with this sort of thing?

The mother concerned

Dashcam footage captured the horrifying moment two police officers drew their guns on a husband and wife after pulling them over while they were rushing to the hospital to give birth.

James Reiner was driving his wife Dana to the hospital after her water broke in January 2012 in Hebron, Indiana when they passed a police car that suddenly turned on its lights and pulled them over, despite the fact that they were not speeding.

That is when James got out to tell Sgt. Anthony Dandurand that his wife was pregnant and they needed to get to the hospital. He responded by cuffing the man on the ground while another officer, Travis Thomas, held a gun on James.

Dana then tried to show the men that her waters had indeed broken - and they pointed a gun directly at her belly and yelled at her to 'get back in the fu**ing car.'

Dana was eventually picked up at the scene by an ambulance and taken to the hospital where she gave birth just minutes later according to an interview she did with The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The doctor had to pause her delivery twice in that brief time to unwrap Dana's daughter's umbilical cord, later saying that had she given birth on the side of the road the child would have died.

In the end, Dana gave birth to a healthy baby girl she named Abigail.

James was not there however, because despite the fact that Dana proved she was pregnant and in labor, police still took him to jail and booked him, forcing him to spend the night and miss his daughter's birth.

'That’s a moment you are never going to get back. There’s no redoing it,' said Dana.

'When I think about the fact that James, who is a wonderful man, was deprived of that - it makes me sad. And it makes me sad that Abby missed out on that, too. They missed out on that very first, that bond.'

A U.S. District magistrate agreed with Dana in July 2014, when he ruled that the officers had absolutely no right to detain the couple after learning Dana was in pregnant, let alone take James to jail.

'The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night.

'To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment,' wrote Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry.

The Reiners reached a settlement with the police department in May, but neither of the officers has ever been punished in any way for their actions that night.

And the men not only violated the constitutional rights of the Reiners as a judge later declared, but they also can be heard on the dashcam video six minutes into the arrest saying they will delete the video.

On the second dashcam video after 14 minutes an officer can be heard saying they know how to delete dashcam footage.

Both officers can also be heard saying to James over the course of the dashcam videos from Dandurand and Thomas' cars that he will be going to jail and missing the birth of his child because he tried to flee from police.

Dandurand also later claimed that he had been chasing the couple for five miles, when in fact it was just over one mile until they pulled over.

He also said that he was advised to take James into custody by Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Soto, though she later said the officer had misled her at the time. The Reiners attorney said that Soto later said to him that 'she felt angry toward Sgt. Dandurand, because she felt that he hadn’t been truthful with her.'

The worst part now is that this still is not over as the couple must work to expunge James' record.  'We still have a process that we have to go through to clear his name, so that it’s not detrimental to his career,' said Dana.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE or here