That Was The WeekHate crimes have been dominating the news recently, and this week the government announced plans to tackle them through an interdepartmental approach that sets out to change attitudes, increase reporting of hate crimes and deal more effectively with offenders. Challenge it, Report it, Stop it’ was launched by Lynne Featherstone, who said that the lead for challenging hate crime must come from the local level, but the government would set a national direction.

A coroner slammed the Ministry of Defence investigation into a soldier’s “friendly fire” death in Afghanistan, and called for a statutory inquiry. Sapper Mark Smith died in Helmand Province in 2010 when a smoke shell fell short. Coroner Robert Hatch said:

“There should now be a statutory inquiry into the failure of the investigation into Sapper Smith’s death.

There has been a systematic failure in the collection of that evidence that leaves questions unanswered and potentially dangers remaining for soldiers who use the ammunition that has not been tested.”

The Criminal Bar Association continued to protest against the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates, which will be phased in from 30 September this year for the Midlands and Western Circuits. They have also challenged Chris Grayling’s latest idea to prevent any barrister from receiving more in legal aid than the Prime Minister’s salary. The CBA argues that a sum that high would be unattainable to pretty much all of the criminal Bar anyway, and that the PM’s salary is only a very small part of his remuneration.

East London Employment Tribunal found in English v Amshold Group Ltd that a former winner of TV programme The Apprentice had not been constructively dismissed by Lord Alan Sugar’s IT firm. The claimant had alleged that she had no real role at the company and had been treated with contempt. The respondent, Lord Sugar, said he was effectively being blackmailed and that there was no case to answer. Judge John Warren said:

“This was a claim which should never have been brought.

The respondent had gone out of (his) way to ensure the claimant was placed in a role… from which she could learn new skills, a job which she agreed to and which she enjoyed doing.”