Archive for December 15th, 2009

Trafigura at it again….

TRAFIGURA are at it again with Carter-Ruck doing what lawyers do. The BBC has climbed down.  Iain Dale is encouraging bloggers to have a look at this Trafigura newsnight film – and I am happy to look at the film again.  You may be as well?

Tom Harris MP is also scathing..” THE BBC have apparently wet their pants at the prospect of legal firm Carter-Ruck getting annoyed at them over their Newsnight report about James Bond villainesque company, Trafigura. They removed this video so that the big boys wouldn’t steal their dinner money and give them a Chinese burn.”

And Carl Gardner, Author of the Head of legal blog suggests that you might want to look at THIS – and It’s legal to do so.

UPDATE Friday 18th december 2009

Trafigura accepts £25,000 damages from BBC over waste dumping allegations

The Times reports:

The oil-trading company Trafigura accepted £25,000 libel damages and an apology today over a BBC Newsnight claim that its actions had caused deaths, miscarriages, serious injuries and long-term sickness.

The BBC report in May focused on the discharging in August 2006 by Trafigura of gasoline waste in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast. The waste was subsequently dumped by a local company.

Today Adam Tudor, the solicitor-advocate for the BBC, told Mr Justice Eady in the High Court, in London, that the BBC had withdrawn its allegations.

It acknowledged “that the evidence does not establish that Trafigura’s ‘slops’ [oil waste] caused any deaths, miscarriages or serious or long-term injuries,” he said.

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Do please read this by Ian Hamilton QC

Do – please – read this moving and beautifully written blog post by Scots lawyer Ian Hamilton QC.

It needs no words from me.

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Britain: A Winter Wonderland or F**kerland?

Christmas is on the way and, like everyone else, I am looking forward to it. It also means that for two weeks we can forget about many of the things going wrong in our country – many, it has to be said, caused by the present government .which I and many others voted for all those years ago.  I remember the scenes of jubilation and pleasure as a young Tony Blair appeared to bring hope as he walked into Downing Street.  Well things have changed.  We are now fighting a war on terror – much of it brought in on our own people by the present government.

It gets pretty serious when a former Director of Public Prosecutions and respected lawyer, Sir Ken McDonald QC, has a go at Tony Blair (reported in The Mirror, 15th December 2009) stating that the ex-PM ‘misled and cajoled’ people into supporting the ‘deadly’ invasion of Iraq because of his ‘love of power’.  The Mirror continues… “Sir Ken wrote in The Times: “This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions and playing footsie on Sunday morning does nothing to repair the damage.  Mr Blair’s fundamental flaw was his sycophancy towards power.”  [See: Guardian article re Sir Ken McDonald’s remarks ]

Well.. today was the first time the Iraq Inquiry closed the doors. It won’t be the last.  Tony Blair will be asked some questions (but will not be subjected to searching, probing, combative and properly asked questions by an experienced barrister) in secret.  I wouldn’t bother panic buying white emulsion from B&Q when it comes to Spring cleaning in the New Year…there will be white emulsion plenty enough, I suspect, when the Iraq Inquiry reports.  Who knows?  Things ain’t going too well so far and Philippe Sands QC, who said right at the outset that he could not understand why there are no lawyers on the panel, is absolutely right.

And..last night we had the news that Simon Cowell is thinking of entering the political arena.

I got the feeling that Kirsty Wark was taking the piss on Newsnight – but I am probably wrong, because I had to take strong drink to get over the shock that Cowell may now dumb down political analysis –  which for most of us is a fairly important matter. I’ve nothing against Cowell.  I even enjoy Britain’s Got Talent when I am completely over refreshed. (Especially if the contestant comes on with a leprous animal to get the extra sympathy and make Cowell wince.)

I have REDACTED the first word in the ‘Tweet’ above – not because I am concerned about the expletive.  I redact as a tribute to our great Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, who enjoys a bit of redaction..as my post below reveals.  Hopefully, the Court of Appeal will cure him of this problem on our behalf.

Take a good look at the Police Community Support Officer on the right – the ‘gobby’ one. This is a must watch film if you have the time…I do hope that he no longer has a job (in Policing) , because his behaviour , frankly, is a disgrace.  He did not know what he was talking about…nor any law…  – that much is clear – and if the story is reported correctly –  he shouldn’t have a job working with the Police. I am grateful to a friend @Oedipus_Lex who tweeted about this story this afternoon. The story is carried by BoingBoing – usually reliable.  I quote…

In this video, two British police officers come up to a young woman who is filming a building and harass her, imply that she is a terrorist, intimidate her, demand to see her footage. The policeman says that he’s harassing her for being “cocky” — punishing her for failing to cringe sufficiently. England’s police chiefs have ordered policemen to stop harassing photographers, but this officer called for backup and 7 more officers converged on the photographer. The photographer was brutally detained — she is covered in bruises — and fined but she had the presence of mind to return to the scene and interview the witnesses to the assault.

The Independent has been doing a series of pieces on this very issue and Yates of The Yard (a very senior copper) has issued instructions to the more dense of his officers that photographers should be allowed to take photographs without being harassed under the Terrorism Act.

The PCSO in the film is just a licensed little bully boy.  Full marks to the young woman who filmed the exchange who stood up to him – only to get more Police attention and bruises later. Disgraceful. I am, of course, assuming that the report of her subsequent detention by the Police is accurate.

And another thing… why do Police and PCSOs wonder around with their hands tucked into their flak jackets?  Are they feeling their tits up on duty?  I think we should be told.

And, while we are at it…. another friend of mine @ManxStef alerted me and others to this ludicrous nonsense.

Mall security staff will get police powers in Norwich

A controversial scheme to hand police powers to civilians has been extended to include guards in one of Norwich’s main shopping centres.

Security staff at The Mall, Norwich, will have the right to issue on-the-spot fines, give lawful orders and check normally confidential police records after being accredited by Norfolk police.

EDP 24 story in full

The local Magistrates, not surprisingly, have written to Chief Homo Plodiens for Norfolk to express their ‘concern’.  It wpould appear that all is going to be Ok.  The story continues…. “Since then the chief constable has reassured us that, although this power exists, no civilian has issued a fine and he does not expect it to happen in future.”

I do understand that drunks and other undesirables – perhaps even the odd investment banker – might cause difficulty at a shopping Mall – but we do need to be careful who has fairly extensive powers.  Surely? It beggars belief…and I always enjoy using this well worn and hackneyed expression.

Well… there we are… enjoy  your evening… I’ll be back with another painting tomorrow….

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The Fuckpig
Oil on Canvas 2009

In The Collection of Paul West

“Charon clearly has way too much time on his hands during this pre-Christmas period.  This is largely because no-one wants to do any business with him because his clients are all attending Christmas parties or farting around on Twitter. This was fine with Charon because it allowed him to continue his ‘homage’ to BritArt.  In this very simple minded allegory, Charon nuances the subtlety of those least revered in our society at present – and who may not be with us for much longer: The Bankers.

Charon was amused by a cartoon he saw on the web – unfortunately the cartoon was too small to reveal the cartoonists name – but he has been able to capture the essence of the ‘genre’ here.  Charon is quite clear in his resolve that the painting bears no resemblance whatsoever to any person living or dead, whether to be found at Canary Wharf or, indeed, any bank in the British Isles.”

National Banker Magazine

A larger version of the picture may be viewed here.

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Jonathan Sumption QC, no longer a candidate for selection over the heads of Court of Appeal judges in the race for the new Supreme Court Justice appointment,  told the Court of Appeal that the judges’ stance in the Binyam Mohamed ‘redaction case’ was “in many respects unnecessary and profoundly damaging to the interests of this country”. Not content with this – The Times noted ” Sumption went on to say… “I would go so far as to say their views were irresponsible.”

Frances Gibb, writing in The Times, covers the story...Lawyers for the Foreign Secretary launched an extraordinary attack yesterday on High Court judges who want to disclose intelligence material relating to allegations of torture involving the CIA. David Miliband accused the two senior judges of “charging in” to a diplomatically sensitive area over what happened to the former terror detainee Binyam Mohamed while he was held by the Americans in Pakistan.”

Interestingly, the composition of the Court of Appeal hearing this case is slightly ‘out of the ordinary’ in the sense that The Chief Justice, The Master of The Rolls and The President of the Queen’s Bench Division are sitting together.  I shall look forward to that law report appearing.

I could be wrong, but I thought the Americans have already published this ‘sensitive’ information – and it is ‘sensitive’ because it is believed that the redacted paragraphs reveal some extremely unpleasant descriptions of torture et al carried on in the name of protecting us from ‘terror’.

The Times notes: “On November 9, in their latest ruling on the issue, the High Court judges said: “Of itself, the treatment to which Mr Mohamed was subjected could never properly be described in a democracy as ‘a secret’ or an ‘intelligence secret’ or ‘a summary of classified intelligence’.”

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