28 May, 2004

Getaway wants name to get away

A high court judge who on Friday imposed four life sentences on a man who raped his 15-year-old stepdaughter - impregnating her last year - expressed the view that many people got away with such crimes largely because of family pressure (IOL 2004-05-24).

Environmental lobby group Biowatch sought in the Pretoria High Court to compel the government to divulge information about genetically modified organisms (GMO) in South Africa (News24 2004-05-24).

A family-owned publishing company has taken legal action against a big rival for allegedly copying one of its titles. Ramsay, Son & Parker, publisher of Getaway, has objected to Wegbreek, an Afrikaans-language title published by Media24. Wegbreek went on sale in March, the same month that Getaway celebrated its 15th anniversary (Sunday Times 2004-05-23).

The Italian parliament has passed legislation that introduces some of the harshest penalties anywhere in the world for illegally downloading copyrighted content. Italians found to have downloaded or uploaded music, film or any other copyrighted content over the internet now face up to three years in jail for their transgression (DMEurope 2004-05-24).

United Kingdom
As women in a sexual assault case have discovered, no fee doesn't mean no cost. The system to replace legal aid often ends up with demands to pay huge bills whatever the outcome of your day in court. Their case collapsed when a High Court judge ordered an urgent investigation into their solicitor, Jane Loveday, and her handling of their multi-million pound compensation claim in February (Guardian Unlimited 2004-05-23).

A "child of the eighties" has been born to a couple using sperm frozen for a record 21 years, scientists have revealed. The father was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1979 when he was 17 years old and his sperm was frozen before cancer treatment began. Later, when he and his wife decided to have a family, there was a delay of seven years until their baby was born, because of waiting lists and three unsuccessful attempts at fertility treatment (Telegraph 2004-05-25).

United States
Last week, Oklahoma judges considered a fundamental question - the status of international law in state courts in the US. And they made a paradigm-shifting decision.
Not only did they properly treat a US treaty as binding law, they also relied on a March decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The result was to halt an execution that would have taken place on May 18 of a Mexican national whose right to assistance from the Mexican consulate was not honored by the US (FindLaw 2004-05-24).

Texas prison officials executed a killer who was a diagnosed schizophrenic. Kelsey Patterson was killed by lethal injection. His execution brought to an end a case that had ignited debate over condemning the mentally ill to die (LA Times 2004-05-19).

Police can search a parked car for drugs, guns or other evidence of a crime while arresting a driver or passengers nearby, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The high court has already ruled that officers can search a car when arresting someone inside, and the same rule now applies if a motorist or passenger gets out of the car. The 7-2 ruling addressed a common situation, in which police pull over a suspicious car or come upon it while it is parked. Sometimes motorists get out of the car before an officer approaches, and it was not clear until now whether police had leeway to search the car (FindLaw 2004-05-24).

The arrival of Viagra appears to have spurred a huge increase in demand for impotence remedies using seahorses as a cheaper alternative to the western wonder drug that was making headlines around the world. Twenty-five million seahorses a year are now being traded around the world - 64 percent more than in the mid-1990s - and environmentalists are increasingly concerned that the booming trade in seahorses is putting the creatures at risk (IOL 2004-05-24).


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