Nigella Lawson’s suggestion that she was the real victim in the trial of the Grillo sisters is, unlike most of her carefully crafted recipes, a little hard to swallow. Her central allegation is that having – somewhat reluctantly – performed her civic duty of giving evidence in court, allegations that she was a heavy cocaine user were made against her which were irrelevant, and which the court process did not allow her to rebut:
“I did my civic duty, only to be maliciously vilified without the right to respond. I can only hope that my experience will highlight the need for a reform that will give witnesses some rights to rebut false claims made against them.”
Does she have a point? Continue reading “Grillo barristers were right to give Nigella a grilling”
Amongst my Christmas post a few days ago was a rather fearsome looking brown envelope. Rather assuming it was the usual threat to send the bailiffs in to collect last year’s tax, I ignored it. In fact, I was about to throw it out with the rest of the recycling when the franking caught my eye. Instead of the usual HMRC it bore a stamp from the Ministry of Justice. I opened it. To my surprise it was not a summons for jury service, but it was the next best thing: a cheery Christmas card from “Chris, Ursula, Damian and family.” Better still, tucked inside the card was a round robin bringing me up to date with all the family news. I thought you might like to read it. Continue reading “A cheery Round Robin from the Ministry of Justice Christmas Card”
The Judge Advocate General, Jeffrey Blackett, and his military colleagues faced an extraordinarily difficult task in sentencing Sergeant Alexander Blackman, formerly known only as “Marine A”, for murder. A 10 year minimum term for an offence of murder, especially after a contested trial, is an unusually lenient sentence. On the other hand this was a very unusual case.
Some have questioned the necessity for Courts Martial at all, or argued that they should not try offences as serious as murder. This case illustrates precisely why we need to retain a separate system of military justice. In a case like his, the judgement of a civilian court would have been deeply unsatisfactory. Judge Advocate Blackett’s sentencing remarks should be required reading for anyone wishing to comment on the case. Continue reading “Sergeant Blackman’s case shows how much we need courts martial”
Should we trust our doctors, teachers and priests?
Keir Starmer QC, who recently stepped down as Director of Public Prosecutions, believes we should not. Instead we should place our trust in the criminal law and the lawyers of the Crown Prosecution Service.
That is the conclusion one is driven to from his demand for a new offence of failing to notify the authorities of a reasonable belief that a child has been sexually abused. Continue reading “Child abuse: Keir’s law didn’t help Gerry Adams’ niece and it won’t help other children either”