Sunday, December 21, 2014

Was man framed to cover up for a rogue British cop?

The official body responsible for putting right miscarriages of justice is to launch an urgent, ‘fast-track’ inquiry into Wales’s worst mass murder following a Mail on Sunday investigation.

A spokesman for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) last night revealed it has given its highest ‘priority one’ status to the case of David Morris, 52, who is serving four life sentences for the savage killings of Mandy Power, 34, her daughters Katie, ten, and Emily, eight, and her 80-year-old mother, Doris Dawson.

Divorcee Mrs Power was Morris’s occasional lover, but was also in a lesbian relationship with Alison Lewis, a former police officer who was the wife of a serving South Wales sergeant, Stephen Lewis.

Mr and Mrs Lewis were arrested for the murder and interviewed before Morris became a suspect, though not charged.

Stephen’s twin, Inspector Stuart Lewis, was the first senior officer to reach the scene in Clydach, near Swansea, where Mandy and her family were bludgeoned to death.

After lying in wait and slaughtering them with a heavy pole, the killer set fire to their house in an effort to cover his tracks.

Inspector Lewis could not account for his movements at critical times during the night of the killings, June 26, 1999, and went off duty before telling any senior colleagues that this was a case of mass murder and arson. An official inquiry found he had told numerous lies and he was formally disciplined, though not criminally charged.

As this newspaper revealed last month, a dossier compiled for the CCRC by Morris’s lawyers, Maslen Merchant and Francis FitzGibbon QC, contains compelling fresh evidence, uncovered after a five-year investigation by Winchester University journalism lecturer Brian Thornton.

It includes the record of a message received by the murder inquiry incident room, which came from a trusted police informant. It stated that Mandy ‘and her kids had been threatened by her current lover’s husband who was a police officer’.

Also in the dossier are results of forensic tests done before Morris’s trial, which found traces of a man’s DNA on the murder weapon, the matches used to light the fire, and on Mandy’s clothes and watch. Inexplicably, further tests that could have established whether this DNA matched Morris or someone else were never carried out.

Morris has always protested his innocence, and from his cell at Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire, is urging the CCRC to have these further tests conducted as soon as possible.

In the wake of the Mail on Sunday report, several new witnesses have come forward with potentially vital new evidence.
The CCRC spokesman confirmed that these statements will also form part of the new inquiry.

Original report here

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Australia: Cop escapes conviction over Curti assault

A police officer who assaulted Brazilian student Roberto Curti during his fatal arrest in Sydney's CBD has escaped a conviction.
It has been more than two years since Mr Curti died in the early hours of March 18, 2012, after a chase and violent struggle with police in which he was tasered, handcuffed, hit with capsicum spray and knelt on.

Following an inquest into his death and a lengthy local court hearing into the matter, Senior Constable Damian John Ralph was the only officer out of three cops to be found guilty of his assault on Tuesday.

Shortly after handing down this decision, Magistrate Claire McFarlane placed him on a two-year good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.

Ralph's lawyer Roy Hood told the court the serving officer, who has been on restrictive duties since December 2013, had been a "troubled soul" since Mr Curti's death.

In finding Ralph guilty of assault on Tuesday, Ms McFarlane said the senior constable had used at least two cans of capsicum spray on Mr Curti.

It was deployed within 15cm of the 21-year-old's face, while he was lying stomach down and being knelt on by other officers.

"While I accept in the heat of the moment he may have thought it was appropriate ... it's obvious it was not," she said.

But she found Ralph was a man of good character, who was unlikely to reoffend and suffered from post-traumatic stress as a result of the incident.

Ralph, along with his colleague Chin Aun Lim, were charged with Mr Curti's assault, while fellow officers Scott James Edmondson and Daniel David Barling were charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The court heard Mr Curti became increasingly afraid after taking the drug LSD before his death.

When he stole two packets of biscuits from a convenience store, it was incorrectly reported as an armed robbery involving two men.

When Mr Curti was later spotted by police, he had no shirt and shoes on.

He was tackled twice by police on Pitt Street before being brought to the ground on the third attempt.

He died at the scene.

Original report here

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Friday, December 19, 2014

British dickless Tracy used force database 'like Google' to leak information about manhunt for police killer Dale Cregan

A policewoman who used the force database 'like Google' to leak information about the manhunt for police killer Dale Cregan to her sister has been jailed.

PC Katie Murray wept as she was jailed for almost three years after accessing confidential information about the pursuit to trade as 'gossip.'

The 29-year-old even sent her sister, Lindsey, the name and picture of one of the two women police officers shot dead by the one-eyed killer, three hours before they were formally identified at a news conference.

In a WhatsApp message between the pair, Lindsey said: 'Oh my God, I can't believe this s***, you better come here after work and fill me in' only for Murray to reply: 'I don't really know anything. He he'.

The officer, who had been with Greater Manchester Police since 2004, later filmed Cregan as he arrived at Newton Heath Police Station for interview.

In the clip she could be heard repeating 'Oh my God, oh my god,' as the killer was being transferred after handing himself in.

Cregan is currently serving a whole life sentence for the gun and grenade killings of PCs Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, in 2012, and a gangland double murder

Hospital worker Lindsey, said to be a habitual gossiper, was said to have passed on the sensitive material given to her by her sister.

Eight days after the serial killer carried out his second of four murders, she told a friend: ''Talking to Kate last night, I know the full story about Cregan x'

She was said to have provided details of the case and future police tactics concluding: 'keep it to yourself though. They are all targets our Kate said.'

At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, the sisters, both of Droylsden, were both convicted misconduct in a public office after a trial.

Katie was jailed for two years nine months and Lindsay was jailed for six months.

Passing sentence Judge Jonathan Foster QC told the women: 'Katie and Lindsay Murray, until this event you had both done well with your lives, both had responsible jobs and many people spoke well of you. But as sisters you have one thing in common. You both failed to recognise or respect the boundaries between right and wrong.

'Katie Murray you have fallen from grace and you have compromised the confidence of the public in the integrity of the police force. You have affected the reputation of the vast majority of serving police offices and made it less likely members of the public with cooperate with them.

'You knew your sister was a habitual gossiper and was likely to pass on information to others outside confidence. You used the police computer as if you were accessing Google.'

The court heard the WPC had once been in a relationship with cannabis dealer Jason Lloyd, 44, and also used the force database to get confidential information to him about police investigations into his criminality over a 20 month period.

But Nick Clarke QC prosecuting said: 'She also misused police systems to gain and provide information to friends and family members without any lawful policing purposes.

'Lindsey has requested Katie to check police systems and provide information to her regarding other individuals and incidents known to her.

'There was no proper policing purpose for such inquiries and no legitimate basis for the dissemination of the information.'

Leaks by Katie included details of the investigations into the murders by Cregan of Mark Short, 28, who was shot dead at The Cotton Tree Pub in Ashton-under-Lyne on May 25 2012 and father David Short, 46, who was killed in a gun and grenade attack at his home on August 10 2012.

When Cregan and another suspect were initially arrested and questioned and bailed on their return from Thailand on June 12 2012, Katie reviewed the arrests and looked at their custody records.

'Examination of call data, text and 'What App' messages between Katie, Lindsey and associates has established that Katie divulged to her sister information regarding the murder investigations including the hunt for Dale Cregan and his associates, their arrest and custody process.

'Lindsey was aware that Jason Lloyd was in contact with the Cregan family..'

Mr Clarke said when the two policewomen were killed on September 18 2012, Katie was not assigned to the investigation team - yet sent a picture of WPC Nicola at 12.53pm three hours ahead of the Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy naming the dead office during a news conference.

The prosecutor said: 'Not only did she constantly monitor the incident logs and activity as shown on the police computers, she was also contacting her sister, then almost immediately afterwards Lloyd.

'Katie Murray calls Mr Lloyd at the time the news is breaking so she can talk to him about developments. Lindsey Murray is clearly very interested in what's going on.

'She even released a picture of one of the murdered officers before that unfortunate officer had been publicly named by police.

'We are sure that you will be aware how sensitively and carefully controlled the release of such information has to be, to ensure that families are first told through appropriate official channels, other than reading about it on Twitter or through some other gossip based system of information leak - which is what was instigated by Katie that day.'

Murray was found out when police seized Lloyd's mobile phone following the Cregan murders and texts on his mobile phone was examined.

'When police raided Katie's home, they found an envelope of letters written to her from Lloyd which she kept in the drawer of her bedside cabinet.

In mitigation Murray's defence counsel Rick Holland said: 'Despite the fact she was a police officer for ten years, nothing can prepare her for the rigours of the custodial regime that awaits her.

'She was profoundly upset when those two officers died as were all the officers. She didn't take the images from the internal computers, the information was obtained and she shared their details from Facebook.

'There was a language used that was contemptuous of Cregan and others. She described the day she was arrested as the worst in her life. She is utterly ruined now.'

James Harrison, representing Lindsay Murray said: 'She was receiving information from police computers out of curiosity. It was a sustained course of misguided curiosity. She says she was like a member of neighbourhood watch.'

Lloyd, from Droyslden was jailed for 15 years after being convicted of misconduct, drugs and firearms offences.

Original report here

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Establishes that Police, But Not the Rest of Us, Can Get the Law Wrong—And Not Face Charges

If a police officer’s erroneous understanding of the law leads to him pulling someone over, does he violate the Fourth Amendment, which established "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures"?

On Monday, the Supreme Court said no, it’s not a violation. In Heien v. North Carolina, eight justices held that a police officer does not violate the Fourth Amendment if he has a mistaken but reasonable interpretation of state criminal law. (Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented.)

What Constitutes a Reasonable Seizure

The Fourth Amendment forbids, among other things, "unreasonable" seizures. A traffic stop is a "seizure," and a seizure is unreasonable unless the police have a "reasonable suspicion" that a person has committed a crime (or is about to).

For nearly 50 years, the Supreme Court has made it clear that the "reasonable suspicion" requirement does not demand that an officer be absolutely right; in fact, the officer need not even be more likely right than wrong. A police officer can make a mistake of fact about whether someone has committed a crime and yet still be "reasonable."

In the Heien case, the Court, by an 8-1 vote, added to that law. The Court ruled that a stop can be "reasonable" even if the officer makes a reasonable mistake of law.

In Heien an officer mistakenly, but reasonably, believed that a driver had violated a state traffic law by having only one working brake light. The officer stopped the vehicle, questioned the driver and another occupant, and ultimately found cocaine, which was used to convict the driver and passenger.

Because the officer’s interpretation of the traffic law was reasonable, the Court concluded, there was no Fourth Amendment violation, even though the officer was wrong about the law (in North Carolina, it is not a violation so long as at least one brake light is working).

Police Officers’ Obligation to Know the Law

The Heien opinion will leave many people with the impression everyone must know the criminal law except for the police.

The Heien opinion holds that the police can act "reasonably" even if they don’t know the criminal law but then says that no private party can act "reasonably" if he or she makes the same mistake. That dichotomy implies that the police can break the law, but members of the public cannot, a double standard that is offensive to longstanding American values.

That problem arises from two facts: Private parties use the term "reasonable" in a common-sense manner as a guide for their conduct, but the Fourth Amendment uses that word as a term of art and as a legal standard. The result is that the police can act unlawfully but "reasonably" because the scope and requirements of the Fourth Amendment are not identical to those features of the substantive criminal law. The Court could have saved itself some criticism by making that point, but that is the lesser problem with the opinion.

Citizens and Ignorance of the Law

An obvious question raised by the Heien case is whether a private party can also raise a mistake-of-law claim when he is charged with a crime. The Supreme Court appeared to say "no."

Unfortunately, the Court too glibly treated this important issue.

The Heien opinion will be read as an endorsement of the common law rule that ignorance of the law is no excuse to a crime. The opinion, however, does not examine what that rule means and how it arose.

The common law did not recognize a mistake of law defense because (1) the defense made no sense in past eras when there were only nine felonies, (2) each felony outlawed obviously immoral and harmful conduct, such as murder, rape and robbery, and (3) each crime required the government to prove that the defendant acted with a "guilty mind" or "evil intent."

The no-ignorance rule made sense 600 years ago but makes no sense today because (1) there are thousands of crimes, (2) in many cases no reasonable person would have thought that the conduct at issue was a crime, and (3) the prosecution does not have to prove that a person acted with a "guilty mind" or "evil intent" in every case.

As Heritage has stated on several occasions (see here, here, and here), a strong argument can be made that the Supreme Court should abandon the common law no-ignorance rule because in many cases it has become a senseless anachronism that creates manifest injustices utterly unimaginable when English jurist William Blackstone described the criminal law.

The Supreme Court did not discuss the arguments on the merits of that issue because it did not arise in Heien. The Court discussed the issue merely to respond to an argument advanced by some non-parties who filed amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs. Unfortunately, however, many lower courts will cite the Heien opinion as having endorsed the common law rule.

But all may not be lost. It is important to remember, especially at this time of year, that there still could be a happy ending. After all, even Ebenezer Scrooge changed his mind when he finally confronted his past. There is hope that the Supreme Court will do so, too, when a defendant presents a mistake-of-law defense in a proper case.

Original report here

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Angel of Death' murders: TV investigation casts doubt over conviction of Colin Norris

Glasgow-born serial killer Colin Norris is serving a minimum of 30 years behind bars, but a TV investigation finds all of his victims could have died from natural causes

New scientific evidence casts fresh doubt on the conviction of a nurse who was jailed for a minimum of 30 years for murdering four elderly women and attempting to kill another, according a TV investigation.

Glasgow-born serial killer Colin Norris, the so-called "Angel of Death", was jailed for life in March 2008, when he was 32, after he was found guilty of murdering the women while working in Leeds General Infirmary and the city's St James's Hospital in 2002.

A doctor raised the alarm after noticing that one of the patients had suddenly and unexpectedly slipped into a hypoglycaemic coma from which she later died.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told that Ethel Hall, 86, who was not diabetic, had been injected with a massive and fatal dose of insulin, which reduced the sugar content in her blood to a level where her brain became starved of the glucose it needed to function properly. Tests showed insulin levels 12 times the norm, the court heard.

Norris has always protested his innocence and denied injecting patients with insulin. His case had been the focus of campaigners who fear a miscarriage of justice and is currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

A BBC Scotland investigation has now raised the possibility that all of Norris's victims could have died from natural causes.

In a programme to be screened tonight - BBC Scotland Investigates: The Innocent Serial Killer? - Professor Terry Wilkin, an endocrinologist specialising in diabetes at the University of Exeter, questions the blood test on Ethel Hall.

Prof Wilkin suggests just over a litre of insulin would have been required to give the result used in court - a test result which was presented as proof of deliberate poisoning.

In the documentary, another expert, Dr Adel Ismail, a retired clinical biochemist, says another explanation for the blood result could be a rare condition called insulin auto immune syndrome (IAS).

According to the programme, IAS was said by prosecution experts at the trial to be too rare to be considered a possible explanation, but more cases have emerged since 2008.

Professor Wilkin said: "The data that has come from the analysis that was done on the samples that were given to the laboratory is perfectly consistent with insulin auto immune syndrome. "So if you're asking me the question, does insulin auto immune syndrome fit with the facts of the case as reported, then yes it does."

Insulin poisoning expert Professor Vincent Marks told the programme it was wrong to conclude in the trial that hypoglycaemia is rare. He said: "It wasn't as well known at the time of the trial as it is now that in the, particularly the elderly, frail, sick person, hypoglycaemia is far from rare." He concludes that the "verdict was unsafe".

The programme makers put the evidence they gathered to one of the jurors from Norris's trial at Newcastle Crown Court. The juror tells the show: "If the new evidence was available at the time, I think they would have thrown the case out."

West Yorkshire Police said: "Norris was arrested, prosecuted and, on the basis of the evidence presented to the court, he was convicted and sentenced. "His conviction was upheld at the Court of Appeal in December 2009. The case is currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and we will consider their findings when they are presented to us.'

The BBC said it is making its evidence available to the CCRC.

Original report here

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chinese teenager executed 18 years ago is declared INNOCENT in rare U-turn by country's courts

The family of a Chinese teenager executed after being convicted of murder and rape 18 years ago, howled in anguish as he was declared innocent by a court today in a rare U-turn by the country's courts.

Hugjiltu was just 18 when he was found guilty of raping and murdering a woman in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, in 1996 and was put to death just 61 days after the woman was murdered.

But doubt was cast on the verdict when another man confessed to the crime in 2005, leading to the case being reopened by the Inner Mongolia Higher People's Court in Bobatu last month.

After the court in the autonomous region of northern China issued a statement today finding Hugjiltu not guilty, the dead man's mother, father and brother burned a copy of the decision on his grave in a highly charged protest.

In papers issued to the family at their home, the court ruled the original guilty verdict to be 'not consistent with the facts' and having 'insufficient evidence'.

As he delievered the papers Zhao Jianping, the deputy president of the court, made a profound apology for its mistake in sentencing the teenager, also known as Qoysiletu, to death

After Hugjiltu's mother Shang Aiyun had to be dragged from the teenager's grave as she wailed in pain, his brother Zhaoligetu told 'My mother wished him 'rest in peace' and hoped he could reincarnate.'

Mr Jianping gave Hugjiltu's parents compensation of 30,000 yuan (£3,093), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The money was a personal donation by the head of the court, it added, rather than an official payment by the institution.

'This is an amazing thing the court did, to admit that they were wrong,' said Wang Gongyi, deputy director of the research institute of the Ministry of Justice.

'It also sends a clear message to the police and prosecutors around the country – if there's not enough evidence, don't impose wrongful convictions,' he told AFP. 'In the future this case will be singled out as what not to do and will influence the entire legal system.'

In Hugjiltu's case, authorities interrogated the teenager for 48 hours, after which he confessed to having raped and choked the woman in the toilet of a textile factory, the state-run China Daily newspaper reported last month.

After he was executed in June 1996, Hugjiltu's family tried for nearly two decades to prove his innocence.

Finally it was found Hugjiltu's confession did not match the autopsy report, was inconsistent with 'other evidence', and that DNA evidence presented at the trial did not definitively connect him to the crime.

Police in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia where the crime took place, said they had opened an investigation into the officers responsible for the original case, according to the Legal Evening News.

Original report here

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Original police file in infamous wrongful conviction missing

Lawyers for wrongfully convicted man want more answers from Chicago cops on file defense alleges was buried. Chicago police say they have turned over all files in case of wrongfully convicted man.

Daniel Taylor's lawsuit marks at least the fourth recent court case in which missing or suddenly rediscovered Chicago police files have been an issue.

Daniel Taylor alleges in a federal lawsuit he spent two decades in prison for a double murder he didn't commit because Chicago police detectives buried evidence that he was locked up at the time of the slayings.

To help bolster that claim, Taylor's attorneys earlier this year asked the city to turn over the original police file chronicling the 1992 homicide investigation.

It's a routine request, but an unexpected snag happened: The file was nowhere to be found.

After an exhaustive search, no one at the Chicago Police Department has been able to locate the original records of the investigation. Under the department's own orders, the files should have been preserved under lock and key at the records division, the city acknowledged in a recent court filing.

Attorneys for the city wrote in a filing last week that it's "unknown when or why (the original file) went missing." But a good-faith effort has been made to find it, and all the information in the city's possession has been turned over, they said.

But Taylor's lawyers are asking U.S. District Judge John Lee to force the city to answer further questions, including whether it is aware of any other cases in which a supposedly permanent homicide investigation record has vanished. If the case goes to trial, they intend to argue to a jury its disappearance was no bureaucratic accident.

"This is a big mystery, and we want to get to the bottom of it," Jon Loevy, Taylor's lead attorney, told the Tribune.

A city Law Department spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Taylor's lawsuit marks at least the fourth recent court case in which missing or suddenly rediscovered Chicago police files have been at issue.

Earlier this year, lawyers for former El Rukn gang member Nathson Fields alleged that detectives buried their "street file" in an infamous 1984 double murder for more than a quarter of a century, withholding potentially valuable information from Fields' attorneys at his original trial as well as a 2009 retrial.

The Fields file finally turned up inside an old filing cabinet stuffed with hundreds of homicide cases, many of which should have been permanently warehoused years earlier, according to Fields' lawsuit.

The cabinet took center stage at the trial on Fields' claims in May, when it was wheeled into U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly's courtroom for the jury to view. The jury, however, was not swayed, finding there wasn't a conspiracy to hide the street file and awarding Fields just $80,000 in damages.

In another case in August, lawyers for James Kluppelberg — wrongfully convicted of setting a 1984 fire that killed a woman and her five children in their Back of the Yards home — learned that Kluppelberg's original investigative file had been found at a police warehouse at 39th Street and Michigan Avenue.

Inexplicably, the file was in a pallet full of boxes that had been "labeled for destruction," court records show. Loevy, who also represents Kluppelberg, said the file contains evidence pointing to his innocence that was never turned over at his criminal trial. The city has denied that claim, and the lawsuit is pending.

Meanwhile, in February, special prosecutor Dan Webb revealed in his report on the killing of David Koschman that the working police file in that explosive case was found stuffed in a box in a detectives' locker room at Belmont and Western, not in the records division where it should have been.

A decade after the Rush Street death, Richard Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for throwing the punch that killed Koschman. Webb, however, concluded in his report that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against any of the police detectives involved in the investigation.

Taylor was a 17-year-old gang member when he and seven other young men were arrested for the 1992 murders of Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook near Clarendon Park. All eight confessed and implicated one another in their statements.

But soon after he confessed, Taylor told police he believed he'd been in the lockup at the old Town Hall police station at Addison and Halsted streets at the time of the slayings. Police records, in fact, showed he had been arrested about two hours before the two were killed and released on bond more than an hour after the slayings. Still, he was convicted of the murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A Tribune investigation in 2001 uncovered evidence that supported Taylor's innocence claim and raised questions about how police put together their case against Taylor. After more than 20 years of fighting for his innocence, Taylor was released from prison last year after Cook County prosecutors dismissed the case.

Taylor's lawsuit, filed in February, alleged detectives obtained his confession by beating him and promising to release him. Once they learned he'd been in custody, detectives set about manufacturing evidence to undermine that claim, including a false report by two police officers claiming they had seen him coming out of an apartment complex minutes before the killings, the suit alleged.

Police also failed to tell Taylor's criminal defense attorney that a man who had been in the lockup with Taylor had corroborated his alibi, according to the lawsuit.

One of the original investigative documents that appears to be missing from the copies provided to Taylor's attorneys was a Dec. 30, 1992, general progress report concerning attempts to interview that man, John Anderson, about his contact with Taylor in the lockup, according to Taylor's attorneys.

Police records show that based on that progress report, a detective went the following day to an Uptown neighborhood Salvation Army looking for Anderson during the breakfast rush but couldn't find him.

Attorneys for the city said in court filings that after the Taylor file was discovered missing from the records division, an exhaustive search was conducted.

An Area North detective led a team that combed through hundreds of boxes and file cabinets at both the area headquarters and warehouse. Even a boiler room and gun range were explored in an effort to leave no stone unturned, city attorneys said.

In a response filed Tuesday, Loevy scoffed at the city's contention that it has shed all the light it can on how the Taylor file went missing.

"It's not like the plaintiff is asking the city to explain who built Stonehenge or what happened to Jimmy Hoffa's body," Loevy wrote.

Original report here

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Prosecutor, 51, and his two young sons admit running an underground drug lab

A former attorney who represented Salt Lake City and its police department for over 10 years has accepted a plea deal in order to avoid prison after being charged with operating a makeshift drug lab with this two sons.

James Wesley Robinson, 51, pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree felony operation of a clandestine lab, second-degree felony drug possession and third-degree felony possession of a firearms by a restricted person.

Prosecutors allege Robinson - who was fired from his position in February following his arrest - was making a highly-concentrated marijuana byproduct known as 'dab' or 'shatter' from the basement of his home in Sugar House, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Police found the operation after responding to reports of a break-in at the property.

They then executed a search warrant on February 18 and seized several pounds of marijuana, dozens of bongs, grinders, pipes, rolling papers, scales and $26,230 in cash, court papers obtained by the The Tribune said.

In the basement, police found a pressure cooker with Dab inside, as well as glass tubes, a butane torch and numerous cans of butane.

Dab is made by extracting THC from cannabis using a butane torch. The result is a gelatinous brown substance that is between 70 and 90 percent THC - much stronger than regular marijuana and much more expensive.

Robinson was arrested along with his sons, Alexander Jordan Robinson, 21, and Zachary Ryan Robinson, 19.

In Alexander Robinson’s bedroom police found marijuana pipes, bongs, Dab, a scale, a vacuum sealer and $2,500 in cash.

In Zachary Robinson's bedroom police found Marijuana, marijuana pipes, Dab and $6,900 in cash.

Police also found a 9mm handgun and a vial containing a white substance that field-tested positive for cocaine in their father’s bedroom.

James Robinson - who goes by 'Wes' - was facing 25 years in prison for his charges, but the prosecution recommended a non-prison sentence as a result of the plea deal.

The agreement also guarantees that Robinson won’t face a federal criminal indictment related to drug manufacturing or drug and firearms possession.

Robinson's sons also agreed to plea deals on Friday, pleading guilty to second-degree felony operation of a clandestine lab and third-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute.

They too were recommended non-prison sentences. All three will be sentenced on February 3.

Original report here

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ortiz Released 10 Years After Wrongful Murder Conviction

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Josue Ortiz has spent the last 10 years in state prison for the shooting deaths of Nelson and Miguel Camacho.

"He stood in a court of law with two attorneys, put his hand on the Bible, raised his right hand and said 'I did it," said Frank Sedita, D-Erie County District Attorney.

But despite his multiple confessions, Tuesday Ortiz was released after his conviction was overturned.

"There had been significant developments in this case within the last two weeks that raised, in my mind, at least a reasonable doubt as to Mr. Ortiz's guilt," said Sedita.

According to Western District U.S. Attorney William Hochul, new evidence from a two-year federal investigation into the 7th Street Gang and the case itself that determined: "Mr. Ortiz had no role in the murder whatsoever," he said.

Instead, a federal indictment names Efrain Hidalgo, Brandon Jonas and Misael Montalvo in the deaths. A fourth suspect was too young at the time to face federal charges. Interviews with more than 100 witnesses were unable to place Ortiz, 6 feet tall and more than 300 pounds at the time, at the scene. A diagnosed schizophrenic, evidence showed no connection between the suspects and Ortiz. His attorney, Jeremy Schwartz, said his mental state played a role in his confessions.

"It's very hard to wrap your mind around someone who would confess to something he had no involvement with, that's understandable," he said.

Hochul expressed concern over Ortiz's mental state Tuesday morning, saying he was hopeful Ortiz would get the help he needed. Set for release Tuesday afternoon, Ortiz will head back to Buffalo and live with family while he gets on his feet.

"He's happy for the results of today and he's still processing the information," explained Schwartz. "This is all very new."

The three indicted in the case face federal racketeering charges, including murder, which carries with a life sentence if convicted. Their trials are set for March 2015.

Original report here

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Police officers charged over death of innocent man killed by vigilantes who thought he was a paedophile

Three police officers and a PCSO have been charged with offences linked to the murder of a man beaten and burned to death by neighbours who wrongly believed he was a paedophile.

PCs Kevin Duffy, Helen Harris and Leanne Winter of Avon and Somerset Police are accused of 'failing to respond to allegations and calls for help' by Bijan Ebrahimi.

PCSO Andrew Passmore is accused of lying about the contact he had with the murder victim.

It was also revealed today that a further 12 officers from the same force now face misconduct proceedings over claims Mr Ebrahimi had six years of contact with police before his murder.

Disabled Ebrahimi, a keen gardener, died after he was beaten, burned and left to die on a patch of grass near his home. The 44-year-old, originally from Iran, had taken photographs of youths vandalising his hanging baskets and intended to hand them to police as evidence.

But someone on his Bristol estate saw him with the camera and told police that he had taken pictures of children.

Instead of tackling the vandals officers took Mr Ebrahimi, originally from Iran, away for questioning, as other residents on his estate gathered in the street and chanted, 'Paedo, paedo'.

He was interviewed at a police station but officers soon realised he had been taking photographs only in an attempt to help catch the local yobs.

Two days after his release Mr Ebrahim's charred body was found burning in the road. Lee James, 24, admitted murder and Stephen Norley, 24, admitted assisting him.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission submitted a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service in October 2014 into how officers responded to events and contact from Mr Ebrahimi.

Today, the Crown Prosecution Service announced three police constables and a police community support officer will be charged with misconduct in a public office.

And it also emerged that Mr Ebrahimi's family said in a statement: 'We are relieved by this decision and trust the officers will now face the full rigour of the law'.

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said: 'PCs Kevin Duffy, Helen Harris and Leanne Winter, all of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, are to be charged with misconduct in public office for allegedly failing to respond to allegations and calls for help from Mr Ebrahimi.

'PCSO Andrew Passmore is to be charged with misconduct in public office for allegedly giving false information to the 999 operator that he was outside Mr Ebrahimi's home at an important time. He will also be charged with perverting the course of justice for allegedly giving different accounts to the police murder investigation and the IPCC investigation'.

All four will appear in court in January.

Mr Ebrahimi, had been attacked by Lee James, who lived in the same street in Brislington, Bristol.

During the fatal attack, father-of-four James, who believed his victim had been filming his children, repeatedly stamped on Mr Ebrahimi's head, telling him 'have some of that'.

Father-of-two Stephen Norley, who worked for a fruit and vegetable wholesaler, helped James drag Mr Ebrahimi's body from the scene of the attack and obtained white spirit to burn it.

James, was jailed for life after he admitted murder, and Norley, 24, denied murder but admitted assisting his friend, and was jailed for four years.

Speaking after the case, Mr Ebrahimi's sister Manizhah Moores said her brother suffered racial abuse while living in Bristol.

'We hope that nobody else ever has to witness an innocent disabled man being abused, taunted and tortured in the way that Bijan suffered,' Mrs Moores said.

After the hearing, Avon and Somerset Police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said Mr Ebrahimi was an innocent man.

Original report here

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

British cops used their position to get into sold-out gigs - but keep their jobs and won't be disciplined

Police officers who used their positions to get into 'sold-out' gigs have been allowed to keep their jobs - and will not be formally disciplined, it has emerged.

The four Greater Manchester Police licensing officers asked for 'favours' from venues in the city, such as access to tickets to music events they would not otherwise have been able to get.

Afterwards, the veteran officers, who worked in Manchester city centre, failed to declare what they had done on the force's gifts and hospitality register.

They have since been moved out of the unit and into other jobs after they were deemed to have broken the force's ethical code of conduct.

A two-month police professional standards investigation found they had not acted illegally - or that they required formal disciplining.

The officers were told on Friday that they were being moved from licensing into the division's response unit as a result of the findings. It is not known which music events and venues were involved.

Nick Adderley, chief superintendent for Greater Manchester Police's northern division, said: 'We have high standards, including the code of ethics, and I'm saying I will not tolerate any officers or member of staff who breaches that code of ethics.'

It is understood the practice came to light as part of a separate investigation, which unexpectedly opened up an email trail suggesting officers had been seeking and accepting favours while not declaring them.

On more than one occasion an officer had called up a venue whose gig had sold out and used their position in licensing to get hold of a ticket - but then did not declare it through the official channels.

They had never obtained the tickets for free, however, and had always paid the full value.

It is unclear how long the practice had been going on but investigators who looked back over recent months found at least two cases per officer where a deal of that kind had been struck.

All the officers had been in their posts for a significant length of time. Nothing criminal was found to have taken place and the officers have not been formally suspended or disciplined.

Senior officers are expected to sit down with the city's Pub and Club Network later this week to discuss the matter.

The network's spokesman Phil Burke said: 'We don't know the full facts of this yet. 'But the officers concerned are well liked and well respected in the city's licensing trade and have always worked closely with us.'

Original report here

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Former gang member, 30, who served 12 years behind bars for fatal shooting of teenager is cleared on appeal

A former gang member who has served 12 years of a life sentence in prison for shooting dead a teenager has been cleared of murder after an appeal. Dwaine Simeon George has always denied being involved in the killing of 18-year-old Daniel Dale in Miles Platting in east Manchester.

Mr George, now 30, had his murder conviction quashed by judges at the Court of Appeal today after they ruled it was 'no longer safe.' Sir Brian Leveson, President of the Queen's Bench Division, quashed the conviction.

He said 'new expert analysis of the evidence 'might reasonably have affected the decision of the trial jury.'

Mr George was convicted in 2001 at Preston Crown Court and sentenced to life in prison in 2002, with a minimum term of 12 years. He was released on life licence last year.

Mr Dale, who had never been in trouble with the police, was shot as he chatted to friends in the street in 2001 and was found collapsed in an alleyway. Darren Thomas was also wounded in the hand by shots fired from the same gun.

Two days later the teenager had been due to give evidence at a trial of the killing of his friend Paul Ward, 16, who was stabbed to death in Cheetham Hill in January 2001.

Mr George, formerly of New Moston, was a member of the Cheetham Hill gang and was found guilty of Mr Dale's murder and charges of attempted murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He was convicted on the basis of gunshot residue which was found but has always maintained his innocence. In 2004 he submitted an appeal in 2004 which failed.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) referred the murder conviction to the Court of Appeal for a second time earlier this year, based on new scientific evidence and an analysis of the case by students at Cardiff University. They were working on the Innocence Project, which aims to help people who they believe have been wrongly convicted.

After his conviction was quashed Lynn Hayes, 51, insisted Mr George knew the identity of her son's killer and should name the culprit. She said: It has left me feeling sick. George has now claimed to be a reformed man. If that is true he should tell the police who did this.

'He has said that he is a mature adult. If that's true he should give the names of those responsible to the police. It's his so-called friends that should have saved him, not the appeal court. 'He should tell the police who pulled the trigger.'

Ms Hayes said Mr George had previously said a group of his friends had been involved. She added: 'There is no appeal available for my son's life. No amount of time will ever fix the heartbreak that my family continue to suffer each and everyday.'

Mrs Hayes said she didn't even know that the appeal court hearing was due to be heard today. She said Greater Manchester Police and the CPS didn't let her know and added: 'I heard about it from a friend who sent me a text after seeing it on the news.

'George said at the time that there was a code - that you didn't grass on your friends. But he has now said that he is a grown-up. Well if he is a grown-up he should tell what he knows.

'Daniel was an innocent 18-year-old boy that never had any dealings with gangsters, gangs, drugs or territory wars.'

Sir Brian Leveson, sitting with Mr Justice Green and Mr Justice Goss, expressed the court's 'gratitude' to the CCRC for the part it had played in the appeal.

He also paid tribute 'to the work of the Innocence Project and Pro Bono Unit at Cardiff Law School, which took up the appellant's case and pursued it so diligently'.

The judge described how the CCRC obtained its own scientific evidence and referred George's case to the appeal court on the grounds that there was 'a real possibility' that the evidence of gunshot residue 'does not now attract the value attributed to it at trial, and therefore does not support the identification evidence'. The CCRC also questioned the admissibility of voice identification evidence.

Mr George originally stood trial accused with three others - Ryan Brown, his brother Nathan Loftus, and Arron Cunningham.

Before the trial, Cunningham pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition without a certificate, and assisting offenders. He went on to give evidence for the prosecution.

Loftus changed his plea of not guilty to guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. He was sentenced to five years in a young offenders' institution.

Brown, who relied on an alibi for his defence, was acquitted of murder and attempted murder but convicted of wounding with intent. That conviction was later quashed for being 'inconsistent' with the acquittals, but he was sentenced to eight years' detention - reduced to seven years on appeal - for possession of a firearm with intent.

Sir Brian said the prosecution case was that George and Brown were responsible for the shooting, using a Walther PPK self-loading pistol which was recovered from Cunningham's house.

The judge said the background to the shooting was witness evidence all leading to the inference that it was the outcome of gang rivalry. The evidence against George was that gunshot residue had been found on a black Henri Lloyd hooded jacket found under the stairs at his home.

Subsequent analysis found that it bore four particles of gunshot residue, and the prosecution said this was evidence supporting the assertion that George was the gunman. The current appeal was primarily based on a scientific re-evaluation of the significance of gunshot residue generally.

Mr George's defence argued that the particles could have come from sources other than the shooting. Years after his conviction, the Forensic Science Service (FSS) had issued new guidelines in July 2006 on 'the assessment, interpretation and reporting of firearms chemistry cases', said the judge.

This document dealt with the prevalence of small numbers of particles of gunshot residue 'with the result, so it is argued, that the number and type of particles of residue found on the coat were so small so as to be at or near the level at which they could not be considered to have evidential value.'

Sir Brian said that, had the present scientific concerns raised in the appeal court been available to the trial judge, his directions to the jury 'would have been couched in terms of much greater circumspection and caution'.

He said: 'The particles of gunshot residue may well be consistent with the appellant's participation in the murder but, at the very least, the extent (if it got that far) to which they could provide positive corroboration would now have required much more detailed analysis of the science and the evidence.'

He said the conviction was no longer safe because the new evidence might reasonably have affected the trial jury's decision.

Original report here

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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Detective in rape storm takes early retirement

Officer who told boy, 12, to 'do it with someone his own age' after sexual assault on girl of 5 has stepped down

A detective who told a 12-year-old boy to ‘do it with someone your own age next time’ after he confessed to raping a girl aged five has taken early retirement.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last month how the girl’s parents felt badly let down by Essex Police because the boy received only a youth caution.

An investigation by this newspaper discovered that Detective Constable Paul Alabaster and DC Tracy Bainbridge had recorded the boy admitting the offence but did not report him for the offence to social services. Instead, DC Alabaster issued the extraordinary piece of ‘advice’ to the youngster. The officers also neglected to collect fingerprints, photographs, DNA or other forensic evidence.

Both were disciplined but returned to their duties with Essex Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Team.

The MoS understands that DC Alabaster is in his early 50s and more than four years short of his 30-year term of service, after which officers can retire on full pensions.

Last night the girl’s father said: ‘We are relieved that Alabaster is no longer in a position where he can fail other child victims.’ But he said that police failings had not been addressed and the family had been denied justice.

Original report here

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Monday, December 08, 2014

Homosexual British cop is arrested for 'supplying Class A drugs after being found slumped at wheel'

He was a Chief inspector too. Drug use is common among homosexuals

A senior police officer has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs. Chief Inspector Paul Cahill, 43, was allegedly found slumped over the wheel of his car.

He has previously worked as a tactical adviser to the Metropolitan Police firearms unit, one of the toughest roles in policing.

An outspoken campaigner for gay rights, he was awarded an MBE for services to diversity in the 2003 New Year Honours.

Cahill was arrested last Monday, December 1, after being found in his car in Wandsworth, South-West London. Colleagues found what they believed to be a stash of drugs during a search of the vehicle and his pockets.

He was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and driving while unfit through alcohol or drugs.

Cahill was taken to a police station and released on bail pending forensic tests on the substances seized. It is understood that further suspicious substances, also believed to be Class A drugs, were found during a search of his home.

The drugs have not been specified but Class A includes cocaine and heroin. Tattooed Cahill is a senior officer in Westminster, where he leads a proactive unit cracking down on crimes including drug dealing in the West End and Soho.

He joined the police in the 1990s and later revealed that it was ‘virtually not acceptable to be gay’. He became a gay icon when he appeared on the front cover of Gay Times in full sergeant’s uniform in 1997, the year after he had been the victim of a homophobic attack.

He was also chairman of the Gay Police Association for more than a decade.

He made his mark by working as a liaison officer with Soho’s vibrant gay community. [There's nothing like a vibrating gay!]

He was nominated for an MBE by the then commissioner, Sir John Stevens, because of the success of his work. The honour was for ‘services to diversity in the police and the wider community’.

Last night a Met spokesman said: ‘The officer has been suspended.’

Original report here

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