Friday, July 03, 2009

The week

Monday, fielded a question on the pilot 'virtual courts', where the defendant appears over a video link from a police station at a distance to the magistrate's court in London. The Minister confirmed that the defence solicitor would be also be at the police station. The system no doubt saves money on transport and escort costs, and in 75% of the cases dealt with so far, the defendant was pleading guilty.

Tuesday, a supplementary question on the strengthening of legislation on the trial of war criminals living in the UK. The Minister couldn't say whether i would apply to those alleged to have taken part in the Rwanda genocide. Attended a fascinating presentation by Yousif al-Khoei on Shi'ism, under the auspices of the UK Iran All-Party Group. Historically, there has always been separation between the clergy and the state in countries with a Shi'a majority, and what has happened in Iran since the revolution is an innovation. Dinner with much-traveled dear friend Phil Krone, who stayed with us overnight on his way home to Chicago from a tour of Yemen, Syria and Egypt.

Wednesday, final session of EU Committee to agree the draft report on money laundering and terrorist financing.

JW has gone to Spain for a week. Before he left he scored another 2-0 win at ping-pong, making it 121-114. Either he's getting better or I'm deteriorating, though most of the games are very close.

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