Thursday 14 November 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Blair takes big stick to yob culture

New measures to tackle anti social behaviour alongside a
sweeping overhaul of courts and sentencing signals the
government’s attempt to back the prime minister’s
pledge to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”.

The measures, particularly scrapping jury trial for complex
fraud cases and ending the rule preventing people being tried twice
for the same crime, provoked criticism from civil liberties

Labour already brought in measures to tackle anti-social
behaviour such as anti social behaviour orders and child curfew
orders. But so far only 644 ASBOs have been issued since 1999, and
no child curfew orders have been issued.

But Tony Blair insisted on another measure to tackle anti-social
behaviour with a bill to extend the use of fixed penalty notices to
deal with graffiti and low level criminal damage and allow people
other than police to issue them.

The changes to court rules mean juries will be allowed to know a
defendant’s previous convictions where relevant, and judges
will be allowed to sit without juries where there is a risk of jury

Violent and sex offenders will be kept locked up after they have
served a minimum sentence if they remain a risk to the public;
weekend jail will be piloted and there will be a new “custody
minus” sentence, effectively a suspended jail term, and “custody
plus”, which will be a short jail term followed by supervision in
the community.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 November page 13

The speech in brief:

Local Government Bill

The bill will allow best performing authorities greater
financial freedom.

Community Care Bill

Social services will be responsible for relieving pressure on
hospital beds by finding places elsewhere for older people
following operations.

Criminal Justice Bill

It will overhaul sentencing, allow retrial of suspects
previously acquitted of serious offences and allow judge and jury
to hear details of past convictions.

Anti-Social Behaviour Bill

This will aim to tackle low level crime such as graffiti,
fly-tipping and vandalism with fixed penalty notices.

Sexual Offences Bill

The bill will update rape law and make the use of the internet
by paedophiles to contact children an offence.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 November page 13

Plans to cut child benefit for truants

Plans to remove child benefit from parents of truanters have
been dropped quietly and will not feature in the new legislative

The idea from Downing Street has been rejected as

Instead Tony Blair and other minister are backing increased use
of parenting orders to force better behaviour, and on-the-spot
fines for parents who allow their children to skip school.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 November page 14

‘Danger patient’ reforms dropped at last

The department of health’s plans to reform the mental
health service were forced to be delayed following huge opposition
of the measures to lock up people with m,ental health problems
before they have committed an offence.

The government has pledged to deal with dangerous psychopaths
for more than three years, but the expected reforms were not in the
Queen’s speech yesterday.

Mental health professionals expressed relief at the delay for
proposals to forcibly treat or indefinitely detain people with
dangerous personality disorders even if they have not committed an

Just two days ago health minister Jacqui Smith told the Mind
annual conference that the government was determined to push ahead
with the legislation despite opposition.

Source:- The Times Thursday 14 November page 15

Calais refugee deadlock

A stand-off at St Pierre and St Paul church in Calais continued
last night where up to 100 Afghan and Kurdish refugees took
sanctuary four days ago demanding entry to the closed Red Cross
camp at Sangatte.

A voluntary departure deadline elapsed at midday. Riot police
have the church cordoned off.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 14 November page 9

Child porn ‘librarian’ jailed

A man who ran Britain’s largest child pornography library
online, was jailed at the Old Bailey for two years yesterday.

Darren Guest built up an “abhorrent” collection of pre-teen
material with the help of other paedophiles contacted through
internet chat-rooms.

The 20-year-old, who lived with his parents, set up a “carefully
planned and sophisticated” exchange system using advertisements to
invite others to swap their own pictures in return for access to
his collection.

His 2,000 image library had nearly 3,000 visitors in just one
four-day period.

Guest, of Stratford, east London, was unanimously convicted of
32 offences.

He will serve the first part of his sentence in a young
offenders institution before being moved to an adult jail and will
be placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 14 November page 10

Charity staff chat to dead woman then leave

Two charity workers visited a woman at her bedsit, talked to her
and then left without realising she was dead.

The two workers at mental health charity Mind found Patricia
Harris crouching in the kitchen. She did not move or respond to any
questions and when the telephone rang, the workers left to enable
her to answer it.

Two colleagues then visited her the following day and on finding
her in the same position, concluded that she was dead.

Last night the charity said it was “not unusual” for someone in
her condition to be quiet and unresponsive.

Recording an open verdict at the inquest, coroner David
Sarginson said it was “extraordinary” the workers failed to realise
that Harris, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was dead, or
that they did not seek extra assistance immediately.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 14 November page

Scottish newspapers

Residents protest over prostitution tolerance

More than 200 angry residents marched to Leith police station in
Edinburgh last night to protest at what they called the deliberate
“hear no evil, see no evil” attitude of the police towards street

Police have already moved the zone after complaints, to a street
considered more of an industrial area.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 14 November page 9

‘Racist’ college to pay record

The management of a college, which attracts a lot of foreign
students, has been branded ‘racist’ by an employment

Lecturer Dr Mohammed Halim took Moray College in Elgin to a
tribunal after he failed to make a shortlist for two management
jobs. The college was ordered to pay him £14,000.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 14 November page 7

Free at last from the abyss of hell

For the first time in quarter of a century, Robert Brown was
yesterday a free and innocent man after hearing his murder
conviction had been quashed.

Brown, from Glasgow, was convicted of killing factory worker,
Annie Walsh in 1977.

Source:- The Herald Thursday 14 November page 3

Survey highlights Scots wealth gap

Almost half of all Scottish households have no savings or

The findings are revealed in the third annual Scottish household
survey, which paints a worrying picture of a widening social and
economic divide between the country’s haves and

Source:- The Scotsman Thursday 14 November page 8

Welsh newspapers

Father smothered his baby son, QC tells

A south Wales father allegedly murdered his six-month-old son by
smothering him, and was found by a hospital nurse trying to kill
another child in the same way, a court heard.

Prosecution QC Robin Spencer told Cardiff crown court that the
first baby’s death was thought to be unexplained, but that
the baby had in fact suffered serious physical abuse a few weeks
before his death.

A year later a second seven-week-old baby was under observation
in hospital following incidents where he had stopped breathing,
when a nurse discovered his father allegedly trying to smother

The case is proceeding.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 13 November page 1
and 5

MP slams long drug treatment delays

Drug addicts in Gwent in south Wales are waiting far too long to
get onto treatment programmes and lives are being lost as a result
claims Newport West MP Paul Flynn.

He says that the average wait of 11 months for treatment is
“appalling”, but has praised Welsh assembly finance minister Edwina
Hart for increasing the amount of money available to fund drug
rehabilitation programmes.

Source:- South Wales Argus Wednesday 13 November page

Boarding school for tourism’s teen

A 14-year-old-boy “tearaway” who was said to have posed a threat
to the west Wales tourist industry has been sent to a specialist
boarding school in Southampton.

Swansea city council is said to be spending thousands of pounds
for the boy, who forced a family holidaying in the area of the
Gower peninsula to cut short their holiday, to attend the

The family from Sussex said that the teenager had ruined their
holiday, and had become abusive and threatening.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 14 November page 3

Report criticises county

A west Wales council has been the subject of a critical report
into the quality of the social services it provides.

The joint report by the Audit Commission and the Social Services
Inspectorate for Wales, found that Pembrokeshire council spends
less money on social services than any other authority in

The council spends just £190 per head on social services
– £50 less than the Welsh average of £241.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 14 November page 5

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