Charon: Your man at the winebar…with a copy of The Gazette in his coat pocket…

The Attorney-General goes to Israel – at the expense of the Israel, British and Commonwealth Association. Unfortunately – Lord Levy is a committee member of that association and, before you know it, the A-G is under fire from a Lib-Dem MP who takes the view that Law Officers should not accept hospitality of any sort – to remain independent and ‘be seen to be independent.’ (The Independent 28th April) Inevitably, this also gives further ammunition to those who take the view that the A-G should not be involved in any decision to prosecute in the cash for honours fiasco.

Legal Beagle goes to Birmingham voluntarily … to listen to a speech by the A-G. Unfortunately, the A-G droned and was less than inspiring in her view: speech delivered in a ‘dry, tediously soporific monotone.’ Robust views on solicitor-advocates and failed barristers who work for the CPS.

Villainy and opprobrium ended my week… with the extraordinary news of an abuse of process (covered below) in a mooting competition at a leading law school ‘somewhere in England.’

Sunday is the beginning of my week, a cunning management technique to avoid ‘Monday blues’, and is, of course, the day when The News of The World (NOTW) reveals information to improve my life.

First up from NOTW: “TORIES IN MUD HUTS”
David WebCameron is ‘forcing his Shadow Cabinet to fork out more than £1000 each on an aid trip to Africa.’ Excellent news.

George Osborne, William Hague and others who sign up will go and help WebCameron with his new found DIY skills and help rebuild villages destroyed by the war in Rwanda. Noble stuff, of course – but curious timing. Won’t the Labour party be embroiled in the coronation of The Highwayman as our next Prime Minister and First Lord of The Treasury in July? Would that not be a good time to press home political points? The Old Etonians in the ‘Team WebCameron’ tour party will have no difficulty whatsoever in surviving a period living in mud huts with few amenities. Having attended a public school in Scotland (Coincidentally, with our present Lord Chancellor) it always amuses me when I hear public school types claiming that ‘after a public school education’ they can survive harsh conditions. In my experience, this assertion has one fatal flaw; taking it into the category of ‘bollocks.’ The leading public schools have better amenities than many good hotels, with comforts to match! First reader to spot a member of the Team WebCameron tour party using that line in connection with their upcoming tour to Rwanda – wins a bottle of Rioja from my latest crate of the stuff.

Fraser Nelson (‘Your insider in the corridors of power’) writes in NOTW: “Two Libyans banged up on terror charges will walk our streets next week because Mr Justice Ousely says it isn’t safe for them to be deported. Judges like him put us all at risk.” Presumably The Home Office will have a bit more time to keep an eye on these and other resident or visiting terrorists after 1st May when many current burdens of The Home Office are shunted off to the new Minister of Justice, Lord Falconer?

And… the NOTW editorial usually throws up some good stuff. Today is no exception. Today, NOTW salutes Prince Harry for his bravery in going to Iraq, but can’t resist having a quick side swipe at the Royals; reminding us that but two weeks ago Prince William went to London club Mahiki, yelling: “Let’s drink the menu!”

Two weeks ago NOTW was having a Wales of a time lampooning Harry for falling out clubs at three in the morning and giving paparazzi a hard time. Today… “He is a fine young man. We wish him a safe tour of duty.”

One of the reasons I do like NOTW is that when they crusade they do it well.

“Chalk about over the Top” screamed the feature headline. This is a story about two 16 year old girls who were given an £80 fixed penalty fine for drawing lovehearts on a pavement with chalk. The charge was “Criminal Damage”. The chalk washed away with the first rain. These, clearly underworked, Plods work for The North Wales Constabulary headed by Robocop, Richard Brunstrom. Richard Brunstrom caused yet further controversy this week by using grim pictures of a motorcycle accident to publicise the Force’s already strong attitude to speeding. Without the permission of the relatives (who did not know the grim details of how their boy died – they do now) the North Wales Police force is reported to have used pictures of a decapitated biker in one of their ant-speeding publicity campaigns. The torso of the biker was embedded in the car after the 90 mph smash. His head, eyes still open and visible through the helmet visor, lay on the ground. This is appalling and, frankly, I agree with those who call for Brunstrom to ‘consider his position over the weekend.’ Insensitivity on this scale is not acceptable. He is not fit to lead a Police force after this latest outrage. Will Brunstrom resign? I hope so, but, I suspect, he will not do so. Thoroughly unpleasant business.

And so to “beating, bondage and biting.” Sunday would just not be the same without a bit of salacious titillation from The News of The World. Apparently, as reported in NOTW, “boozy Brits winner”, Amy Whitehouse, likes to beat/slap and bite her lovers. If her music sales decline in future years, she may like to consider a career at The Bar.

Mind you… getting a wig onto the top of her beehive may be a challenge too far – if she takes up criminal work; where wigs, we are told, will continue to be worn. It is, of course, doubtful that her interest in this field of sexual activity would be of any interest to the current crop of judges, Heads of Chambers or frolicking Silks. After recent revelations about a senior judge getting arrested for indecent exposure, members of the legal profession are being highly disciplined about their private lives and seem, in any event, to prefer being tied up with work.

***
See… I’ve been infected. I’m turning into a tabloid hack…. and enjoying every moment of it as I type furiously, Silk Cut hanging out of my mouth, glass of Rioja to hand!

Anyway… that is quite enough. Now, for my own sanity, and yours, if you are reading this, I must start reading The Observer.

In the light of the foregoing, at least I have tried to do something sensible on my blog this week with four excellent contributions from my guests on four podcasts: Nigel Savage, CEO, College of Law on Legal Education and Diversity | John Bolch of Family Lore on Family Law | Nick Jarrett-Kerr on Coping with setbacks | Nearly Legal on obtaining as training contract and Housing Law.

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