Owen Wightman

Driver failed to stop at scene

A motorist who caused the death of a six-year-old boy while driving too fast has admitted failing to stop at the scene.

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Teenager who killed his grandmother was "pyschotic due to drug" a court hears

A teenager who stabbed his grandmother to death and seriously injured his grandfather as they lay in bed in Hull will claim he was suffering a psychotic episode due to his use of the drug M-Cat, a prosecutor has told a jury.

Hull Crown Court was told there was no dispute that Lewis Dale, 17, killed Irene Dale, 78, and seriously injured her husband Allan, 80, with a kitchen knife. Adrian Strong, prosecuting, described how Dale attacked his grandparents as they were in bed at their home in Summergangs Road in April.

Mr Strong said Dale was a mephedrone or "meow meow or M-Cat" user. It used to be called a "legal high" but was outlawed in 2010 and is now a class B controlled drug. Users claim it provokes euphoria and heightened energy but there were also reports of restlessness, anxiety, confusion and psychosis.

"I anticipate that Lewis Dale will tell you that at the time of the

attack on his grandparents he was suffering a psychotic episode as a result of

his drug use."

– Adrian Strong Crown Prosecution Service

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Four abuse cases to be revisited as part of abuse victim guideline overhaul

Four sex abuse cases that were dropped by police or prosecutors are being reviewed by a new panel set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

As part of a wider overhaul, the Crown Prosecution Service and police chiefs have formed a panel of experts to look at cases where they have previously advised against taking further action.

Police and prosecutors also unveiled new child sexual exploitation and abuse guidelines, which stress victims must be allowed to seek counselling before trial, and make clear that children can be told when they are not alone in making claims against their alleged attacker.

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New abuse guidelines represent 'fundamental change'

Guidelines launched today on tackling abuse cases stem from a "fundamental change" in the way society views sexual offences, said the Crown Prosecution Service.

"We are, without doubt, at a moment of fundamental change in the way we view these offences within the criminal justice system, and in our society as a whole," said Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Police inquiries such as Operation Yewtree, involving Jimmy Savile, have led to new guidelines
Police inquiries such as Operation Yewtree, involving Jimmy Savile and others, have led to new guidelines Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Interim guidelines, which take immediate effect in a three-month consulation period, include the requirement that child sexual abuse cases are only dealt with by specialist teams of prosecutors.

Police and prosecutors will also be required to ensure support is available for victims and to "challenge myths and stereotypes in court".

More: Jimmy Savile hospital abuse revealed

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Victim Support: Courtroom culture is wrong

Government plans for young and vulnerable victims of crimes to be protected from appearing in court comes after a warning from the head of a leading charity.

Victim Support chief executive Javed Khan said:

Are we really waiting for a child witness to kill themselves before we accept that the adversarial culture of our courtrooms is wrong?

If things stay the same I fear it's only a matter of time before the worst happens.

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Current vulnerable victim court protection measures

  • Children automatically receive special measures, such as giving evidence from behind a screen or giving it via video link, and these are available to other victims and witnesses at a court's discretion.
  • Although judges have the power to intervene to prevent overly aggressive cross-examination and character assassinations, there have been instances of victims being left traumatised after court cases.
  • There is no limit on the number of lawyers who can cross-examine a victim or witness, or on the amount of time they can be on the stand.
  • Victims and witnesses can also be required to discuss graphic details of crimes such as sexual abuse.

Mental health workers in court over 'ill-treatment' of patients

Two mental health unit workers have appeared in court charged with mistreating patients in Doncaster. Care assistant Julie Burge and physiotherapy assistant Michael Barnard are accused of the ill-treatment and wilful neglect of patients at the Solar Centre in St Catherine's Hospital.

Barnard, 49, faces eight charges and Burge, 48, is charged with three offences between January 1 2005 and March 8 2007. Care assistants Susan Murphy, 43, and James Hinds, 59, appeared before the same court last month also charged with ill-treatment and wilful neglect.

The charges relate to 18 patients at the centre. All four defendants will appear before magistrates for a committal hearing on October 26.

Ched Evans loses first stage of rape conviction appeal

Sheffield United and footballer Ched Evans has lost the first stage of his appeal against his rape conviction, his lawyers said. The 23-year-old striker was jailed for five years in April for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room.

A spokesman for law firm Brabners Chaffe Street in Manchester said they had received notification from the Court of Appeal that the judge had refused Evans' application for leave to appeal against his conviction.

Evans was found guilty of raping the woman at a hotel in North Wales last May. He admitted having sex with her, but the woman told the jury that she had no memory of the incident - and the prosecution argued that she was too drunk to consent to sexual intercourse.

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