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Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled Friday that doctors can prescribe puberty-blocking drugs to children under 16, overturning a lower court’s decision that a judge’s approval should be needed.

Appeals judges said the High Court was wrong to rule last year that children considering gender reassignment are unlikely to be able to give informed consent to medical treatment involving drugs that delay puberty. The December 2020 ruling said because of the experimental nature of the drugs, clinics should seek court authorization before starting such treatment.

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, which runs the U.K.’s main gender identity development service for children, appealed against that ruling.

On Friday the Court of Appeal agreed with the trust. The judges said it was “inappropriate” for the High Court to have given the guidance and said it was up to doctors to “exercise their judgment” about whether their patients can properly consent.

The trust welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms that it is for doctors, not judges, to decide on the capacity of under-16s to consent to medical treatment.”

Hormone blockers are drugs that can pause the development of puberty, and are sometimes prescribed to help children with gender dysphoria by giving them more time to consider their options.

The lawsuit against the Tavistock clinic was brought by two claimants including Keira Bell, who was prescribed hormone blockers at 16 and argued that the clinic should have challenged her more over her decision to transition to a male.

Lawyers for Bell and the other claimant argued that children going through puberty are “not capable of properly understanding the nature and effects of hormone blockers.”

Bell, now 24, said she was disappointed by the court of appeal ruling and would seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.


Australia’s highest court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to a police officer using his law enforcement job as a defense against a charge of murdering an Indigenous man.

Constable Zachary Rolfe could become the first police officer to be convicted in Australia of unlawfully killing an Indigenous person.

Rolfe shot Kumanjayi Walker three times in a bedroom of his family home in the central Australian Indigenous township of Yuendumu during an attempted arrest on Nov. 9, 2019.

Walker had stabbed Rolfe with a pair of scissors during a struggle. The murder charge relates to the second and third shots that killed the 19-year-old and that prosecutors allege were unnecessary.

Three High Court judges on Friday agreed to hear a challenge by prosecutors to the Northern Territory Supreme Court’s interpretation of defenses available to Rolfe.

Five Supreme Court judges found that Rolfe could claim immunity from criminal liability under a law that protects police officers acting “in good faith in the performance or purported performance” of law enforcement duties.

The judges ruled that a jury should decide whether Rolfe’s actions fitted the criteria of the immunity clause.

But prosecutors had argued that that defense should not be available to Rolfe.

Body-cam footage allegedly recorded Rolfe explain that he fired the fatal shots to prevent his partner Constable Adam Eberl from being stabbed.

Prosecutors argued that because Rolfe was protecting Eberl, he was no longer trying to arrest Walker and was therefore not indemnified by the Northern Territory Police Administration Act.

Prosecutor Philip Strickland told the three High Court judges on Friday that if their court did not decide the indemnity question, Rolfe could be acquitted on an incorrect interpretation of the law.


A British judge ruled Monday that songs by punk trailblazers the Sex Pistols can be used in a forthcoming TV series despite the opposition of former frontman John Lydon.

Ex-Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook sued the singer, once known as Johnny Rotten, after he tried to block the music’s use in “Pistol,” a Disney-backed series based on a memoir by Jones.

Lydon said during hearings at the High Court last month that he “heart and soul” opposed the music’s use in a show he considered to be “nonsense.” He has previously expressed concerns the series will show him in a negative light.

Lydon said the songs could not be licensed without his consent, but Cook and Jones claimed that an agreement dating from 1998 allowed a majority decision.

Judge Anthony Mann agreed the pair were entitled to invoke “majority voting rules” as outlined in the band agreement. He said Lydon’s claim that he was not aware of the details or implications of the agreement that he had signed was “a convenient contrivance.”

“I reject the suggestion made by him that he did not really know or appreciate its effect,” the judge said.

Cook and Jones welcomed the ruling. They said the court battle “has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations.”

“Pistol” is being made for Disney subsidiary FX and is directed by Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Formed in London in 1975, the Sex Pistols energized and scandalized the British music scene with songs such as “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.”

The band split up in 1978 after releasing one album, and bassist Sid Vicious died the following year. The surviving members have reunited for several concerts, most recently in 2008.

“Mr. Lydon has not shrunk from describing his difficult relationships with the other members — difficult in different ways with different members — and that has persisted even through their comeback tours in the 1990s and 2000s,” the judge said. “It persists today.”


Sudan signed an agreement with the International Criminal Court on Thursday to move forward in the cases against those accused of atrocities in the Darfur region, including the country’s former President Omar al-Bashir, a top ICC prosecutor said.

Prosecutor Karim Khan said at a press conference that he would also be deploying a full-time team from his office to Sudan. The developments come as Sudan’s government continues to hold al-Bashir in prison. The ICC issued a warrant for al-Bashir on war crimes charges more than a decade ago, while he was in office.

The agreement further raises the possibility of al-Bashir being tried in The Hague, where the ICC is based, an issue that remains controversial in Sudan.

Khan landed in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum earlier this week and held meetings with the president of Sudan’s transitional council, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, judiciary officials and civil society representatives.

“This agreement provides a basis for cooperation and exchange of information in relation to all cases where there are warrants,” he said, adding that such cooperation will help the ICC build strong cases.

Al-Bashir has been in jail in Khartoum since his ouster in April 2019 amid a public uprising against his nearly three-decade autocratic rule. The ICC has charged him with crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur conflict.

Though he did not discuss dates for a handover of al-Bashir, Khan said he welcomed the Sudanese Cabinet’s recent approval of a draft bill allowing the East African country to join the court’s founding treaty, known as the Rome Statute. The decision was a step forward in the long-waited trial of those wanted by the ICC. Khan said that the ratification of that bill is expected to be discussed next week at a joint meeting of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council and Cabinet, which together serve as an interim parliament.

When asked whether Bashir could be tried outside the Hague, Khan said the Rome Statue says that the ICC may convene away from the seat — a matter the court’s presidency and judges can decide on.


A protracted legal battle over the extradition from Cape Verde to the United States of a businessman close to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro comes to a head next week when the West African country’s Constitutional Court is due to rule on the case.

Alex Saab was arrested when his jet made a refueling stop on the small island chain, formerly a Portuguese colony, on a June 2020 flight to Iran.

U.S. officials believe Saab holds numerous secrets about how Maduro, the president’s family and his top aides allegedly siphoned off millions of dollars in government contracts amid widespread hunger in oil-rich Venezuela.

Saab is fighting extradition. His lawyers argue that he has diplomatic immunity because he was acting as a special envoy for Venezuela when he was detained in Cape Verde.

José Pinto Monteiro, Saab’s lead counsel in Cape Verde, said Friday there are two possible outcomes when the Constitutional Court sits on Aug. 13.

Either the judges throw out Saab’s appeal and the extradition goes ahead, or they accept that there are unconstitutional elements in the case and send it back to a lower court to correct them, Pinto Monteiro told a press conference via video link.

Cape Verde’s Supreme Court ruled last March that the extradition could proceed, and the Constitutional Court appeal is Saab’s last hope.

Saab’s international legal team argues that the extradition has a political motive.

Federal prosecutors in Miami indicted Saab in 2019 on money-laundering charges connected to an alleged bribery scheme that pocketed more than $350 million from a low-income housing project for the Venezuelan government that was never built.

Supreme Court: Judgeship to stay in Mandan

  International  -   POSTED: 2021/07/19 18:46

The North Dakota Supreme Court made that decision following Judge John Grinsteiner plans to retire Aug. 20.

When a district judge leaves, the Supreme Court determines whether to keep the judgeship in the present location, move it elsewhere or abolish it. The decision is based on statewide caseload data and comments from interested parties including attorneys and judges.

Justices said the district has experienced a 23% population growth since 2000, and more than 80% of the population lives in Burleigh-Morton counties, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Caseload trends project felony filings to increase significantly this year.

“This Court determines the office is necessary for effective judicial administration in the South Central Judicial District,” justices said in their order.

The South Central Judicial District includes Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux and Sheridan counties. It has seven judges chambered in Bismarck, two judges in Mandan, and one judge in Washburn.


A former leader of Romania’s Social Democratic Party who was sentenced to 3 ½ years in jail for corruption in 2019 will be released early, a court ruled Thursday.

Liviu Dragnea, who was convicted by the Supreme Court in May 2019 for official misconduct, was considered Romania’s most powerful politician at the time of his sentencing.

According to prosecutors, Dragnea intervened to keep two people employed by his party on the payroll of a family welfare agency while he was a government official between 2008 to 2010. The women admitted receiving salaries from the public agency while working for the party.

Dragnea, who has served almost two years and two months of his total sentence, appealed Thursday to judges at a Bucharest district court saying that his good behavior during his jail term warranted his early release.

“I carried the punishment with decency and dignity,” Dragnea told the judges. “I went to work every day I was allowed to. I participated in all the courses I was allowed to, I never missed a day.”

The court said Thursday that the decision to allow his conditional release is final. An earlier request in April had been rejected.

Under Dragnea’s leadership in 2017, the then-ruling PSD Party pushed to amend justice laws that prompted some of the biggest anti-government protests in Romania since the fall of communism in 1989.

Dragnea, who contracted COVID-19 while in jail last year and had complained about his treatment during his detention, was blocked from being Romania’s prime minister due to a 2016 conviction for vote-rigging.

After Dragnea was sentenced in 2019, hundreds of Romanians took to the streets of Romania’s capital to celebrate.

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