Monthly Archives: November 2012

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New Stalking Law in the UK

Although it has been illegal to stalk a person in Scotland for some time, it has taken until now for a similar law to be introduced in England and Wales. Stalking is a crime that is commonplace, but only a fraction of offenders are brought to trial. Up until now a stalker could only be charged with harassment, a lesser offence, but the new law will place more emphasis on the seriousness of the crime. Of an estimated 120,000 victims, only 53,000 are recorded as crimes each year, and fewer than 50 offenders are jailed.

Tougher Legislation

Since the change in the law in Scotland, which took place in 2010, heavier sentences have been levied and more people have been arrested. In the ten years before the change in the law only 70 offenders were prosecuted; since 2010 almost 450 cases have been brought. Ann Moulds, who founded Action Scotland Against Stalking and was instrumental in getting the law changed, did so after she was stalked by a man who acted as a friend. She confided in him about her stalker, but all the time it was actually him. She is now taking her campaign to the European Parliament.

Stalking in Cyberspace

Stalking is a growing problem online, with social networking sites offering a perfect platform for stalkers to operate from. With anonymity seemingly guaranteed offenders are free to browse and follow who they want. However, there are more stringent online protection laws in place, and they are being seen to have an effect. Stalking remains a serious problem, and one that is growing in stature, but it is to be hoped that the new laws will deter people from harassing both men and women in a manner that can be stressful, frightening and detrimental to the health of the victim.

Schofield in ITV Paedophile List Row

Popular TV presenter Philip Schofield is at the centre of a row following an appearance by Prime Minister David Cameron on the ITV breakfast show ‘This Morning’.  During the interview Schofield handed Mr Cameron a piece of paper upon which were written the names of four alleged paedophiles, believed to be linked with the Conservative party, that he had found by searching the internet. Broadcast regulator Ofcom has confirmed that complaints have been made.

Outrageous Stunt

The incident has been branded an ‘outrageous stunt’ by senior politicians, and Schofield has been forced to apologise. Ofcom has been urged, by Tory MP Rob Wilson, to investigate whether ITV has breached its duty to allow individuals a chance to respond before serious allegations were made about them. However, it should be noted that the names were not mentioned, and that it would be extremely difficult for those watching to read the list.

Cameron Also Criticised

The interview also led to criticism of Mr Cameron who appeared to directly link paedophilia with homosexuality. The Prime Minister warned that open discussion about alleged paedophile rings could lead to a ‘witch hunt’ against people who are gay. In addition, this has led many people to assume that the names on the list included gay politicians.

Tatchell Responds

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was quick to comment:

“There is no reason why he should link the current scandals with gay people or warn of an anti-gay witch-hunt. The current investigations concern paedophilia, not homosexuality.”

Schofield’s actions have been widely criticised in both broadcasting and political circles, especially with regard to the accuracy of the information he claimed to be presenting. Internet rumours are nothing but, and it is essential that broadcasters verify any claims in order to minimise the risk of legal action by anyone who is named in such a fashion.

Savile Estate Frozen

The estate of the late Jimmy Savile has been frozen in light of the allegations surrounding the former TV star and charity fundraiser. It has been revealed that Savile may have been a prolific abuser of under-age girls, with police now following over 300 leads. The saga has also embroiled a number of other stars from the era, many as yet un-named, with signer Gary Glitter and comedian Freddie Starr having been arrested and interviewed by the police. With an estate valued at around £4.3million, the NatWest – acting as executors of Savile’s will – has put a hold on distributing his assets as legal claims are expected from victims of assault.

26 Beneficiaries

It is believed that Savile’s will, written in 2006, names no fewer than 26 separate beneficiaries. The Financial Times claims to have seen a letter that instructs £20,000 to be given to each of 20 of the stars family, friends and neighbours. Furthermore, it claims a figure of £600,000 has been invested in a trust fund for a select group of people. The remainder was to be held by the NatWest on behalf of the Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust, the future of which is doubtful following the allegations.

Family Concerns

Savile’s family has already removed the flamboyant headstone that marked his grave in order that other using the graveyard would not be disturbed by any trouble, and has issued an apology on behalf of the family members. With many victims now being adults, and a number of high-profile celebrities having contacted PR guru Max Clifford in fear of exposure, it is expected that there will be legal claims made for compensation from a wide variety of people who are now claiming they were abused by Savile. Scotland Yard is committed to a major in-depth investigation into the allegations.

FOS Proposes No-Claim PPI Payout for Victims of Mis Sold PPI

The Financial Ombudsman Service recently proposed a no-claim payout proposition against banks who seemingly try to “delay and inconvenience” customers intending to reject their claims or have the customer drop their claim as well. The proposal is still under evaluation, but many customers are hopeful for the proposal to push through.

FOS chief Natalie Ceeney stated that banks are “trying to impart blame” on their customers by slowing down the PPI claims process attempting to discourage customers from pushing through with their claims. She states that this activity only leads to customers getting claims management companies to handle their claims. The “clogging” of fraudulent PPI claims is actually an incident wherein a customer uses professionals to make the claim over and over again.

Respectable CMCs continue to aid customers in reclaiming their repayments for the insurance policy. CMCs state that they are not trying to gain more profit and be a nuisance at the same time for the PPI claims process. Instead, they are just waiting for customers to allow them to help make the claim. They gain their profit properly as it makes use of the no win, no fee terms of agreement, which means that customers only pay when they accomplish the task effectively and satisfactorily.

UK’s PPI bill has currently reached £13 billion in total, but analysts mention that it can go as high as £16 billion to actually end the PPI crisis. The biggest high-street bank to have a large PPI bill is the Lloyds Banking Group with a bill of £4.3 billion in total and looking at an additional £2.3 billion for additional compensation claims.