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Showing posts from April, 2007

Sadistic' foster mother jailed

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From BBC News:
“A woman who punished three children in her care by ramming sticks down their throats and making them eat their own vomit has been jailed for 14 years. Eunice Spry, 62, from Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, was convicted at Bristol Crown Court last month, of 26 charges of abuse spanning 19 years. The prosecution said Spry's behaviour was "horrifying" and "sadistic". Spry had denied all the charges, which related to offences in Gloucestershire between 1986 and 2005. Spry, who was the legal parent of the three children, was arrested when police raided her home in February 2005.

She was found guilty of a range of charges from unlawful wounding, cruelty to a person under 16, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation. Judge Simon Darwall-Smith told Spry that this was the worst case he had come across in 40 years in law. He told her: "Frankly, it's difficult for anyone to understand how …

A balancing act - conflicting human rights

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This one has made the headlines big-time. The facts are straightforward: Natallie Evans, before undergoing treatment for cancer, underwent IVF treatment using sperm from her then partner, Mr Johnston. Six embryos were frozen, with both the couple’s permission with a view to later starting a family together. As a result of the cancer treatment, Evans was left infertile.
However, Evans and Johnston then split up. Essentially, Mr Johnston withdrew his consent for the embryos to be implanted. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 states that unless both parties consent to storage and use, the embryos must be destroyed. Further, there is a 5 year period of ‘contemplation’ after which a decision must be made as to what should be done with the embryos: implantation or destruction. The UK is by no means the only E.U. country to allow embryos to be frozen while permitting both the potential mother and father to withdraw consent right up to implantation. However, there is no Europe…

British Super-geek loses extradition appeal – the truth is out there ….. somewhere

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Gary McKinnon, the bumbling UK hacker, has lost his appeal against being extradited to the US to stand trial. McKinnon stands accused of hacking into dozens of US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense computers during February 2001 and March 2002. It is also alleged that he infiltrated 16 NASA computers. He is reputed to have caused 700, 000 dollars worth of damage and modified and deleted files at a US Naval Air Station making around 300 computers inoperable. Crucially, the timing of McKinnon's hacking coincided with the furore and heightened sense of vulnerability in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The U.S alleges that his objective was to access classified information, and his motive, "intentional and calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion". McKinnon, however, considers himself no havoc-wreaker – just a bumbling computer nerd. His main objective, he claims, was to access information he believed the U.…

Imprecise xenophobia still racial abuse

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From: R v Rogers (Appellant) (On Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)) [2007]UKHL 8 A man (Rogers) who was found guilty of racially aggravated abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intent to cause fear or provoke violence has had his conviction upheld.Mr Rogers, shouted insults at 3 Spanish women which included the term “bloody foreigners”. The case hinged on whether these words constituted the racially aggravated form of using abusive words and behaviour with intent to cause fear or provoke violence, contrary to s31(1)(a) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998? Rogers’ appeal centered on the premise that "foreigners" is not a group of people identifiable as a race and therefore were not racially insultable. It was argued that the hostility must be shown towards a particular group, rather than to foreigners as a whole. Mere xenophobia, it is said, does not fall within the ordinary person's perception of hostility to a racial group. BARONESS HALE: &q…