Thursday, October 31, 2013

How did gangland hit trigger criminal probe into Chief Constable in charge of police ethics? The astonishing supergrass scandal that is engulfing UK's most senior officers

Even by the standards of drug-related killings, the murder of Kevin Nunes was savage.

He was driven by his killers to the end of a lonely farm track then beaten and kicked so badly he would probably have died in any case: one blow, administered by the butt of a pistol, smashed part of his skull. But just to make sure, his assailants also shot him five times.

Nunes, 20, was a promising [black] footballer: he had been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur and trained with semi-professionals Stafford Rangers.

But, according to the police, his other interests were less savoury: transporting crack cocaine from the Midlands to Aberdeen, where the drug’s price was more than twice as high.

Detectives believed rival gangs killed him 11 years ago, near Pattingham in Staffordshire.

But now, in the wake of ‘Plebgate’ and other recent scandals, his case is emerging as another element in the crisis engulfing Britain’s police leadership.

Astonishingly, it will shortly lead to investigation files being sent to the Crown Prosecution Service on four very senior officers, including two chief constables.

The CPS will have to decide whether to charge them with criminal offences over their alleged roles in what an Appeal Court judgment – revealed in detail today by The Mail on Sunday for the first time – calls a ‘serious perversion of the course of justice’ and ‘a shocking episode’.

Even more remarkably, one of those senior officers is Adrian Lee, Chief Constable of Northamptonshire, who, until he stepped down last October, was the Association of Chief Police Officers ‘national lead’ on police ethics.

A presentation he gave in 2012 at a special conference attended by Home Secretary Theresa May on ‘Change in Policing’ was entitled: ‘Ethical policing – a non-negotiable requirement’. Last week, in an effort to ease the national crisis, Mrs May unveiled a new police ethics code, embodying the very principles Mr Lee advocated.

In addition to files on ten more junior officers, the CPS will also consider charging Suzette Davenport, the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Marcus Beale, Assistant Chief Constable of the West Midlands, and Jayne Sawyers, Staffordshire’s current Deputy Chief.

In 2008, six years after Nunes’s murder, five men were convicted and sentenced to life. But last year the Court of Appeal heard astonishing evidence of serious malpractice inside the Staffordshire police force – where all 14 officers who may face charges served before the trial.

A secret, 247-page dossier compiled after a two-year investigation focused on the elite squad which dealt with the Nunes case – Staffordshire’s Sensitive Policing Unit (SPU). It revealed that the evidence of the critical prosecution witness at the trial was potentially contaminated in extraordinary circumstances – that two officers were using the safe house where he was living to conduct a sexual relationship.

The dossier added that the witness had gone out drinking with officers, stolen police funds and had access to drugs.

All this was bad enough. Even worse, months before the trial, senior Staffordshire officers had received a report on the SPU and the Nunes case, which revealed many of these failings. Yet despite its obvious relevance, the police failed to disclose it.

In an excoriating appeal judgment last year, Lord Justice Hooper quashed the five convictions, saying: ‘It is to be hoped that the appropriate measures will be taken against those responsible for what appears to us to be a serious perversion of the course of justice, if those measures have not already been taken.’

Here, for the first time, we reveal the scarcely comprehensible events that led to this sorry state.


For several years after Nunes’s murder in 2002, the police had few leads. But in 2005 they made a breakthrough – statements from Simeon Taylor, who claimed to be a close associate of the killers.

He told police – as he later would tell the jury at Leicester Crown Court – he had driven Nunes and two of the alleged murderers, Adam Joof and Antonio Christie, to the site of the murder, and witnessed the attacks.

Afterwards, with Nunes’s body left on a verge at the end of the track, he drove Joof and Christie away.

For this, he might easily have faced a murder charge himself. Instead, he was taken into the witness protection programme, and guarded by the SPU.

It was a comfortable life. He was taken drinking in nightclubs with officers, and allowed to spend time with his girlfriend. But as the secret dossier presented to the Court of Appeal makes clear, the police were determined to get him into the witness box. One Crown lawyer wrote in a memo that the SPU’s most important task was ‘to keep Simeon Taylor on board’.

They succeeded. After a five- month trial, Joof, Christie, and three other men, all said to be members of two Midlands gangs, the Uken Demolition Crew and the Raiders, were jailed for life, with a minimum term of 25 to 28 years.

One, Levi Walker, was already serving life for the 2004 murder of a soldier. Joof and Christie had only been released from custody on the morning of Nunes’s murder, having been arrested for the alleged kidnap and rape of Joof’s former girlfriend.


Well before the trial, the secret dossier would show, there was reason to believe there were serious problems with the SPU and the Nunes investigation.

Soon after Taylor agreed to become a witness, the unit acquired a new leader – Det Insp Joe Anderson.

Appalled by what he saw, he turned whistleblower. In an official complaint to the Staffordshire Professional Standards Department, he said he had found evidence of ‘corruption, dishonesty and falsification’ by SPU officers on the case.

For a year, the man ultimately responsible for handling his complaint was Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Lee, later to be the national ethics specialist.

The force was so concerned by Anderson’s allegations that Staffordshire’s then-Assistant Chief Constable Suzette Davenport asked for a ‘review’ of the Sensitive Policing Unit. The 73-page report, which focused on the handling of Taylor, was issued months before the Nunes trial began.

Yet Staffordshire police did not disclose it either to the CPS or to the defence – though its authors, according to the dossier, ‘expressed their concerns’ about this.

Lord Justice Hooper’s comments in his judgment were devastating: ‘The report was not disclosed and there is no doubt it should have been .  .  . [it would have] undermined both the credibility of Simeon Taylor and the integrity and honesty of Simeon Taylor’s handlers, both generally and in respect of him.

‘With the report, the defence could have shown that the SPU was a dysfunctional organisation fractured by in-fighting, containing officers whose honesty and integrity were open to question, and whose documentation in respect of Simeon Taylor could not be trusted.’


Fittingly, perhaps, it was Simeon Taylor who began the process by which the case unravelled. In a phone call to an associate who secretly recorded it, he retracted his evidence, saying he had lied.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) normally begins to investigate a case only after defendants have already lost an appeal. But the Court of Appeal also has powers to ask it to make inquiries before that stage is reached. It did precisely this, partly in response to Taylor’s retraction.

The CCRC asked Derbyshire’s Mick Creedon, one of the few chief constables who spent most of his career as a detective, to lead the fresh investigation which would generate the 247-page dossier. After the successful appeal, this has continued, with Creedon’s team now investigating the officers who may be criminally charged.

Creedon’s team also examined the question of a reward for Taylor. During the trial, both he and one of his handlers gave evidence he had not been promised any payment.

Having received the CCRC dossier, the CPS admitted this ‘conflicts with what is now known’. In a written statement to the Appeal Court, it said it appeared that at least three officers had discussed a reward, and Taylor had been led to expect £20,000 for giving evidence.

Another area Creedon investigated was Taylor’s theft of police funds. According to the CCRC dossier, the police had deposited £320 to pay for him to stay at a luxury hotel.

But instead of checking in, he ‘dishonestly obtained a refund’.

Then, in the words of the appeal judgment, SPU officers ‘had deliberately not recorded the incident in the appropriate document intending thereby to prevent disclosure to the defence’. In other words, they hid his theft in order to preserve his credibility.

It was also clear that Taylor’s minders drank alcohol with him – a fact, the CPS admitted, which raised awkward questions ‘about the integrity and closeness of the relationship of the witness with the police’.

But perhaps the most troubling issue of all was the affair that started in the safe house between one of Taylor’s minders, named in the judgment as Det Con Nigel (a pseudonym to protect his identity), and the murder inquiry disclosure officer – the female detective in charge of the documents and exhibits.

The dossier described their behaviour as ‘totally unprofessional,’ because Taylor’s minders were not supposed to know anything about the evolving murder inquiry. If his evidence were to be contaminated by information from other sources, its value would be destroyed: the defence could argue that he was not telling the jury what he had seen but what he had been told.

Amazingly, it seems that this is exactly what happened.

In its statement to the Appeal Court, the CPS said: ‘When Simeon Taylor gave evidence, he said he knew that the enquiry team had no forensic evidence.

‘He was unable to say how he knew that .  .  . He knew about the absence of cell-site [mobile phone location] evidence. He knew what Joof had told the police.’

Previous headlines: How the story of the police probe broke

Previous headlines: How the story of the police probe broke


Of the five men convicted for killing Kevin Nunes, only Walker remains in prison: the others are all at large.

Yesterday the CPS said it had already received files on six officers, and expected the remaining eight before Christmas.

Spokesmen for three of the forces whose senior officers face possible charges said that they could not comment because ‘the matter is ongoing’.

Staffordshire’s Deputy Chief Jayne Sawyers said she ‘welcomed’ the news that her file would soon be sent to the CPS. She added: ‘The investigation has been going on for some time now and this development brings it closer to conclusion. My focus will continue to be my job, serving the people of Staffordshire.’

A police spokesman said that it was routine for case files to be submitted to the CPS: ‘It is a matter for them to establish if wrongdoing has taken place.’

What is unarguable is that the revelations of the details of the Nunes case come amid a gathering sense among senior officers and MPs that police leadership is at a crossroads. Many believe that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has so mishandled Plebgate, standing by officers who now appear to have lied, that if any are charged and convicted his position will be untenable. If so, he would become the third commissioner in succession to leave office prematurely.

Last week, the former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, called for ‘root and branch’ police reform and a Royal Commission on the service’s future. Meanwhile, the chief constables of West Mercia, Warwickshire and the West Midlands were all grilled by the Commons home affairs committee over their own roles in Plebgate.

Other scandals – such as the inquiry into the Hillsborough football disaster, which revealed police doctored 194 statements and forced the resignation of West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison – are still recent memories.

One very senior officer, who asked not to be named, commented yesterday: ‘I have never seen the service in such utter disarray.

‘Morale is absolutely on the floor. There are some chiefs who keep on saying that because crime has been falling, everything is fine.

‘They’re wrong. It’s not.’

The question now remains whether this latest development becomes yet another addition to the charge-sheet besmirching the reputation of Britain’s police.

Original report here



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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


BBC newsreader received apology from store's parking police after 'over-zealous warden gave him ticket for fictitious offence'

Veteran BBC newsreader Peter Sissons has received an apology from Homebase after he claimed an over-zealous parking warden gave him a £90 ticket for a fictitious offence.

The former Question Time presenter left his car in a retail park while he went shopping with his wife Sylvia at Pets at Home and Homebase on Monday afternoon.

He returned after parking for 35 minutes in a three-hour bay to find a parking warden had issued him with a ticket.

The 71-year-old had a furious stand-up row with the warden and accused him of pulling a ‘scam’ and of ‘deception’.

The official, employed by Smart Parking to monitor the Riverside retail park in Sevenoaks, claimed Mr Sissons had moved his car during his 35-minute stay, meaning he was in breach of the rule preventing customers leaving the space and then returning to it within a set period of time.

The warden bizarrely claimed he had ‘monitored the position of the tyre valves’ on all the cars, so he was able to see if a vehicle had left and then returned to the same bay a short time later. Mr Sissons, who is now retired, said: ‘This chap said he was just doing his job, but he could not produce any CCTV or a time-coded photograph as evidence of my offence.

‘His only proof was by making a note of the position of the valves on my wheels and he could tell that I had moved the car and returned before the two-hour limit.

‘This was nothing more than a lie. I had not moved my car. The fine isn’t what worries me, it’s the deception.’

The presenter, who used to front the BBC Nine O’Clock News and the BBC’s News at Ten, said the company was running the risk of ‘driving people away from the shops’. He added: ‘If I wasn’t from the area and had got this ticket, I wouldn’t come back ever again.

‘The other damaging aspect is that if you throw the ticket in the bin and refuse to pay the fine, then it can affect your credit rating.’

Mr Sissons said he flagged down a passing police car after he had remonstrated with the attendant, but still was not able to get the fine rescinded.

Bosses at Homebase have now stepped in and agreed to scrap the fine. They have apologised to Mr Sissons, and a company spokesman said: ‘We have asked the car parking agent to investigate how this incident occurred, and are seeking negotiations with them to review the current parking procedures.

‘Due to the nature of Riverside retail park’s management structure, the car parking policy is run independently of the companies that trade there.’

A spokesman for Smart Parking declined to comment.

Original report here




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Monday, October 28, 2013

Dallas cop who lied about videotaped shooting of mentally ill man has been arrested

Remember the Dallas cop that said he fired upon a mentally ill man because the man was coming at him and his partner with a knife, but a nearby home’s security camera shows that the suspect was standing still when gunned down?

That officer has now been fired and has been criminally charged: The police officer who shot a mentally ill man in a disputed incident caught on tape has been fired and charged with felony aggravated assault, police said Thursday.

Police Chief David Brown apologized for the actions of the officer, who had been on administrative leave following the Oct. 14 shooting.

"Officers are not above the law," Brown said at a news conference. "We as a police department are not going to look the other way."

Officer Cardan Spencer wrote in a police report that he shot Bobby Gerald Bennett last week after the 52-year-old man lunged at him and another officer with a knife. But video captured by a neighbor’s surveillance camera shows Bennett didn’t appear to move toward the officers before he was shot and crumpled to the ground.

Officer Spencer’s partner also lied about the incident in his police report, but this article does not address whether he is still on the police force, or if he may face charges of his own.

Original report here




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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Buying wrapped candy while black is risky too

The plaintiff is Love Olatunjiojo

A man in New York is now suing the New York Police Department after officers arrested him and his friend back in June — thinking they were carrying crystal meth.

The trouble is, that meth was actually just Jolly Ranchers. Somehow, officers concluded the candy was an illegal substance through a field test and took the men into custody for about 24 hours. (Via WPMT)

The New York Daily News brought the first report on the new lawsuit and says high-tech lab tests finally determined the suspicious-looking drugs were really just blue and red pieces of candy.

The blunder could serve as an embarrassment for the NYPD officer who said he had a good eye at pinpointing illegal drugs. In this instance, he was a little off the mark. (Via Time)

However, a drug enforcement agent defended the NYPD saying many new forms of crystal meth really do look like candy. But that still doesn’t explain how the field test determined the Jolly Ranchers were drugs. (Via Daily Mail)

The lawsuit might sound funny, but the case is very serious. The man suing the police department says he underwent severe "emotional trauma" because of what happened while he was in jail.

In jail, the man said he underwent a strip search to prove he didn’t have any other drugs on him, even though he didn’t even have any in the first place. A friend of the two men was also arrested for police interference. He reportedly told officers his friends were just carrying candy. (Via The Smoking Gun)

It’s not clear why the men were stopped, but a writer for Salon says this botched arrest could show flaws with New York’s controversial "stop-and-frisk" policy, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg has strongly defended.

"In what appears to be an all-too-common refrain for New York cops stopping and frisking young, non-white men, the officer who detained [the men] reportedly said, it was ‘only a matter of time before they found something.’"

Narcotics charges weren’t dropped until a September court date despite the fact that the lab test concluded the Jolly Ranchers weren’t drugs three months earlier. The man suing the police department is seeking unspecified damages.

Original report here




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Saturday, October 26, 2013

British woman cop 'failed to investigate a rape allegation and then told the victim the CPS had dropped the case'

A police officer did not properly investigate a rape allegation and then told the victim the CPS had dropped the case, a court heard.

PC Hannah Notley, 30, a specialist trained in handling cases involving sexual offences, committed a ‘gross breach of trust,’ Westminster Magistrates Court heard.

She gave false information to her bosses about the case being shelved when in fact she had not submitted the papers to the CPS.

She allegedly failed to properly investigate the rape allegation between July 2011 and February last year while based at Rayleigh Police Station in Essex.

Notley, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, spoke only to confirm her name and address.

Releasing Notley on unconditional bail, District Judge Nicholas Evans said: ‘I send this case to Southwark Crown Court.

‘I remand you on unconditional bail with an obligation to attend that court at 10am on November 8.

‘You need to understand that you have a duty to turn up - if you don’t that is a separate offence.

‘Equally, you will be asked on your arrival at the Crown Court if you wish to plead guilty or not guilty.

‘If you plead guilty, the judge will give you a discounted sentence but if you plead not guilty, and the jury convicts you, then you will not be given a discount.’

Notley, from Benfleet, Essex, has yet to enter a plea to the charge.

Original report here




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Friday, October 25, 2013

Former British cop extradited to the UK from Australia is found guilty of 'appalling' child abuse

A retired police sergeant has been found guilty of inflicting 'appalling' sexual and physical child abuse on two victims.

Jeffrey Lake, 78, was extradited from his home in Queensland, Australia, to stand trial on the historic offences - the vast majority of which were committed when he was a serving police officer in Accrington, Lancashire, and Liverpool.

The defendant emigrated in 2002 and had been living there for seven years when one of the complainants walked into a police station in Lancashire and said Lake had sexually and physically abused her as a child.

The woman was interviewed at length and when the investigation widened a second person claimed he too had been abused by the defendant, Preston Crown Court was told.

She said that Lake moved from the UK to avoid his past after she had previously written letters to him describing the agony he had put her through.

Lake, who has family connections in Australia, said that was not true and he was simply looking for a better life. He was arrested in January and brought to the UK.

Today, he was found guilty of 20 allegations of historic abuse including rape, buggery, indecency with a child, indecent assault and child cruelty, said to have taken place in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Lake had served in the police in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.

Opening the case, prosecutor Louise Whaites said the female victim went on to suffer from depression and anxiety and had attempted suicide - as had the male victim in the case. 'She was clearly unable to cope with what happened to her,' she said.

In the mid-1970s she wrote to the defendant and told him how she felt about what he had done to her, the jury was told. She received no response or acknowledgement from Lake.

Following his emigration, she wrote more letters to him in which she said she was concerned that he had not changed and would go on to commit similar offences.

She said her death 'wouldn't bring matters to a close for him' because she had told her GP, her husband and also her children about the abuse.

Lake claimed he had never received any of the letters she said she had sent.

In December 2009 she finally made a complaint to the police.

Giving evidence, Lake denied all the charges against him and said he was 'not of the persuasion' of someone who sexually abuses children.

He said he had never thought of returning to Britain since his move because he had no reason to do so and the expense of travelling. Lake claimed illness prevented him flying over for his son's wedding.

It was suggested his accusers had a personal hostility towards him which had led them to give false testimony to the court.

Under cross-examination, the female victim denied the abuse was a figment of her imagination gleaned from reading books such as Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It. She denied that book, which details the physical abuse of a child by his mother, had influenced her in any way to believe she had been abused herself.

Lake, of Peregian Springs, had no previous convictions. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on October 24. Lake showed no emotion as the verdicts were delivered.

Afterwards, trial judge Mr Justice King praised the jurors. He told them: 'Thank you for the care and attention which you paid to this case. These cases are never easy.'

Original report here

Now sentenced to 18 years  



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Thursday, October 24, 2013


Buying expensive things while black is unsafe too

Amazing behavior. How is it wrong when you pay for what you buy?

A NEW York university student got more than he bargained for when staff had him handcuffed for splurging on a $350 designer belt at the department store Barneys.

Apparently thinking the black teen couldn't afford the pricey purchase, a store clerk had him handcuffed even though he had paid for it, a new lawsuit alleges.

"His only crime was being a young black man," his attorney, Michael Palillo, told The New York Post.

Trayon Christian, 19, a first year at the NYC College of Technology, headed to the Madison Avenue fashion mecca in April to buy a Salvatore Ferragamo belt after saving up his money from a part-time job at university.

But as soon as he exited the luxury department store, undercover officers grabbed Christian and asked "how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt," according to the suit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court.

A Barneys clerk, who had asked Christian for identification when he bought the belt, called police claiming the purchase was a fraud, the suit says.

Plainclothes detectives hauled Christian off Fifth Avenue and into the local precinct. There, Christian produced his identification, his bank debit card and the receipt with his name on it, the suit states. "In spite of producing such documentation, Christian was told that his identification was false and that he could not afford to make such an expensive purchase."

Cops eventually called his bank, which verified that the card belonged to Christian, and they let him go. Police sources said Christian has no arrest record.

Christian told The New York Post he returned the belt out of disgust over his treatment by the world-famous clothing store.

"I didn’t want to have anything to do with it," he said, adding that he was first inspired to buy the accessory by Harlem rapper Juelz Santana who wears the Italian designer’s duds.

Christian said he'll never shop at Barneys again. He is suing both Barneys and the New York Police Department for unspecified damages.

Barneys did not immediately comment. A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department said she would review the claims once she received the suit.

Original report here




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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Justice has betrayed me, says victim as judge frees attacker who claims he is a sexsomniac

I thought this ridiculous defence was no longer being accepted. Seems I was wrong. I hope there is an appeal

A sex attack victim said yesterday that she has been betrayed by British justice after her attacker walked free from court citing his ‘sexsomnia’. The woman, a married teacher, said she was subjected to a violent assault by Paul Fallon, 41, as she slept next to her husband at a friend’s house.

But the court accepted Mr Fallon’s explanation that he was asleep at the time of the alleged assault, which happened after a birthday party.

His wife also gave evidence in his defence, saying he would sometimes have sex with her while asleep. The victim has written to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer to request a review of her case and other ‘sexsomnia’ cases.

She claimed in court that Mr Fallon was awake during the assault and said later that the Crown Prosecution Service failed to question his sleepwalking account properly. The CPS appeared to have breached its own guidelines that sleepwalking defences should be ‘robustly challenged’, she added.

A jury found Mr Fallon not guilty ‘by reason of insanity’ because he could not control his actions while asleep.

He was allowed to walk free from court yesterday despite the judge admitting that he posed a ‘serious risk’ to others.

The woman, a 42-year-old mother-of-two, has branded the treatment of her case ‘shambolic, disgraceful and inept’.

She told the Daily Mail: ‘I was assaulted where I should have felt safest, in the arms of my husband. I called the police and went through the ordeal of giving evidence because this man violated the sanctity of my marriage.

'During the trial I suffered an extremely unpleasant and traumatic cross-examination, only to then find out that the CPS weren’t even challenging his sleepwalking defence. ‘I was violated by this man and then I was betrayed by the CPS. I am now having to have counselling as I became continually tearful and anxious after the assault and I suffer horrific nightmares.’

The case is the latest in a series of controversial trials in which men have claimed they cannot be held accountable for rapes or sexual assaults because they suffer from the rare sleep condition known as parasomnia, nicknamed ‘sexsomnia’ because of its use as a defence in sex crime trials.

Following the attack, Mr Fallon was assessed for three nights at the private Edinburgh Sleep Centre and diagnosed with a sleep disorder after a doctor hired by the defence saw his arms and legs move while he was asleep. [That's normal]

But the prosecution’s medical expert did not assess Mr Fallon independently and both of these doctors worked for the same chain of private clinics. Neither expert was called to give evidence or face cross-examination at the trial and the jury was simply presented with their reports that Mr Fallon suffered from a sleep disorder.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘It is a farce that the CPS didn’t challenge his defence properly. The law needs to change to stop other victims being let down by justice.’

The attack happened in February 2012 after the woman and her husband celebrated a friend’s birthday at a Northamptonshire restaurant.

Mr Fallon, a self-employed marketing consultant, and his wife Magz, 40, were also there and several couples returned to a friend’s house after the meal.

He had been drinking heavily and was left to sleep on a sofa while his wife went alone to a hotel. The victim and her husband slept on a bed in the same room as Mr Fallon. She said she was still wearing her tights and underwear when she woke to find Mr Fallon attacking her.

‘I was lying on my side, curled up, and he grabbed my shoulder and flipped me onto my back,’ she said.

‘I stopped him and he got up and tried to run away. I was screaming and hysterical and I called the police immediately.’ The attack lasted seconds and her husband only woke when she started screaming.

Mr Fallon was charged with sexual assault and stood trial at Northampton Crown Court in August.

The jury was told he suffered from insane automatism, a defence which means a defendant had no conscious knowledge of his actions and cannot be held responsible for them.

Out of 18 known British rape cases between 1996 and 2011 in which ‘sexsomnia’ was used as a defence, 12 ended in acquittals, one Scottish case was found ‘not proven’ and five ended in guilty verdicts. Last year a further three cases all ended in convictions.

Experts estimate between 1 and 2.5 per cent of adults sleepwalk – of those only 4 per cent are thought to act out dreams.

There have been warnings that it is possible to fake the condition.

Last year Zack Thompson, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, was jailed after admitting the defence he had maintained for two-and-a-half years – that he was sleepwalking when he committed rape – was not true.

The jury found Mr Fallon was not guilty ‘by reason of insanity’, a rare verdict which meant he was still put on the Sex Offenders Register for five years and was told to undergo medical treatment.

Mr Fallon, who shares a £1.5million home in affluent Farnham Royal, Buckinghamshire, with his wife, has agreed to pay the £3,900 bill for a year of private treatment for his sleep disorder.

The judge also imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning from him from sleeping at friends’ homes or any private home unless he has previously told householders he suffers from a sleep disorder and given details of his conviction.

Original report here




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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Driving while black in London

A Scotland Yard officer is to be disciplined for racially discriminating against Stephen Lawrence’s younger brother.

The police watchdog has ordered the Met to bring misconduct proceedings against the officer, who followed and stopped teacher Stuart Lawrence as he drove home in his car last November.

The Met’s professional standards unit had previously cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

But after Mr Lawrence appealed, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has ruled that his allegation against the officer was ‘well founded’ and he should face a misconduct hearing.

More than 20 other, unrelated allegations of racial discrimination – made against the Met by Mr Lawrence - were rejected by the IPCC.

Last night Mr Lawrence urged Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to take ‘robust and appropriate disciplinary action’ against the officer who is facing misconduct proceedings.

‘There is no place in the police service for officers who conduct themselves as he did,’ he told the Mail.

The decision to partially uphold Mr Lawrence’s appeal is seen as a major embarrassment for Yard chiefs.

The public inquiry into the 1993 murder of his brother Stephen, 18, accused Scotland Yard of being ‘institutionally racist’.

Father-of-one Lawrence, 36, lodged a formal complaint with the Met in January (2013), alleging he had been stopped or searched by officers on 25 occasions since the age of 17.

As revealed exclusively in the Mail, he claimed he had been targeted simply because of the colour of the skin.

His patience finally snapped after he was stopped near the home he shared with his fiancée and young son in Peckham, South-east London, on the afternoon of November 16 last year.

He was driving his three year old Volkswagen Scirocco when two officers pulled him over and checked his details.

Mr Lawrence says that when he asked why he had been stopped, one of the officers replied he had been ‘naturally suspicious’ of him.

After spending three months probing his various allegations, the Met’s Department of Professional Standards (DPS) concluded in April there was no evidence any of its officers acted inappropriately. But the IPCC has now upheld Mr Lawrence’s complaint about last November’s incident.

The officer who was driving the police vehicle which followed Mr Lawrence’s car told investigators that he (Mr Lawrence) had stared at him as he drove past. He said he noticed that the man at the wheel was Afro-Caribbean ‘but could not make out any more than that’.

In its report, a copy of which has been seen by the Mail, the IPCC said it did not find the ‘eye contact’ between Mr Lawrence and the police officer provided a ‘credible justification’ for the decision to follow him.

It added that it was more likely than not that Mr Lawrence did not speed up or fail to indicate, as was alleged by the officer and a police colleague who was with him at the time.

‘On the balance of probability we conclude that the conduct took place as Mr Lawrence has alleged,’ it added.

‘In the absence of credible reasons as to why Mr Lawrence was followed and questioned we consider that his complaint that this was on the grounds of ethnicity is well founded.’

According to the IPCC report, 74 per cent of the police driver’s stops between September 2012 and March 2013 were on Afro-Caribbean people.

It recommended he face a misconduct hearing for racial discrimination.

Because he had never previously been in trouble and didn’t use offensive language in the incident with Mr Lawrence, he is unlikely to lose his job.

His colleague who was also involved in the altercation with Mr Lawrence (last November) will not disciplined, the IPCC said.

This, it explained, is because there is no evidence he influenced the driver’s decision to follow and stop Mr Lawrence, and was not aware of his race until he got out of his car.

Mr Lawrence welcomed the IPCC’s decision to ‘partially’ uphold his appeal.

He said: "The IPCC now recognises, on the basis of the evidence that it has seen, that the only reason I was stopped by police on the 16th November 2012, was because of my ethnic origin. This is the conclusion that the original officer investigating my complaint should have reached.

The fact that he did not do so caused me hurt and distress because it suggested that I was not telling the truth about what happened to me. It also shows how ineffective the complaints procedure is when police investigate police.

‘There are bound to be many miscarriages of justice because of this biased procedure. Ultimately, it needs to be changed so that complaints are not investigated in a biased way and people in my position do not have to go through the stress and humiliation of not being believed when they make a complaint.’

Original report here



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Monday, October 21, 2013

British judge who called burglar 'courageous' decides NOT to jail sex offender... because his crime was so long ago it was 'water under the bridge'

He has already been reprimanded for claiming that a burglar was ‘courageous’. Now Judge Peter Bowers has sparked outcry again – this time for letting off a sex offender after deciding his crime was ‘water under the bridge’.

The controversial judge allowed predatory Gary Flynn, 35, to walk free from court despite hearing that he had forced an underage girl into oral sex.

Flynn, a bouncer, admitted carrying out the attack more than 15 years ago after the traumatised victim spoke to police. He has previously been cautioned for a similar offence, the court was told.

But in a move that has outraged campaigners, Judge Bowers spared him jail because he was between 16 and 18 years old when the incident took place. Flynn was also suffering from a head injury at the time, which the judge said may have clouded his judgement.

Judge Bowers said: ‘You were a teenager suffering from the effects of a head injury which made your maturity and responsibility less than somebody of your age.

‘This is water under the bridge. You have lived 15 or 17 years without other convictions and there is no reason to think you will be committing offences in the future.’

This is just the latest in a string of controversial rulings by Judge Bowers, who last year praised the ‘courage’ of burglar Richard Rochford and let him off with a suspended sentence. He told him: ‘It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.’

He was criticised for his choice of words, which were branded a ‘serious error of judgment’.

Following an investigation, the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling and Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge upheld complaints about the comments and issued Judge Bowers with a reprimand for his remarks which had ‘damaged public confidence in the judicial process’.

Then in April, Judge Bowers sparked anger again when he let paedophile Mark Martin skip jail because he thought he ‘would suffer very badly’ in prison.

In the latest case at Teesside Crown Court on Friday, Judge Bowers heard that Flynn indecently assaulted his victim, who cannot be named, in the late 1990s. Flynn pleaded guilty to one count of indecent assault on a child under 16 after admitting he groped the younger girl between the legs and forced her to have oral sex.

Judge Bowers praised him for pleading guilty and sparing his victim the ordeal of giving evidence before handing him a three year community supervision order.

Flynn, of Norton, County Durham, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register.

Speaking after the case, Dilys Davy, of sex abuse charity ARCH, said: ‘It might be water under the bridge for him but not for his victim, she has to live with it for the rest of her life. ‘His comments are outrageous. It’s as though he is saying that because it happened a long time ago, no harm done.

‘This kind of thing can discourage victims from coming forward. A judge’s comments are important and the main reason people say they do not report abuse is the fear that they will not be taken seriously or won’t be believed.’

David Hines, of the National Victims Association charity, said: ‘It’s a disgrace. What a stupid thing for a judge to say. How can it be water under the bridge for the victim? ‘There can’t ever be water under the bridge for the victim before justice is done.

‘And it’s secondary victimization for them to have to see an offender walk free from court.’

Original report here




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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cincinnati police officer indicted on charges involving nude photos of teen, fake police substation

A Cincinnati police officer was indicted Monday on felony charges involving nude photos of a 17-year-old and the opening of a fake police substation in East Price Hill, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters said.

Darrell Beavers, who has been with CPD for about 13 years, was indicted on one count of theft in office, one count of tampering with evidence and four counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance.

Deters said these charges date from June 2013 to Sept. 2013.

If convicted on all charges, Beavers -- a former player in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs -- faces the possibility of eight-and-a-half years in prison.

Beavers participated in The Cincinnati Police Explorer program, a program for teenagers interested in a career in law enforcement.

In September 2013, the parent of a 17-year-old Cincinnati Police Explorer became concerned about his daughter’s contact with Beavers, Deters said. He later complained to the Cincinnati Police Department which resulted in an investigation into Beavers' activities.

It was later determined Beavers received nude photos of the teen, Deters said.

Beavers has served in District 3 since August 2008, and was named a neighborhood liaison officer in November 2010, according to his personnel file.

Beavers is also charged with improper use of an apartment at 2600 Bushnell Street in East Price Hill.

An investigation revealed Beavers secured the apartment alleging that it was to be used as a Cincinnati Police substation, Deters said.

In an interview with WCPO's Jay Warren, apartment manager Marti Burcham said Beavers approached her earlier this year and asked if she would like a substation. For Burcham, the thought of extra police security was a no-brainer.

"Two weeks later, he came back and said, 'yes, we were approved’ and we had to furnish an apartment and the electricity," Burcham said. Burcham said she then began moving things into apartment No. 9, including a bed.

She was also told to put a Cincinnati Police Department sticker on the window of the stairwell, she said. "I saw him move stuff in -- a computer and stuff like that -- and he hung the sign on the window, so I thought it was all perfectly legit," Burcham said.

Kathy, a resident of the apartment who asked that WCPO not use her last name, said she -- like Burcham – agreed with the idea of a substation at the complex. "When I first heard that there was going to be a substation in our complex, I thought it was a really nice idea," she said, "It's off the beaten path…security would really really be nice."

But as time went by, Kathy said something didn't seem normal.

"Only because they were never there, it seemed like if there was going to be some police presence in the neighborhood at least they would be there on occasion," Kathy said. "An hour here and an hour there -- but it really didn't appear that way to me."

When the police searched the apartment in late September, they found a bed, bedding, food, personal lubricant, videos and a night vision camera that was property of the Cincinnati Police Department.

"A police officer commands, and should command, the respect of the entire community. When an individual police officer betrays that trust, it devastates the entire community which is why the Cincinnati Police Department and my office place the highest priority on these types of cases and will not tolerate this behavior," Deters said.

The theft charge against Beavers is based on his use of the apartment for free and claiming it was for official Cincinnati police business.

Count two of the indictment alleges Beavers destroyed a cell phone after he became aware of the official police investigation into his activities.

Original report here




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Saturday, October 19, 2013

British cop stole £23,000 from widow, aged 94: Officer dubbed 'a disgrace to the uniform' also forged pensioner's will and pocketed war medals

A policeman stole £23,000 from a 94-year-old widow and forged her will in an attempt to inherit the bulk of her £400,000 estate.

PC Jonathan Webb was described by colleagues as an ‘utter disgrace to the uniform’ after he was jailed for six years yesterday.

The South Yorkshire Police officer admitted preying on a trusting pensioner, whom he befriended after he was called to her home when she had a fall.

He volunteered to visit her in hospital afterwards, and when she had recovered he gained access to her bank accounts. He set up internet banking and applied for a cash card so he could withdraw money at will, often taking £300 a day.

He even closed down a pension account so he could access her life savings, Leeds Crown Court heard.

He also typed a false will on his victim’s typewriter, using details from her old will to craft a new document making himself the main beneficiary.

Webb, who has five children from three marriages, was exposed after he came under suspicion for another offence, in which he stole £1,000 and 500 US dollars recovered after a burglary.

Officers investigating the case found the pensioner’s faked will in the boot of his car, and a box of Second World War medals in his locker – the product of another theft.

Webb, 45, of Millhouses, Sheffield, resigned in May after 20 years in the force. He admitted five charges of theft, five of fraud and one of forgery.

Sentencing, Judge Guy Kearl QC said: ‘You have brought disgrace upon yourself and upon the police service for whom you served many years and you have undermined the public confidence in our police service.

‘I am satisfied once you had seen her [the victim] you had selected her as your prey and then you committed sophisticated and planned acts of fraud and theft on a frail and confused elderly lady.’

Alisha Kaye, prosecuting, told the court Webb had visited the pensioner on more than 30 occasions. The victim was ‘independent’ and had ‘worked very hard for everything she owns’, the court heard. She has no surviving relatives.

Miss Kaye said: ‘She does not fully understand why the defendant has done this to her. It is very hard for her now to trust anyone.

‘The defendant preyed upon her vulnerability, she trusted him as a friend. She trusted the defendant because he was a policeman and said it is his job to look after people like her.’

Webb’s barrister Sam Green said the former officer realised his behaviour was ‘disgraceful and despicable’, and wished to ‘apologise unreservedly’.

Original report here




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Friday, October 18, 2013

2 people dead from police bullets but cops get a slap on the wrist

If it's night-time, you are driving while black and there is a car backfire near you, you are in trouble. And if you are being followed by white police for no reason, you might well be too scared to stop

A review of a deadly police chase in Cleveland nearly a year ago has led to suspensions for 63 patrol officers who violated orders and department rules, the city’s police chief said Tuesday.

A fleeing driver and passenger were killed when officers fired 137 shots at them in the 23-minute chase that involved five dozen cruisers and wove through residential neighborhoods before ending in gunfire.

Police Chief Michael McGrath said the suspensions were the result of disciplinary hearings, and violations ranged from insubordination to driving too fast during the chase.

The hearings did not involve any of the officers involved in the shooting because a county grand jury is investigating possible criminal wrongdoing among the 13 officers who fired their weapons. No weapon or shell casings were found in the fleeing car.

An initial review of the chase found 75 patrol officers violated orders, but the disciplinary hearings reduced that number to 64 officers. All but one received a suspension, with the longest being 10 days, McGrath said.

None of the violations was so serious it warranted termination. Some of the officers received a written warning.

Police previously announced punishments for 12 supervisors stemming from the chase. One sergeant was fired. A captain and lieutenant were demoted, and nine sergeants were suspended.

The nighttime chase began last November when an officer thought he heard a gunshot from a car speeding by the police station in downtown Cleveland. A parking lot attendant thought it might have been a car backfire, a theory endorsed by the driver’s family.

The officer jumped into his patrol car and radioed for help. The chase went through neighborhoods, onto Interstate 90, and eventually ended in East Cleveland.

Driver Timothy Russell, 43, was shot 23 times and passenger Malissa Williams, 30, was shot 24 times. [Both were black]

Police say they don’t know why Russell didn’t stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction.

McGrath said Tuesday that some of the officers continued the chase after being told to stop because they thought an officer was in trouble. He said the officers who were disciplined were honest and professional during the review process.

He also said police supervisors failed to take charge of the chase and allowed it to escalate.

The union has said the shootings were justified because the driver tried to ram an officer.

Original report here




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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Actor suing London police for £50,000 claiming they pinned him down and strip-searched him for drugs because he is black

An actor is suing the Met Police for £50,000 accusing them of picking on him as a suspected drug dealer because of his colour.

Daniel Kaluuya, 24, who has appeared in TV drama Skins and starred as Rowan Atkinson’s sidekick in the film Johnny English Reborn, claims he was pinned down, strip searched and accused of obstructing an officer.

In papers lodged with the High Court he is demanding substantial damages for his mistaken arrest on a London bus by officers, one of whom is said to have placed a boot on his head as he was pinned to the ground.

Mr Kaluuya, who won an Evening Standard theatre award as outstanding newcomer in 2010, claims he was 'was singled out because of officers racially stereotyping him.'

He also accuses the Met of using false reports from officers to mount a ‘malicious’ prosecution that accused him of obstructing a police officer.

He later walked free from court after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.

Mr Kaluuya says his ordeal began after he was taken off a bus in Camden Town, pinned to the ground by the officers before being later strip searched at Kentish Town police station.

He was returning home on January 11, 2010, when he was taken off a bus soon after boarding at about 8.45pm.

Officers told him he fitted the description of someone acting suspiciously in the area.

Mr Kaluuya asked whether he had been singled out because he was black.

In the papers he says a male and a female officer were 'aggressive from the outset' and 'intimidating'.

The pair backed him against a shop window before pinning him to the floor and restraining him, helped by up to five colleagues after they radioed for help.

He had his hands and legs cuffed and his trousers pulled down.

Mr Kaluuya alleges he was kneed in the back, neck and head, kicked in the legs and stomach and had his head and shoulder stamped on.

When he refused to reveal his name, more force was applied via the boot on his head.

He was ordered to walk to the police van but fell over twice because his trousers were round his knees.

Mr Kaluuya adds officers failed to read him his rights and refused to inform his mother he had been taken to the police station.

It was the first time he had been held in custody. He spent four hours in a cell and was subjected to a strip search, during which nothing was found. His fingerprints, DNA and photograph were taken.

Now he is suing Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, on behalf of the force, for 'loss of liberty, personal injury, damage and humiliation.'

He says he went to his GP several days after the incident and was told he had internal bruising to his ribs, chest and back.

He denies police claims he became aggressive when they tried to arrest him.

Original report here




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Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Innocent British father was key suspect in child abduction case for SIX YEARS until he was cleared by his daughter's 'frilly pyjamas'

Get lucky or get blamed?

A British father considered the prime suspect in the Madeleine McCann kidnapping for six years blew open the case after coming forward to police with his child's distinctive frilly pyjamas.

The mystery man's involvement was ruled out after detectives realised he was taking his own two-year-old daughter home from a crèche and had not snatched Maddie.

He even agreed to be pictured in the clothes he wore in Praia da Luz, on May 3, 2007, to prove he was the man in the police sketch previously seen as key to cracking the case.

His two-year-old's pink pyjamas, which were described by one of the McCann's closest friends, were also brought to Scotland Yard to help prove his innocence.

DCI Andy Redwood, the Met officer leading the investigation, described it as a 'revelation moment' and completely changed when they thought Madeleine was kidnapped.

The Metropolitan Police last night confirmed it had ruled out a sighting of the man previously seen near the McCanns’ Portuguese apartment.

Jane Tanner, a close friend of Kate and Gerry, previously told officers she saw a dark-haired man carrying away a child wearing pink floral pyjamas at 9.15pm on May 3, 2007.

One of the so-called ‘Tapas Seven’, Miss Tanner had been dining with the McCanns in a nearby restaurant when their daughter went missing.

But this has been found not to involve Madeleine.

The revelation has shifted detectives’ focus on to a later sighting at 10pm when an Irish family reported seeing a man walking towards the beach carrying a blonde girl in pyjamas.

She appeared to be in an uncomfortable position with her head slumped against him.

Original report here




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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Anaheim Property Owner & IJ Win Civil Forfeiture Fight

Government Drops Case and Changes Policy Under Criticism

Arlington, Va.—One of the most contentious property rights battles in the country has ended today when the United States government agreed to drop its civil forfeiture case against Anaheim, Calif., landlord Tony Jalali. Jalali faced the loss of his entire building, worth more than $1.5 million, despite never being charged with any crime; the federal government went after his property merely because he rented space to a medical marijuana dispensary, which was legal under state law.

Medical marijuana is legal in California and state law prohibits the forfeiture of homes and buildings without convicting a property owner of a crime. But the city of Anaheim and the federal government teamed up to do an end-run around California law to deprive Jalali of his property. Under civil forfeiture law, property taken from its owners is used to pad the budgets of the agencies that seize it, giving government officials a perverse incentive to take property.

"I was shocked when the government first sued me and I realized that civil forfeiture meant the government could take my property from me even though I was not charged with any crime," said Jalali, who was represented by the Institute for Justice. "I did not want to be bullied and stood up to the government to protect my property and my reputation."

Jalali was forced into federal court to prove his innocence and save his building, but the case came to an end today when the government agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, which means the government gives up any right to file the case again in the future and threaten the property.

"Civil forfeiture should not be used as a punishment for a property owner who committed no crime," said Institute for Justice Attorney Larry Salzman. "This is a case that should never have been filed."

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where Anaheim is located, has aggressively used civil forfeiture against landlords in an attempt to enforce the federal prohibition of marijuana, filing more than 30 lawsuits against medical marijuana dispensaries during the past two years. It continued the case against Jalali even though Jalali was a mere landlord, not involved in the operation of his tenant’s dispensary, and evicted his tenant immediately upon being served with the government’s lawsuit.

But on August 29, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a memorandum to all U.S. Attorneys, instructing them not to bring cases enforcing the federal ban on marijuana in states where it is legal unless the activity involves "criminal enterprises, gangs, cartels" or implicates important national concerns.

"We are delighted that Tony’s property is safe, but we will continue our fight against the injustice of civil forfeiture on behalf of property owners across the nation," said IJ Senior Attorney Scott Bullock.

"Civil forfeiture is a threat to property rights that must end," said IJ President and General Counsel Chip Mellor. "The Institute for Justice has documented time and again that it invites a lack of due process and a lack of constitutionally enshrined restraints on government authority. If the government wants to take someone’s property, it should first be required to convict him or her of a crime."

Original report here




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Monday, October 14, 2013

Britain's Privy Council quashes murder conviction of New Zealand businessman Mark Lundy

BRITAIN'S Privy Council has quashed the conviction of a New Zealand businessman who had received a life sentence for the murders of his wife and daughter and ruled that he should be granted a new trial in New Zealand.

It was an unusual intervention by the Privy Council Judicial Committee, which at the height of the British Empire was a very powerful body but still retains important powers now as a last ditch court of appeals.

A five-judge panel ruled in favour of Mark Lundy, who was convicted in New Zealand in 2002 after a jury decided he had attacked his wife Christine, 38, and his daughter Amber, 7, with a weapon similar to a tomahawk at the family home.

Christine Lundy's friend Christine Lockett told TVNZ she felt numb about the decision.

"I never thought it would get to this, I really didn't. I thought that Mark would remain in jail for the full term so it really hits you hard, really hard."

Supporters however said there was a "welter of evidence" from reputable experts which cast doubt on the methods the Crown used in several aspects of his prosecution.

Factual, a group which has supported Lundy's defence since his convictions, says it's thankful for the decision.

The "emphatic" decision upheld what the group had long maintained as inconsistencies and misinformation which need to be reconsidered in light of these accepted revelations, it says in a statement.

"Now that the verdict has been found to be unsafe Factual sincerely hope that the Crown will re-investigate this crime in the search for truth. There are many unanswered questions that need to be re-evaluated."

Lundy received a mandatory life sentence and his appeal was dismissed by the New Zealand Court of Appeals later in 2002.

He eventually had his lawyers bring the matter before the Privy Council, which had the authority to hear the appeal because New Zealand did not have its own Supreme Court until 2003.

Lundy brought the case before the Privy Council committee in November, more than 10 years after losing his initial appeal in New Zealand. His lawyers argued that he suffered a "substantial miscarriage of justice" when he was initially convicted. They argued that the verdict was unreasonable and not supported by the evidence.

The appeal was heard by four judges from Britain's Supreme Court and one senior New Zealand judge. Lundy's lawyers convinced the judges that fresh evidence should be considered in a new trial.

Lundy is now in his mid-50s. The council said he should remain in prison in New Zealand until his bail request can be heard by the High Court there.

Original report here




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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Do new pictures prove Jeremy Bamber is innocent?

He is the only full-term lifer who refuses to admit guilt. Now, a former MP investigates new evidence over murders that shocked the nation. Bamber convicted on the word of a nasty b*tch

A notorious prisoner is the victim of one of the worst miscarriages of justice in modern times and should have his conviction overturned, a former Tory MP argues in a compelling new book.

Andrew Hunter says that Jeremy Bamber, who has spent more than a quarter of a century in jail for shooting dead his adoptive parents, his sister and his two six-year-old nephews, has been the victim of ‘questionable’ police evidence.

Mr Hunter, who has been working on the Bamber case for the past ten years, says he has come across previously unconsidered evidence which suggests that the prosecution was seriously flawed.

Furthermore, the former Basingstoke MP argues that recent revelations of police corruption – including the cover-up of the Hillsborough stadium disaster and the controversy over the resignation of Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and the ‘Plebgate’ row in Downing Street – reinforces his demand to take a completely fresh look at the case.

Bamber, now 52, was convicted of the murders at the family’s farm near Maldon, Essex, in 1985 by a 10-2 majority jury verdict.

He has strongly insisted on his innocence ever since – but until now has lacked such a high-profile public advocate of his case.

Bamber says his sister Sheila, who was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, suffered a psychotic episode and carried out the murders before turning the gun on herself

Bamber says his sister Sheila, who was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, feared having her children taken into care, suffered a psychotic episode and carried out the murders before turning the gun on herself.

But the police argued that Bamber must have carried out the murders because the gun had been fitted with a silencer, which made it too long for her to be physically able to shoot herself.

The police also said that if she had gone on a rampage her feet would have been covered in blood, which they said was not the case.

Now Mr Hunter says that after a 25-year fight, Bamber’s lawyers have obtained a picture of the feet – which shows bloodstains.

And his defence team have also received new forensic results which suggest that burn marks on the back of Bamber’s father, Nevill, had been made by the muzzle of a rifle without a silencer.

In addition, his team say that even if the gun had been fitted with a silencer, it would have been possible for Sheila to have shot herself.

They have used an actress with the same length arms as Sheila to demonstrate that she could still have reached the trigger.

Mr Hunter says he has also unearthed evidence that the silencer produced as evidence in court had been claimed to have been found three days after the killings when, he alleges, it had actually been found nearly a month later.

He believes that the alleged extra time could have been used to add ‘scratch marks’ on the silencer, to back up claims – later used by the prosecution – that Jeremy Bamber had been involved in a confrontation with his father while trying to carry out the killings, which had led to marks on both the silencer and a wall in the house.

Mr Hunter argues that crime-scene photographs prove that additional scratches appeared on the wall in the days after the crime was committed.

Police had initially worked on the theory that Sheila, a model known as ‘Bambi’, had been responsible. But they then put Bamber at the centre of the investigation after his girlfriend, Julie Mugford – whom he had two-timed – claimed he had confessed to her his plans to hire a hitman to murder the family.

She named the hitman, but he turned out to have a cast-iron alibi and was released. Two years ago, Bamber’s legal team thought they had made a breakthrough when a recently unearthed police phone log recorded a call on the night of the killings from Nevill. The log, entitled ‘daughter gone berserk’, said that Mr Bamber had said his daughter had stolen one of his guns and gone ‘berserk’.

However, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) declined to refer the case to the Court of Appeal – which has turned down Bamber twice – saying that it had not identified any evidence that raised a possibility the court would overturn the conviction.

Bamber is the only one out of 38 prisoners in England and Wales serving a whole-life sentence who still protests his innocence.

The case has caused unease in legal circles for years because the verdict was not unanimous and there was no direct forensic evidence linking him to the crime. The prosecution relied heavily on motive and character, arguing that Bamber was ‘greedy’ and ‘arrogant’, and had set up his sister to appear to be the culprit because he was motivated by the prospect of inheriting the £436,000 family fortune and considerable land.

Sentencing him to life imprisonment, the judge, Mr Justice Drake, described Bamber as ‘warped’ and ‘evil, almost beyond belief’.

Now Mr Hunter, MP for Basingstoke from 1983 to 2005, argues in his book, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, that the evidence relied on by the prosecution was full of contradictions. He says that he expects the new forensics to form part of a third appeal attempt. ‘I think we are looking at one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent times, and there is compelling evidence that much of the evidence provided by the police and others was unreliable,’ he said. ‘I’m afraid the police did dreadful things back then. Don’t forget the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four.’

Mr Hunter, now 70, was a classics teacher at Harrow School until entering Parliament in 1983. As a Right-wing member of the Monday Club, he does not fit the more usual Left-wing profile of political critics of the police: in 2004, shortly before stepping down from the Commons at the 2005 General Election, he joined the Democratic Unionist Party.

Mr Hunter first became interested in Bamber’s case while still serving as an MP, when he signed a Commons motion raising doubts about his conviction. Bamber wrote to Mr Hunter to thank him, and the two men started corresponding frequently, with Mr Hunter paying visits to him in Full Sutton prison in York.

Campaigners working to free Bamber have set up a website which includes regular blogs by the prisoner, based on letters written to his supporters by Bamber.

In the most recent posting, on September 29, Bamber wrote: ‘Today is like all the others, as I wake in jail having completed 28 years wrongfully imprisoned. Now I begin year 29, a new day, a good day, one that none of us will ever see again.’

Bamber hinted at Mr Hunter’s findings in a June posting, saying: ‘I wanted to write a short piece about all the work that has been done to resolve matters regarding my wrongful imprisonment, both in proving my innocence and in proving that Sheila took her own life after killing our family.

‘We now have all the raw data that’s key to resolving every aspect of the case, facts and figures extracted from three-and-a-half million pages of case documents.’

Bamber has kept a low profile in prison, apart from the time he was forced to defend himself with a broken bottle when a prisoner attacked him with a knife. He received 28 stitches on his neck following a second attack by another inmate.

Bamber was the son of a vicar’s daughter who had an affair with a married Army sergeant. He was adopted by Nevill and June Bamber aged six weeks.

Privately educated, at the time of the murders he was just 24 and living in a cottage owned by his father three miles away. Seven years ago he took and passed a lie-detector test. He has seen numerous therapists and psychiatrists in his time in prison, none of whom has suggested that he is mentally unstable.

His legal team have also highlighted what they describe as other flaws in the original trial, including the fact that a bloodstained Bible, found by Sheila’s side and open at pages containing Psalms 51-55 – a section relating to the struggle between good and evil – was never forensically examined nor produced at trial, despite repeated requests from Bamber’s solicitor.

Photographs also showed a handwritten note sticking up from between the pages of the Bible reading ‘love one another’ – the same words that were on a banner on a wall in a room in Guyana when 909 people died in a mass murder-suicide.

And it has emerged that shortly before her death, Sheila’s ex-husband, Colin Caffell, wrote to Nevill expressing deep concern about her mental state and asking him to ‘try and convince Sheila that it would be better for her and the boys if they stayed with me most of the time’.

But when Bamber told his trial that Sheila had feared losing her children – which could have triggered one of her psychotic attacks – he was accused of making it up.

Last night, a spokesman for the CCRC said: ‘We have no current application in relation to Mr Bamber’s case.’

A spokesman for Essex Police said: ‘Essex Police has no comment to make on these claims given that Jeremy Bamber’s conviction has been the subject of several appeals and reviews by the CCRC and there has never been anything to suggest he was wrongly convicted.’ ["Never admit anything" is the police motto]

Original report here




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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Video captures police violently shoving Cassandra Feuerstein into cell, breaking her facial bones

A US woman says she is a victim of police brutality after video footage showing a cop violently throwing her into her cell, leaving her bleeding on the floor with broken facial bones.

Chicago woman Cassandra Feuerstein, 47, was arrested for drink driving last March by Skokie police and taken to a police holding cell, MyFoxChicago reports.

Graphic video footage shows Fuerestein leaving the cell after being called by police officer Michael Hart, who seconds later violently tosses her back into the cell face-first, NBC5 Chicago reports.

The shove sends her flying across the room, slamming her head into a concrete bench and leaving Feuerstein slumped on the floor bleeding as medical officers rush to her aid.

"It breaks most of the bones in her face, and opens up a gash on her right cheek leaving a big pool of blood on the cell floor. She actually had to have facial reconstructive surgery and now has a titanium cheek as a result," Feuerstein’s lawyer Torri Hamilton told

Fuerestein is suing police for violating her civil rights after the police failed to discipline officer Hart - whom she slammed as "a bully".

"For my family to see me that way - the way I looked when I was finally let go – it was awful. If anyone else besides a police officer had done this to me, they would have been arrested," she said.

"I think when you look at this and you see the video which we are so fortunate to have, I think what you see is the cowardly act of a bully."

Fuerestein says she was compliant and followed police orders during her arrest, but officer Hart’s report charged her with resisting arrest, NBC Chicago reports. Those charges were thrown out and Fuerestein pleaded guilty to drink driving.

Original report here




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Friday, October 11, 2013

A National Disgrace: The shooting of Miriam Carey

Emmett Tyrrell

I am just wondering if Miriam Carey, the mentally ill mother who drove her black Infiniti down Pennsylvania Avenue after she rammed a White House barricade, was read her Miranda rights before she was shot dead in a fusillade of gunfire by a gang of well-armed police who surrounded her car at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The information has not been released, though as I write almost a week has passed since the lethal event. Why could not those crack shots have aimed at her car's tires. Then they could have waited for her next move. It looks to me like they were shooting at the side of the car about half way up the door. They apparently wanted to take no chances.

I guess they worried that she had some powerful explosives in the car. Yet what could Carey have had that was so dangerous to them? She was still a couple of blocks from the Capitol. Did they fear dynamite? Could she have had a nuclear devise? Neither was very likely. We now know that she had only her year-old child. The child was not hurt.

Thus far there has been an astonishing silence surrounding the death Carey. None of the usual complainants against police violence have been heard from -- not the Rev. Jesse Jackson nor the Rev. Al Sharpton. Not even the NAACP or the ACLU. Nor for that matter have the hordes of defenders of Trayvon Martin been heard from. The only voices of protest have come from the Washington Times editorial board and from two writers at The American Spectator -- now there are three. This strikes me as exceedingly strange. Legal sleuths tell me that the police could be subject to charges of negligent homicide or manslaughter. Are we going to forego a scrupulous investigation because of the possibility of these charges? How long will the conspiracy of silence last? Is the entire country going to participate in it?

When it reconvened last Thursday, Congress gave the participating officers a standing ovation! That is amazing. What other elected body of lawmakers would applaud the shooting of an unarmed mother. Would the British parliament do the same? I doubt it. For that matter, I doubt that any state legislature would allow itself to be whooped up into such a frenzy.

Carey was African-American. She had been to college and graduated with a B.A. in health and nutrition science. She had wanted to better herself from the rough neighborhood in which she grew up, and it seems she had. But she had a child out of wedlock and suffered postpartum depression with psychosis. She was under a doctor's care. Health authorities say she was not a danger to anyone. She surely was driving recklessly last Thursday, but those armed officers could have incapacitated her without killing her.

Why is there no outpouring of concern from civil libertarians? Some observers say that it is because "the ruling class" feared itself threatened. Democrats and Republicans in the most powerful nation on earth were threatened. The president of the United States was threatened. So the death of Miriam Carey will be given short shrift.

Frankly, I find this explanation preposterous. We are a nation of laws. We extend the rule of law even to the criminal class. It should also be extended to the mentally ill Carey. It is not too late to extend it to her. Perhaps this is one instance in which Jackson and Sharpton can join with conservatives and demand an investigation. How many more defenseless citizens are going to be killed before the civilized among us demand action?

Original report here




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Thursday, October 10, 2013

GA: Man Shot Dead By Police After 911 Call For Medical Emergency

Probably cowardice. Whatever was in his hand was assumed to be a weapon

Police in Georgia say they had no choice but to shoot a man who was, according to his family, experiencing an adverse reaction to medication he took for his diabetes.

The family of Jack Lamar Roberson claims they called 911 on Friday for medical help and that the 43-year-old was not a threat at all. Police say Roberson was armed.

"They just came in and shot him," Alcia Herron, Roberson's fiance, told First Coast News. "He didn't say nothing, the police didn't say nothing, anything, it was like a silent movie. You couldn't hear anything, all you could hear were the gun shots go off and I seen them going into his body and he just fell down."

Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said Monday that authorities responded to a suicide threat and that Roberson approached them "aggressively armed with two items used as weapons," according to the Florida Times-Union.

The chief refused to specify what those weapons were, according to the Associated Press.

Roberson's mother insisted that her son was unarmed and that there were "no weapons in this house whatsoever."

"I saw my son shot down," she told the newspaper. "It was ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom."

The officers involved were placed on administrative leave as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation reviews the case.

Original report here




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