What a disgrace: More UK immigration delays for Gurkhas
Brits love the Gurkhas. It is just their horrible Leftist government which sees no virtue in a warrior people
The Gurkha Justice Campaign Team has another fight on its hands after having heard that Gurkhas who retired before 1997 may have to face a further three month delay to find out if they will be able move to the UK. The government is expected to apply to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal for a further three months in which to consider the cases. The visa application is expected to be made on 7 January 2009. The cases were initially expected to be settled by the end of the year, after the High Court ruled that policies used to exclude Gurkhas who retired before 1997 from settling in the UK, were unlawful.
Following the High Court ruling the government has stated, "we have taken the judgment on board and are determined to get the amended guidance right to ensure it is fair to all Gurkhas. This has involved consultation across Government...once we have published the guidance we will review the cases as soon as possible."
The Gurkha Justice Campiagn Team, headed by actress Joanna Lumley, whose father was a Gurkha, has received huge public support for their campaign to allow all Gurkhas the automatic right to a UK visa. They say the extra three months is an `"unacceptable" delay.
Damages win for British couple falsely suspected of abusing their children
A couple whose three children spent two years in care because social workers wrongly believed that they were at risk of abuse have been awarded a "six-figure" sum in compensation. Tim and Gina Williams's son and two daughters were taken from them and placed with separate foster families. The couple, from Newport, South Wales, received an undisclosed sum yesterday in an agreed settlement at the High Court in Cardiff and were given a full written apology from Newport City Council.
The court was told that there had never been any evidence that the children, now aged 14, 11 and 9, had been abused. As a result of the social workers' actions, the Williams missed their children's birthdays, Christmases and their first days in new schools. A judge completely exonerated them at the High Court in October 2006 and the children were returned to them.
The couple, who waived their right to anonymity, began a compensation claim against Newport City Council and Royal Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust soon after. Robin Tolson, QC, for the couple, said: "This settlement brings closure, at least of a kind, for Tim and Gina Williams and their children. The effect of what happened will continue to be felt for a long time but at least this now marks the end of four years spent fighting for their children and their rights before the court." Mr Williams, 39, and two of his children sat at the back of the court during the brief hearing.
In August 2004 Mr Williams called the police after finding his youngest daughter naked from the waist down with an 11-year-old friend. The girl was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up and the doctor who carried out the examination claimed to have found evidence of longstanding abuse but by an adult, not an 11-year-old.
Mr Williams and his wife were told that they were under suspicion and the children were taken into care. A second doctor confirmed the evidence of abuse and the couple were restricted to supervised weekly visits to their children. There were exonerated after a US expert in child abuse examined the evidence and disputed the claims by the British doctors, who subsequently accepted that they had been mistaken. The council conceded that the children should never have been taken from their parents on the basis of the evidence.
Giving his judgment, Judge Crispin Masterman said that the children's names were never put on the child protection register and it was simply decided to remove them from the family home. He said that the criticisms were coupled with an acknowledgment that all professionals involved were acting for the good of the children. "It is undoubtedly true that social services departments have in recent years operated with inadequate resources and under immense stress and run the risk of attracting equal criticism whether they remove a child or whether they do not."
A Newport council representative said: "A settlement has now been reached which will support the children's future. The wellbeing of the children has remained paramount throughout this case. While the local authority has offered sincere apologies to the family, our priority was always the safety of the children. The court concluded that the council acted in good faith given the strength of the medical evidence presented. "The council, together with other members of Newport safeguarding children board, has embraced the recommendations of the multi-agency review." Under the terms of the settlement, the family are banned from talking about it.
British social workers ignore REAL abuse victims
Picking on harmless middle class families is so much easier and much more Marxist
Jake Pierce was beaten almost daily as a child. His parents left him naked outside for hours at a time and attacked him with cutlery, favoured by his mother for scratching his eyes. He was not allowed to mix with other children and was warned that, if he told people of the abuse, he "would be killed". Mr Pierce's testimony in his case against Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council included details of how, when only six months old, he was admitted to hospital for "failure to thrive". Although a doctor advised that he should go into foster care, he was sent home after only a short stint.
Burns to his buttocks and feet were detected when an aunt took him to hospital when he was aged 3, but again the warnings were not heeded. Mr Pierce's evidence, given last year at the High Court, culminated with his decision to run away from home at the age of 14, the night that his father pushed him against the wall and held a knife to his throat. He spent months on the streets before being tracked down and taken into care.
Mr Pierce was awarded 25,000 pounds over the failings of social workers and this month saw off the council's challenge in the Court of Appeal. His victory will have profound implications for dozens of local authorities across the country that now face a welter of compensation claims. Mr Pierce's test case was backed with legal aid from the Legal Services Commission as part of its policy of pursuing cases that will clarify the developing area of law on negligence.
David Keegan, director of high-cost cases at the commission, said that the ruling would have "great implications not only for Mr Pierce but for many others who have suffered as a result of their local authority's negligent failure to exercise their child-protection duties". He said that the commission had funded this, and would fund similar cases, as a development of its policy stemming back to a House of Lords ruling in 2004, which established that local authorities had a common-law duty to children in their care.
A further important development came in January this year, in the so-called Lotto rapist case, when law lords swept away the current bar on historic claims for sexual assault. Until then, child abuse victims could not bring a claim more than six years after reaching 18. This month's decision in Mr Pierce's case establishes the liability of councils if they fail to act and take children away from abusive parents.
Chris Gore, the commission's senior case manager, said that theoretically the potential number of cases was "vast" and every set of care proceedings where there was delay "could give rise to one of these claims". But there would be a filter because the commission had to prioritise: it would back cases that would be "economically viable and legally strong enough". He added: "We are interested in test cases like that of Mr Pierce which sharpen focus on the law."
He said that in a significant proportion of the 200 to 300 cases, a local authority's failings resulted in years of delay rather than the immediate seeking of a court order or other steps. As a result, children will have suffered anything from neglect to verbal or physical abuse.
Many cases may now settle in the wake of the Court of Appeal ruling, with likely compensation in the region of 50,000 to 100,000 pounds for serious abuse where there was a clear breach of duty by the council concerned. But many will be much lower - nearer to 15,000.
A second test case, which has been brought against a local authority over abuse, is being backed by the commission in the Court of Appeal. Judgment is due next month. This involves an adult disabled couple, known only as X and Y, who have won - subject to the appeal - 100,000 in damages. The High Court ruled in May that councils have a duty to protect vulnerable adults, as well as vulnerable children, and found their local authority negligent. The couple, who were living in unsuitable council housing with their two young children, suffered prolonged harassment culminating in a weekend of sexual abuse, assault and imprisonment in their own home.
British extremists face long jail sentences after blackmail conviction
Four animal rights extremists involved in a six-year hate campaign against people and companies linked to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) each face up to 14 years in jail after being convicted of conspiracy to blackmail. The two men and two women were found guilty yesterday of orchestrating the campaign designed to shut down HLS, one of the world's largest contract research companies.
The convictions follow a two-year, 3.5 million pound police investigation into Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an international campaign against the company, which has an animal testing laboratory in Cambridgeshire. The campaign was funded in large part by public donations collected on the high streets. Two founding members, Gregg Avery, 41, and his wife Natasha, 39, along with fellow activist Daniel Amos, 22, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to blackmail. Prosecutors believe that among these members of SHAC's hierarchy were some of the key figures in the Animal Liberation Front, the movement that acts as an umbrella for much animal rights extremism worldwide.
Yesterday, after a three-month trial at Winchester Crown Court, Heather Nicholson, 41, Avery's former wife and fellow SHAC founder, was found guilty of the same offence, as were three further conspirators, Daniel Wadham, 21, Gerrah Selby, 20, and Gavin Medd-Hall, 45. All will be sentenced next month. An eighth defendant, Trevor Holmes, 51, from Newcastle, was acquitted.
HLS, which tests pharmaceutical and other products for clients around the globe, became a focal point for anti-vivisection campaigners partly because of the scale of its operation. SHAC's victims, who worked for companies that did business directly or indirectly with HLS, received threatening letters, hoax bombs and sanitary towels allegedly contaminated with the HIV virus, while their neighbours were sent anonymous letters warning them that they lived near a paedophile.
The managing director of one targeted company received a letter in December 2006 that threatened: "We will attack your property, your family or you, whichever we see fit. . . The screams of the animals are in our heads. We will not fail them. You will pay for their agony." Nocturnal "home visits" from extremists left cars covered in acid, menacing messages painted on houses and ALF slogans daubed on nearby roads. Victims were targeted after they were listed as "collaborators" on SHAC's website, a process that involved detailed research and was co-ordinated by the Averys and their fellow conspirators, who knew what the likely result of that listing would be.
Michael Bowes, QC, for the prosecution, said that although the darker part of the campaign was labelled ALF, the attacks that followed a victim's appearance on the SHAC website were "all part and parcel of the conspiracy". SHAC still lists "targets" on its website, although it claims to engage only in legal activity. A spokeswoman told The Times: "We have absolutely no control over what happens to that information."
Operation Achilles, a two-year investigation that included bugging SHAC's Hampshire headquarters, culminated in the arrests of 32 people in a series of raids involving 700 police officers across Britain and in Belgium and the Netherlands in May last year. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Robbins, of Kent Police, who led the operation, said: "The public should be aware that money donated in good faith to SHAC was in fact being used to finance this criminal conduct."
Teenage thief who stole $50,000 of lead from a British cathedral is ordered to repay only $2
A teenage thief who stole 25,000 pounds worth of lead from a cathedral has been ordered to pay back just one pound. Mark Knight, 19, spent hours ripping lead from the roof of St Nicholas Church, part of Rochester Cathedral, built in 604AD. He took it to a scrap metal dealer and, unaware of how much the metal was worth, accepted just 90 for it. Knight, who is unemployed, was jailed for two years earlier this year after admitting burglary, theft, criminal damage and 28 other offences. But on December 19, he appeared before Maidstone Crown Court for a confiscation hearing.
The court heard how Knight sold the lead to Medway Metals in his hometown of Strood, with 'no questions asked'. Trevor Wright, defending, said his client was homeless and had never received any money from the state. Judge James O'Mahony said that the court was obliged to put a figure on the confiscation, before settling on the sum of 1 pound. Mr Wright said that Knight would struggle to even pay back this amount, as he had no money to his name at all. He told the court: 'This man has never had a job - he was thrown out of his home when he was 16 and has never received any benefits. He doesn't even have 1 pound.'
A church worker, who did not want to be named, said: 'The simple fact is that it will cost us a fortune to replace the lead and for this thief to be told to pay back just 1 pound is an insult to everyone.' He added: 'We all know that he will never be able to pay back the full amount, but the message this sends out is not the right one.'
A spokesman for Medway Metals confirmed it had 'paid a sum of money' to Knight. He said: 'All we are legally obliged to ask when someone approaches us with scrap is their name, address and vehicle registration number, if they have one. We don't ask them where they got it.' They should be charged with stealing stolen goods