News and Updates

31st March 2021 Sobriety tags launched in England to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime

  • Sobriety tags detecting whether offenders have broken drinking bans will be rolled out across England as part of a crackdown on alcohol-fuelled crime
  • Successful launch in Wales showed that offenders stayed sober for more than 95% of days monitored
  • Alcohol is one of the driving influences of domestic violence and unprovoked attacks on stranger

Offenders who commit alcohol-driven crimes could be ordered to wear a tag which takes a sample of their sweat every 30 minutes and alerts the probation service if alcohol is detected. They face further court sentences or fines if caught breaching a ban.

More than 100 offenders have been tagged since the scheme launched in Wales in October and it has proven effective, with offenders staying sober on over 95% of days monitored. Offenders have credited the scheme with helping them improve their lifestyle and staff say the tags have helped the offenders stay away from crime. Alcohol plays a part in 39% of violent crime, with the social and economic cost of drink-related harm around £21.5 billion per year and is seen as one of the drivers of domestic violence and unprovoked attacks. That is why the sobriety tags will be backed up by targeted professional support, signposting offenders to the help they need and helping to prevent future victims.

The tags can distinguish the difference between drinks and other types of alcohol – such as hand sanitiser or perfume. They work 24/7 and can also tell if someone tries to block contact between the tag and their skin.

It is the latest boost to the Government’s plans to make more effective use of tagging to help reduce crime following the launch of GPS tags being used to crack down on burglars and thieves earlier this month.

The Government is addressing the root causes of crime, tackling factors such as addiction, homelessness and mental health, and recently announced an extra £148m package to target drugs-related crime with the biggest boost in drug treatment spending in 15 years.

Supervision of offenders in the community is also being improved with greater powers for probation officers, novel uses of GPS tags and longer and more flexible curfews. For example, by having lesser restrictions Monday to Friday to keep offenders in work, but stricter curfews of up to 20 hours a day on weekends.


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16 November 2020 Hotel worker accused of 'Oceans-Eleven style' heist on Mayfair jewellers tells court she knew nothing of plot to steal £4m of diamonds by swapping them for pebbles

A hotel worker accused of being involved in an 'Oceans-Eleven-style' £4.2million diamond heist at a Mayfair jeweller has today insisted she knew nothing about the plan.

Georgeta Danila, 52, is accused of being part of a team of criminals who tricked staff into handing over the gems at family-owned jewellers Boodles in New Bond Street in 2016.

The high-end store was allegedly visited by con artist Lulu Lakatos, who posed as a gemologist called Anna, carrying a bag containing pebbles in their own boxes.

She is accused of using sleight of hand to swap the diamonds for the worthless stones while staff were distracted, jurors have heard.

Lakatos is still being extradited while accomplices Mickael Jovanovic and Christophe Stankovic had already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy.

Danila is said to have taken a taxi to Victoria train station from a hotel on the morning of the raid.

CCTV played in court showed both women making their way into the Willow Walk pub near the station. Danila stayed with their luggage as Lakatos made her way to Boodles in New Bond Street.

When Lakatos returned to the pub a couple of hours later she headed straight into the toilets, followed by Danila with luggage in tow, the court heard.

Both women then took separate taxis to King's Cross St Pancras station, before boarding the Eurostar.

Susannah Stevens, prosecuting, asked Danila: 'You deliberately changed what you looked like so that it would be more difficult for police to follow you.' 'This is not true,' replied Danila. Ms Stevens said: 'You take off the jacket that you're wearing. I also suggest that you take off your hat, change your scarf and put on a different coat.' Danila said: 'I put another coat on because I was cold.' Pointing at the CCTV footage the prosecutor asked: 'Why are you taking off the cardigan jacket that you're wearing?' 'Because this one was thicker for me,' replied Danila.

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Ms Stevens said: 'You haven't really spoken properly to Lulu Lakatos at this stage. 'From what we're watching, you are changing what you look like so you'd look different to how you looked in the morning when you walked across Victoria Station.'Danila replied: 'I didn't have anything like this in my head.'The barrister said: 'The reason you went a different way to Lulu Lakatos is again to make it difficult for police.'

Danila said: 'This is what you wish to say but I was not thinking about that.' Ms Stevens said: 'It's all part of your deliberate, well thought out plan to make it difficult for police to know where you go, isn't it?'Danila replied: 'This is not true, this is how you wish to say it. I was just getting a taxi to go back to Paris.' The Romanian told jurors she believed she was on a 'business trip' in London but must have been 'used' by Lakatos who told her to wait in the Willow Walk pub.The court has heard gang members were caught on camera pretending to window shop at nearby luxury stores while Lakatos, posing as 'Anna' headed towards Boodles.It was not until the next day when employees at Boodles realised they had been duped. But by then 'every person involved in the conspiracy' had left left the country, the court has heard.

Police likened the sophisticated raid to the daring thefts portrayed in the Ocean's Eleven movie franchise, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt.Detectives from the Met Police's Flying Squad charged Danila with conspiracy to steal after she was extradited to the UK from France in July.

Danila, assisted in court by a Romanian interpreter, denies conspiracy to steal.

25th August 2020 Man accused of modern slavery and trafficking offences after Romanians found at property in Oldham

A has been charged with modern slavery and human trafficking offences following the discovery of several Romanian people at an address in Oldham.Nelu Nechita, 49, was arrested at his home address in February 2019 following an investigation by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) in Oldham.

Officers received intelligence indicating that a number of people were being controlled and exploited at the property.

Seven “potential Romanian victims” were removed from the address during the operation, which was supported by Greater Manchester Police and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Nechita, of Garthwaite Avenue, Oldham, appeared at Stockport Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, August 20.

He has been charged with facilitating the travel of two men from Romania to the UK with a view to exploitation and holding them and others in slavery or servitude.He was also charged with acting as a gangmaster without a GLAA licence. Nechita is due to appear before Manchester Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on Thursday September 17.
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7th May 2020 MAY HIGH COURT RULING OVER ‘NO RECOURSE TO PUBLIC FUNDS’ DELIVERS FURTHER BLOW TO HOME OFFICE’S DISCREDITED HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT POLICY

An 8-year-old British boy – supported by his migrant mother – has today won a ruling that the policy denying families like his access to the welfare safety net is unlawful.

The judges in the case heard that the boy, whose identity is protected by an anonymity order and is therefore known only as W, has had to endure extreme poverty for most of his life. Under the ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) policy introduced in 2012 by then Home Secretary Theresa May, W’s mother is blocked from receiving the same state support that helps other low-earning parents to survive, including child and housing benefits, or tax credits.

The judges ruled that the NRPF policy breaches Article 3 of the ECHR, which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. A detailed judgment and order will follow, which will set out the steps the Home Office needs to take to comply with the judges’ ruling.
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8th November 2019 Gang who used cattle prods and Tasers to guard brothel empire jailed

A criminal network who made £1 million a year by exploiting women and selling drugs in brothels across north London have been put behind bars. Ringleader Renato Saachi, 43, his wife Flavia Xavier-Sacchi, 23 and brother Raul Sacchi, 49, ran venues across the capital and spend their cash on luxury holidays, expensive cars and jewellery. Their henchmen used cattle prods, Tasers, pepper spray, and baseball bats to protect the brothels. Drugs and alcohol were sold from dens in Kensington High Street, Cricklewood, Queen’s Park, Kingsbury and Hanger Lane. Scotland Yard launched a series of raids after a sex worker told police the gang had threatened to kill her family in Brazil after she tried to leave two months into her job.

After more than a year working undercover, officers raided brothels in Cricklewood, Broadway and Kenton Court and arrested Antonio Teca Miranda. Police found 15 packets of cash and charts setting out the leadership structure of the gang. Further probing led to the arrests of the Sachis, Maria Carvalho, 43, Keagan Boyd, 34, Tony Simao, 42, Henim Almeida, 25, and Anna Paula De Almeida Prudente, 21. When police searched Renato and Flavia’s home in Hendon, northwest London, they found £50,000, two Tasers and a CS gas canister. Detectives analysed encrypted messages on mobile phones seized from the group.
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1st November 2019 Escaped Tamil prisoners are at risk in Sri Lanka, Court of Appeal confirms

The Court of Appeal has overruled both immigration tribunals and found that members of the Tamil Tigers who were detained but escaped are at risk of persecution in Sri Lanka. The judgment in RS (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 1796 betrays the court’s surprise that neither tribunal reached this fairly obvious conclusion. The decision is supported by a wealth of country information and expert evidence to confirm that, just as in the UK, if someone escapes from custody in Sri Lanka a warrant will be issued for their arrest and they will be arrested when they re-enter the country.

RS had been a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a Tamil separatist organisation, from 1995 to 2009 and worked in the finance division in a logistics role. He was captured, detained and tortured by the Sri Lankan army in 2009. RS escaped from custody in December 2010 by concealing himself in a cesspit.

In GJ and others (post-civil war returnees) Sri Lanka [2013] UKUT 319 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal held that there would be a risk of persecution in Sri Lanka for: A person whose name appears on a computerised “stop” list accessible at the airport, comprising a list of those against whom there is an extant court order or arrest warrant. Individuals whose name appears on a “stop” list will be stopped at the airport and handed over to the appropriate Sri Lankan authorities, in pursuance of such order or warrant. One would expect, even before reviewing the evidence, that someone who had escaped from custody would be subject to an arrest warrant and therefore be on the “stop” list. This was confirmed by the Home Office’s own country information report from Sri Lanka published in March 2012, which stated:

If an individual has jumped bail/escaped from custody. The senior intelligence official said that the person would be produced at Court. The Superintendent Police, Criminal Investigations Department (CID) agreed. The representative from Centre for Policy Alternatives said that the individual would definitely be stopped. Somehow, both the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal managed to conclude that there was no reasonable likelihood of RS being stopped and detained on return to Sri Lanka. Lord Justice Floyd identified a straightforward error of law in their approach:

In looking for positive reasons to find that an arrest warrant had been issued, the judge has, in my judgment, completely overlooked the inherent probabilities of the case. RS had been arrested after the end of the war (although I would accept only shortly after) and remained of sufficient interest to the authorities to be detained for some 18 months thereafter during which time he was tortured. This period extended up to and beyond the commencement of the release of LTTE detainees. He had not been released but had escaped from custody with the help of a visiting contractor. It seems to me, based on those facts, to be inherently likely that the authorities would seek to recapture him and do so by issuing an arrest warrant.

Unusually, the court then went on to decide the case itself, rather than remitting it to the Upper Tribunal, and determined that RS does have a well-founded fear of persecution. The decision is a great result for RS and a vindication of the efforts of his legal team to amass overwhelming country evidence to prove something that should have been treated as highly likely even without any corroborating evidence. It will also be helpful to anyone else who has escaped from custody in Sri Lanka and claims asylum on that basis.

More generally, this judgement is an excellent example of the Court of Appeal overruling the tribunals on an error of fact which is so serious as to amount to an error of law. Immigration lawyers are familiar with the Court of Appeal refusing to engage with serious factual errors made by the tribunals on the ground that they are not the appropriate subject of second appeals. Although this decision does not directly state that the Court of Appeal should provide greater oversight of the tribunals, it does demonstrate that the court can efficiently deal with serious factual errors.
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23rd September 2019 Manchester gang detained for sexually abusing three girls​

A criminal network who made £1 million a year by exploiting women and selling drugs in brothels across north London have been put behind bars. Ringleader Renato Saachi, 43, his wife Flavia Xavier-Sacchi, 23 and brother Raul Sacchi, 49, ran venues across the capital and spend their cash on luxury holidays, expensive cars and jewellery. Their henchmen used cattle prods, Tasers, pepper spray, and baseball bats to protect the brothels. Drugs and alcohol were sold from dens in Kensington High Street, Cricklewood, Queen’s Park, Kingsbury and Hanger Lane. Scotland Yard launched a series of raids after a sex worker told police the gang had threatened to kill her family in Brazil after she tried to leave two months into her job.

After more than a year working undercover, officers raided brothels in Cricklewood, Broadway and Kenton Court and arrested Antonio Teca Miranda. Police found 15 packets of cash and charts setting out the leadership structure of the gang. Further probing led to the arrests of the Sachis, Maria Carvalho, 43, Keagan Boyd, 34, Tony Simao, 42, Henim Almeida, 25, and Anna Paula De Almeida Prudente, 21. When police searched Renato and Flavia’s home in Hendon, northwest London, they found £50,000, two Tasers and a CS gas canister. Detectives analysed encrypted messages on mobile phones seized from the group.
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Coronavirus / COVID-19 Notice

As the COVID-19 situation and the UK Government guidance continues to change on a daily basis, we are closely following the advice and ensuring that all necessary measures are being put in place at Chelian Law to help mitigate the risk of increased infections.

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