News Archive

20th March, 2015

In September 2014 reports were made to the Metropolitan Police that children in North London were being sexually abused by a satanic cult. It was suggested that dead babies were being brought into the UK by couriers from all over the world.

A number of schools in North London were mentioned as was a McDonalds restaurant where it was said that the boss of the cult would make child sacrifices. Ricky Dearman was said to be the leader of this cult and a head teacher, local priest and police officers and CAFCASS officers were named as abusing children.

Today Mrs Justice Pauffley found that none of the allegations were true and entirely fabricated by Ella Draper, mother to two children who were said to have beeen abused. The man she accused of being the leader of the cult, Ricky Dearman was their father. The children were forced by their mother and her new partner to take part in filmed phone recordings in which they relayed a series of fabricated satanic practices.

The Judge found that the level of emotional and psychological harm done to the children was “incalculable”. The London Borough of Barnet has commenced care proceedings in relation to the children aged eight and nine.

1st March, 2015

I normally spend my Saturdays preparing cases, so when I was asked by the Mirror to write a tongue in cheek article on the film “Fifty Shades of Grey” it made a welcome change.

Read it here

5th January, 2015

The furore about whether Ched Evans should be allowed to resume his professional football career continues to rage.

Ched Evans was a Wales and Sheffield United striker when he was convicted of rape in April 2012 and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. He was released from prison in October last year having served one half of his sentence and has since sought to find a football club willing to sign him. Evans and his lifelong friend Clayton McDonald were accused of raping the nineteen-year old woman on 29th May 2011 at the Premier Inn hotel in Rhuddlan.

Mr. McDonald had taken the young woman who was very intoxicated back to the hotel and sent Evans a text in the early hours to say that he had “got a bird.” Evans went to the hotel with his brother and another friend. While Evans persuaded the night porter to give him a key to McDonald’s room the others remained outside. Evans discovered McDonald having sex with the young woman and then “got involved” while his brother and friend tried to video them through the window. Evans and McDonald left the woman who woke the next morning with no recollection of how she had got to the hotel.

Both McDonald and Evans maintained that sex with the young woman had been consensual. The jury acquitted Mr. McDonald but unanimously convicted Evans. Evans unsuccessfully appealed both his conviction and sentence.

Since his release Evans has maintained his innocence and remained unrepentant. His former club Sheffield United initially offered him the opportunity to train with them but retracted that after a public backlash. Since then Maltese side Hibernian indicated their willingness to sign him but the Ministry of Justice ruled this out on the basis that the strict notification and registration conditions on registered sex offenders effectively ruling out him working abroad.

It was anticipated that Oldham Athletic would sign Evans on Monday but following an online petition signed by more than 21,000 people opposing the move, the club now say they are in a very difficult situation. With even Ed Miliband weighing into the debate saying, “he hasn’t shown any remorse and I wouldn’t take him on”; it seems that the media interest in the story will continue.

3rd September, 2014

The media has been filled with reports of the case of Ayesha King. Last week his parents took him out of Southampton General Hospital where he had been patient.

Ayesha has a terminal brain tumour and it is now known that his parents had taken him out of the country in an attempt to secure Proton beam treatment for him, which although funded by the NHS is not yet available in the UK. Despite this on Saturday Hampshire Police issued a European Arrest warrant for the Kings on the basis of “neglect”.

The Kings were arrested in Malaga and separated from Ayesha who was taken to the local hospital. They were then held in custody and denied contact with their son.

Yesterday in Wardship proceedings at Royal Courts of Justice before Mr. Justice Baker the Crown Prosecution Service indicated that they wished to withdraw the arrest warrants. Andy Marsh, Chief Constable of Hampshire Police said “It is my view….that the situation today is not right.”

Today the Kings have been released from custody and reunited with Ayesha. It is anticipated that the family will now travel to Prague to start Proton beam therapy.

24th August, 2014

In May 2013 an RSPCA inspector took 16 year old Claude from the Byrne family claiming he had matted fur and was thin. His owners maintained that he had an aversion to being combed and had tried for years to keep his coat under control. Previously Claude had to be anaesthetized by the vet in order to have his coat clipped.
When the RSPCA took Claude the Brynes refused to sign the release form and within 24 hours the RSPCA had put him to sleep, denying the family time to say goodbye to him.
The RSPCA then prosecuted the couple for animal cruelty but earlier this month the Crown Prosecution Service quashed the case on the basis that there were insufficient grounds to prosecute the couple.
Despite this the RSPCA will not be footing the bill for the Brynes’ legal costs of £5000 that will instead be paid out of central (taxpayer) funds.

29th July, 2014

Newly appointed Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has decided that he will not refer the sentence on the grounds that it was unduly lenient.
Rolf Harris was sentenced to 5 years 9 months for 12 counts of indecent assault between 1968 and 1986.
Sections 35 and 36 of the Criminal Justice Act permits the Attorney General to refer such a case to the Court of Appeal which then has the power to quash that sentence and impose what sentence they consider appropriate.
Judges sentencing for historic sexual offences are bound by the maximum sentence that could be imposed at the time of the offence but also take into the sentencing regime at the date of sentence. In Rolf Harris' case consecutive sentences were imposed but the sentencing judge had to take into account the overall sentence or totality of sentence bearing in mind Harris' age.

26th June, 2014

Slater & Gordon have issued proceedings in the High Court on behalf of eight thalidomide victims whose mothers took the anti-morning sickness drug in the 1950s and 1960s.
The claim has been made against Grunenthal and Diageo that now owns the UK distributor of the drug, Distillers Co (Bio-chemicals). It is thought that some of the claimants were refused compensation by Distillers Co in 1973.
Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant mothers between 1958 and 1961 and was hailed as a wonder drug. It caused babies to be born with limb defects and damaged internal organs. Nearly half of all victims died before their first birthday.
Grunenthal the German makers of the drug apologised for the first time in 2012.

2nd May, 2014

Alex Cameron QC, brother of David, has successfully argued that eight men accused of a £4.5 million pound land bank fraud are unable to have a fair trial due to the lack of suitably qualified barristers to represent them. Barristers have refused to take very high cost cases (VHCC) since last year when the Government cut fees for them by 30%. Alex Cameron QC acted pro bono whilst the Crown was represented by two QC’s and two junior counsel.

14th April 2014

Nigel Evans MP is calling for the CPS to repay his legal fees following his acquittal of sexual offences last week. It is unclear whether the MP was entitled to legal aid but he chose to fund his defence privately at a cost of £130,000.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 ( LASPO ) which applies to criminal prosecutions brought after 1st October 2012 abolished the right of acquitted defendants to have their defence costs reimbursed from central funds. In a karmic twist of fate it was Nigel Evans as deputy speaker who chaired the debate on the abolition of defence costs orders.

From 27th January 2014 persons with a gross disposal household income of more than £37,500 will not be entitled to legal aid when facing Crown Court proceedings. LASPO will not only affect MPs and celebrities but Joe Public too.