Judge urges parents to take responsibility

By Maria Ahmed, Mithran Samuel, Derren Hayes and Amy Taylor
Judge urges parents to take responsibility

A Crown Court judge has said that parents must take responsibility for their children’s alcohol-fuelled crimes.

Source:- The Times, Friday 17 August 2007, page 4
Former addict fled open prison to escape the drugs

A recovering addict walked out of an open prison to escape the culture of drug-taking among inmates.

Shaun Melfah, a burglar, saw his 14-month sentence increased by two months for his escape from Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire.

But Recorder Michael Parroy QC attacked prison authorities for failing to tackle the drug culture effectively.

Source:- Daily Mail Friday 17 August 2007 page 33

Doctors ‘diagnose too many people with depression’The current threshold for a diagnosis of clinical depression is too low, with normal emotional states being treated like an illness, an Australian psychiatrist has claimed.

Professor Gordon Parker, writing in the British Medical Journal, said prescribing medication for people who do not really have depression may be ineffective because there is nothing wrong with them.

However, also writing in the journal, Professor Ian Hickie, of Sydney University, said increased levels of treatment had led to demonstrable benefits for people and challenged the idea that depression was diagnosed too often.

Source:- The Daily Telegraph Friday 17 August 2007 page 8

3 months to sack evil priest

A paedophile vicar who was jailed three months ago for sexually abusing boys over a 30-year period was finally sacked from his job at a church in Clevedon, Somerset.

David Smith was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail in May for a string of sexual assaults from 1976 to 2005; however, the Bishop of Bath and Wells said he had not been able to sack Smith until now because “the legal processes take a frustratingly long time”.

Source:- The Sun Friday 17 August 2007 page 5

Courts urged to avoid jail for Asbo breaches

Young people found to have breached their antisocial behaviour orders should not normally be jailed, the government’s sentencing advisory panel has said.

The panel said that the custody threshold for young offenders should be higher than for adults, in the case of Asbo breaches, and jail may not be the appropriate option even when the threshold is breached.

The number of young people jailed for Asbo breaches is seen as a factor in the rise in the use of youth custody in England and Wales.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said there were no plans to chance the sentencing provisions for young offenders.

Source:- The Guardian Friday 17 August 2007 page 4

Asperger’s lad gets 11

A boy with Asperger’s syndrome has become the top-performing student in the country with 11 A-levels – 10 grade As and one B.

Joe Gibbons, 18, added five A-levels to the six he already has, and now plans to study physics at Oxford University.

Source:- The Daily Mirror Friday 17 August 2007 page 9

Scottish news

Council staff vote to strike

Thousands of City of Edinburgh Council workers have voted for a strike against cuts and redundancies, it was announced yesterday.

Almost 8000 members of Unison have voted by over two to one to strike against possible cuts of almost £10 million across children’s and adult social care services.

Unison said unless the union gets assurances that there will be no redundancies and no extra pressures on staff because of cuts, the first strike will be next Thursday.

Source:- The Herald, Friday 17 August

Welsh news 

Concerns over prescription abuse

The first indications that people are abusing Wales’ free prescriptions policy were revealed today.

The Western Mail has learned that people have gone to their doctors to get free prescriptions for tubes of Bonjela and pots of Vaseline on the NHS. Both items can be purchased very cheaply from pharmacies but were given out on free prescription during the first month of the scheme starting.

Source:- Western Mail, Friday, 24 August 2007

Mum stole over £60, 000 from accounts

A mother stole over £60, 000 from accounts of older and dead customers at the building society where she worked a court heard yesterday.

Gillian Nicholls was jailed for 18 months after admitting to four charges of theft and two of false accounting. She stole the money from customers at the Alliance and Leicester Building Society in Wrexham.

Source:- Western Mail, Friday, 24 August 2007

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