Direct from BBC World News, happening right now:

Rolf Harris charged with indecent assault on girls

TV presenter Rolf Harris has been charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of children, police have said.

Mr Harris was first arrested in March by officers investigating historical allegations of child sexual abuse. Six offences relate to the indecent assault of a girl aged 15-16 between 1980 and 1981 and three relate to a girl aged 14 in 1986. The indecent images of children were alleged to have been made last year.

Mr Harris, 83, of Bray, Berkshire, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 23 September. Mr Harris’ lawyers have not publicly responded to the charges.

Operation Yewtree
Alison Saunders, chief Crown prosecutor for London, said: “Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Harris to be charged with nine counts of indecent assault and four of making indecent images of a child.

“The alleged indecent assaults date from 1980 to 1986 and relate to two complainants aged 14 and 15 at the time of the alleged offending.”

Mr Harris was arrested as part of Operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of allegations against the former BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile.

Operation Yewtree has three strands – one is looking specifically at the actions of Savile, while the second strand concerns allegations against “Savile and others”.

Mr Harris was arrested as part of the third strand, which relates to alleged complaints against other people unconnected to the Savile investigation – who the police term “others”.

Mr Harris has been a fixture on British TV screens for more than 40 years, having arrived in the UK from his native Australia in 1952.

He has been honoured in the UK three times, first as a Member of the British Empire in 1968 (MBE), then an OBE in 1977 and in 2006 he was advanced to a CBE.

In June 2012 he was awarded one of Australia’s highest honours when he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday list.

Alternative Fee Arrangements? Get Your Clothes Off and Step into my Office?

Good grief, I mean, really?

A US lawyer who asked a client to answer her front door to him naked has had his licence to practice suspended. The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Chillicothe lawyer Ed Bunstine’s licence for a year, with six months of the suspension stayed, after ruling that he attempted to solicit sex from a client, The Chillicothe Gazette reported.

The ruling arose after a complaint was made that Bunstine allegedly told a female client, who he was representing in a child custody matter in July 2010, that he could make “other arrangements” for her to pay his fee.
The woman said that Bunstine then told her he would come to her home and that she should answer the door naked, leading her to believe that he wanted to have sex with her.
The woman testified that she had been “disgusted” by the statement and left Bunstine’s office, according to the Gazette.
She said that when Bunstine called her about stopping by the house she said no, but Bunstine arrived 35 minutes later and was confronted by the woman’s fiancé and her fiancé’s father.
In his defence arguments, Bunstine argued that the woman was not his client, despite the fact that he had recently represented her, and alleged the woman had asked him to come to her home.
He also claimed he asked the woman if she would answer the door naked merely for the “purpose of hearing the response”, and that it did not constitute an invitation for sex in exchange for legal counsel.
Full story here.

Law Graduates Can’t Get Jobs (Apparently)

A really interesting insight out from Leanne Mezrani at Lawyers Weekly today, apparently it’s the worst time in history to be a law graduate (full story here):

A national recruiter is receiving dozens of phone calls each week from high-performing law graduates who are struggling to find a job. Elvira Naiman, managing director of Naiman Clarke, told Lawyers Weekly that even law graduates with excellent grades from top universities and who are involved in numerous extracurricular activities are being knocked back by firms.

“In some ways, they are the ideal graduate candidates … and for no other reason than bad luck they don’t get into a grad role,” she said. “It is the worst time in living history to be a law graduate.”

Naiman claimed these same graduates are even struggling to find work as paralegals; the recruiter receives 40 to 50 applications from graduates for these sorts of positions because “in their mind there is no other way to get into a graduate role”.
Sydney graduates are facing the greatest competitive pressure, she continued, with the 10 accredited law schools in NSW producing the highest volume of graduates of any state.
A University of Sydney law student, who wished to remain anonymous, told Lawyers Weekly that competition for work is so fierce that a number of graduates are returning to university, some completing an honours or master degree, to avoid unemployment.
“They wouldn’t have done it if they had a job,” she said, adding that their “feeling of despair” is filtering down to penultimate year students.
[…] “Most students think things are rosy, they are expecting a job at the end of their clerkship,” she added.
[…] Naiman said the greater concern is the long-term implications of having too few graduates being trained up by law firms. The question, which she claimed is “being swept under the carpet”, is: who will train this generation of law graduates to become experienced lawyers by the time the market picks up?
“The long-term skills gap is going to be wide [and] I don’t know that there’s enough discussion around where the onus of training should lie,” she said.
“The responsibility lies at the feet of the industry and the various players in the industry, and that includes firms and law societies.”

Useless law Students? Are Law Firms Voting with their Feet? Or their Graduate Positions?

An article today on Lawyer’s Weekly by Leanne Mezrani (publised 22 August 2013) raises the curtain on the emerging difficulties that law firms are having in getting quality out of law students. The article has a different focus – something implicitly wrong about law graduates not being able to convert a law clerk position into a legal job, but lurking in the detail is the growing disenchantment with law graduates – could it be that the faculties just aren’t producing the graduates we need in the profession? 

Read on:
Exclusive: Law firms let down clerks
The majority of Melbourne law students who recently completed clerkships at some of the nation’s top firms have been denied a graduate position.
Lawyers Weekly has exclusively obtained information on the clerk-to-graduate ratio at the Melbourne offices of eight top and mid-tier firms. All of the firms have hired less than half, and in some cases less than a quarter, of the clerks that were vying for a 2014 graduate position.
Herbert Smith Freehills took in the most clerks (86) in its Melbourne office of all firms over the 2012 to 2013 seasonal intakes and offered 34 clerks a graduate position.
Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Andrea Bell, HSF’s people and development director, said the firm could reduce its clerk intake in coming years in order to “strike the balance between being commercial and running a profitable business … and keeping a pipeline of the most talented graduates coming through”.
Bell also admitted that a graduate intake that is proportional to the number of clerkships is “important for the integrity of our brand”.
“We know it’s an important decision for people to make at this point in their careers and we want to make sure we help them manage their expectations and the options they want to keep available to them,” she added.
King & Wood Mallesons had the second highest number of clerks (78) and offered 20 of them a position at the firm, with one deferral to 2015.
Of the 64 students who recently clerked at Allens, just 13 – or around 20 per cent – will take a graduate role in 2014. The firm pointed out that offers were made to a further five clerks who have deferred until 2015.
Allens declined an interview but offered the following statement: “Our acceptance rates in Melbourne remain high and we are very pleased with the outcome of our clerkship recruitment.”
Slater & Gordon, which released healthy FY13 financials this week, told Lawyers Weekly that it does not reveal graduate intake numbers but could confirm that between five and 10 clerks have been hired by the firm, “which is not significantly less than previous years”.
Cath Harris, general manager of HR at Slater & Gordon, said in a statement: “While we do provide many opportunities for young graduate lawyers to join the firm, we see our high staff retention rates as the real measure of our success in this area … 89 per cent of all lawyers employed under the graduate intake scheme since 2007 are still working at Slater & Gordon.”
Corrs Chambers Westgarth recruited a little under a quarter of its clerk cohort this year, offering positions to nine out of 39 clerks. The firm also said that a further two clerks who had deferred from the previous year will be joining the firm in 2014.
Meanwhile, Lander & Rogers hired 10 graduates from a pool of 33 clerks; while Baker & McKenzie offered a graduate role to six of its 13 clerks.
Bakers’ national talent management director, Kate Muir, told Lawyers Weekly that the firm has not taken on fewer clerks compared to the previous year. Muir also claimed that clerkship applicants are informed early on of how many graduate offers the firm is likely to make.
“We always try to ensure that the number of graduate offers we make are consistent with our business needs, and that we can ensure that our graduates get a good experience through their rotation program,” she added.
Lawyers Weekly repeatedly requested confirmation from K&L Gates on figures we obtained regarding the firm’s graduate intake for 2014 but did not receive a response prior to publication.
War stories
A Melbourne law student, who has asked to remain anonymous, told Lawyers Weekly that while he has been offered a graduate position at a top-tier firm, many of his classmates with CVs that are “in good shape”, and who have achieved mid-to-high distinction averages, are scrambling to find work following the recent round of graduate job offers.
“It’s surprising – these are high-achieving students being rejected … they’re the complete package,” he said.
Like Bell, the student believes firm brands will be impacted. He warned that poor graduate intake compared to clerk numbers will result in “war stories” being passed on from one student year to the next, deterring some of the brightest law students from applying to offending firms.
“The legal community in Melbourne is small, word does travel fast … if you want to protect your brand, be responsible about the clerk-to-grad ratio,” he warned.
He also argued that firms should, at the very least, inform clerks who are unlikely to be hired that their chances of landing a graduate position are slim in order to allow them enough time to organise an alternative.
The student did not, however, blame firms alone for this year’s disappointing clerk-to-graduate figures. He said the clerkship system is flawed generally.
“Universities should shoulder some blame for this … [they] are pumping out law students at an unsustainable rate,” he said.
“It’s an arms race each year,” he added.

Public Transport Crime

A WOMAN was beaten unconscious after she complained about a “boisterous” gang on the NightRider bus in the early hours of this morning.

The 26-year-old asked the driver to remove the group who were standing in the aisle being noisy and knocking into passengers.
A woman from the gang then threw a drink at her and punched her in the face. “Others from the group got involved and the woman was dragged to the ground, punched and kicked to her body and head, rendering her unconscious,” Sergeant Anita Brens said. “The bus driver opened the bus door and the group ran from the bus along Swanston Street towards Flinders Street.”

Full story here.

Bradley Manning – 35 Years in Prison

Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years in prison 

Aug. 22, 2013, 7:06 a.m. Full Story Here.

Fort Meade, Maryland: A court martial sat for just two minutes here on Monday to lock convicted WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning up for 35 years – not quite double what his lawyer said he should get and a bit more than half the sentence sought by the Obama administration.
responsible for a leak that by volume is the biggest in US history. And the judge, Army Colonel Denise Lind, gave him a sentence to match – the longest to be delivered for leaks intended to openly reveal information to the American public as opposed to it being passing secretly to a foreign government.
On top of the jail time, she also ordered that Manning, now a first-class private, be demoted to the lowest rank in the military.
She ordered that he forfeit all pay and be dishonourably discharged – but Colonel Lind did not act on a prosecution push for Manning to be made to pay a $100,000 fine to defray some of the government’s damage-control costs in the wake of his gigantic leaking of classified military and diplomatic material.
There was no visible response from Manning on hearing the sentence. Wearing his dress uniform, he stood silently by his lawyer, David Coombs, with a sister and an aunt seated behind him. As the judge finished her brief delivery, the 25-year-old was bundled away by military police, amid calls of ‘we’ll keep fighting’ and ‘we love you’ from a small group of supporters.
As with her decisions on Manning’s guilt on 20 of the 21 charges he faced, Colonel Lind gave no reasons or explanation of how she had arrived at the punishment. But she had already ruled that any sentence would be cut by 1294 days, for time spent in pre-trial detention – including 122 days that were deemed to be mistreatment.
Under military law, Manning could be eligible for parole in about 10 years. The sentence is subject to review by the general responsible for the Washington military district who may reduce, but not increase its severity and it also automatically goes to appeal before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
. Manning had already offered a range of guilty pleas in which he accepted that he would be jailed for as long as 20 years. But the Obama administration has been determined to use the case as a warning to other would-be leakers and insisted on going through the full court martial, including on a charge that Manning had ‘aided the enemy.’
The punishment on the ‘aiding’ charge is death or life imprisonment. But though the prosecution said it was not seeking Manning’s execution, this was the single count on which the judge found Manning not guilty.
In previous non-espionage cases of leaking the punishment has been more lenient. But analysts argues that while the other cases tended to be single-issue and involved significantly less documentation, Manning would always be aggressively targeted by the White House be cause of the sheer volume and breadth of his disclosures.
And the record reveals that leaking classified documents is a special burr beneath the saddle of the Obama administration, which has taken more cases against leakers than all its predecessors combined.
“The Army is sending a clear message to them and to all journalists who dare to report whistleblowers’ disclosures: the US will strike back severely at anyone who uncovers information of public interest concerning the exercise of official power.”

Reinstate the Hostess!

Jetstar told to reinstate air hostess 

Jetstar Airways has been ordered to return to duty an air hostess accused of involvement in an overseas murder, who says she found a fake bomb on a domestic flight two years ago.
South African prosecutors believe she is one of the masterminds behind a high-profile murder.
The self-styled whistleblower on the Australian airline industry said she found a suspect device in the toilet of a Jetstar plane as it flew from Sydney to Darwin last year.
The airline sacked the attendant in December after deciding on medical advice her ”psychological prognosis” was too poor to continue working in a ”safety critical role”.
That same month, South African prosecutors issued an indictment against Ms Neeteson-Lemkes, alleging she masterminded the brutal murder of mother-of-three Betty Ketani in 1999, in a cold-case drama that has gripped the African nation. The flight attendant, who has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the murder, could face extradition proceedings to South Africa.
On Wednesday, Ms Neeteson-Lemkes did not respond to attempts to contact her through her lawyers and Jetstar did not respond before deadline to questions.
August 2011 when, according to evidence before a commission, Ms Neeteson-Lemkes discovered a device in the toilet that had ”every appearance of being a bomb”, said commissioner Donna McKenna.
She lodged a workers’ compensation claim for anxiety and depression exacerbated by what she said was the airlines’ inadequate response to the ”bomb” incident, when the plane kept flying to its destination.
When she tried to return to work in September last year, Jetstar demanded its own medical opinion and she was found psychologically unfit to return to the skies.
Ms Neeteson-Lemkes was in the headlines in late 2011, when she told a Senate aviation inquiry Jetstar staff were overworked and that morale was low.

BREAKING NEWS: Witchcraft MIGHT be made legal in NT… What?!!

Lock up your little dogs, the Northern Territory Government is repealing old legislation which makes witchcraft illegal! Halloween has come early.
A recent review of the Territory’s Summary Offences Act found a centuries-old law citing anyone caught conjuring spells or predicting the future could face one year in prison.
Northern Territory Attorney-General John Elferink says “This legislation was enacted because it was there essentially as a form of consumer protection.” 
“If you were convicted of this offence, you were given a mandatory one-year imprisonment and every quarter, you were brought to the market and pilloried for the purpose of people throwing vegetables and such things at you.
“I don’t really want to see our tarot readers in the markets here in Darwin being pilloried and incarcerated for a year.”
Attorney-General John Elferink
“That doesn’t accord with modern sentencing practices and frankly I don’t really want to see our tarot readers in the markets here in Darwin being pilloried and incarcerated for a year.”
Mr Elferink says he is not aware of anyone being prosecuted under this outdated law.
Those in witchcraft and pagan circles say they are glad the law is being thrown out.
Damn, just when there was an employment opportunity for people who burn witches…
Full story here.

Must-Watch: Drunk (?) Lawyer Causes Mistrial

Lawyer: “Philosophically Judge, I never call the Police.” […]

Her Honour: “I’m going to be honest, cause you don’t look right this morning. […] You don’t think you need medical attention?
Lawyer: “I think I do.”

Lawyer: “My head has been the subject of many severe contacts.”
You got to watch this all the way through…. It’s a train wreck.