Parents who didn’t feed children properly are jailed

A mum and dad who barely fed their eight-year-old daughter and her six-year-old brother have been jailed for 48 weeks….

The youngsters were forced to witness repeated violence between the couple and frequently went to bed without any tea to avoid the warring couple.

Preston Crown Court heard the little girl told her teacher she had not eaten the previous evening as the only food in the house was a lump of cheese – and had begged her school not to make her go home.

Judge Simon Newell said prison was necessary due to the seriousness of the case.

The couple admitted neglecting the two children between September 1 and December 19, 2015, and sat beside each other as a Polish interpreter relayed the proceedings to them.

Prosecuting, Joe Allman said social workers attended their Callon home at around 11 am.

He added: “ As they approached the house they could hear shouting and the couple then came to the door with the boy in between them.

“She was slapping and punching the man and shouting at him in Polish and the boy was visibly upset.

“She shut the door on the social workers who then called 999 for the police.”

The parents were arrested. When the authorities looked around the house they found inadequate food.

The first thing they had to eat that day was a sandwich they made themselves while police were there.

The girl told officers she saw her mother smacking and kicking her father, that her parents were always arguing and she couldn’t do her homework.

The little boy said his mum had been trying to push his father down the stairs and spat at him. If they were given tea it was only a sandwich.

Their behaviour was “as though they had been starved”.

It is the second child neglect case to hit the headlines in Lancashire in the same week.


Read the previous case here

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TRIAL LATEST: Co-worker of man killed by pole plunge says no risk assessment was shown

A colleague of a grandfather who plunged to his death has told jurors how he ‘heard’ the fatal fall.

Barry Bates was giving evidence at the trial of firm Electricity North West, which is being prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive over alleged findings following the death of his fellow linesman John Flowers, 63.

The co workers had been clearing ivy from an electricity pole on Gregson Lane, Hoghton in November 2013 when Mr Flowers accidentally cut through a safety lanyard while it is said his sight of his equipment was restricted.

Mr Bates said: “ I walked to the back of the pole. Then I heard the ladders rattling.”

He then found Mr Flowers on the ground.

After showing jurors pieces of their harness equipment, Mr Bates said he had never been shown a risk assessment of the site.

Prosecuting, Nigel Lawrence QC asked: “Had you been made aware of the fact you would be clearing ivy from the poles or the extent of the ivy growth?”

He replied: “No.”

The court previously heard two surveys noted the dangers from ivy growth on the pole, and that it was rotting, but neither had been acted on.

The firm denies failing to carry out a risk assessment for employees working at height, including Mr Flowers, and contravening work at height regulations by failing to ensure the work was properly planned and supervised.

The HSE says Mr Flowers should have been using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) because the ivy would have prevented his equipment gripping the pole properly.

Mr Bates said: “If a MEWP had been available it would have been used.”


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Mother of 3 overclaimed almost £20,000 of benefits

A mother-of-three overclaimed nearly £20,000 of benefits she was not entitled to, a court has been told.
Gemma, of Robin Hey, Moss Side, Leyland, spent her 34th birthday in the dock at Preston Magistrates’ Court after admitting two charges of dishonestly failing to notify the DWP and South Ribble Council about her change of circumstances.

She must do 100 hours unpaid work and pay an £85 surcharge and £85 costs.
Prosecuting, Peter Bardsley told the bench she had failed to tell the authorities she was living with her partner between October 2013 and December 2015.
At the time she was claiming both income support and housing benefit.
He said: “She didn’t reveal the change. She said she was living as a lone parent with three dependant children that led then to an overpayment of £19,355.13.
“In interview she made some admissions, including that they had been to Cyprus on holiday. She said she never wanted to stop her claim as she couldn’t live without the money. “In her words she said: ‘What happens if he then buggers off?’
The court heard she had no previous convictions and that the authorities were now reclaiming the money on a weekly basis.
Defending, Andrew Nottingham said: “ What a way to spend your 34th birthday when you have never been in court before. This case means she loses her good character after 34 years of not putting a foot wrong.

“She has – and I know this – not taken this matter lightly. It’s been hanging over her for many, many months.
“ She has had a relationship with the father of her four-year-old for a period of time and this claim was made when things were totally legitimate – it wasn’t fraudulent from the outset.
“He was coming and going. Even when he was there he didn’t always pay his own way.
“ Every year she would sign as what her status was. She, like a number of other ladies, was faced with the dilemma if she was going to get any money from him this week.

“If she had done that she may well have been entitled to some benefits but felt she couldn’t risk it. She’s frank – she just had to have certainty in case he left.”

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Teenager accused of rape

A teenager appeared before Burnley Crown Court, accused of three rape allegations, one of them said to involve a 15-year-old girl.

Tyler James Deterville, aged 18, from Roundwood Avenue, Reedley, pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

The alleged offences, relating to two victims, are said to have taken place last year.

The defendant will face trial on July 24th and was bailed on condition of residence and a curfew between 8pm and 6am. He must not contact the alleged victims.

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Supreme Court reserve judgement in term-time holiday legal battle

The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on a landmark legal battle between education chiefs and a father who took his daughter on holiday in term-time without her headteacher’s permission.

A local authority, backed by the Education Secretary, argued that a child’s unauthorised absence from school “for even a single day, or even half a day” can amount to a criminal offence.

A QC for the father, 46-year-old Jon Platt, described the submission as a new and radical interpretation of the law which was absurd and would “criminalise parents on an unprecedented scale”.

The clash came as Isle of Wight Council appealed to the highest court in the land against a High Court ruling in May last year clearing Mr Platt of failing to ensure his daughter attended school regularly, as required by section 444(1) of the Education Act 1996.

The council prosecuted Mr Platt after he refused to pay a £120 penalty imposed by the council for taking his daughter on a seven-day family trip to Disney World in Florida in April 2015.

Local magistrates found there was no case to answer, and the council took its case to the High Court in London.

But two judges, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mrs Justice Thirlwall, upheld the magistrates’ decision and declared in May last year that Mr Platt was not acting unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record of over 90%.

The decision caused a surge in term-time bookings all over England.

In a case being watched by parents all over the country, the council is asking five Supreme Court justices to overturn the High Court decision, saying it raises important issues over what constitutes “regular attendance” at school.

Martin Chamberlain QC, for the council, argued that all pupils had to be in school “at all times when required and in accordance with the rules”.

He said: “Absence for even a single day, or even half a day, would constitute an offence.”
Referring to Mr Platt’s Florida holiday, he said: “Absence for seven consecutive days cannot on any view be regular attendance.”

James Eadie QC, appearing for the Education Secretary, argued it would be “absurd” if parents could go on holiday with children when “the sun is out and foreign climes beckon” in a way that “undermined” Government policy on unauthorised absences.

Mr Eadie said: “Absence from school can adversely affect a child’s educational attainment.

“Research indicates that every extra day missed is associated with a lower attainment outcome.”

He added that it also disrupted the education of other children and placed an extra burden on teachers who had to ensure absent pupils caught up on what they had missed.
Mr Eadie said: “Undermining the authority of the school and head teacher and those responsible for running the school is likely to be a thoroughly bad thing.”

Clive Sheldon QC, appearing for Mr Platt, argued it was the education authorities who were being absurd.

He said they were putting forward a new and radical interpretation of the law and the effect would be to “criminalise parents on an unprecedented scale” if their children missed school for various reasons.

He said there were 4.1 million days of unauthorised absence from state-funded schools in the 2015 autumn term.

On the local council and the Government’s argument, that meant “there were 4.1 million criminal offences committed during one term”.

Mr Sheldon said: “If the Government wishes to change the law and criminalise each day’s unauthorised absence, then what it ought to do… is to introduce fresh legislation to this effect.”

At the end of the hearing Mr Platt said he was “shell-shocked” by the Government argument, which seemed to be suggesting that “even a minute’s lateness” to class was enough to amount to a criminal offence.

He said after the day-long hearing: “It is shocking that the Government did not back away from that position.

“It is now in the hands of the Supreme Court justices. I have great confidence in the British judicial system, but at the end of a tough day in court I have absolutely no idea what they will decide.”

The court president Lord Neuberger said it would give its judgment “in due course”.

Controversy was triggered when the Government ordered a crackdown on school absences in 2013.

New guidelines were introduced for English schools which only allow heads to permit pupils to miss classes in “exceptional circumstances”.

Families complain that trips in official holiday periods are up to four times more expensive, and local councils have reported that the number of breaks in term time is increasing.

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24 Years given to paedophile for the abuse of five-year-old

A “dangerous” Burnley paedophile has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after he was found guilty of a raft of sexual offences against a five-year-old girl.

Darren Carter, 45, of Accrington Road, Burnley, was convicted of a catalogue of offences against the youngster following a trial at Preston Crown Court in December, 2016.

He was sentenced on Monday, January 23rd to a determinate sentence of 24 years comprising of 19 years custody and an extended licence of five years for his crimes, which were carried out between 2010 and 2011 when the girl was just five-years-old.
Carter, who was labelled a “dangerous offender” by the judge, was convicted of offences including rape, attempted rape, sexual assault by penetration, taking indecent photos, and causing a child to watch sexual activity.

Detective Sargent Bryony Midgley of Blackburn CID, said: “Darren Carter is a truly dangerous and predatory paedophile who subjected his young victim to some truly abhorrent abuse, the depravity of which is reflected in this lengthy custodial sentence.

“I would like to commend the victim who has shown tremendous bravery in coming forward to report these crimes and throughout the court process. I hope that this sentence can help her to move on with her life safe in the knowledge her abuser is behind bars for a very long time,” Detective Sargent Midgley continued.

“Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to tackling the perpetrators of sexual abuse, regardless of how long ago the offences took place and I would urge anyone who has been a victim of a sexual offence to come forward and report it to us, safe in the knowledge that they will be treated sensitively and professionally at all times.”

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Brexit ruling to be delivered by Supreme court on 24 January

11 justices will create panel to resolve whether the government can formally initiate article 50 without parliamentary approval

A brief summary of the decision will be read out at 9.30am on Tuesday. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

The supreme court will deliver its eagerly awaited judgement next Tuesday on whether ministers or parliament have the legal authority to trigger Brexit.

The court’s president, Lord Neuberger, will read out a brief summary of the decision at 9.30am on 24 January. Lawyers for the main parties will have received advance notice shortly beforehand.

The ruling by the 11 justices will resolve whether the government, through its inherited use of royal prerogative powers, can formally initiate article 50 of the treaty on European Union (TEU) without the explicit approval of MPs and peers.

Article 50 begins the process of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. If a majority of justices decide, as is widely expected, that parliamentary support is required, then the judgement is expected to specify that a legislative act is needed.

Devolved assemblies in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast will also read the judgement closely to see whether it grants them any procedural or consultative role in the process of triggering Brexit. The judgement will test the significance of the Sewel convention, which says that if Westminster is introducing legislation on issues that have been devolved it “normally” has to seek the consent of the devolved parliaments.

The panel of 11 justices is the largest ever assembled for a single case since the law lords were created in 1876. Such judicial mass mobilisation is recognition of the constitutional significance and political sensitivity of the hearing. The court normally sits in panels of five; an odd number is always required to ensure there cannot be a tie.

Article 50 of the TEU states that any member state may leave “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”, an undefined term that has allowed the two sides to pursue rival interpretations. The case has opened deep rifts in the consensus over the UK’s unwritten constitution.

The case was conducted on the basis that article 50, and therefore Brexit, cannot be reversed once begun. A separate legal challenge is due to take place in Dublin this spring to test its revocability. Another is due to be heard in London to establish whether the UK automatically quits the single market or European Economic Area when it leaves the EU.

The lead claimant in the supreme court case is the investment manager Gina Miller. Miller, who says she has received death threats, has said her case is about asserting parliamentary sovereignty and not an attempt to reverse Brexit. Another claim was brought by a London hairdresser, Deir Dos Santos.

The reading of the summary by Neuberger is expected to last only five minutes. The proceedings will be broadcast live on the supreme court’s website. Lead counsel from the main parties will be given sight of the judgement an hour and a half in advance of its delivery.

The full judgment will be put online at around 9.35am. The court’s judgement may be divided into several sections depending on whether or not individual justices choose to deliver dissenting – or concurring judgements stressing different aspects of the ruling.

Draft versions of judgements are often circulated to parties involved in a case several days beforehand. Government sources have already signalled that they expect to lose the main point of their appeal and have begun drafting versions of a bill to put before parliament approving Brexit.

Fair Deal for Expats is one of the claimants in the case. Its chairman, John Shaw, said: “Fair Deal for Expats eagerly awaits the judgement of the supreme court. [Our] members have been involved in this case from the outset, standing up for the 2 million British people who live in other EU countries. Many of them were not allowed to vote in the referendum, yet they count among those most profoundly affected.

“It’s of the utmost importance to those people that a proper debate takes place in parliament about their future and they’re not sidelined in a rush to give notice under article 50, without knowing what the future holds for them. We hope that the government ensures that it does everything it can to protect British citizens in the EU and their families, whatever the outcome of the case.”

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