Archive for November 18th, 2007

Saturday Review 17 November 07…

In a week where we have had a High Court judge telling a Saudi Sheik (Below), he could choose “to depart on his flying carpet” to escape paying costs, but that he should be in court so that “every grain of sand is sifted” and that his evidence was gelatinous…like Turkish Delight, it is difficult to know how to follow that.

But I can with the news that US Judge James Shull has been sackedI quote from a website report: “A judge who made a woman pull down her pants in court and decided a child-visitation dispute with a coin toss was removed from the bench yesterday.”

“A courtroom bailiff testified at the commission hearing that, outside the courtroom after the hearing, he asked Shull if he had seen “what that lady had on?”

“Yeah,” Shull allegedly replied, “a black, lacy thong. . . . It looked good, didn’t it?” Shull denies that this exchange took place. The Virginia Supreme Court was none too pleased with Shull’s way of deciding cases: “A judge’s act of tossing a coin in a courtroom to decide a legal issue pending before the court suggests that courts do not decide cases on their merits but instead subject litigants to games of chance in serious matters without regard to the evidence or applicable law.”

Judges, lawyers and coppers on the jury?
The recent House of Lords decision in R v. Abdroikof, Williamson & Another [2007] UKHL 37 raises again the wisdom of allowing judges, lawyers, CPS prosecutors and serving police officers to sit on the jury. Shereener Browne, one of the Bar Council blawgers, has an interesting (and wry) look at this issue on her Bar Council blog.

Full steam ahead… hang on… about turn….

Admiral Lord West, formerly First Sea Lord and now Security Minister, performed a remarkable about turn last week. His first signal the other morning was “I still need to be fully convinced that we absolutely need more than 28 days.” Summoned to face Cyclops, our man in 10 Downing St with a passion for locking people up without charge, Lord West later stated that he was ‘but a simple sailor’ and that he was now “personally convinced” of the need for longer detention periods. I started thinking about Admiral Byng when I read about this.

Head of Legal has an interesting post on the proposed British Bill of Rights and disagrees with David Pannick QC. Legal Lass seems to be slipping into bad habits on her BVC.

However… very few UK blowgers blogging at the moment – although I have referred to well known blawgers throughout the past week on posts. Are some UK law blawgers running out of steam?

It would appear that not all is good in Downing St. Gordon Brown is returning to his control freak ways. Martin Kettle, writing in The Guardian, talks about the smell of fear, a ‘we’ve had our innings’ mentality, Brown directing Milliband to tone down a speech on Europe and then briefing against him. Interesting stuff.

The Legal Services Act 2007 is now published and available online.

And finally.. from The Sunday Mirror…
A judge sent a defendant to the cells for two hours after he answered a mobile phone call while in the dock. Paul Fitton, 26, was facing a charge of being drunk and disorderly when his phone went. Instead of switching it off, he calmly took the call, saying: “Hello there, I’m in court.”

Fitton, from Blackpool, shouted obscenities as he was taken down for interrupting the court but later apologised. District Judge Peter Ward told him: “People who answer their phones in court will go to the cells.”

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