Courtroom Antics

ramonmercado

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Nature Publishing Group wins libel trial
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... trial.html

16:23 06 July 2012 by Jacob Aron

The journal Nature has won a libel case brought against it by Mohamed El Naschie, a theoretical physicist.

In 2008, Nature published an article by journalist Quirin Schiermeier questioning the lack of peer review at the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, which at the time was edited by El Naschie and published many of his own papers. El Naschie sued Schiermeier and Nature Publishing Group for damaging his reputation, representing himself in court.

Today in Bristol, UK, Judge Victoria Sharp dismissed the claim, calling Schiermeier's article "the product of responsible journalism" and "a public interest story, par excellence" in her judgment on the case. She agreed that although El Naschie's papers had been informally discussed with his colleagues before their publication, they were not subject to "any proper peer review at all" and "would not have been published by any reputable peer reviewed journal".

Sharp also found "reasonable and serious grounds" for suspecting that El Naschie used a range of false names to defend his editorial practice in communications with Nature, calling this the most "curious" and "bizarre" aspect of the case. "It is apparent that [El Naschie] had little if any interest in the norms of scientific publishing or the ethical considerations which underpinned them," she said.
 

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Mother to pay daughter €600 after Facebook humiliation
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/wor ... 65827.html
DEREK SCALLY in Berlin

Fri, Jul 13, 2012
A GERMAN court has ordered a woman to pay her daughter €600 for humiliating her on Facebook.

The woman, in the southwest state of Baden-Württemberg, was charged with copyright violation after posting unflattering pictures of her 24-year-old daughter in a bikini with captions mocking her weight.

The mother told the Bonndorf regional court she “just wanted to share the pictures with her daughter and friends”.

When the daughter heard about the photographs from her friends she said she confronted her mother who claimed not to understand how the social networking site functioned and that the pictures were visible to all Facebook users.

The daughter told the court her mother had also posted an offensive photograph of her brother, complete with sarcastic caption.

According to local broadcaster SWR, mother and daughter are no longer talking to each other.
 

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I love the judges comment: Mr Justice Michael Hanna said: “This all began shortly after I was called to the Bar and here I am a High Court judge, contemplating retirement. People are still fighting over a strip of land.”

High Court to decide on dispute over right of way stretching back 33 years
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 62499.html
GORDON DEEGAN

Wed, Jul 25, 2012

A WOMAN has told a court that gardaí had to seize a gun from her neighbour after he had threatened he would use it to sort out a long- running neighbours’ dispute over a right of way.

At the High Court sitting in Ennis yesterday, Irene Crowe said that in 2004, her neighbour, Noel Broggy, “was going to use his gun to sort out this problem for once and for all”.

Ms Crowe, Knockroe, Meelick, a nurse, said: “Gardaí from Mayorstone Garda station went to Noel Broggy’s home and he admitted that he made the threat and they took his gun from him and to this day, he is not allowed to hold a gun.”

The court heard yesterday that the dispute between Ms Crowe and her husband Michael and the Broggys went back 33 years to 1979, when the Crowes bought a 1½ acre plot for a family home beside the Broggys in the Meelick area in southeast Co Clare.

In the case, Mr Broggy, Derrymore, Meelick, is appealing a 2004 Circuit Court ruling that no right of way existed at the site, restraining him from trespassing on Michael Crowe’s land.

Joe Revington SC, for the Broggys, said: “The Broggys have used this ancient right of way for generations and Broggys have lived there since the 1600s.”

Mr Revington said he would produce to court 11 witnesses to say the Broggys used the right of way.

After being given an outline of the case by Pat Whyms, for the Crowes, Mr Justice Michael Hanna said: “This all began shortly after I was called to the Bar and here I am a High Court judge, contemplating retirement. People are still fighting over a strip of land.”

In her evidence, Ms Crowe of Knockroe, Meelick, said Mr Broggy initially objected to the Crowes building a home in 1979, claiming he had a right of way on a private road on the lands.

Cross-examining Ms Crowe on the allegations she made against Mr Broggy, Mr Revington said: “These are terrible easy allegations to make.” In response, Ms Crowe said: “They are true.”

Mr Revington said: “Because of the nature of the allegations, they are extremely difficult to disprove.” Mr Justice Hanna said: “That is up to me to decide upon.”

The case continues today.
 

rynner2

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Police State? Stupid Rules? Or here...

Look busy, the allotment police are out to check 'productivity’
A gardener who planted fruit trees in his allotment instead of vegetables is facing eviction from his plot, because his efforts broke regulations on “productivity”.
By Hannah Furness
6:20AM BST 16 Aug 2012

Michael Rock, 60, argued that by growing 11 pear, plum, apple, cherry and apricot trees he was putting his plot to good use, but council rules brought in this year say that three quarters of the land must be used for “productive crops” such as vegetables.

Mr Rock, an author who lives in a tower block flat in Hastings, East Sussex, said he had originally planted potatoes, leeks and onions, but produced so much it was going to waste.
He decided to turn the land over to fruit trees instead, intending to make jam for his pensioner neighbours.

When presented with the new rules Mr Rock refused to agree to them, and took Hastings borough council to court when it threatened to evict him. He lost his case, but has said he will continue his fight and will go to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

At a hearing in Hastings County Court, Mr Rock told a district judge that the contract he signed in October 2007 “contained no detail on the definition of cultivation and what could not be grown on the allotment”.
In April the council changed the regulations to state that “the soil underneath trees must be planted with productive crops or other plants”, saying it was necessary to stop “a minority” of its 600 plot holders “neglecting” their land.

In a hearing on Aug 3, District Judge Geoffrey Smith was told the council felt Mr Rock’s trees were “not occupying sufficient space”.
Jack Anderson, for the council, told the court: “I suggest there is ample space at that plot for the cultivation of flowers and vegetables.”

Mr Rock said: “I have not breached the contract: this council ruling is to remove people who abandon their plots. I love the trees and I feel I am being penalised.”

Judge Smith refused to grant Mr Rock an injunction preventing his eviction, telling him it would be “inappropriate” to do so. Mr Rock was ordered to pay £650 court costs.

Emily Westley, the councillor for leisure and amenities, said: “The judge recognised the council did everything in its power to encourage and support Mr Rock to cultivate his plot.
“Instead of cultivating his plot, he took us to court and lost. We have rules for all allotments and endeavour to uphold those for the enjoyment of all allotment holders.”

A spokesman for the National Allotment Society said: “In our mind the spirit of allotment gardening is that it’s a communal activity which everybody can enjoy; it’s a hobby, at the end of the day.
“We do understand the reasons for tenancy agreements, but would always advise councils not to impose them retrospectively. Allotment gardening is something people do in their spare time and it’s important that rules are imposed in the spirit of fairness.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/pl ... ivity.html
 

rynner2

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Prehistoric monument filled in with rubble after businessman owner tried to keep it tidy
A retired businessman who bought one of Britain's most important prehistoric monuments has been fined after parts of the 5,000-year-old earthwork ring were filled with rubble to keep it looking "tidy".
By Hannah Furness
1:52PM GMT 28 Oct 2012

When a retired businessman bought one of Britain’s most important prehistoric monuments as a pension investment, he plainly felt a responsibility to keep it looking nice.

But Roger Penny, 73, found himself in court after contractors he asked to “tidy” up a 5,000-year-old earthwork ring filled in historically-important holes with rubble.

Mr Penny, a retired plant-hire manager, was found to have caused serious damage to the Somerset monument, known as Priddy Circles, as a judge warned him “significant archaeological information” could have been lost.
He has now admitted causing or permitting the works without proper consent, and has been ordered to pay £10,000 in a fine and court costs.
Mr Penny, described as a man of “impeccable character”, has also pledged to pay around £38,000 for restoration work to the monument after appearing at Taunton Crown Court.

David Maunder, prosecuting, told the court the “internationally significant” circles are “one of the country’s most important prehistoric monuments”, as the Recorder said archaeological evidence was "significantly diminished" by the damage.

The court heard Mr Penny bought a former hunt stables and house as an investment, with adjoining land including the southernmost Priddy Circle.
The ring, which dates back to 3,000BC, was built around the same time as Stonehenge and is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The appellation means English Heritage must be consulted before building or renovation work is carried out.
Instead, Mr Penny instructed two contractors to “tidy” and renovate the area, so he could eventually let it out for profit. :shock:

The court heard one of the hired firms used rubble to fill important “swallet” holes in the ring; described as natural cavities which may have been key to the monument’s creation.
The workers also cleared gorse and bracken between April and October 2011, bringing rubble into the field to help rebuild a wall and moving a gate.
In doing so, the court heard, ruts were made in the ground inside the circle by agricultural machinery. The damage included the destruction of a circular ditch said to be completely bulldozed.

Mr Penny was aware the ring was scheduled and told the contractors not to touch it, but because part of the site is not visible to the naked eye "serious damage" was caused.
English Heritage was not consulted about the size of the monument and was not able to grant permission or give advice about how to carry out the work.
It has now successfully prosecuted Mr Penny, from Chewton Mendip, Somerset, who will pay to attempt to restore the damaged monument.

Mr Maunder, prosecuting, said: "These circles are regarded as among a small group of the country's most important prehistoric monuments, with enormous potential to inform us about the Neolithic period, and in archaeological terms are internationally significant."

Charles Rowe, defending, added his client was a man of "impeccable character"' who deeply regretted what had happened.

Recorder Jeremy Wright told Mr Penny: "Although the part you bought might not have been visually spectacular, common sense would have told you that the land inside the circle was also important.
"Your actions may have meant that significant archaeological information has been lost.
"Although some evidence may be available, it's significance and value has been significantly diminished by the damage you have done."

An English Heritage spokeswoman described the damage as a "major incident", adding the structure was one of only about 80 henges in England.
She said the loss of the fabric to the henge meant a "really, really rare piece of Neolithic engineering had been lost forever".
“The outcome of this case sends out a clear message that English Heritage can and will prosecute in cases of serious damage and unauthorised works to Scheduled Monuments," she added.

“The defendant and the court have recognised the great importance of these sites and the serious nature of this offence. The outcome reflects the substantial penalty offenders may expect to receive if convicted.
“The court has also recognised the importance of mitigating the impact to this damaged site. This will give back to the monument some of what has been lost.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9638 ... -tidy.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priddy_Circles
 

Spudrick68

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Of impeccable character perhaps, but such ignorance I find quite astounding
 

rynner2

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This seems so very, very wrong:

SAS war hero jailed after 'betrayal'
An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
9:00PM GMT 10 Nov 2012

Sgt Danny Nightingale, a special forces sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was sentenced to 18 months in military detention by a court martial last week.
His sentence was described last night as the “betrayal of a war hero”, made worse because it was handed down in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Sgt Nightingale had planned to fight the charge of illegally possessing the 9mm Glock.
But his lawyer said he pleaded guilty after being warned that he could otherwise face a five-year sentence.

The soldier had hoped for leniency given the circumstances. At the court martial, even the prosecution described him as a serviceman of exemplary character, who had served his country for 17 years, 11 in the special forces.

The court was told that he returned to Britain in a hurry after two friends were killed in Iraq, leaving his equipment — including the pistol — to be packed up by colleagues.
It accepted evidence from expert witnesses that he suffered severe memory loss due to a brain injury.

Judge Advocate Alistair McGrigor, presiding over the court martial, could have spared the soldier prison by passing a suspended sentence. Instead he handed down the custodial term.

Sgt Nightingale and his family chose to waive the anonymity usually given to members of the special forces.
His wife, Sally, said her husband’s sentence was a “disgrace”. She called him a “hero who had been betrayed”. She said she and the couple’s two daughters, aged two and five, faced losing their home after his Army pay was stopped.

The soldier’s former commanding officer and politicians have called for the sentence to be overturned.
Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.
He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP for Newark and a former infantry officer, said he planned to take up the case with the Defence Secretary. Simon McKay, Sgt Nightingale’s lawyer, said: “On Remembrance Sunday, when the nation remembers its war heroes, my client — one of their number — is in a prison cell.
"I consider the sentence to be excessive and the basis of the guilty plea unsafe. It is a gross miscarriage of justice and grounds of appeal are already being prepared.”

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9669410 ... rayal.html
 

rynner2

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rynner2 said:
This seems so very, very wrong:

SAS war hero jailed after 'betrayal'
An SAS soldier has been jailed for possessing a “war trophy” pistol presented to him by the Iraqi Army for outstanding service.
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
9:00PM GMT 10 Nov 2012

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9669410 ... rayal.html
SAS soldier Danny Nightingale to have case reviewed

The case of an SAS soldier jailed for possessing a pistol he said was given as a "war gift" is to be reviewed.
Sgt Danny Nightingale was detained for 18 months earlier this month after pleading guilty to possessing the gun.

His supporters said the gun was not packed by him and a brain injury meant he was unable to remember having the pistol when it was found by police.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he had written to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve to review the case.

The soldier pleaded guilty at a court martial earlier this month to having the 9mm Glock pistol when it was found by West Mercia Police at his Hereford accommodation.
Transcripts shown to the BBC showed about 300 rounds of live ammunition were also found in a separate box on the premises.

Former SAS soldiers including Andy McNab and MP Patrick Mercer have backed Sgt Nightingale's case, saying the sentence given to him was too harsh.

Mr Hammond said he had written to Mr Grieve on Tuesday morning to ask if the public interest test had been properly applied in the case.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-he ... r-20411859
 

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At first glance this story sounded like an appalling miscarriage of justice, but the fact that he also had hundreds of live rounds of ammunition makes me wonder whether there was more to it.
 

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Quake42 said:
At first glance this story sounded like an appalling miscarriage of justice, but the fact that he also had hundreds of live rounds of ammunition makes me wonder whether there was more to it.
I see what you mean. But what do they mean by premises and were was the ammunition definitively linked to him.
 

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I see what you mean. But what do they mean by premises and were was the ammunition definitively linked to him.
According to this report:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/nov/ ... NETTXT3487

The ammo was found in his service accommodation. He does share with another solider but there has been no suggestion from Nightingale's defence team that the ammo belonged to this other guy. I'm pretty sure I read the ammo was in a box under his bed, however I can't recall where this was now - I had thought it was the BBC but apparently not.

Anyway - all I'm saying is that there may be more to this than it appears at first glance. Regardless, the "plead guilty or you'll get five years" angle is very distasteful and reminiscent of the vile US plea-bargaining system.
 

rynner2

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Danny Nightingale SAS case 'miscarriage of justice'

MPs have described a decision not to review the case of an SAS soldier jailed for possessing a "war gift" pistol as a "miscarriage of justice".
Attorney general Dominic Grieve had said it would be "inappropriate" to look into the case of Sgt Danny Nightingale - detained for 18 months.

The Solicitor General Oliver Heald said Nightingale had the right to go to the Court Martial Appeal Court.
His wife Sally said an appeal would be lodged on Wednesday.

A special debate was held in the House of Commons on Tuesday where MPs criticised the decision after Defence Secretary Philip Hammond had written to Mr Grieve.
Some MPs had demanded ministers intervene and prevent military prosecutors from opposing the father-of-two's appeal.

Conservative MP for Canterbury Julian Brazier, a former member of the Territorial SAS, urged Mr Heald to "allow the planned appeal to go through unopposed".

Tory MP for Newark, Patrick Mercer, a former soldier who has sat on court martial panels, said the case could affect morale in the armed forces.
He said: "I would suggest that this will operationally affect not just our Special Forces, but every soldier, sailor, airman and Royal Marine, who puts his or her life on the line for their country and understands that their country owes them a debt of honour.
"I would urge you that should an appeal be put forward, you will not seek to oppose it."

Nightingale, of Crewe, Cheshire, pleaded guilty at a court martial earlier this month to illegal possessing a Glock pistol and ammunition, which were found by West Mercia Police at his Hereford accommodation.
Friends and family say the soldier did not pack the pistol himself and a brain injury meant he had forgotten it was still among his belongings.

Supporters of Nightingale said the pistol had been given to him by Iraqi soldiers he had helped to train and it had been packed by colleagues after he had left Iraq quickly to help organise the funerals of two comrades.

Mrs Nightingale said: "I was extremely hopeful of an early decision on Danny's fate after the announcement of the Defence Secretary, who asked for a review of his case.
"I'm very disappointed that the attorney general has refused to do so.
"The appeal is being lodged and I hope that he will at least consider reviewing any decision by the Service Prosecuting Authority to oppose the appeal and seek a re-trial if Danny's conviction is quashed."

The soldier's solicitor Simon McKay said he was confident of the prospect of an appeal.
So far more than 35,000 people have signed a petition calling for the case to be reviewed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-he ... r-20419945
 

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SAS man Danny Nightingale released by Court of Appeal

An SAS sniper has been released after his 18 month sentence for illegally possessing a pistol was cut and suspended by the Court of Appeal.
Sgt Danny Nightingale, from Crewe, admitted possessing the 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition at a court martial earlier this month.
The judges heard Nightingale had forgotten he had the gun and cut his sentence to 12 months and suspended it.
Walking free from court, he thanked his family for "their trust and support".

The father of two, who has served in war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq, paid tribute to his wife Sally, 38, who cried when the verdict was delivered.
Nightingale said: "What I need to do firstly and foremostly is to say thank you so much to my wife, my family and my close family and friends, for their trust and their support to me.
"I think they've been amazingly courageous.
"I think they've been very dignified in all that they've done, and I am thankful.

"Secondly, to my legal team, and thirdly to the great British public and the world audience far further afield.
"They've been absolutely wonderful in their support."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the "justice system had worked".
The MP said: "I am delighted for Sgt Nightingale and his family that he will be home not only before Christmas as they'd hoped, but by the end of November.
"The Court of Appeal has decided the sentence was too harsh and has freed him."

The soldier's family and friends had argued he only pleaded guilty at the court martial after being warned he could face up to five years' detention if found guilty in a trial.
Nightingale had said he was given the gun as a present in Iraq.
His lawyer, William Clegg QC, said he did not pack the weapon and, because of a brain injury, he had forgotten he still had it.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Mr Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Bean heard legal argument at a hearing in the Court Martial Appeal Court.
One of the judges said the ammunition, discovered along with the pistol at Nightingale's Army accommodation near Hereford, was "a substantial amount".

But the court was told there had been "no intention to use the ammunition".
Mr Clegg said that "for service members such as Sgt Nightingale, it was usual to be around ammunition, especially for a man who spends all his professional life around guns and ammunition".

Former SAS commander, Lt Col Richard Williams, gave a character reference, describing Nightingale as an "exceptional soldier" who stood out for his "compassionate nature".
Col Williams referred to a type of dressing for a chest wound which Nightingale had invented and now bears his name.
Mr Clegg added that "the defendant has not sought any money for the Nightingale dressing though it is now widely used".

Lord Judge said the appeal panel was satisfied that the sentence could be reduced because the offences were "committed in exceptional circumstances by an exceptional soldier".
Judges will rule on whether Nightingale's convictions should be overturned at a later date.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20547557

Merry Christmas, everyone! :D
 

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Patricia Cornwell has been mentioned in many FTMB threads (especially Jack the Ripper), but now she stars in a real-life courtroom drama:

The case of Patricia Cornwell’s missing millions
The notoriously private author Patricia Cornwell, a titan of crime fiction, watched in court on Monday as her luxurious lifestyle was laid bare like the resolution to one of her plots.
By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
9:05PM GMT 14 Jan 2013

Unfolding before a jury was a saga of alleged greed and bitter betrayal, of private jets and helicopters, a misplaced Ferrari, $50,000 concert tickets, surreptitious political donations and a feud over a rare book collection.

Sitting in the front row of a court in Boston, Massachusetts, Miss Cornwell listened as a lawyer called her an impulsive spender who frittered away most of her earnings of more than $10 million (£6.22?million) a year. There was a $40,000-a-month lease on an apartment in New York’s Trump Tower, $5 million for a private jet service, $200,000 in taxes for a personal helicopter and $11 million on properties in Concord, Massachusetts, that she shared with her partner Staci Gruber, a Harvard neuroscientist.

“Where did the money go? Miss Cornwell and Dr Gruber spent the money. You have to consider the large lifestyles involved, the spending habits, impulsive buying,” said James Campbell, a lawyer for Anchin, Block & Anchin, an accounting firm that managed the author’s finances.

Miss Cornwell, 56, who has sold more than 100 million books and is best known for her medical examiner character Dr Kay Scarpetta, is suing Anchin for negligence and breach of contract. She is claiming damages that could amount to more than $100 million. The author is also suing Evan Snapper, a former principal in the firm.

Miss Cornwell, a former mortuary assistant, claims that in 2009 her forensic eye for detail alerted her to a large amount of money missing from her accounts. Despite years of eight-figure earnings she was astonished to discover that her net worth was less than $13 million. She claims Anchin lost millions on risky investments, that money from the sale of her Ferrari went unaccounted for, that $200,000 taxes she paid on her helicopter were unnecessary because it was wrongly registered, and that a transaction involving 48 rare books was mishandled.

The author claims she also found that Mr Snapper had written a $5,000 cheque with her money as a bat mitzvah gift to his daughter, and that $50,000 of her earnings had been spent on tickets for an Elton John concert benefiting Hillary Clinton. Joan Lukey, her lawyer, told the jury: “This case is, at its core, about trust. There is no amount of money that is enough to properly compensate her for what Anchin, Block and Anchin did.”

The company claims no money is missing and that its fees were reasonable because Miss Cornwell was a “demanding” client. Its $40,000 monthly fee was only a retainer and it billed by the hour for further services, which included everything from bringing Miss Cornwell’s clothes to the tailor to arranging care for her mother, the court heard.

The case is expected to last a month.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... lions.html
 

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Icelandic girl Blaer wins right to use given name

A 15-year-old Icelandic girl has won the right to use the name given her by her mother, after a court battle against the authorities.
Blaer Bjarkardottir will now be able to use her first name, which means "light breeze", officially.
Icelandic authorities had objected, saying it was not a proper feminine name.
The country has very strict laws on names which must fit Icelandic grammar and pronunciation rules.

"I'm very happy," Blaer said after the ruling.
"I'm glad this is over. Now I expect I'll have to get new identity papers. Finally, I'll have the name Blaer in my passport."

Reykjavik District Court's decision overturns an earlier rejection of the name by Icelandic authorities.
Until now, Blaer Bjarkardottir had been identified simply as "Girl" in communications with officials.

Like Germany and Denmark, Iceland has rigid limitations about how a baby can be named. The names like Carolina and Christa, for example, are not allowed because the letter "c" is not part of Iceland's alphabet. Names cannot be unisex either.
Blaer's mother, Bjork Eidsdottir, has said that she had no idea that Blaer was not on the list of accepted female names when she gave it to her daughter.

The panel rejected the name because they said it was too masculine for a girl.
There are some 1,853 approved female names on the Icelandic Naming Committee's list.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the district court's decision to the Supreme Court.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21280101
 

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Sleepy Russian judge gets the boot
http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news ... 74957.html

Friday February 01 2013

A Russian judge has been fired after he fell asleep in court and then sentenced an outraged defendant to five years in prison.

Judge Yevgeny Makhno of Blagoveshchensk City Court in Russia's Far East was forced to resign for obviously falling asleep several times while trying a businessman on charges of fraud.

The case became a national scandal after the defendant's lawyer posted several videos online of Makhno asleep in court. The videos were then shown on state television.

Makhno claimed that he was not sleeping, but listening with his eyes closed, the reports said.

But since a higher court decided not to punish him, Makhno only has to take an exam to be reinstated.

The defendant, however, will be given a new trial.
 

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I'm posting this here, because it doesn't relate to the political background, or the person actually on trial, but it's about the jury and the judge. Reading between the lines, the judge seems to have found them rather dim!

Vicky Pryce jury discharged in Huhne speeding points case

The jury trying Chris Huhne's former wife Vicky Pryce has failed to reach a verdict on a charge relating to speeding points she took for the ex-minister 10 years ago.
Ms Pryce, 60, of Clapham, London, faces a retrial before a new jury on Monday.
She denied perverting the course of justice, saying Huhne, who pleaded guilty, had coerced her in 2003.

The judge said some of the questions from the jury had shown a "fundamental deficit in understanding" of its role.
Mr Justice Sweeney was speaking after a list of 10 questions was sent to him by the jury on Tuesday as its deliberations continued at Southwark Crown Court.

Speaking in court later on the same day in the jury's absence, the judge said: "In 30 years of criminal trials I have never come across this at this stage, never."
He also criticised the jury's lack of understanding of the trial process.

Earlier this month, Huhne, 58, had admitted perverting the course of justice and resigned as Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh in Hampshire.
He and Ms Pryce, an economist, were charged over an incident in March 2003 when his car was caught by a speed camera on the M11 between Stansted Airport, in Essex, and London.

It is alleged that between 12 March and 21 May 2003, Ms Pryce falsely informed police that she had been the driver of the car so that Huhne, then an MEP with hopes of becoming an MP, could avoid a driving ban.
During her trial, Ms Pryce accepted that she had taken Huhne's points, but she adopted a defence of marital coercion, claiming he had made her sign a form he had already completed in her name.

The jury had asked the judge questions about its basic duties after about 14 hours of deliberations and lengthy advice from him about how to assess the evidence.
The questions included seeking a definition of reaching a verdict "beyond reasonable doubt" - something the judge had given them in writing.

In another question, the jury asked if one of them could come to a verdict based on reasons that were not presented in court or supported by the evidence. :shock: A third question asked about Ms Pryce's religious convictions, even though this was not a matter in the trial. :roll:

On Wednesday, Mr Justice Sweeney gave them a majority direction, saying he would accept a verdict on which at least 10 of the 12 jurors agreed.

But later he received a note from them saying it was "highly unlikely" they would be able to reach a majority verdict.

He then told the jury: "Against the background of the length of time that you have been in retirement already, I have decided therefore, and it is my decision one way or the other, that I must discharge you from any further deliberations."

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said the jury of eight women and four men did not appear to have "truly understood" or "sufficiently grasped" its task.
"I don't ever recollect getting to this stage in any trial, even in far more complicated trials than this one, and, after two days of deliberations, a list of questions of this very basic kind illustrating that at least some jurors do not seem to have grasped it," he said.

It was a "fairly unique situation" in which the jury had sent a note containing 10 questions aimed at attempting to understand the fundamental purpose of their presence, he said.
"This is not jury misconduct, this is not irregularity, this is a jury which has not, it appears, understood its function," he added.

Sentencing of Huhne, who could face a prison sentence, is expected to be delayed until after the retrial.

A by-election is being held in Eastleigh on 28 February to find a replacement for Huhne.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21516473

I have to wonder if this is an example of an internet-raised generation finding itself unable to understand real world debate and inquisition, and unable to concentrate on the essentials of the matter, so used are they to internet arguments flitting about all over the place, with many irrelevent diversions from the main thread. Perhaps they give more weight to opinions, and are reluctant to come to hard conclusions.

(That's my opinion anyway, and I'm expressing on the internet! ;) )
 

ramonmercado

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It may be a case of the jury not wanting to convict her because they felt she was coerced. Perhaps a bit of ham acting because they felt she was techgnically guilty.
 

rynner2

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Vicky Pryce trial: have juries had their day in court?
The Vicky Pryce trial showed how modern jurors are finding it impossible to grasp basic principles of trial by jury
By Harry Mount
8:24PM GMT 21 Feb 2013

'Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?” :D
Suddenly, the question asked by Tony Hancock’s juror in Hancock’s Half Hour doesn’t seem quite so stupid after all.

The 10 questions asked by the jury in the Vicky Pryce trial show a staggering lack of understanding of the case they were supposed to be judging. Again and again, they were flummoxed by issues that would have been made extremely clear in the trial – particularly when it came to the definition of reasonable doubt and the fact that the jury couldn’t consider matters that weren’t raised in court.

In theory, the jury system sounds like a wonderful democratic instrument – to be judged by 12 peers, as opposed to a single judge (as is the case, incidentally, in the Oscar Pistorius hearing).

Like so many elements of English law, the jury system is an odd hybrid, created out of a combination of statute law and common law over the course of more than 1,000 years.

Its origins are lost in the mists of time. The ancient Athenians dreamt up the idea of defendants being tried by their peers – 500 dikastai, or fellow, male, free citizens. In Britain, it’s thought that Viking invaders were the first to introduce 12 hereditary “law men”. The Anglo-Saxon king Ethelred the Unready used the same magic figure of 12, for the number of minor nobles who investigated crimes.

But the system of being judged by your peers was only fully bedded in after the Norman invasion. Henry III used juries of 12 free men to look into land disputes but, like the Anglo-Saxons, they actually investigated the legal cases, rather than dispassionately heard them like modern juries.

By the time of Tony Hancock’s beloved Magna Carta in 1215, the idea of the jury was integral to English law, as witnessed in the Latin words of Article 39, declaring that no free man should be convicted “nisi per legale judicium parium suorum” – unless through the legal judgment of his peers.

For the past 800 years, that basic principle has worked pretty well. The only problem is, a good percentage of the population are now unable to understand certain concepts of criminal law, even if they understand English. A 2010 Ministry of Justice report revealed that two thirds of jurors don’t fully comprehend the judges’ legal directions when they retire to consider their verdicts.

That problem was an acute one in the Vicky Pryce case, where her defence was particularly unusual – the ancient defence of marital coercion. Even though the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, a 30-year veteran of the criminal courts, gave the jury extensive written and verbal directions about the definition of marital coercion, they still didn’t get it.

As the prosecuting counsel, Andrew Edis QC, said, this was a jury that didn’t understand its function or the very basic concept of jury trial. Mr Justice Sweeney said he’d never seen such a situation in his career.

The writer Peter Moffat, who spent nine years as a criminal defence barrister, was equally amazed by the collapse of Pryce’s trial. (Another will now be held.) “Some of the questions the jury asked in the case are absolutely extraordinary,” says Moffat, writer of the legal dramas Silk, Criminal Justice and North Square. “They can’t have been listening at all. It’s hard to fathom.
“Still, it’s quite right that we don’t know what goes on behind the doors of the jury room, to preserve the jurors’ independence and integrity.”

Difficulties with juries have intensified over the past 10 years with the growth of the internet and social media, and the ability of a juror to investigate any defendant outside the courtroom, even if they’re not as well-known as Vicky Pryce.
Last year, Theodora Dallas, a former university lecturer, was jailed for six months for contempt of court, for carrying out online research on a criminal defendant while serving as a juror. The case was taken so seriously that the contempt proceedings were launched by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve
.

In 2011, a juror was given an eight-month jail term for discussing a trial on Facebook with one acquitted defendant, and researching another online in a multi-million pound drug trial.

“Social media is a massive problem and judges are incredibly worried about it,” says Peter Moffat. “The sentences are so harsh because the judges want the world to know that they’ll come down hard on jurors using the internet. As lawyers, you understand the concept of categorising stuff, of keeping the case separate from the outside world; it’s very difficult as a member of the public to close down parts of your brain. Inevitably you bring in outside influences.”

The other problem with juries is that, although they have the merit of being open to everyone, not everyone serves on them. The busy, the professional, the rich and the employed find it that much easier to claim an exemption. A booked holiday or a medical operation will bag you a deferral; a doctor’s letter an exemption.
In the Pryce case, most of the jury looked under 30. A skewed representation of the population will inevitably give skewed results
.

There have been concerns about the modern state of the jury trial in the higher echelons of our legal system, too. Yesterday, Lord Woolf, a former Lord Chief Justice, and Lord Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, both backed jury trials but suggested they could be improved.

Lord Macdonald defended the jurors’ questions in the Pryce trial but argued that juries should be given more help. Their behind-closed-doors reasoning should be opened up, he said, so that judges could know how to direct them better.

Lord Woolf even defended the jurors’ question about the definition of reasonable doubt, saying that the guidance has changed over the years. He proposed that jurors might instead consider whether they were “sure” of a person’s guilt.

Neither peer, though, wanted to get rid of an ancient system that has worked well in this country since time immemorial. (The law being its precise, perverse self, time immemorial was decreed as a legally recognised date – 1189, the beginning of Richard the Lionheart’s reign – before being redefined as “Time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary”.) The jury option still seems more fair than any alternative, however flawed it might be.

It’s still absolutely the best system,” says Peter Moffat. “It may sound clichéd, but an adversarial, jury-based system is still a cornerstone of a democracy. If you let a judge decide – like in the Pistorius case – you’re putting too much power in one person’s hands.

“The judge in the Pryce case was clearly a very experienced barrister, a High Court judge with 30 years in criminal law. I’m sure he’s utterly objective and independent, but I’d still prefer a jury.”

The majority of judges and barristers, and the majority of the British population, share that view. We still prefer to put our lives in the hands of 12 men and women, however angry or misguided they might be.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... court.html
 

CarlosTheDJ

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I served on a jury last month - two cases in two weeks.

The people I served with were from a wide range of ages and backgrounds, and from my experience the comments in the article about the age and "class" of jurors are sweeping and misleading. Unless I was just lucky with my "team".

You are chosen completely at random from the electoral roll and it's not easy to get an exemption. It is quite easy to defer, but you can only do that once so the comments about rich people "getting off" are incorrect as well.

The judges were extremely explicit about the rules around the internet and social media, and they are very clear that they will send you to prison if you ignore them. It sounds as though they were very unlucky with this particular jury.
 

Iris

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A couple of years back when I was called up for jury duty my number came up 3 times and up I'd go with the others. However as soon as it was read out that I was a retired teacher I was challenged each time. Same thing happened to a serving teacher.
But a man trying to get an exemption because he was leading a medical team trying to find a cure for cancer wasn't given one. That trial was supposed to be going to last about 6 weeks and the others 3 and 6 months so I was glad I didn't have to travel in by train each day.
 

Novena

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I also served on a jury last year and, like Carlos, I found that my group was a reasonable mixture of people. The Torygraph's tales of toffs getting off is hyperbole I think! ;) Indeed there was a lady there who had been called up four times previously, and who was not even granted an exception due to having her mother's funeral arranged for that very day (she had to rearrange everything, poor woman). :shock:

In my case, which admittedly was fairly simple, the judge's summing-up was extremely clear and left us in no doubt as to the verdict required. I could see that on very ambiguous cases it would be more difficult, but I think instances like the Vicky Pryce case where the jury seem hopelessly confused are very rare.
 

Mythopoeika

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I've never been called up for jury duty. It's rather odd.
I'm quite happy for things to continue as they are.
 

Gwenar

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From the article:
The writer Peter Moffat, who spent nine years as a criminal defence barrister, was equally amazed by the collapse of Pryce’s trial. (Another will now be held.) “Some of the questions the jury asked in the case are absolutely extraordinary,” says Moffat, writer of the legal dramas Silk, Criminal Justice and North Square. “They can’t have been listening at all. It’s hard to fathom.
I think the writer built up a strawman case for the sake of the article, you know, in order to blame young people and social media for the confusion in this particular case. If Peter Moffat finds it extraordinary, that means it's rare for a jury to be so out of touch.

And, I question whether it really was the whole jury or the work of just one difficult jury member who couldn't understand why her thought process was unreasonable and insisted that the judge be brought in. Then, once questioning the judge was put on the table, a few others added questions they normally wouldn't have asked, making the whole group look like a bunch of dim bulbs.

You've probably seen this type of group dynamic if you've worked on team projects or even something less formal like a family gathering or wedding. One unqualified person can really derail the group. These types aren't unsympathetic - you can see they're struggling - that's why give them more power than they should have and let them make you look like an idiot. Sharing the blame to help them save face.
 

rynner2

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rynner2 said:
SAS man Danny Nightingale released by Court of Appeal

An SAS sniper has been released after his 18 month sentence for illegally possessing a pistol was cut and suspended by the Court of Appeal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20547557
SAS gun appeal: Danny Nightingale conviction overturned

An SAS sniper who was jailed for possessing a gun has had his conviction overturned at the Court of Appeal.
Sgt Danny Nightingale, from Crewe, admitted possessing a 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition at a court martial in November.
He was sentenced to 18 months military detention which was reduced to a 12-month suspended sentence on appeal.

Sgt Nightingale, who said he was given the gun as a present while serving in Iraq, will now face a retrial.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Mackay and Mr Justice Sweeney were told by William Clegg QC, acting for Sgt Nightingale, that the soldier had been placed under "improper pressure" to plead guilty at the military trial.

Mr Clegg told the court the barrister representing Sgt Nightingale in November, Ian Winter QC, had told his client that he could expect a five-year prison sentence if found guilty but that there was a chance of avoiding a custodial sentence if he pleaded guilty.
The defence said Mr Winter had simply been explaining to his client what one of the trial judges had said.

Prosecutor David Perry QC argued there was nothing unusual in the way Mr Winter had advised Sgt Nightingale about the difference in sentences passed after guilty pleas and those passed following trials.

Lord Judge said: "The question is whether the uninvited indication [of likely sentence] by the judge and its consequent impact on the defendant created improper pressure and narrowed his freedom of choice.
"We rule that it did and therefore order the conviction to be quashed."

Speaking outside the court, Sgt Nightingale thanked his supporters and said he was elated the "right decision" had been made, adding he would enter a not guilty plea at the retrial.
He said: "We will attack it with the same vigour and tenacity as we've done this. We will pursue it throughout.
"It's been really hard. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy's family.
"It's not a fun ordeal."

Sgt Nightingale said whether he returned to duty pending the retrial was a decision for the Ministry of Defence.
"It's very frustrating," he added. "It's a job that I'm trained for so not being able to do that is very frustrating."

His wife Sally, who had been at his side during the hearing, said: "We're delighted with the outcome. There are mixed emotions because the SPA [Service Prosecuting Authority] have ordered a retrial.
"But tonight we'll celebrate the fact Danny is not convicted of a crime anymore."

The pistol and ammunition were found by West Mercia Police at Sgt Nightingale's Hereford accommodation.
The sniper had been serving his sentence at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex, prior to his release last year.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21767681
 
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