Don’t jail addicts who shoplift, says chief judge
Drug addicts who commit non-violent offences should receive treatment in the community, rather than short prison terms, England’s most senior judge Lord Phillips, Lord Chief Justice, said yesterday.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 14 December 2005, page 4

Families facing Christmas debt
Christmas spending could be catastrophic for more than six million families already struggling to meet debt repayments, the Legal Services Commission said. It is launching a debt awareness campaign.
Source:- The Independent, Wednesday 14 December 2005, page 11

Mother of baby abandoned on housing estate is found
The mother of an abandoned new-born baby has been found. Social services in Derbyshire are making plans about the future of the child.
Source:- The Independent, Wednesday 14 December 2005, page 11

Parents of girl left disabled win court ruling over doctor
The parents of a baby girl who died and another who suffered brain damage during a medical trial designed by paediatrician David Southall have won  a crucial legal ruling in their attempts to have him struck off. The court of appeal said yesterday that the General Medical Council must again look into their complaints.
Source:- Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 14 December 2005, page 7

Blair set to concede controls on school selection
Tony Blair is prepared to make concessions on the education white paper’s plans to give schools control over their admissions policies, in the face of critics from his own benches.
A group of about 50 backbenchers, including many traditional government loyalists, backed alternative proposals to make the admissions code of practice statutory, to stop schools using their admissions powers against disadvantaged children.
Source:- Financial Times, Wednesday December 14, page 2

Cocaine use linked to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
Cocaine abuse could increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by making the brain more susceptible to toxins in the environment, researchers said yesterday, following tests on lab mice.
Source:- The Guardian, Wednesday December 14, page 10

Pensioners’ council tax may be capped to end protests by elderly
The government is considering putting a cap on older people’s council tax to curb protests and non-payment by pensioners as a result of rising bills.
The news comes ahead of a report tomorrow warning of significant public ignorance about the way local government is funded and the services it provides, from former Birmingham Council chief executive Sir Michael Lyons.
Source:- The Guardian, Wednesday December 14, page 11

Mother lost a child on the evidence of a disgraced doctor and could lose a second
A couple whose daughter was put up for adoption on the evidence of a disgraced doctor face a further fight to stop another child being taken from them.
Karen and Mark Hayne’s first baby boy died from a mysterious illness aged four months old and Professor Roy Meadow, who has since been discredited, accused the mother of suffocating her child. As a result, her second child was taken into care when she was 20 minutes old. Although Haynes was exonerated the child was put up for adoption.
The couple’s third child was taken into care soon after her birth last July and they are fighting to have her returned before she is given to new parents.
Source:- Daily Mail, Wednesday 14 December, page 11

Asylum system “out of control”
The asylum system is out of control, according to public watchdog Ann Barker.
She said incalculable amounts of money is being used to fund complaints from would-be refugees and immigration staff were being taken from frontline duties to deal with complaints.
Source:- Daily Mail, Wednesday 14 December, page 17

Scottish news

Childhood death rates down nearly 50%
Improved diet, sanitation and healthcare have contributed towards a significant fall in childhood deaths. Death rates in children under 15 fell from 9.9 per 10,000 population in 1984 to 4.5 in 2004.
In Scotland’s least deprived areas, there were three deaths per 10,000 of the population, compared with seven deaths in the most deprived areas.
Source:- The Scotsman, Wednesday 14 December

Welsh news

GP murder trial still out
The jury in the trial of a GP accused of murdering three patients will resume trying to reach a decision today.
Howard Martin, 71, of Gwynedd, North Wales, who has since retired, denies murdering Frank Moss, 59, Stanley Weldon, 74 and Harry Gittins who was the same age.
It is the jurors’ second day of deliberations.
Source:- icWales, Wednesday 14 December

Assembly launches parenting plan
The Welsh Assembly launched a range of parenting advice today immediately leading to accusations that they are trying to create a nanny-state from opposition AMs.
The booklets cover issues such as how to deal with bad behaviour and how to manage everyday situations such as putting children to bed.
A free helpline for parents of problematic children is also set to created.
Source:- Western Mail, Wednesday 14 December

Failures over youth who killed
Police and social workers have been highly criticised in a new report on a Welsh teenager who murdered his neighbour.
The report, carried out by the Social Work Inspection Agency, states that there were “considerable shortcomings” in the way Colyn Evans’ case was handled.
Evans, 18, killed Karen Dewar, 16, in Tayport, Scotland, earlier this year.
Source:- Western Mail,  Wednesday 14 December

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