The day's top news and pictures from London's courts

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March 21, 2014

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ROSSI: JUDGE SORRY ROBBER WAS ABLE TO STRIKE AGAIN

HOLBORN; BRISTOL A judge apologised to the staff of a betting shop after they were robbed by a career armed robber who shot two police officers and had previously been given two life sentences. Derek Rossi, 58, was caught after he dropped his gun and took off his balaclava to pick it up a hold-up at Ladbrokes in Holborn in an incident which could have come from the film' Snatch.' In the hit Guy Ritchie film two robbers remove their masks immediately after a bungled raid at a bookmakers. Rossi was jailed for life in 1984 and again in 2001 after he went on terrifying shooting sprees in London and Bristol.
  March 18, 2014

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DAWSON: VEIL WOMAN JAILED FOR ANOTHER SIX MONTHS

STROUD GREEN; FINSBURY PARK A Muslim woman who sparked controversy when she refused to remove her niqab in court refused to stand as was jailed for six months today (tues) for terrorising a security guard at a mosque. Rebekah Dawson, 22, threatened and intimidated Daudi Yusuf at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in a row over non-Muslim women being allowed inside without wearing veils. Dawson refused to give evidence during a four-day trial at Blackfriars Crown Court after being ordered by the judge to remove her niqab if she went into the witness box. She claimed her religion prevented her removing the veil in the presence of men but Judge Peter Murphy ruled it was of 'cardinal importance' that a jury could see her face while she gave evidence.
 
September 27, 2013

KASTURIRANTNE: NEEDLE NURSE FACES ANXIOUS WAIT

HAMPSTEAD A nurse accused of leaving needles and syringes in an unlocked filing cabinet near children with mental health problems faces an anxious wait over the future of her career. Thushara Kasturiratne allegedly stashed the equipment in the bottom drawer of the cabinet while working in the eating disorders service at the Royal Free Hospital, in Hampstead, north London. When challenged on the haphazard storage system, Kasturiratne did not understand the potentially dangerous consequences, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard. Dr Mark Berelowitz, clinical lead in the department, said Kasturiratne also stashed personal possessions including bank statement among patient files, but refused to accept it was wrong.
  September 16, 2013

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MUSLIM ORDERED TO LIFT VEIL WHEN SHE GIVES EVIDENCE TO JURY

FINSBURY PARK, NORTH LONDON A judge today (mon) ordered a Muslim woman to lift her veil to give evidence at her upcoming crown court trial. Judge Peter Murphy made the landmark ruling that a 22-year-old defendant must remove her niqab and show her face to the court while on the witness stand. He said she could keep on the clothing, which covers her face except for her eyes, during the rest of the trial, but would not allow her to give evidence while wearing it. Judge Murphy said he was trying to tackle the 'elephant in the room' of defendants wearing traditional Islamic dress shielding their facial expressions from the jury.
 
September 12, 2013

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JUDGE BACKS DOWN ON BID TO MAKE MUSLIM WOMAN LIFT HER VEIL

FINSBURY PARK, NORTH LONDON A judge has backed down in his bid to make a Muslim woman lift her veil to prove her identity. Judge Peter Murphy had previously told the 21-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, that she could not enter a plea wearing a full-length burka, which reveals her eyes only. But at Blackfriars Crown Court, the woman was allowed to enter her not guilty plea after she agreed to lift her veil in front of a female police officer, in a room next to the court. Prosecutor Kate Wilkinson had suggested that a female official view a picture of the woman, and 'confirm for the court that it is indeed the same person who appears on the custody records.
  August 21, 2013

HERSI: 12 YEARS FOR TEENAGER WHO SPRAYED NIGHTCLUB CROWD WITH BULLETS

EALING A teenage gunman who fired bullets randomly into a crowd as up to 100 gang members clashed outside a nightclub has been jailed for twelve years. Mahad Hersi, 17, shot an innocent bystander in both legs when violence flared up between rival gangs in Ealing, west London The teenager, then aged just 16, fired up to five bullets into the crowd, leaving a 16-year-old with potentially life-threatening injuries. Hersi ditched his weapon and clothes in the wake of the clash, but then revelled in his notoriety in boastful texts to friends.
 
July 19, 2013

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WALL: BOYFRIEND BEGINS LIFE SENTENCE FOR BATTERING LOVER TO DEATH

HATFIELD/MILTON KEYNES A jilted boyfriend who beat his teenage lover to death the day after she spoke to police about the violence she had suffered at his hands is facing a life sentence. Jack Wall, 22, bludgeoned 19-year-old Amelia Arnold with a dumbbell bar in front of their 11-month-old daughter. Wall, who had repeatedly beaten Ms Arnold in the past, also tried to break her neck - but said the horrific act was not as easy at it looked 'in the movies.' He snapped during an argument while he was moving his things out of their flat, a day after she told him the relationship was over. With the help of his uncle, Joe Potter, Wall cleaned up the scene and rolled up Amelia's body up in a carpet before dumping it in a field.
  January 30, 2013

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DI STEFANO: 'DEVIL'S ADVOCATE' BLEW BENEFIT CHEAT'S CASH

CANTERBURY, KENT A self-styled lawyer dubbed the 'Devil's Advocate' blew £70,000 he had promised to pay to the Department for Work and Pensions, a court heard. Giovanni Di Stefano, 57, allegedly spent the money after it was transferred to him by benefit fraudster Elizabeth de Villiers. She had conned the state out of more than £155,000 using a string of false identities and wanted to return the money she left before being sentenced.
 
December 20, 2012

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COOPER:OLD BAILEY TRIAL FOR WOMAN ACCUSED OF HARASSING RBS CHIEF

BARNET, NORTH LONDON A woman accused of harassing the chief executive of RBS is to stand trial at the Old Bailey next year. Ruby Cooper, 52, allegedly sent an email to Stephen Hester on November 5 in breach of a restraining order which prevented her from contacting any employee of NatWest or the Royal Bank of Scotland.
  November 20, 2012

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TAYLOR-BAREFOOT: FUGITIVE FRAUDSTER BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

SHIFNAL, SHROPSHIRE; CITY OF LONDON A City conman who spent investors' savings on a 'lavish' lifestyle and fled to Australia was finally snared after he was arrested for drink driving. Robert Taylor-Barefoot, 34, skipped bail and fled his home days before he was due to stand trial over the £250,000 scam last year. The high spending broker's travel documents had not been seized, nor was he made subject of a financial surety, as part of his bail conditions.
 
September 05, 2012

YAHYA: WATCH ROBBERS KICKED MAN IN THE CROWN JEWELS

HAMPSTEAD, ISLINGTON, KINGS CROSS Two street robbers who kicked a man in the groin to rob him of this watch have been jailed. Zakariya Yahya, 18, was part of gang of seven young men who cornered Syed Muhammed Ali on Tottenham Court Road as they tried to snatch his £500 Mont Blanc watch. Yahya kicked Mr Ali between the legs as he knelt on the floor, while 19 year-old Zak Ejlilou and Mohammed Aziz, 18 rained down blows during the mugging. Yahya and Aziz were jailed at Blackfriars Crown court today for 18 months and 15 months respectively for their part in the mugging in the early hours of August 2 last year.
  July 12, 2012

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WOOD:SHARP SUITED PICKPOCKETS TARGETED DINERS IN 'TOUR OF BRITAIN'

BRIGHTON, BRISTOL; MANCHESTER; YORK, SCARBOROUGH; CHISLEHURST, ORPINGTON, HEXTABLE, KENT Thieves posed as middle-aged businessmen to steal credit cards from diners and drinkers during a 'tour of Britain', a court heard. James Wood, 56, Jason Alder, 46, and Andrew Jenner, 55, donned smart suits to blend in with their surroundings at restaurants, bars and cafes across the country. They selected victims of a similar age to their own before skilfully stealing their wallets and replacing them minus their credit cards.

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