Daily Postcard: The setting sun casts a dramatic scene across a sky full of clouds Wednesday over Los Alamos. Photo by Marc Bailey
Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
An East Hampton man is being held in county jail in Riverside, not eligible for bail, after his arrest following questioning by town police detectives on October 26. He is charged with six felony counts of grand larceny, along with two misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property, and one count of criminal mischief. Christopher Metz, 43, allegedly targeted industrial and landscaping businesses, breaking into trailers and trucks and stealing almost $30,000 worth of equipment, according to the complaints.The earliest complaint from an alleged victim appears to date back to 2015, with the most recent being from March of this year. The majority of the felony complaints were made in 2017.Metz was not eligible to have bail set during his arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court before Justice Lisa Rana Saturday morning because he has two prior felony convictions.Among the numerous items stolen from various victims, police said, was a Honda 4500 power generator valued at $5500, a DeWalt table saw, a Hitachi jack hammer, a Stihl T750 concrete saw worth $1500, a Billy Goat aerator valued at $1400, and a Honda 2000 power generator listed at $1200. He is said to have targeted at least one site twice. Police said he hid some of the equipment he stole in a shed at his Oakview Highway trailer park residence, and some in the woods near the residence. He also admitted to selling some of the equipment, the police said, in Shirley.Detectives reportedly showed Metz a surveillance video during his questioning at headquarters in Wainscott that captured him carrying some of the stolen equipment as he was stashing it away. “Yeah, that’s me carrying all the stuff on Tan Bark Trail,” he allegedly responded.Metz is not unknown to East Hampton Town police. His two prior felony convictions that stemmed from East Hampton arrests, according to county jail records, were in 1995, when he was sentenced to 180 days on a robbery charge, and in 2004, when he was sent upstate to Ulster to serve one-and-a-half to three years on a narcotics possession charge. He has also been arrested numerous times on misdemeanor and violation charges in East Hampton. Metz was represented Saturday by Brian DeSesa, who was on hand as part of a state program that provides attorneys for weekend arraignments. DeSesa said that Metz wanted to waive his right to be released from custody if not indicted by a grand jury within five days, at least until his next court date in East Hampton, which is on November 8, when he will meet with and be represented by Matthew D’Amato of the Legal Aid Society. Waiving that right will allow D’Amato, in the meantime, to negotiate with the district attorney’s office and possibly reach a deal. If he had not waived that right to be released, and the case were to be presented to a grand jury, it is possible that more felony charges could be added, which would make Metz’s current legal predicament that much worse. email@example.com Share
Independent/T. E. McMorrowThe East Hampton Arts Council held its monthly meeting December 11 at East Hampton’s town hall.Co-chairs Janet Jennings and Jane Martin were joined by Teresa Lawler, newest member Rich Mothes, and, remotely, Carol Steinberg. Also at the meeting was East Hampton Town Board member Sylvia Overby, who acts as liaison between the local government and the arts council. The EHAC was founded in 2013. [Editor’s note: The Independent’s Bridget LeRoy also sits on the council, but was not in attendance that night. Also Coco Myers and Scott Bluedorn are on the board.]The council’s mission is to support and encourage all forms of art, encompassing all media. “Our scope is rather limited,” Jennings said, with Martin adding, “limited and wide at the same time.” The focus is on working artists in East Hampton.The group has created many different initiatives for artists. One of those is called Creative Networking Nights. Held at the Golden Eagle barn on North Main Street, each night, five or six artists present their work. The event gets a good turnout, Martin said. “It is a chance for an artist to stand up before a crowd,” Jennings added.“We had the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts come out for a lecture on contracts and copyright,” said Steinberg. “The Arts Council also put together a panel on Artists and Galleries with two art lawyers, two artists, and two dealers on best practices and legal suggestions for artists when dealing with galleries. It was held live at the Amagansett Library and is still continuously broadcast on LTV,” she added.Through the Volunteer Lawyers program, Overby added, artists learn “how to conduct their business in a legal way and not get taken.” Artists, Overby pointed out, are no different than other small business owners.The council can point to signature successes, such as the installment of the Bill King sculpture, “Nureyev & Fontaine,” on the great lawn of the East Hampton town government complex on Pantigo Road. It was donated by Laura Cutler.Another triumph is the role the EHAC played in helping the Art Barge on the Napeague stretch attain historic status.But there have been disappointments, too. The pending demolition of the Brooks-Park house on Neck Path in Springs is one. The council had pushed to preserve the structures, but lacked the needed funding until it was too late, and the house and cottages were declared unsalvageable, with the town board approving the demolition. It was suggested by an observer that perhaps next time they are in a similar fight, they will be successful. “There isn’t a next time once it is demolished,” Martin said.Jennings reported to her fellow council members that she had approached LTV about the possibility of artists renting small studio space there, in which they could display their work. “Unfortunately, we determined that the cost is out of reach for most artists,” she said. “The lack of affordable studio space in East Hampton is a real issue.”There were other prospective sites the council will look into, such as a back room at the Palm Restaurant that Mothes said might be available.The next Arts Council meeting will be on January 13 at 5 PM. All are welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org Share
Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribe
Subscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.
The peer leading the government’s review of the ‘compensation culture’ said this week that he is ‘ashamed’ of some personal injury lawyers in respect of how they advertise their services. Addressing the Conservative Party conference, Lord Young of Graffham (pictured) claimed that some personal injury advertising offers ‘a free lottery ticket where you win as you enter’. Young said that his forthcoming report on health and safety legislation ‘runs no risk of being pigeonholed’, and will become government policy. Prime minister David Cameron has asked him to stay on after his report is published to help implement the changes, Young said. Young’s report, which was due to be released at the end of the summer, is now expected to be published shortly. In September, Gazette sources suggested that Young would not seek to ban PI TV advertising, but would instead call for restrictions. Young said at the conference: ‘As a one-time lawyer, I am today ashamed of the depths some in the law have stooped to, with their aggressive “no-win, no-fee” advertising. ‘We have all seen adverts in the newspapers, on the radio and television, saying if you think you have a claim, come to us and if our solicitor agrees, you will walk away with a cheque for £500, just for putting in your claim. And that won’t affect any amount you might be awarded. ‘This is more than a free lottery ticket; this is a lottery where you win as you enter. What a temptation this provides to someone watching afternoon television. ‘This is not access to justice – this is incitement to litigate. And it must stop.’ Young added: ‘That is why we have a compensation culture. If anything happens to you it can’t possibly be your fault; sue someone, it won’t cost you a penny. That is why health and safety now looms so large in business, in education, in the health service. Not to stop accidents happening. But to stop being sued.’ A Law Society spokeswoman said: ‘Solicitors are frequently criticised for their part in fuelling what is perceived to be a compensation culture. That perception is fuelled by claims that victims seek compensation for the most trivial matters, and that costs paid to solicitors who assist those victims can be disproportionate to the actual value of the claim. ‘While costs can be disproportionate in certain cases, a main cause of this is the actual process which is required by the rules of court and evidence. The Law Society will continue to lobby government against any attempt to reduce access to justice for victims of negligence.’ Muiris Lyons, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: ‘In his bid to address the myth of a so-called “compensation culture” in this country, Lord Young is in real danger of turning the myth into a reality by creating a situation in which people will not be properly protected from the irresponsibility of those who cause injuries through their own negligence. This government must take the lead in stopping misplaced hysteria about the compensation system.’ Meanwhile a report based on a survey of 1,600 people published by National Accident Helpline last week found that 57% thought there was a ‘social stigma’ attached to making a claim for compensation.
The APEC CEO Summit is one of Asia-Pacific’s premier business events and draws an audience of thousands of economic and business leaders from around the region and beyond. The 2011 CEO Summit enabled delegates to engage in dialogue with global leaders and ministers of foreign affairs and trade and to develop new business opportunities through networking with CEOs from hundreds of top Asia-Pacific companies. The Volga-Dnepr delegation met with politicians and business community representatives to discuss the region’s humanitarian response to natural and man-made disasters and the vital role air cargo plays in helping to save lives and restore critical infrastructure such as clean water supplies, temporary housing and electricity. Volga-Dnepr has worked with governments, businesses and charities for over 20 years delivering relief aid across the globe. Earlier this year it completed a series of flights to Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. Its fleet of AN-124-100 freighters delivered search and rescue vehicles, mobile telecommunications equipment and giant water pumps to help cool the damaged reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This quick response concept developed by Volga-Dnepr Group is based on its 20-year-long experience in supporting disaster relief efforts using a fleet of multi-purpose cargo aircraft. It combines the unique technical capabilities the Group has developed, its AN-124 and IL-76TD-90VD ramp loading fleet and Boeing 747 freighters, and the expertise of its people in supporting the objectives of international relief agencies and governments. Volga-Dnepr Group representatives also took part in an interactive symposium on supply chain development. This focused on supply chain adaptation to global shifts in production and consumption, new approaches to supply chain management, and the prospects for APEC countries to improve their supply chain connectivity.
Criminal practitioners were angry after being informed over the weekend that they must attend magistrates’ courts in person rather than remotely from today.The Judicial Office issued a statement on Saturday in response to concerns about remote working. It stated that coronavirus legislation permits the court to make a direction allowing a person to take part in a hearing remotely if the court is satisfied that it is in the ‘interests of justice’ in the particular case.Referring to guidance issued on 14 April encouraging participation by video or audio links, the statement says: ‘It is understood that over the subsequent weeks some latitude was given to appearing remotely by default.’‘However, we are now not at the same crisis levels and therefore the law and Criminal Procedure Rules should be followed with the expectation that advocates will attend in person unless they have made an application to the court to attend remotely… If an advocate has a magistrates’ court hearing on Monday 22 June and has not applied formally to appear remotely they must either attend court or contact the court applying for leave to attend remotely.’The statement prompted widespread outrage and concern. Kerry Hudson, a director at London firm Bullivant Law, said: ‘I’m now spending my Saturday writing to the courts in all my trial cases to confirm I’m not trial ready in any of them.’Representative bodies including the Law Society and practitioner groups held an emergency meeting yesterday with the deputy senior presiding judge and chief magistrate.The Judicial Office clarified its original statement, and said it was not intended that the prosecution and defence will now, without warning, be required to come to court when they had been expecting to appear remotely.In a note to all district judges, the chief magistrate said: ‘You may or may not be aware that there is a bit of a Twitter storm about the court applying the “interests of justice” test when deciding whether parties can appear remotely. In some areas, the test has been applied throughout. In other areas, including in Westminster, the test has not been applied at all. By law, the judiciary should be applying the test in every case…‘There is a great shortage of legal aid solicitors and if [allowing remote working] assists them to stay in business, it is in the interests of justice for that to happen. I am being told that defence firm financials are very fragile at the moment as result of zero Crown court income as well as a reduction in volumes in our courts. Many defence firms have furloughed solicitors and support staff. It will take time for them to manage their resources for attendance to become the norm again. This is aside from the understandable anxieties that there are in returning back to work generally and, specifically, back into courtrooms. I am sure we will remain sensitive to their challenges.’The chief magistrate said it would be wrong to question anyone who said they were vulnerable or shielding.Law Society president Simon Davis said: ‘Solicitors can continue to appear remotely where it is in the interests of justice to do so… We have continued to raise the challenges and difficulties faced by criminal legal aid firms with the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary – challenges which have been accentuated by the coronavirus crisis and include firms not having the capacity to cover multiple hearings due to staff being furloughed. If a solicitor is shielding or caring at home for someone who is vulnerable they can continue to attend remotely.’Meanwhile, jury trials will resume at five more Crown courts this week: Chelmsford, Croydon, Guildford, Hull and Mold. Please see the Gazette’s dedicated coronavirus page here >> *The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England. Find advice and updates here.
BELGIUM: Trains began running under Belgium’s first installation of ETCS Level 1 on March 6, following an official inauguration by federal Minister of Public Enterprises Paul Magnette, SNCB Chief Executive Marc Descheemacker and Infrabel CEO Luc Lallemand on March 2.While ETCS is in service on the high speed lines from Liège to the German border and from Antwerpen to the Dutch border, the 25·5 km four-track route between Schaerbeek and Leuven is the first implementation on a conventional line in Belgium. Installation of the Siemens Trainguard 100 system encompassed 140 signals and 554 balises. The project cost €11·2m, or €80 000 per signal, but this is expected to fall to €60 000 for future large-scale installations. An Infrabel/SNCB masterplan envisages that the entire network would be equipped with ETCS Level 1 by the end of 2022, with the long-term aspiration of moving towards Level 2 and eliminating lineside signals. From 2025 all trains on the Belgian network would be required to be equipped with ETCS.