That-was-the-week-150x150London Underground, Tube Lines Ltd and Schweerbau GMBH were fined £100,000 each after a runaway tube train came within 200m of crashing into a packed passenger train in August 2010. Prosecutor Jonathan Ashley-Norman, for the Office of Rail Regulation, told the Old Bailey that there could have been a terrible tragedy if it had not been for the “prompt and skilful” actions of London Underground staff. A maintenance wagon had broken free and careered along the Northern Line for four miles, passing through several stations before staff managed to switch lines and slow the runaway train. It reached a halt on an incline near Warren Street after passenger trains had been diverted to the Bank branch of the line. The three train companies pleaded guilty to endangering passengers and staff.

The Guardian put pressure on the HM Courts & Tribunals Service to disclose incidents where judges dealing with sensitive issues, such as child custody, have been victims of threats and attacks. Family court judges have had to deal with hate mail sent to their homes, physical attacks, and repeat assaults in court buildings. In the 12 months leading up to this January, 26 such incidents were recorded – including one direct death threat and three physical attacks, one of which involved a judge requiring hospital treatment after she was knocked to the floor and beaten.

Gloucester Crown Court warned a defendant that custody is inevitable for calling in a bomb hoax designed to get his ex-wife’s new boyfriend in trouble. The jury heard that the defendant had phoned up Ikea’s national call centre and pretended to be a café owner who had overheard Russian customers plotting the bombing of the Bristol branch of the furniture superstore. The judge agreed to a defence request for a probation service pre-sentence report, but also stated:

“This was a serious case in two ways – first of all there was a bomb hoax involving considerable activity to search Ikea and discover if it was genuine or not and secondly it involved the implication of (an innocent man). The idea – as the defendant suggested – that he was the Dresden Bomber or was talking to Russian cohorts in a Tesco cafe and was overheard by Mr Ibrahim would have been remarkable.”

A Welsh fish farmer who sued the Environment Agency after he claimed his carp were eaten by otters has lost his High Court damages action. An “otter haven” had been set up near to his fish farm in Bangor, Gwynedd, and when the claimant went to check on his fish stocks he found fish bones. Judge  Andrew Keyser QC, finding for the Environment Agency, held that the Agency did not have a duty of care to inform the claimant about otters in the area, and that the construction of the otter shelters was a community-based activity arranged by other people other than the EA. The claimant was ordered to pay a third of the Agency’s £30,000 costs.

“The Naked Rambler”, Stephen Gough, is back – this week he was given an interim Asbo by Southampton magistrates after Eastleigh Borough Council and Hampshire Constabulary jointly applied for an order stating he must “wear sufficient clothing in public to at least cover his genitalia and buttocks”. Any breach of the order could result in a prison sentence. Mr Gough has been in and out of prison for refusing to get dressed in public places, and was released on bail at the beginning of February after a charge for outraging public decency was dropped.