The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Terrorism: Sydney gunman was not on terror watch list

The gunman who held a central Sydney café and its staff and customers hostage for 16 hours earlier this week claiming he was acting on behalf of terrorist group, the Islamic State, did not feature on security's priority watch list despite being well known to the police, the Telegraph reports.

Disturbed Iranian-born gunman, Man Haron Monis, held up a popular café and its 17 occupants on Monday morning. The siege lasted 16 hours and involved two victim fatalities as well as a number of injuries and resulted in Monis' death.

Some of the hostages were forced to hold a flag up against the shop window with Islamic wording on the front. Other muslims who are horrified by the siege and condemned the attack commented that the use of the Islamic flag was a "testimony of faith that has been misappropriated by misguided individuals," the Telegraph reports.

Fraud: Former chief executive of JJB Sports sentenced over £1m fraud

Christopher Ronnie, convicted in November for this elaborate fraud, has now been sentenced to four years in prison, the BBC reports.

Accepting bribes from company suppliers, Ronnie pocketed just shy of £1million and went out of his way to conceal these payments. Using the money to purchase a holiday property in Florida, Ronnie had attempted to tie the money up and hide it away.

Furthermore, Ronnie then falsified documents to his bank. At the time, the company JJB Sports was in £150million worth of debt and was subsequently dissolved. Ronnie was also personally indebted to Icelandic Bank Kaupthing Singer Friedlander to the amount of almost £11million.

Terrorism: Four terrorists who failed in their plans lose appeal at ECHR

Four men who were arrested and imprisoned following failed suicide bomb attempts on public transport on 21 July 2005 have lost their appeal at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the BBC reports.

In an attempt to recreate the attacks of the 7 July 2005, four extremists of al-Qaeda persuasion boarded four different forms of public transport in London just weeks later on the 21 July. Three of the men targeted the tube while one boarded a bus, all of them wearing their homemade bombs.

Fortunately, the bombs had not been made properly and therefore were not able to be detonated, saving the lives of hundreds of members of the public. Debris from the bombs was found in tube carriages and CCTV footage gave police leading images in the hunt for the four men after the failed bombings. All were found and arrested within eight days, though one man had fled as far as Rome.

A teenager who was convicted and sentenced to death years ago has now been declared innocent in an unprecedented overturn of his case by the Chinese court, the Daily Mail reports.

In 1996, Hugjiltu was convicted of the rape and murder of a woman in Mongolia and was killed as a result of his death sentence just weeks later. At the time of his conviction, Hugjiltu had been interrogated for two days forcing him to sign a confession. However, his guilt was questioned in 2005, almost ten years later, when another man admitted to the crime he was sentenced to death for.

The second man's confession led to Hugjiltu's case being reopened by the courts and, in a previously unheard of change of sentencing, he was cleared of all convictions. Yet, the overturn of his conviction is far too late as Hugjiltu was killed almost 20 years ago and his family have reacted with distraught outrage at the Chinese court.

Constitutional law: 'English laws' debate under way

The subject of enabling just English MPs to vote on laws that will only a ffect England is causing much debate in Westminster, the BBC reports.

Stemming from the Scottish independence campaign and the subsequent promise by Government to divulge more powers to Scotland, Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a similar right for England and therefore has suggested that English MPs should be the only ones to vote on English laws.

However, this approach is not popular with other Members of Parliament, particularly the Labour party. Even the Liberal Democrats have expressed their concern that such a practice might see Government reneging on promises they made to Scotland following the vote against independence.

Criminal law: Millionaire found murdered at Mayfair home

The body of self-made millionaire, David West, has been found at his Mayfair home and his son has been arrested and charged on suspicion of his murder, the Daily Mail reports.

It is alleged that David West's son, 44 and also named David West, stabbed his father to death at his home in Ormond Yard. A post-mortem examination confirmed that one stab wound had proved fatal and killed him.

David West junior has been charged with murdering his father and appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday.

Compensation: Air passengers delayed by IT failure to receive no payout

Over one hundred thousand air passengers have been delayed by a technical fault but are set to receive no compensation as a result of a loophole in EU law, the Daily Mail reports.

An IT failure which was caused by an overload to the flight path data system at the UK's national air traffic control centre has delayed thousands of passengers, leaving them stranded at London airports since Friday afternoon. The overload of data caused the system to shut down wreaking havoc for all passengers and airlines.

The technical glitch forced London airspace to be shut down momentarily. Although the air traffic controllers at the UK base were still able to communicate with pilots and see their location in the airspace, the system providing information regarding altitude and flight paths closed down leading to major problems.

Disabled actress suffering from dwarfism wins discrimination case against the Post Office, the BBC reports.

A settlement has been reached to compensate actress Kiruna Stamell who sued the Post Office when she found she was unable to reach the chip and pin machines in one of their branches due to her dwarfism. Ms Stammell claimed that this was discriminatory against people suffering from her disability and the Post Office conceded, offering her a sum to compensate.

It was reported that Ms Stammell had been left feeling humiliated by her experience at the Post Office where staff had attempted to build steps using cardboard boxes in order for her to reach the chip and pin machine. Ms Stammell commented that the presence of a number of other customers witnessing this made the whole experience deeply embarrassing.

Immigration: Migrant dies trying to climb out from under a lorry

An illegal immigrant of Sudanese origin has been pronounced dead after attempting to flee the lorry he boarded in Calais once it had reached the UK, the BBC reports.

Boarding the lorry underneath its main body at Calais, two Sudanese migrants braved freezing conditions in a desperate attempt to make it to England. As the lorry crossed the channel and began to make its way across the UK, it became stuck in heavy traffic on the M25 motorway.

The two men seized their opportunity to escape when the lorry came to a standstill on the motorway. The first of the men climbed down and ran down a grassy verge. However, the second man is believed to have become stuck underneath the rear wheels as the lorry began to move again.

Fraud: Deaf family falsely claimed hundreds of thousands in benefits

A deaf couple and their two children appear in court to face several charges of fraud, the Daily Mail reports.

It is reported that Shahab and his wife Shehnaz Reza, fraudulently claimed over £900,000 in benefits, abusing their disability to con officials. The couple even recruited their children and friends to increase the amounts they could claim. Rather than spending the money on sign language interpreters and other such disability-related activities as they claimed, the couple treated themselves to properties, diamonds and luxury holidays.

While Shahab admitted to his part in the scam and awaits a sentencing, his wife and two children claimed they were simply following his instruction in an attempt to rid themselves of responsibility. The two children, Abbas, 26 and Zainab, 22, both admitted to signing documents for their father and speaking on his behalf but rejected the argument that they knew exactly what the documents they were signing were going to be used for.

Immigration: Damning report for citizenship checks

A recent report has shown details of British citizenship being granted to convicted criminals when immigration officials missed key individual history checks, the BBC reports.

Chief Borders Inspector, John Vine, ran the report which involved looking over 179 applications and decisions for British citizenship. The report was a study of nationality casework and, for Mr Vine, raised serious concerns about the methods used and details overlooked by immigration officials when deciding upon granting citizenship.

According to the BBC, Mr Vine discovered that applicants' criminal records from their home countres were not being checked. Despite the rest of the process for granting citizenship were being carried out correctly, this one huge oversight meant that in one case, an asylum seeker was wanted for murder, but immigration officials neglected to check their background.

Following the publication of a summary of a damning report on CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists, human rights groups are demanding that the US responds by taking legal action against those involved, the BBC reports.

A Senate report deemed the practices and methods used to interrogate terror suspects by the CIA during Bush's time as President 'brutal' and discussed torture tactics used by officers.

The practices began after the 9/11 al-Qaeda attack on the US, prompting widespread arrest and in-depth questioning of individuals suspected of being involved with the terrorist group. The CIA and government officials then endorsed and carried out torture methods in an attempt to gain intelligence on the terror groups and their activity.

Criminal law: Prosecutors win bid to appeal Pistorius charge

A judge has granted state prosecutors the right to appeal against Pistorius' conviction and challenge that he is in fact guilty of murder, the BBC reports.

Sentenced for culpable homicide in October this year, the prosecutors working on the case against Oscar Pistorius were deeply disappointed with his conviction. They argue that he should in fact have been found guilty of murder rather than homicide. Furthermore, they deemed the five-year minimum sentence far too lenient for the crime committed.

While Pistorius' defence lawyers attempted to see the appeal from the state prosecutors dismissed, Judge Thokozile Masipa granted their appeal against the acquittal of a murder charge but would not permit the minimum sentence agreed upon in October to be appealed against.

Survivors of the Holocaust who were taken to Nazi concentration camps by SNCF will be able to make a compensation claim funded by the French Government, the Daily Mail reports.

The move comes in a bid by the US Government to end all compensation lawsuits against SNCF. The US and France agreed to a £40million fund from the French Government to be used to compensate victims.

U.S. Special Adviser on Holocaust Issues, Stuart Eizenstat, who worked on the agreement, said: "This is another measure of justice for the harms of one of history's darkest eras."

A tip-off to the police regarding a significant threat to one of their serving officers has been shared with the public, the BBC reports.

While an arrest has been made in relation to this threat, the entire force of the West Midlands Police remains on high alert for their own safety. Police arrested a man, 31, at a property in the West Midlands on Tuesday suspecting him of plotting to kidnap and kill a police officer in an act of terrorism.