Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another charming British cop

A detective who left cards in pub toilets falsely claiming his ex-girlfriend was a prostitute before sending her coupons for pornography has been sacked.

Ian Mangham was dismissed by Scotland Yard after a 'cruel and vindictive' campaign of abuse against his former partner Agnes Collowey.

The detective sergeant, based in Barking and Dagenham, met the mother-of-two when her 'troublesome' partner wrongly reported her missing to police.

But after they split in 2013, after four years together, he began bombarding her with unwanted postal deliveries, including magazines and pornographic films.

He also placed adverts for her supposed services in pub toilets and phone boxes, leading her to get phone calls and knocks on her door all through the night.

Mangham, 50, was jailed in May for 16 weeks after being found guilty of harassment and was ordered to pay £3,000 to his victim and £500 costs. He was also placed under a restraining order.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed today that Mangham had been sacked without notice for discreditable conduct after 26 years of service with the force.

Assistant Commissioner Helen King said: 'Victims of domestic abuse have historically often failed to report offences against them in part because they were not confident that the police would take their allegations seriously and provide them with appropriate support.

'Much good work has been done to counter this belief, so for an officer to be convicted for domestic abuse brings very significant discredit to the police service and undermines the efforts of their colleagues.'

During the case, Hammersmith magistrates' court heard that Ms Collowey, 38, received a note through the door of her home in Chingford, apparently written by her ex, which read: 'Romanian whore. Dirty prostitute, get out of our street.'

She was also bombarded with junk mail after Mangham completed coupons in her name for products such as jewellery engraved with the words 'To my best lover' and pornographic films.

Giving evidence in court, Ms Collowey, a massage therapist, said: 'Letters were coming every day from different companies.

'Some were very upsetting, like one which offered to look after my dog after my death and I received a letter from an undertaker's and a mobility company.'

She said calls from local men seeking sex then began. 'One called for sexual services and said he found my number in the mens toilet of a Chingford pub,' she said.

'I was constantly receiving text messages and some were very rude and I had people knocking on my door in the middle of the night.'

One call was from a pub at the end of her road and another from a phone box opposite Highams Park train station, where a leaflet advertised Agnes's address and phone number.

She said she also received mystery 'aggressive' texts and had her dustbins pushed over.

Mangham told the court he was not behind the harassment campaign and insisted that he 'wished her well' after their relationship ended.

Original report here

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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Another dubious prosecution by British police

They are under feminist pressure to "crack down" on rapists -- so even a mentally ill accuser was taken seriously! Appalling police work

A highly respected geography teacher wept today after a jury took just 26 minutes to clear him of repeatedly raping a pupil at an £18,000 a year public school.

Kato Harris, 37, was accused of attacking the teenager three times after inviting her to stay in the classroom during the lunch break for chats.

Harris was working as the head of geography and assistant head at the private girls’ school in north London at the time of the allegations, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

He insisted it was ‘completely impossible’ to have carried out the attacks as staff and students could see into the room and the door would have been open during the lunch break.

Harris, who is currently suspended from his job at a school in Berkshire, said strict guidelines prevented staff and pupils from even being alone together.

Asked if there was any possible motive for the girl making up the allegations he said it may have been revenge after he mocked her ‘silly face’ in a school photo.

A jury of seven men and five women at Isleworth Crown Court took just 26 minutes to clear Harris of three counts of rape in the autumn term of 2013.

Harris wept and sank to his knees as the verdicts were read out, while his supporters in the public gallery also sobbed and applauded.

Judge Martin Edmunds QC thanked jurors for their service.

The allegations emerged after the girl moved to a new school and staff became concerned about her unhappiness, panic attacks and eating habits.

She told the court she had struggled with bullying at the school, which made her want to leave.

She said: ‘I started getting bullied in year seven, that got dealt with, then I got bullied again.’

Asked why she left the school, she replied: “I was having panic attacks multiple times a day and didn’t feel safe.’

Her family’s lawyers brought in ex-Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers - who spent 36 years with the Metropolitan Police - as a private investigator who sought to guide officers on how to conduct the case, the court heard.

When in April 2014 the house mistress told the girl she suspected sexual abuse, the teenager replied: ‘Maybe’.

The girl finally came forward after visiting the head’s office on 3 December 2014.

Sally Hales, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘She wanted to tell her about it, but couldn’t speak. ‘The teacher told her she would leave the room, and that she should write it down.  ‘When she came back in, the teacher was handed a piece of paper with three words on it “I was raped”.’

The girl struggled to tell her story during a police video interview but wrote the allegations down. She said in her statement: ‘I was raped three times. It was in a geography classroom but I cannot remember which one exactly. ‘We were talking about geography or school and then it just happened before I could do anything. ‘He forced me on the floor and he started having sex with me. He pulled off my tights and underwear.’

She added: ‘I was scared and shocked, I didn’t know what was happening. ‘Nothing was said all three times.’

She initially refused to tell officers the name of her attacker but described him as ‘tall, with dark curly hair, a geography teacher, and his 40s’.  She then confirmed the teacher’s name when asked.

Speaking via videolink, the alleged victim earlier told jurors she attended treatment because of the attacks in New York every day for a year.  She said: ‘I didn’t name Mr Harris in his first interview as I couldn’t say his name. ‘Only after therapy in America that I could say it. ‘I fly to New York every week to see a psychiatrist.’

Harris had told jurors it was school policy to avoid being left alone with pupils in classrooms, and the building would be too busy for an attack. He said: ‘It’s school policy to keep our doors open, all teachers were provided with door wedges. ‘She doesn’t have a form room in the corridor, I don’t think she had lessons in the corridor either.  ‘400 girls would have been in the building. ‘I didn’t rape her, anywhere, ever.’

William Clegg, QC, defending, asked Harris: ‘How possible would it be for someone to rape a pupil without being observed?’

Harris replied: ‘Completely impossible.’

Mr Clegg then asked about the possibility of it occurring three times.  Harris answered: ‘Even more completely impossible.’

He broke down in tears in the dock as colleagues praised him as an ‘outstanding teacher’ and a ‘passionate guy’.

Giving evidence as a defence witness for Harris, the former headteacher said the accusations were ‘unbelievable, adding: ‘He did his job extremely well. He was a passionate geographer. Every day he had a packed classroom.

‘As a teacher, he was outstanding, bordering on brilliant. Pupils adored his lessons.

‘He was a problem-solving member of staff. If I were still a headteacher, I would employ him in a heartbeat

Original report here

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Freddie Gray case: Charges against three remaining officers dropped

A huge indictment of a careless, incompetent and racist black city administration.  What happens now with the $6 million the city paid to the Freddy Gray family?  Now that no city empoyees have been held responsible for Gray's death, there is no liability on the city and the payment was accordingly wrongly authorized.  If the money can not be retrieved, it should be taken from the assets of the officials responsible -- Mosby and Rawlings-Blake at a minimum

Prosecutors dropped all remaining charges against three Baltimore police officers accused in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray in a downtown courtroom on Wednesday morning, concluding one of the most high-profile criminal cases in Baltimore history.

The startling move was an apparent acknowledgment of the unlikelihood of a conviction following the acquittals of three other officers on similar and more serious charges by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, who was expected to preside over the remaining trials as well.

It also means the office of Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby will secure no convictions in the case after more than a year of dogged fighting, against increasingly heavy odds, to hold someone criminally accountable in Gray's death.

Officer William Porter's trial ended with a hung jury and a mistrial in December, before Williams acquitted Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson and Lt. Brian Rice at bench trials in May, June, and July, respectively.

In a hearing Wednesday meant to start the trial of Officer Garrett Miller, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow told Williams that the state was dropping all charges against Miller, Porter and Sgt. Alicia White.  Porter had been scheduled to be retried in September, and White had been scheduled to be tried in October.

"All of our clients are thrilled with what happened today," said Catherine Flynn, Miller's attorney, outside the courthouse.

The officers still face possible administrative discipline. Internal investigations, with the help of outside police agencies, are underway.

Gray, 25, suffered severe spinal cord injuries in the back of the van in April 2015 and died a week after his arrest. His death sparked widespread, peaceful protests against police brutality, and his funeral was followed by rioting, looting and arson.

At a news conference in West Baltimore, near where Gray was arrested, Mosby defended her decision to bring the charges against the officers, and said that "as a mother," the decision to drop them was "agonizing."

But, given Williams' acquittal of Nero, Goodson and Rice and the likelihood that the remaining officers would also choose bench trials before him, Mosby said she had to acknowledge the "dismal likelihood" that her office would be able to secure a conviction.

"After much thought and prayer it has become clear that without being able to work with an independent investigatory agency from the very start, without having a say in the election of whether cases proceed in front of a judge or jury, without communal oversight of police in this community, without substantive reforms to the current criminal justice system, we could try this case 100 times and cases just like it and we would still end up with the same result," she said.

She said there is an "inherent bias" whenever "police police themselves." She said the charges she brought were not an indictment of the entire Baltimore Police Department, but she also broadly condemned the actions and testimony of some officers involved in Gray's arrest or in the department's investigation of the incident — alleging "consistent bias" at "every stage."

She said she is not "anti-police," but "anti-police brutality." She also noted the "countless sacrifices" of her prosecutors in the case, including Schatzow and Deputy State's Attorney Janice Bledsoe, and said her office will continue to "fight for a fair and equitable justice system for all."

Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, said family members "stand behind Marilyn and her prosecuting team, and my family is proud to have them represent us." He said the prosecutors did the "best to their ability."

Shortly after Mosby's news conference, the officers, their defense attorneys and leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, the union that represents the officers and paid for their defense, held their own.

Attorney Ivan Bates, who represents White and spoke on behalf of all of the officers and their attorneys, described the last year as a "nightmare" for the officers. He reiterated the defense argument in all of the cases that the officers were justified in their actions. The officers did not speak.

Lt. Gene Ryan, the FOP president, said "justice has been done." He also described Mosby's comments at her news conference as "outrageous and uncalled for and simply untrue."

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, in a statement, defended the department's investigation into Gray's death. He also called Mosby's decision to drop the charges "a wise one" that will help the city heal and move forward.

All of the officers had pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys have said they acted reasonably and professionally, and that Gray's death was the result of a tragic accident.

Original report here

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

More astonishing laxity from the British police

Acting on the claims of a known chronic liar

Just imagine, if you can, being in the shoes of David Bryant. In 2013, this retired fire chief, with multiple commendations for bravery during his 40 years with the Dorset fire service, was sentenced to six years in jail for a sex attack on a 14-year-old boy which had allegedly taken place more than 35 years earlier.

In 2014, Bryant’s sentence was increased to eight-and-a-half years, after the then Solicitor General Sir Oliver Heald — who last week was made Justice Minister in Theresa May’s Cabinet reshuffle — had argued the initial sentence was ‘unduly lenient’.

Perhaps it was thought that the original trial judge was too much influenced by the countless tributes made to Bryant’s impeccable character. Well, it turns out that those tributes had been entirely accurate: last week, Bryant’s conviction was overturned after it was demonstrated that his accuser, Danny Day, was a fantasist with a history of mental illness.

Scandalously, none of this was revealed during Bryant’s trial. It came to light only as a result of a campaign by his wife, Lynn, who assembled a team of friends and private investigators. Working free of charge, they discovered Danny Day’s past, in particular that he had for a decade sought medical help from his GP for being a ‘chronic liar’: among other things, he claimed entirely falsely to have been an Olympic boxer.

They also discovered that the fire station pool table, on which Day claimed to have been raped, had not been bought until 1992 — well over a decade after the offence was alleged to have taken place.

The Bryants believe Day’s false claims were based on greed. He is said to have been awarded £50,000 through the taxpayer-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and, after the trial, began a £200,000 claim against the Bryants and Dorset County Council.

But none of this explains the timing of Day’s claims, which began with a handwritten letter to Bryant: ‘At 6 o’clock tonight I am going to the police station to report what went on and at 7 to the national papers. I think it is time you and me had a chat.’ That pay-off line has the distinct whiff of blackmail.

Day himself declared to the Press that he had been ‘motivated to come forward in the aftermath of the Jimmy Savile affair’. Add another one to the thousands — and I mean thousands — of claims encouraged by the police, who declared after the Savile revelations that they would henceforth ‘believe’ anyone who came forward with claims of ‘historic abuse’.

The most extraordinary of these were from a man known only as ‘Nick’, whose claims that he had witnessed the abuse, torture and murder of children carried out by the late Prime Minister Edward Heath along with sundry generals and MPs, were described as ‘credible and true’ by the Metropolitan Police. This, despite the absence of a single strand of corroborative evidence, let alone the names or bodies of those allegedly murdered.

Among those innocents whose lives had been torn apart were the war hero and retired Army Chief Lord Bramall, on whose home and that of his dying wife 20 police descended as if raiding a mafia boss; and the late former Home Secretary Lord Brittan, who died without being informed by the police that they had decided not to continue with an investigation into equally fanciful claims that he had raped someone decades earlier.

For this the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, later grudgingly apologised to Lady Brittan.

She has nobly endured so many hurts, not least by the decision of the Home Office not to send a representative to her husband’s memorial service in May last year (before the Met had very belatedly stopped its investigations into ‘Nick’s’ fantasies). Every single previous such memorial for deceased Home Secretaries had been attended by the current holder of that office.

Yet the Home Secretary at the time of Leon Brittan’s death, Theresa May, stayed away. If the new Prime Minister is the decent and moral woman I believe her to be, her conscience should now be troubling her greatly.....

What a farce this whole business has become: and also a tragedy, as poor David Bryant discovered.

Original report here

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BBC Radio star Mark Lawson was sacked for 'bullying' but never told who his accusers are

Franz Kafka's absurdist novel The Trial features a bank clerk dragged through a strange but menacing legal system and who has to defend himself against criminal charges that he's given absolutely no information about.

The famous literary scenario, which helped spawn the term 'Kafkaesque', feels depressingly familiar to Mark Lawson, one of Britain's best-known cultural commentators. For he's been at the centre of a real-life version for the past two years.

The saga began when Lawson — a hugely respected broadcaster, author and playwright — was sacked as the host of Radio 4's flagship arts programme Front Row.

He had first been employed by the Corporation to present the show in 1998 and, over 16 years, fronted 2,300 episodes interviewing a galaxy of Hollywood stars, including Robert De Niro, Woody Allen, Helen Mirren and Russell Crowe (who stormed out when Lawson suggested his 'English' accent in the film Robin Hood sounded Irish).

Under Lawson, the programme, which attracted a considerable and loyal following, was the BBC at its best — managing to be high-brow, dynamic and very accessible. Since he left, many say the show has lost its creative spark, and its audience has fallen from around 2.25 million to two million, according to Rajar figures.

Lawson's departure came out of the blue. One day, in February 2014, he was summoned to a meeting with a senior BBC executive and told he was being fired.

The news became public a month later. And while BBC bosses refused to formally explain the reason — saying only that he'd left for unspecified 'personal reasons' — it was widely reported to involve a 'bullying' scandal within the arts department.

Indeed, several newspapers were briefed that Lawson had been guilty of 'appalling behaviour' towards colleagues in the Front Row office and had even 'browbeaten junior staff'. No specific examples were ever detailed and no named witness ever went public with any complaint.

All the same, one paper reported there was 'a real problem' with his attitude and workplace conduct, adding: 'They [the BBC] had to deal with it.'

With that, Lawson's personal and professional reputation was tossed into the gutter. Branded a bully, tarnished by innuendo, shunned by some friends, and having lost his main source of income, he retreated to his family home in rural Northamptonshire.

Suffering insomnia, lack of appetite and other symptoms of stress, he was diagnosed with 'mixed anxiety and depression disorder'. 'It was what my grandmother would call a nervous breakdown,' he says.

Then, having beaten the worst of the symptoms with anti-depressants, he decided to write a novel. Now, two years later, it has been published.

Its plot is an explosive collision of art and real life . . . bearing several uncanny similarities to Lawson's own ordeal.

Titled The Allegations, it centres on two middle-aged academics accused of serious misconduct — one of bullying, the other of historic sex crimes — by anonymous self-styled 'victims'. One of the accused, a history professor alleged to have raped a woman, suffers a nervous breakdown after being the subject of lurid news stories.

Intriguingly, though a work of fiction, the book contains an 'author's note' that makes specific reference to Lawson's sacking.

It says: 'During a long, generally privileged and happy career in the media, I suffered one devastating experience of institutional group-think, baffling and contradictory management, false accusation and surreally sub-legal process.

'As a result, I have personal knowledge of the damage to reputation, employability and health that can result from such an ordeal.'

Lawson expanded on this in an interview this week on Radio 4's Today Programme.

He told how he was sacked from Front Row after being 'found guilty of still unspecified offences' under the BBC's 'Respect At Work' code.

Most shockingly, he disclosed he's never been told precisely what he was alleged to have done wrong, when it had occurred or who had complained about his conduct. Thus, with no detailed and specific allegation to respond to, he's never been able to offer any proper defence against the general charge of 'bullying', which, of course, has many levels of seriousness.

Nor, most shamefully, was he allowed to call witnesses to give evidence on his behalf.

He still professes not to know if he is accused of 'bullying' physically, verbally or in another manner. He fears a series of vague (but highly damaging) claims were taken as fact.

Lawson explained this left him feeling like a tennis player facing an opponent 'serving with an invisible racket and tennis balls'.

He said: 'You never know what's being fired at you and therefore can't respond to it.' All of which begs the question: what actually did happen?

Was Lawson really a cruel bully? Or the victim of a scandalous injustice and a Witches Of Salem-style trial by secretive and politically correct BBC gauleiters?

Of course, in a free society, we should all be considered innocent until proven guilty. But because of the failure by the BBC to give precise details of the allegations, it is only possible to give a partial picture of what happened.

Even so, it provides a startling insight into how the vast, Left-leaning bureaucracy of BBC management operates in its suffocating culture of political correctness.

The affair provides a chilling glimpse at the wider world of public-sector management techniques, where, all too often, vague and unsubstantiated allegations, made by anonymous 'victims' with scant corroborating evidence, can be treated as fact.

As for Lawson, on the principal charge of 'bullying', I have found no evidence he attacked or threatened a BBC colleague in the manner of, say, Jeremy Clarkson (who notoriously, punched a Top Gear producer). Instead, the allegations seem to involve verbal disagreements with colleagues over editorial matters. Like many successful people, he can at times give an impression of arrogance, and isn't afraid to voice his opinion.

Indeed, Lawson himself admits that he occasionally voiced 'frustrations over the ways in which interviews were cut, or with the quality of studio production or logistical arrangements'. However, he denies using bad language or personal insults.

'Bullying has no legal definition,' he says. 'I have spent three years reflecting on what I might have done. Did I raise my voice? Did I look askance at someone? Did I say: 'This is a really bad idea!'? I obviously did some of those things, but I never shouted at anyone. In fact, I tend to surly silence. I sometimes argue back, but as congenially as possible.'

While he accepts that he can occasionally be 'quite annoying', he doesn't see how that makes him a bully. 'All presenters I have ever known are happier working with some colleagues than others, and I was no different,' he tells me.

'I was initially told, for instance, by a senior producer that my now notorious interview with Russell Crowe was 'unbroadcastable' because it had 'gone pear-shaped'. But when aired, it attracted much interest.'

One strange and unspecific allegation of bullying that was put to Lawson, he says, is that he 'stifled creativity' by occasionally writing his own scripts or attempting to come up with his own questions to ask celebrity interviewees.

That appears to have annoyed some colleagues, who regard such work as the preserve of producers. Indeed, he says the Front Row team has two editors, four senior producers, two junior producers, plus assorted freelances and three presenters. But it can hardly be called bullying.

'Front Row could be an odd place,' says Lawson. 'There was one producer who would only communicate by email — even with people at adjoining desks.

'Another person seemed to be running two commercial companies from their desk and so they often fell behind with deadlines. There was one colleague who'd regularly 'lose it' and scream into our faces, and another who more than once failed to turn up to record interviews with A-list stars.'

'On a few occasions, I was left terrified, not knowing what the next item would be [in a live show] because a producer had lost control of the programme. But my attitude was that such stuff happens in offices and it was better to get on with it than to complain.'

Taking Lawson's story chronologically, it stretches back to the summer of 2013 when 15 members of staff from the BBC's Arts Unit (which makes Front Row) sent a joint letter to Ruth Gardiner, new editor of Radio 3 Arts, and Rob Ketteridge, her Radio 4 equivalent.

Although it was later, wrongly, described as a 'petition' against Lawson, the letter, of which I have obtained a copy, made no mention of him.

It simply made general complaints about a number of issues including 'persistent bullying' and 'favouritism' within the Arts Unit.

No one was singled out for blame. Indeed, Lawson was originally invited to sign the letter, though declined because, he says, he didn't agree with the 'shopping list' of grievances.

In due course, an 'inquiry into the conduct and culture of the Arts Unit' was carried out by Diane Reid, a manager from the Corporation's Arts Department. Lawson was one of the many people she interviewed.

She didn't put any allegations of bullying to him, but he says he was 'invited to criticise colleagues, but declined'.

The findings of the inquiry were never made public, for reasons the BBC has never explained. However, on February 5, 2014, Lawson was summoned to see Graham Ellis, BBC Deputy Director of Radio.

Lawson says Ellis told him that he'd been found guilty of bullying and 'should leave the BBC immediately'.

'I asked what I'd supposedly done wrong, and was told that I wasn't allowed to know specifics in order to, as he put it, preserve the anonymity of victims.'

Lawson, who was freelance, was told he had no right of appeal. However, he could air grievances about the disciplinary process at an 'informal hearing' with a senior news manager.

According to Lawson, the manager recommended he should return to Front Row. If so, he was over-ruled.

At around the same time, Lawson says he was invited to a London hotel to read a document laying out some of the complaints supposedly been made against him. However, he says these were anonymous and mostly anecdotal.

'It was stuff like, 'he once criticised me after a recording',' he says. 'There were no names, or dates, or details that could allow me to give my version of events.'

Lawson's departure was made public in early March.

He remains unsure about what prompted it, and the BBC did not respond to detailed questions I submitted about the affair. 'We don't disclose individual cases,' they said.

BBC sources say some aspects of Lawson's version of events are 'critically wrong'.

Ellis — who is paid between £190,000 and £220,000 and whose only previous brush with controversy came when BBC expense claims were published revealing that he once ran up a £500 drinks tab at an awards do at the licence-payers' expense — refused to comment.

Refelecting on the process, Lawson tells me: 'I'm sure I could be stubborn and argumentative. But the people who I disagreed with [in the Front Row office] were not always 'a day at the beach' themselves.

'The problem for me was that the BBC HR unit briefly introduced a rule that, if someone thought they were being 'bullied', then they were. Under this system, a complainant was automatically declared a 'victim' and unchallenged anecdote was treated as 'evidence'.'

He sees this as unacceptable and one-sided. 'I don't think anyone can survive a process where people can complain anonymously about how you might have offended them and are simply believed. All I've ever wanted is a chance to know what specifically I supposedly did, and then respond.'

Though not a man inclined to conspiracy theories, Lawson wonders if his role in the Jimmy Savile affair contributed to his sacking. In 2013, he'd given evidence to Dame Janet Smith's inquiry into the scandal of the paedophile BBC DJ, telling how he'd witnessed a sexual assault by Savile and reported it to managers, only for his complaint to be ignored.

He now believes this made him 'an object of hostility and suspicion to some radio managers'.

As to the 'bullying' evidence against Lawson, that remains largely a mystery. I can find only two people who have publicly accused him of bullying. One is Jon Wilson, who greeted news of Lawson's departure in May 2014 by declaring on Twitter: 'At last the BBC does something to tackle its bullying presenters. Hurray for the sacking of Mark Lawson!'

Dr Wilson, a historian at King's College, London, has been a Labour councillor and a convenor of an organisation called London Socialist Historians.

More importantly, he is the husband of Elaine Lester, who works as a producer on Front Row (though has never worked with Lawson).

Does she have evidence that Mark Lawson is a bully? 'My views are not those of Dr Jon Wilson, who has many BBC contacts prior to and independent of his relationship with me, and his views are his own,' Lester tells me, adding that she 'cannot recall' ever having spoken with Lawson.

Also, there is a radio producer called Bob Dickinson, who once worked on Front Row and also used Twitter this week to state 'Lawson and his producer buddies' had 'used bullying tactics' and 'made my life hell'. He failed to respond to our request to elaborate.

Finally, there is the strange role of the National Union of Journalists. According to this week's Today programme report on Lawson's sacking, the Union recently issued a statement alleging: 'In a staff meeting in March 2014, a BBC manager described the effect of Lawson's behaviour in the following words: 'Lives have been destroyed.' '

Strangely, however, when the Mail asked the NUJ for a copy, the union denied that it existed, claiming 'there wasn't a press statement issued'. I then managed to obtain a copy from another source — and found that statement had been emailed to the BBC by an NUJ representative. Informed of this, the NUJ then refused to comment.

All very curious. Perhaps the NUJ was having second thoughts about the wisdom of making such a damaging allegation via an anonymous quote. For, in depressingly familiar fashion, the statement contains no verifiable details about what the supposed bullying involved. It's a bizarre omission, given that, as Lawson says, the claim that he has 'destroyed lives' is 'vague, but lethal, highly defamatory, and appears to represent an attempt to make me unemployable'.

Under laws of natural justice, the 'BBC manager' would, of course, be named, and asked to expand on his views, so that Lawson could respond.

With this in mind, Lawson yesterday wrote to the BBC demanding a formal inquiry into his sacking. Alas, that seems unlikely to happen.

'The man in Kafka's The Trial knew that he was on trial, but not what the charges were,' is how Lawson puts it. 'I didn't even know I was on trial!

'It wasn't Kafkaesque, so much as beyond Kafkaesque.' But this is the world in which we apparently now live.

Original report here

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two members of Sixties pop group The Tremeloes strongly criticised British police yesterday after they were cleared of a sex attack almost 50 years ago

Leonard ‘Chip’ Hawkes and Richard Westwood had been due to stand trial next year accused of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old fan at the height of their fame.

But the case collapsed after it emerged that the complainant had mental health issues and her account was riddled with inconsistencies.

Police knew the alleged victim had been sectioned, raising questions as to why detectives and prosecutors dragged the stars to court.

The woman’s allegations that she was assaulted after a concert in Chester in April 1968 emerged only in May 2013 when she approached police.

Mr Hawkes and Mr Westwood were questioned later that year and charged last year but a judge at Reading Crown Court ordered yesterday that they should be acquitted after the discovery of a diary in which the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, detailed her abuse.

The diary gave a contradictory account of events and there were concerns over when it had been written.

There has been no apology to the two men from either the Crown Prosecution Service or Cheshire Police, who investigated the case.

It is the latest in a series of high-profile inquiries into historical sex abuse claims to be dropped after the evidence was found to be spurious.

Sir Cliff Richard, Jim Davidson, Jimmy Tarbuck and Paul Gambaccini all faced false accusations.

Outside court singer and bass player Mr Hawkes, 70, father of Nineties pop star Chesney Hawkes, accused detectives of failing to investigate the accusations properly amid the clamour to prosecute historical sex offenders in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

He said: ‘The past two years have been the worst time of our lives. 'Our families have had to endure the stress and media publicity and it’s taken its toll on all of us.’

Mr Hawkes, who was having treatment for bone marrow cancer when he was arrested, said the case had had a severe impact on his health. His wife Carol, a former actress and game show host, said: ‘We wondered if this was going to finish him off... we knew it was all totally untrue.’

Guitarist and lead vocalist Mr Westwood, 73, said his career had been tarnished on the basis of the ‘spurious allegations’.

‘I cannot begin to express the relief we feel now this nightmare has concluded,’ he said. ‘It is too late for me and my family to get back the years of our lives that have been destroyed.

‘It is a disgrace that a single claim dating back more than 48 years was never properly investigated before my good character was attacked. 'It was abundantly clear that these charges should never have been brought.’

Yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service and Cheshire Police released a joint statement saying: ‘A file of evidence was presented to the CPS and charges of sexual assault were authorised in December 2015.

Since then, fresh evidence has come to light which undermines the prosecution case and it has therefore been discontinued.’

Original report here

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Monday, July 25, 2016

The shocking moment a Texas cop body slams a black woman to the ground twice

There is no doubt that police are resentful of black hostility and aggression but that resentment found an unfortunate outlet on this occasion.  Black aggression sparks counter-aggression from cops.  It's a natural reaction. It's a vicious circle and it may be an unbreakable one.   If cops were to go easy on blacks, it might just make blacks more cocky, which will inevitably end badly

Two Texas police officers are under investigation after a shocking video captured the moment one of them body slammed a black female school teacher to the ground twice during a violent arrest.

Breaion King, 26, was stopped for speeding on June 15, 2015 while on her lunch break by white police officer Bryan Richter in Austin.

Video captured on Richter's dash camera shows him violently arresting her surfaced Thursday more than year after the incident.

In addition, separate footage was released by authorities that revealed the disturbing conversation about race between King and another white officer, Patrick Spradlin. He told her that African Americans have 'violent tendencies.'

Richter said he clocked her car speeding at 50mph in a 35mph zone traveling eastbound on Riverside Drive, according to the Austin America-Statesman.

Video captured on their patrol cruiser's dash camera shows them pulling up behind King, who parked in a parking spot and got out of her Nissan Versa.

Richter can be heard telling King to get back in the vehicle and she complied with his orders.

He then stands next to the driver's side of the vehicle and can be heard asking for her driver's license.

Richter then told King, who is finishing a master's degree at Texas State University, that she was being stopped for speeding.

'But I'm already stopped so can you technically stop me,' King asked while gathering her documents to give to Richter. 'Because you didn't pull me over because I parked.'

'Ma'am you were about to go inside without a wallet, so I know you're only coming here because you knew I was going to pull you over,' he replied.

'I can ask the other police officer if you had already parked yet,' Richter added. 'Let me see your driver's license, put your feet back in your car so I can close the door. Put your feet back in the car so I close your door.'

King, who weighs 112-pounds, does not comply with his request and that's the moment when the situation escalated dramatically.

'Okay stand up for me ma'am,' Richter can be heard saying on the video.

'No, why are you touching me?' King yells out. 'No why are you touching me, oh my God!'

'Stop resisting, stop resisting,' Richter yells back at King, as it appears he is reaching inside her vehicle to pull her out.

Richter can be heard yelling 'stop resisting' at King several times, as the car's horn goes off from the struggle taking place inside her car.

'Get out of the car,' Richter shouts to King, who replied that she is getting out and asks him to let her get out on her own.

She then tells him to not touch her, as the video shows him pull her out of the car and body slam her to the ground pinning her.

King is screaming as Richter yells at her to 'get her hands behind her back' before telling her that he is arresting her.

'Oh my God, why are you doing this to me?' King emotionally asks.

Richter continues to tell King to get her hands behind her back, as she questions why this is happening in shock.

The officer then tells King, 'I'm about to tase you,' while the two continue to struggle before Richter body slams her to the ground again.

After more words are exchanged between the two, Richter places handcuffs around King's wrists before aggressively pulling her up off the ground.

Another officer approaches the scene to help Richter, as they both push King towards the front of the police cruiser.

Separate footage recorded a conversation between King, who is distraught and handcuffed inside the backseat of the police cruiser, and Spradlin.

He engaged in a conversation about race and police with King as they neared the jail. 'Why are so many people afraid of black people,' Spradlin asks King.

She replies, 'That's what I want to figure out because I'm not a bad black person.'

'I can give you a really good idea why it might be that way,' the officer tells her. 'Violent tendencies.'

King then asks Spradlin if he thinks that racism still exists and he replies, 'Let me ask you this. Do you believe it goes both ways?'

'Ninety-nine percent of the time, when you hear about stuff like that, it is the black community that is being violent,' he can be heard saying.

'That's why a lot of the white people are afraid, and I don't blame them. There are some guys I look at, and I know it is my job to deal with them, and I know it might go ugly, but that's the way it goes.

'But yeah, some of them, because of their appearance and whatnot, some of them are very intimidating.'

King was cleared of a resisting arrest charge after Travis County prosecutors viewed the video of her arrest.

After the incident, Richter's supervisors looking into his use of force and was issued the lowest level of discipline, counseling and additional training, by the Austin Police Department.

However, his conduct was not formally investigated by internal affairs, as Spradlin never faced punishment for his comments at the time.

Now, since the videos have been published by the media, both Spradlin and Richter are under investigation by officials.

According to the Austin America-Statesman, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department has opened an administrative review into how 'Richter's supervisors evaluated his actions and a separate criminal investigation.'

In addition, Spradlin's comments to King are also being investigated, though Acevedo said under state civil service law he cannot take further action beyond a written reprimand against the officers since the incident happened more than six months ago.

'After reviewing both videos, I and our leadership team were highly disturbed and disappointed in both the way Ms. King was approached and handled and in the mindset that we saw on display in those videos,' Acevedo said. 'But there is another piece, which has caused concerns as to our review process and the systems we have in place.'

He added that he regrets he was unaware of the situation sooner.

'We need to help our community overcome the fear or reluctance, which I understand, to file a complaint,' Acevedo said. 'This is critical if we are to weed out bad officers and bad behavior.'

Neither Richter or Spradlin have previous suspensions with the police department.

King told the Austin America-Statesman that she is considering filing a lawsuit against Richter and the Austin Police Department.

She has hired attorneys Broadus Spivey and Erica Grigg to represent her.

'When I looked at this video, I was heartbroken because I thought, 'That would never happen to me because I'm white,'' Grigg told the newspaper.

Original report here

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Police shoot unarmed black therapist lying flat on his back with his arms in the air

There is no excuse for this.  Police panic can explain a lot of unfortunate shootings but nothing can explain this.  The cop is clearly off his brain and totally unfit for duty

An unarmed Florida therapist was shot by police while trying to calm down his autistic patient, authorities said.

Police in North Miami were responding to a report of a man with what appeared to be a gun when they came across Charles Kinsey and his patient, who had run away from a group home.

'All he has is a toy truck —  a toy truck,' Kinsey pleads with cops, lying flat on the ground with arms raised, as seen in cell phone footage of the incident. 'I am a behavior therapist at a group home.'

Kinsey tries to get his patient to comply, using soothing words so he remains calm.  'Rinaldo, please be still, Rinaldo,' he is heard saying in video released by WSVN. 'Sit down, Rinaldo. Lay on your stomach.'

The man, 23, sits next to him and yells 'shut up' while playing with his toy truck.

'Don't shoot me,' Kinsey begs. An officer then fires three times, striking Kinsey in the leg, authorities said.  No weapon was found.

Kinsey is black. Police haven't released the name or race of the officer who shot him.

Kinsey, 47, says the 911 caller must have mistaken a toy that the autistic man had for a gun.

'And I'm saying, 'Sir, why did you shoot me?' and his words to me were, 'I don't know.''

After the shooting, Kinsey and his patient were patted down. Kinsey was cuffed.

'I was really more worried about him than myself,' he said of his patient. 'I was thinking as long as I have my hands up, they're not going to shoot me.This is what I'm thinking, they're not going to shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.'

North Miami police has placed the officer on administrative leave for at least a week,' the Miami Herald reported.

Kinsey's lawyer, Hilton Napoleon, said he is in talks with city officials about a possible settlement.  'They realize this was something inappropriate regarding the shooting,' Napoleon told the Herald.

'If police departments come out more and admit fault, that would probably go a long way.'

Kinsey is expected to recover and go home later this week.

Original report here

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Award-winning detective who repeatedly had sex with an 'extremely vulnerable' crime victim is sacked

An award-winning detective has been sacked for repeatedly having sex with an 'extremely vulnerable' crime victim.

Detective Sergeant Simon Chubb, who has been honoured for his work with those affected by crime, formed a relationship with the woman and tried to cover his tracks when an investigation was launched.

The pair had sex 'multiple times' and he accepted an expensive watch from the woman, who had gone to the police about a long-term harassment, despite knowing that was not allowed.

Chubb, from Bristol, also gave the woman his personal phone number.

When internal investigators began a probe into the relationship Chubb, an officer of 28 years, tried to get the woman to withdraw her statement. But despite being 'immensely distressed', she bravely refused and told him 'I can't lie'.

Chubb was found guilty of gross misconduct by a panel and was dismissed from Avon and Somerset police.

Alice Meredith, representing the force, said: 'He was aware of the vulnerability of Ms A because it was explained to him before his first meeting with her.

'He then met with her and spoke to her about the circumstances. He was aware of her particular vulnerability. 'There is evidence she was immensely distressed and upset.

'Throughout the course of this investigation, he has sought to discourage her and others from cooperating.  'This was an extremely vulnerable individual, who was pressured by the officer who was aware of his power over her.'

Chubb had won three awards and commendations for his work on murder cases and with victims before he was asked to interview Ms A last July.

She was the victim of alleged long-term harassment, and was 'extremely vulnerable' and asked for him personally because he had interviewed her before.

Chubb visited Ms A alone at her home and spoke to her about personal matters after finishing their interview. He said he was 'single and looking for a relationship' and gave her his personal mobile number - rather than his work number - saying she could call him at any time.

The hearing was told he had done so to 'instigate' a relationship and when she called him to talk about the case he asked her out for coffee.  The pair went on dates and Chubb slept over at her place and they had sex multiple times - something he denied, saying he had 'slept on the couch'.

In January this year, the relationship was made public and a Professional Standards Investigation (PSI) was launched against him.

He denied it was a sexual relationship and investigators were initially rebuffed by the victim, who asked her friend to speak to officers instead.

Her friend, Ms B, said the victim was 'extremely vulnerable'.

When approached again, Ms A agreed to give a statement confirming the sexual relationship but Chubb pleaded with her to retract it, in a bid to cover up his wrongdoing.

He messaged her on Facebook, saying the force was 'trying to kick him out' and begged her to 'please, please withdraw your statement'.

He also wanted her to influence Ms B to withdraw her statement, but the victim said: 'I can't lie.'

In his written evidence to the panel in February, he carried on denying he had a sexual relationship with Ms A and denied any wrong doing.

Representing Chubb, Peter Land from the Police Federation said the defendant could not attend because of a medical condition.

But this was dismissed by the chair of the panel - who also rejected two appeals to hold the hearing in private - because no medical certificate was presented.

Mr Land said: 'It is his choice that he is not here. It is sad.  'No officer in this room will doubt the character of DS Chubb and the work he has done for the force over the past 28 years.'

Original report here

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Fired-up cops bash whites too

Adrenaline kicks in after a long and dangerous chase.  The cops were wrong but what they did was understandable in the circumstances.  Cops are human.  Body cameras would have prevented it

Two state troopers from Massachusetts and New Hampshire were arrested Tuesday after being seen on TV news video allegedly beating a suspect who had surrendered following a high-speed chase in Nashua in May, amid heightened scrutiny nationwide of the use of force by law enforcement.

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster’s office said Massachusetts Trooper Joseph Flynn, 32, and Andrew Monaco, 31, his counterpart from the Granite State, were booked on assault charges stemming from the violent capture of Richard Simone Jr., 50.

Simone, of Worcester, had been wanted on assault and larceny charges when he led authorities on a chase that began in Central Massachusetts and ended in Nashua. Troopers struck him repeatedly after he exited his vehicle and knelt on the ground, in an incident that was captured on camera by news helicopters and watched by viewers across the nation.

Flynn and Monaco, who are both on leave from their jobs, posted cash bail and are slated to be arraigned in the Ninth Circuit Court District Division in Nashua on Sept. 13.

Monaco’s lawyer declined to comment, and Flynn’s attorney did not respond to inquiries.

The arrests drew a swift response from New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan’s office.

“The incident in question raised serious concerns, and the attorney general appropriately conducted a thorough investigation,” said William Hinkle, a spokesman for Hassan, in a statement.

Hinkle said the incident must be treated with “utmost seriousness’’ but “we must also continue to do so without disparaging all of the hard-working members of law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.”

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s office referred questions to law enforcement officials.

David Procopio, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police, said in an e-mail that Flynn is a four-year veteran of the agency who remains suspended with pay.

It was not immediately clear how long Monaco has been a New Hampshire trooper.

“We opened an internal investigation, which is ongoing,” Procopio wrote. “We will monitor the judicial proceedings in New Hampshire as well.”

Procopio said there had been no similar excessive force cases against Massachusetts state troopers in the last several years.

Jane Young, a senior assistant attorney general in New Hampshire, did not cite any previous excessive force charges against troopers in her state, but noted there have been such incidents involving municipal police officers.

She said no additional arrests are expected in the pending Simone case.

Asked if Simone or any law enforcement officers who took part in the chase will testify if the case goes to trial, Young said she could not discuss specifics, adding that “any witness [with] firsthand knowledge” of a case is normally called to the stand.

Simone remains in custody in Massachusetts after pleading not guilty to assault charges stemming from an incident in Millbury days before the chase, in which he allegedly swerved his vehicle at an officer.

His lawyer, Joseph F. Comenzo, declined to comment on the arrests of Flynn and Monaco.

Several police officers appeared to be involved in the chase, which began in Holden, Mass.

Police in Holden tried to pull Simone over, but he failed to stop, authorities said, sparking the pursuit that ended about 50 miles away in Nashua.

In the TV news video on May 11, Simone is seen bumping his pickup truck into a police cruiser during the pursuit before finally stopping on a residential street. He is later seen slowly getting out of the truck, as officers close in with guns drawn.

Once he drops to his knees, several officers rush toward him, and at least two are seen repeatedly punching him.

Asked if his client plans to file a lawsuit, Comenzo said, “at this point he’s focusing on the criminal matter” that he faces in Massachusetts.

Flynn’s union declined to comment through a spokesman, and the New Hampshire union that represents Monaco could not be reached on Tuesday.

The two troopers also could not be located for comment.

Their arrests come after recent fatal shootings by police under questionable circumstances in Louisiana and Minnesota and killings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Those cases followed the controversial killing of African-American men by police in recent years in Missouri, South Carolina, and elsewhere.

The wave of slayings has prompted demonstrations across the country in solidarity with both the Black Lives Matter movement and law enforcement groups.

While racial tensions have underscored several of the cases, Simone is not a person of color.

Howard Friedman, a prominent civil rights attorney in Boston who represents plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging police brutality, said prosecutors were compelled to bring criminal charges in Simone’s case because of the video footage.

“They don’t bring criminal charges often in situations like this, but you looked at the video and there was no question that they were beating someone after [he] had given up,” Friedman said, adding that incidents of excessive force after pursuits are “sadly common.”

“If a regular civilian was on videotape beating someone up, criminal charges would be brought,” he said. “And I think now prosecutors feel they have to do the same, even if it’s a police officer.”

Original report here

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Prosecutors of officers accused in Freddie Gray death face risk of disbarment

Mosby above.  Black Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. also needs to be held to account.  She agreed to pay  $6.4 million compensation to Freddie Gray's  family BEFORE the trials of the officers took place, thus judging them guilty without trial and likely prejudicing their defense.  She has at least resigned since then

Rawlings Blake

Legal analysts ripped Baltimore prosecutors Monday over their handling of the Freddie Gray case, saying the prosecution should drop all charges against the three remaining police officers or risk more embarrassment in the courtroom.

What’s more, John Banzhaf, an activist law professor at George Washington University, said he would file a complaint Tuesday with the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission calling for the disbarment of the lead prosecutors in the trials of the six police officers accused of wrongdoing in the 2015 arrest and death of the 25-year-old black man.

The pointed criticism came Monday after Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges for his role in Gray’s arrest and death. The lieutenant was the highest-ranking of the accused officers, and his full acquittal was the third consecutive loss for prosecutors. Another trial ended in a hung jury in December, and a retrial has been scheduled.

But legal analysts said any subsequent trials should be canceled. They noted prosecutors’ failure to convict the most senior officer involved in Gray’s arrest (Lt. Rice) and the driver of the police van in which Gray’s neck was broken (Officer Caesar Goodson).

“It’s quite clear that the prosecution should not continue on,” said Barry Slotnick, a prominent defense lawyer who has followed the trials in the Gray case. “The prosecution in the next three cases should strongly make a suggestion in court — on the record — that these cases have not been proven and will not be proven and therefore they should be dismissed.”

Still, Mr. Slotnick said it’s unlikely that Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will drop the remaining trials. He attributed her filing of charges against the six officers to an intent to appease the community.

“It’s rather sad,” he said. “The fact of the matter is that I think this prosecution was commenced by people who were concerned about community reaction. People should not be accused of a crime to have a community satisfied. It’s absolutely inappropriate.”

Mr. Banzhaf late last month filed a complaint against Ms. Mosby, accusing her of misconduct in bringing charges without sufficient evidence. He told The Washington Times that he would file disbarment complaints Tuesday against Baltimore Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow and Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe, the lead prosecutors for the police trials.

“Though they may have been ordered by Mosby to do what they did, that is no defense. Every prosecutor has an individual obligation,” the law professor said. “They aren’t some minions way down below on the chain that really have no choice. These are the two major people in charge of making the decisions. I think they are as guilty of ethical violations as she.”

Mr. Banzhaf said the prosecution’s ordeal would be over if Ms. Mosby would bow out and come clean.

“She could get up today and say, ‘I really tried. We have put in every effort we possibly could. It has precipitated a formal [Justice Department] investigation and changes in policy. We’ve accomplished a lot and gone as far as we can,’ ” he said. “Most of her followers would accept that.”

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and acquitted officers are bound by a gag order from speaking about the trials until all of the cases have been settled.

On Monday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams acquitted Lt. Rice, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Prosecutors dropped a second misconduct charge before the trial started, and the judge dropped a second-degree assault charge after the prosecution rested its case last week.

In addition, the judge chided prosecutors for the second time in a trial related to Gray’s death for withholding evidence from defense attorneys.

Police handcuffed and shackled Gray but did not secure him in a seat belt when they arrested him. He died April 19, 2015, a week after his neck was broken in the back of the van. His death and funeral sparked days of protests and rioting in Baltimore.

Prosecutors argued that Lt. Rice, as the highest-ranking officer at the scene, should have at least directed a subordinate officer to secure Gray with a seat belt. Defense attorneys contended that the lieutenant deemed it unsafe to get into the back of the van with an increasingly unruly Gray as a hostile crowd gathered.

Three other officers are scheduled to be tried in Gray’s arrest and death: Officer Garrett Miller beginning July 27, Officer William Porter’s retrial beginning Sept. 6 and Sgt. Alicia White starting Oct. 13.

Original report here

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highest-Ranking Cop Charged in Freddie Gray Case Not Guilty

A result of some hasty, race-related prosecutions

Lt. Brian Rice is the highest ranked officer to face charges in the case revolving around the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland. On Monday, the court ruled he was not guilty on all three charges he faced, including involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams has acquitted Rice on all counts.

Three other officers have been tried in this case. Two of whom, Caesar Goodson, Jr. and Edward Nero, were acquitted. The third, William Porter, had a mistrial in December.

The Freddie Gray incident made national news last year after the 25-year-old African American man died in a police transport van. Prosecutors alleged that the officers failed to secure their client during the ride, which led to devastating spinal injuries. He died a week after his arrest.

The tragic situation spurred a string of violent protests throughout the city.

The final two officers involved, Garrett Miller and Sgt. Alicia White, will be tried within the coming months.

Original report here

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rapist Britsh police officer who carried out a spate of sex attacks on women while working as a family liaison officer is jailed for 18 years

There seems to be a lot of this in Wales

A former police officer who preyed on women and carried out a string of sex attacks has been jailed for 18 years. Jeffrey Howard Davies, 45, carried out the attacks while working as a family liaison officer for South Wales Police.

During his trial, jurors were told Davies conned a vulnerable woman into thinking she was going to a police station but instead drove her to a darkened mountaintop before raping her on the bonnet of his car.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Davies was drunk when he attacked a second victim in her own home.

Prosecutor Susan Ferrier said both women suffered in silence for more than a decade amid fears they would not be believed. However, they decided to come forward after reading news reports that married father-of-two Davies was jailed for three years in 2013 following separate sex attacks on two victims of domestic abuse.

In handing Davies a lengthy prison term, Judge Jonathan Furness QC said the defendant had 'not shown a shred of remorse'.

Davies was handed a prison sentence of 10 years and six months for the attack on the first woman and a consecutive term of seven years and six months for the rape of the second female.

He will also be on the sex offenders' register for the rest of his life.

The court heard Davies used his job to prey on the women for sex and was able to get away with it because he was 'hiding within the police'.

After branding the defendant arrogant, Judge Furness added: 'You believed you were untouchable.

'Both women have spoken of the adverse effects that this has had on their lives.

'You have not shown a shred of remorse or concern for your victims.'

The first woman told a jury how Davies turned up at her home and asked her to attend Tonypandy police station in 2002.

But instead he took her to the nearby Bwlch Mountain and put his hand up her skirt before raping her on the bonnet of his car.

A court heard the woman was 'vulnerable' at the time and suffering from depression. In a victim impact statement, read aloud by Ms Ferrier, the woman said Davies knew she 'did not have any support' in her personal life and described giving evidence in court as incredibly difficult.

'I felt that I had to convince the jury that I was telling the truth and not him,' she added. 'I felt like I was on trial and not him.'

The second woman, who was violently attacked in her own home, said in her statement: 'I did not report it for all those years because I did not think anyone would believe me.'

She said since the attack she had suffered with severe anxiety and had lost two stone in weight as a result of the stress.

After the verdict Chief Supt Dorian Lloyd, Head of South Wales Police Professional Standards Department, said: 'Our thoughts are with the victims of Jeffrey Davies at this time.

'To go through a court case of this nature as a victim of rape or sexual assault takes great courage and my hope is that today's guilty verdict will provide some sense of closure to the victims and their families.

'Davies was dismissed from South Wales Police in 2013. He abused his position as a police officer and gave no regard to the traumatic effect that his actions would have on his victims.

'These were vulnerable women who having encountered Davies found themselves subjected to an appalling abuse of trust.'

Wales Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Jan Williams added: 'He was a sex offender hiding within the police service committing fundamental breaches of trust placed in him as a police officer.'

The court heard Davies' wife Rebecca was standing by him, telling the court: 'We have a loving relationship, he's my best friend and looks after me and the children.'

Original report here

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Mass: SJC orders new trial in 2007 ‘shaken baby’ case

The state’s high court Thursday ordered a new trial for a Haverhill man convicted of violently shaking his girlfriend’s toddler in 2007, the second ruling in six weeks that vacated guilty verdicts in shaken-baby cases.

Taken together, the two court rulings underscored the top court’s view that the “shaken-baby syndrome” diagnosis has become controversial, and defense lawyers who fail to challenge it could be depriving their clients of a fair trial.

In the Haverhill case, the Supreme Judicial Court said the defense lawyer should have presented medical evidence challenging prosecutors who had depicted the child as a victim of shaken-baby syndrome.

The court said it was not ruling on the guilt or innocence of Derick Epps but on what constitutes effective counsel in this type of child-abuse prosecution, which has polarized pediatricians and lawyers nationwide on whether it is too often pursued in the courts.

In its unanimous ruling, the court found that jurors should have heard about the possibility that the 2-year-old’s catastrophic eye and brain injuries — which left her blind in one eye, cognitively impaired, and moving around in a wheelchair — could have been caused by a short fall of about 3 feet, like one that might have occurred in this case from a kitchen stool.

“We conclude that, in the unusual circumstances of this case, the absence of expert testimony that the child’s injuries might have been caused by her accidental falls deprived the defendant of an available, substantial ground of defense, and thereby created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice,” wrote Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who also authored the other shaken-baby case opinion last month.

Doubts have grown about shaken-baby syndrome among defense lawyers and some professional groups in recent years. Three state medical examiners in less than two years, for example, backed off earlier rulings that a baby died of shaken-baby syndrome, choosing instead after hearing from defense experts to say the cause was “undetermined.”

Several organizations submitted briefs in support of Epps, including The Innocence Network, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Some medical organizations have pushed back, including the American Academy of Pediatrics,which fears marginal medical theories are gaining too much traction in the courts, allowing people who abuse infants to go free. In 2009, however, the academy did acknowledge the controversy brewing over the role that excessive shaking plays in creating extreme injuries.

The academy now tells doctors to use the term “abusive head trauma,” rather than shaken-baby syndrome, to indicate that traumatic blows to the head, not just shaking, are often behind the brain swelling and eye damage that afflict some 1,000 children each year, often causing permanent neurological damage if not death, the group said.

In a written statement, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said he is reviewing his options to retry the case, even though Epps was released from prison several years ago. He was sentenced to a 7-to-10-year prison term.

Blodgett said he was “disappointed” by the high court’s decision, which vacates a jury verdict “involving the near-fatal injuries of a two-year-old girl, leaving her permanently and profoundly disabled.”

Blodgett said defense counsel hired a medical expert to analyze the shaken-baby diagnosis but chose not to use that testimony. The high court opinion indicated one defense expert ultimately sided largely with the prosecution’s case.

The prosecutor also said he was disappointed that the opinion did not refer to trial testimony about the toddler being struck at least twice by Epps, prior to her life-threatening injuries, and asserted that only a “very small minority” of medical professionals are skeptical about shaken-baby syndrome as a valid diagnosis.

When reached by telephone, Epps’s appellate lawyer, David Hirsch of Portsmouth, N.H., said he hadn’t yet had a chance to read the full decision but said he was delighted by the ruling and the standard it sets for trials in these cases. He said he was pleased for Epps, whose conviction is now erased.

“I’m sure he’ll be thrilled,” he said.

During his 2007 trial in Essex Superior Court, Epps, then 30, was convicted on a single count of assault and battery for assaulting the child, identified in the ruling only by her first name, Veronica. That trial was overseen by Judge David Lowy, who is currently a nominee to the Supreme Judicial Court awaiting confirmation.

The alleged assault took place in 2004 while Epps and a male friend were playing video games while baby-sitting Veronica and her older 4-year-old sister in a Haverhill apartment. The girls’ mother and Epps’s girlfriend, Sara Comeau, had gone to work.

Epps told police that Veronica, whom he described as clumsy, fell twice during the day, once down a few stairs, and once off a stool. Her mother noticed a small red mark on the left side of her forehead when she came back from work briefly for a lunch break.

Later in the afternoon, while the two men continued to play video games and the girls’ mother returned to work, they heard a “boom” from upstairs, Epps said. Racing upstairs, he said, he found her limp and gurgling. The men reached the girls’ mother, who quickly returned from work and then called 911.

The prosecution’s main witness was Dr. Celeste Wilson, a child-abuse pediatrician who examined Veronica at Boston Children’s Hospital. She testified that the normal activities of a toddler — including a fall from 3 feet above the ground — could not account for her extensive eye damage, as well as brain swelling, bleeding, and bruising.

Epps’s defense attorney, Lawrence McGuire, ultimately presented no medical experts to rebut the shaken-baby diagnosis, and instead, during closing statements, accused Comeau of causing the injuries, saying she was the last one to see Veronica at lunchtime before leaving again for work, a theory rejected by the jury.

In its ruling Thursday, the high court said the defense lawyer should have pursued research, available then, about the impact of short falls, and also said new research has emerged that gives defense teams even more medical research to draw on in these cases.

A jury, Gants wrote, should have heard both sides.

“We need not determine who would prevail in this battle of the experts, or whether the defendant would be found not guilty were it presented,” Gants wrote. “We need only determine, in the circumstances of this case, whether there is a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice where the jury heard no scientific or medical expert challenging the majority views on shaken-baby syndrome and short falls, and where new research has emerged since the time of trial that would lend credibility to the opinion of such an expert.’’

Original report here

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mother tells of her 'living nightmare' after she suffered a miscarriage and was arrested by British police on suspicion of MURDER

A heartbroken mother-of-two held on suspicion of murder after suffering a miscarriage has spoken out about her treatment by police.

Lauren Bull, 30, had no idea she was 31 weeks pregnant when she suffered a miscarriage at her home in Braintree, Essex, in November 2015, after waking up in a pool of blood.

She was rushed to hospital with a collapsed womb but hours after life-saving surgery, she and her partner Jack Walker, 28, were arrested on suspicion of murder.

The pair spent some 34 hours behind bars at Chelmsford police station and officers only dropped the murder probe when a post-mortem confirmed a still birth.

However police spent a further seven months investigating claims the couple had concealed a body, and only dropped the case two weeks ago.

Ms Bull now says she was 'treated like a killer' and claim officers showed 'no humanity' towards her. She told The Sun: 'I can't forgive the police for the way they treated me. 'They tried to tell Jack I had been having an affair and he had tried to kill the baby when he found out it wasn't his.'

She said the allegations were 'lies' and is now planning to pursue legal action against the force.

Ms Bull suffered stomach cramps and flu-like symptoms prior to her miscarriage, but said she had no bump, no craving and continued to have periods - so did not suspect she was pregnant.

Before attending the hospital, the pair cleaned their blood soaked toilet to avoid worrying their children.  'There was a lot of blood on the floor and I didn't want the kids to see,' said Miss Bull.

Mr Walker told The Sun he had not seen the 5cm foetus.

Ten police officers later went round to the house before arresting the pair.

Ms Bull said she and her partner had been planning to have a third child, but after their ordeal, she 'never wants to be pregnant again'.

An Essex Police spokesman said two people were arrested on suspicion of concealing a birth and they were subsequently released without further police action.

A police spokesman added: 'Recent cases have highlighted the need for police to thoroughly investigate any harm to a child, especially when they die.  'The body of this poor baby was found in unusual circumstances.

'The death of any child is tragic and when the circumstances of a child's death are unusual and unexplained then we have a duty to thoroughly investigate.

'This is to provide answers to the family and the public, minimise the risk of any future harm to a child and to ensure that the rights of the deceased child are upheld.

'There was a full multi-agency response to this distressing event to ensure there was the necessary support to all of those involved and affected by this tragedy.'

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) added: 'We have advised Essex Police that it is not in the public interest to prosecute a 30-year-old woman for concealing the birth of a child.

'Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.'

Original report here

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

OK: Aggressive WHITE moron gets what he was asking for

Police have released disturbing bodycam footage that shows an officer shooting an unarmed burglary suspected dead after the cop mistook his raised hands for a weapon.

Andrew Robert Henson, 25, died after being shot multiple times by officer Robert Reynolds, 45, just before midnight on June 7 in Oklahoma after he fled a traffic stop and then rammed a cruiser.

Footage of Henson's final moments show him fleeing his crashed car while screaming 'you're gunna have to kill me, n*****' before raising his hands at Reynolds, who opens fire.

Reynolds fires four rounds, striking Henson several times, before he stumbles and falls to the floor.

In the moments after the shooting, Reynolds can be heard breathing heavily before telling Henson not to move as he lays face down on the ground.

Reynolds can be heard telling a second officer working alongside him that Henson had a weapon, adding: 'He pointed it at me.'

The second officer can then be seen moving toward the body and checking it for any sign of a gun, before revealing that Henson was unarmed.

Several more moments pass as Reynolds continues his panicked breathing, before he says simply: 'F***.'

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said that the incident started after Reynolds stopped Henson in the city of Wagoner late on June 7 for a traffic violation.

During the stop, Reynolds checked Henson's name for outstanding warrants and found he was wanted for burglary in Mississippi.

As Reynolds approached Henson's car and tried to arrest him he fled, leading officers out of the city and back again as he attempted to run them off the road.

After Henson drove at the deputies, they fired several shots at him but did not strike him.

Henson then made his way back to where the pursuit started before ramming a police cruiser twice and rolling his own vehicle.

It is at that point that the footage begins, showing Henson fleeing his overturned car before being gunned down.

Reynolds has been put on paid administrative leave while the district attorney investigates the shooting to decide whether the use of deadly force was justified.

Original report here

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Australia: Henry Keogh spent 21 years in prison for a murder he never committed

Incompetent forensic scientist

HENRY Keogh remembers the moment his cell door slammed closed for the first time.  “You’re just struck with disbelief that this is even happening,” he says.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for murdering his fiancee in a bath tub in Adelaide the year before. The evidence was damning. But it wasn’t true.

Keogh spent over two decades in prison, and in a Sunday Night investigation that airs tonight, he speaks for the first time about his cruel ordeal at the hands of Australian justice.


Keogh, a married financial adviser and insurance agent with three kids left his wife in 1991 after falling in love with Anna-Jane Cheney.

“She was just unbelievably engaging, funny, smart, super intelligent ... great sense of humour,” he tells the program. “Everybody loved her. She was amazing.”

On a Friday night in March, 1994, they met for an after-work drink. It was six weeks away from their wedding, and Keogh thought they were going to have just another “typical weekend”.

When they returned home, Keogh decided to give his mum a visit. Anna-Jane stayed home. She had complained of an achy back and was going to run a bath.

“I came back, was walking through the house, called out to her and didn’t get an answer,” he says. “I found her slumped in the bath. I’d hoped she was just asleep, just fainted. And my brain was screaming, ‘Get her out, she’ll be OK’. She wasn’t responding. I tried to revive her and was just praying when the ambos came she’d pull through.”

She didn’t make it.

The cops came and decided there was no suggestion of an argument or foul play. Neither Keogh or his wife had any injuries. It was concluded Anna-Jane died from natural causes.


Things took a sudden turn. Questions started being asked and there were facts that raised suspicions. Alleged affairs didn’t look good. Either did the five life insurance policies Keogh had taken out in Anna-Jane’s name — forging her signature [for which he was never charged].

Reports suggest the combined pay off from the policies would have totalled $1.2 million.

The court was told the numerous policies he’d taken in his wife’s name is known as “tombstoning” — a common practice in the insurance world that usually involves agents submitting names of dead or fictitious people to earn commissions.

Two days after Anna-Jane’s death, South Australia’s chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock performed an autopsy and didn’t raise any concerns. But after hearing about the suspicions over insurance policies, he examined the body again. His re-examination lead him to form a “grip theory” — which he says explained faint bruises on the outside of her left leg. He said there was a key thumb bruise on the outside of the left leg and suggested her legs had been lifted over her head in the bathtub which ended in her being drowned.

Keogh only realised the trouble he was in when he was arrested.

Dr Manock insisted all the slides he’d taken showed signs of bruising and told the jury Anna-Jane’s death was an assisted drowning — concluding she’d been conscious when she went under water.

Two trials later, a jury agreed. Keogh was found guilty in 1995 and sentenced to life in prison.

“I felt sick. I was numb. I was bewildered,” he tells Sunday Night. “There’s this disconnect. Intellectually you might hear what they’re saying but in your heart, when you know you haven’t done anything, you can’t switch that off.”


“Henry Keogh was convicted for something that never happened,” law professor Dr Bob Moles tells the program, adding “one can be confident no murder no physical assault” took place. Dr Moles began scrutinising the Keogh case in the late 1990s and found substantial flaws in Dr Manock’s evidence.

It was discovered Dr Manock did not follow proper procedure and did not have sufficient evidence to back up his conclusions.

When he was made South Australia’s chief forensic pathologist in 1968, he had no formal qualifications as a pathologist. His reputation began to unravel and now many cases involving evidence he provided are now in question.
Former South Australian chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock.

Ten years after Keogh’s conviction, Dr Manock admitted there was no thumb bruise to support his “grip theory”. It’s pointed out in the Sunday Night investigation there’s a test that would’ve concluded if the bruises on Anna-Jane’s leg occurred when she drowned. Dr Manock didn’t do the test. In 2014, the conviction was squashed after it was found there had been a miscarriage of justice due to flawed forensic evidence. And in Sunday Night’s investigation tonight, evidence is revealed that could have set him free earlier. Instead, it sat on a government shelf for 10 years.

While a retrial was announced in 2016, it has not proceeded.

Keogh is now a free man. His daughters are grown up and he’s building a relationship with his grandkids. And he has a new wife, Fay Hambour. During the ‘90s, Hambour, like many, “pegged him as guilty”. But after hearing Dr Moles speak on the case at a conference, she began visiting Keogh in prison. Those visits went on for about five years.

As Keogh tries to move on with his life, the 21 years he spent in jail for a crime he didn’t commit have taken their toll.

“I still find it difficult to show hope, joy, excitement … that confuses and disappoints people sometimes ... that’s something else they’ve taken off me,” he tells the program. “It's a work in progress.”

Original report here

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