Lady Lavinia Nourse: Ex-High Court judge’s widow cleared of sex abuse

The widow of a former High Court judge has been cleared of the sexual abuse of a boy in the 1980s.

Lady Lavinia Nourse, of Newmarket in Suffolk, was married to Sir Martin Nourse, who died in 2017, aged 85.

The 77-year-old went on trial accused of 17 counts of sexually abusing a boy under the age of 12, all related to the same male complainant.

She had told police the allegations were “cloud cuckoo land”, and a jury found her not guilty of all charges.

The charges were five counts of indecently assaulting a boy and 12 counts of indecency with a child.

As the verdicts were read out, Lady Nourse was seen to be visibly emotional.

Leaving the court she said: “It’s a happy result. Finally some good news.”

Prosecutors in the trial at Peterborough’s Nightingale court, in the Knight’s Chamber of the city’s cathedral, had alleged the boy “tried to bury away the memories” of alleged abuse.

They claimed that, years later, he “became increasingly troubled by his recollection”.

But Lady Nourse said she was “completely and utterly shocked” when she was accused.

Asked during the trial by defence barrister Jonathan Caplan QC if she had ever sexually abused the boy, she said “no, absolutely not”, before breaking down in tears.

The court heard that Lady Nourse previously had a PR company which had organised the premieres of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express and Phantom Of The Opera, and organised the Queen’s 60th birthday celebrations.

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Judges react to Eric’s Carbonara Disaster (MasterChef)

Eric is flustered under the pressure of the MasterChef elimination challenge. Not thinking, he pours the carbonara mix into a hot pan, and slowly watches the eggs scramble. The judges watch on in horror. Literally, with hands over their eyes.

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Laurentian University gets judge’s approval to continue restructuring

Insolvent Laurentian University has cleared a critical obstacle to move forward on its plan for eventual financial stability after a judge on Sunday agreed to the terms of a stay that would protect the university from its creditors until Aug. 31.

Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of Ontario Superior Court has agreed to allow the university to cut ties with three federated universities, which will qualify Laurentian for a $10-million loan that will allow it to operate while it looks at further ways to reduce its debt.

While Laurentian moves forward, it comes at the expense of Laurentian’s federated partners: University of Sudbury, Thorneloe and Huntington.

In his decision Sunday, Morawetz said he will give reasons for overruling the court challenges from Thorneloe and the University of Sudbury when they can be translated into French as well. Huntington had not opposed the termination of its agreement in court.

The three religiously-affiliated schools, unable to access public funding on their own, came together in the 1960’s to create Laurentian University, which has now grown into a much larger entity.

Agreements now in question

Each federated partner struck their own agreement with Laurentian in order to retain their significant programming that included francophone cultural programming and the first Indigenous Studies program in Canada, but they didn’t confer degrees of their own.

Those agreements, and now faculty and programming, are in question without the framework agreements with Laurentian that allowed them to operate.

The largest university in northern Ontario was declared insolvent February 1st and became the first post secondary institution in Canada to enter restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act legislation, normally reserved for the private sector.

Since that time, unprecedented steps have been taken to reduce its debt load including cutting dozens of programs, more than 100 faculty members, and dozens of staff and managers, including the Vice President of Administration.

New labour agreements were signed with the faculty and staff unions including rollbacks in salary. Those in key leadership positions also saw a percentage of their salary rolled back.

Those steps were taken in an effort to meet restructuring goals by April 30.

Laurentian went to court seeking approval of all the elements of its restructuring plan, including the dissolution of ties with the federated partners.

In an April 29 hearing, Laurentian’s lawyer, D.J. Miller told Morawetz that if the agreements were not dissolved, Laurentian would fail. As a result, she argued, the federated universities would also fail.

Miller said Laurentian needs to retain the $7.7 million in grants and funding that would normally be disbursed to the federated partners to reassure its lender going forward and qualify for another $10 million loan to keep it operating until the end of August.

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Judges push for more powers to control who is placed on sex offenders register

“The best person to make that decision is a judicial officer that has all the facts, that has expert reports in relation to risk assessments,” Mr Stanton told ABC Radio Melbourne.

“The problem is, like all these mandatory provisions, whether it’s sentencing or registration, it’s using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

He said that self-reporting obligations can be too burdensome and policing breaches of the list a difficult exercise for police. Victoria Police does not support the changes proposed by the County Court.

The County Court submission also claims that the mere prospect of being placed on the register can discourage people accused of sexual offences from pleading guilty, leading to lengthy hearings that make up the bulk of the court’s trial work.

“The prospect of an accused admitting to conduct and then being placed on the sex offenders register, often for significant periods of time, can contribute to sexual offence charges not progressing to a plea of guilty,” the submission says.

“If there was discretion in general to the placing of an accused on the sex offender register, it might result in more guilty pleas.


“Some judges are of the opinion that there should be the ability to expunge the registration of certain individuals who have previously been registered.”

Judges from the court also expressed concern about how the scheme can affect the ability for young offenders to rehabilitate.

“Some judges have concerns with the sex offenders register scheme in relation to its application to young offenders and their rehabilitation in relation to the mandatory registration of a young person for life, which has a significant impact on their rehabilitation and life prospects,” the submission says.

The County Court also opposes the establishment of a separate court to deal with sexual offence matters, saying judicial burnout is common among people regularly dealing with the confronting subject matter and that maintaining one court allowed judges to share the load.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission says the purpose of the register is to prevent people from reoffending, to make it easier for prosecutors if someone reoffends, and to protect children from convicted child sexual offenders.

Anyone who has committed certain sexual offences against a child must be placed on the register when they are released into the community.

A person on the register must report personal details to police, including contact information, their internet provider and profiles, employment, and contact with children.

The register is not available to members of the public.

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Osaka gives thumbs up to electronic line judges

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott

February 8, 2021

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka gave the Australian Open’s electronic line judges her seal of approval after advancing to the second round with a machine-like 6-1 6-2 demolition of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Monday.

Triple Grand Slam champion Osaka said it had taken time to get used to the system but would be happy for it to be adopted at other tournaments.

“I feel like for me, it saves me the trouble of attempting to challenge or thinking about, ‘Did they call it correctly or not?’” the Japanese third seed told reporters.

“It actually gets me really focused. I don’t mind it at all.”

The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam to dispense with human line judges as part of efforts to reduce personnel and stage a biosecure tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ball-tracking cameras send decisions in real time, with recorded human voices calling: “out, “fault” and “foot fault”.

The recordings were provided by Australia’s health workers, firefighters and other emergency services personnel as a tribute. Close decisions are replayed on screens.

“For me, I feel like if they do want to continue this way, I actually have no complaints about it because I think that there’s a lot of arguments that aren’t going to happen because of this technology,” said Osaka, who is bidding for her second title at Melbourne Park after winning the 2019 tournament.

Osaka, who will meet Caroline Garcia in the second round, made a stunning start in the opening match at Rod Laver Arena.

Russian veteran Pavlyuchenkova, a three-time quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park, was seen as a potential banana skin for Osaka but was steamrolled by the 23-year-old in front of a smattering of fans.

Osaka had pulled out of the semi-final of the Gippsland Trophy warm-up event with a shoulder niggle over the weekend but showed no sign of injury as she wrapped up the match in just over an hour.

The favourite to win the year’s first Grand Slam, Osaka has now gone a year and a day without tasting defeat, with 15 successive wins in completed matches since a surprise Fed Cup loss to Spain’s Sara Soribes Tormo.

The pandemic shut down the global tennis tours soon after the Fed Cup loss, giving Osaka plenty of time to think about what motivates her.

“It really made me think a lot about my life and what is the reason — am I playing tennis to prove stuff to other people or am I playing to have fun because I enjoy it?” she said.

“From there I just took that attitude and tried to, I don’t know, move forward with it. It’s something that I was doing in New York. I think that I’m doing it here, too.”

(Editing by Richard Pullin/Peter Rutherford)

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Gunmen have shot dead two female Afghan judges in morning Kabul attack

Unidentified gunmen killed two female judges from Afghanistan’s Supreme Court on Sunday (local time), police said, adding to a wave of assassinations in Kabul and other cities while government and Taliban representatives have been holding peace talks in Qatar.

The two judges, who have not yet been named, were killed and their driver wounded in a morning attack, police said, adding the case was being investigated by security forces.

The attack happened as they were driving to their office in a court vehicle, Ahmad Fahim Qaweem, a spokesman for the Supreme Court told AFP.

“Unfortunately, we have lost two women judges in today’s attack. Their driver is wounded,” Mr Qaweem said, adding there are more than 200 female judges working for the country’s top court.  

A spokesman for the Taliban said its fighters were not involved in the attack. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a statement condemning attacks on civilians by the Taliban and other militant groups.

Mr Ghani said “terror, horror and crime” was not a solution to Afghanistan’s problem and beseeched the Taliban to accept “a permanent ceasefire”.

Government officials, journalists, and activists have been targeted in recent months, stoking fear particularly in the capital Kabul.

The Taliban has denied involvement in some of the attacks, but has said its fighters would continue to “eliminate” important government figures, though not journalists or civil society members.

Rising violence has complicated US-brokered peace talks taking place in Doha as Washington withdraws troops.

Sources on both sides say negotiations are only likely to make substantive progress once US President-elect Joe Biden takes office and makes his Afghan policy known.

The number of US troops in Afghanistan has been reduced to 2,500, the lowest level of American forces there since 2001, according to the Pentagon on Friday.

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Peru judges speak the truth about the global Covid conspiracy

Peruvian judges accused world elites of Covid crisis conspiracy. Although this is nonsense from a legal point of view, circumstantial evidence is evident.

Gates and Rockefeller obstruct the work of justices of the peace in Peru

The Cincha and Pisco Criminal Appeals Chamber in Peru issued an unusual ruling on the reason for the suspension of criminal proceedings in this court.

This happened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which no one predicted, except for the “global criminal elites.” The latter include billionaires such as Bill Gates, George Soros, Rockefeller and others, “who were involved in (coronavirus) and continue to control it with extreme secrecy, “the judges point out in the ruling posted on website.

“No world government, individuals, legal entities or defendant’s defense can claim that this pandemic has the quality of ‘predictability’, except for the creators of the new world order, such as Bill Gates, Soros, Rockefeller, etc.” the verdict said.

Thus, the court, consisting of judges Tito Gallegos, Luis Legia and Tony Changarai, justified the delay in considering the appeal from the defendant, who sought his preventive (preliminary) detention be canceled, but his petition was not resolved due to quarantine measures.

In addition, the court claimed that the justified cause (the coronavirus pandemic) “paralyzed” and will continue to impede “not only the judicial work of magistrate courts, but the entire economic, social and cultural activities.”

After the verdict was made public, the highest court instance of Peru opened a preliminary investigation against the justices of the peace who signed the verdict. The purpose of the investigation is to gather evidence that helps establish the existence of alleged violations committed by the judges.

Lyudmila Aivar, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honored Lawyer of Russia, told Pravda.Ru that in order to accuse the above-mentioned personas of creating and spreading the coronavirus infection, one should:

  • initiate a criminal case against them;

  • conduct an investigation that would establish that the accused individuals created and spread the coronavirus infection.

The lawyer pointed out that it was a populist verdict that the court of higher instance should either overturn or alter its wording that holds the specified individuals responsible for the pandemic.

Circumstantial evidence

Sergei Shakhmatov, Executive Director of the “Russian Greens” Federal Open Environmental Platform told Pravda.Ru that Bill Gates is known worldwide as a person who believes that one should take every effort to preserve the planet, and if the planet’s population needs to be reduced for the purpose, Gates does not mind that.

“I would not be surprised if it was Bill Gates who financed the creation of the novel coronavirus. This, of course, is not a fact. But the richest man on the planet, who regularly declares the need to cut the population on the globe, could probably be behind it,” said Sergei Shakhmatov.

As reported in 2010, Bill Gates is an adherent of eugenics, a pseudoscience about population decline. At a private conference in Long Beach, California, called TED2010 Conference, in his “Innovating to Zero!” speech, along with a proposal to artificially cut CO2 emissions around the world, Gates said that today’s 6.8-billion-strong population will grow to 9 billion. 

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent.”

In a recent interview with actress and writer Rashida Jones and chief US infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci, Gates noted that a new pandemic would engulf humanity in 20 years, and at worst – in three years.

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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang’s retrial down to CAS judge’s history of hostile tweets about dog meat, Swiss court says

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court has explained why it ordered a retrial for Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang’s doping case, citing anti-China bias related to killing dogs for food by one of the judges in the case.

Hostile social media posts on Twitter by Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Judge Franco Frattini persuaded the federal court he should not have presided over banning the Chinese swimmer.

Federal judges last month sent the case back for a second hearing at CAS, where Sun was previously banned for eight years for violating anti-doping protocols.

Judge Frattini, a former Italian foreign minister, has been barred from the retrial, which is likely to decide if Sun can compete at this year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics.

“In his tweets, the arbitrator [Frattini] castigates a Chinese practice of dog slaughter and denounces the consumption of this meat at a local festival in China,” the Swiss court said in a statement.

The Federal judges said “the doubts as to the impartiality of the arbitrator were objectively justified,” but they did not consider the merits of the evidence in the case.

Judge Frattini chaired a CAS panel of three judges at a hearing in November 2019 that unanimously upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency’s appeal for Sun to be banned.

Previously, a tribunal appointed by swimming body FINA only warned Sun about his conduct during a home visit in 2018 by sample collection officials that became hostile.

After CAS published its verdict last February, Sun’s lawyers appealed to the Swiss supreme court.

A second appeal was filed after online reports last May about Frattini’s social media posts.

These were “tweets made by the arbitrator in 2018 and 2019 in connection with the protection of animals,” the federal court said.

“In principle, an arbitrator can also defend his convictions on social networks, but with the restraint required of judges,” the federal court said.

Judge Frattini was appointed by CAS in early 2019 to chair the appeal, while lawyers for WADA and Sun each got to choose one judge. Both were based in London.

The 10-hour hearing in Montreux, Switzerland, was a rare CAS case held in open court, at the three-time Olympic champion’s request, and streamed live online.

The hearing was marred with translation problems that complicated questioning about why Sun did not comply with sample collectors whose credentials were questioned.

Evidence included Sun using his mobile phone light in the darkness to help a security guard smash the casing holding a vial of his blood.

The guard was instructed by Sun’s mother and used a hammer to break the case and ensure the blood could not be used for anti-doping tests.

The retrial at CAS faces a tight schedule to resolve the case before the Tokyo Olympics.

Sun, 29, is the world champion in the men’s 400-metre freestyle, which is among the first Olympic events scheduled to begin competition on July 24.


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Judges seek recusal as major Italian mafia trial kicks off

Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri stands outside during a pause in a trial against more than 320 suspected ‘Ndrangheta mafia mobsters and their associates, accused of an array of charges, in Lamezia Terme, Italy, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

January 13, 2021

By Yara Nardi and Gabriele Pileri

LAMEZIA TERME, Italy (Reuters) – One of Italy’s largest-ever mafia trials kicked off on Wednesday with more than 330 suspected mobsters and their associates facing an array of charges, including extortion, drug trafficking and theft.

The case targets the ‘Ndrangheta clan, which is based in Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot, and is considered by prosecutors to be the most powerful mafia group in the country, easily eclipsing the more famous Cosa Nostra gang in Sicily.

The trial is being held in a converted call-centre in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, with metal cages installed for the defendants and rows of desks set up for the hundreds of lawyers, prosecutors and spectators expected to attend.

But the initial hearing hit an immediate snag after the three judges assigned to the case asked to be recused, saying they had been involved in earlier aspects of the investigation.

Their request will be reviewed by a separate court, which will delay proceedings for several days, lawyers said.

Many of the accused are white-collar workers, including lawyers, accountants, business people, local politicians and policemen, who chief prosecutor Nicola Gratteri says willingly aided the ‘Ndrangheta in building its crime empire.

Speaking to reporters as he entered the courthouse, Gratteri said the investigation had encouraged locals to speak out.

“In the last two years we have seen a surge in lawsuits from oppressed entrepreneurs and citizens, victims of usury, people who for years have lived under the threats of the ‘Ndrangheta,” said the prosecutor, who has spent more than 30 years fighting the mob.

The state will call on 913 witnesses and draw on 24,000 hours of intercepted conversations to support the myriad charges. Gratteri said he expected the trial would take a year to complete, with the court due to sit six days a week.

Another 92 suspects have opted for a fast-track trial in the same case, with their hearings due to start later in January, while a much smaller group of defendants will stand trial in February over five murders – including the killing of a mafia hitman who was shot dead because he was gay, prosecutors say.

The last time Italy tried hundreds of alleged mafiosi simultaneously was in 1986 in Palermo in a case that represented a turning point in the fight against Cosa Nostra, marking the beginning of the group’s sharp decline.

That trial had a huge impact because it targeted numerous mob families. The Calabrian trial focuses primarily on just one group – the Mancuso clan from the province of Vibo Valentia – leaving much of the ‘Ndrangheta’s top hierarchy untouched.

“The road ahead is still very long, but we mustn’t give up because there are thousands of people who believe in us. We can’t let them down,” Gratteri told Reuters.

(Reporting and writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Mike Collett-White)

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Lisa Montgomery: Execution of only woman on US death row can go ahead, judges rule | World News

The only woman on death row in the US is set to be executed after a court overruled a decision to delay her death.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was convicted of strangling to death 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, and cutting her baby out with a kitchen knife in 2004.

The baby survived the attack and prosecutors said Montgomery took the child with her and attempted to pass them off as her own.

Montgomery pictured in a police mug shot after her arrest

She was due to be executed by lethal injection in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 8 December but a stay was put in place after her lawyers contracted COVID-19 while visiting her in prison.

On Boxing Day, Judge Randolph Moss vacated a Federal Bureau of Prisons order rescheduling her death for 12 January after siding with her lawyers, who said a date could not be set while a stay was in place. He said a date could not be rescheduled until at least 1 January.

However, on Friday, a three-judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit concluded that the lower court judge delayed the date in error and reinstated the execution.

One of Montgomery’s lawyers, Meaghan VerGow, has said her team will ask for the full appeals court to review the case.

Her legal team has argued that she suffers from serious mental illness after years of physical and mental abuse.

The fresh ruling means Montgomery can now be executed a week before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on 20 January.

Mr Biden opposes the death penalty and his spokesman has said he would work to end its use. However, he has not said whether he will halt federal executions after he is sworn in.

Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, was killed in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004
Bobbie Jo Stinnett, 23, was killed in Skidmore, Missouri, in December 2004

Montgomery will be the first woman in more than 70 years to undergo a federal execution in the US.

The last, Bonnie Heady, was executed in a gas chamber in 1953 after kidnapping and shooting dead six-year-old Bobby Greenlease, then collecting a ransom of $600,000 (equivalent to $5.7 million or £4.08m today).

Other women have been executed, but under state executions, not through the federal courts, as Montgomery and Greenlease were.

President Donald Trump’s administration restarted federal executions after a 17-year pause in July and has since carried out 10 death sentences, including two in December.

It has executed more people in a year than any other administration in more than 130 years.

Two other federal inmates are also scheduled to be put to death this month, but tested positive for coronavirus around Christmas, prompting their legal teams to also seek a stay of execution.

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