■ Mordaunt pledges to end ‘chilling’ probes into Army veterans
NEW defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has said she is determined to end the ‘chilling’ threat of repeated investigations into alleged historical offences by British troops who served in Northern Ireland.
Ms Mordaunt said she wanted plans to strengthen the legal protections for military personnel who served on overseas operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan to be extended to cover veterans of the Troubles.
The defence secretary has signalled she intends to create a ‘statutory presumption’ against prosecution of current or former personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty abroad more than 10 years ago.
The legislation, which is subject to public consultation, will stipulate that such prosecutions are not in the public interest unless there are ‘exceptional circumstances’, such as if compelling new evidence emerged.
■ Man jailed after hitting soldier in car outside nightclub
A 23-YEAR-OLD man who left a soldier with a catalogue of debilitating injuries after driving a car into him at speed outside a nightclub has been jailed for eight years.
Hamza Ali Hussain (pictured above) accelerated in temper towards a group of revellers in the early hours of New Year’s Day after his friends were involved in a ‘minor altercation’ inside the TBC nightclub in Batley, West Yorkshire.
Joshua Adams-Mitchell, who was not the intended target, suffered injuries described as ‘significant and debilitating’ in the collision, leaving his future in the Army in doubt.
He was disqualified from driving for nine years.
Detective Inspector Mark Catney, of West Yorkshire Police, said: ‘Hussain’s actions that day were reckless and violent as he deliberately drove his car into a crowded area outside a busy nightclub on New Year’s Day.
‘This incident has left a young man with serious injuries.’
■ Lone parents lose Supreme Court fight over benefit cap
LONE parents and their children have lost challenges at the UK’s highest court against the government’s controversial benefit cap.
Supreme Court justices, sitting in London on Wednesday, rejected their appeals in cases brought against the work and pensions secretary over the lawfulness of the measure by a majority of five to two.
Campaigners say the ‘discriminatory’ reduced cap targets the wrong people ‘and is not achieving its stated aims’.
A panel of judges were asked at a hearing last year to rule on whether the revised cap breaches human rights laws.
Lord Wilson, announcing the decision, described the legislation which introduced the revised cap as ‘tough’, and said the court had been faced with a ‘difficult’ decision on the appeals.
■ Telecoms firms to be forced to tell customers about better deals
BROADBAND, TV, mobile and home phone companies will have to tell customers when their contract is coming to an end and show them the best deals available under new rules unveiled by Ofcom.
The telecoms regulator said the move, the latest in its Fairness for customers programme, could see up to 20 million customers benefit by switching provider or agreeing a new deal with their existing one.
Ofcom said people who bundle their landline and broadband services together pay on average around 20 per cent more when they are out of contract and this rises to 26 per cent among customers who bundle in their pay-TV services.
It said that around one in seven customers do not know whether they are still tied to the original deal.