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

August 2014 Archives

A damning report has been released by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the government organisation responsive for ensuring UK police forces are operating correctly concerning the child sexual exploitation (CSE) discovered in Rotherham, reports the Guardian.

This report follows an earlier investigation commissioned by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and carried out by Professor Alexis Jay. The report, released on 21 August 2014, states at a "conservative estimate" approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

The Jay report goes on to indicate serious police failings during this time. The report states: "the scale and seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers. At operational level, the police gave no priority to CSE, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime."

The Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police yesterday called for a major overhaul of the UK's counter-terrorism strategy, after revealing that as many as 200 trained jihadi fighters had already returned from Syria and Iraq, waiting to launch fresh terrorist attacks, reports the London Evening Standard.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police Service. The force is responsible for policing the streets of the capital, but also responsible for the whole of the UK's counter-terrorism work.

Sir Bernard yesterday called for the government to increase funding for counter-terrorism activities amid a warning that the UK was already playing host to as many as 200 trained jihadi fighters, many of whom had come back to the UK from training camps in Iraq and Syria.

Two French citizens have been convicted of trafficking offences at Canterbury Crown Court after they were caught trying to smuggle four Afghan immigrants through the Dover Ferry Port in their car's boot, reports the BBC.

Didier Devos, 36, and Sandra Vienot, 28, were stopped at Dover Ferry Port by immigration officials, where they claimed they were tourists visiting the UK for a day trip.

However the pair became unstuck as officials began to search their vehicle. Officials found two men, a woman and young girl, all from Afghanistan, hidden away in the car's boot.

An international triathlete was forced to answer some awkward questions after a passer-by mistakenly reported his attempt to swim across the British Channel as a possible illegal migration attempt, reports the Daily Telegraph.

John Van Wisse, who is 41, had just completed an 86 mile run from London to the Port of Dover, where he was due to attempt the 21 mile swim to Calais before attempting a further 175 miles by bicycle to complete an epic triathlon.

Mr Van Wisse is hoping to beat the current world record for the feat, held by Briton Mark Bayliss, of 73 hours and 39 minutes.

Apology from Met chief over use of CS spray on Protesters

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has apologised for an officer using CS spray during the UK Uncut protests on Oxford Street, London, in January 2011, reports the Guardian.

In January 2011, protesters were sprayed with 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS) whilst protesting against tax avoidance. The protesters were sprayed with the gas after a woman had been arrested by police officers for pushing a leaflet through the door of Boots the chemists.

The police took the woman to an alley and protesters followed them. One of the officers then proceeded to spray CS at the protesters.

A new European Union law banning powerful vacuum cleaners because they are not eco-friendly has put British citizens in a spin, as a number of popular high street models will no longer be available from September 1, reports the Daily Mail.

The EU law coming into force on September 1 this year will prohibit the manufacture or import of vacuum cleaners with motors above 1600 watts, in a bid to promote environmentally friendly manufacturing.

However, the ban has riled EU consumers as the ban will target most of the best machines available; and consumer magazine Which? says that the ban will wipe out five of their top seven cleaners of 2014.

Privacy law: modern technology needs to be considered

The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, has stated privacy laws need to be overhauled due to advancements in technology, reports The Telegraph.

Lord Neuberger, speaking at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club, has stated the "astonishing" speed with which information can now be distributed and displayed has led to "enormous challenges" for the law.

His comments come after a period of cases that have seen the law struggle with the speed the internet can disseminate information.

A former EU judge has spoken out against proposals that would see an independent Scotland charge students from the rest of the UK tuition fees, saying that such charges would be illegal under EU law, reports the BBC.

A former European Court justice, Professor Sir David Edward, has provided written advice to the pro-Union group Academics Together suggesting that the Independent Scotland proposal to charge other UK citizens for higher education would contravene EU law.

The Scottish government currently allows Scottish citizens free tuition fees for higher education, but charges students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland tuition fees, which it says are essential to ensure that Scottish students can gain places at Scottish Universities.

A family lawyer has told the Telegraph newspapers that the 'poker effect' is causing the financially weaker party in a divorce to fold early and accept unfair settlement offers to avoid the high costs associated with contested divorces.

The Telegraph interviewed Paul Hunt, a solicitor at firm Kirwans who has many years experience in family law and divorce law in particular, and who believes that the rising cost of divorce has made the process less fair.

Last year the UK government scrapped legal aid for almost all divorce cases, putting an end to state-sponsored legal representation for most divorcing couples.

Employment law: Tribunal rules sacking of professor unfair dismissal

TV psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie was unfairly dismissed by the University of Manchester, reports the BBC.

For ten series, Channel 4's psychologist for their hit show Big Brother was Professor Geoff Beattie from the University of Manchester. While the Professor was employed by Channel 4 alongside his employment at the university, the latter did encourage its academic staff to pursue work outside the university to broaden their interest and therefore their offering to current students.

Not only were employers at the University of Manchester aware of Professor Beattie's role in the show Big Brother, they actively endorsed it and used his TV personality status as a marketing tool to attract prospective students.

Despite the death of Clint Townsend, an armed robber who was held down by brave passers by after he raided a jewellers, a coroner has ruled that those restraining him committed no crime, reports the Daily Mail.

In an armed raid on an Oxford jewellers in March last year, Clint Townsend, was observed by a number of passers by, eight of whom acted with bravery by wrestling him to the ground and detaining him until the police arrived.

The eight members of the public were only on top of Townsend for three to four minutes as the police response was incredibly swift. However, during those few minutes, Townsend fell into a coma as his brain was starved of oxygen and died the following day.

Family law: Proposal to open up family court hearings to the public

In a remarkable move to address criticism surrounding judgements made in the Court of Protection, President of the High Court's family division, Sir James Munby, has proposed that the public be granted access to family court hearings in the future, reports The Telegraph.

Opening up the doors to family court hearings would be a monumental change to the system that has long been in place. However, Sir James is set on actualizing his 'transparency agenda' and thus has proposed that members of the public be welcome to hear family court cases.

The proposal follows a period of widespread criticism following a number of (what the public have deemed to be) questionable judgements made inside the Court of Protection.

Criminal: Ministers plan to create a crime of domestic abuse

The Home Secretary is in consultation with ministers to create a crime of domestic abuse, making the process of convicting perpetrators significantly quicker and easier, reports the BBC.

No specific crime of domestic abuse is currently recognised under UK law, however action against abusers can be sought through other areas of the law, those relating to coercive or controlling behaviour, assault and harassment, for example. Yet despite the routes for bringing perpetrators to justice, there is no straightforward or swift option for victims.

Theresa May proposes that domestic violence be made an offence, not only making it easier for victims to bring their abusers to justice, but also for police to be clear upon how and when they can intervene since the appropriate action in many situations currently remains ambiguous. She has requested that chief constables create a plan of action for improving police performance on cases of domestic abuse by next month.

Criminal: Armed Selfridges robbers are sentenced to 58 years in prison

Thugs who stole millions of pounds worth of jewellery during an armed raid on Selfridges are sentenced to prison, reports the Daily Mail.

During daylight hours on 6th June 2013, five armed robbers entered London's Selfridges store and terrified staff and shoppers as they wielded axes and sledgehammers to destroy jewellery display cabinets and steal £1.5million worth of goods. All of the robbers wore burkas to mask their identity.

'A total of 142 designer watches were taken, although 41 were recovered from Curtin and Groake, and investigators totaled the combined value of the goods at £1,496,000. Police estimated the damage caused to the shop during the raid combined with the value of the goods totalled more than £2.2million', explains the Daily Mail.

Arbitration tribunal rules that government's termination of its contract with e-Borders firm, Raytheon, was unlawful, reports the BBC.

Having signed a nine-year contract with US e-Borders firm, Raytheon, in 2007, the government later deemed the programme a failure and believed there was no way of saving it. Terminating the contract with Raytheon just three years into the contract, Raytheon sought compensation through the arbitration tribunal which settles disputes regarding global contracts.

'Raytheon threatened to sue ministers for £500m, blaming the UK Border Agency for the failings, before the two sides entered into binding arbitration to reach a settlement', reports the BBC.

Legal teams representing Premier League football clubs will not be pursing legal action against fans who had shared unofficial match footage via the video distribution site Vine, reports the Lawyer.

On Friday 15 August, Premier League officials told fans any recordings of live footage during matches that was then shared online would be considered a serious breach of copyright.

The officials stated: "the use of Vines and GIFs to show Premier League football is a breach of copyright, and we would encourage fans to use legitimate means to access this content, such as The Sun or The Times goal apps."

Human Rights: EU 'Right to be Forgotten' law causes controversy

Numerous requests made to Google to have links to articles removed quoting the European right to be forgotten have sparked a heated debate, reports The Telegraph.

Following the removal of countless links to articles regarding criminal activity, the EU's right to be forgotten law has been pulled into question. Most recently, articles relating to the case of the notorious British woman who was imprisoned for running a Europe-wide call girl service have had their links removed by Google.

The right to be forgotten, as acknowledged by the European Commission in 2012, allows individuals to request the deletion of information about themselves.

After two years inside the safety of the building in Knightsbridge, Julian Assange has announced his plan to leave the embassy as a result of the changes made to UK extradition law, reports the Telegraph.

Having claimed political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over two years, recent changes to UK extradition law have prompted the WikiLeaks founder to announce his imminent departure.

Granted asylum in order to protect him from being extradited to Sweden to face two charges of rape in the knowledge that such extradition would almost certainly see Assange then extradited to the US to answer charges relating to his website and its role in jeopardising national security, the WikiLeaks founder has enjoyed a safe haven in the Ecuadorian embassy. He was given asylum to protect his human rights as there was no legal requirement for there to be a charging decision from Swedish prosecutors in order to issue the warrant for his arrest back in 2010.

Due to a potential overhaul of the current Freedom of Information laws, any company providing public services such as energy companies could be compelled to reveal details of their business, reports the Telegraph.

The Liberal Democrats are attempting to put together a proposal that would see public service companies be forced to disclose information such as details of their employees' salaries and bonuses, the companies' profits and losses, ownership and tax situation. Furthermore, these companies would need to explain why certain business decisions were made, such as waste disposal companies dropping weekly bin collections.

The changes would be created through both primary and secondary legislation and affect the depth of information certain private companies need to disclose to the public.

35 people, believed to be illegal immigrants, were discovering in a shipping container this Saturday after "screaming and banging" was heard by Tilbury port workers, reports the Guardian.

On Saturday 16 August, port workers discovered 35 people, including 10 children, in a steel shipping container at Tilbury port whilst it was being unloaded from a ship that had arrived from Zeebrugge in Belgium. The occupants are believed both to be Sikhs from Afghanistan and in the UK illegally.

Once heard, the port workers opened the container to find men and women aged between 18 and 72, and 13 children aged between one and 12.

Criminal: Police accuse BBC of breaking its own rules

In a controversial act, the BBC broadcast live coverage of the police raid on Sir Cliff Richard's home last week. The broadcaster has now been greatly criticised and is accused of 'breaking its own guidelines' by putting police under pressure to ensure they knew of the raid before it occurred, reports the Daily Mail.

It is claimed that the BBC knew of the accusation that Sir Cliff Richard sexually assaulted a child in the 1980s long before the inquiry was documented. South Yorkshire Police who are dealing with the charge against the star, are said to be appalled by the BBC's conduct in this case. It was revealed that the broadcaster contacted the police weeks ago enquiring about their investigation into Sir Cliff, causing officers in charge to feel concerned that the story might be leaked.

Following this contact with the BBC, South Yorkshire Police made a deal with the broadcaster in order to prevent the public being made aware of the case against Sir Cliff thus avoiding jeopardising their investigation. The Daily Mail reports: 'South Yorkshire Police admitted striking an unprecedented deal whereby the BBC would be given exclusive information in advance of the raid - allowing them to show it live on TV - "in return for delaying publication" of their story'.

Criminal: UKIP MEP calls for reintroduction of capital punishment

On the anniversary of the final death by capital punishment, UKIP MEP, Louise Bours, calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty, reports the Daily Mail.

Despite many celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the last case of capital punishment in the UK and the subject being highly controversial, Louise Bours has made it her prerogative to argue for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

Insisting that her case for the reinstatement of capital punishment is based on ethical grounds, Bours made an example of child and police murderers stating that there was no good reason to use tax-payers money to keep such criminals alive and well in prison.

A woman who was arrested for attempting to smuggle money into Turkey to fund terrorism was found not guilty, though her old friend and organiser of the entire operation was, reports the BBC.

Londoner, Nawal Msaad, was stopped by police at Heathrow and was discovered to be concealing a large amount of money in euro notes, totaling £15,800. At the time of her arrest, Ms Msaad was attempting to board a plane to Turkey. Not only was she suspected of funding terrorism but the cash she held was almost entirely made up of €500 notes which have been banned in the UK.

It became apparent that Ms Msaad was taking the money over on the request of an old friend, Amal El-Wahabi whose husband is a jihadist fighter in Syria. Arguing in her defence, Ms Msaad told the court that she had no idea that the money was intended to fund terrorism and had been under the impression that paying her as a personal courier must be cheaper than arranging a currency transfer. Furthermore, she had assumed the money was a contribution towards the cost of moving Ms El-Wahabi over to the Middle East to join her husband

Liberal Democrat drugs minister, Norman Baker, will be sending a letter to Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative health secretary, calling for cannabis to be legalised to relieve symptoms of particular medical conditions, the Guardian reports.

Baker will be informing Hunt that the current laws regarding cannabis use are too restrictive and cannabis-based drugs can aid suffers of conditions such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS and Crohn's disease.

Currently, cannabis is considered a class B drug in the UK and, if caught in possession, a person can receive up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.

A recent report has expressed concern for the number of young prisoners taking their own lives, reports the BBC.

Following a report into 80 suicides by young prisoners that have taken place in the last seven years, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen, has expressed his concern at the findings. The inmates concerned were aged between 18 and 24 and all based in England and Wales. Primarily, Mr Newcomen would welcome more substantial risk assessment for each prisoner to act as a preventative measure in these circumstances.

The report commented on the impact of bullying within the prison, the procedure by which prisoners were assessed as 'vulnerable' and the accessibility of inmate's friends and family. It found that prisoners who were bullied ought to be monitored closely as this would make them a high concern for suicide or self-harm. In addition, the report found that, in some cases, concerns expressed by loved ones were not taken seriously enough by prison officers.

Fraud: Benefits cheat with private income sentenced to jail

Benefits cheat, Seema Bassi of Illford, Essex, has been jailed for twelve months following her court hearing, reports the Daily Mail.

Despite boasting a sizeable portfolio of 26 properties which she leased to both private and council tenants, Ms Bassi managed to cheat the British benefits system, claiming a total of £74,000.

Posing as an unemployed single mother, 49-year-old Bassi successfully hid her income from officials until her brother was investigated for tax evasion. It was only when investigators found that Ms Bassi's brother had sold 18 properties to her that she was herself suspected of fraud.

It has been found that a large number of domestic abusers are not being given criminal records even after they have carried out acts of domestic violence because they have been allowed to apologise.

These apologies are known as "community resolutions" and have been used more frequently in recent years instead of actual criminal prosecutions. In comparison to figures four years ago, the use of "community resolutions" has more than doubled according to the data provided by 15 of the UK's police forces.

The idea behind community resolutions was to reduce the amount of cases put through the criminal justice system, which would inevitably eliminate the strain created by such cases.

It has been claimed by Business for Britain, a group of well-regarded business leaders, the EU's green energy laws will but 1.5m manufacturing jobs at risk in the UK reports the Telegraph.

Business for Britain (BfB) has published a report claiming new green policies created in Brussels will put 1.5m UK jobs at risk due the costs the new laws will have on British manufacturing.

BfB claim EU policies are the culprit for nine per cent of energy bills for industrial companies; they also warn these costs could rise to 16 per cent by 2030.

A parliamentary group that looks specifically at legislation around alcohol has recommended that all alcoholic drinks carry health warnings to help to combat the harmful effects of problem drinking, reports the BBC.

Alcohol is one of the biggest health issues of our generation, as millions flood into Emergency Departments around the country every year with health problems related to drinking.

Alcohol also carries a huge social cost, with anti-social behaviour and violence both strongly linked to both chronic and binge-drinking alcohol consumption.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have called on the government to legislate to save public houses in the face of statistics showing as many as 30 pubs are closing down each week, reports the BBC.

CAMRA has called for a change in the law to make it harder for pub owners to sell their property for conversion into other uses, such as retail or housing.

The organisation, who promote pub culture and campaign for the promotion of real ale in the UK, cite a statistic which shows that around 30 pubs have shut down each week in the UK, a rise on the 25 per week compared to last year.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that ten prisoners, located in Scottish prisons, who had been denied the vote in the 2009 European elections, were not to be paid compensation despite confirming their human rights had been breached, reports the Guardian.

In 2004, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), based in Strasbourg informed the UK government that a blanket ban on denying prisoners the right to vote was a breach of their human rights. However, successive UK governments have ignored this ruling and in December, 2013, David Cameron stated prisoners "damn well shouldn't" be given the right to vote.

The 2004 ruling was announced after the ECHR received a claim from John Hirst, a convicted killer who was found guilty of the manslaughter of his landlady, Bronia Burton, in 1979. Yet seven years later, MPs voted to keen the ban on prisoners not on remand despite the ECHR continuous calls to comply with its ruling.

Tobacco: UK enclave of Gibraltar a 'haven' for tobacco smuggling

A European fraud prevention body has written to the British and Spanish governments to notify them of the problem of cigarette smuggling out of Gibraltar, reports the Mail Online.

The Spanish government were the first to highlight the problem of cigarette smuggling out of Gibraltar after customs officials in Spain noticed the sheer size of cigarette imports into the British Overseas Territory.

Officials in Spain noted that 117m packets of cigarettes were imported into Gibraltar in 2013, enough to ensure that every single citizen would need to smoke 180 cigarettes a day to maintain these imported cigarette numbers within Gibraltar-borders.

A knife manufacturer may be free of legal action after Bear Grylls tweeted the company was "good to go" after a dispute over the knife manufacturer's name, reports the BBC.

Bear Blades, a knife manufacturer based in Swanage, Dorset had previously been told by Bear Grylls Ventures that it must drop the word "bear" from its branding.

Bear Grylls Ventures, a limited liability partnership that manages the business of celebrity adventurer, Bear Grylls, had requested the knife company remove the name as they considered it similar to Bear Grylls' own logo. A letter to this effect was sent from their lawyers Carpmaels & Ransford. Carpmaels & Ransford letter stated they were concerned the Bear Blades' logo "Bear Blades. Steel. Strength. Utility." was "very similar" to their client's own logo and may cause confusion among consumers.

The Federal Republic of Argentina has filed legal papers against the United States at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands, over the South American's sovereign debt crisis, reports Reuters.

Argentina defaulted on its sovereign debt for the second time this century last week, after it lost a long-running battle with several hedge funds over an attempted restructuring of the country's significant debts.

Argentina successfully restructured its debts in 2010, however a number of private investors, hedge funds and bondholder associations declined the terms of the restructuring, becoming known as 'holdouts'.

Surrogate mother, Pattaramon Janbua, was left to care for baby boy when Australian parents abandoned him in Thailand. She now faces criminal charges for human trafficking, reports the Daily Mail.

Following the widespread publication of Ms Pattaramon's story of surrogacy and subsequent 'adoption' of her abandoned baby boy, the mother faces criminal charges in her home country for carrying the child as a surrogate. Thailand is unclear on the rules and regulations surrounding surrogacy and the laws remain ambiguous at best. As the Daily Mail reports, the practice is 'neither legal nor illegal in Thailand', yet the Ministry of Public Health seems adamant that surrogacy is in fact illegal.

'The ministry says the fact that Ms Pataramon received payment of $16,000 as the surrogate mother of Gammy and his twin sister was in contravention of Thailand's human trafficking laws', reports the Daily Mail.

Criminal law: Undercover reporter faces legal challenges

Former reporter for The Sun on Sunday, Mazher Mahmood, could face criminal proceedings himself after his failed attempt to have celebrity Tulisa Contostavalos convicted for drug offences, reports the Daily Mail.

Having failed in his efforts to see Tulisa behind bars, Mazher Mahmood is accused of perjury and perverting the course of justice. It has emerged that the reporter both lied in court and manipulated evidence in order to strengthen the prosecution case against Tulisa.

In an attempt to have Tulisa convicted of drug crimes, Mr Mahmood posed as a Hollywood film executive interested in offering Tulisa a career-changing role while requesting she set up a cocaine deal on his behalf.

Ed Balls has received more points on his licence after fleeing the scene of an accident having bumped into another car, reports the Daily Mail.

Despite insisting that he was unaware that the car he bumped into was in any way damaged, the Shadow Chancellor has received a fine and points as a penalty for fleeing the scene of an accident.

Acknowledging that the offence was not the most serious of its kind, the district judge overseeing the case refrained from punishing Mr Balls with a complete driving ban, opting for five points on his licence instead and a fine of £900. In addition, Mr Balls was made to pay an extra £175 in Government surcharges and prosecution fees.

Former judge and barrister struck off

Shamed former barrister and judge, Constance Briscoe, has been struck off the judiciary following her time in jail, reports the BBC.

Convicted and sentenced for attempting to pervert the court of justice, Constance Briscoe will no longer be able to practice in the legal field in which she formerly thrived.

Arrested in October 2012, Briscoe was discovered to have been manipulating information in the case of her friend and neighbor during an investigation into a driving offence. It has been revealed that Briscoe 'lied to police in a statement, falsified a statement and provided a false document to an expert witness', reports the BBC.

Family law: British expats face UAE Sharia law

Expatriates living in UAE are subject to Sharia law which dramatically changes divorce and child custody cases, reports the BBC.

Cautions have been given by the Foreign Office to all British expatriates currently residing in the UAE as they face family court hearings under Islamic Sharia law. In cases such as divorce and child custody battles, Sharia law dramatically changes the outcome in its understanding of the rights of women and mothers.

Upon moving to the UAE, British citizens are granted UAE personal status law which allows them to demand a court hearing under Sharia law, regardless of whether or not they themselves are Muslim. The tighter constraints on acceptable behaviour of women and the view of the father being the 'main sponsor of the child' means that many cases heard under such conditions have a dramatically different conclusion to those heard in British courts.

Fraud: Parking fines issued using wrong law

Thousands of rail commuters have been wrongly fined for using station car parks, reports the Daily Mail.

MET Parking Services has been accused of issuing false parking tickets as it is discovered that the company used the wrong law to hand out penalty notices. Furthermore, the company now faces accusations of pursuing payment under false pretences.

Admitting fault, MET has acknowledged that over 1,000 tickets were incorrectly distributed and, as a result, 679 of these (all of which remained outstanding) had been cancelled. However, manager of website Parking Prankster, claims that this number may only relate to tickets issued in one particular car park and the true number of falsely issued tickets is likely to in fact be closer to 40,000.

Information: Government to share private data for the first time

The government is planning to share the private data of millions of citizens across Whitehall databases for the first time, without seeking prior approval from the individuals concerned, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The government is planning to link access to databases containing reams of personal information in order to make the sharing of information within local and central government easier.

It is understood that the proposals will see private information shared between councils, schools and the police. The Telegraph speculates that the sort of data involved could include driving licence information held by the DVLA, police criminal records, and information stored by your local council.

British couples thinking of shopping for surrogacy opportunities abroad have been warned of the dangers after an Australian couple stand accused of abandoning a baby boy with Down's Syndrome, reports the BBC.

British couples thinking of travelling abroad in order to have a surrogate child are being warned to be extra careful, after the tragic case of an abandoned Thai surrogate child hit global news channels.

Gammy Chanbua was born to his biological mother, Pattharamon, in a hospital in Thailand as one of two baby twins.

Employment abroad: Mountain bike instructor faces jail in France

A British Mountain bike instructor is facing jail in France for working without appropriate qualifications, the second case of its kind after ski instructor Simon Butler faced jail for a similar offence, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Alastair Jamieson, 36, is a mountain bike instructor in the French Alps, working with a top-class qualification from the UK, and 13 years experience in the trade.

The French authorities are unimpressed however, and have warned Mr Jamieson that he is forbidden from working in France because he lacks a French qualification, and that his experience counts for nothing as it was gained abroad.

A lawyer who participated in the Clipper 'Round the World' sailing challenge is suing Sir Robin Knox-Johnston for alleged harassment whilst on her trip, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Ruth Harvey is an employment law specialist who took a year away from work to participate in the gruelling Clipper 'Round the World' sailing event.

The event was the brainchild of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who was the first man to sail single handed around the world back in 1969, and who became the oldest man to achieve the same feat back in 2006.

The City of London Police have begun placing anti-piracy banners on websites suspected of offering pirate media content for downloading, in a bid to deter site users from breaching intellectual property law, reports the BBC.

The City of London police messages will appear as large colour banners in place of regular advertising slots on websites that have been shown to be offering pirated media, such as music and films, for users to download.

The banners will notify site users that the website has been reported to police for breaching copyright law, and advises users to close their web browser without illegally downloading content from the site.

A new pilot scheme will see offenders convicted of crimes related to their drinking asked to wear a new type of ankle bracelet that can monitor their alcohol consumption, in a bid to tackle the link between excess alcohol consumption and crime.

The consequences of alcohol-related offences are thought to affect around 1% of the entire UK population, with around 1m alcohol related violent incidents recorded in England and Wales each year.

Alcohol-related offences include those where drinking is part of the offence, such as drink driving or being drunk and disorderly, but also those where alcohol plays a part, such as in alcohol fuelled assaults and anti-social behaviour.