Caven blog

Tara Doyle

Judge rules severely anorexic woman should not be force-fed

A High Court judge, sitting at the Court of Protection in London, ruled last Friday that a severely anorexic woman, known only as ‘L’, need not be force-fed by her clinicians.

This ruling was made even though her life appears to be in imminent danger.


Is it time for a law on voluntary euthanasia?

The family of a man with locked-in-syndrome announced his unexpected death from natural causes on Wednesday. This sad event came a week after the man lost his High Court claim to be allowed to end his life with the help of a doctor, as reported by BBC News.

Voluntary euthanasia, also known as assisted dying or assisted suicide, means that a person wants to die and is able to make their wishes known, but cannot accomplish this aim without the aid of another.


MMR jab blamed for partially-deaf girl’s disablement

Last week, the Daily Mail reports, a 21-year-old Scottish woman, Katie Stephen, won a ruling that her deafness in one ear was due to an adverse reaction to the triple MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, which she was given at the age of 15 months.

She had alleged the adverse reaction was similar to the brain disease encephalitis.


‘Honour killing’ and the law

Last week, a mother and father of Pakistani origin were handed life sentences after being found guilty of murdering their daughter (who had been resisting an arranged marriage) in a so-called ‘honour killing’. It is a sad fact that there are approximately 12 ‘honour killings’ per year in the UK.

Distressing cases like this, which have occurred in different ethnic communities within Britain, raise the question of how the justice system should deal with such crimes.


‘Titled’ company director made £1.5 million from benefits scam

The Mail reports that this week at Southwark Crown Court, a self-styled ‘baronet’ was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, and guilty of the further charge of dishonestly obtaining disability benefits.

Barry Brooks, a 49-year-old company director from Bromley in London, who insisted everyone called him ‘Sir’ Barry, claimed benefits after saying he had been in a car crash in March 1993.


Shopkeeper pays £111,859 compensation after customer slips on ‘mushy grapes’

This week, Onkar Singh Gill, a grocer from Middlesex engaged in a seven-year-long legal battle, has been ordered by the Appeal Court in London to pay a large amount of compensation to a female customer who slipped on some fruit outside his shop.

According to the Daily Mail, in November 2005 the customer, 57-year-old Samira Hassan, was looking at fruit on tables outside the shop in Greenford, when she slipped on some grapes lying on the pavement, despite wearing ‘sensible shoes’.


Husband trashed marital home in divorce

A 56-year-old bankrupt builder has been given a two-year supervision order, after he trashed the marital home he shared with his 39-year-old wife in Werrington, Staffordshire.

The Daily Mail reports Kevin Fiore went on the rampage last September at the couple’s £130,000 home after Mrs Katrina Fiore walked out of the marriage, saying she wanted a divorce. The couple had known each other for 14 years, but only married four years ago.


Latest statistics on ‘unduly lenient’ sentences revealed

The Attorney General’s office has released its annual statistics on complaints, which it receives about the length of some prison sentences and community punishments. The Telegraph reports that, in 2011, the Attorney General was sent around 400 such complaints.

If a victim or their family, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), or even an unconnected member of the public believes an offender’s sentence is too light for the crime in question, they may ask the Attorney General to examine the matter.


Ex-NHS Chief drops unfair dismissal claim in ‘super-gag’ deal

A BBC investigation has claimed that Gary Walker, the former chief executive of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, has been silenced about the reasons he was sacked by his NHS employers.

Walker was officially dismissed from his £140,000-per-year post in February 2010 for swearing out loud at board meetings. Walker disagreed with the reason given, and launched an unfair dismissal claim.


Mental health sufferers challenge DWP over new benefit system

Last Friday, at a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, a High Court judge considered whether to grant permission for a judicial review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), regarding its effect on people with mental health problems.

The WCA forms the basis of advice to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which is responsible for awarding the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to claimants who cannot work because of illness or disability. The ESA will have replaced Incapacity Benefit by 2014.


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