cialis for sale1.jpg” alt=”" width=”150″ height=”150″ />The Sentencing Council launched a consultation on punishments for sex offenders. Proposed new guidelines would take into account the long-term psychological harm sexual abuse can cause, and would also suggest longer sentences for offenders that film their victims. Previously, the focus of sentencing was on the physical aspect of the crime, mirroring the technical definitions of sexual offences in law. Lord Justice Treacy said:

“We’re improving guidance for courts to help them deal with these incredibly complex, sensitive and serious offences.

“The perspective of victims is central to the council’s considerations. We want to ensure sentences reflect everything the victim has been through and what the offender has done.

“We are looking at the whole context, not just the physical offence but also the tactics employed by offenders like grooming activity, the targeting of vulnerable victims or abuse of a position of trust.

The consultation will run to March 2013 and is open to criminal justice professionals and the general public.

The Prime Minister revealed that he supports allowing churches in England and Wales to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies. Under new proposals religious organisations which do not want to host same-sex weddings will be given an absolute guarantee that they will not be forced to do so, and it is assumed that an “opt-in” system would be used. Ministers will make public the responses to a recent consultation on the issue next week.

A member of the hacking group Anonymous was convicted of one charge of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977. The defendant was found guilty of involvement in attacks on company websites such as Paypal, Mastercard and Visa that had been targeted by the group for their anti-WikiLeaks stances. Sentencing will take place in January.

The High Court ([2012] EWHC 3321) dismissed an application from a participant on the ITV programme Homes from Hell, who had brought a defamation action against the TV network, claiming the programme portrayed him as a “foolish, obstinate, greedy and unreasonable person”. Tugendhat J made observations of the effect of litigation on litigants in person, as the claimant appeared to have no legal assistance apart from a second year law student who accompanied him to court, and presented himself as “being at a disadvantage faced with the very experienced lawyers representing ITV”:

“Not only is the court without any means to provide. . .assistance [to litigants in person], the court is also obliged to be impartial. A litigant who explicitly seeks the guidance of the court in the way that Mr O’Dwyer does is seeking what he may suppose to be free legal advice. But he is seeking it from a source which is unable to provide it . . .”