Archive for January, 2007

Snow in London…

I woke, as usual, at 3.30 am to the not so familiar almost muffled sound of silence. I knew at once that it had snowed and looked out of my bedroom window. Snow covered my conservatory roof and garden. Bizarrely, I wondered if it might have snowed on the other side of my house facing the road. It had. No-one was about. I put on a kimono and hobbled downstairs, with my three broken toes, to have a look, to touch the snow. A simple pleasure. I did not make a small snowman. But, I did think about it.

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Sorry… but could not resist…

OK… no more BB comments from me… but I just could not resist.

So… I am back online. BT engineers arrived again this morning with a ‘hoist’ : a van with a crane to winch the engineer up the side of buildings… and I am back with telephones and a good net connection. It made me realise how crippling, to a business and communication generally, the loss of a telephone line can be.

Now you may be just as puzzled as I am about this. But, inspired by a post on a website I frequent, I typed “Best Law magazine’ into Google and this is what came up”

I accept that I have a vested interest in this…but even I was surprised. In fact, after recent events, I was delighted!

Nick Holmes (Binary Law) usually finds interesting matters to draw to our attention and news that Legal Week has started a series of mini-blogs under the title ‘Legal Village’ is interesting.

I rather liked the idea of The Law Society President, Fiona Woolf, being a blogger. Here is the intro to her post on Legal Village: “Sitting at my desk, as the first Law Society President blogger, news reaches of me of another bold step into the future – that the Lord Chief Justice is to de-wig judges hearing civil cases in the High Court and the Court of Appeal from October. For me it’s always exciting to hear about how the judiciary continues to modernise itself apace”

Nigel Savage (CEO College of Law) has a mini-blog and, also on Legal Village: an interesting post by Ted Greeno on the first solicitor to be appointed to The Court of Appeal.

Well…there we are. I have actually managed to find some law related material which may be of interest/use. It will be interesting to see how long these new bloggers keep it up. It can be a lonely business…blawging!

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Shortly before Christmas I was invited by Tim Kevan to write a short piece each month for the Personal Injury Brief Update Law Journal.

Relieved that I did not have to dig out the law books (Tim confirmed that he did not actually want me to write about the law) I agreed to do this.  In fact, I am delighted to be published in this serious law journal.Having had a motorbike crash with injuries and a blood infection following medical treatment for same,  and now, having broken three toes on my left foot (Below), I feel well qualified to write for such a journal

Yesterday, I added to my collection of recent mishaps by falling down the stars.  For the avoidance of doubt, I was sober.  It was 11.30 in the morning.  My stairs are steep and I simply missed my footing.  Unfortunately I landed on my left big toe and have now broken that toe and the two adjacent toes.  Not a great start to the year – but in the face of adversity, one shall prevail.  I should soon be quite expert on medical matters! I shall hobble to The Bollo which is but 100 yards away for sustenance tonight and, of course, a glass or two or Rioja to dull the pain.  Broken toes are astonishingly painful, I have discovered.

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A flashing beacon of justice?…

I read two newspapers on Sundays – The Observer and The News of The World. I was into my second cup of espresso when I turned to page 11 of the News of The World. “TOP JUDGE NICKED FOR FLASHING” ran the headline.

I read this article with particular care and, because of the gravity of the matter, have taken especial care to record certain quotes, directly from the newspaper report. The reporter, Polly Graham states ” One of the country’s most senior judges – who ruled on the Stockwell Tube shooting case – has been arrested for allegedly flashing at a woman on a train.”

The report goes on to state that “Lord Justice Richards was held by British Transport Police after a complaint from a shocked female passenger that a man had exposed himself to her.” British Transport Police confirmed that a 56 year old man had been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation, but declined to comment further.

The NOTW reporter stated: “Confronted at his Wimbledon home yesterday, Lord Justice Richards confirmed that he had been arrested.”

Lord Justice Richards is reported as saying: “Yes, that is correct I spoke to Police and gave them my full co-operation about an incident last October which I deny.”

Richards LJ continues: “I have not been charged and have been bailed in the usual manner.”

Interesting that the incident is alleged to have taken place last October and that the police, according to the report in the News of The World, mounted an undercover operation which ‘culminated in Friday’s arrest of (Lord Justice Richards)”

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It is rare for me to have ‘Road to Damascus’ moments – but, it did occur to me, in the wake of the absurdity of the Jade Goody episode (infra), that lawyers may have done something bizarre this week and that I should surf the net to see whether lawyers were behaving sensibly. Bingo! Serendipitously – My first port of call was the BBC and then RollonFriday. RoF had picked up on the BBC story of Judge Darlow (pictured).

It is ironic that we have a bizarre story, in this of all weeks, about a judge ( not a chav – but an educated man, learned in the law and with all the benefits of education and a long career in the law) handing down a truly bizarre ruling.

The BBC story

Briefly: Man calls a Police surgeon a ‘Paki’ and ends up in court on race charges. (I quote from the BBC report) “Judge Paul Darlow told the court that it was “rather odd” that charges had been brought against the man. He suggested Dr Jhetam “should not have taken the comment so seriously” and should have let it “roll off his back”.

He told Stiddard to next time “call him a fat bastard and do not say anything about his colour”.

While one can see what the judge was trying to do (avoid the courts being used for less serious matters – one asumes) it was a pretty crass thing to say. The judge stood by what he had said. I am sure that Judge Darlow had absolutely no intention of condoning racism – but, rather, that he felt that, perhaps, there was a mountain being made of a mole hill – and I quote his words, as reported by the BBC : “It struck me as disproportionate to have brought this particular charge on its own to the crown court. My comments were not intended to make light of racist remarks.”

I am fortunate in that I am not ‘over nourished’ but I am not entirely sure that it is a great idea to call those who are: ‘fat bastards’ as a means of resolving anger in a contentious matter. Would Judge Darlow be prepared to use these words himself in a dispute? I suspect not. I have no idea whether the Police surgeon, who complained of the slur, is fat – but it does seem to me to be rather careless to advise a defendant in criminal proceedings, as to how best he should resolve such a dispute, in the future, in this way.

I have this curious image in my mind of Judge Darlow in ‘The Diary Room’ of the Big Brother House. I am reasonably sure, given that it is unlikely that Judge Darlow will suddenly appear in the BB House, that I am still free to have these images in my mind?

Good to see that the legal profession is still able to contribute to the richness of the human experience.

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Policing on the cheap…

I was having an espresso and smoking a Silk Cut when I saw two proper uniformed coppers patrolling Chiswick High Street. They did not have much to do. The burglars were elsewhere in London, the banks were not being robbed and, as far as I could see, all was well in Chiswick. It was, however, good to see them – a rare sighting these days. I said “Good morning” to them as they walked by. They responded in a like manner. It was like the good old days of Dixon of Dock Green – quite unlike the tenor of the story which I picked up on Geeklawyers blog about bomber jacketed thugs acting as private police. Have a look at the story here.

The last thing we need in Britain is untrained, unaccountable, individuals being given police style powers of arrest. I’m not even sure about Community Support Officers being given more power. I am sure there are some decent and honest people who join as CS officers – but the ones I have seen loitering around in West London don’t appear to me to be fit enough to run after pensioners, let alone tackle hoodies and other ASBO collectors.

When the smoking ban comes in on 1st July we will see ‘Smoking Enforcement Officers’ patrolling the pubs, bars and restaurants – driven on, possibly, by incentives, to enforce the letter of the law. Do we need more people with power on our streets? I’d rather see proper coppers on the streets doing these jobs – a possibly curious attitude in this day and age of devolution of power to power crazed local authorities.

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And…so…the time has come…

Midnight Friday 19 / Saturday 20 January

I gather that Jade was evicted while I was selflessly working on my laptop (see below) from The Bollo tonight. Good stuff. However… I have no further interest in these tawdry Channel 4 (with or without Carphone Warehouse) proceedings.

From tomorrow – I will return to asking why Police are questioning a Blair aide on the cash for peerages issue …wondering why Lord Goldsmith was pictured walking very quickly on a BBC News 24 clip which I saw earlier today (have we started another war while I have been at the Bollo tonight? – which is when we usually see pictures of Peter Goldsmith scurrying into Downing Street) and, to bring much needed perspective back to my life (and, possibly, the lives of others) I will almost certainly be having another caption competition. I must do my bit to calm our nation after the storms (weather – and those relating to the undermining of the entire British politico-economic system, and our future with India, by Jade Goody)

I’m pretty certain that Jade Goody can also be blamed for the recent rise in interest rates by The Bank of England. She may even, quite possibly, be held accountable for the fact that Little Britain was never very funny – but I may be going too far on this. It is, of course, a personal view which I express, when I say that I did not / do not find Little Britain funny. I believe that I am entitled to express a qualitatative opinion on the ‘amusingness’ or otherwise of a programme on British television – but if you feel differently – please feel free to phone OfCom or Gordon Brown (nothing like going to the ‘top man’) and have me evicted from the legal blogosphere. It will probably do me good.

Tomorrow… will be another day…

But if you really want to reflect on the impact of Big Brother and the interests of business.. you might like to read this BBC report

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