26 January 2011

NATO's Kosovo

The 'Finger Assisted' Nephrectomy of Professor Nadey Hakim and the World Presidents of the International College of Surgeons in Chicago, or, The Wise in Examination of the Torn Contemporary State by Henry Ward.

I saw the above at the National Portrait gallery and thought of Kosovo.

See, PACE calls for investigation on alleged organ trafficking in Kosovo.

19 January 2011

Planning Defamation

An interesting story from the Guardian tells us a few bits and pieces around the beginning of a defamation case, Soil Association given libel warning after objection to huge pig farm.

The soil association objected to the granting of planning permission to a pig farm, in response they received

"a threatening letter from Carter-Ruck, [acting for the pig farmers], saying its objection is defamatory and should be withdrawn.
When MPP was asked why it had chosen to use the libel laws against the Soil Association, it said the association had made comments not relevant to the specific planning application.

"We were concerned that this could lead to misunderstanding of the facts," it said. "We requested the Soil Association's research to back up these claims and asked if we could meet them to discuss the situation. Disappointingly we did not receive a response until we sent a letter from our solicitor. MPP has used a completely open and transparent approach and we have always made it clear that we respect people's right to their own opinion. With regard to libel laws, we are not qualified to comment."

Carter-Ruck said: "Our client was concerned by the Soil Association's use of the planning process as a platform to raise concerns about issues of policy which were not directly relevant to its specific planning application. The allegations were defamatory and as such our client had a right to defend itself. Our client's rebuttal made clear that it was not seeking to influence the views of the Soil Association or to stifle debate [but is committed to ensuring that] and that all sides of the debate are as accurate and informed as possible. Our client was not seeking to silence opposition but to engage with it."

I imagine defamation issues around planning permission is fairly commonplace.

In a village close to where I live, someone objected to their neighbour's planning application for an extension to their house on the basis that the neighbour would be able to see into their daughter's bedroom from the extension. This was considered to be a libel; the objectors had to apologize for their defamatory statement and had to put a notice on their gate containing the apology.

16 January 2011

The Relevant Act

The Guardian writes an interesting story under the headline,

"Mark Kennedy and the strange case of undercover sex".

The article is about the vicarious tortious liability that the police may have incurred because of the sexual relationships that Mark Kennedy/Stone had with some of the environmental activists upon whom he was spying.

As I was reading the article, I was immediately struck as to whether or not, Kennedy/Stone was liable for rape.

The article quotes one of the women Kennedy/Stone slept with,

"... "Anna", the woman who came forward to the Guardian said: "if somebody was being paid to have sex with me, that gives me a sense of being violated.""

She goes on to say,

"Anna suspects that Kennedy's sexual relationship with her, and others, was not a genuine and private act of intimacy but a "tactic" to further his mission of gleaning inside information about the environmental protest movement."

The Sexual Offence Act 2003 section 1 describes rape and makes a point of stating (s1(3)) that sections 75 and 76 are relevant to the offence; whilst section 76 of the Act provides,

"76 Conclusive presumptions about consent

(1)If in proceedings for an offence to which this section applies it is proved that the defendant did the relevant act and that any of the circumstances specified in subsection (2) existed, it is to be conclusively presumed—

(a)that the complainant did not consent to the relevant act, and

(b)that the defendant did not believe that the complainant consented to the relevant act.

(2)The circumstances are that—

(a)the defendant intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature or purpose of the relevant act;

On the basis of this it looks as though there is a conclusive presumption that Anna and others have been intentionally deceived.

Just imagine if Anna rolled up at a police station and complained that she'd been raped by Stone/Kennedy, the police would be compelled to begin an investigation. Statements would be taken, a file would be prepared and this would be sent to the CPS. The CPS would look at s1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and s76 of the Act and weigh up whether or not there was a fifty percent chance of getting a conviction of Stone/Kennedy, and whether or not it was in the public interest to do so.

As to whether this will happen; I don't know. If it did happen ...

As to whether or not he would be prosecuted; well, he's a police officer, she's an environmental acitivist, what do you think?

Addendum from wikipedia, rebuttable presumption,

"Both in common law and in civil law, a rebuttable presumption (in Latin, praesumptio iuris tantum) is an assumption made by a court, one that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise. A rebuttable presumption is often associated with prima facie evidence.

Rebuttable presumptions in criminal law are somewhat controversial in that they do effectively reverse the presumption of innocence in some cases. For example, in the United Kingdom, Section 75 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes the rebuttable presumption that a person who is unconscious or asleep cannot consent to sexual activity.

I haven't seen any other comments in the media as yet regarding Stone/Kennedy's liability but he should be worried.

12 January 2011

Continuous Flow Business Model

As I read details about the, "Successful 1st Symposium on Continuous Flow Reactor Technology for Industrial Applications, by Gayle de Maria", it becomes obvious, at least to me, that this technology will become common place.

example of a continuous flow reactor

One of the drivers for this will come from the fine chemical outsourcing market, it will be expected that a company will not only provide the product but a continuous flow process for the manufacture of that product.

An increasingly important selling point will be whether or not a fine chemical supplier can produce a continuous flow process as well as the product.

Libraries And Academics

The above is a screen copy of a post,

gyges says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
January 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

“…and that means they can search the chemical literature, which they can do in pretty well any public library.”

This statement is simply not true. Not in the UK at any rate. Try doing a literature search without access to your university account and access to Chem abs and you’ll see what I mean.

... that I left at the end of a note called, "Is David Nichols just a wee bit disingenuous?".

The article is of interest to those following the world of designer drugs.

But my comment refers to the usual gripe; that is, the vast number of people do not have access to academic literature.

Literature based on research funded by their taxes.

11 January 2011

Metgate Lombardi Diagram

Here's my attempt at a Lombardi Diagram of the ongoing metgate scandal ...
click on the image for greater clarity

I will update and map.
Note how Coulson doesn't even appear in this version ... the scandal is the Met sitting on the details of 6,000 victims.

Useful link, "News of the World phone-hacking scandal".
Update, 14th January 2011, "Scotland Yard fights to keep phone-hacking targets a secret".

The Independent newspaper produced a pdf of the diagram that I have copied below. (I don't know whether or not they were inspired by my attempts).

10 January 2011

Hunt Kidd Charged With Theft

I've been following the story of the closure of Newcastle solicitors Hunt Kidd since November 2009 (see, Legal Trouble In The Northeast): the BBC have just reported that,

"Two solicitors have been charged with stealing more than £1m from clients.

Barbara Gayton, 52, from Newcastle, and 64-year-old Kenneth Hunt, from Alnwick in Northumberland, will appear before magistrates in Newcastle on 31 January.

Ms Gayton and Mr Hunt are jointly charged with thefts from clients of the Hunt Kidd law firm in Newcastle where they both worked.

Will update as the story develops.

Update, 11th January 2011, the Newcastle Journal has provided a slightly fuller account, "Newcastle solicitors charged with stealing from clients". However, as yet, we are still unsure of the specific charges.

Update, 11th May 2011. The press have been extremely quiet about this case and so I decided to 'phone Newcastle Law Courts. They explained that (i) they didn't know what happened on the 31st January; (ii) the defendants had not yet pleaded; (iii) that they received the case from the Magistrates court on 7th March of this year, and, (iv) the case was due to be heard next week (w/c 16th May 2011).

Update. 12th Oct 2011. As yet nothing has happened in this story since the Newcastle Journal reported on 1st Feb 2011 that, "North East solicitors enter no plea at court date." In other words they opted for a trial on indictment rather than a summary conviction, see s1(3) Fraud Act 2006.

The Journal also provides two useful tagswhich will help in following the case.

Still following.

09 January 2011

Grave Note

Kilometer blog produced the following,

a post about the Robert Graves poem, In Broken Images, which is very impressive.
In Broken Images

He is quick, thinking in clear images;
I am slow, thinking in broken images.

He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;
I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images,

Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;
Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.

Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact,
Questioning their relevance, I question the fact.

When the fact fails him, he questions his senses;
When the fact fails me, I approve my senses.

He continues quick and dull in his clear images;
I continue slow and sharp in my broken images.

He in a new confusion of his understanding;
I in a new understanding of my confusion.

Robert Graves
Why is such perception found amongst poets rather than scientists?

Another example of such thinking comes from Keates and his idea of Negative Capability "that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties,"

The words of someone who would easily be able to grasp the wave particle duality of the nature of light.

The words of someone who would be able to grasp Bayes Theorem.

Learning to love uncertainty, a piece from the New Scientist by David Malone which, I think, is captured by Graves' poem.

07 January 2011

Schools and Burst Pipes

A google search of "school burst pipes" throws up a number of stories about schools being trashed by burst water pipes.

The schools are facing massive repair bills and significant disruption for pupils.

In this story, School counts cost of flooding damage,

"The school caretaker discovered the flood on Monday, December 20, after a pipe burst in the roof."

However, "At Badsley Moor Julia Pennington said the damage could have been worse if the caretaker had not checked the school on a day when he was meant to be off duty.

She said: "It was very lucky for us that he did – if not the water that was flooding into the school would have continued for a full 24 hours more.

I underline to ask a couple of questions ... who would have checked the school if it wasn't for the caretaker coming in on his day off? How many of these school bursts could have been mitigated by headteachers checking up on their schools?

These schools are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds; they are in their care, are they taking adequate care of the buildings? I doubt it but I would hope to be proved wrong.

06 January 2011

Stasiland in Blighty

The Yorkshire post reveals examples of civil servants abusing their positions by spying on their friends and neighbours.

"At one hospital, in Rotherham, a cleaner was caught only last month accessing the private medical files of a friend to determine that she had recently had an abortion."

Undoubtedly this is the tip of the iceberg.

The difference between here and East Germany is that this abuse isn't state sanctioned. However, a large part of the apparatus is present for minor civil servants to spy on people.

Update 27th January 2011. David Allen Green suggests an interesting abduction in a New Statesman article, Police and RIPA requests,
"One of the interesting questions raised by the developing scandal into the use of phone-tapping by tabloid reporters and private investigators is: how did they get the telephone numbers and other data, such as pin codes?
There is currently no evidence that the police wrongly used their RIPA request powers to pass on (or even sell) information to reporters and journalists. So I am not making any suggestion of wrongdoing, and my supposition here may well be wrong."
Check out the New Statesman link for more details.

All Women Are Size Tens

The MHRA has just released a safety warning for a medicine called implanon, "Implanon contraceptive implant: Information for women and healthcare professionals," which in part says,

"When used correctly Implanon is a safe, effective and reliable contraceptive that prevents pregnancy for up to three years. However, it is important that Implanon is correctly implanted by someone who is trained to fit it."

(Buck conveniently passed from MHRA to NHS)

The summary of product information says,

"One implant contains 68 mg of etonogestrel; the release rate is approximately 60-70 µg/day in week 5-6 and has decreased to approximately 35-45 µg/day at the end of the first year, to approximately 30-40 µg/day at the end of the second year and to approximately 25-30 µg/day at the end of the third year."

The point of the post is to draw attention to the lack of differentiation between patients with regard to medical treatment.

Every patient had exactly the same dose with exactly the same excipients.

I appreciate that I may be making a comparison error but just imagine if every woman you knew was given a size ten dress irrespective of their size.

01 January 2011

Us and Them

The Lockerbie Case blog has just posted, "So What Has Changed?", an observation about the poor state of forensic evidence in British courts.

Although not hard to do, the piece is extraordinarily damning of British justice; that is, it exposes the lack of satisfactory forensic analysis within the system.

One aspect of forensic analyses that strikes me is that they are unnecessarily poor.

If we were thinking about some sort of medical test, we would demand to know its false positive and false negative rates but when we think of a forensic test (eg sniffer dogs, fingerprints etc) this demand goes out of the window. We just don't seem to think something as vital as knowing whether or not our test is valid is necessary.



But why? Why do we entertain assays in our courts that have not been validated?

I think the difference between the two circumstances is that medical assays apply to us while forensic assays apply to them.

There may be a chance that we will need a reliable medical assay but forensic assays only apply to criminals, right?

Can you think of a better reason?