A new law made in Liverpool - but how will it work?
Plus: The Echo's owner cuts hundreds of jobs
Dear readers — there’s been a shock Monday reshuffle. And no, David Cameron hasn’t joined The Post as our newest staff writer. For the first time ever, this Monday briefing is a three-person effort, as Lisa joins our staff starting this week. Lisa has joined us from the Echo where she’s produced brilliant investigative work and features and we can’t wait for you to read her stories.
For a more in-depth introduction, read her Sunday welcome post about her extremely varied pre-journalism life (“I worked as a support worker, carer, cleaner, maker of breakfasts, sold jigsaws, pulled pints, rode advertising bikes”) and why she’s coming to work at Post Towers. And do drop her an email to say hello at email@example.com.
At the weekend we put on our tall white hats and overalls and went in search of that most elusive thing: a Michelin star on Merseyside. Why haven’t the food gods yet awarded one to a Liverpool restaurant? And how much does it really matter?
We had some lovely tweets from readers — including a shout-out from the editor of Umbrella Magazine, Anthony Teasdale.
Last week paying members were treated to an Abi double, starting on Tuesday as she went to meet Barry Chang, Toxteth’s beloved septuagenarian bee philosopher. And thanks for the lovely comments too — you could say you were waxing lyrical. Here’s a snippet:
“When I was a little boy in Jamaica, I just liked to watch the bees,” he says. “No fight, no fuss, just some going in [the hive] and some going out.” While he didn’t know his grandfather back home, he found out later in life that he was also a beekeeper. Loving bees, therefore, is “in his genes”.
Then on Thursday Abi unpicked a Liverpool City Region investment of £700k into a food delivery project which, well, let’s just say it didn’t deliver. Only 58 hot dinners were actually delivered, which works out at roughly £1,200 per Big Mac. Pretty toppy, even in this economy.
On with today’s edition, which features an architectural triumph at Alder Hey, incredible news for footballer Luis Diaz and our big story: Olivia’s Law — named after Olivia Pratt-Korbel — which will force killers to be present in court to receive their sentences, could soon come into effect.
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Applications close next Monday (20th November) so please act soon if you’re interested and share the link with friends. Find out more about the role and how to apply by clicking here.
This week’s weather
Tuesday 🌦️ Light rain showers and a gentle breeze with highs of 13°C
Wednesday 🌦️ Light rain showers and a moderate breeze with highs of 11°C
Thursday 🌦️ Light rain showers and a moderate breeze with highs of 10°C
Friday 🌦️ Light rain showers and a gentle breeze with highs of 10°C
Saturday 🌧️ Heavy rain and a gentle breeze with highs of 11°C
This week’s weather forecast is sourced from BBC Weather and it’s for Liverpool.
The big story: A law made in Liverpool
Top line: A new law forcing people found guilty of the most heinous crimes to attend sentencing hearings could soon come into effect. Olivia’s Law, as it is known, has been included in a new Criminal Justice Bill announced during last week’s King’s Speech.
Context: Olivia’s Law — named after nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel who was murdered by Thomas Cashman in her Dovecot home last year — has received widespread support from the public and politicians across the spectrum. There was mass outrage at Cashman’s refusal to come out of his cell for sentencing to hear the impact of his crimes on Olivia’s family, who have been spearheading the campaign.
Speaking to ITV back in August after she met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of her push for the law, Olivia’s mother Cheryl Korbel said: “I just hope she’s proud of what we’ve done because at the end of the day, it’s in her name.” The impetus has also come in the wake of other high profile cases where killers have refused to face the families of their victims in court, such as nurse Lucy Letby.
State of play: Currently, judges only have the power to compel people to attend trial hearings, but that is soon about to change with the new Criminal Justice Bill including Olivia’s Law, which compels convicted criminals to attend court for sentencing.
What does this mean in practice? The new law allows for officers to use ‘reasonable force’ to bring criminals from prison cells to the dock to hear the punishment being handed out for their crimes. Up to two years could also be added to their sentences if they refuse to face the families, who often give impact statements during sentencing hearings outlining the consequences of the crimes.
The reaction: While the move to include Olivia’s Law has attracted widespread support and has been welcomed by Olivia’s family, concerns have been raised that the measures may not go far enough.
With many of those refusing to attend for sentencing already facing lengthy prison terms, the fear is two extra years may not provide an effective deterrent — Cashman was sentenced to a minimum of 42 years behind bars.
Speaking to ITV last week, Olivia’s aunt Antonia Elverson said the family may still campaign for harsher penalties if the law proves ineffective.
The Prison Reform Trust has questioned the legislation on the grounds that contempt of court measures are already available for judges as is the use of ‘reasonable force’, adding the measures could create an expectation to force people to attend hearings “even when it is not safe for staff or prisoners to do so, or would undermine the decorum of the court.”
Your Post briefing
Reach PLC, the London-based media giant which owns the Echo as well as the Daily Express and a large chunk of local news titles in the UK, is making another huge round of layoffs. Around 450 Reach employees will lose their jobs, following two previous rounds of redundancies earlier this year. Reach CEO Jim Mullen blamed the “economic environment”, while chief digital publisher David Higgerson pointed to the rise of social media, adding that the BBC’s increasing pivot towards online news would cause further upheaval. However, when news broke that the company would be hiring a number of “social media influencers” to target a younger audience with a revamped digital strategy, there was uproar. “Mirror publisher to replace journalists with social media influencers”, read The Telegraph’s headline. Higgerson has since denied that journalists are being swapped for influencers.
The father of Luis Diaz has spoken out for the first time since being kidnapped in Colombia last month. The 58-year-old — whose son plays for Liverpool — went missing in his hometown of Barrancas on 28 October, and was found by Colombian and British authorities just four days ago. In an interview with the BBC, Mr Díaz said he was made to walk "too much" with little sleep, and was kept in a mountainous area by a criminal group called "Los primos". "I would not want anyone to be in that mountain in the situation I was in," he said.
A group of graffiti artists who caused an estimated £2 million of damage have been given nine years’ worth of suspended sentences for committing criminal damage. Alongside Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council helped track down the perpetrators after they painted on a number of listed buildings including Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, the former ABC Cinema, the walls around Liverpool Cathedral, and a police station on Copperas Hill. On another occasion, some members of the group walked down Bold Street with a diamond cutter and cut names into the windows of shops. Liverpool councillor Laura Robertson-Collins called the graffiti “mindless vandalism”.
And heart-warming news from Southport as a visually impaired woman marries the man who acted as her running guide. For years, 48-year-old Kelly Barton thought running was “too difficult and inaccessible” for partially sighted people, until she met volunteer running guide Mike Leatherbarrow in 2016. "The first time I ran with Mike I didn't know him and I'm putting my cane down and putting my trust in him," she told the BBC. "After we ran so many miles together we got to know each other and we just fell in love over the miles." The pair were married earlier this month at Southport Town Hall.
Home of the week
This four-bedroom, Grade II listed home is nestled away in the Georgian Quarter, with a courtyard and additional outhouse building in its beautiful gardens. It is on the market for £695,000 — find out more here.
🎸 London new-wave band Haircut 100 head to the O2 Academy on Thursday as part of their first UK tour in over 40 years. Expect plenty of tracks from their 1982 hit album Pelican West, as well as new music from the band. Tickets are available here.
📖 On Tuesday, Camp and Furnace on Greenland Street hosts a talk from Dee Anand — a chartered forensic psychologist who has been practising in the field for over 20 years. Tickets are available here.
🍺 Hulme Hall hosts the annual Wirral Beer Festival this weekend, with over 200 beers and ciders — including 80 real ales and 80 craft beers — to try. There will also be a selection of continental lagers, ciders and specialty gin and rum at the bar. The event runs from Thursday until Sunday — find out more here.
🎹 Avant-pop band Stereolab play at Content in Cain’s Brewery Village this Wednesday, in support of their latest album Pulse of the Early Brain [Switched On Volume 5]. Buy tickets here.
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Our favourite reads
Featuring a “virtual ocean, a giant xylophone, and a US-style diner that’s straight out of the 50s”, Alder Hey’s new home for young people’s mental health services, a hovering orange architectural triumph, is celebrated in The Guardian. The £20 million building is said to be part of an NHS drive to bring mental health services up to speed with physical health services, and has won a lot of praise. If those services are anything like the quality of the building, it will be mission accomplished.
It’s 9am in December on Tiber Square, a community space at the centre of one of Liverpool’s most diverse postcodes. The temperature is -5°C. Braving the cold, a small crowd is forming, sharing jokes amid anxious glances at the square’s frozen floor.” In this piece, The Conversation meets up with the football fan-led foodbank charities in Liverpool on the front lines of a crisis. Over the past eight years, the number of people in the UK receiving emergency food parcels has risen from one million to three million.
And from our brand new Birmingham sister publication, The Dispatch, a topic which is always sure to cause (sometimes healthy, sometimes not so healthy) debate. Daniel Knowles, who has popped up in these pages before, is the author of Carmageddon and a one-man crusader against the automobile. In this piece, he argues that cars aren’t just a blight on the environment and the pleasant-ness of our towns, but also on the economies of the north. It’s a fascinating read, and very relevant in our city too.
Letters from readers
Lovely piece. There are bee hives on our allotment site, and I wish there were more. I watched the Netflix documentary about The Bee Whisperer after reading this. He's such an interesting fella, shame how he's been treated by the govt. Anyway, I really enjoyed this. Save the Bees! ‘A cold winter’s morning with Liverpool’s bee whisperer’, Donna
A cracking piece, that. You're right on the core issue of 'narrative' — anything that offers a positive counterpoint to a stereotypical or out-dated view is a good thing. But those who know Liverpool know how varied and interesting our dining scene is. ‘Liverpool remains a Michelin star desert. But are we getting our just desserts?’, Dougal Paver