Child victims let down by lack of help in court, says UK watchdog

System of intermediaries helping to give evidence is struggling to cope, says commissioner

Hundreds of the most vulnerable victims of crime are being prevented from testifying against their attackers because of a shortage of experts to help them give evidence, the victims’ commissioner warns in a report on Wednesday.

Helen Newlove is calling for extra support and funding for registered intermediaries (RIs) who give a voice in court to those, such as the very young or adults with learning difficulties, who have problems communicating.

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Migration targets are a form of calculated inhumanity | Nesrine Malik

Unlawful detention by the Home Office has reached a new level – and it’s being done on purpose

Buried on page 89 of the Home Office’s annual accounts for 2016-2017 is a seemingly anodyne entry under “special payments”. The line details that the Home Office, in a single year, paid £1.8m in legal compensation for 32 cases of unlawful detention. More bewildering than the number is the fact that there is no further explanation in the document.

I have a long, rich history (and a still-unfolding present) with the Home Office, and am well acquainted with the dystopia in which the fate of so many people is now decided. Little surprises me any more. But the frequency and banal cruelty of unlawful detention has reached a new level of inhumanity. This isn’t incompetence or the sputtering of a system overburdened. Unlawful detention, often in poor conditions and in a vacuum of legal rights, has become the enforcement tool of a failing and punitive immigration policy. Detain first, ask questions later. These are not just mistakes: they are human rights abuses, and they are now such an integral part of the system that a home affairs select committee report said these and other errors are beginning to undermine the credibility of all immigration enforcement.

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Woman sues man acquitted of rape in Scottish court trial

Former student sues Stephen Coxen for damages two years after jury found case against him not proven

A former university student in Scotland is suing her alleged rapist for £100,000 in damages after he walked free following a high court trial two years ago.

Stephen Coxen, 23, from Bury in Lancashire, was charged with raping the then student at her flat while she was drunk and stealing her phone during freshers’ week at the University of St Andrews in September 2013.

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Co-op launches even quicker online divorce service

Couples in England and Wales seeking ‘quickie divorce’ could cut processing time by a third

Couples seeking “quickie divorces” can make the process even speedier as a result of a new online service launched by the Co-op.

The fixed-fee digital service from Co-op Legal Services enables people to start uncontested divorces online from home, supported by phone-based advice from experienced solicitors.

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John Worboys case: politicians must not interfere, says Parole Board chief

Nick Hardwick also criticises probation service’s failure to inform victims about release

The head of the Parole Board has warned politicians not to interfere in the independence of the justice system over the John Worboys case and sharply criticised the probation service’s failure to inform or consult about the terms of his release.

Prof Nick Hardwick said the justice secretary should order an independent investigation into the failure to ensure victims of the sex offender were properly informed and said it was not too late to raise their concerns about the terms of Worboys’ release. “I know that some victims are frightened. The licence conditions are very detailed, but can be varied,” he said.

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