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The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 4th February

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 4th February

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:

Criminal Justice

Reported by Paige Waters

Justice for the Brutal Murder of Lord Promise Nkenda

Lord Promise Nkenda was brutally murder on 14th February 2018. This murder took place in Newham, east London.

Nkenda was run down by a car before being attacked by five youths. These youths chased him down a London street before stabbing him to death. He was stabbed 15 times. It has been stated he was stabbed in the head, face, chest, upper arm and thigh. He died despite the attempts made by the paramedics to save him.

It has been alleged this was a case of mistaken identity.  This gang is said to be aged 14 to 17.

One of the youths, Ephraim Idris (17) was wearing an electric monitoring tag after being convicted of ‘country lines’ drug dealing in Exeter.

All the boys have now been sentenced. Idris received 16 years’ imprisonment, Shemar Dawes (17) and Ishad Abdille (17) received a 18 year imprisonment sentence and Anton Muir (17) was jailed for 17 years. The youngest of the gang can not be named for legal reasons as he is 14. However, he has been jailed for 14 years.

When sentencing the youths, Judge Zoe Smith said “you corned him against a van and there he was stabbed. He had 15 separate stab wound injuries and a number of them were very deep wounds. In the final seconds of the attack, the CCTV shows that you, Mr. Abdille, came from behind the van and you can be seen stabbing at Promise three or four times. Why this pedestrian was targeted is not known. The crown does not exclude this as being a case of mistaken identify.”

The attack has been stated to be of a calculated nature and truly chilling. The premeditation of the attack of stealing the car which originally ran Promise over and the youths attempting to conceal their DNA by wearing latex gloves provides the evidence and denotes the determination of those involved to carry out this brutal murder.

The ages of those involved especially a boy as young as 14 is truly disturbing.

More information can be found on the Guardian.

Mental Health

Reported By Anna-Mei Harvey 

Social Media Moguls Being Advised to be More Cautious Regarding the Mental Health of Children

Following the tragic death of Molly Russell in 2017, Facebook has been urged to screen its content more intensely. The fourteen-year-old committed suicide after allegedly viewing images on social media platforms that ‘normalises’ self-harm. The tragedy of Molly’s death is however sadly not an isolated incident and MPs have concluded that more needs to be done to prevent the reoccurrence of such heartbreak.

It was reported earlier in the week that Margot James, the digital minister, is considering introducing an internet regulator and imposing a statutory duty of care on Facebook and other social media platforms to ensure that they act to protect the mental health and well-being of younger users. The Commons Science and Technology Committee completed a report that has attacked the current regulation of social media content declaring it to be loose and like “patchwork” at best. The result of this is a “standards lottery” that does not ensure the safety of young internet users.

Some of the platforms have argued that they do attempt to protect younger children form content that is not child friendly by requiring their members to be over the ages of 12-13. There are however insufficient checks to confirm the ages of children who may be signing up, with increasing numbers of primary school aged children accessing social media. Ofcom’s Children and Parents Media Use and Attitudes report of 2017 suggested 46% of 11 year olds and 52% of 12-year-old children had social media profiles meaning the internal regulations of social media is insufficient.

Jackie Doyle-Price has warned of the dangers of certain content on social media platform.  “We must look at the impact of harmful suicide and self-harm content online … in normalising it, it has an effect akin to grooming.” Her comments and support for the imposition of a statutory duty of care could see social media executives charge din the future if their sites are considered to have exposed children to content promoting suicide and / or self-harm.

Find out more information here, here and here

Criminal Justice

Reported by Emma Ducroix

It is now possible to contest the release of a criminal by giving this power to his victims

In the past year January, a criminal, John Worboys, was released by a Parole Broad approbation, thinking that he was no longer a threat for the population.

This event provoked a huge protest.

Actually, he was in jail for an indefinite term but with a minimum of 8 years.

In 2009, he was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting female passengers during his job as a cab driver. Between 2002 and 2008, police estimated his crimes as 105 womens’ aggressions.

This is why outrage over John Worboys case leads to reform of the Parole Board process.

Considering the huge protest of the release, David Gauke, the justice secretary has announced that more powers will be given to the victims of serious crimes. Indeed, they will have 21 days to decide if the decision of releasing their aggressor should be challenged. This process could avoid the judicial review one, which is costly and lengthy.

The Worboys’ case was so highly contested that two of his victims used crowdfunding in order to change his releasing decision. A judicial review led to a decision of a “fresh look” into the case lead by the the Parole Board.

After a new inquiry, the board reversed its previous decision meaning that Worboys will remain in prison for an indefinite time.

“This landmark reform will for the first time empower victims to hold the Parole Board to account for its decisions and help restore public confidence in the important work that it does,” Gauke said.

In this new system, any request for a review will be sent to a dedicated team at HM Prison and Probation Service, which will consider whether there were serious mistakes or legal flaws in the release ruling.

If the specialised team believes the victims have a good case their challenge will then be considered by a named Parole Board judge. He can either order the original panel to review its decision or order a fresh hearing under a new panel.

Following the Worboys case, the rule ban on disclosing information about the board’s decisions has been lifted, allowing victims to learn the reasons for a prisoner’s release.

Harriet Wistrich, a solicitor at Birnberg Peirce, who represented the two women at the crowdfunding initiative, said that she was not surprised the board had changed its mind. “As the court made clear, the Parole Board should take into account what was known of his (Worboys’ one) alleged wider offending.”

The controversy over the decision get worse by the fact that counsel did not inform all Worboys’ victims that he should be released and did not consult them on the conditions of his release.

Read more here

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