Here are this week’s headlines:
- Man found guilty of both murder and manslaughter
Reported by Paige Waters
Susan Nicholson and Caroline Devlin were both killed by unemployed Robert Trigg five years apart. Fifty-two-year-old Trigg is now facing life imprisonment after being found guilty of killing two of his former girlfriends.
Susan Nicholson was murdered by Trigg in 2011 as she slept on the couch next to Robert Trigg. Nicholson was killed by Trigg, five years after he murdered Caroline Devlin in her bed. It has been stated that during both relationships, Trigg subjected both women to physical violence.
During Triggs trial at Lewes crown court, he denied both charges but after 6 and a half hours deliberation by jurors, they concluded Triggs was guilty of manslaughter for Devlin’s death and Nicholson’s murder.
Trigg claimed that he had rolled onto Nicholson in her sleep which led to her suffocating, while Devlin’s death was said to be caused by an aneurysm.
Mr. Trigg did not call 999 in both cases.
The convictions occurred due to the Nicholson family refusing to believe that she had died accidently; this led to Trigg finally being brought to justice. Dr Nathaniel Carey reviewed the cases and concluded that Nicholson suffocated due to her head being forced into the couch; while Devlin died due to suffering a blow to the back of the head.
Trigg is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday morning.
Read more in The Guardian.
- Snapchat Maps raises safeguarding concerns
Reported by Anna Flaherty
This new feature on Snapchat allows people to see exactly where you are in real time. Not only can it show if you are on the move in the car, but it will also show others if you are listening to music on your device. This has therefore created concern, with teenagers being one of the main groups who use snapchat. Parents are being urged to get their children to put their settings on ghost mode in order to disable people being able to view their exact location. The feature also worries parents as it could promote bullying and stalking. This could be of particular concern if children have “friends” on Snapchat who they do not actually know. The update was also released with little warning and no advice to parents, meaning that its potential to do harm was not widely known.
- Google Shopping breaking competition law
Reported by Spencer Yap
Historically in American, “super-platforms”, even with their size and market share, would not be deemed to be in breach of competition law. As argued by Herbet Hovenkamp of the University of Pennsylvania, the competition can also be easily accessed. However, given the size and market share that “super-platforms”, such as Google currently have, that thinking is starting to change. Google could technically alter search results in favour of Google, and not have to worry that patrons would pick their competitors.
This school of thought is one shared by Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner. Ms Vestager who was previously the deputy prime minister of Denmark is known to be “tough and principled”, which should be no surprise then that the fine the company faces the highest in European competition penalties, sitting at €2.4 billion, more than twice the fine previously faced by Intel. The basis of this claim lies with Google Shopping which “systematically favours Google’s own comparison-shopping results by giving them prominent placement at the top of its generic search results and demoting links to rival offerings to pages further down in its results, where users hardly venture.”
The abuse of its market power by Google would not be a problem if there were competitions in the market. However, holding upwards of 90% of market share in most European countries, google does “not only dominate a market, but essentially are the market”. Google argues that users could look up products on other sites, such as Amazon or eBay, both of which holds a significant market share in their specific market, which the commission fails to include as search engines in the calculation of market power. Including Amazon or eBay could arguably reduce the market share Google holds, hence altering the market power which may alter the courts findings. There are other reasons which Google employs in it’s rebuttal to Ms Vesteger’s suit, such as “people usually prefer links that take them directly to the products they want.
Such arguments have its merits, which will be heard in front of The European Court of Justice when Google appeals the case. Yet as it stands, Google faces 90-days to change it’s algorithm to fairly treat it’s rivals.
Read more in The Economist.
- Could the tragedy of Grenfell Tower have been prevented?
Reported by Paige Waters
It has been said that due to the legal aid cuts, this could have had an impact and prevented the tenants in Grenfell Tower from voicing and pursuing their safety concerns. Therefore, in turn, had these cuts not been made, there is a question of whether this could have prevented the fire. Robert Bourns, the president of the Law Society has suggested this may have been the case.
Bourns continued to comment, stating “there have been reports that tenants of Grenfell Tower were unable to access legal aid to challenge safety concerns because of the cuts. If that is the case, then we may have a very stark example of what limiting legal aid can mean.”
Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishments of Offenders Act – LASPO – introduced that certain categories of housing claims are no longer eligible for legal aid. Bourns further stated that tenants are now faced with very difficult choices as they need “to pay for their own legal advice, represent themselves or to be excluded from the justice system altogether.”
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Ministry of Justice has begun a review on the impact of LASPO, in an attempt to confirm or deny whether due to these legal aid cuts the tenants of Grenfell Tower could not pursue their safety concerns. David Liddington, the new justice secretary has disputed whether anyone raising serious concerns over safety would have been denied legal aid.
The Law Society responded to Liddington, stating that hundreds of thousands of people have been deprived of help and advice due to the £450m cuts, even though previous to these cuts, they were entitled to legal aid.
Read more in The Guardian.
- Rise in poorer students dropping out of University
Reported by Ben Thatcher
According to the Office for Fair Access, the number of students from disadvantaged families who do not continue past their first year in university has reached its highest level in five years. The report also expressly states that the gap between the number of non-continuers from the most advantaged backgrounds and the most disadvantaged has increased within the past year. Whilst the statistics indicated that more students from poorer backgrounds are in university than ever before, the number of those that do not complete their degree has increased for the second year in a row.
The report comes from an attempt to recruit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Universities have spent a total of £725.2 million on access initiatives in the past year alone. Russel Group universities have stated that they have doubled their funding for this over the past five years to reach out to those from poorer backgrounds.