Birmingham gangs banned from city in landmark ruling

The 18 menImage copyright West Midlands Police Image caption The injunction stops the men from contacting each other

Eighteen men from two rival criminal groups have been targeted in what police describe as the largest ever gang injunction.

The men, aged between 19 and 29 and some in prison, are banned from parts of Birmingham and must register phones and vehicles with police.

The two-year orders aim to disrupt gang-related violence between the Burger Bar Boys and Johnson Crew.

West Midlands Police said it was "a landmark ruling".

The orders follow a spate of firearms offences in the city in 2015 and 2016, but the gangs have struck fear across parts of Birmingham for many years.

They gained notoriety in 2003 when their violent feud claimed the lives of two girls - Letisha Shakespeare and Charlene Ellis - outside a late-night new year party in the city.Four men were later jailed for life for their murders.[1]

The gangs have also been behind countless drive-by shootings,[2] drug dealing, intimidation, robberies and kidnappings.

Image copyright West Midlands Police Image caption The men are banned form entering entering the city centre, Handsworth, Newtown, Winson Green and Lozells

After more recent incidents of gun crime in the city, West Midlands Police and the council sought to secure the injunctions in a civil case heard at Birmingham Crown Court earlier this year.

The force secured interim injunctions in 2016 and said at the time it did not want to identify anyone until they were permanent. The BBC revealed their names after obtaining the county court documents.[3]

More than 80 people from the Home Office and police gave evidence between February and June ahead of the orders being granted in July, which the force has revealed for the first time now.

Two have already been issued, three men are being sought by police and three properties were visited by officers on Wednesday.

The men are forbidden from associating with each other and entering the city centre, Handsworth, Newtown, Winson Green and Lozells.

Image caption The gangs gained notoriety in 2003 when friends Charlene Ellis, 18, and Letisha Shakespeare, 17, were shot dead outside a new year party

Ten other men will receive the orders in jail where restrictions will be imposed on certain visitors to limit any gang associations, police said.

Among those be given the injunctions in prison are two men believed to have been the "armed response" faction of the Burger Bar Boys.

Reial Phillips, 21, from Winson Green was jailed for 27 years last year after seven people were injured in a series of shootings during a feud with members of the Johnson Crew.

His co-defendant 23-year-old Ashai Gray, from Walsall, was jailed for nine years after admitting conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

Police said their actions "brought fear" to people in the West Midlands.[4]

Gang injunctions came into force in England and Wales in 2011.Home Office figures show[5] that between January 2011 and January 2014, 88 had been put in place.

The first one issued in the West Midlands was in 2012.

'Cosmetic gesture'

But solicitor Errol Robinson, who represented two of the four men jailed for the new year murders, criticised the move.

"They don't change behaviour or address underlying issues," he said.

"Injunctions become a bit of a trophy and encourage rebellion.Gang members like to show that they're not listening to orders so will breach orders.

"It's a cheap way of trying to solve crime but there is no evidence to suggest that they work.

"They're just a cosmetic gesture to show people that something is being done about gangs - but actually the results are minimum to none."

The city has seen another spike in gun and knife crime in 2017, with nine fatal stabbings this year.None of the men named in the injunctions are involved, police said.


Analysis:BBC Midlands correspondent Sima Kotecha

In principle, gang injunctions are arguably a good idea:they attempt to control movement and accessibility to certain areas and groups of people.

They rely on civil laws and that means at their core is a desire to protect the community.The orders are straightforward to issue because they can depend on a single police officer's evidence and that can mean that a person posing a threat is put under some sort of restrictions fairly quickly.

But a flaw expressed by critics of the order is that they're difficult to monitor.How do you know if the injunction is breached as individuals are not tagged or followed?

From the former gang members that we've spoken to, there is little support for the mechanism, with many saying it's not rocket science to work out that if a person is banned from going to a certain part of a city, they will just go somewhere else, and find others who have the same goal:to cause violence and disruption.


The men made subject to the injunctions ...

  • Naasir Francis, 19, from Nechells
  • Baboucar Huma, 19, from Handsworth
  • Akeen Ivy-Foster, 20, from Springhill
  • Ravelle Hutchinson, 20, from Winson Green
  • Tesfa Bernard-Wheeler, 21, from Hockley
  • Rayani Sutherland, 21, from Aston
  • Omarni Bernard-Sewell, 21, from Selly Oak
  • Lawrence Morgan, 21, from Nechells
  • Jerome Jones, 21, from Erdington
  • Jerome Christie, 21, from Nechells
  • Reial Phillips, 21, from Winson Green
  • Ushane Jeffers, 23, from Newtown
  • Kayne Robinson, 23, from Springhill
  • Ashai Grey, 23, from Walsall
  • Jacob Brown, 24, from Handsworth
  • Cash Wallace, 24, from Winson Green
  • Ishmail Lee, 29, from Wolverhampton
  • Isaac Duffus, 28, from Erdington

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Brexit: UK must keep 'half an eye' on European court rulings

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Media captionWhy the fuss about the European Court of Justice?

The UK will have to keep "half an eye" on the rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after Brexit, a government minister has said.

Critics have accused the prime minister of a "climbdown" on her promise the UK would take back control of its laws when it left the EU, in March 2019.

The government maintains the UK will no longer be under the "direct jurisdiction" of the ECJ.

But Justice Minister Dominic Raab has now said it will not be a clean break.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:"Our commitment as a government since the referendum has been crystal clear - we're ending the jurisdiction of the European Court over disputes between the EU and the UK, that's not on the table.

"But look, let's also be clear about it - when we leave the EU, we are taking back control over our laws.

"There will be divergence between the case law of the EU and the UK, and it is precisely because there will be that divergence as we take back control that it makes sense for the UK to keep half an eye on the case law of the EU, and for the EU to keep half an eye on the case law of the UK."

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Media captionJustice minister Dominic Raab tells Today that the UK and EU should keep "half an eye" on each other

The Luxembourg-based ECJ is in charge of ensuring member states abide by EU law.

Its rulings are binding on all member states, and it also settles disputes between countries and EU institutions.

A paper being published by the government later on Wednesday will say it is not "necessary or appropriate" for the ECJ to have direct authority over UK law after Brexit, adding that it would be "unprecedented" for it to do so.

It will set out a range of alternative models for dealing with legal disputes with the EU - and argue that the UK is is in a "position of strength" to forge new arrangements suited to its own circumstances.


Direct or indirect?

Analysis by the BBC's Ross Hawkins

Theresa May has promised - repeatedly - to simply leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

In this morning's briefing there's a subtle difference.The government will "build towards ending the direct jurisdiction" of the court.

Sources insist nothing has changed;the language has been used before.But what the word "direct" really means and how much say if any the ECJ will have in the UK after Brexit are now crucial questions.

Or - to put them another way - are we really taking back as much control as leave voters hoped?


The ECJ's remit extends into many of the areas where the UK is hoping to draw up new arrangements with the EU, including trade and citizens' rights.

Mr Raab said "some form of arbitration" would be needed, but that this would not be akin to a European court.

Arbitration is where disputes are settled by a neutral third party.The UK and the EU could each appoint arbitrators and agree on a third, Mr Raab suggested.

He said this was different to the UK accepting the jurisdiction of ECJ which would be "lopsided and partisan and that's not on the cards".


Image copyright AFP

European Court of Justice

  • Decides whether the institutions of the EU are acting legally, and settles disputes between them
  • Ensures that the member states of the EU are complying with their legal obligations as set out in the EU treaties;and allows member states to challenge EU legislation
  • Interprets EU law at the request of national courts

Pro-EU campaigners say the government made an "appalling error" by making leaving the ECJ a "red line" in Brexit negotiations, saying new courts will now be needed in all the areas it extends to, including trade, citizens' rights and security.

The pro-EU Open Britain group claimed a "climbdown" in the government's approach.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, said:"The prime minister's ideological insistence that there can be no future role whatsoever for the ECJ or any similar court-like body risks preventing the deal Britain needs."

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said Mrs May's "red lines are becoming more blurred by the day", saying the ECJ had "served Britain's interests well" and should not be "trashed"....

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Lianne Sanderson: England forward not expecting international recall

Lianne Sanderson
Lianne Sanderson has been capped 50 times by England

England forward Lianne Sanderson says she does not expect to be selected for her country again after speaking out in defence of team-mate Eniola Aluko.

Striker Aluko has accused women's head coach Mark Sampson of "bullying and discrimination".[1]

Sampson has been cleared of wrongdoing by two investigations and vehemently denies the claims.

Sanderson, 29, told BBC Radio 5 live her support for Aluko could mean her international career now suffers.

The forward - between clubs following a serious ligament injury - has been capped 50 times by England.Last week, she told BBC Sport the England camp's culture was one where "everyone must conform".[2]

On Tuesday, Sanderson - who was most recently at Western New York Flash - told BBC Radio 5 live's Phil Williams show:"When I come back from my injury, which will be soon, I'll be able to be selected for England again.

"Will I be selected?Probably not, because they know I'm a key witness in this thing.You're trying to do the right thing but that shouldn't mean that your England career suffers because of that.

"If they changed the coach, it wouldn't change the culture.I do think it's a thing the FA need to make better.

"I don't think it's just Mark.But these allegations that have been made are very serious and I think they have tried to downplay them.

"It's something that's been going on for a long time.People ask 'why now?' but it's nothing to do with the Euros, we've been wanting to talk about this for a long time."

When contacted by BBC Sport, the FA said it had nothing further to add....

Eniola Aluko speaks to BBC sports editor Dan Roan

References

  1. ^ "bullying and discrimination". (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ "everyone must conform". (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Trump says he is willing to 'close government' to build Mexico wall

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 22, 2017Image copyright AFP Image caption Donald Trump touched on immigration, healthcare and his enemies during the Arizona rally

Donald Trump says he will close down the US government if necessary to build his wall along the Mexico border.

The president told supporters at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Phoenix, Arizona, that the opposition Democrats were being "obstructionist".

During the 80-minute speech, he also took aim at the media, blaming them for giving far right groups "a platform".

But he selectively quoted his initial response to violence at a far-right rally that left one woman dead.

He omitted the controversial claim that "many sides" had to shoulder the blame[1] for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

What did he say about the wall?

President Trump wants Congress to finance his controversial plan to build a "big, beautiful" wall along the United States' border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.

But Republicans will need the support of Democrats to secure funding for the wall in a government spending bill, which they are unlikely to get.

In his speech, Mr Trump said the Democrats were "putting all of America's safety at risk" by opposing the wall.He said immigration officers who worked in the area said it was "vital" to stem the flow of illegal immigrants.

He said that, if it came to it, he would risk a government shutdown - which is what happens when legislation funding the federal government cannot be passed by Congress and non-essential services stop.

"If we have to close down government, we are building that wall," Mr Trump said, adding that "the American people voted for immigration control".

What did he say about Charlottesville?

President Trump attacked the media in the campaign-style speech, saying reporters had misrepresented his "perfect" words in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, where Heather Heyer was killed after a car ploughed into a crowd of people protesting against far-right demonstrators including neo-Nazis.

He accused "truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media" of "trying to take away our history and heritage" because, he said, they "don't like our country".

He quoted his first public response to the violence on 12 August, which was criticised by both Republicans and Democrats for not explicitly condemning the far-right[4].

"This is what I said on Saturday:'We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,' - this is me speaking.'We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.' That's me speaking on Saturday, right after the event," he said.

But what he actually said was:"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."

What other topics came up?

  • Nafta: The US, Mexico and Canada have begun talks on revising their trade deal, and negotiators are due to meet again on 1 September.But Mr Trump said he thought he would "probably end up terminating Nafta"
  • North Korea:He sounded hopeful about a reduction in tensions.Referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Mr Trump said:"I respect the fact that he is starting to respect us." He added:"And maybe - probably not, but maybe - something positive can come about"
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio:The US president hinted he would pardon the controversial former Arizona sheriff, who rose to national prominence because of his tough stance against illegal immigration.He said that Joe Arpaio - who was found guilty of criminal contempt[5] in July over his detention of migrants - "is going to be just fine", but he would not yet formally pardon him because "I don't want to cause any controversy"

What has the reaction been?

While Mr Trump's comments were met with cheers inside the conference centre, anti-Trump protesters who had gathered outside the rally clashed with police after the rally had finished.

Police used pepper spray after the protesters threw bottles and rocks.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Protesters hold up an inflatable Joe Arpaio, whom Mr Trump hinted he would pardon

Reacting to the speech, the former National Intelligence director James Clapper told CNN[6] that he was questioning Donald Trump's "fitness" for office.

"I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it," he said, adding he found the rally "downright scary and disturbing".

Ruben Gallego, a Democratic Party congressman in Arizona, said it was was the worst-ever speech by a US president."It was all about him, it was not about the country," he told the BBC.

But Trump supporters were pleased.

"President Trump did an amazing job tonight.His message is uniting our great nation!", tweeted Ryan Fournier, the head of Students for Trump.

White Nationalist Richard Spencer tweeted:"Trump has never denounced the Alt-Right.Nor will he."

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