Welcome to the Lawyer Portal Monthly News for April 2021. This month the jury in the George Floyd murder trial found Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges, Marks & Spencer have brought an intellectual property action to protect their trademark Colin the Caterpillar, in a massive miscarriage of justice decision Judges have quashed the conviction of 39 Post Office employees and Lady Justice Rose becomes second woman on the Supreme Court.
In a short deliberation period, the Jury found that Chauvin was guilty of second-degree murder, second degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. Social media flurried when the judgement was handed down showing the emotion and relief felt by many across the US and the world as the Civil Rights Lawyer, Ben Crump, who had been acting for the Floyd family, encouraged pause during the “historic moment.” The decision could not be ignored with comments of support coming from Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Boris Johnson. President Biden commented on the judgement as a potential “moment of significant change” in the momentum towards police reform in the USA.
Derek Chauvin is set to be sentenced within the next eight weeks.
ALDI, who have their own caterpillar character cake Cuthbert the Caterpillar, faces legal action this month as M&S claims that the similarities between the cakes leads consumers to believe they are of similar quality. Marks & Spencer want Cuthbert to be removed from sale. ALDI had in fact removed Cuthbert from shelves back in February.
M&S was the first to sell a caterpillar cake but almost all the main supermarkets also have their own version of the chocolate caterpillar treat. Interest in why M&S have chosen to bring action against ALDI and not the other retailers has prompted discussions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even mainstream television media with Robert Rinder commenting on the case on ITV’s This Morning. ALDI had in fact removed Cuthbert from shelves back in February.
Those who run ALDI’s twitter have even coined a hashtag #FreeCuthbert in a slew of comedic tweets surrounding the action.
These individuals alongside the six who had their convictions which were overturned in December make this the miscarriage of justice that has affected the most people in UK history.
Victims of this miscarriage were convicted and some even spent time in jail which many say completely derailed their personal and working lives. Evidence shows that it was in fact a newly installed Horizon IT system that had been introduced into the Post Office branches that had caused the shortfalls. Representing the accused, Neil Hudgell said that the Post Office “had turned a blind eye to the failings” and “positively promoted cover-up…in the pursuit of…profit.”
A government enquiry on the matter is set to report in the summer.
Lady Justice Rose will join Lady Arden as the only two women who are currently sitting on the Supreme Court bench. Lady Rose’s previous career was spent in the Government Legal Services as legal adviser on financial services at the treasury. From here she also worked for the Ministry of Defence as well as acting as counsel to the speaker of the House of Commons. Rose acting judicially as Chairman of the Competition Appeal Tribunal before being sworn in as a High Court Judge in the Chancery division in 2013. She was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2019.
Lord Reed, current President of the Supreme Court, previously commented that the appointment of LJ Rose will bring a new breadth of experience to the court owing to her career in government.
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