Covid 19: The pandemic continues with hospital admissions standing at 15,591 in the period 1 January 2022 to 8 January 2022. Data for 12 January showed a welcome fall in the number of positive tests but deaths within 28 days of a positive test had increased – 1724 in the period 5 to 12 January. 83.1% of the UK population aged 12 and over had received two doses of vaccine. 62.5% had received the 3rd (booster) dose which continues to be strongly recommended by the medical profession and the government.
On 13 January
it was reported that Sir Jonathan Van-Tam is leaving his post as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England.
Freedom to protest:
I have written before about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which the government is seeking to further amend albeit at a late stage in the parliamentary process – Law and Lawyers: Limiting freedom to protest – late-in-the-day government amendments to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (obiterj.blogspot.com)
It is good that some media commentators are now recognising the impact of this Bill on freedom to protest. To do so without breaching the criminal law will become almost an impossibility.
The Guardian 13 January – How the Police and Crime Bill limit the right to protest
George Monbiot, also in The Guardian, has commented about the “authoritarianism” in the Bill. He wrote –
“At last, we are waking up to the astonishingly oppressive measures in the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, intended to criminalise effective protest. At last, there has been some coverage in the media, though still far too little. The Labour party is finally feeling some heat, and may find itself obliged to stop appeasing the Daily Mail and vote against the government’s brutal amendments in the House of Lords next week.
But as we focus on this threat, we’re in danger of forgetting something else buried in this monstrous bill. It’s the provision that turns trespass from a civil into a criminal offence, allowing the police to arrest people who are Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT) and confiscate their homes, if they stop in places that have not been designated for them. Under the proposed law, any adult member of the group can be imprisoned for up to three months. Given that authorised sites and stopping places cannot accommodate the GRT people who need them, this is a deliberate attack on a vulnerable minority.”
It is now almost 7 years since, as part of its 11th programme of law reform, the Law Commission reported on the 1861 Act and recommended replacement of the “outdated” 1861 Act. One might have thought that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was an opportunity to action this recommendation but the Law Commission’s report will continue to gather dust !
A good book:
I have no hesitation in recommending Nazir Afzal’s book “The Prosecutor (One Man’s pursuit of Justice for the Voiceless)”. My copy had rested in my study for some time but it proved to be a superb account of Mr Afzal’s efforts – as a Crown Prosecutor – to bring to justice offenders who had committed truly heinous crimes – e.g. the Rochdale sex offenders, honour killins and modern slavery.
Chapter VII tells the story of Gurda Dhaliwal, a 45 year old mother of two who ended her life by hanging in a shed in Southall, West London back in February 2005. This led to the case of –
D, R v  EWCA Crim 1139 (16 May 2006) (bailii.org) – where the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) held that psychological injury, not amounting to recognisable psychiatric illness, did NOT come within the ambit of bodily harm for the purposes of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Giuffre v HRH Prince Andrew:
This action has been reported by some media outlets as “stripping” Andrew of his some of his roles even though it is clear from the announcement that the Queen proceeded by agreement. Strictly speaking he remains “His Royal Highness” and Duke of York. He is also 9th in the line of succession to the throne.
Criminal legal aid:
An Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid reported in November 2021 – Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). A government response is expected by the end of March 2022.
The reaction of the Bar Council notes – “The report contains a comprehensive analysis of the underfunding of the criminal justice system over decades and its dire consequences, not just for lawyers, but for defendants, victims of crime and witnesses. The conclusion could not be clearer; urgent additional funding is needed if the entire system is not to face collapse with the profound societal problems and loss of confidence in the justice system that this would cause.”
Manchester City FC:
A number of claimants sought compensation from Manchester City Football Club Ltd for sexual abuse perpetrated by Barry Bennell in the early 1980s when they were aged between 10 and 14 and playing for football teams coached by Bennell. They claimed that Bennell was working for the defendant football club and that the club was liable for his conduct.
The claims failed because it was held to be inequitable to extend the limitation period. Further, the judge held that vicarious liability could not be established to make the Club liable for the actions of Bennell.
The full judgment is a lengthy 572 paragraphs and is at TVZ and others v Manchester City Football Club Ltd  EWHC 7 (QB) – Mr Justice Johnson.
UK Supreme Court:
11 January to 13 April is the Hilary Law Term/ The Supreme Court has published the list of cases for the term – Judicial Sittings Hilary Term 2022 – The Supreme Court.
The justices allocated to each case are mostly the full-time Justices of the Supreme Court but, in two cases, judges from the judiciary of Northern Ireland will sit. In R v Maugham, Sir Declan Morgan will be the 5th member of the court and in R (Coughlan) v Minister for the Cabinet Office, Dame Siobhan Keegan will be the 5th member. Sir Declan was Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland from 2009 until his retirement in 2021. Lady Chief Justice Keegan replaced Sir Declan and is the first female to hold the post
14 January 2022
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