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Judges Criticise Met Police After Woman Wins Spy Cop Case

Judges

Judges criticise Met police after woman wins spy cop case

Police have been been severely criticised by judges who ruled that they grossly violated the human rights of a woman who was deceived into a long-term intimate relationship by an undercover officer.

The judges ruled overwhelmingly in favour of Kate Wilson, an environmental and social justice activist, who has pursued a decade-long campaign to uncover the truth.

In their landmark judgment on Thursday, the three judges in the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) ruled that the Metropolitan police had violated Wilson’s human rights in five ways, including inflicting degrading treatment on her.

Mark Kennedy, an undercover officer who infiltrated leftwing groups for seven years, had a sexual relationship with Wilson lasting more than a year, without telling her that he was a police officer who had been sent to spy on her and the political groups she supported.

The judges ruled that senior officers in charge of Kennedy “either knew of the relationship, chose not to know of its existence, or were incompetent and negligent in not following up” clear and obvious signs.

In their 158-page ruling, they said the senior officers appeared to have a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” towards their spies who were deceiving women into sexual relationships. They said the managers probably had “a lack of interest” in protecting women’s human rights.

After the ruling, Wilson said: “The events in my case happened years ago. However, the failure of the police to protect women from sexual predators within their own ranks, and police attempts to criminalise protesters are both still very live issues today. The tribunal has gone some way towards recognising how deep the abuses run.”

Colin Boyd, the tribunal’s vice-president, and two other judges, said: “Were it not for [Wilson’s] tenacity and perseverance, often in the face of formidable difficulties, much of what this case has revealed would not have come to light.” She fought a large part of case herself as she could not afford lawyers.

The judges said she had uncovered a “formidable list” of human rights violations, adding that supervision of the covert operation was “fatally flawed”, could not be justified as necessary in a democratic society, and was characterised by “disturbing and lamentable failings at the most fundamental levels”.

Wilson is the first woman deceived by an undercover officer to take her case to the IPT, which examines allegations of abuses by the state. Other women have won compensation and apologies from the police after pursuing legal action in the civil courts.

Wilson had began a relationship with Kennedy in November 2003, shortly after he began his seven-year deployment spying on leftwing groups. Their relationship ended in February 2005.

She discovered his true identity in 2010 after he was unmasked by activists. He was one of 139 undercover police officers who have spied on more than 1,000 political groups since 1968.

Many deceived women into relationships while they were undercover. Kennedy had numerous relationships during his deployment, including one that lasted six years.

Police chiefs have claimed their undercover officers were not allowed to form sexual relationships with women they were spying on. The tribunal ruled that this claim was “materially undermined by the sheer frequency with which Kennedy (and other undercover officers ) did conduct sexual relationships without either questions being asked or action being taken by senior officers.

“We are driven to the conclusion that either senior officers were quite extraordinarily naïve, totally unquestioning, or chose to turn a blind eye to conduct which was, certainly in the case of Kennedy, useful to the operation.”

Wilson is to be awarded compensation at a hearing next year.

In a statement, the Metropolitan police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “We accept and recognise the gravity of all of the breaches of Ms Wilson’s human rights as found by the tribunal, and the Met and NPCC unreservedly apologise to Ms Wilson for the damage caused.”

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Supreme Court Dismisses Suit Challenging Adeleke’s Candidacy

The Supreme Court has affirmed Ademola Adeleke as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the just concluded Osun State Governorship Election.

This has laid to rest the suit filed by Dotun Babayemi, a governorship aspirant of the party who sought the invalidation of Adeleke’s victory.

In a judgement delivered by Justice Amina Augie, the five-member panel held that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the suit after counsel for the appellant, Adebayo Adelodun, withdrew the earlier notice of appeal that was filed within time.

At the resumed hearing, Adelodun, who represented the appellant and Babayemi informed the court that he sought to withdraw the earlier notice of appeal to replace it with the fresh application he filed.

But the panel held that Section 285(11) of the constitution stipulated that an appeal on a pre-election matter must be filed within 14 days from the day of the decision, and that having filed the second appeal out of time, the apex court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Justice Augie, therefore, dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

Babayemi had asked the court to invalidate the primary election that produced the governor-elect, citing non-compliance with a court order.

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400 Staff To Lose Jobs As BBC Goes Digital

The British Broadcasting Corporation BBC world service has on Thursday disclosed that about 400 of its staff will lose their jobs as part of a cost-cutting programme and move to digital platforms,

The BBC said its international services needed to make savings of £28.5 million ($31 million) as part of wider reductions of £500 million.

In July it detailed plans to merge BBC World News television and its domestic UK equivalent into a single channel to launch in April next year.

BBC World Service currently operates in 40 languages around the world with a weekly audience of some 364 million people.

But the corporation said audience habits were changing and more people were accessing news online, which along with a freeze on BBC funding and increased operating costs meant a move to “digital-first” made financial sense.

BBC World Service director Liliane Landor said there was a “compelling case” for expanding digital services, as audiences had more than doubled since 2018.

“The way audiences are accessing news and content is changing and the challenge of reaching and engaging people around the world with quality, trusted journalism is growing,” she added.

 

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Environment

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian: Cities flooded and power cut as storm crosses Florida

Hurricane Ian made landfall at around 15:10 local time (19:10 GMT) on Wednesday, smashing into the coast with wind speeds of up to 241km/h (150mph).

Dramatic scenes saw a hospital roof blown off, cars submerged and trees ripped out of the ground.

The category four hurricane was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

However, Floridians were warned that the most dangerous 24 hours lay ahead and the mayor of Tampa urged people to shelter in place through the night into Thursday morning.

“We are going to get the majority of the rain and the higher winds starting about 20:00, and they are going to last throughout the night,” Jane Castor said during a Wednesday evening briefing.

In a message posted on Facebook, the Weather Prediction Center told residents in the Central Florida Peninsula to expect “widespread life-threatening, catastrophic flash and urban flooding” continuing into Friday morning, with potentially up to 76cm (30ins) of rain falling locally.

Residents were ordered to leave their homes, but many have decided to remain and seek shelter indoors.

Mark Pritchett, who lives in the city of Venice, some 95km (60 miles) south of Tampa, described the “terrifying” moment he stepped outside his home as the hurricane made its way across the Gulf of Mexico.

“Rain shooting like needles. My street is a river,” he said in a text message to the Associated Press news agency.

In Lee County – the south-west region where Ian made landfall – police were prevented from responding to reports of looting at a petrol station because of the storm damage.

As a result, a curfew has been declared “until further notice”.

Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais said that the Fort Myers community had “been – to some extent – decimated”. According to news agency AFP, some neighbourhoods in the city of 80,000 had been left resembling lakes.

State Governor Ron DeSantis described Ian as the “biggest flood event” south-west Florida had ever seen, and announced that 7,000 National Guard troops are ready to lead rescue operations in flood zones.

President Joe Biden will receive a briefing on Thursday from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Ian is now continuing to move north through Florida. Jacksonville International Airport, based in north-east Florida, cancelled all flights scheduled for Thursday.

The storm is forecast to emerge into the Atlantic by Thursday morning.

It is expected to reach Georgia and South Carolina on Friday. Virginia has also joined Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida by declaring a state of emergency.

Cuba’s western coast was hit by Hurricane Ian on Tuesday. Power has now been restored in some areas after the island was plunged into a total blackout. Two people are understood to have been killed in Cuba and more than 20 Cuban migrants are believed to be missing at sea.

Predicted path of Hurricane Ian. Updated 27 September

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