Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Detention for Student who Knocked Down and Killed Grandmother

A motorist who sustained whiplash when her vehicle left the road and mounted a pavement before crushing a pedestrian to death and has been sentenced to 30 months detention in a Young Offenders’ Institute.

In February 2010, 20-year-old Keisha Wall was travelling home from a shopping trip with her mother when the accident occurred. According to reports, Ms Wall had been using her mobile phone at the time of the incident, which came just months after the young woman had passed her driving test.

With her driving instructor mother sat in the passenger seat beside her, Ms Wall, of Reading, is reported to have suddenly and inexplicably veered off the road, hitting 63-year-old Christine Lyon and pinning her against a wall. Sadly, Mrs Lyon, of Maidenhead, died at the scene as a result of massive internal injuries.

Addressing the defendant at Reading Crown Court, Judge Stephen John, said: “You were driving in normal traffic with your mother, an experienced professional driving instructor, as your passenger. Before you began your journey you had been exchanging text messages with your boyfriend and a girlfriend.

“For no reason apparent to other road users, your car suddenly veered off the road at an acute angle, mounted the kerb, crossed the pavement and pinned the unfortunate Mrs Lyon up against the wall. It was within a period of less than a minute before the collision you had received a text message on your mobile phone. I am satisfied that you opened that message and either read or attempted to read it.

“By that action, you lost concentration, left the road and caused the lady’s death. The jury must have rejected your evidence that your mother had inexplicably grabbed the wheel and herself caused the accident. Your mother was not called to support your evidence. I think it very likely that she did indeed grab the wheel in the moment you left the road in a vain attempt to avoid the catastrophe occurring but she did not cause the car to mount the pavement.”

Personal injury lawyers claims can be brought against motorists who ignore their legal duty of care to other road users by driving negligently and causing injury claims or death. There can be no doubt that using a mobile phone whilst in control of a motor vehicle is utterly dangerous and negligent. In the present case, such an act cost one woman her life and caused another to lose her freedom for a period of two-and-a-half years.

Charon… a slayer of prawns?

Charon recognises that he is not a teenager and has difficulty understanding how his new Samsung Jet smartphone works…

Read

Insite Law Equity & Trusts FREE online resource Dr John Birchall has started to publish his Equity & Trusts free resources. Chapter 1 is up.

Have a look?

Insite Law FREE resource for Family Law The first chapter of the FREE Family Law resource being prepared by John Bolch, Solicitor and author of the Family Lore blog is now up. The remaining chapters will follow shortly. The first chapter on Marriage is brief. Chapter 2 will be on Divorce.

Have a look?

The other FREE resources in the series are well under way and those published may be accessed through the left hand column.

Charon QC: 22nd August: Postcard from a Tent in Tripoli

Charon QC awards first “Charon puts it down the bog award”

In the weekly Postcard – this week from LA LA Land Charon reviews the extraordinary case of Riam dean’s win over Abercrombie & Fitch…

Charon also relates his experience – almost at Brian Rix farce levels – on Friday afternoon and evening.

Charon QC:The Lockerbie bomber is to be released on compassionate grounds, the Scottish Government has announced.

The BBC reports: Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, 57, was jailed in 2001 for the atrocity which claimed 270 lives in 1988.Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill revealed that the Libyan, who has terminal prostate cancer, would be allowed to return to his homeland.

Let me explain what my opinion is on this:

Cardiff Law School on the ‘naughty step’ ….

Nearly Legal writes:

“Our non-lawyer/law student readers, or even non-barrister readers, might have to forgive us for this for this Naughty Step, but it was too good to resist, particularly for those of us – i.e.  me – still newly qualified enough to harbour memories of their professional courses (LPC/BVC), and also familiar, from the other side, with the conduct of University exam committees.

And so, we welcome to the Step Cardiff Law School, who are here for their truly remarkably inappropriate behaviour in the face of a High Court order, as well as managing to ensure that they lost a judicial review of the conduct of their exam committees.

Clarke, R (on the application of) v Cardiff University [2009] EWHC 2148 (Admin) was a judicial review of Cardiff University Law School brought by a BVC student from 2004/5, Ms Clarke. The story went something like this…”

Read the rest of the post – not a great story for Cardiff Law School

In fact… it is disgraceful…. do read it. It is cringe making…. OUCH!

On the day when the Law Lords bade farewell to the House of Lords and sit as Justices of the Supreme Court of the United kingdom at the new Supreme Court in October, they gave judgment on one of the emotive issues of our times in R (on the application of Purdy) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2009]

The Times reports: “Five Law Lords unanimously backed the woman’s call for a policy statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions on the circumstances in which a person such as her husband might face prosecution for helping a loved one end their life abroad.”

“The Law Lords agreed that changes were a matter for Parliament, but upheld Ms Purdy’s argument that the DPP, Keir Starmer QC, should put in writing the factors that he regarded as relevant in deciding whether or not to prosecute. After the verdict, Mr Starmer issued a statement accepting the decision and saying that an interim policy would be produced by the end of September. He added that his final version should be published by spring 2010.”


I spoke earlier in the week to Lord Falconer on his amendment to the law on assisted suicide. We now have a clear statement from the Law Lords that the DPP is under a duty to put in writing the factors he regards as relevant in deciding whether or not to prosecute and, thereby, clarifying the position for those, Like Ms Purdy who wish to end their lives knowing that their loved ones will not be prosecuted if they assist.

A step in the right direction but by no means a change in the fundamental law – a challenge for a future parliament. The next stage must, inevitably, be pressure on Parliament to change the law to permit assisted dying in this country.

An issue of justice

While our own legal history has a grim and primitive past; with trial by ordeal and combat being replaced by rough justice and the penalties of death by hanging, drawing, quatering et al – and the Americans and other supposedly civilised jurisdictions around the world continue to exact the penalty of death – we do have the right as commentators to say that  this and other cruel punishments are plain wrong, just as we have the right to observe in this country when bad laws are made and bad judgments are handed down.

We are not, by any means yet, in a state of grace where we can legitimately say that our Justice is perfect,  or even more foolish –  the best in the world – for that degrades the evolution of our system and the work of judges who do their best, in the main, to dispense justice within the confines of a flawed menu of laws.

That stated, there is a shocking story in the Guardian today about a flawed legal system and the remarkable courage of a young woman who has renounced her UN immunity by resigning from her job with the United Nations to protest and test the Sudanese judiciary and Islam itself as it is interpreted in that country.

Sudanese journalist quits UN job to go on trial for wearing trousers

Guardian: A  female Sudanese journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public told a packed Khartoum courtroom yesterday that she was resigning from a UN job that grants her immunity so that she could challenge the law on women’s dress. Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested on 3 July in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe. The women were all wearing trousers, considered indecent under the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan ‘s Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

I have read with some irritation suggestions from Lord Phillips, the Archbishop of Canterbury and others that we should embrace Sharia law concepts within our nation,  and The Times only recently had a Sharia gorge fest reporting on the views of a cleric who wants to see Sharia courts given greater prominence.

We live in an increasingly secular country. I accept, for reasons of history that the Church of England enjoys a degree of primacy,  but rather than suggest that we embrace all religious systems within our law, I would prefer to see all religious systems and overt influences  removed from law and judicial hearings.  We have a common law system which, while not perfect,  is evolving. That is one of the benefits of a common law system over more structured written constitutions or civil systems based on codes. It may well lead to imperfection and inconsistency but many of these can be tempered, evened out or put right through our appellate system.

This is not a crass political issue – it is about justice and the rule of law in our country.  For my part I do not see how we can operate several different types of law within our nation and I certainly do not feel attracted by the justice of Islam when it continues, even in this country, to be manifestly oppressive to women – most alarmingly, in this country, in terms of the rights of islamic women in relation to divorce and family law issues. I have no difficulty at all with those who wish voluntarily and with informed consent to have their disputes settled by Sharia courts in this country,  but I would not wish to see those ‘courts’ have any force of law at all in terms of ousting the jurusdiction of our own courts and system of law – or mediation  by those courts barring the right to appeal to the courts of England & Wales.

Farewell to the law lords
Times / David Pannick QC: Today the law lords sit to give judgment for the last time in the House of Lords and, as Lord Hope of Craighead said there last week, the upper chamber will be “losing part of itself”. From October the law lords will become Justices of the Supreme Court, created under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. As the law lords give judgments for the last time, we should celebrate the institution whose life is coming to an end….

Sudanese journalist quits UN job to go on trial for wearing trousers
Guardian: A  female Sudanese journalist facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public told a packed Khartoum courtroom yesterday that she was resigning from a UN job that grants her immunity so that she could challenge the law on women’s dress.

Lubna Hussein was among 13 women arrested on 3 July in a raid by members of the public order police force on a popular Khartoum cafe. The women were all wearing trousers, considered indecent under the strict interpretation of Islamic law adopted by Sudan’s Islamic regime. All but three of the women were flogged at a police station two days later.

Head of Legal blog: Lord Lester: my life as a goat

“Lord Lester, writing in the Guardian today , explains why he resigned as the government’s independent adviser on constitutional change. I have some sympathy for Lord Lester – he had the experience (that many civil servants have had) of finding out his role and position was in reality quite different from the one he was offered, and of discovering that ministers were not so committed to constitutional change as he’d thought. But I see it through different lenses.

While I agree with a number of Lord Lester’s ideas, I certainly don’t agree with all of them: I think a War Powers Act is unnecessary; I do not share the fashionable view that the Attorney General’s role must be significantly reformed; and I think adopting a written constitution would be a historic blunder…….”
More…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.