Friday, November 21, 2014

Chief constable and 13 other police officers will not face charges after botched murder investigation of promising footballer who died in 'execution style' killing

The negligent and incompetent police should at least be demoted and in some cases fired

Fourteen police officers - including two chief constables - will not face charges over a botched murder investigation of a promising football star.

Kevin Nunes, who had been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur, was found dead in a country lane in Pattingham, Staffordshire on September 19, 2002. The 20-year-old had been savagely beaten and shot five times.

Five men were found guilty of the alleged 'execution-style' murder of Mr Nunes and jailed for a total of 135 years at Leicester Crown Court in 2008.

But they launched a collective appeal and were cleared at the Court of Appeal in March 2012 after a damning report exposed a catalogue of blunders by Staffordshire Police.

After the trial, it emerged concerns over the credibility of the key prosecution witness, Simeon Taylor, were not disclosed to the defence. Mr Taylor claimed to have seen the killing having driven the car which took Mr Nunes to his death. But it later emerged that complaints made by Mr Taylor concerning his treatment while in witness protection were 'put on ice'.

A detective handling the key witness was also involved in an 'intimate' affair with a disclosure officer, it emerged.

A senior detective believed there was an 'at any cost' culture within Staffordshire Police to ensure Mr Taylor gave evidence in the case.

In September last year, a file of evidence was handed over to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) after an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The police watchdog probe centred on how the officers acted before the trial and dealings with protected witness Mr Taylor in 2008.

But it emerged today that none of the 14 former and serving Staffordshire Police officers investigated over the murder will face prosecution.

The officers include high-ranking Adrian Lee, the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, and Gloucestershire Police's Chief Constable Suzette Davenport.

Staffordshire Police's temporary Chief Constable Jane Sawyers and West Midlands Police's Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale have also been told they face no further action.

The CPS said it had considered two allegations in connection with the handling of the case.

One was that Staffordshire Police had received a complaint from the main witness relating to a senior officer of the Sensitive Policing Unit in November 2006.

The second matter was the force's failure to disclose the results of internal review of the sensitive policing unit and its handling of Mr Taylor.

Five of the 14 officers were told they would not face criminal prosecution in January and the nine remaining officers were told the same decision had been reached this week.

Commenting on the latest officers to be cleared, a CPS spokesman said: 'We considered whether there is sufficient evidence to prove that any action or inaction was a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice or could amount to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.

'The CPS has determined there is insufficient evidence to prosecute any of the nine police officers, four remain in service while five are now retired, investigated either for attempting or conspiring to pervert the course of public justice or for criminal misconduct in a public office.'

The spokesman added: 'The CPS has taken the decision that whatever criticisms may be made about the conduct of the various officers, there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction against any of them for conspiring or attempting to pervert the course of public justice.

'Equally, that there is no realistic prospect of a conviction resulting from the prosecution of any officer for the misconducting themselves in public office.

'Rather than a conspiracy to conceal, the evidence suggested that there was an overall failure to disclose the report.

'None of the officers who could be shown to be aware of the content of the report had a clear and direct responsibility for disclosure in the murder case.

'This CPS decision applies only to possible criminal proceedings and not to any possible misconduct proceedings under police regulations.'

Original report here

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ohio's Ricky Jackson exonerated after 39 years in prison

Cleveland: A judge has dropped all charges against a man who has spent 39 years in prison for murder, making him the longest-held US prisoner to be exonerated, an attorney for the Ohio Innocence Project said.

Ricky Jackson, 57, will walk free on Friday after paperwork is completed, attorney Mark Godsey said.

Mr Jackson was convicted along with two others for the 1975 murder of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman, after 12-year-old Eddie Vernon testified he saw the attack, according to court documents.

Mr Vernon, now 53, recanted his testimony and told authorities he had never actually witnessed the crime. There was no other evidence linking Mr Jackson to the killing.

Attorneys for the Ohio Innocence Project in March filed a motion for a new trial after Mr Vernon told a pastor he was on a school bus at the time of the murder, which other witnesses have confirmed.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in court on Tuesday that without an eyewitness there was not much of a case. "The state is conceding the obvious," he said.

Mr Jackson was exonerated by Cuyahoga County Judge Richard McMonagle on Wednesday.

Cleveland police linked a revolver and a green convertible seen at the crime scene to another man who was arrested three years later for aggravated murder in connection with a spree of daytime robberies, according to court records. He was never charged in the murder of Franks.

The two other men convicted with Mr Jackson, brothers Ronnie and Wiley Bridgeman, have also filed for a new trial but those petitions have not been resolved. Ronnie Bridgeman was released in 2003, but his brother remains in prison.

Mr Jackson was originally sentenced to death but that sentence was vacated due to a paperwork error. The Bridgemans remained on death row until Ohio declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1978.

Original report here

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Australia: Police bullying and intimidation allegations to be investigated

Widespread bullying allegations within Victoria Police have revealed an entrenched culture of intimidation and stand-over tactics, according to its union, which has called for an urgent investigation by Force Command.

On the day Chief Commissioner Ken Lay announced a taskforce to examine claims of sexism and harassment, Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said bullying was "far, far more prevalent", with the union receiving more than 200 complaints over the past two years.

Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said he had warned Mr Lay that about 10 police stations throughout Victoria had "serious issues" with bullying.

Fairfax Media understands that Altona North is one of the worst affected stations, with eight police officers complaining about the intimidating behaviour of a senior colleague.

"They're all basket cases," Senior Sergeant Iddles said of the officers affected by bullying.

"We have members who have gone on sick leave, we have members suffering PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and there are indications some members are nearly suicidal," Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

Other problem-plagued stations are believed to include Fawkner, Wangaratta, Gisborne and the mounted branch in South Melbourne.

In August, Mr Lay launched two external inquiries into police suicides and depression after finding some police in crisis were concealing their illnesses because they feared their careers would be damaged if they sought in-house treatment.

A total of 23 operational police and six police public servants have taken their own lives since 1995. Seven police have killed themselves in the past 33 months.

But Senior Sergeant Iddles accused Force Command of failing to respond to a 20 per cent increase in bullying complaints during the past two years.

Fairfax Media understands that just one inspector has been assigned to handle all bullying cases across the state, with most complaints dealt with by email rather than face-to-face interviews.

Several victims of alleged bullying have told the association their complaints had been "white-washed" and "swept under the carpet".

"We know something has to be done about it and the existing policy in Victoria Police doesn't appear to work," Senior Sergeant Iddles said.

"Sexual harassment is only one part of workplace conflict. We support the decision he's made today but it needs to go further because we say bullying in the workplace is far, far more prevalent than sexual harassment."

Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright said the claims regarding Altona North station did not "accurately reflect the situation".

"Victoria Police takes bullying extremely seriously – we take any form of inappropriate treatment of our staff seriously, as demonstrated by the chief commissioner's announcement this morning," Mr Cartwright said.

On Thursday, Mr Lay called in the state's human rights commissioner as he launched a statewide taskforce into sexist behaviour among his officers.

He said at least 20 internal sexual harassment investigations during the past three years have revealed "grubby" and "shameless conduct", but the widened taskforce will now handle any and all sexual harassment complaints between officers to ensure the force is a safe place to work.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will also conduct an independent review, which will determine the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment before coming up with a plan to promote equality and publicly reporting on any progress.

"I want to get in front of this. I want to understand the problem. I need help in resolving the problem," Mr Lay said at a press conference with Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

There are more than 14,000 sworn Victoria Police members in the state, and more than 75 per cent of them are men, according to the latest annual report.

While stressing that the number of complaints is very small, Mr Lay said existing cases were reprehensible, involving men filming women in change rooms, making suggestive comments, performing simulated sexual acts, and unwanted groping or touching.

In a recent case, Mr Lay said a male supervisor had been ostracising junior female members to pressure them into sexual conduct. The supervisor would spread sexual rumours about the women before threatening their careers and bombarding them with text messages and comments on social media, he said.

"It's men who have this sense of entitlement that, because they're a man, because they're a supervisor, they think they can take advantage of vulnerable people," Mr Lay said.

Original report here

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Police sergeant's career in tatters after he is caught on CCTV jumping over garden fence and taking neighbour's £16.99 wind chimes from in bitter row over bonfire smoke

A neighbours’ dispute over £16.99 wind chimes hanging in a garden has ended in an expensive criminal trial and left a police sergeant’s career in ruins.

Paul Duke, a police officer married to a detective, was caught on CCTV climbing over his neighbour’s 6ft high fence, taking his wind chimes and returning to his own garden to put them on a bonfire.

Neighbour Edmund Looby, 42, and his teacher wife Tatiana, 39, had upset Duke by complaining to the council about fires he had been lighting to burn rubbish during house renovation work.

The Loobys reported the theft incident to police and Duke, 45, told investigators the chimes belonged to him and he was ‘recovering his own property.’

The ‘bizarre’ row resulted in a day-long trial at Doncaster Magistrates Court involving two barristers, eight witnesses and a district judge.

Father-of-two Mr Looby, a construction worker who has since moved to Kuwait with his family, had his £1,000 travel costs paid from the public purse to fly in and give evidence.

The total cost of the case is estimated at around £3,000 – with more than half that bill being paid by the taxpayer.

Duke was found guilty of criminal damage by District Judge Jonathan Bennett. He rejected the policeman’s account that he was reclaiming his own wind chime, describing Duke’s actions as ‘extremely strange behaviour’ and a ‘foolish escapade.’

Duke was given a conditional discharge, ordered to pay £620 and £16.99 compensation to Mr Looby. After 26 years in the force Duke also faces losing his job following the criminal conviction.

Questioning why the wind chime dispute came to court, District Judge Bennett said: ‘Sometimes I wondered today what we were all doing here at an overburdened court to deal with criminal damage out of a neighbour dispute over a £16.99 wind chime. The Crown felt the matter met the public interest and I had to judge it on its merits.’

The court heard Duke moved in to the house at Barnsley, South Yorkshire, in August 2012 with his partner Detective Constable Eleanor Bottomley and their two sons.

The Loobys had lived next door for seven years but were dismayed when Duke started burning doors, cupboards, carpets and plastic in his back garden.

They complained to the council and were advised to keep a log of all fires and were able to monitor activities via a CCTV camera that was previously installed for security reasons.

In March this year they checked video footage – which was played in court – showing Duke dressed in jeans climbing the fence and removing the chimes from the paved garden.

Mr Looby produced a receipt to prove he bought the ‘Chimes of Polaris’ from a local garden centre three years earlier. He described the chimes in court and said: ‘You could hear it most times through the day when it was windy.’ He said Duke never had a wind chime.

Duke told the court he put a wind chime in his garden when he moved there as it came from his partner’s late grandmother and was of ‘sentimental value.’

He was off work for three weeks with a knee problem and realised ‘the wind chime had gone.’ He saw a wind chime hanging in the Loobys garden. ‘I recognised it straight away as our old rusty metal wind chime.’

Duke told the court ‘in hindsight I might have dealt with it differently but at the time it seemed a reasonable thing to do.’

Adding: ‘I had reached a tipping point with everything else that had gone on. I was 1,000 per cent certain it was my wind chime.’

He believed Mr Looby had a ‘vendetta’ against him because he was a policeman. ‘I was very angry when I saw my wind chime on my neighbour’s wall.’

Miss Bottomley said they had decided to get rid of the wind chime because it had gone rusty.

Guy Ladenburg, barrister for Duke, said in law no offence has been committed if the defendant holds an honest or mistaken belief that the property is his own. But the defence was rejected by the judge.

After the case Mr Looby said: ‘I felt passionate about this. I hope people can see the bigger picture. It is the principle of the matter.

‘I would have paid my own fare to come over for this. We have a serving police sergeant who was prepared to climb over a fence and do something like that. It is an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money. But justice has been done.’

South Yorkshire Police are to carry out a misconduct investigation to decide Duke’s future. Detective Superintendent Terry Mann said the public rightly expected ‘high standards of behaviour’ from officers. ‘The force expects its staff to act with integrity and professionalism to ensure people receive a high quality service and have a police service they can be proud of.’

Original report here

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Pablo Escobar's most feared assassin says British businessman imprisoned for 1986 Miami double murder was FRAMED and it was actually the work of the Medellin cartel

A British businessman serving a sentence for two murders has been framed and the killings were carried out by executioners working for Pablo Escobar's notorious Medellin cartel, it has been claimed.

Jhon Jairo Velasquez Vasquez - Escobar's chief assassin responsible for the killing of 300 people - has sensationally stated 75-year-old Kris Maharaj has been wrongly imprisoned just as lawyers battle to overturn his conviction.

Maharaj was working in Miami, Florida, as a property investor in 1986 when he was convicted for the murder of father and son Derrick and Duane Moo Young at a downtown Miami hotel.

His legal team has been battling to have the conviction overturned in recent years with new evidence alleging the murders were carried out by hitmen working for Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Now Velasquez, the kingpin's most feared assassin who is responsible for killing 300 hundred people, has claimed through his lawyers that Maharaj was wrongly convicted.

Velasquez, who lives in a secret location following his release from prison in August, called a former agent for the US Drug Enforcement Agency to state his claim,The Guardian reported.

Former agent Henry Cuervo said: 'Velasquez said he wanted to clear his conscience, he wanted to say who had killed the Moo Youngs. He said it was Pablo Escobar and his people.'

Velasquez added: 'As a lieutenant of Pablo Escobar Gaviria, with whom I worked shoulder to shoulder, he told me directly that they had stolen his money and that of his partners and that therefore "they had to die",' the paper reported.

Lawyers for Maharaj described the call in a court hearing which concluded this week.

Yesterday a Florida judge wrapped up the three-day hearing, which was held to re-examine Maharaj's conviction.

His legal team, led by British civil rights lawyer and activist Clive Stafford Smith, hope to persuade Florida Circuit Court Judge William Thomas to overturn the conviction, saying new evidence indicates the Moo Youngs were money launderers who stole from Escobar's Medellin cartel.

Thomas has not said when he plans to rule, but lawyers said it could take several weeks.

As well as hearing from Mr Cuervo, the court heard testimony from an alleged former Medellin cartel enforcer, Jorge Maya, in a taped Skype interview from Colombia claiming that Escobar ordered the hit. He said: 'I am 100 percent sure that ... Kris Maharaj had nothing to do with the assassinations.'

Furthermore, a former U.S. government informant, Baruch Vega, said on Wednesday he learned at the time that the killings were arranged by a top cartel boss who had the hotel room across the hall from where the Moo Youngs were slain.

An American pilot who flew cocaine shipments for the cartel also testified that he heard Escobar say he ordered the killing, telling prosecutors: 'You got the wrong guy.'

A lawyer who investigated the Moo Youngs' finances for a life insurance company testified that their business records suggested they were money laundering, although they were depicted as legitimate businessmen in the 1987 trial.

Prosecutors said the defense case consisted entirely of hearsay and unproven allegations. The Moo Youngs' financial records did not change the case 'one iota,' prosecutor Penny Brill said.

The fingerprints of Maharaj, a once wealthy businessman who divided his time between Britain and Florida, were found in the hotel room where the murders took place and he had a long-running feud with Derrick Moo Young, prosecutors said.

The money-laundering evidence was 'absolute rubbish,' said Shaula Ann Nagel, the daughter of Derrick Moo Young, who sat through some of the hearing. As for the new witnesses, 'why weren't they here 27 years ago?' she said.

Original report here

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Arrested for arson. Flung into stinking cells. Stung for £40k. How a Greek holiday became a Stygian nightmare for blameless British couple

A British teacher was jailed in France and Greece, handcuffed and forced to pay for his drinking water when he was held under a controversial European Arrest Warrant after wrongly being accused of starting a forest fire.

Keith Hainsworth, 64, an Ancient Greek tutor, was seized at Calais as he and his wife Pippa returned from a weekend in Paris last month.

He was thrown in a French police cell, banned from speaking to his wife or a lawyer, accused of ‘malicious arson’ in Greece with his wife as an accomplice – and branded an ‘environmental terrorist’ by a French judge.

It led to a five-week nightmare which culminated in Mr Hainsworth being flown to Greece from France under armed guard, thrown in a notorious Athens jail and then transported on a nine-hour journey in a ‘cattle truck’ prison transfer wagon with menacing Greek criminals before he was finally freed and returned home on Tuesday.

The Greek judge who ordered Mr Hainsworth’s arrest admitted a mistake had been made – but the couple still face the threat of legal action in the country, where arson carries a ten-year jail sentence.

There are an estimated 3,000 fires in Greece’s tinder box forests each year. No one was hurt and no property was damaged in the one that led to Mr Hainsworth’s detention.

But the couple now face a bill of up to £40,000 for legal fees and other costs. Last night, they backed calls for Britain to stay out of the European Arrest Warrant (EWA), which left them – and the British Government – unable to stop Mr Hainsworth’s ordeal.

In fact – to illustrate how powerless the British authorities are in the face of EAW – Mr Hainsworth was first detained after being handed over to French police by British Customs officials, who admitted there was nothing they could do because they were on French soil.

Mr Hainsworth studied Classics at Oxford, and had a successful career in advertising, working on a Lemsip TV advert, before reverting to his first love – Latin and Ancient Greek – a decade ago. He now gives private tuition in the subjects.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday in the kitchen of their Victorian terraced home in Hampton, South-West London, Mr Hainsworth said of his ordeal: ‘It was disgraceful. I couldn’t see how I was going to get out of it. Far better people than me have been locked up in Athens, like Socrates, and many never came out.’

He kept his spirits up with poetry, spotting familiar Greek ruins through the window grille of his prison lorry, and making self-mocking quips about his resemblance to actor Jack Nicholson.

Mrs Hainsworth, a school governor, added: ‘I was horrified. In Britain you are innocent until proved guilty – in Greece it seems you are treated as guilty from the start.’

Dressed in burgundy trousers and with an Oxford blue scarf draped round his neck, urbane Mr Hainsworth is an unlikely pyromaniac.

His ordeal started in July when the couple toured the Peloponnese region – they holiday in Greece most years – in a hire car.

‘A few miles down the road Pippa said, "Do you smell smoke?" ’ recalled Mr Hainsworth. ‘Her nostrils are notoriously more sensitive than mine.’

‘She said, "Shall we call the fire brigade?" Then we heard a siren, so assuming they were on their way, we drove on and stopped to take some photographs of goats a few miles down the road – hardly the actions of criminals trying to scarper.’

They went home as planned a week later. It was not until three months later – on October 7 – that the long-extinguished forest fire came back to haunt them.

They had been to Paris to celebrate Mrs Hainsworth’s birthday – and so ‘horseracing nut’ Mr Hainsworth could attend the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamps in Paris. After handing their passports to the British Customs officer on their way back via the Eurotunnel, the official summoned French police.

‘The French said, "You’re under arrest. The Greek authorities have accused you of arson,’ said Mr Hainsworth. ‘It was Kafkaesque, amazing.’ The impotent British officials squirmed: ‘I’m sorry, we have to do this because we are on French territory. It’s an EAW.’

Mr Hainsworth was arrested for ‘deliberate and malicious arson with others’ – the ‘others’ being refined Mrs Hainsworth, although she was never detained.

He was put in a police cell with a hole-in-the-ground lavatory, five ‘disgusting smelly blankets,’ and no pillow nor mattress. ‘The French said, "Don’t bother with a lawyer, they can’t do anything for you." ’

His ‘wonderful’ wife booked into a local hotel, drummed up a lawyer and alerted their family, but was banned from seeing Mr Hainsworth or even giving him his pyjamas and toothbrush.

Meanwhile, in the time-honoured fashion of an Englishman abroad in a spot of bother, her husband used his native sang froid to ease the tension. When one sceptical policemen briefly asked if it could be mistaken identity, droll Mr Hainsworth replied: ‘I’m afraid not – there aren’t many Keith Hainsworths.’

He also latched on to the French word ‘ressembler’ (resemble), telling them that his friends used to say he bore a passing ‘ressemblance’ to Jack Nicholson – ‘when I was younger, mind.’

‘One of the policemen charged off shouting, "We’ve got Jack Nicholson down the corridor!"’ he said.

Seventeen hours later, Mr Hainsworth was led out of his grim cell and taken to a court hearing in Douai, 90 miles away.

He had been warned the French could not overturn the EAW. But he was outraged when the French prosecutor demanded he be kept in prison until he was extradited to Greece, accusing him of ‘environmental terrorism’.

The French authorities later relented and released him from custody on the condition he stayed at the Paris home of his brother-in-law and did not return to the UK.

Mrs Hainsworth enlisted the support of their local MP, Business Secretary Vince Cable, Tory anti-EAW campaigner Dominic Raab, and the British Embassy in Greece. But they could not stop the EAW juggernaut.

On November 7, Mr Hainsworth was frogmarched across the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris by two Greek policeman who flanked him on the back row of the plane to Athens. ‘Even when I went to the loo, they stood guard outside,’ he recalls. On arrival in Athens he was dumped in the city’s notorious Petrou Ralli detention centre, where the ‘inhumane overcrowding and lice infestation’ has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Hainsworth said: ‘It was like a dungeon, a Stygian gloom.’ He had a cell with bars, a tomb-like slab for a bed and no light. But he had held on to his book of W.H. Auden poems.

He said: ‘The other prisoners must have thought I was loony, sitting there in the half light in my brogues, a ghostly figure reading my Auden.’ One of the poems, Shock, is about an incident at Vienna’s Schwechat Flughafen airport which includes the lines: ‘I’m stumped by what happened to upper-middle-class me…when I, I, I, if you please, at Schwechat Flughafen was frisked by a cop for weapons.’ Mr Hainsworth recalled saying to himself: ‘I never thought I could be treated like this either, Mr Auden.’

He was given no food and forced to pay for water. ‘The lavatories were disgusting. The stench of the blankets was overpowering.’

After 15 hours in the cell, he was taken out the next morning and put in a ‘cattle truck’ with dozens of other prisoners. ‘There was a corridor down the middle of the truck with steel cages. The other men were shouting and banging on the walls. It was Bedlam. The man next to me was like a suckling pig, constantly rolling cigarettes and smoking. Not good for my asthma.

‘When we pulled out of the dungeon, I thought this is my Fidelio moment,’ he mused. (In Beethoven’s Fidelio opera, Leonore, posing as prison guard Fidelio, rescues her husband from death in prison.)

Mr Hainsworth was subjected to a nine-hour journey through Greece, bounced off his metal bench as the truck lurched en route to the town of Gythion, near where the forest fire raged, and where, he hoped, his case would be heard and he would be freed.

En route the truck came to a halt at a police station in Napflio, an historic port the Hainsworths have often visited to see the famous Ancient Greek ruins Tiryns. ‘We’d seen the barbed wired prison next door but I never expected to get an inside view,’ he joked.

He was joined by three intimidating youths who cracked their knuckles at him and demanded money. Eventually, he arrived at Gythion, hands cuffed behind his back, hungry, parched and bedraggled. But his sense of humour was intact as he ribbed his Greek lawyer, Georgios Pyromallis, about his name – ‘pyro’ being Greek for fire.

In court Mr Hainsworth was confronted by two women judges, including one who had issued the initial arrest warrant. He observed drily: ‘I said, "I’m ashamed to say I don’t speak modern Greek. You could say it’s a blot on my character".’

The judges were so alarmed by his condition they insisted he had a meal before the hearing – and admitted the EAW should not have been issued. ‘I had been treated like an animal, now the judge was mothering me. It was like Alice In Wonderland. I half expected the Mad Hatter to bring in the tea,’ said Mr Hainsworth.

It was then that he discovered that he had been reported to police by a local truck driver who passed his car near the forest fire. When the man was named in court, there were knowing giggles: he was a well-known mischief maker.

The air of farce continued as the embarrassed judge suggested Mr Hainsworth’s ‘adventure’ would make a good film. Talk turned to who should play him. By now, fed and watered and confident he was about to be freed, he suggested – naturally – Jack Nicholson.

The judges cancelled the EAW but are yet to formally close the case, and could still recall the Hainsworths to Greece.

Mr Pyromallis told The Mail on Sunday the Greek judges had blundered – ‘Unfortunately some use the EAW as a first resort instead of last’ – and revealed the whole sorry saga could have been avoided.

It transpired that Greek police obtained the Hainsworths’ names and number from the car hire firm on the day of the fire. They could have phoned him then and cleared the whole thing up,’ said Mr Pyromallis. ‘Some Greek judges overreact.’

Greek police denied Mr Hainsworth had been mistreated.

Original report here

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Headteacher who was arrested at his desk on child sex abuse charges and endured year-long court ordeal is cleared by jury in just 15 minutes

The accuser should be prosecuted for perjury

A respected headmaster was cleared by a jury in just 15 minutes of molesting an unruly pupil in his study. James Bird, 53, was arrested at his desk and subjected to a year long court ordeal after he was accused of assaulting a boy more than decade ago when he was head of a Church of England primary school.

The boy, now 20, described as 'aggressive, confrontational and challenging' by staff had been sent to Mr Bird's study for being rude to a teacher in class.

Ten years later he went to police after a drinking session with a friend to claim he was forced to perform sex acts upon Mr Bird as 'punishment' for being naughty at St Peter's C or E Primary School, in Accrington, Lancashire.

During the inquiry Mr Bird was suspended and computer and phones were seized from his home in Leyland - but no inappropriate material was found.

This week following a trial at Preston Crown Court, Mr Bird who is currently headmaster at Newton Bluecoat C of E Primary near Kirkham was cleared of four counts of gross indecency after jurors dismissed the claims almost as soon as they had retired to consider their verdicts. They retired at 12.41pm on Thursday and came back at 12.56pm.

After the case Mr Bird, a Christian father of four said in a statement he was looking forward to getting back to work. He said: 'I'm very happy that the truth has come out. It was made crystal clear in court these incident did not occur and it has been very difficult since these allegations came to light.

'I'd like to thank my many friends colleagues, parents of pupils and other well wishers for all their support prayers and kindness and also particularly the support of our church. We have taken enormous strength from them all.

'Their strong faith and prayers, along with ours have made these 11 months bearable. After 338 very difficult days my family and I need to get our lives back to normal. I am now looking forward to spending some quality time with my 13-year-old daughter who I have not been allowed to be alone with since before Christmas last year. 'Secondly I'm looking forward to returning to my fantastic job as a headteacher and thanking my deputy and all the staff for the wonderful work they have done in my absence.'

Rev David Lyon of St Annes Parish Church who was chairman of governors at St Peter's and who gave a character reference as part of Mr Bird's defence case, said: 'I wonder why this case was brought. 'His approach to children was one that he wanted them to excel and be the best they could possible be. It's unbelievable.'

The court heard Mr Bird was accused of molesting the young boy on 'seven or eight occasions' between September 1 2002 and April 30 2004 when he was ten after he had been sent out of lessons for bad behaviour.

The complainant told a jury when he was taken into Bird's office for the first time, he thought he would be given lines to do as a punishment. He said: 'He used to say "you're bad aren't you?" and "you have to do this, this is your punishment". I just cannot get it out of my head what he has done now that I am older. It has just messed up my life.'

He added: 'I did not know what he was going to do. Normally you get lines that you have to write. We went to his office. He sat down and we did talk a bit about why I was misbehaving, but we did not really talk for that long.

'That is when he said, "it is more serious than you think and you are going to have to take a punishment for it". That is when he started making me do stuff.'

It was claimed on one occasion he was disciplined by Bird, who took him out of class to his office, where he shut the door and blinds and forced the boy to perform sex acts on him before calling his mother in to school to discuss his behaviour.

In December last year, while he was drunk, the man told a close friend about his claims and he was encouraged to report Mr Bird to police.

In an interview, hours after his arrest Bird blasted the man's claims as being 'absolutely ridiculous' and told officers he had always had an open door policy when disciplining pupils. He said he remembered the pupil, telling officers: 'He wasn't always a good boy, I remember that.'

But he said he could not remember any specific incidents where he had been involved in disciplining the schoolboy or spoken to him in his office.

Joan Smith, a former colleage of Mr Bird recalled the boy's behaviour being 'confrontational and challenging' at times and added: 'I often wondered what his aggression was about. He was quite an aggressive boy and I couldn't understand the reason. We got on well and had a good relationship.'

Today Det Con Karen Parker of Lancashire Police said: 'Whilst we are disappointed with the outcome of this trial, we of course respect the decision of the jury and I would like to thank them for their consideration of this case.

'Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to investigating allegations of sexual offences, no matter how historic, and no matter what the role, position and status of the alleged offender, and we would encourage anyone who has been a victim to come forward safe in the knowledge that they will be treated sensitively and professionally.'

A spokeswoman for the CPS said: 'The jury have had an opportunity over the course of the trial to hear and fully consider both the prosecution and the defence cases and we of course respect the verdicts.'

Original report here

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Young farmer who shot at escaping burglars to stop them running over his mother sues crime tsar who accused him of endangering the public

A young farmer who fired a shotgun to protect his mother from being run over by intruders is suing a controversial crime tsar who claimed he endangered the public.

Bill Edwards, 23, has accused North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan and North Yorkshire Police of smearing him – then squandering tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to fight the £50,000 libel case at court.

He claims remarks Mrs Mulligan made in a radio interview – based on police advice – were libellous and have led to him being shunned by potential employers.

Former public schoolboy Mr Edwards was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in August 2012 after catching two burglars red-handed as they tried to steal tools, furniture and scrap metal from his family's property.

As his mother, Louisa Smith, frantically dialled the police for help, one thief fled on foot while the other jumped into a Ford Transit van and accelerated towards her.

Fearing for their lives, Mr Edwards fired his legally-held shotgun at the vehicle as Mrs Smith screamed: Shoot out the tyres.’

Mr Edwards hit the windscreen and bodywork — but nobody was hurt. They then gave chase, with the farmer driving while his mother gave a running commentary to police on her mobile phone. Police eventually caught culprit David Taylor a few miles away.

Despite the terrifying ordeal at the isolated woodland property near Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Mr Edwards was arrested, locked up overnight and had his guns confiscated.

In December 2012 – after languishing on bail for four months– police dropped the charges after prosecutors concluded he used ‘reasonable force in self-defence’.

Meanwhile, Taylor, who claimed he had been ‘traumatised’ during the break-in, was charged with theft and escaped with a paltry £100 fine – prompting Mr Edwards to tell his story to the Daily Mail.

But in January 2013, Mrs Mulligan gave an interview to BBC Radio York claiming there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ which had led to his arrest.

Despite being completely exonerated, the Tory crime tsar – under fire for spending £10,000 on ‘branding’ including a new logo at a time of crippling police cuts – suggested Mr Edwards had not told the truth, according to court papers.

She told listeners there were ‘aspects of this case that are quite serious and I think that those details are not in the public domain… We cannot let people get the impression that they can take the law into their own hands.’

Court documents claim the PCC was wrongly briefed by senior North Yorkshire Police officers that Mr Edwards tried to shoot out the thief’s tyres during the high-speed chase – rather than while he was standing in the farm’s yard.

In its defence to the lawsuit, North Yorkshire Police admitted Acting Assistant Chief Constable Ken McIntosh had ‘apologised’ for passing ‘inaccurate information’ to the crime tsar. It ‘extended’ the apology to Mr Edwards, but insisted this was ‘without any admission of liability for defamation’.

Mr Edwards said Mrs Mulligan’s remarks were defamatory and that it is hard for him to find work because farmers in the community now think he is a liar.

He is also challenging the police over a decision to confiscate his shotgun and other firearms which he used to control pests on farmland and revoke his license.

He said: ‘After the thief was fined they had me on the news and radio and then they had the police on. That should have been the conclusion of everything.

‘But [Julia Mulligan] went and made these statements that destroyed everything. My boss came out and told me to leave work because he heard that on the radio and sent me home.

‘I went from being a hero who saved my mum’s life while standing up to a thief, to people thinking there was something I was hiding. Their assumption was, "What is he not telling us? What is he hiding?"

‘It is a huge burden because people who I used to work with think I’m a liar who has not been telling the truth.

‘Farmers have tens of thousands pounds of equipment and machinery and why would they trust me on their machinery? You're finished if something happens and they don't trust you.

‘I was hoping for an on-air apology to rectify what she had said because it has had a huge effect on me, but she has refused.’

A court hearing is pencilled in for Leeds High Court in January, where the commissioner – elected to hold the force into account – will be represented by the same legal team as the police, prompting concerns about a conflict of interest.

Solicitor Andrew Gray, who represents Mr Edwards, said: ‘My client's life has become a living hell, due to the actions and failures of North Yorkshire Police and its Police and Crime Commissioner. Bill is a hero, not a villain, and he should be have been treated accordingly.’

The case is understood to have cost North Yorkshire Police around £40,000 of taxpayers’ money.

The force claim it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment on the case.

Mrs Mulligan said: ‘Mr Edwards has instigated legal proceedings and it isn’t appropriate that either of us should comment on the details of a live legal case. We need to let this case follow due process and I have every confidence that it will come to an appropriate outcome.’

Original report here

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Politically correct British police protected a violent Muslim -- until he killed a woman

A nurse was murdered and mutilated by her ex-boyfriend after police failed to warn her that he had a history of attacks on women, a damning official report has found.

Katie Cullen, 34, a highly respected hospital sister, was ‘badly let down’ by police who failed to protect her from Iman Ghaefelipour, 28.

The Iranian, who had successfully claimed asylum in the UK, threatened to kill two previous girlfriends and burn down one of their houses.

When Miss Cullen reported him to police for harassment and death threats, they investigated – but did not pass on the information.

This was because she said he had spoken ‘in the heat of the moment’ and had never been violent, and there were no ‘warning markers’ for violence on his record, they claimed.

Miss Cullen later agreed to meet him at her home, where he stabbed her more than 130 times in the face and neck, cut out her right eyeball and tried to sever her right hand. He was jailed for at least 23 years in 2010 after pleading guilty to the murder in October 2009.

Yesterday a deeply critical report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that had she been told of his past, Miss Cullen might be alive today.

It said claims he set fires on an earlier partner’s property were not handled properly.

Rachel Cerfontyne, IPCC deputy chairman, said police put her in danger by giving her ‘false reassurance’.

She went on: ‘In my view, Katie was badly let down by Greater Manchester Police. Our investigation exposed a catalogue of inaction and missed opportunities.

‘Had arson offences against [his ex] been adequately investigated, it is possible Mr Ghaefelipour would have been convicted and not at liberty . . . [Miss Cullen] was passed from pillar to post.’

Her mother Diane, also a nurse, said: ‘We are distraught at what happened to Katie and utterly appalled at the lack of care she received at the hands of GMP.

‘It is inconceivable to us that the two police officers concerned should protect her assailant . . . rather than a vulnerable girl who lived on her own and who turned to them for help. By withholding such information from Katie they denied her the opportunity to protect herself.

‘She returned to her own home alone and vulnerable, ignorant of the dangerous situation she was in.’

She added: ‘Since Katie’s murder we have been plunged into unimaginable torture. ‘There isn’t a day goes by I don’t think about her.’

Original report here

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Duped by Medill Innocence Project, Milwaukee man now free

The first time I wrote about Alstory Simon, then a Milwaukee north sider, was in 1999, right after he confessed to a double murder in Chicago.

Simon's shocking admission — not to police but to an investigator working for Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project — led to the release and pardon of a man on death row for the crime, and ultimately to the death penalty being abolished in Illinois.

Two years later, I wrote about Simon again. This time he had reached out to me from prison to say the confession and subsequent guilty plea were involuntary. He insisted he was innocent, as do most inmates who send letters to reporters from prison.

My column was not sympathetic. His confession was right there on videotape for everyone to see, including the detail that he had "busted off about six rounds."

Last week, Simon walked out of prison a free man after Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that her office, after a yearlong investigation, was vacating the charges against him and ending his 37-year sentence.

The investigation by the Medill Innocence Project, she said, "involved a series of alarming tactics that were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law enforcement standards, they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon's constitutionally protected rights."

The truth took 15 years to come out. That's 15 years that Simon, now 64, spent behind bars.

"Believe me, it is mentally painful to walk around every day, locked up for something that you know you didn't do," Simon told Shawn Rech, whose film about the case, "A Murder in the Park," now has an ending. It premieres at a film festival in New York on Nov. 17.

Simon, who moved to Milwaukee from Chicago in the 1980s to find work, is not granting interviews, his attorney, Terry Ekl, told me. But Ekl echoed Alvarez's criticism of former Northwestern journalism professor David Protess, who led the Medill Innocence Project, and the investigator on the team, Paul Ciolino.

"In my opinion, Northwestern, Protess and Ciolino framed Simon so that they could secure the release of (Anthony) Porter and make him into the poster boy for the anti-death penalty movement," he said.

Identified by several eye witnesses, Porter was sentenced to death for the fatal shooting of Jerry Hillard and Marilyn Green at a south side Chicago park in 1982. He was just two days from a lethal chemical injection when he was freed in February 1999 following Simon's confession.

Then-Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000, and Illinois abolished capital punishment in 2011.

But that neat and clean narrative unraveled with the discovery of how the confession by Simon was obtained. Protess discovered that Green's mother had mentioned Simon was with Green and Hillard at the park the day of the murders, so Protess went after Simon in an effort to clear Porter.

Protess and two of his journalism students came to Simon's home in the 200 block of E. Wright St. in Milwaukee and told him they were working on a book about unsolved murders. According to Simon, Protess told him, "We know you did it."

Then Simon received a visit from Ciolino and another man. They had guns and badges and claimed to be Chicago police officers. They said they knew he had killed Green and Hillard, so he better confess if he hoped to avoid the death penalty.

They showed him a video of his ex-wife, Inez Jackson, implicating him for the crime — a claim she recanted on her death bed in 2005 — and another video of a supposed witness to the crime who turned out to be an actor.

They coached Simon through a videotaped confession, promising him a light sentence and money from book and movie deals on the case. Simon, admittedly on a three-day crack cocaine bender, struggled to understand what was going on.

Perhaps worst of all, they hooked up Simon with a free lawyer to represent him, Jack Rimland, without telling him that Rimland was a friend of Ciolino and Protess and in on their plan to free Porter.

At Rimland's urging, Simon pleaded guilty to the crime and even offered what sounded like a sincere apology to Green's family in court. As added leverage to make him cooperate, Rimland had told Simon he was suspected in a Milwaukee murder, though nothing ever came of it.

"Bob told me to get rid of this attorney. ... I should have listened to him," Simon says in the film, referring to Bob Braun, a West Allis man best known around here for protesting against abortion, same-sex marriage, pornography and other issues. The two men are friends.

Braun said he never doubted Simon's innocence. The two men wrote back and forth regularly during Simon's incarceration, and Braun visited him there twice. After 15 years in prison, Simon told Braun, the most noticeable change is that everyone carries a phone, and there are no more pay phones.

When his abuses came to light, Protess was suspended by Northwestern and has since retired from there. The Medill Innocence Project has been renamed The Medill Justice Project. Protess isn't talking, but he is now president of the Chicago Innocence Project, which investigates wrongful convictions. Ciolino put out a statement saying Simon also had confessed to a Milwaukee TV reporter, his lawyer and others.

"You explain that," he said.

We know now that the explanation was that Simon was snared in a trap set by people who wanted to end the death penalty, no matter what the cost. Once they convinced Simon it was for his own good, he was all in.

And now, finally, he's out and back in Chicago. Simon enjoyed a lobster dinner on his first day of freedom. Ekl said he doesn't think Simon has family still in Milwaukee and is not planning to return here. Too many painful memories.

Simon's mother died while he was in prison. He told the filmmaker he's eager to reconnect with his daughter and see his grandchild for the first time.

"I thank God," he said, "that he shined down on me."

Original report here

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Three Ways Courts Screw the Innocent Into Pleading Guilty

You should go read Jed A. Rakoff’s essay in The New York Review of Books, in which the senior federal district judge tries to explain why innocent people so often plead guilty.

But even if you have better things to do this weekend than digest Rakoff’s thorough, convincing, 4,400-word essay, it’s still worth considering why at least 20,000 people have pled guilty to and gone to jail for felonies they did not commit — if you very conservatively take criminologists’ lowest estimates, and cut them in half.

Rakoff identifies three ways the criminal justice system obstructs its own "truth seeking mechanism," a trial by jury, which Rakoff calls a "shield against tyranny" and which Thomas Jefferson famously called "the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

1. By embracing the increasingly-popular plea bargain. Some 97 percent of federal trials were resolved last year through plea bargain, the offer of a lesser charge and a reduced sentence if the defendant forgoes a trial. But the practice, which has never really taken hold in other countries, is, to Rakoff, "the devil’s pact." Plea bargains happen behind closed doors, without judicial oversight, and are weighted largely in favor of the prosecutor, who has access to police reports, witness interviews, and forensic test reports. Prosecutors also have the discretion to shape the charges brought at trial, and until last year federal attorneys routinely used that power to bully people into plea bargains; any defendant who sought a trial would face the most severe charges with the lengthiest prison sentences as a matter of policy.

In contrast, defense attorneys typically only meet with defendants after they have been arrested and can only interview them through "arduous restrictions imposed by most jails," as Rakoff puts it. The notion that a plea bargain is a contractual mediation between two relatively equal parties, Rakoff argues, "is a total myth".

2. Through mandatory minimum sentences. These rules effectively took sentencing power away from judges and transferred it to prosecutors, who can ensure uncooperative defendants spend a long time in prison by bringing charges with the longest minimum sentences. In 2012, the average sentence for defendants brought up on drugs charges who took a plea deal equaled five years and four months, while the average sentence for those who went to trial was sixteen years. The combination of mandatory sentences and prosecutorial discretion forces the defendant into a grim cost-benefit analysis: run the risk of losing the case and serve the maximum sentence or take a reduced charge, at a reduced sentence, even when innocent.

3. Via the unfettered rise of prosecutorial power. Prosecutors have far more power to exert their will than any other party involved in the criminal justice system. The one mechanism that could check their power is the jury trial, which is becoming "virtually extinct" in federal court, Rakoff writes.

One possible solution to all these problems — aside from repealing mandatory minimum sentences and generally reducing the severity of sentences — is greater judicial oversight after indictment. Rakoff’s proposal is for a magistrate to meet with a prosecutor and defendant independently, ask them to provide evidence, and make their own propositions on whether the case is strong enough to go to trial. The magistrate could also interview witnesses and even the defendant.

"I am under no illusions that this suggested involvement of judges in the plea-bargaining process is a panacea," Rakoff concludes. "But would not any program that helps to reduce the shame of sending innocent people to prison be worth trying?

Original report here

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Australian cop convicted on drink-driving, drug charges

An off-duty Victorian policeman who fled the scene of a multi-car crash was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .196 and the drug ecstasy in his system.

Nathan Harkness had been to a 40th birthday party in June when he drove through a red light outside Geelong and braked heavily before crashing into a parked car, which struck a second vehicle.

Melbourne Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday that Harkness, 38, a senior constable, drove from the scene about 9am as the other drivers readied to exchange names and addresses.

Prosecutor Julian Ayres told the court that soon after, and "coincidentally", his car was noticed with damage by other police members.

Mr Ayres said Harkness tested positive to alcohol and at 11.52am a blood test was taken that later revealed the high reading and also the presence of ecstasy.

Harkness, who is suspended, pleaded guilty to charges of exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol, careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing a drug blood test.

His barrister, Sean Hardy, told the court his client, a policeman since 2008, was married with three children, had no prior convictions and his chance of retaining his job "doesn't look good".

Mr Hardy said Harkness did not take drugs and believed his drink may have been spiked, but admitted he tended to binge-drink alcohol.

He would suffer hardship as a result of his poor judgment, he submitted, as the circumstances were "not going to assist him" in future applications for work.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton told Harkness he was lucky his wife was not greeted at their front door with the news he had been killed or he had killed someone else.

Ms Broughton said he was "well aware of the carnage on the roads" and that he was "incredibly lucky" his type of drink-driving was not worse.

She told him he ought to have clearly known it was his duty to uphold the law and advised him that he needed to urgently and consistently address his issue with alcohol, but was confident "we will not see you back here again".

Harkness was convicted on all charges, fined a total of $2000 and had his licence cancelled for 19 months.

Original report here. (Via Australian police news)

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Australia: Serving S.A. Police officer Amanda Boughen pleads guilty to fabricating, altering or concealing evidence in ongoing case

A SERVING SA Police officer has admitted she fabricated, altered or concealed evidence in an ongoing investigation while working patrols in the northern suburbs.

For the first time, The Advertiser can today report details of the prosecution of Senior Constable Amanda Boughen following a plea bargain deal and the lifting of a suppression order.

Boughen, 40, of Mawson Lakes, had previously pleaded not guilty to one count of abuse of public office and one count of attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice.

It was alleged those offences, at Ingle Farm in May 2010, involved Boughen tipping off her then-lover, Storm Strang, to an investigation into his Bridge Rd, Para Hills drug crop.

Strang, 41, is facing sentencing for his role as ringleader of a three-state, four-year, $40 million cannabis trafficking syndicate that involved TV personality Clayton Lush.

However, Boughen also faced a separate set of allegations concerning her actions at the now-defunct Para Hills Police Station between May and September 2006.

That charge — one count of fabricate, alter or conceal evidence — has been the subject of an Adelaide Magistrates Court suppression order since it was filed earlier this year.

Today, Boughen pleaded guilty to that offence and the court heard the abuse of public office and obstruction counts had been withdrawn by prosecutors as part of a plea bargain.

Upon application by The Advertiser, Judge Paul Rice revoked the suppression order — permitting publication of all matters concerning Boughen for the first time.

Boughen was today remanded on continuing bail to face sentencing submissions next month.

Original report here. (Via Australian police news)

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Former BBC director sues Marks & Spencer after wrongful arrest for meat theft

Timothy Robinson, a writer, serves a writ at the High Court after security guards accuse him of stealing peppered steak and call police

A former BBC director and producer who was wrongly arrested while shopping and banned from all Marks & Spencer stores is suing the chain for damages of £100,000.

Timothy Robinson, 51, was handcuffed, taken to a police station and accused of stealing £60 of peppered steak and a barrel of pork in May.

He was released without charge, however, when police saw footage of a different person, about 15 years younger, stealing meat from the store, according to a High Court writ.

Mr Robinson, who has produced and directed history and arts programmes such as Digging for Britain and Timewatch, says he was falsely imprisoned for six hours and is seeking damages for this, as well as for defamation, emotional distress and mental suffering.

He is also asking for £5,000 as compensation for his partner’s mental suffering and wasted time as he tried to secure his release, plus reimbursement of all the money the couple have spent in their local Camden High Street store since 2001.

The company’s security guards have breached the store’s duties of trust, respect and good faith, he argues.

On the day in question, Mr Robinson was approached by guards at the North London store he shopped in daily and shown CCTV stills of himself, before police arrived to detain him.

Mr Robinson, who recently took voluntary redundancy from the BBC and now works as a writer, alleges that the guards refused to show him the footage of the actual thief.

The retailer is contesting Mr Robinson’s claim, but has joined Securitas Security Services, the firm that provided the guards, to the action. If M&S is found liable to Mr Robinson, Securitas should pay any damages awarded, the company argues.

It says security guards should have followed the ASCONE procedure when apprehending a suspect, which involves watching the person approach the display, select the merchandise and conceal it, then observing them and witnessing their non-payment and exit from the store.

The retailer admits that Mr Robinson was banned from its stores but says the notice was withdrawn on May 27 and has asked him to prove his allegation that its staff made harmful claims about him to other customers.

It denies liability for his alleged false imprisonment or the actions of the security guards and the Metropolitan Police.

The store says it is not liable to pay damages for defamation, or emotional distress, or to Mr Robinson’s partner either.

Mr Robinson, an Oxford University graduate whose partner is a lawyer, said he had found the whole experience "bewildering" and "intimidating." He said: "I thought that maybe I was going mad. I couldn’t understand how this situation could happen. It’s just so bizarre.

"Since it happened I have received no apology from Marks & Spencer and they haven’t admitted guilt. "If they had initially said sorry and offered me some form of compensation and said they were looking into their security measures, I probably would have left it. But they haven’t done anything and those security guards are still working there."

An M&S spokesman said: "As this matter is part of ongoing legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate for us to comment."

Original report here

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