Solicitor enraged by struggle to see court risk assessment

first_imgPlease see the Gazette’s dedicated coronavirus page here >> Find advice and updates here. The managing director of a criminal defence firm says he is enraged that he is having to chase HM Courts & Tribunals Service for a court risk assessment so he can decide whether or not it is safe to send out his staff.Michael Gray, who runs Chester firm Gray & Co Solicitors, has not sent any staff to court since lockdown restrictions were introduced in March. Over the past couple of weeks he says he has repeatedly asked to see HMCTS’s risk assessment for Warrington Magistrates’ Court – the only one of three courts operating in his area.Gray told the Gazette: ‘I am concerned that the local risk assessments have not been provided to me and other solicitors in advance of the decision of HMCTS to require defendants on bail to attend at court. In my opinion, the decision to increase the work in the court estate is premature and HMCTS is taking an unnecessary risk. Michael Gray‘There have been examples of good safety measures being put in place, for example video technology being used in overnight remand cases, but the court cannot operate in this way exclusively and they are now under pressure to push though more volume by requiring more people to attend in person.’Gray is also losing income by not sending solicitors to court. ‘That’s why I’m enraged – I’m at my wit’s end,’ he said.HMCTS states in an organisational risk assessment document on 15 May that it constantly monitors the arrangements in its buildings, using a local assessment tool.On 25 May, Gray emailed HMCTS with 11 questions. These include where the defendants see their solicitors in the court, what measures are in place to ensure social distancing, and what facilities are in place for social distancing in the cells.A letter sent on behalf of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association to HMCTS chief executive Susan Acland-Hood on Sunday states that ‘some of our member solicitors have requested copies of the local assessements and they have not been forthcoming. This essentially means that employers are unable to fulfil their own obligations under sections two and three of the Health and Safety at Work Act and subordinate legislation. We are concerned that the court estate is being opened to the public and profession court users alike, without these assessments being made available’.Yesterday, HMCTS announced that 16 more courts were reopening this week after they were assessed to be suitable for holding socially-distanced hearings.Law Society president Simon Davis said: ‘Where appropriate steps are taken to ensure good hygiene, appropriate distancing, and compliance with all other relevant guidance to minimise risk, courts should be safe to attend. This will be evident via the individual risk assessments for each site – which should be made available on request.’We would be concerned if people were being asked to attend court before an assessment has been supplied. Where a court is failing to do so, this should be raised with HMCTS at the earliest opportunity.’The Ministry of Justice has been approached for comment.Update (1:30pm): Michael Gray received the risk assessment for Warrington Magistrates’ Court.Update (6.45pm): A HMCTS spokesperson said: ‘Warrington Magistrates’ Court was deemed safe after thorough checks and we have issued copies of the risk assessment to those who have requested it.’ *The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.last_img read more

Douglas Charles Airport closed due to inclement weather

first_img Tweet Sharing is caring! Share Share LocalNews Douglas Charles Airport closed due to inclement weather by: – March 11, 2017center_img Share 234 Views   no discussions Heavy rainfall associated with a frontal boundary has forced the closure of Douglas Charles Airport at Marigot.The Ministry of Public Works and Ports advised of its closure in a press release issued at 10AM on Saturday 11 March 2017.“The Ministry has also been advised that there are currently two landslides on the Nicholas Liverpool Highway that are affecting vehicular traffic flow in that area. Therefore, the general public is asked to use the Castle Bruce/Kalinago Territory road to access areas beyond Belles.The Ministry of Public Works and Ports is making every effort to bring the road situation back to normalcy and will advise further once the Highway and Airport are reopened,” the release notes.– / 5last_img read more

Freeze tells ESPN he still talks to MSU’s Chris Jones

first_imgMississippi coach Hugh Freeze speaks to the media at the SEC Media Days Thursday in Hoover, Alabama.Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze speaks to the media at the SEC Media Days Thursday in Hoover, Alabama.OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said during his run through ESPN’s annual “Car Wash,” which brings all 14 Southeastern Conference coaches to its Bristol, Connecticut studios, that Chris Jones was the recruit that got away.That’s not really a surprise, considering Jones was a five-star, in-state prospect. Ole Miss also made a hard last-second charge to try to pry Jones away from Mississippi State, which resulted in one of the more dramatic recruiting finishes the state has seen in a very long time. But what may shock some is that Freeze apparently still talks to MSU’s defensive tackle. Freeze told ESPN’s Joe Schad that the two still chat “on the phone about life.” It wasn’t Freeze’s only interesting comments from Monday. He told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy that he’d be in favor of getting rid of National Signing Day completely. Instead, Freeze says he’d prefer if a prospect could sign letters of intent right when they committed. It certainly could have helped the Rebels last year. Four-star linebacker Leo Lewis and offensive tackle Drew Richmond both backed out of their commitment to Ole Miss just days before they could officially put pen to paper. Here are some of the other more interesting tidbits from Freeze during his time running around the hallways at ESPN: Hugh Freeze said four juniors have school-paid insurance policies worth up to $7.5 million— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 20, 2015 Hugh Freeze if he could change @CFBPlayoff: “Let’s only play 11 games, no league title game %26 have 8 playoff teams”— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 20, 2015 Hugh Freeze said new Mizzou DC Barry Odom and TCUs Gary Patterson playcallers he respects most. Instincts for right calls at right time.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 20, 2015center_img Hugh Freeze said he would start all 3 Ohio St QBs on first snap of 1st gm and play each for a quarter— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 20, 2015last_img read more

Port Arthur residents remain stranded and homes still flooded, mayor says

first_img Related Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PORT ARTHUR, Texas) — Although Harvey’s floodwaters have begun to recede in parts of Port Arthur, Texas, Mayor Derrick Freeman told ABC News that an unknown number of residents remain stranded and some homes, including his own, are still inundated with knee-deep water.“Two nights ago, we had a lot of water. We got about 20 inches of water in about 24 hours, and it devastated our city,” Freeman said in an interview Thursday with Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts. “There’s some parts that it’s receded, it’s gone down, but we still have people in 3- to 4-foot water in some homes.”In a Facebook livestream on Wednesday night, the mayor showed the 4 feet of water still inside his own home in the southeast Texas city.“We got some water, y’all. Harvey wasn’t playing,” Freeman said in the video.The mayor told ABC News that first responders and volunteer rescuers in Port Arthur will be going door to door to homes to conduct welfare checks.Days after Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, the Beaumont-Port Arthur metropolitan area saw a record-shattering 26 or more inches of rainfall on Tuesday alone, unleashing treacherous torrents on the community, located some 85 miles east of Houston. Officials in Port Arthur were forced to evacuate a nursing home as well as the shelter at the Bob Bower Civic Center on Wednesday after the buildings began to fill with water.“It was something that we weren’t prepared for,” Freeman said in the interview on GMA. “We didn’t know that we would have to get them out of there while we were rescuing people out of 4-foot water.”Meanwhile, Motiva, the largest oil refinery in the United States, is shutting down due to the devastating floods in Port Arthur. Motiva announced in a statement early Wednesday that it began a “controlled shutdown of the Port Arthur refinery in response to increasing local flood conditions.” The refinery won’t reopen until flood waters recede, it said.A flash flood emergency for the cities of Beaumont and Port Arthur was extended until 4:30 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday. While the threat of heavy rains has ended in Houston, “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding” will continue in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area for the rest of the week, the National Weather Service said.Harvey made landfall again as a tropical storm, just west of Cameron, Louisiana, on Wednesday at 4 a.m. CT, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The storm has led to at least 31 deaths over the past four days.The storm has weakened further, and its remnants will begin to move out of Texas and Louisiana. But it will continue to bring heavy rain and the threat of flooding to parts of the Tennessee Valley and the Ohio Valley through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.The Port Arthur mayor told ABC News that his biggest concern now is “the rebuild,” but he’s confident his city will do just that.“We’re going to bounce back,” Freeman said. “We got hit with Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Harvey, and we’ve rebuilt every time. So we’re going to rebuild this time. We’re going to be OK.” Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.Powered by WPeMaticolast_img read more

Lady Gaga says she’s taking a ‘rest’ from music

first_img Lady Gaga appears during a camera call before the press conference for “Gaga: Five Foot Two” at the Toronto International Film Festival, in Toronto on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) Lady Gaga appears during a camera call before the press conference for “Gaga: Five Foot Two” at the Toronto International Film Festival, in Toronto on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) Lady Gaga attends a press conference for “Gaga: Five Foot Two” on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) TORONTO | Lady Gaga says that she’s planning to take a “rest” from music and “slow down for a moment for some healing.”The pop star was at in Toronto on Friday for a pair of concerts and to premiere a Netflix documentary about herself, “Gaga: Five Foot Two.” The film, playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, chronicles her life, last year’s Super Bowl performance and her struggle with chronic pain.Gaga teared up speaking to reporters about her health issues. “It’s hard,” she said, “but it’s liberating too.”The singer said that she’ll still be creating during a break from music. “It doesn’t mean I don’t have some things up my sleeve,” said Gaga.Gaga recently shot a remake of “A Star is Born,” co-starring Bradley Cooper. Lady Gaga speaks during a press conference for “Gaga: Five Foot Two” on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)last_img read more