Thursday 13 March 2003

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

£100 on the spot fines to fight yob

Council officers and private security guards are among those to
be given special powers to issue penalty fines of up to £100
under legislation to curb anti-social behaviour announced

Local “community justice” mini courts will enforce the new
powers for police and local authorities to deal with anti social
neighbours, graffiti, truanting and to curb “yob culture”.

The measures are contained in the government’s white paper
‘Respect and Responsibility Taking a Stand Against
Anti-social Behaviour’ announced yesterday by David

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 13 March page 11

Fast track truancy court fails to bring parents to

A new quick system to deal with parents who allow their children
to play truant faced further setbacks yesterday when three out of
five cases were not dealt with.

Education chiefs at Essex admitted last month that they were
disappointed when only four out of eight families representing 10
children turned up at Grays magistrates court and every case was

The court prepared to hear five cases yesterday, but one father
telephoned to say he had the wrong date and two other cases were

The first of two parents successfully prosecuted under the
scheme said she was happy to escape a fine. The 39-year-old mother
was told to “try a lot harder” to get her two daughters to attend
school, and was given a two-year conditional discharge.

A 43-year-old mother was also given a six-month conditional

Both were ordered to pay £80 costs.

Source:- The Times Thursday 13 March page 4

Choirboy ‘abuse’

A choirmaster at a top Roman Catholic boys school abused a pupil
for four years, Blackfriars crown court was told yesterday.

Denis Cochrane denies assaulting the boy from the age of 12
after giving him gifts and alcohol.

Source:- The Times Thursday 13 March page 4

Lottery fund gives £800,000 more to refugee

The lottery fund that sparked controversy last year by giving
money to groups supporting asylum seekers has defied its critics
further by awarding a further £800,000 to organisations
working in the same field.

The Community Fund, soon to be merged with another lottery body,
said yesterday that it was awarding £200,000 to Asylum Aid and
£328,620 to the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of
Torture. The fund’s eastern region has given a further
£290,000 to a project helping refugees in Norfolk.

The fund’s chairperson Lady Diana Brittan said the grants
fell within the fund’s criteria of helping the most
disadvantaged people in society.

The move follows controversy last year when the fund announced
it would be giving £340,000 to the National Coalition of Anti
Deportation Campaigns.

Source:- The Times Thursday 13 March page 11

Met arrests 43 in net child porn swoop

Forty three people were arrested by police in London yesterday
as part of a worldwide investigation into internet child

Scotland Yard confirmed 350 officers carried out raids on 50
addresses across the capital, and officers seized a large amount of
computer equipment.

A spokesperson said the 43 had been arrested on suspicion of
downloading and distributing images of children via the

Some arrests were linked to Operation Ore, one of the largest
investigations into child pornography ever carried out in the

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 13 March page 7

Mother faces jail over truant son

A 46-year-old woman was told yesterday she faces jail for
failing to send her son to school.

Pauline Wheaton of Cambridge admitted the charge before
Peterborough magistrates court.

Source:- The Guardian Thursday 13 March page 8

Ministers hold out lifeline to special

A strong statement of support from the government means special
schools threatened with closure may be reprieved.

Many of the proposed closures throughout the country are due to
a misunderstanding of the government’s inclusion agenda,
according to Lady Ashton, the education minister with
responsibility for special needs.

“I am very worried that somehow people believe the
government’s agenda is to close special schools when it
absolutely isn’t,” she said.

“I absolutely believe there is a very important role for special
schools which should be included in overall education provision
rather than left to do their work in isolation,” she said.

She was speaking in advance of today’s publication of the
report of the working party she set up to advise the government on
the future of schools that cater exclusively for children with
special needs.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 March page 6

Boy sent to Downside by TV show faces

The inner city schoolboy offered a fresh start in life by
Downside School near Bath faced expulsion yesterday for allegedly
stealing a mobile phone.

Ryan Bell, aged 16, who was sent to the £15,000-a-year
independent school by a television company making a documentary
about him, has been suspended with another pupil for taking the
phone from a boy’s room.

The school’s headmaster Dom Antony Sutch said he could not
rule out expulsion.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 March page 10

Study casts doubt on ‘shaken baby

Injuries to a baby’s brain, which some medical experts
claim could only be caused by deliberate violent shaking by a
parent, might have an innocent explanation, according to

The findings cast doubt on the validity of shaken baby syndrome,
which has become widely accepted in Britain and the United States
as proof of child abuse.

The new research suggests dural and retinal bleeding could be
“secondary” to the brain swelling as a result of being starved of
blood or oxygen resulting from other non-traumatic conditions such
as infections, asphyxia, metabolic conditions or choking.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Thursday 13 March page 13

Scottish newspapers

Probe as killer dad is jailed

A senior lawyer will investigate the death of a baby who was on
the child protection register when his father killed him.

Caleb Ness, who was 11 weeks-old, was on the ‘at
risk’ register of Edinburgh and Lothians child protection
committee because his father, Alexander Ness, had a history of
violence and his mother, Shirley Malcolm, was a drug addict.

After yesterday’s verdict when Ness was sentenced to 11
years, Edinburgh council announced that Susan O’ Brien QC
would chair the review.

Source:- Scottish Daily Express Thursday 13 March page

Woman injured baby girl

A frustrated woman seriously injured a baby girl because the
child would not go to sleep.

Ann Mortimer, from Banff, Aberdeenshire, admitted shaking the
10-week-old youngster after she kept her awake.

The high court in Aberdeen heard the assault left the baby with
eyesight and hearing problems requiring specialist treatment.

Sentence was deferred until 23 April.

Source:- Scottish Daily Express Thursday 13 March page

OAP killed by mental patient

A psychiatric patient killed a 93-year-old retired solicitor,
just yards from his home.

Roy Mackay punched his victim, George Williamson, and threw him
to the ground. He died in hospital a week later.

Mackay was charged with murder last year, but yesterday, at the
high court in Edinburgh, his guilty plea to a reduced charge of
culpable homicide was accepted.

Three days after the attack, Mackay handed himself into the
Royal Edinburgh psychiatric hospital. He is now being held in
Carstairs state hospital while his condition is assessed.

Source:- Scottish Daily Express Thursday 13 March page

Welsh newspapers

Vicar tells of abuse

A vicar yesterday told a court how he was ‘groomed’
by a senior priest who sexually abused him as a boy.

The vicar said that Canon Lawrence Davies of Cardiff had forced
him to commit sex acts in the vicarage, and that he had been only
12-years-old when the alleged abuse began.

Davies is charged with eight indecent assaults and five serious
sexual assaults and with committing an act intending to pervert the
course of justice.

The trial continues.

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 13 March page 8

Tenant discount cut by £8,000

Council house tenants may have to pay more to buy their homes
after it was announced yesterday that the maximum discount is to be

Tenants can currently get a discount of up to £24,000 when
buying their homes, but from April 2 that will be cut to only

More than 110,000 people in Wales have been taken advantage of
the right to buy scheme. Welsh assembly finance minister Edwina
Hart announcing the change, said that she was aware that there were
concerns over affordable housing in the principality, but that
there had also been a reduction in the number of homes available to

Source:- Western Mail Thursday 13 March page 9

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