Archive | September 2016

Ireland’s top judge is worried about the country’s reputation

Ireland’s top judge is worried about the country’s reputation

It’s all down to the lack of a judicial council.

Image: Sasko Lazarov

IRELAND’S REPUTATION IS at risk because of the lack of a judicial council, the country’s top judge has said.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Denham has issued a “statement of concern”
regarding Ireland’s reputation as the beginning of a new legal year for
the country.

She says in the statement that an issue of “real concern” is the lack
of a Judicial Council in Ireland, which she describes as “significant
institutional vacuum”.

A judicial council would help to maintain and promote “excellence in the exercise by judges of their judicial functions”.

The membership of the council would consist of the Chief Justice and
ordinary judges of the Supreme Court; and the Presidents of the High
Court, Circuit Court and District Court and ordinary judges of those
courts.

Separation of powers

Mrs Justice Denham said that the council is something that has been
advocated for for two decades, and it is a “necessary element of the
infrastructure of a modern democratic State, providing an important
safeguard of the separation of powers”.

In 1996, the idea of a council was mooted by that year’s Report of the Constitution Review Group.

Denham pointed out that the Programme for Partnership Government doesn’t contain a provision for a Judicial Council Bill.

However, the Judicial Council Bill is described as ‘heads approved,
drafting at an advanced stage’ under the list of programme of
legislation in the current session of the government.

Denham said that the fact the bill is listed under “all other legislation” means that it has been demoted.

The failure to progress this institutional reform with the urgency
it deserves weighs heavily, both on relations between the Judiciary and
the Executive, and on the State’s reputation internationally, as a
modern democracy governed by the rule of law.
The absence of such an institution – by whatever name it may be
called – sets Ireland apart from the overwhelming majority of EU Member
States, as well as leading common law jurisdictions such as the United
States, Canada and Australia.

She noted that the absence of a judicial council has even been
remarked upon by the United Nations, which recommended that the
government would:

Expedite the enactment of legislation to allow for the statutory
establishment of the Judicial Council, providing it with adequate
financial and human resources.

In addition, the Group of States Against Corruption (Greco), which is
a body established by the Council of Europe, advocated the
establishment of a Judicial Council in Ireland. It recommended that the
current system for selection and appointment of judges be reviewed and
that a code of conduct for judges be formally established.

It said that Ireland should report back within 18 months, but this
timeframe was then extended. There were five recommendations by the
Greco, and Denham said three of them would be met by the establishment
of a Judicial Council.

“It is clear that there is an expectation that the State will take
the GRECO recommendations seriously and implement them accordingly,”
said Denham.

She noted that the mandatory nature of the rules regarding members of Greco “has obvious ramifications for Ireland”.

Denham concluded that:

In face of the strong consensus in Ireland and internationally as
to the need for the establishment of a Judicial Council and legislation
for a judicial conduct regime, it is therefore a matter of the most real
concern to observe what would appear to be a distinct loss of momentum
in delivering this historic institutional reform.

Read: Judge accuses mother of abuse for failing to send her daughter to school for hundreds of days>

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SIGN OF THE TIMES

Public Money Should Not Support Pornography in Any Form

For the attention to Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP,

Dear Ms Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

I write to you in regard to the Scottish Queer International Film
Festival’s (SQIFF) showing of pornography and question why public funds
are being used for such an event.

Creative Scotland receives over £44 million from the Scottish Government, and has used some of this money to fund SQIFF.

As Rhoda Grant MSP has asked: “If the Government are clear that
sexual exploitation and pornography are linked to violence against women
why is the public purse funding it?”

I wish to remind you that the pornography industry is deeply
exploitative industry, it damages the individual and his/her
relationships and it damages society. Pornography increases loneliness,
reduces one’s ability to love, is addictive, changes what persons are
attracted to (many porn users find that they are aroused by things that
used to disgust them or go against what they think is morally right), it
negatively effects intimacy and sensitivity within a marriage and warps
people’s idea of what a sexual relationship should be.

I object to public money being used to fund an event which shows and
promotes pornography, and expect you to use your authority and influence
as Secretary for Culture to do all that you can to ensure that no
public funding is used for pornography and that groups which
encourage/promote pornography will not receive Government funding in the
future.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

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SUNNY TWEETS

Sunnyclaribel Retweeted Dame Alun Roberts CH
Why is the giving this bullying paedophile apologist a platform? Her ‘hate’ campaign on twitter is enough to deal with!!!!!!!!
Sunnyclaribel added,

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THE CHATTERING CLASSES

    Has anyone noticed Alexis Jay’s very strange necklace?
    HOLLIEGREIGJUSTICE

    Tweet text

     
    Reply to  
     

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L8IN sexual-abuse scandal at an elite, New England prep school.

The most disturbing aspect of a sexual-abuse scandal at an elite, New England prep school.

An independent report
released on September 1 detailing the long-term sexual abuse that went
on at St. George’s School, an elite boarding school in Rhode Island,
shed light on the policies that fostered an environment where faculty
and staff took repeated advantage of students.

The report, commissioned by St. George’s and an organization
called SGS for Healing and conducted by an outside law firm, found that
six employees abused at least 51 students, and that students sexually
bullied or hazed 10 others.

Among its findings, the report determined the rules and standards in
place at the school — which “paved the way for abuse of students” — were
common among most boarding schools during the 1970s and 80s, and the
school’s leaders “did little, and certainly not enough” to remedy the
situation, according to the report.

For instance, the school allowed faculty to take students on
overnight and weekend trips at the school’s expense, and dorm parents –
adult advisers who live in student dorms  – often let older students
supervise dorms in their absence. These practices were, according to the
report, not unique to St. George’s, and l eaders at the school were not
found to have “acted differently than the leaders of many other
boarding schools in New England or elsewhere in the United States.”

While the nearly 400-page report paints a disturbing picture of the “private hell” many students experienced, it also investigates how a scandal of this scope could have happened in the first place.

“…[T]he most relevant question is whether school leaders took the
steps necessary to prevent, to the extent possible, teachers or staff
from molesting students, or to prevent older students from sexually
assaulting younger students,” the report reads.

Despite its overall inaction, the school took some steps to address
the abuse, according to the report. It fired three employees: Howard
White, the associate chaplain; Al Gibbs, the athletic trainer; and
Franklin Coleman, the choirmaster and music teacher. A fourth employee
and English teacher, William Lydgate, was “likely fired” for the same
reason, according to the report.

St. George’s, however, continued to support Gibbs and Coleman after
their departures. St. George’s found that Gibbs was abusing girls,
taking naked photographs of them, and circulating those pictures among male students, and at least 31 girls made firsthand reports of abuse at Gibbs’ hands, according to the report.

Despite being aware of Gibbs’ misconduct, however, the school
continued to award him a $1,200 annual grant for “distinguished
service,” a grant he received until his death in 1996.

The school’s Dean of Faculty also continued to recommend Coleman for
other teaching positions. Coleman joined St. Georges’ during the
1980-1981 academic year and worked there until May 1988. He “sexually
abused at least one student in each year of his tenure at the school,”
according to the report.

“But we believe there is no credible justification for the actions the school took to help Coleman and Gibbs after the school fired them,” the report reads.

The revelation of such widespread abuse at the school prompted
investigators to question why officials ignored the reports and why
these issues were not brought to light earlier. The tendency
of administrations to look the other way is not unheard of though.

“Often, in these environments, it’s common to have victims report the
crime and not be taken seriously, or be silenced by the administration
and have their reports buried,” Terri Poore, policy director at the
National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, told Business Insider.

“What we’ve seen historically is that whenever there’s a closed
system, whether it’s the military, or in this case, a school, there’s a
strong hierarchy and a sense of secrecy and authority,” Poore said. “The
need for the organization to protect its own reputation can trump the
well-being of the victim.”

Pennsylvania Penn State University Students Sexual Assault Fraternity Protest Rape PSUStudents and others demonstrate on the Penn State campus. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Soon after the report’s release, St. George Headmaster Eric Peterson announced that would not renew his contract, set to expire in June 2017, and essentially step down from his role.

Despite the school’s previous mistakes, the investigation itself was thoroughly handled, according to Anne Scott, whose account of being raped repeatedly as a sophomore by Gibbs in the 1970s was the key to bringing about the investigation.

“It was very well done, in terms of how the investigation was
conducted and the final report itself,” Scott told Business Insider.

“I am happy with the steps the school has taken, especially the fact
that they’re going to remove Mr. Zane’s name from the girls’ dormitory,
which was very important to the Gibbs survivors,” she continued.

Scott was referring to Anthony Zane, headmaster of the school during
her years at St. George’s. Saying Zane represented a “massive failure”
in child protection when he was headmaster, Scott cited his seemingly
lenient behavior toward Gibbs, as well as his alleged dismissiveness
toward another victim, Katie Wales.

Although Zane was aware of allegations of sexual abuse against Gibbs,
he signed off on a recommendation letter for him and approved a stipend
Gibbs received annually until his death, according to the report.

“When Katie Wales went to Zane, she was not believed and not treated well at all,” Scott said.

Zane “has said it was he who approached Wales, after a senior boy
happened to catch Gibbs photographing a naked girl with a towel over her
face and reported him, and said that he never called Wales crazy,” according to Vanity Fair.

Zane did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Since the report’s release, St. George’s also noted it’s taken
action to improve the school’s culture. A representative for St.
George’s pointed Business Insider to a letter sent to the St. George’s
community on September 1 by Leslie Heaney, Chair of the Board of
Trustees. Heaney highlighted several steps the school would implement in
light of the report’s findings.

First, she announced that St. George’s would retain “David Wolowitz,
an attorney who specializes in this area, to review the school’s
reporting procedures and policies and to conduct additional boundary
training of faculty and staff.”

The letter points out that a training session occurred in June.

St. George’s would also conduct more extensive and ongoing background
checks of employees and volunteer staff and create a “Community
Response Team” to handle allegations of sexual abuse in partnership with
the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

“It’s a very good idea and an effective tool for schools to partner
with local rape crisis centers to better address sexual violence on
campus,” Poore said. “Along with that, they should also find ways to
improve the conversation itself around sexual assault.”

While Scott expressed relief the school has address the issue, she
said “there is always more to be done, and that applies to how schools
make it a habit to be ever vigilant …. This isn’t something that just
happened decades ago; it happens today. And schools, including St.
George’s, need to be vigilant in keeping children safe.”

When asked about steps that can be taken on a larger scale, Scott
stressed the need for legislative reform in addressing sexual violence.

“We need mechanisms to regulate private schools, we need to reform
reporting laws, and we need to put forward a legislative and regulatory
reform agenda,” she said, underscoring the flaws in current Rhode Island
law, particularly on the civil side.”

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GOBSHITE

Going to call out for following anti-Semitic homophobe Dame Alun Roberts (like ) but she is temporarily offline.

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