Short speech at the Labour Women’s Summit – Labour Party Conference

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

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The Rights of the Child – UNICEF London

“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.

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“Homicide, Partial Defences and Gender Equality” – University of Hertfordshire

Homicide is the most serious crime in the criminal calendar. It ranges from contract killing where there is a plain intention to execute, through manslaughter causing death by gross negligence or dangerous driving, the killing of an infant by the mother within 6 months of birth, without mentioning genocide, suicide pacts and mercy killing The top of this pinnacle of death-causing crimes is Murder – the most serious crime of this most serious crime of homicide. Though it is now boiled down to being – Killing either intending to kill or to cause really serious bodily harm – it

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Speech to Freshfield’s Africa Gender Justice week

As Solicitor General in the Labour Government, I was able to input into the criminal justice system through my joint role with the Attorney General in having overview and superintendence of the Crown Prosecution Service. The focus of what I will say is on sexual violence since you have had some presentations on domestic violence. We worked hard to increase reporting of sexual violence to the authorities and to improve conviction rates; to ensure that victims are supported, that the criminal justice responds well and through signalling from our criminal justice work as well as engaging other government departments

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Universal Jurisdiction -  The Individual Freedom to Commence a Private Prosecution should be retained

David Cameron’s condemnation of the Israeli naval attack on the flotilla and his assertion that Gaza is “a prison camp” ought to make him think again about William Hague’s decision to abolish the right of a private citizen, in the UK, to start a prosecution for war crime.

This right came to the fore last December with an imminent visit to London by Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni. She was a key Government Minister at the time of “Operation Cast Lead” the bombardment of Gaza in 2008 which the Goldstone Inquiry had just condemned as unlawful. British solicitors working

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Letter to the Editor of The Times

Yesterday’s decision by Theresa May to cut the Police Inspectorate’s inquiry into the Worboys and Reid rape cases means that lessons from these two shamefully badly investigated cases will never be learnt. Sexual assaults committed by the London taxi driver Worboys were reported to police by a number of victims but he was left to rape again and again, in all seriously assaulting about 120 women. Kirk Reid was reported a dozen times and finally convicted of 26 serious sexual assaults, most of which ought to have been prevented. Scrapping this inquiry is the equivalent of refusing to investigate

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Who will police the Police?

This week, on the very day that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission reported that black people are 15% of police stop and search victims whilst numbering only 3% of the population, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police asked the Home Secretary to protect his force against lawsuits. Typically, lawsuits against the police are for excessive use of their powers. The ECHR’s figures – and recent experience – suggest that such excesses continue. Clearly redress should be available and Stephenson’s pleas should fall on deaf ears. If there is one group of people who ought to be accessible to

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Unanswered Questions in the Rape Retraction Saga

The criminal justice professionals who contributed to the saga of “Sarah”, as the Guardian named her in Saturday’s interview, the Powys women imprisoned for retracting her rape complaint against her husband, have serious questions to answer.

It is a catastrophic case not only for the already victimised woman who has been criminalised, imprisoned and, for the time being, robbed of her children, and for the public, since a man the authorities were satisfied had raped her and believed had perverted the course of justice, is free. It will also terrify the many other rape complainants, who are abused by

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Save the citizens' right!

The Tory-led government, under pressure from Israel, intends to end the citizen right to initiate a prosecution for war crime. Clause 151 of the Police and Social Responsibility Bill will require the DPP’s consent before a warrant for arrest can be issued, however strong the evidence. This citizen right, as many senior judges have said, is a vital safeguard against inertia or partiality by the authorities. It is all the more important with international war crimes when Government may not want to prosecute the most serious criminal if it upsets a country, like Israel, with which they have diplomatic

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Welcome to my new website. This is the new blog. I will be making frequent updates and keeping you informed of some of my activities.

The new site also contains an archive of selected speeches and articles and a page on Astraea: Gender Justice.

Astraea is a new research company in which I am working with Professor Jill Radford. We are hoping to register as a charity.

We are part way through an interesting new project on how rape complainants fare if they apply for Criminal Injuries Compensation and are delighted that Victim Support, Rape Crisis and some

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