44 arrested after roof top filming in Manhatten
Artists , Criminal Law / March 2018
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artistes   Police say 44 people were arrested while filming on a Manhattan roof top on what seems to be a new video for rapper China Mac, who had appealed for members of the public to attend the shoot. It seems that Mac’s public appeal drew in a fair crowd, and eventually the police say they responded to numerous calls of disorderly conduct in the early evening 37 men and 7 women were arrested and charged with criminal trespass at the Baruch Houses, a NYCHA building on 95 Baruch Drive on the Lower East Side. Two imitation rifles and one firearm was found on the scene. NYCHA released a statement Saturday night saying, “Safety and security is our top priority. This is an ongoing incident and we are working with our partners in law enforcement to resolve this as soon as possible.”  The artist’s manager said that was no permit for the shoot, there was no need for the arrests as this was just ‘art’    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/rapper-manhattan-rooftop-video-shoot-ends-44-arrests-article-1.3797771

Las Vegas atrocity prompts multiple law suits
Criminal Law , Live Events / December 2017
USA

NEGLIGENCE Live events sector   Hundreds of victims of the October 1st mass shooting in Las Vegas have filed five lawsuits in the Los Angeles Superior Court against the operators of the hotel from which the gunman fired, the organisers of the country music festival he targeted and the killer’s estate. The shootings at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas claimed the lives of 59 people and left hundreds of others injured. Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, targeting music fans at the country music festival. The largest of the law suits names 450 plaintiffs. Amongst those being sued are MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay resort; Live Nation, organiser of the event; and the estate of gunman Stephen Paddock. Muhammad Aziz, a Houston-based lawyer who has filed the lawsuits said they were filed in California because nearly all the plaintiffs lived in the state and had been treated there. He also noted that Live Nation Entertainment was a California-based company. The plaintiffs claim negligence by both MGM and Live Nation. They accuse MGM of not having adequate security policies, not properly…

Russian collection society fraud deepens
Criminal Law / March 2017
Russia

CRIMINAL Collection societies   Russian collecting society RAO has begun to uncover the extent of the frauds it has suffered following various accusations of embezzlement, one of which resulted in former General Director Sergei Fedotov being placed in custody. He is accused of funnelling over 500 million rubles (£6.9 million) out of the organisation during his time in charge. Authors’ rights collecting society RAO initially defended Fedotov, but new General Director Maksim Dmitriev said that an audit of the years 2014 to 2016 had uncovered 228 million rubles (£3.1 million) of suspicious activity in the last year alone, including the “transfer of funds on spurious grounds and overstating expenses”. It should be noted that the largest of these payments was taken out in the second half of last year, after Fedotov’s arrest. The fraud(s) have contributed to growing losses at the collecting society – an average of 200 million rubles (£2.75 million) have seeemingly been removed annually by the end of 2015, which in turn meant that RAO has not been able to pay songwriters and publishers the royalties they are due.  Dmirriev said “By the end of 2015 RAO had an impossible obligation to songwriters to the total amount of 2.8 billion…

Russian collection society chief arrested on fraud charges
Criminal Law / August 2016
Russia

CRIMINAL LAW Collective Management   Sergei Fedotov, head of the Russian author’s rights collecting society RAO, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.  Russian news service RIA Novosti said that Fedotov has been accused of funnelling assets worth of over ₽500 million rubles ($7.7 million) out of the organisation. RAO’s office and Fedotov’s home were searched by police on June 27th after which Fedotov was brought in for questioning. On June 28, The Tagansky court in Moscow sanctioned Fedotov’s arrest, rejecting his lawyer’s plea for bail. RAO issued a statement saying: “RAO’s general director Sergei Fedotov and the organization’s other employees are fully cooperating with the investigation, helping it to find out the truth” adding “We are sure that a qualified investigation will lead to establishing no wrongdoing in Sergei Fedotov’s action.” The move comes AFTER rumours of corruption involving real estate surfaced in the wake of the 2015 announcement that RAO would merge with two other collecting societies, VOIS, which deals with neighbouring rights, and RSP, which collects a one-percent tax on imports of electronic devices that can be used for copying content. That merger was seemingly supported by the country’s communications ministry but VOIS objected. This time Nikolai Nikiforov, the communications minister, was quoted by RIA…

Utsick faces substantial jail term
Criminal Law , Live Events / August 2016
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Live events sector   Jack Utsick, the former concert promoter who was charged with defrauding an estimated 3,300 investors out of nearly US$300 million, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a mail fraud charge. Many who lost substantial sums were former airline pilots, Utsick’s own former profession. Prosecutors say that that Utsick, 73, who appeared in court in Miami, operated his promotion company, Worldwide Entertainment, as a “ponzi scheme”, repaying older investors with money from newer ones. Worldwide promoted tours by arena-filling artists such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, The Pretenders, Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac before being placed into administration amid mounting debts in 2006. A subsequent investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) discovered that Utsick had in reality lost money on most tours. Utsick departed for Brazil after the company failed, but was extradited to the US in 2014 after a protracted court battle, and since then has been in custody. Utsick will be sentenced on 23 August and has been ordered to repay $169m to Worldwide’s investors. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article52742440.html http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article83118357.html

Former SFX directors to face criminal charges?
Criminal Law , Live Events / August 2016
USA

BANKRUPTCY / CRIMINAL LAW Live events sector     The new management of SFX Entertainment – reported to be led by two senior creditors, investment firms Allianz and Axar Capital Management – have signalled their intention to bring charges against the company’s former directors, including ex-CEO Robert FX Sillerman. New documents, filed in the Delaware bankruptcy court, outline alternative post-bankruptcy plan for the dance music promotion group and says there may be a claim for damages for “breaches of fiduciary duty by former directors and officers of the debtors, and avoidance actions, such as fraudulent transfer claims under federal and state law”   SFX’s new management may also seek to recover “amounts reimbursed to Sillerman” during the bankruptcy process, as well as “licensing fees, employee compensation, a cash collateral release [and] certain settlement payments” and “the termination fee the company paid in connection with the termination of the merger agreement”, which relates to a failed 26 May 2015 merger between SFX Entertainment and two other companies forming part of Sillerman’s  EDM empire, SFXE Acquisition LLC and SFXE Merger Sub, Inc. The revised post-bankruptcy plan will go before US bankruptcy judge Mary F. Walrath for approval on 30 August. At the time…

Russian collection society chief arrested on fraud charges
Russia

CRIMINAL LAW Music publishing, recorded music   Sergei Fedotov, head of the Russian author’s rights collecting society RAO, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.  Russian news service RIA Novosti said that Fedotov has been accused of funnelling assets worth of over ₽500 million rubles ($7.7 million) out of the organisation. RAO’s office and Fedotov’s home were searched by police on June 27th after which Fedotov was brought in for questioning. On June 28, The Tagansky court in Moscow sanctioned Fedotov’s arrest, rejecting his lawyer’s plea for bail. RAO issued a statement saying: “RAO’s general director Sergei Fedotov and the organization’s other employees are fully cooperating with the investigation, helping it to find out the truth” adding “We are sure that a qualified investigation will lead to establishing no wrongdoing in Sergei Fedotov’s action.” The move comes AFTER rumours of corruption involving real estate surfaced in the wake of the 2015 announcement that RAO would merge with two other collecting societies, VOIS, which deals with neighbouring rights, and RSP, which collects a one-percent tax on imports of electronic devices that can be used for copying content. That merger was seemingly supported by the country’s communications ministry but VOIS objected. This time Nikolai Nikiforov, the communications minister, was quoted…

Ticketing updates
Consumers , Criminal Law / June 2016
UK

CONSUMER / CRIMINAL Live events sector     The manager of Mumford & Sons has announced the band’s support for a petition demanding new tough penalties for ticket touting in UK ticket touts. Adam Tudhope says he hopes action on touting in Britain could set a precedent elsewhere in the world. The petition, entitled Enforce the Consumer Rights Act to protect music, arts and sport fans from touts, makes reference the statute of the same name, which requires ticket resellers to provide certain information on the seat or standing area the ticket is for, its face value and restrictions (for example, age). Tudhope’s petition has gained support from artistes including One Direction, Little Mix and Keane as well the Music Managers’ Forum (MMF) and the Association in Independent Festivals (AIF) and a number of MPs, and currently has approximately 27,000 signatures out of a target of 100,000, when it will be considered for debate in parliament. Tudhope said he supported making touting a criminal offence as it is with football tickets, or was with the London 2012 Olympics Games. However, although both Tudhope and Mumford & Sons have long been critical of the secondary ticket market in its current form, Tudhope told IQ…

UK ticket tout jailed for fraud, whist Swiss promoters seek better regulation
Switzerland
UK

CONSUMER / CRIMINAL Live events sector     A ticket tout who sold over £400,000 worth of bogus concert and sports tickets in a 13-month period between May 2009 and June 2010 has been jailed for three-and-a-half years. John Lupton (53) of Upper Norwood, appeared at Blackfriars Crown Court where he was found guilty of two counts of fraudulent trading and one count of money laundering. He has also been banned from acting as a company director until 2026. The London Evening Standard reported that defrauded customers paid £636,000 to two of Lupton’s dummy companies, Lines Direct Ltd and Williams & Hill Ltd, but at least £435,000 worth of tickets were not supplied, When buyers requested refunds, they found that the companies had been dissolved and their bank accounts cleared. Companies House also lists three other companies of which Lupton is or was a director: Festival Ticket Store Ltd, Dracrow Ltd and Commercial Logistics and Trading Ltd. It appears that whist a director of the companies,  Lupton was not the ‘brains’ behind the operation, and investigations continue. Allison Clare, prosecuting, said there is no prospect of recovering the money as Lupton was sleeping on his mother’s settee and living off…

Ticket fraudster convicted in  Burlington
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2016
USA

CRIMINAL Live events sector   A New Jersey woman has pleaded guilty to ‘third-degree theft by deception’ after being caught selling tickets to a non-existent Sheryl Crow concert. Kelly Bryan admitted the charge at Burlington County Courthouse. Between December 2014 and May 2015, Bryan sold tickets to the fictitious ‘show’  through a company called KBR Promotion and Booking Agency. Police learnt of the concert and contacted the resort to begin planning public safety measures, it emerged that Crow was not booked to perform. Between 50 and 100 people were defrauded by KBR, although many who paid online have already been reimbursed.   The Burlington County Times reports that Bryan faces up to five years of probation when she is sentenced on 14 June, and will also have to pay between US$20,000 and $30,000 in restitution.   http://www.iq-mag.net/2016/04/woman-sentenced-promoting-bogus-sheryl-crow-show/#.VwZZxqQrKM9

Concert fraudster gets two years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2016
South Korea
USA

CRIMINAL Live events     CRIMINAL: A man who defrauded people out of more than $1 million by falsely claiming he could help book a Pharrell concert for a South Korean steel company – and also by targeting women in online dating scams – has been sentenced to two years in prison in the USA. Billboard reports that Sigismond Segbefia, 29, a native of Ghana who lived in Silver Spring, Maryland at the time of the frauds, was arrested in New York and prosecuted by federal authorities in Pittsburgh because one of his biggest dating scam victims was a Pennsylvania woman he defrauded out of more than $222,000 by using the name and address of an unwitting Pittsburgh-area postal worker. Segbefia, who pleaded guilty in December, must pay nearly $1.2 million in restitution. He has agreed to be deported after serving his prison term for aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. In pleading guilty to the dating scams, Segbefia acknowledged his role in the unrelated crime of defrauding Dosko Co. out of $375,000 by pretending he could arrange to promote a show by Pharrell Williams. Nobody else has been charged in that scheme, though Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Melucci told Senior…

Ticket fraudster gets 6 years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / April 2016
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector     Terence Butts (63) has been convicted of fraudulent trading and converting or transferring criminal property at Southwark Crown Court and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Butts, 63, and accountant Nimal Fonseka (78), were alleged to have sold £2m worth of non existent tickets to potential customers for occasions including the V Festival and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. But they only provided £280,000 worth of tickets – just 14% of what they had sold – claiming that their key supplier ‘Peter’s Tickets’ had let them down.  Butts sold 15,000 through his company Durban Vienna Ltd and his websites included summerfestivals.com and tickets4venues.com.  Butts would tell customers that he could not supply tickets, telling them to reclaim the funds paid from their credit card provider. It was estimated B+S Card Services lost £1.2 million.  Foneska was found not guilty on the same two charges. Security expert Reg Walker from iridium Consultancy told Live UK that Butts was ‘top of the ticket fraud tree’ but added that he had made the police aware of his actions as far back as 2008. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/tickets-to-games-on-offer-from-swindling-websites-6866912.html

Police arrest suspected Bieber ticket frausdster in Northern Ireland
Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2016
UK

CRIMINAL Ticketing     Police in Northern Ireland have arrested a man over an alleged online ticketing scam. It’s claimed that an unnamed man was selling counterfeit tickets to upcoming Adele and Justin Bieber concerts, the former in Belfast and the latter in Dublin. It is thought that the fake tickets were being advertised on listings site Gumtree. Police in the Northern Irish town of Strabane arrested the suspect, who was subsequently released on bail pending further enquiries. Commenting on the investigation, Detective Inspector Lindsey Kitson told reporters: “As part of this ongoing investigation we want to ensure that we identify as many people as possible who may have been victims of this fraud”. The officer added: “We believe tickets for the Justin Bieber and Adele concerts were offered in a group of four from the Gumtree website and a subsequent face to face transaction took place involving the exchange of money for fake tickets. I want to hear from anyone who has bought tickets for these concerts from a man after seeing an offer on Gumtree”. http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/northern-ireland-police-arrest-suspected-adele-and-bieber-ticket-fraudster/ 

AC/DC’s Rudd loses appeal
Artists , Criminal Law / November 2015
New Zealand

CRIMINAL Artistes     Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has lost an appeal against his sentence after being convicted of both threatening to kill and drug possession earlier this year. He was sentenced to eight months under house arrest and a fine of NZ$120,000 (approx £50,000) but had argued that the sentence was “manifestly excessive” not least as it could prevent him from rejoining AC/DC – both because the band were already touring and he could not join the and te conviction could cause issues getting visas. His lawyer Craig Tuck, said his client was basically only guilty of making an angry phone call to an employee following the commercial failure of his 2014 debut solo album Head Job. However the New Zealand High Court noted that, despite Rudd’s desire to work with the band again, there was no sign that his former bandmates felt the same. Justice Raynor Asher told the court: “First, the band would have to want him to play with them. Second, the convictions would have to operate as a barrier to him travelling with them on tour. Neither are certain. [And] it is far from clear that at the time when the offending took place there was…

Prison Office admits to George Michael leaks
Criminal Law / October 2015
UK

CRIMINAL Performers     A former prison officer has been told that a prison sentence is “inevitable” after she was found guilty of selling information about George Michael’s 2010 jail term in Highpoint Prison in 2010  led to five stories in the Sun.   Amanda Watts, who was arrested under Operation Elveden, pleaded guilty to one count of misconduct in public office. She sold information to The Sun for which she was paid £2,100. She was bailed pending sentencing next month. The BBC reports that Judge John Bevan QC told her: “You should understand the fact I’m bailing you until [16 Oct] to enable you to make appropriate arrangements. A prison sentence is inevitable. I’m sure you understand”. Michael spent four weeks (of an eight week sentence) in custody in 2010 after crashing his car into a branch of Snappy Snaps while under the influence of cannabis. Initially sent to Pentonville Prison, he was later moved to Highpoint Prison, which is where Watts was then working. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34314806

Rappers violent lyrics will lead to court
Artists , Criminal Law / August 2015
USA

CRIMINAL Artistes   Rappers and their violent lyrics have been a topic of some contention in the USA recently, and now an aspiring California rapper’s online lyrical rant targeting two rape victims “has landed him in legal hot water in a prosecution testing whether his threatening lyrics were protected speech or a criminal act.” Some lyrics have been about the rappers own history: Back in December 2014 HipHop Dx reported that rapper Tiny Doo was facing criminal charges because his “No Safety” album implied that the rapper has gang ties. Doo (Brandon Duncan) was charged under laws that make it an offence to benefit from the violent actions of fellow gang members. Whilst Duncan had no criminal record,  he and 14 other members of the gang were being charged for being involved in nine shootings since April 2013. Prosecutors said that Tiny Doo’s “No Safety” album sales have been supported by the reputation of the gang.   HipHopDx also reported that  lyrics and music videos were used in the trial of Ra Diggs, with the judge saying it was permissible in order to prove “a pattern of criminal activity.” In addition, Vonte Skinner, the defendant in a 2008 trial for…

Madonna hacker gets 14 months
Copyright , Criminal Law , Internet / August 2015
Israel
USA

COPYRIGHT / CRIMINAL Internet, recorded music   Adi Lederman who hacked and released a number of unfinished and demo tracks from Madonna’s Rebel Hart album in December 2014 when it was a work in progress has received a 14-month jail sentence from the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Thursday as part of a plea-bargain deal following his conviction for cyber crimes against the pop singer. Lederman, a former contestant on Kochav Nolad, Israel’s version of ‘Pop Idol’, hacked into Madonna’s computers last year, having accessed passwords from the email accounts of her manager and musical director. It’s thought Lederman also accessed part of the singer’s work schedule in addition to the unfinished tracks from her album ‘Rebel Heart’. He was charged with computer trespassing, fraud, and intellectual property offences against the superstar, After the leak Madonna released six tracks and moved up the release date of the full album to March saying “I have been violated as a human and an artist!”  Lederman had previously stolen a song from Madonna in 2012, which he sold rather than leaking himself. Lederman was also fined NIS 15,000 (US $4,000)  by the court, which said its sentence should “send a message of deterrence” and uncompromising commitment to the law to…

The Pirate Bay Four acquitted in Belgium
Copyright , Criminal Law , Internet / August 2015
Belgium
Sweden

COPYRIGHT/CRIMINAL Internet, technology   Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström, the four original key Pirate Bay founders, have been acquitted by a Belgian court on charges of criminal copyright infringement and abusing electronic communications. All four defendants have denied having anything to do with the site since was seemingly sold to a Seychelles-based company called Reservella in 2006, and this proved a major hurdle for Belgian prosecutors as the crimes were allegedly committed between September 2011 and November 2013. A judge at the Mechelse Court ruled that it could not be proven that the four were involved in the site during the period in question. Indeed, for at least a year of that period, Svartholm was in jail in Sweden while connecting Lundström to the site a decade after his last involvement (which was purely financial) has always been somewhat difficult. In the end, even the site’s anti-piracy adversaries in the case agreed with the decision: “Technically speaking, we agree with the court,” said Olivier Maeterlinck, director of the Belgian Entertainment Association (BEA). https://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bay-founders-acquitted-in-criminal-copyright-case-150710/ and http://www.techworm.net/2015/07/the-pirate-bay-founders-and-financier-cleared-in-criminal-copyright-case.html

SGAE scandal looms
Spain

CRIMINAL Music publishing     The former head of Spanish music collection society SGAE’s digital arm has been accused of orchestrating false payments worth €57,000 – and could face a substantial prison term. The case dates back to the three years between 2008 and 2011. Spanish singer José Ramón Márquez (Ramoncín) who was also a SGAE Board member, is accused of issuing false invoices to SGAE that allowed him to extract nearly €60,000 out of the songwriters and publishers organisation. Jose Luis Rodriguez Neri, who was Director General of Spain’s Digital Society Of Authors (SDAE) until 2011, faces charges of financial misappropriation – by consenting to Ramoncín’s invoices – and faces a maximum sentence four years and ten months of jail time if found guilty. Ramoncín, who potentially faces the same jail term as Neri, announced that he is aiming to “hang a sign” behind him in which “reads ‘innocent’”. The former MD of SGAE, Enrique Loras, faces over two years in prison  for ‘misuse’ or a fine of €20,866 euros for ‘mismanagement appropriation’. The former director of Legal Services for SGAE, Pablo Hernandez Arroyo, is also implicated. He potentially faces two years and nine months in prison or, alternatively, a fine…

Legal highs to be banned by new Act in the UK
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2015
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events sector     The Queen has announced the UK government’s plan to ban so-called ‘legal highs’. A new Bill announced by Her Majesty in The Queen’s Speech 2015 will ban the drugs with a blanket ban on anyone producing or supplying them. At the state opening of Parliament The Queen said that new legislation would “ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs”. The complete ban on what are known as new psychoactive substances (NPS) would mean that selling newly-created or newly-used drugs that can cause effects in mood, perception or consciousness would be illegal, with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment. Under the bill, police would have the power to seize and destroy NPSs, to search people, homes and vehicles for them, and to use a search warrant if necessary. Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, food and medical products would be excluded from the offence, as would controlled drugs like ecstasy and cannabis, which remain illegal. Last week Two Lancaster University students critically ill after smoking ‘legal high’ Spice. Three more are in hospital after taking cannabis substitute which causes a string of side effects including heart palpitations and acute psychosis.   Recently the mother of a young man who…

Glastonbury ticket scammer convicted
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2015
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector     Christine Babb, an East Grinstead “con woman” who sold non existent Glastonbury Festival tickets to scores of music fans may be facing prison. Babb, 34, of Farm Close East Grinstead, raked in over £23,000 by claiming to be able to sell tickets to hugely popular events like Glastonbury. Such was her notoriety that Glastonbury issued an official statement warning: “Nobody called Christine Babb is either employed by Glastonbury Festival or has any tickets to sell for the Festival. PLEASE remember that you can only buy Glastonbury tickets through official sources and that this year’s Festival is entirely Sold Out.” Hammersmith Magistrates Court heard that Babb’s campaign of fraud lasted nearly a year, between August 2013 and July 2014. She admitted 29 offences of fraud by false representation. Prosecutor Tom Gill said: “This defendant told her victims that she worked in the music industry and could get discounted tickets to various events including [the] Glastonbury Festival. “There are 29 victims of this offence who paid for their tickets that they didn’t receive.” The court heard that Babb has previous convictions for ‘very similar’ scams. For the defence, Jyothi Somavarapu explained in mitigation that her client suffered…

Greg Allman biopic death leads to two year prison sentence
Criminal Law , Health & Safety / April 2015
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY / CRIMINAL Film, TV   The director of the ill-fated Gregg Allman biopic has issued a statement after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespassing. Randall Miller was prosecuted over the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones while filming ‘Midnight Rider‘, a movie based on Allman’s autobiography. The crew had been preparing to film on a railway bridge when a train unexpectedly appeared, hitting a metal framed bed that had been placed on the tracks, injuring six and killing Jones. Miller agreed to a last minute plea bargain ahead of his trial which meant that producer Jody Savin, who is also Miller’s wife, had charges against her dropped, Miller received a two year jail sentence. He also agreed to serve an additional eight years on probation and pay a $20,000 fine.Executive Producer Jay Sedrish agreed to ten years probation. Miller’s statement reads: “On 20 Feb 2014, a great number of mistakes were made and the terrible accident occurred which took Sarah Jones’ life. It was a horrible tragedy that will haunt me forever. Although I relied on my team, it is ultimately my responsibility and was my decision to shoot the scripted scene that caused this…

Bereaved mother welcomes Magistrates ruling that legal highs are unsafe
Criminal Law , Live Events / January 2015
UK

CRIMINAL Live events sector   The mother of a young man who died after taking a legal high has welcomed a decision by Canterbury Magistrates Court which declared that ‘legal highs’ seized in raids across Kent were unsafe. The decision means that local authorities across England and Wales can now use existing trading standards laws to tackle the sale of legal highs in so called ‘head shops’ and possibly at other locations – such as festivals – where the drugs might be sold . Karen Audino, whose son Jimmy Guichard died in October last year after taking a herbal substance that resulted in a heart attack and brain damage told the Times (04.12.14) “I’m absolutely thrilled this has happened. The shops aren’t going to be able to display what is in them because they don’t know”. Jimmy died aged just 20 in hospital in October 2013. A bag containing a herbal substance, said at the time to be synthetic cannabis from the UK Skunkworks shop based in Chatham in Kent, was found next to Jimmy where he had collapsed. Back in June 2014 widespread raids were carried out across Kent at shops suspected of selling legal highs. Officers from Kent County…

Offensive song prompts police reaction
Criminal Law / January 2015
USA

CRIMINAL All areas   A Harvard graduate is fighting back against a Florida police officer who allegedly gave him three tickets for playing the N.W.A song “Fuck the Police” in his earshot. Cesar Baldelomar, 26, a Crimson alum and law student at Florida International University is not only disputing the ticket, he’s also consulted a lawyer and is asking the police department in Hialeah, Florida, near Miami, to investigate Harold Garzon, the officer in question. The incident occurred over Thanksgiving weekend, when Baldelomar was driving to his mother’s home in Hialeah. He says was stopped at a red light, listening to music, not far from where Garzon was filling out paperwork related to a separate traffic accident, when suddenly, the N.W.A song came on the radio. When Garzon,, heard the chorus —”F*ck the police!”— he allegedly wasn’t pleased and told Baldelomar to pull over. The Miami New Times reported that Garzon has 16 other internal affairs claims against him, though it’s not clear how many were legitimate.In this case it seems the officer claimed it was illegal to play music loudly within 25 feet of another citizen, but Baldelomar disputed this. Local press confirmed that  in 2012, the state Supreme…

Rappers album content leads to criminal charges
Artists , Criminal Law / December 2014
USA

CRIMINAL Artistes   HipHop Dx reports that rapper Tiny Doo is facing criminal charges because his “No Safety” album implies that the rapper has gang ties. Doo (Brandon Duncan) is charged under laws that make it an offence to benefit from the violent actions of fellow gang members. According to ABC 10, whilst Duncan has no criminal record,  he and 14 other members of the gang are being charged for being involved in nine shootings since April 2013. Prosecutors are saying that Tiny Doo’s “No Safety” album sales have been supported by the reputation of the gang. This is the first time the law is being put into effect.  The No  Safety cover artwork features a gun and bullets. The lyrics discuss themes such as selling drugs, killing foes and making a better life for his family. Duncan’s attorney, Brian Watkins, says that there is no reason for his client to be charged saying “He has no criminal record. Nothing in his lyrics say go out and commit a crime. Nothing in his lyrics reference these shootings, yet they are holding him liable for conspiracy. There are huge constitutional issues.” Law professor Alex Kreit added “The Constitution says it can’t…

Universal exec pleads guilty to £650,000 fraud
Criminal Law , Record Labels / October 2014
UK

CRIMINAL Recorded music   A former Universal Music executive has admitted in court to stealing almost £650,000 from the major music company. Duncan Schwier, who worked for the production music division of Universal’s publishing business, admitted to taking £643,697 from his employer. The fraud was only uncovered when Schwier was promoted last year and his successor, John Clifford, discovered a number of invoices that had been paid to non-existent companies. Schwier has enjoyed a long career in the music production business, originally joining Atmosphere Music in 1984. That company was subsequently bought by the original BMG, the publishing side of which was acquired by Universal in 2007. Becoming a General Manager for Universal Publishing Production Music, he had been very involved in the firm’s alliance with the BBC. Pleading guilty to the fraud, Schwier, without legal representation, told Hammersmith Magistrates Court that ill-health had led to him stealing from Universal. According to the Daily Mail, he said: “The background for this is a series of cancers for which I have medical reports”. Prosecutor Caroline Mungal said: “The Crown invite the court to commit this matter for sentence. You can see the value of the monies involved, in excess of £600,000. The…

Ticketing fraudster faces additional six years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / August 2014
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events   Terence Shepherd who was convicted of money laundering, fraudulent trading and acting as a director whilst disqualified for his part in the £3.7 million Xclusive ticket scam in 2011, had been handed an additional six year term on top of his current 8 year prison term havening paid over just £103,334 of a £1 million confiscation order. District Judge Tan Ikram said Shepherd had “culpably neglected or wilfully refused’ to pay the full sum saying he was not in a position to grant any further adjournments.   Audience  July 2014 Issue 174

Extortion and Theft added to the list of Jay Z’s ‘99 Problems
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2014
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artists, sound recordings   Chauncey Mahan, a producer who worked with rapper Shawn Carter, better known as Jay Z, between 1998 and 2002 was detained and taken into an LAPD station for questioning on 18 April 2014, for allegations of theft and extortion. The allegations centre on the fact that the producer was apparently in possession of several master recordings of Jay Z’s work, valued to be at the least worth $15 million. The issue being that Jay Z and ‘his people’ were under the impression that the master recordings in question had been lost when they went missing in 2002. Things appeared to sour quickly for the producer when he involved the entertainment company that is famous for its concert sales, Live Nation. Live Nation created its strong link to Jay Z in 2008, when it partnered with the 17 time Grammy Award winning rapper to create the global entertainment company and record label, Roc Nation, distributed by Universal Music Group. Mahan is said to have contacted Live Nation stating that he was in possession of several master recordings and that Live Nation could acquire these for a mere $100,000.00. But Mahan attempted to justify his price…

Tyler faces charges for inciting crowd unrest
USA

HEALTH & SAFETY / CRIMINAL Live events sector   Tyler The Creator has been arrested as he was leaving South By South West in Austin, Texas, over an alleged incident at one of his shows at the festival. According to Austin police, there was a sizable crowd queuing up to get into the rapper’s showcase event, the management of which became tricky after Tyler allegedly shouted from the stage, “All y’all outside the gates, y’all push through”. Officers claim the rapper suggested those outside push into the already at-capacity venue twice, resulting in unruly behaviour from those waiting to get in. Police reps say the rapper then apologised, swore about the venue’s door staff and walked off stage. Confirming that Tyler had subsequently been arrested at Austin-Bergstrom Airport in relation to the incident, a statement from the Austin Police Department reads: “Regardless of the size of a crowd, the encouragement of unruly and unlawful behaviour is against the law and cannot be tolerated”. The rapper is accused of “encouraging behaviour causing an immediate danger and injury to persons”, which could result in a year in jail and a $4000 fine if he was to be convicted of the crime. Police…

13 former police officers face charges over Hillsborough deaths
UK

HEALTH & SAFETY / CRIMINAL Live events sector   Thirteen retired or serving police officers have been identified as “suspects” in the continuing investigation into the police cover-up after the Hillsborough disaster, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has said. The commission said 11 of these officers, who had been on duty on the day, had already been interviewed under caution relating to a range of offences including manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, and perverting the course of justice. A spokesman said the other two would be interviewed in the near future. It is not clear what rank of officers have been identified as suspects or how many are serving or are retired. Four of the individuals have been identified by both the IPCC investigation into the cover-up and the new criminal inquiry into the 1989 tragedy. Seven other individuals are facing charges. The news emerged on the eve of the opening of inquests into the 96 Hillsborough victims in Warrington on Monday. Britain’s worst sporting disaster happened on 15 April 1989 during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest as thousands of fans were crushed on Sheffield Wednesday’s Leppings Lane terrace.  The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766…

Insane Clown Posse take to the law
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2014
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artistes   Rappers Insane Clown Posse, aka hip hop duo Violent J and Shggy 2 Dope, have filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, over a report which labelled their fans as ‘gang members’ and have announced that they have gained support for their legal action against the FBI from civil rights organisation the American Civil Liberties Union and law firm Miller Canfield. The band’s fans, known as ‘Juggalos’, were referenced in the FBI’s ‘National Gang Threat Assessment: Emerging Trends’ report in 2011, which said: “The Juggalos, a loosely-organised hybrid gang, are rapidly expanding into many US communities. Although recognised as a gang in only four states, many Juggalo subsets exhibit gang-like behaviour and engage in criminal activity and violence – law enforcement officials in at least 21 states have identified criminal Juggalo subsets”. Violent J, real name Joseph Bruce, and Shaggy 2 Dope, real name Joey Utsler, along with four fans filed the legal paperwork in the US Federal District Court in Michigan, claiming their constitutional rights of free expression and association and due process were violated by the 2011 Assessment. The fans also allege they have been subject to…

MPs form All Party Group to investigate ticketing abuses
Contract , Criminal Law , Live Events / February 2014
UK

CRIMINAL / CONTRACT Live events sector   A new All Party Parliamentary Group has been sent up by MPs Mike Weatherley (Conservative) and Sharon Hodgson (Labour) to investigate the secondary market for event tickets and ‘industrial scale’ touting that involves promoters and artistes. The Group also includes Andrew Bingham MP (Con), Kerry McCarthy MP (Lab), Steve Rotheram MP (Lab) and Nigel Adams MP (Con). According t Hodgson the APPG will “build cross party consensus on the need to enable event organisers to protect their tickets and customers from being exploited by touts” and it is hoped that a new survey in 2014 will underpin new legislation to support the live sector and inquiry sessions have been set for January, February and March 2014 to hear from the re-sale sector, the live events industry and consumers as well as one meeting set aside for technology solutions. A study from UK consumer group Which? In December said that theatre-goers and music fans face massive mark-ups on the value of some online tickets. The study shows that compulsory charges are added to 72% of tickets sold online, and nearly half of those surveyed (49%) said the charges had put them off buying tickets…

Twitter threats result in prison sentences
Criminal Law / February 2014
UK

CRIMINAL LAW All areas   Two people who sent abusive and menacing tweets to banknote campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez and Labour MP Stella Creasy have been jailed in the UK. Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, posted dozens of abusive tweets against both women before they were arrested. District judge Howard Riddle jailed Sorley for 12 weeks and Nimmo for 8 weeks and ordered them to each pay £400 compensation to each victim. Criado-Perez successfully campaigned to have a woman appear on one of the UK’s banknotes – only to be tweeted by Sorley ‘fuck off you worthless piece of crap’ and “go kill yourself” and “rape is the last of your worries”. Unemployed Nimmo tweeted “shut up bitch” to Criado-Perez and “Ya not that good looking to rape u be fine” and that he would “rape her nice ass” and “I will find you (smiley face). He told Creasy she was a “dumb blonde bitch” after she had congratulated Criado-Perez on her campaign. The Judge said it was “hard to imagine more extreme threats” and that “substantial fear was caused” – Creasy had a panic button installed at her home. Earlier this month the pair pleaded guilty to sending…

Russia’s Supreme Court critical of Pussy Riot ruling
Artists , Criminal Law / January 2014
Russia

CRIMINAL Artists Russia’s Supreme Court has criticised the guilty verdicts in the Pussy Riot case and ordered a review of the ruling that convicted three members of the punk protest group of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after the band staged a provocative performance that criticised the Russian government  in a Moscow cathedral in August 2012 Two of the three, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were jailed. The Supreme Court has now said that the prosecution in the case failed to demonstrate that the defendants were motivated by hatred towards a specific social group, which, appeal judges said last week, is necessary for this ruling. The Supreme Court added that judges in the lower court should also have considered that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were mothers with young children when sentencing them. The ruling comes alongside the recently announced amnesty bill’ y put forward to the country’s parliament by premier Vladimir Putin, which aims to show leniency on the twentieth anniversary of the Russian Constitution (and remove embarrassing Russian court rulings before next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia) could also lead to the Pussy Riot two being freed early although with just three months left to run on both protestors’ sentences,…

Pussy riot pair freed by new Russian amnesty laws
Artists , Criminal Law / January 2014
Russia

CRIMINAL Artists   Russia’s state Duma has unanimously agreed to a new ‘amnesty’ law which proposed by president Vladimir Putin to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s post-Soviet constitution. The amnesty bill looks to free prisoners who have been jailed for certain non-violent crimes, women with dependent children, juveniles, veterans, invalids and first time offenders and is likely to include the 30 Greenpeace crew and journalists from the Arctic Sunrise, currently on bail on charges of hooliganism in Russia after boarding a drilling rig. The bill specifically included the charge of hooliganism, which was used to prosecute 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists, among them six Britons, over a protest at Russia’s first offshore oil platform in the Arctic. The 30 will still need exit visas to leave Russia. Others who may be freed include some, but not all, of the political protesters arrested during clashes with police after Vladimir Putin’s inauguration as Russian president for a third term last year. The ruling prompted the release of the two members of Pussy Riot, jailed for religious hooliganism.  Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were each sentenced to two years in prison after the band staged a provocative performance that criticised the…

Ticket fraudster gets four more years in prison
Criminal Law , Live Events / September 2013
UK

CRIMINAL Live events industry   Convicted fraudster Alan Scott has had an additional four years added to his seven year prison sentence after failing to pay back £500,000 of ill gotten gains that was ordered by the judge at Southwark Crown Court. Scott and partner in Xclusive, Terence Shepherd, were masterminds behind a £5 million fraud where thousands of customers applied for but never received tickets for events including the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Victims included double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington’s parents and many sports and festival fans. Shepherd received an eight year sentence – and has also now failed to meet a deadline to pay back the £1.25 million he received from the scam, with a default sentence of six years if he fails to pay.   More here http://www.sfo.gov.uk/our-work/our-cases/case-progress/xclusive.aspx

Pussy Riot pair lodge appeal at Russia’s Supreme Court
Criminal Law / August 2013
Russia

CRIMINAL LAW Artistes   Lawyers for the two members of Pussy Riot jailed for their involvement in a protest performance in a Russian cathedral are set to take the case to Russia’s Supreme Court. Originally three members of the Russian punk outfit were jailed last August for taking part in the performance of a protest song in a Moscow church. One of the jailed women, Yekaterina Samustsev, was given a suspended sentence on appeal and freed, but Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova remained incarcerated after the appeal hearing in Gulags. More recently both were denied parole. Lawyers hope to argue in the Russian Supreme Court that the ruling that members of Pussy Riot were guilty of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ was in fact illegal, and the convictions should be reversed.   http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/1569241/pussy-riot-members-to-appeal-conviction-to-russias-supreme-court

Toots brings case against alleged bottler
Criminal Law , Live Events / July 2013
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Live events sector   Toots And The Maytals have had to cancel all their planned festival appearances this summer after Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert was injured when he was hit by a “large vodka bottle” at America’s RiverRock Festival in mid-May. He was struck in the head and is still receiving treatment and tests. The band  have said they are preparing a $21 million legal case against the assailant, one William Connor Lewis, who will also face trial on a felony assault charge on 1 July. Toots attorney Michael R Shaprio said: “Toots and his management team share with me the view that we should only sue those who we know to have responsibility for this vicious attack. At this moment in time, the bottle thrower, Mr Lewis unquestionably falls in that category and thus the $21 million civil action against him”. http://www.nme.com/news/various-artists/70934

Gottfrid Svartholm jailed on hacking charges
Criminal Law , Internet / July 2013
Sweden

CRIMINAL LAW Internet   Gottfrid Svartholm , The Pirate Bay co-founder charged in Sweden earlier this year over various alleged hacking offences was last week sentenced to two years in jail. Svartholm fled to Cambodia when originally sentenced on copyright infringement charges alongside the  three other co-founders,  for their role in creating and running the controversial file-sharing website.  Last year he was extradited back to his home country after various hacking allegations were made against him. He was jailed, seemingly serving his Pirate Bay sentence while awaiting a court session to hear the hacking charges which centred on alleged attacks on the servers of the Nordea banking group and services firm Logica, during which the personal data of about some thousand Swedish citizens was taken and subsequently published online.  CMU Daily reported that Svartholm and his co-defendant Mathias Gustafsson claimed that while their computers had been used in the hack attacks, the hacking had been done by other parties. But experts testifying for the prosecution claimed data found on the PCs in question suggested the defendants had done the hacking, and neither men could, or were willing to, name who the alleged third party hackers might have been. Svartholm was…

Pirate bay founder charged over hacking
Criminal Law , Internet / May 2013
Sweden

CRIMINAL Internet   One of The Pirate Bay founders, Gottfrid Svartholmn Warg has been charged with aggravated fraud, attempted aggravated fraud, and being an accomplice to attempted aggravated fraud, over allegations he was involved in the hacking of computer systems of various Swedish state agencies, as well as making an illegal online money transfer. Svartholm, was extradited from Cambodia last year and incarcerated on return to his home country. He had previously failed to attend appeal hearings in relation to his Pirate Bay conviction, so that his one year prison sentence stemming from that charge stood.   http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/tech/news/a473820/pirate-bay-founder-gottfrid-svartholm-warg-charged-with-hacking-fraud.html

Sarah Harding banned from driving but says sorry
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2013
UK

CRIMINAL Artists   Former Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding has been banned from driving for six months after admitting to failing to stop for police when she was spotted talking on her phone while driving in central London. Harding was arrested and taken to Holborn Police Station to be charged with using her phone while driving and failing to stop for police. She appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court to face the charges where District Judge Nina Tempia disqualified her and ordered Harding to pay a fine of £500, plus a £20 ‘victim surcharge’ and £85 court costs. Her lawyer, Nick Freeman, argued that his client had “suffered more than a normal person because of the media attention her arrest had attracted”. District Judge Tenpia disagreed. She gave Ms Harding credit for pleading guilty straight away to the charge and said her charity work was admirable, but said she was a “normal person” and should be treated as such. After the hearing Harding was repentant saying “Too many people use their mobile phone whilst driving and think it’s acceptable. It is not. Every year people die or are seriously injured because they were distracted making that ‘oh so important call’….

Lamb of God frontman faces trial over fan death
Criminal Law , Live Events / January 2013
Czech Republic

CRIMINAL Live events sector   Czech prosecutors have formally filed indictment papers with the Prague Municipal Court in the manslaughter case against Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe. The court now has three months to set a date for his trial or return the case to prosecutors for further investigation. Blythe was arrested and charged with manslaughter when he and his band arrived in Prague to play a gig in the city at the end of June on charges relating to the death of a fan, named as Daniel N,  following a performance in the Czech capital two years ago. The fan is said to have climbed onto the stage a number of times during the show, and on the third occasion was allegedly pushed back off by Blythe, falling onto his head and sustaining injuries that led to his death. After being initially denied bail and spending a month in prison, Blythe is now back in the US having been on bail of eight million Czech Koruna (approximately £260,000). At the time of his release he said “While I maintain my innocence 100%, and will do so steadfastly, I will NOT hide in the United States, safe from extradition and possible prosecution”….

Lollapalooza exempt from new “pot ticket” law
Criminal Law , Live Events / September 2012
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry   The Chicago Tribune reports that the city’s new “pot ticket” law goes into effect during the middle of Lollapalooza, but the new system of a $250 fine (for the first offence) for possession of less that 15 grams of cannabis won’t apply to the festival in Grant Park because it’s Chicago Park District property. That exception to the new rules means that police instead will continue to arrest those caught – although last year, police made exactly zero marijuana-related arrests among the 270,000 people who passed through the Lollapalooza gates. Chicago has moved to decriminalise cannabis and officials with C3 Presents, the festival’s promoters, declined comment to the Tribune although they drew attention in 2006 when Lollapalooza-branded rolling papers were given out at a news conference in advance of the Festival. A Chicago Police Department order issued last week on how to enforce the new ordinance lays out several “aggravating factors” that require arrest for even small amounts of pot. In addition to the rule about Park District property, people caught in the act of smoking marijuana — as opposed to just possessing it — also still will be subject to arrest. So will those…

Trolls unmasked by mum
India
UK

INTERNET Technology, Criminal Law, Data Protection The High Court has ordered that Facebook must reveal the IP addresses of internet ‘trolls’ who abused a woman user after she posted comments supporting failed X-factor contestant Frankie Cocozza. Nicola Brookes (45) received more than 100 ‘vicious and depraved’ messages, and trolls then set up a fake profile in her name and image– spamming Cocozza’s 98,000 online fans and seemingly suggesting that Brookes wanted to lure young girls.  Some messages falsely described her as a drug dealer, a prostitute, a paedophile and known child abuser, and others attempted to ‘befriend’ young girls. Her home address and personal email address were published. Sussex Police did not successfully intervene in Ms Brookes’ case, but Liam Stacey, received a 56 day prison sentencing after tweeting racist abuses about Bolton Wanderer footballer Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed with a heart attack during a premiership match against Tottenham Hotspur in March. Ms Brookes still uses Facebook. Solicitors Bains Cohen agreed to take the case pro bono and Rupinder Bains said Facebook had not contested the Norwich Pharmacal  action, and had agreed to hand over the information within six weeks. In India global hacking movement Anonymous has called for…

Revealed: drugs seizures at UK festivals
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2012
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry ARTICLE LINK:  Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act provide a unique insight into changing patterns of drug use at British music festivals. What the article fails to address is the approaches and resources of different police forces around the UK, which surely has a significant impact on these statistics.   http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/may/21/music-festivals-drugs

Leonard Cohen’s former manager guilty of harassment charges
Artists , Criminal Law / May 2012
USA

CRIMINAL Artistes Leonard Cohen has given evidence against his former manager Kelley Lynch, who he fired in 2004 amidst allegations she had stolen from the iconic singer, leaving him facing bankruptcy. Cohen subsequently successfully sued Lynch, though has struggled to claim the $9 million in damages the courts awarded him. He subsequently toured to rebuild his finances. Lynch has now been found guilty on criminal charges of harassing various people, including Cohen, and of violating previous restraining orders issued against her. In court the singer, who once had a brief romantic relationship with Lynch, said his former manager sent him long and rambling voicemail messages and emails which became increasingly frequent, with sometimes twenty to thirty messages received each day, and these sometimes included violent threats. The messages accused Cohen of drug addiction amongst other things. Lynch was held in custody as the case progressed in lieu of $25,000 bail and was found guilty of two counts of leaving or sending harassing or obscene messages and five counts of violating a restraining order. Whilst all charges were misdemeanours, Lynch was given an eighteen month custodial sentence as part of a five year sentence, during which time she will have to…

Ticketmaster’s fees potentially deceptive in Tennessee
Criminal Law , Live Events / May 2012
USA

CRIMINAL Live events industry Tennessee’s law on deceptive practices applies to Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation  the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled, but the court stopped short of offering an opinion on whether the company’s fees violated the statute. The court’s 4-3 split decision comes after Corey McMillan, an Arkadelphia resident, complained that he was charged nearly $50 in fees to buy four tickets to see country music singer Jason Aldean in concert. McMillan sued Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster took the case to federal court, where a judge asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to determine whether the state law applies to an entity such as Ticketmaster. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Karen R. Baker said the court “offer(s) no opinion on whether the additional fees or charges by Ticketmaster violate [the statute]”. In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Jim Hannah said that whilst the majority did establish Ticketmaster’s criminal liability, the law in question was intended to control ticket scalping and that “By any analysis, Ticketmaster is not scalping tickets; it is the seller in the first instance”.  McMillan said that at an advertised price of $42.75 each, the four concert tickets should…

French fans launch Jackson action
Artists , Criminal Law / February 2012
France
Ireland
USA

CRIMINAL LAW Artists   In another bizarre twist in the Michael Jackson story, a group of French fans of the King of Pop are launching a legal action in France against Dr Conrad Murray, who has now been convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the singer’s death in 2009 in the USA. They are each claiming symbolic damages of one Euro for the ’emotional damage’ the death has had on them. Murray was sentenced to four years imprisonment. http://edition.cnn.com/2011/11/29/justice/california-conrad-murray-sentencing/index.html and Leonard Watters, the 24 year old unemployed Irish dance instructor who wrongfully accused X-Factor judge and BoyZone/Westlife manager Louis Walsh of groping him in a Dublin nighclub toilet has been imprisoned for six months.

Corporate manslaughter appeal fails in UK
Criminal Law , Live Events / June 2011
UK

CRIMINAL LAW Live events industry The first company in the UK to be convicted of corporate manslaughter, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, has lost an appeal against its conviction for corporate manslaughter. The firm was convicted in February this year after geologist, Alexander Wright, 27, died in September 2008 when a trench he was working in collapsed. The company became the first to be prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 and were fined 110% of their annual turnover (£385,000). In separate news, Network Rail has been fined  £3m for Heath & Safety legislation failings over the Potters Bar rail crash, in which seven people died. The company admitted breaching safety regulations that led to the West Anglia Great Northern train from London to King’s Lynn derailing just outside Potters Bar station in Hertfordshire in May 2002. The company had previously been fined £3.5m for failings in the Hatfield rail crash in 2000, which killed four and injured 102. http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/