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Day: June 17, 2017

JUDGE DECLARES MISTRIAL IN COSBY SEX ASSAULT CASE

A judge has declared a mistrial in the Bill Cosby sex assault case because the jury says it is hopelessly deadlocked.

At a hearing, the jury said it could not reach a unanimous verdict on any of the counts being faced by the TV entertainer.

Cosby had been accused of sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia mansion in 2004.

The jury had been deliberating for more than 50 hours on whether to convict the fallen TV star, but could not agree whether he had drugged and molested the 44-year-old.

Cosby’s wife Camille has condemned those who pursued the case – describing the district attorney as “heinously and exploitively ambitious”, and the judge as “overtly arrogant”.

 

 

Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Trial Begins
NORRISTOWN, PA – JUNE 6: Andrea Constand walks to the courtroom for the trial of actor Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse on June 6, 2017 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Constand, a former Temple University employee, alleges that the entertainer drugged and molested her in 2004 at his home in suburban Philadelphia. More than 40 women have accused the 79-year-old entertainer of sexual assault. (Photo by Matt Rourke-Pool/Getty Images)

Prosecutors have vowed to retry the 79-year-old, who is known for his long-running sitcom The Cosby Show.

Cosby had faced spending the rest of his life in prison if he was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Dozens of women have come forward with allegations, some dating back decades, but statutes of limitations mean those allegations are too old to reach court.

This had been the first criminal prosecution to be brought against Cosby, who will celebrate his 80th birthday next month with his legacy and reputation in shreds.

After the mistrial was declared, Cosby’s lawyer Angela Agrusa said: “This is what happens, juries are stuck when a prosecutor seeks to put someone in prison for things that are simply not presented in the courtroom.”

 

The Cosby Show - 1984-1992
The Cosby Show – 1984-1992 NBC-TV USA TV Portrait Tv Classics
Image:Cosby earned fame and fortune as ‘America’s dad’ through his sitcom The Cosby Show

Dr Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who has worked with victims of sexual assault, told Sky News: “When there are only two people involved there is always a ‘he said, she said’ element – so who are you going to believe?

“It’s hard to make judgements about credibility so there is a heavy reliance on physical evidence.”

Cosby does still face the possibility of civil trial on California over a claim dating back to the 1970s. Judy Huth says she was molested at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.

As with all of the allegations against him, Cosby has issued denials through his lawyers and remained largely silent himself.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represents many of his accusers, vowed: “We can never underestimate the blinding power of celebrity, but justice will come.”

 

A worker cleans graffiti on actor Bill Cosby's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles
A worker cleans graffiti on actor Bill Cosby’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles December 5, 2014.

Journalists who have investigated the star say it is not surprising that it took many years for allegations to surface.

Mark Ebner said: “They have been empowered because time in many ways takes care of time.

“Back then their livelihoods, their reputations, everything was on the line because they were helpless to do anything about it because they were smack up against this power.”

When the scandal erupted, he was embarking on a career comeback expected to cement his legacy.

Instead TV appearances were shelved, his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was defaced and his live stand-up tour was dogged by controversy.

SKY NEWS
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“GET STUFFED” FORMER LONDON MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON TELLS CRITIC OF FIRE SERVICES CUTS

Boris Johnson has accused Labour of “political game-playing” over the Grenfell Tower tragedy – after footage emerged of him telling a fire cuts critic to “get stuffed” while he was London mayor.

The Foreign Secretary launched a fierce attack on Labour on his Facebook page, accusing the party of “outrageous politicking” following the inferno that left at least 30 dead and dozens more injured.

The former London mayor said fires were down 50% while he was in charge of the capital city’s public services.

But it comes after footage from 2013 resurfaced online in which Mr Johnson was challenged over cuts to the London Fire Brigade.

Labour’s London Assembly member Andrew Dinsmore asked him: “How can cutting fire stations, cutting fire engines, cutting firefighters posts not be a reduction in fire coverage?”

The burnt out remains of Grenfell Tower (Photo: Getty Images Europe)
The inferno began in the early hours of Wednesday (Photo: Oxford/PA Wire)

Mr Dinsmore pressed on, telling him: “You’ve lied to the people of London in your election.”

Mr Johnson then replied: “Oh, get stuffed.”

And Sadiq Khan, who replaced Mr Johnson as London mayor last year, today wrote to the Prime Minister demanding answers about the tragedy.

Boris was challenged over fire service cuts in 2013 by London Assembly member Andrew Dinsmore (Photo: London Assembly)
The mayor responded by telling Mr Dinsmore to “get stuffed” (Photo: London Assembly)

He said: “People are terrified that the same thing could happen to them.”

Today Mr Johnson hit back at his critics, writing on Facebook: “There has sadly been some political game-playing about the terrible fire in London.

“I find it unbelievable that Labour are suggesting that this tragedy was somehow caused by fire service cuts.

Sadiq Khan was challenged by residents while visiting Grenfell Tower (Photo: Getty)

“The fire brigade was there astonishingly quickly and performed with great bravery. As for the record, fires in London went down 50% in my mayoralty.”Fire deaths down year after year. London has fastest appliance response times in the country.

SICKO WHO TOOK CLOSE UP PICTURES OF DEAD GRENFELL FIRE VICTIMS AND POSTED THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA JAILED FOR 3 MONTHS

A ghoul who posted pictures on Facebook of a dead Grenfell Tower blaze victim – believed to have leapt to his death from the inferno – has been jailed for three months.

Omega Mwaikambo, 43, was hauled before the courts after posting the distressing picture of the body bag and then close ups of the male victim online.

He had opened the body bag himself within hours of the unnamed man being found dead on Wednesday morning.

He posted one video and two pictures of the body bag with the man inside and then later five pictures of the victim’s face and body after opening it to look inside.

MirrorOnline understands that they have since been removed from the page by Facebook moderators after a barrage of complaints.

Mwaikambo was arrested by cops at the scene of the blaze (Photo: UKNIP)

Today at Westminster Magistrates Court Mwaikambo pleaded guilty to two counts of sending by a public communications network an offending, indecent or obscene matter.

Mwaikambo, who lives just yards away from the tower, had watched the blaze engulf the building throughout the night and had made cups of tea for firefighters as they battled the blaze.

However later on Wednesday morning he saw a body bag outside his flat and took the photos on his iPad and uploaded them to Facebook.

Prosecutor Tom Little said: “He lives very close to Grenfell Tower as the court will be aware for the catastrophic fire on June 14.

“He uploaded photographs and video of the deceased inside the body bag and then five photographs of the upper body and the face and the blood that had drained from the body.

Omega Mwaikambo had made cups of tea for firefighters, the court heard (Photo: Facebook)

“It appears as if that individual might have been someone that jumped from the tower and had not survived and was waiting to be moved to the coroner’s mortuary.”

After his arrest he provided the police with the pin to his iPad and phone and the images were taken down from the web.

Mr Little said the offences were high culpability because “even the fact of the death would not have been known to the family” of the victim at this early stage.

The court heard the victim has yet to be identified and the defendant had been kept in custody for his own safety after his arrest.

Mwaikambo lives next door to Grenfell Tower and came across the dead body in his stairwell (Photo: i-Images Picture Agency)

Michelle Denney for the defence said “It was an unusual case” and Mwaikambo, who has not previous convictions, had been making tea for the firefighters.

She said: “He found the deceased person and was shocked by the fact the body was there and felt a sense of shock that the body was there unattended.”

The defendant had tried to find someone to come and help but “there was not one else in sight” and took the photos to “show how the victim was being treated” and get someone’s attention.

She said: “He was not someone that has gone to the scene to look at what’s going on in some macabre way.”

 


The entire Nigerian community in the UK are raising funds towards the Grenfell fire victims relief effort

JustGiving-Trademark-G_RGB
https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justalittlehelp

Ms Denney said: “He accepts he should have taken them down and he accepts posting the images was ill conceived.

“He apologises to the victim’s family any all the other victims for what he has done.”

Sentencing District Judge Tanweer Ikram said: “The whole country, if not the whole world, has been shocked by what has taken place in the last few days in relation to the fire at Grenfell Tower.

“The horror is not to be underestimated.

“The dignity of the dead must always be respected.

“What you have done by uploading those photos shows absolutely no respect to this poor victim. To show his face as he lies there is beyond words.

“That view is shared in the horror and disgust that is shown by those people that have uploaded messages on your profile.

 

“It is an aggravating feature that when people said to you ‘This is really sick, just call the police’ and ‘call the cops rather than post photos’, you didn’t.

“You didn’t remove the photos.

“These offences are so serious that a community order or financial penalty would not mark the seriousness of the offence.”

The judge accepted Mwaikambo had no previous convictions and was remorseful for what he did, but with the events of the fire the case was “unprecedented”.

Mwaikambo, of Testerton Walk – adjacent to Grenfell Tower – was given six weeks for each charge to run consecutively and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and and costs of £85.

MIRROR

 


 

BRIT-NIGERIAN LAWYER AWARDED MBE IN QUEENS 2017 BIRTHDAY HONOURS LIST

British/Nigerian lawyer, diversity leader and mother, Funke Abimbola (nee Akindolie), has been recognised by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II in her 91st birthday honours list for 2017.

Nigerian-born Funke has been awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to diversity in the legal profession and to young people.

The Queen has recognised the long-term, significant impact of Funke’s outstanding service to the legal community and to the next generation, serving as an example to others.

Commenting on her appointment as M.B.E. Funke said:

“I was absolutely stunned when I received an official letter from the Cabinet Office informing me of this in early May but have had to keep this news confidential until now”.

“The letter explained that, having taken advice from the Head of the Civil Service and the Main Honours Committee, the Prime Minister needed my permission before submitting my name to the Queen and recommending that I be awarded the M.B.E. It is incredible to think that campaigning for equality in my personal time (having experienced both direct racial and gender-based discrimination myself) and supporting young people to reach their potential has led to me receiving a Queen’s honour.”

“I am still taking it all in and feel very humbled and proud to be receiving this honour. More than anything, I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported my journey and played a part in shaping and developing my vision – my parents, my family, friends, teachers, mentors and mentees. Mine has not been an easy path at all and I still face many challenges but I am very thankful for the support and encouragement I have received along the way”.

“My aim is to use this recognition as an elevated platform to open more doors for under-represented communities and to further advance the equality agenda by demonstrating that we are all bigger than the box that either society or the workplace chooses to put us in. I will be carrying as many people along with me as possible and continue to drive lasting societal change”.

Currently working full time as a solicitor, compliance professional and senior leader for the world’s largest biotech company, UK-based Funke was educated at Burgess Hill Girls School (an independent school in West Sussex) before studying law at Newcastle University. She now leads the legal team supporting her organisation’s pharmaceutical operations in the UK, Ireland, Malta and Gibraltar. In addition, she heads up the financial compliance function for the UK, ensuring and safeguarding the integrity of the organisation’s financial systems and other financial controls. She is the most senior black lawyer working in the UK pharmaceutical industry and is consistently recognised as being a leading lawyer within the life sciences field by a number of independent legal directories and publications.

Alongside her day job and parenting her 14 year old son, Funke has used her annual leave and volunteered significant amounts of her personal time towards influencing and improving diversity (with a focus on gender equality, race diversity and social mobility within the legal profession). She is a widely-cited authority on diversity, commentating on issues for a range of organisations as well as being a volunteer world news reviewer, appearing regularly on BBC One to a weekly global news audience of 320 million people.

For 5 years, Funke was a board director of City Growth Luton, a government-funded economic regeneration initiative aimed at creating more opportunities for those from a socially deprived background. She currently holds a number of voluntary, board-level roles across a range of organisations within the diversity space including Aspiring Solicitors (the UK’s largest organisation supporting diversity in the legal profession with over 25,000 members and volunteers), Women in Law London (WILL, a 2,400 strong network established to support the career progression of women lawyers) and First 100 Years (a project creating a digital library to celebrate the history of 100 years of women lawyers).

 


Kindly join the entire Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom in raising funds towards the relief effort for the Grenfell Tower fire victims. To donate, please visit:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justalittlehelp

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She volunteered her time as an expert contributor to Tottenham MP David Lammy’s review of the UK’s criminal justice system and is Patron of the Precious Awards (celebrating women of colour), Power Up (empowering professionals from an ethnic minority background) and University College London University’s Leadership and Management Society (the fastest growing student society at UCL).

Funke is also part of DRIVE (Diverse Recruitment Institute of Value and Excellence), an initiative aimed at creating 150,000 more diverse hires over a 5 year period, meeting at the House of Lords and the Cabinet Office. In addition, she has advised the Justice Secretary and the Ministry of Justice by providing recommendations on how to make the legal profession more diverse. Her contributions and influence have impacted decision-making by a broad range of stakeholders, shaping government policy.

Partnering with legal PR firm Byfield Consultancy and journalist Jon Robins, Funke personally sponsored the award-winning 2015 report, ‘Opening up or shutting out? Social mobility in the legal profession”, a report that has made a significant contribution towards highlighting the ongoing challenges surrounding social mobility within the profession and influencing impactful social change. The report has been shared with over 3,000 young people and presented in Parliament at the House of Lords, at PRIME (the UK’s principal platform for advancing social mobility across the legal profession) and at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (chaired by the Rt Hon Alan Milburn).

Funke volunteers regularly at Law Society events, supporting both the Women Lawyers Division (a division that represents over 88,000 female solicitors on the solicitors’ roll) and the Ethnic Minority Lawyers division (over 25,000 solicitors) with a range of initiatives. She has partnered with the President of the Law Society on improving race diversity across the 175,000 solicitors on the solicitors’ roll, driving the business case for diversity across the whole profession.

Having twice served as a school governor (at Sandridge School and Uxbridge College), Funke has since empowered thousands of young people to overcome obstacles and maximise their potential by providing free motivational leadership talks, mentoring, careers advice and work experience opportunities both as a voluntary speaker for Speakers4Schools and independently of that organisation. She shares her personal leadership story with approximately 2,000 school children annually, empowering them to become more resilient in overcoming obstacles. Funke recently received the 2017 Mary Lou Carrington award from the Worshipful Company of Educators in recognition of her significant contributions to the UK’s education system and her contributions towards bridging the gap between schools and businesses.

Together with her siblings, she founded the Akindolie Medical Scholarship in April 2016, a privately funded annual bursary awarded to an outstanding UK-based medical student from a minority ethnic background. The scholarship was established in memory of her late father, Dr Frank Olufemi Akindolie, a gifted, German-trained doctor who tragically died of liver cancer in 2012.

October 2016 saw Funke presented with a ‘Point of Light’ award by the Prime Minister, recognising the impact of her voluntary diversity work.

In a personal letter to Funke at the time, the Prime Minister wrote:

“You have become a role model for thousands of young people, inspiring them to believe that race or gender should not be a barrier to achieving their potential. By speaking so passionately to groups in Parliament, the Law Society and, most importantly, over two thousand school children and university students, you are supporting the professions to become more diverse.”

Funke recently met the Prime Minister who personally congratulated her on the positive impact of her voluntary diversity work at a reception at number 10 Downing Street.


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