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Abuse victim wins landmark case against Irish state

A woman who was sexually abused by her school principal has won a landmark lawsuit against the Irish state for failing to protect her.

Louise O'Keeffe took Ireland to the European Court of Human Rights claiming inhuman and degrading treatment as a nine-year-old at Dunderrow National School in Co Cork in 1973.

Ms O'Keeffe's former principal Leo Hickey was charged for with 386 criminal offences of sexual abuse involving 21 former pupils of the school in the1990s.

In 1998 he pleaded guilty to 21 sample charges and was sentenced to three years in jail.

The court ruled today that Ms O'Keeffe's rights were breached on two grounds in a judgment that could have ramifications for other survivors of abuse, including in terms of compensation.

'Liquid bomb' plotter bids to get conviction overturned

The mastermind behind the 'liquid bomb plot' - one of the largest terrorist plots ever discovered in Britain - is making a bid to have his conviction overturned on human rights grounds.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali developed a home-made hydrogen peroxide bomb that could be disguised as a soft drink through airport security and assembled on board.

The discovery of his suicide plan in 2006 led to urgent international restrictions on carrying fluids on aircraft.

Abdulla Ahmed Ali was given a life sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to murder. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Archive

Ali is taking his case to the European Court of Human Rights to claim his human rights were infringed by publicity, saying the jury would have been prejudiced by coverage of a previous trial.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling told The Sunday Telegraph: "It is unacceptable to have a situation in which claims to the European Court of Human Rights are actually being used to undermine our justice system."


Justice Secretary: What about the rights of victims?

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said he profoundly disagrees with a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that 'whole life' sentences are "inhuman".

I have repeatedly made clear how profoundly I disagree with the recent ruling by the European Court.

Our judges should be able to tell those who commit the most heinous crimes imaginable that they may never be released.

To be told this breaches human rights is absurd — and an insult to those who wrote the original Human Rights Convention. What about the rights of the victims and their families?

I continue to strongly believe that whole life tariffs are appropriate for the worst murder cases. This is why I want wholesale reforms to our human rights laws.

– Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary

Victims' family confident murderer's appeal will fail

Relatives of the victims of the convicted murderer Arthur Hutchinson have said they are confident his attempt to get his 'whole life' sentence reduced will fail in court.

Hutchinson has launched a challenge against his tariff after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that such sentences are "inhuman and degrading".

Whenever even the name Arthur Hutchinson rears its ugly head, it does nothing but create fear and distress to the victims of this heinous crime.

Let the human rights judiciary [ECHR] members be thrust into our position for just a day and maybe they would understand this.

We are confident that justice will be done, and more importantly, be seen to be done so that this matter can finally be put to rest.

– Laitner family statement


Murderer launches first 'whole life' appeal against sentence

A triple murderer has launched the first challenge against a "whole life" sentence after an EU ruling which said a tariff forcing murderers to die in jail was “inhuman and degrading”, following an appeal by three killers.

These included Jeremy Bamber, who killed five members of his family in 1985.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Arthur Hutchinson, serving a “whole life” tariff for stabbing a wealthy couple and their son to death after breaking into their home in 1985, and then raping a woman, is to attempt to have his sentence declared a breach of his human rights.

Legal experts feared the initial challenge by Bamber and two other killers would lead to a deluge of similar claims, at great expense to the taxpayer, by all 49 killers and rapists serving whole life tariffs, as well as other murderers handed long sentences.

Labour criticises May's vow to scrap Human Rights Act

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has criticised the Home Secretary's promise that a Conservative government would scrap the Human Rights Act.

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary criticises Home Secretary Theresa May's plan to scrap Human Rights Bill. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Ms Cooper said: "[Theresa May] says she wants freedom yet she wants to abolish the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of speech, freedom from torture and freedom of religion.

"And she wants to pull out of the European Convention which is protecting basic freedoms in emerging democracies across Europe and has nothing to do with her failure in deporting fewer foreign criminals.

"Yet it is clear that she is more concerned about appealing to right-wing Tory backbenchers and setting out an alternative to David Cameron and George Osborne than she is about a coherent policy for Government."

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