The Round-Up: Janner’s debut, and the plight of relying on Dignitas.

17 August 2015 by

2138Laura Profumo serves us the latest human rights happenings.

In the news:

Lurid show-trial of a vulnerable man, the timely vindication of justice being done, and being seen to be done, a CPS volte-face.

Whatever you think of the Janner trial, it’s now in full swing. The former Labour Peer made his first appearance in court on Friday, facing 22 historic child sex abuse charges. The 87 year old’s committal hearing lasted some 59 seconds, after weeks of legal grappling with his defence lawyers. Any doubt over Janner’s dementia was “dispersed instantly” by his arrival, writes The Telegraph’s Martin Evans: flanked by his daughter and carer, Janner appeared frail and “confused”, cooing “ooh, this is wonderful” as he entered the courtroom. The case will now pass to the Crown Court, with the next hearing due on September 1, where a judge will decide whether the octogenarian is fit to stand trial, or whether a trial of fact is a suitable alternative. If the latter course is taken, a jury will decide if Janner was responsible for his charged actions – no verdict of guilt will be found, and no punishment will be handed down.

It’s certainly a forlorn courtroom vignette. As Lord Janner left his brief hearing, his daughter, Marion, comforted him: “Come on Dad, let’s go home and have a nice ice cream”. But sympathy for the elderly peer can’t obscure the charges against him. Those complainants with genuine claims against Janner will feel frustrated by the hearing, following his legal team’s stalling appeal, and Janner’s subsequent failure to turn up for his first appearance. The former peer finally arrived, after the judge threatened to arrest him, rejecting his team’s proposals of a video link hearing. Yet “we have reached the stage in which none of the alternatives are palatable”, writes Hugh Muir in the Guardian. The timing and gravity of the allegations, in this post-Savile climate of public disquiet, means the trial must play out – however “grisly”. Perhaps, though the line between public interest trial and lynch mob apologia is a fine one.

In other news…

The number of Britons travelling to the Dignitas clinic is projected to reach 300 in the next few weeks. Right-to-die campaigners hope the figure will aid their call for the government to repeal the prohibition on assisted suicide. The news follows the decision of Bob Cole, a mesothelioma sufferer, to publicly speak out about his trip to Dignitas last Friday. Cole’s own decision to visit Dignitas follows his wife’s decision to end her life there: “it was a lovely, warm, dignified atmosphere”. Prior to his visit, Cole called on MPs to support the assisted dying bill, due to reach the Commons in September. Assisting someone to die, which currently includes accompanying the person to Dignitas, carries a potential custodial sentence of up to 14 years.

More fine work from Adam Wagner’s kaleidoscopic new website, Rightsinfo. Click here for colourful statistics on the European Court of Human Rights. For HRA supporters and skeptics alike, it’s a necessary read. One of the many red top myths Wagner debunks is the Sun’s report that the UK loses 60% of its Strasbourg cases – the UK wins 99% of the time.

The migrant crisis in Kos continues to escalate. Migrants desperate to leave the island fought one another last week to board passenger ships chartered to house and process the refugees. Whilst Greek authorities have allowed Syrians to board the ships, as they are classed as refugees, Pakistanis, Afghans and Iranians – whose status is more uncertain – scuffled to board the boats. Riot police were called to disperse the crowds. The island has been besieged by migrants – mainly Syrian and Afghan refugees – since early summer, whilst the UNHCR predicts that some 124,000 migrants have landed on Greek islands this year. The refugee agency has openly deplored Greece’s response to the crisis, urging the authorities to improve the refugees’ reception and living conditions.

Nick Hardwicke, the chief prisons inspector, has called for time limits on the detention of migrations without trial. The appeal follows an unannounced inspection of Yarl’s Wood which found the removal centre failing to meet the needs of its most vulnerable detainees. Inspectors discovered that 99 pregnant women had been held in the centre in 2014, of whom only 9 were removed from the UK, contravening the Home Office policy that expectant women should not normally be detained. Furthermore, a “disturbing” 54% of detainees interviewed admitted they felt depressed or suicidal upon arrival, whilst sexual allegations continue to be leveled at Yarl’s Wood staff.

Connecticut’s supreme court has spared the lives of 11 men who were already on death row when the death penalty was abolished in the state three years ago. The ruling comes following an appeal from one of the inmates, Eduardo Santiago, arguing any post-repeal execution would constitute cruel and unjust punishment. Though the death penalty was only repealed for future crimes, Santiago’s attorneys successfully argued such selective use of the death penalty would prove unconstitutional.

Barbara Calvert QC, the eminent barrister and female spokesperson, has died aged 89. Lady Lowry became the first female head of chambers, after starting up her own, Four Brick Court, in the 1970s. She went on to become the first female QC to be appointed a full-time chair of Industrial Tribunals, and, following her retirement, founded the Grandparents’ Association, which lobbies for grandparents estranged from their grandchildren. A formidable trailblazer, she was the first female QC to take a case to Strasbourg, and, dismayed by the many young barristers unable to gain tenancy in chambers, pioneered the creation of 1 Pump Court. Her Middle Temple reading – “Sex, Does it Really Matter?” – offers a fitting coda to her own career: “there is no height a woman cannot scale”.

 Cases:

 Oliari and Others v. Italy: ECtHR held that Italy should introduce the possibility of legal recognition for same-sex couples. The case concerned a complaint by three homosexual couples that they could not get married, or enter into a civil partnership, under Italian law. The Court held that the absence of legal protection for same-sex couples contravened their Article 8 rights, failing to provide for the core needs of a couple in a stable committed relationship. The Court further emphasized the trend amongst Contracting States towards legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 24 out of the 47 states having legislated in favour of such recognition.

 Nazarenko v. Russia: Russian family law was held inflexible in this ECtHR judgment, with the automatic exclusion of a non-biological father from a child’s life, after termination of his paternity, constituting a violation of his Article 8 rights. The Court held the authorities had failed to provide a possibility for the family ties between father and child to be preserved, neglecting to consider the child’s best interests. It was held that States should examine on a case-by-case basis whether it is in a child’s best interests to maintain contact with a person, whether biologically related or not. 

Events:

  • “Freedom of Information: Extending Transparency to the Private Sector”. Baker & McKenzie LLP, September 28th, 17:30-19:00. Hosted by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, this event will consider the differences in transparency requirements for private contractors, and proposals to extend the FOI regime to private companies providing public services.

If you would like your event to be mentioned on the Blog, please email the details to Jim Duffy, at jim.duffy@1cor.com.

 

 

6 comments


  1. nigburke says:

    “Perhaps, though the line between public interest trial and lynch mob apologia is a fine one.”… You have picked the wrong case to doubt the value of justice, delay or not. Don’t be taken in by the circus performance of Janner’s defence. No-one dresses their Dad up like a clown to attend court. Dementia patients prefer, generally, to wear the clothes they were most often wearing pre-illness because they feel the comfort of a familiar link to their past… And that hat? Oh dear. I rather suspect the defence brief pulled it out of his pocket just as their taxi was arriving at court and said, “Here. Stick this on. You’ll look a right numpty in it.” ….
    I could go on, but would much prefer to simply say please keep your open mind, but add a little cynicism occasionally , just to keep yourself on the right track.
    Thanks for reading.
    Nigel.

  2. ObiterJ says:

    Query – “former peer” – Janner is still a peer and won’t lose his title whatever the outcome of the criminal justice process now in train. If I read your piece correctly, you are not in favour of this process ??? I think that, on balance, the DPP got it right in the first place. This process is now a mockery of justice. A further point is that, IF the criminal process had to be triggered, then the Magistrates’ Court hearing could have been obviated by use of a voluntary bill. The “sending” procedure for indictable only offences is a remnant of former committal proceedings and, in all honesty, it is high time that it was dispensed with and the accused taken to Crown Court straight away. After all, the Crown Court sits permanently unlike its predecessor courts (Assizes and Quarter Sessions). Just my views of course. Keep up the great work on UK Human Rights.

  3. dbfamilylaw says:

    Perhaps you should reconsider the ‘lynch mob’ comment for those who have survived child sex abuse; and given that it is the subject of an extensive inquiry (which you do not mention)

  4. daveyone1 says:

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  5. Charles T lawson says:

    Then all that he has voted on in the house of lords for the past year should be deleted from the vote , “OOOH WOULDN,T THAT BE WONDERFUL ?”

  6. Ellen says:

    Rather inaccurate statistics ” Number of Britons travelling to the Dignitas clinic is projected to reach 300 in the next few weeks. ”
    That’s actually over the past 10 years….only 26 a year.
    More people want to nail their todgers to a plank of wood but fear being accused of genital mutilation….wish QCs would volunteer to hold the straw instead of leaving it to doctors …we’re the ones who will doubtless be accused by you of being ‘cruel’ when we refuse to refer patients in the future.

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courts secret criminal trial secret evidence secret justice Secret trials sectarianism secularism security security cameras security services security vetting Sedar Mohammed segregation Select Committee on AI self-defence self-incrimination seminar sentencing September 11 serco serious harm sermon Seroxat service outside jurisdiction set-off Sewel Convention sex abuse sex ban sex ban low IQ sex offender Sex offenders sex register sexual abuse Sexual Offences sexual orientation sexual orientation regulations SFO investigation sfo unlawfulness shaker aamer Shamima Begum sham marriage shared residence order Sharon Shoesmith shetland shipping shipwreck Shirley Chaplin shooting shoulder shrug should trees have rights SIAC sihkism Simon Singh sir alan ward Sir Nicholas Wall Sir Peter six months rule slander slaughterhouses slavery smacking small claims court small solar Smith Smith & Ors v The Ministry of Defence [2012] EWCA Civ 1365 smog smoking ban Snyder v Phelps social and economic rights social benefits social housing socialite social media social security law social welfare social workers Solicitorsfromhell website solitary confinement soma somali pirates sources South Africa south african constitution sovereignty Sovereignty clause soviet union soybean Spanish properties spare room subsidy special advocate special advocates species specific performance spending cuts spielmann squatters Standing standing rules starvation state immunity statelessness statute statutory power Statutory purpose stay of execution stem cell research stem cells stem cell therapy Stephen Gough stephen sedley stepping hill hospital Sterilisation steve macqueen Steven Neary stobart-law stop and search stop powers Stormont Assembly storms Strasborug Strasbourg Strasbourg Court strasbourg damages pirates strasbourg law Strasbourg terminology strategic environmental assessment strike strike out Strikes student loans sturgeon subsidies Sugar v BBC suicide suicide act 1961 super injunction super injunctions supermax prisons superstition Supreme Court Supreme Court Live Supreme Court of Canada Supreme Court Scotland surgery surrogacy surrogacy arrangement surveillance swine flu Syria systemic violence Take That tallinn tariff Taser Tax tax avoidance tax discrimination tchenguiz technology Telegraph telephone preference service television justice tenancy tent city termination termination of pregnancy terror asset freezing Terrorism terrorism act terrorism act 2000 terrorism legislation terrorism prosecution terrorist finance terrorist threat terry pratchett Tesla testamentary dispositions The Bike Project the Catholic church The Corner House theism The Law in These Parts therapy Theresa May the right to privacy The Stig The Sun third countries third party appeals three way case time limits time limits in human rights Tobacco tobacco cartels Top Gear tort Torture torture inquiry totally without merit TPIM TPP tracking trade trade secrets trades unions trade union congress Trade Unions transexual transsexual transsexuals travel travellers travel restrictions treason treatment treaty treaty accession trial by jury trolling TTIP TTM v London Borough of Hackney & Ors Tugendhat tumour Turkey tweeting in court Twitter twitter in court Twitter Joke Trial UK UK citizenship uk constitution UK election UK Human Rights Blog UK Human Rights Roundup UKIP UK Jewish Film Festival ukraine UK Supreme Court UK Uncut ultra orthodox jews ultra vires UN unable to vote unacceptable behaviour policy unaccompanied minors unborn child UN Convention on the Rights of the Child unelected judges unemployment unfair consultation unfair dismissal unfairness at hearing Unison Unite United Against Fascism Group United Kingdom United Nations United States United States v Windsor universal declaration of human rights universal jurisdiction Universal Periodic Review University University Fees university of east anglia University of Southampton unjust and oppressive unlawful arrest unlawful detention unpaid work schemes UN Resolution unsolicited calls UPR US aviation US Constitution use as of right US Supreme Court vaccination Valkyries variants veganism vehicle breakdown vetting and barring vicarious liability victim victim status Victoria Climbie victorian charter Vienna airport vigilantism villagisation vinton cerf violence violist visa scheme vivisection voluntary euthanasia Volunteers voter compensation voters compensation voting voting compensation vulnerable Wagner Wakefield Wales War war correspondents ward of court War Horse water utilities Watts Wayne Rooney Websites welfare of child welfare of children welfare of the child welfare state welsh bill western sahara whaling What would happen if the UK withdrew from the European Court of Human Rights whimbrel whisky Whistleblowing WHO who is JIH whole gene sequencing whole life orders whorship Wikileaked cable Wikileaks wiklleaks Wild Law wildlife Wildlife and Countryside Act will William Hague William Marbury wills wind farms wind turbine Winterbourne View witchcraft withdrawal of treatment wolves women's rights Woolas worboys Workers working time directive wrongful birth wrongful conception wrongful life WTO wuhan X AND OTHERS v. AUSTRIA - 19010/07 - HEJUD [2013] ECHR 148 X Factor XX v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 742 X Y and Z v UK Yemshaw Yildirim v Turkey Your freedom website YouTube yukos Yuval Noah Hariri Zakir Naik Zanu-PF Zero Hours Contracts ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Zimbabwe Zimbabwe farm invasions ZN (Afghanistan) (FC) and others ZZ [2015] CSIH 29 [2015] CSOH 168 £750

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