Vera’s article written for progess online about the proposed destruction of DNA by the coalition. Also available on the Progress Online website.
Here we are again
The Coalition’s proposals to destroy DNA currently held on the national database will be disastrous for the future of rape convictions. They must reverse the policy as they did on their equally misconceived plans to give anonymity to defendants and to halve sentences for guilty pleas, in rape. They show overall a pitiful understanding of justice for women. That is not surprising from a government of millionaire men who have deliberately
continue reading DNA and Rape an article for Progress Online
Vera’s article written for Left Foot Forward on the covert policing of Mark Kennedy. Also available on the Left Foot Forward website
Failure to disclose evidence reminiscent of the dark days of miscarriages of justice
Policing climate change protesters by embedding undercover officer Mark Kennedy with them for seven years looks out of all proportion to the risk they present to the public. Crazier still and seemingly far more wicked is the subsequent attempt to convict many of them by suppressing the very intelligence Kennedy’s sleuthing had disclosed. Twenty six protesters were charged with conspiracy to occupy Ratcliffe
continue reading Covert Policing
In Lynne Featherstone’s column of 18th November she described herself as someone who “spends every day fighting for equality”
She wasn’t last Tuesday when Fiona MacTaggart MP asked, in the Commons why her Coalition has scrapped the duty in the Equality Act 2010 for public authorities to assess the impact of their policies on the poor. This, in sections 1-3, is called “the socio-economic duty”
“This legislation is just words” Ms Featherstone told a startled House of Commons, saying how fully she supported the repeal.
Last year, in the passage of the Equality Act itself, Lynne Featherstone said:
continue reading Countering Lynn Featherstones equalities column
Vera’s comment piece for the Solicitors Journal on the Human Right’s Commission. Also available to subscribers on the Solicitors Journal website.
Prepare for Battle The Coalition Government’s ” Independent Commission to investigate the case for a British Bill of Rights” is about politics not law. Backwoods Tories may bay for an end to Foreigners making us give rights to nasty people, but their majority comes from the Liberal party, which has demanded human rights since the days of Jo Grimond. This obliqueness of purpose grows clearer as one recalls that we have a perfectly good British Bill of Rights
continue reading Bill of Rights – Solicitors Journal
What possible point could there be to Nadine Dorries legislative amendment excluding abortion clinics from ever giving advice to pregnant women if it isn’t to limit abortions?
In what many commentators have called a dishonest article in the Mail last week, Ms Dorries MP asserted that the point of her proposed change to the Health and Social Care Bill is that she supports a woman’s right to choose. Her opening paragraphs disclose the real reason by graphically describing a late abortion she alleges she witnessed.
How is this personal horror story relevant to an amendment on who should give
continue reading Abortion: Leaving well enough alone
Also available on the Guardian website.
National revulsion and popular demand for punishment are dangerous things. They licensed the rule-bending that miscarried justice in the 80s, for the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four. In the miners’ strike, once Margaret Thatcher had called the NUM “the enemy within”,it was next to impossible to get them honestly policed or fairly tried.
How far from that danger re-emerging are we now when David Cameron asserts that everyone involved with rioting, however peripherally, No blanket sentencing: Comment is free 18th August
What the House of Commons should discuss on the Riots: Article for Huffington Post website.
Historically, rape defences have sought to move the responsibility from men and to blame women, for instance for wearing the wrong clothes, having the wrong amount to drink or for not uttering the word “no” plainly enough. Relatively new is a defence that some men can be wholly without responsibility for sexual assaults because they may be unconscious and asleep while having sex. In at least four British cases, defendants have been acquitted of rape in this way and freed. These verdicts are arguably wrong in law. They are certainly a travesty for the women with whom they had
continue reading Men who Rape in their sleep: Sexomnia or another excuse
We have got to take our share of the responsibility for saying again and again that we have a deficit because of the international banking crisis which lead to a recession and not because Labour is economically incompetent. On the contrary the Labour Government showed the world the way out of recession. Even Cameron says that the economy is now “Out of the danger zone” If he is right, that can have nothing to do with the activities of the Coalition Government. It is clear that economic measures take time to before they make a difference. It is because
continue reading Short speech at the Labour Women’s Summit – Labour Party Conference
“There are two ways of making the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child enforceable in UK courts. The first way is to incorporate the Convention as a whole into our law and the second way is to implement what the Convention does in piecemeal legislation, eventually trying to cover all the areas it covers. Lady Joan Walmsley’s Children’s Rights Bill, introduced into the House of Lords in November 2009 would have incorporated the Children’s Rights Convention directly into our law, in the same way that our Human Rights Act incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights.
continue reading The Rights of the Child – UNICEF London