Thursday, August 28, 2008

Binge-drinking mother jailed after crying rape against devout Muslim taxi driver

A binge-drinking mother has been jailed after falsely accusing an innocent taxi driver of raping her. Joanne Rye, who kept up the lie for 20 months, was told by a judge her behaviour was despicable and was handed an eight-month prison sentence. [The bitch should have got what he would have got]

The mother-of-one caused great shame and disgrace to devout Muslim Sherekhan Kali and his family after claiming that he dragged her down an alleyway and assaulted her. Maidstone Crown Court heard Rye, then 18, was known as a troublemaker and had been banned from using the All Night Car Hire in Dartford, Kent where Mr Kali worked. The court also heard the week before she made the rape allegation, she had used racially insulting language to Mr Kali.

Valeria Swift, prosecuting, said Rye was very drunk and was taken to hospital claiming she had suffered an asthma attack on the night of October 21, 2006. Ms Rye became aggressive and police were called and it was then she made the rape claim, giving a detailed account of the attack. She claimed she was waiting for taxi in Dartford when she was grabbed and a pellet gun was fired into her kneecap. She said her attacker then dragged her into an alley and raped her. But she said there would not be any DNA because he had used a condom. She also told how she had recognised Mr Kali because he had taken her in his taxi a week before.

The part-time cabbie was arrested at his home and taken to the police station where intimate samples, DNA and fingerprints were taken. His boss Nicholas Morris confirmed that Ms Rye had been banned from using the firm's cabs because of racist abuse to drivers. Miss Swift revealed a check of the satellite navigation system in Mr Kali's cab showed he had been nowhere near the area where Rye said she was attacked. CCTV footage of her drunken behaviour on the night she said she had been raped also proved it could not have happened in the way described. The prosecutor said the only motivation for the false allegation was the incident a week earlier when the fare was disputed.

Rye continued to maintain she had been raped up to the first day of her trial in June, accused of perverting the course of justice. Miss Swift said of Mr Kali: 'This case has had a very profound effect on him indeed.' Sarah Morris, defending, said Rye, now 20, would go out and get drunk, smoke cannabis and behave in an anti-social manner. But she had since settled down with a boyfriend and had a child, now aged five months. 'The prospect of a custodial sentence is frightening for her,' said Miss Morris. 'She has put herself in the position where her child will be without the mother. 'Of course, many people would say well, tough, that is your doing. You have brought this on yourself and must face the consequences. 'What she did was thoroughly reprehensible. But it has not been every case where a woman who has cried rape has gone into custody.'

Miss Morris said Rye, who worked in catering for the elderly, knew her boyfriend was not equipped to deal with a young baby. Her mother would have to give up her job to care for the child. But jailing Rye for a 'modest' eight months, Judge Crawford Lindsay, QC, said he had no doubt the matter was so serious there had to be an immediate prison sentence. 'I consider this to be a despicable offence,' he said. 'You made an allegation that this entirely innocent taxi driver had raped you. 'It was fully investigated with the consequences that police time and doctors' time was wasted in the investigation.'

It was not until the first day of her trial in June this year that she 'faced the inevitable' and owned up. 'This is a case where the victim is a strict Muslim, who regularly attends to his beliefs and prays regularly,' said Judge Lindsay. 'At the police station, intimate samples were taken. Having another female touch a part of his body is forbidden. It would bring shame on his family. As a consequence, he left this country for a period.' When he returned to work, Mr Kali was frightened of having women in his cab and would go home. 'So we have a man of blameless character who is subjected to your dishonesty and trumped up allegation,' said the judge.

'It is clear when you are in drink, you are loud-mouthed. You have a young child but that is a matter which does not in my judgment prevent a penalty for an allegation that is easily made and had a serious effect on the victim. 'He suffered the suggestion there is no smoke without fire.'


Senior British doctor accuses Government of destroying NHS

One of Britain's most senior doctors has criticised the Government for leading the NHS into "catastrophic meltdown". Professor Paul Goddard, a former president of the Royal Society of Medicine, said Labour's obsession with bureaucracy and political correctness had resulted in dire care for patients. The radiology specialist also hit out at the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, NICE, claiming the organisation put finances first.

Prof Goddard, 58, said: "If they think a patient will gain an extra year of life, but it will cost more than $40,000 they think it is not cost-effective. Yet if the patient wants to pay for it themselves they are denied NHS treatment. It's an outrage."

The senior doctor, who has quit the NHS, claimed the Government had lost sight of the basic principles of a national health service. "The NHS was built on the foundation of caring for the community. It was designed to help those who needed help, care for those who needed care and treat those who needed treatment. "Those basic principles have been lost as the Government takes us down a dangerous path that can only be a catastrophic meltdown of the system."

But a spokesman for the NHS said record levels of investment had led to dramatic improvements in areas like waiting times. "Ten years ago waits of 18 months were not uncommon, but by the end of this year no-one should wait longer than 18 weeks. None of this would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of everyone working into he NHS."

It comes after a group of 26 professors wrote to a Sunday newspaper claiming NICE had "poorly" assessed a decision to deny patients four kidney cancer drugs. Earlier this month Nice issued guidance rejecting the drugs Sutent, Avastin, Nexavar and Torisel even though trials found the treatments could prolong life in kidney cancer patients by up to two years. Nice said the drugs were too expensive and would mean the health service was less able to afford more cost-effective drugs for other illnesses.

But the professors, who include directors of oncology at Britain's two biggest cancer hospitals, said the latest guidance would force patients to re mortgage their homes, give up pensions and sell cars to fund their own treatment


Education in life skills missing

Two years ago I was driving home from work when I swerved to avoid a low-flying pigeon, veered into a hedge and punctured a tyre. Having pulled over, I jumped out and opened the boot with purpose, all the time trying to ignore the fact that I hadn't a clue how to change a car tyre. There I stood, jack pointlessly in hand, sporting a half-ironed shirt, poorly tied tie and shaving rash. To cap things off, a burly man in a four-wheel drive drove past and shook his head. My manliness wasn't just dented; it was battered with a sledgehammer.

I had no alternative but to call Dad, who came out and rescued me. I was a 24-year-old male damsel in distress. "You're useless," said Dad as he effortlessly manoeuvred my spare tyre into place, and I had to agree.

The experience got me thinking. I realised that it wasn't only practical, traditionally manly things like how to change a tyre (or tie a tie properly, iron my shirt and shave like a pro) that I didn't know how to do. I was clueless about pretty much every skill I perceived to be key to coming of age as a modern man. Sophisticated stuff, such as how to hold a baby, give a speech, speed-date successfully, end a relationship without being a git, or grapple with the idea of regular visits to the sexually-transmitted-diseases clinic.

While girls share magazines with dog-eared problem pages, men are offered the choice of perusing breasts or salivating over gadgetry even NASA doesn't need. Don't get me wrong, I love girls and gadgets, but such magazines don't show you how to put up shelves, let alone help you through a divorce. There's no manual, no instruction leaflet to modern manhood. I wasn't even sure what being a 21st-century man meant. So I decided to make my own manual, in the form of a website called 21st Century Boy.

But before I could start, I needed to find out what state 21st-century man was in. So I questioned my male friends and sent out emails asking people to send me lists of things they'd felt expected to know how to do, but had never been taught.

Times have changed a lot since my dad's generation was in its prime - but quite how much was something I'd never really considered. Dad's role was charted out for him: "Be the main breadwinner and leave the wife to look after the kids. Be strong and silent, with biceps the size of your girlfriend's beehive." Clear-cut. Simple. Then things got confusing. Men started growing their hair long and singing about flowers and San Francisco. Then we had "new men" reasserting their masculinity with phallic-shaped car-phones; ladettes chasing lads; and metrosexuals who moisturised more than their missus. Forty years on from my dad's youth, manhood is more confusing than ever. Despite his dismay at my tyre-changing ineptitude, my dad acknowledged that life was a maze for my generation.

My research began to highlight just some of the advanced life skills that today's young man is expected, but frequently ill-equipped, to navigate. A friend of mine trying to impress a new girl, for example, was doing his best to be neither patronising nor sexist by taking his date to see the horror film Hostel - and was surprised when it failed to work as an aphrodisiac.

Then there was the emailer keen to learn some massage skills for the bedroom, but clueless as to where or how to start. A university friend asked my mum how to fry an egg.

Along the way I discovered we're also meant to know how to hold our baby nephews when our sisters nip to the loo; be our mothers' iTunes, eBay and email advisers; sort out our dads' diets and training regimes because we're scared that if we don't, his ticker won't tick for much longer; be agony uncles to our female friends when their boyfriends dump them; book a restaurant but split the bill whenever we take our girlfriends out, not to mention cook them a gourmet meal every Saturday night; and last but not least, pop into the pub and down a pint in less than 30 seconds.

To help my fellow man via my website, I then had to get the inside track on how to do all this stuff. So I asked all the men in my family to share their old-fashioned man skills, I talked to my mum for the first time about girlfriends, talked to ex-girlfriends about how I could have been a better boyfriend, Googled late into the night and braved a clinic to find out what a sexual health check-up involved.

My uncle told me that shaving with cold water cured razor rash. After studying tie fan sites - yes, tie fan sites - I mastered the vicious "V" of the perfectly tied Windsor knot. I endured speed-dating, swiftly followed by internet dating, swiftly followed by a mini-breakdown after I went on a date with a woman old enough to be my mum.

My brother-in-law taught me that the secret of sturdy shelves is to use the right Rawlplugs.

I've succeeded in making testicular cancer a non-taboo topic, and now know how to control aggression in a relationship (tell your girlfriend when she's hurt you rather than bottling it up), as well as mastering mundane tasks such as ironing a shirt in a hurry (start while it's damp and hang it up while still warm) and cleaning a bathroom properly (it's all about the right tools). Along the way I learnt that, while it's not easy dealing with the things you don't necessarily want to deal with, you become more of a man by doing so.

And I'm pleased to say others have followed in my wake. The response to my two-month-old website has been brilliant. It has more than 70 tried-and-tested life skill tips posted so far. The "how to check for testicular cancer" video has resulted in at least two men finding a lump, and the forum has answered delicate questions on penis size and chat-up lines.

When I started this journey I set out to prove to myself that I could get to grips with a world that was passing me by. I took control of my life and I hope my website will encourage other young men to do the same - or at least change a tyre or two.


Noted British weatherman dismisses global warming

John Kettley is one of the UK's iconic weathermen - he has even featured in a UK pop song which reached number 21 in the UK Singles Chart. Kettley used to work for the Met Office, but he is now famous as BBC Radio 5 Live's "intrepid weatherman", appearing mainly on `Breakfast' between 6 and 9 am. He is also an intrepid Yorkshireman, having been born in Todmorden in West Yorkshire, and, like all Yorkshiremen, he likes to tell it as it is, which is precisely what he has done today with respect to Britain's lousy summer weather [`Awful August has delayed this year's harvest but global warming is not to blame', Daily Mail, August 24]:

"Atrocious weather has seriously delayed the harvest this year ... But this is not a symptom of so-called `global warming'."

And: "These conditions are not unique and are more like the poor August weather Britain saw during the Twenties and Sixties. It is more likely a stark reminder that the warming trend we recorded in the last part of the 20th Century has now stalled."

Finally: "We are not suddenly about to be catapulted towards a Mediterranean climate [idiotic BBC 2 gardening programmes, please note]. We are surrounded by water, with the vast Atlantic Ocean to our west, while the jet stream and gulf stream will forever influence our daily weather and long-term climate."

Common sense at last. Thank goodness for down-to-earth forecasters like John. And thank goodness, too, for the parts of the BBC beyond BBC 1/2 and Radio 4. Like a Yorkshireman, these bits of the Beeb tend to tell it as it is, not as the bien pensant would have it be.

There is thus no cognitive dissonance [see: `Cognitive Dissonance' (August 19) and `More On Cognitive Dissonance' (August 20)] for John Kettley. This summer's dreadful weather, cold and wet, cannot be conveniently forced into the `global warming' cognition simply to ease the dissonance of our more PC media. It's time to call a spade a spade - or even a bloody shovel. It's time to call cooling - er - cooling.

And today? More chill rain in the morning.... It's just like my soggy visits to Torquay as a child. This scene is perfectly recaptured by Eleanor Mills [`The wind, the rain, the child-hating waiters...', The Sunday Times, August 24], as she describes her family's `summer' holiday this year in Dorset and on the British Riviera: "Last week I came back from my two-week summer holiday spent under growling grey skies, sheltering behind a windbreak, where my garment of choice wasn't my new swimming costume but a trusty North Face waterproof. Sunglasses? Pah. A sundress? Are you joking? I wore my thermals." Her five-year old neatly renamed Dorset, `Pour-set'.


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