Archive for December 11th, 2009

A bizarre story appeared on the Manchester evening News website last night:

Top lawyer in ‘missing’ £150K probe

“A TOP Manchester barrister is being investigated by police for alleged theft and has been dismissed from his chambers.

David Friesner, the deputy head of the highly-regarded 9 St John Street Chambers in the city centre, was asked to leave after accusations involving more than £150,000 of chambers funds. Mr Friesner, from Salford, has not been arrested. The investigation is being carried out by Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime Unit……


According to his former chambers’ website Mr Friesner’s specialist areas of practice are Criminal Law involving complex fraud, money laundering, homicide, health and safety, and drugs and the use of computer technology. It adds that he ‘regularly leads in cases of the utmost gravity including murder, rape, robbery and firearms offences’.

Latest Tory Labour Bashing poster

Guido Fawkes notes:Labour Toff Claimed £20,000 for Bell Tower”

I rather liked the wry comment…. “After what has to be the most outrageous claim by an MP yet, Guido suspects something nasty will happen to Mr Davies before too long and he will have no one but himself to blame.

I could be wrong… but didn’t Quentin Davies MP commit political harikiri and apostasy some years ago by doing a Winston and cross the floor?

But it gets better…

The Independent reports…

£74,000 for the most expensive peer

John Laird, an Ulster politician and public relations man, has emerged as the UK’s most expensive peer.  Lord Laird claimed almost £74,000 in expenses in 2008-09, 10 per cent more than the next highest claimer. Though he speaks only rarely in Lords debates, he also holds an unbeaten record as the most prolific asker of parliamentary questions. Answering his written questions cost the taxpayer more than £100,000 in the same year.”

That was mildly amusing… but what followed in the Indie article kept me amused for a while  as I sank Malbec with my slow cooked  boeuf bourguignon… A conviction for ‘ARSON’? See below….

Our Peers are world beaters… Jailhouse ROCK! I quote from the Indie article….

1. Another high claimer was Lord Ahmed, the Labour peer who earlier this year spent sixteen days in prison for dangerous driving.

2. Another Labour peer who has spent time in prison is the former MP Michael Watson, now Lord Watson of Invergowrie. He was given early release in May 2006, after being sentenced to 16 months for arson. He claimed £44,267 in 2008-09.

3. Members of the House of Lords, unlike MPs, do not lose their seats if they are convicted of a crime that draws a jail sentence. The novelist Jeffrey Archer, who was sentenced to four years for perjury in 2001, still has the title Lord Archer, but has not returned to the Lords since his release in 2003.

4. Lord Black, the former owner of the Daily Telegraph, is still serving a prison sentence in Florida for fraud.

Goldifraud and the Three Peers

And… I suspect that a few more peers will be doing porridge for eating too much of DaddyTaxpayer’s porridge soon.  We shall see.


I have to admit… David Cameron came up with a good one here… reported in ConservativeHome “Brown and Darling are like a couple of joy-riders in a car smashing up the neighbourhood, not caring what is going to happen and not caring about anyone who might have to take over the mess they have created… They showed no care for the risks they are running with interest rates, the risks they are running for future taxes, the risks they are running in terms of racking up debts for our children.”

I have this surreal image in my mind of Brown and Darling in a car …. like the scene at the end of the Thelma & Louise (1991) movie

Parliament, freedom of speech, libel law and freedom of speech

Tucked away in the Observer / Guardian last Sunday was an interesting article stating that “Lawyers advising John Bercow are understood to have informed the Commons culture, media and sport select committee that the super-injunctions, under which even the reporting of the existence of an injunction is banned, do restrict the right to publish or broadcast what MPs can say openly in parliament.”

The Guardian notes that this advice is rather different from that put forward by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice who appears to regard the right of a newspaper to publish the proceedings of parliament in cases where a super-injunction exists ( As in the Trafigura episode) to be enshrined  in the 1688 bill of rights.

Law blogger and writer, Jack of Kent, takes up the cause for libel reform with a closely argued piece in his blog: Engaging With Libel Reform. He writes: “The formal campaign was launched today for fundamental reform of English libel law. England’s libel law is currently a public danger and a public disgrace.

Inner & Middle Temple Library not to merge

Good to see that consultations and feasibility studies are not being used to justify a decision made in advance.  The Inner Temple and Middle Temple libraries are not to merge. A statement released yeterday stated:

After lengthy deliberations, the Inner Temple and Middle Temple have concluded that none of the available options for a merger of their libraries and creation of an advocacy and education centre is sufficiently desirable to warrant further investigation and implementation.  We have therefore agreed to bring to an end the negotiations which have been taking place under the aegis of the Joint Collaboration Committee.

The PBR and bank robbery

The politico-economic pundits have moved on.  The PBR speech by Darling caused brief excitement and cheap television to keep the hyperventilators on BBC and Sky happy… but the reality is that the PBR is an irrelevance.  The Tories will put their own plans into play if they are elected.  If Labour returns to power, a new chancellor will push out another budget (prompting speculation that there may be a March 25th election so that Labour won’t have to do another budget speech or face returning chickens roosting badly during a May election campaign)… and the plan to supertax the bankers has been widely regarded as so full of holes that evasion is easy. Capitalists@Work review the matter with their usual clinical precision.

Charon’s Christmas….

The plan is that I have no ‘plan’ for Christmas at all.   Next week, people will be at their office parties and will have little interest in anything I might wish to suggest in terms of business.  This is just fine by me.  I will  update Insite Law news throughout the holiday period through to 4th January – I will be painting, blogging, drinking, cooking and generally faffing about.  I ate the small Christmas cake for one I had bought in readiness for Christmas Day the other night – but I am certain I shall re-stock.

Have a good weekend…

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