Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Multicultural lawyer jailed in Britain for stealing
One of Britain’s top black lawyers was today jailed for stealing £75,000 from his clients to prop up his diamond business.
Michael Webster, 49, took tens of thousands of pounds from the client account of his firm Webster Dixon LLP, which made history as first company founded by black lawyers in the City of London.
He then funnelled the cash into the account of a business associate who hoped to make money on diamonds in Ghana.
When the deal failed to go through, he tried to take out a loan to cover the loss, but was arrested after his bookkeeper spotted discrepancies in his accounts.
Today Webster, a former chairman of the Black Solicitors Network, has been jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position at London's Old Bailey.
The court heard that the lawyer had made four withdrawals totalling £75,605.57 from the client account at Webster Dixon LLP between December 3, 2012, and February 1, 2013.
Leee Ingham, prosecuting, said the law firm had been in financial difficulty at the time.
He told the court: ‘What Webster was really doing was speculating with someone else’s money. The firm was suffering financially and that is the primary motivation.’
He added that the diamond deal had, in fact, turned out to be an advance fee fraud operated by criminals in Ghana.
Webster, a former lawyer at Lehman Brothers International, set up his own firm in 1998 after four years as a partner at Conway & Co. Solicitors.
He was named in the Lawyer Magazine ‘Hot 100’ in 2004 and described as ‘one of an influential new generation’ of lawyers.
In July that year, he was elected as a Council Member of the Law Society and the following year, he joined the board of the City of London Law Society.
In November 2007, Webster was elected chairman of the Black Solicitors Network, the largest organisation for minority lawyers in Europe.
He also spent four years as secretary for the Society of Black Lawyers.
Tyrone Smith, defending, told the court that Webster's good character and references from dozens of fellow lawyers, including a former President of the Law Society, meant he should be spared jail.
He said: ‘This man has been broken by his conduct. He will never be able to practise in the job he loves, his standing amongst his friends is indelibly stained by his actions.
He has brought the good name of his family into disrepute. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t consider it.’
He added that the lawyer had always intended for the money to be returned to the client account once the diamond deal had been successful.
‘The firm stood to receive significant fees for the success of the deal,’ he said. ‘This is not a case where there is a simple taking of clients’ money to enrich the defendant.’
He told me: 'You abused a position of trust not just as a solicitor but as a compliance officer for finance and administration in the firm.
‘I accept the motivation for the fraud was financial pressure. This is a personal tragedy for you and your family.
‘You have let yourself down, you have let your family down. You have let your professional partners and your clients down. You have thrown away what you have worked so very hard to achieve.’
Webster, from Streatham Hill, south London, was originally accused of plundering a total £104,000, but the prosecution later admitted the true figure was £75,605.57.
He has already paid back £27,000 and has promised to repay the rest of the money.
He also faces being struck off by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Church of England General Synod votes for women bishops
Women will be bishops in the Church of England after a historic vote in the General Synod, ending 40 years of wrangling.
An overwhelming 81 per cent of Synod members backed the change, during the sitting in York, and 75 per cent of the laity supported the move.
However, despite the overwhelming support, the move will not be formally passed until two further votes this afternoon have been completed.
It clears the way for the first female clerics to be ordained as bishops by the end of this year, if the legislation is quickly ratified by Parliament.
The vote also means that the next Archbishop of Canterbury or York could be a woman.
Campaigners celebrated the breakthrough, just 20 months after the previous attempt to admit women to the episcopate failed despite overwhelming support in congregations, casting the church into its biggest crisis of authority in recent memory.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, pledged to ensure traditionalists with theological objections to women’s ministry would enjoy special provision in the church.
Despite signs over the weekend of a shift in views among opponents, the mood was tense right up until the final vote.
Overall 351 members of the 433 Synod voted in favour of the measure.
Under the Church’s voting rules major pieces of legislation such as this require a two thirds majority in all three “houses” of the General Synod – bishops, clergy and laity.
Among the laity 152 out of 202 voted in favour, meaning that three quarters voted in favour, easily clearing the two thirds mark.
This means that around 30 lay members of the Synod changed their votes.
Despite the tense atmosphere on the floor of the Synod there was a festive atmosphere in the public gallery.
Female clerics and supporters of the change - many of them dressed in pink ribbons and bow ties – had earlier queued for a seat in the public gallery to witness the sitting on the university campus.
As the debate neared its end Archbishop Welby stood up to issue a personal pledge that the culture of the church would change to ensure that traditionalists still felt welcome in the Church of England after women bishops are introduced.
“It will be hard work, progress will be all but impossible to achieve without a fresh embrace of one another in love,” he said.
“Today this legislation allows us to move forward together, all of us as faithful Anglicans, all of us committed to each other’s flourishing and the life of the Church not just in what we say but in how we now live and work together in the months and years ahead.
“That is as true for those who find this difficult to accept as it is for those who rejoice in it and vice versa.”
He said the legislation included a legally binding commitment to ensuring that those who object to women bishops continue to “flourish” in the Church.
“If I did not think that was likely I could not support this legislation.
“You don’t chuck out family or even make it difficult for them to be at home, you love them and seek their well-being even when you disagree.”
One of the most striking interventions was from Mr Vincent, a traditionalist Anglo-Catholics, who voted against in 2012.
He said: “I shall be voting in favour today - by doing so, I am betraying what I believe, I am betraying those who trusted in me.
“I hope that the promised commitment to ‘mutual flourishing’ is not a commitment that will run out of steam in a few years.”
Christina Rees, one of the leading campaigners for women bishops, broke down in tears as she spoke, singling out Mr Vincent’s intervention.
“Adrian Vincent has made a sacrificial decision today for the sake of the Church, he has shown his loyalty as an Anglican and as a member of the Church of England.
“I was not prepared for what he said, it absolutely stunned me.”
But Jane Bisson, a lay member for Winchester, held up a black leather clad Bible, urging members to vote against, and predicting a split in the church.
“Are we saying that the Bible doesn’t matter any more and it’s the world we follow?
“For good reasons Jesus did not have any male apostles – he did have women prophets, women praying but not women apostles.”
She predicted a split in the church if women bishops are approved and warned supporters they must be “as magnanimous as you said you would be”.
No, Mr. Holder, This Has Nothing to Do With Race
Attorney General Eric Holder once again played the race card -- this time on national television, in an interview on ABC's "This Week," claiming that he and President Obama have been targets of "a racial animus" by some of the administration's political opponents.
"There's a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that's directed at me (and) directed at the president," said Holder. "You know, people talk about taking their country back. ... There's a certain racial component to this for some people. I don't think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some, there's a racial animus." Reminded of his comments during Obama's first year as president that the U.S. is a "nation of cowards" on race, he refused to back down.
At this point, I don't know whether we're seeing the outworking of the gigantic racial chips on Holder's and Obama's shoulders or we're seeing just another despicable example of the two engaging in community organizing by branding their political opponents as racists.
These two have continually engaged in the politics of division, alienating Americans against one another on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, geography, income and every other conceivably exploitable category. By portraying themselves as victims and conservatives as bigots, they seek to intimidate conservatives from pursuing their agenda, divert attention from their own policy failures and keep the pot stirred on imaginary problems as cover to advance the remainder of their unpopular statist agenda.
Sorry, Mr. Holder, but it seems that we talk about race all the time and that you and President Obama just won't let it go. If there is cowardice on this issue, it's from those who refuse to let their actions speak for themselves and insist on injecting false allegations of racism into the mix to vilify opponents and avoid a discussion on serious issues.
These accusations are irresponsible and destructive to the national fabric. It is a great disservice to minorities, non-minorities and the national interest if we can't discuss the damaging effects of President Obama's policy agenda without fear of being accused of one of the most reputation-shattering offenses that exist.
When we talk about taking America back, we mean that quite literally. Though I can't formally speak for others, I can tell you that millions of people correctly believe (based on Obama's promises to fundamentally transform America, his partial fulfillment of that promise and his obsession with completing its fulfillment) that America is in a rapid, dangerous decline -- a decline that must be reversed, lest America be forever changed into something the Founding Fathers never envisioned.
President Obama openly derides the notion of American exceptionalism. He has constantly apologized for America's alleged transgressions. He "writes us up" before the United Nations, complaining to Third World anti-American, civil-rights-abusing nations that we are the ones who have an egregious record on civil rights.
Under his administration, we are witnessing the deliberate decline of our military and defense capabilities at the precise time that his policies are empowering global terrorism and Middle Eastern unrest and making a stronger, not weaker, military more imperative.
He is undermining Israel, our main ally in the region, impairing Israel's essential effort to rally international support for its right to defend itself against unprovoked Islamic violence and aggression.
He is orchestrating the false narrative of a Republican war on women, which is based on a series of lies and distortions so preposterous that it would be dismissed outright if someone in his position were not fueling it. The only war being waged on this issue is by his administration, and it's a war against the religious freedom and conscience of Christians.
He is also waging war against the American dream, discouraging self-reliance and promoting government dependency and the metastatic expansion of the welfare state, which is deeply harming the people it purports to assist. No nation, even America, can remain great if people are encouraged to see themselves as victims, to shun industriousness and to blame others for their plight.
Under his rule, more people are out of work than ever before in our history, and his economic policies -- because they are anti-business, anti-capitalism and punitive of success -- are making matters worse.
His administration has unleashed administrative agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to further harass and harm businesses in the name of environmentalism, and he is destroying the greatest health care system in history.
The president lies to our faces with liberal media protection and impunity, on vitally important issues such as Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, immigration, voter identification, Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs, guns, life, "contraception," the economy, the border invasion, the Internal Revenue Service scandal, and -- yes -- race.
Obama is presiding over the least transparent administration ever, grossly usurping legislative authority and driving this nation into guaranteed bankruptcy; it's only a matter of time.
Yes, we must take the country back before it's irretrievably lost. But what worries me more than Obama, Holder and the rest of this administration is that Americans re-elected him and far too few fully realize the danger his policies pose to our prosperity and our liberty.
No, Mr. Holder, we conservatives do not talk in code. This isn't about race; it's about restoring the American dream. We genuinely pray that we can take our country back and begin the long road to healing and reigniting America's most exceptional greatness.
More from War on Women: Eric Holder Doesn't Like Sarah Palin
The worst is judging the not-so-good: That’s what Attorney General Eric Holder would have you believe.
Yes, the worst attorney general in our history contends that Sarah Palin wasn’t a very good vice presidential nominee. Mark one up again for the liberals war on women.
“She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate,” the AG told George Stephanapolous on ABCNews. “She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why.”
We’ve known for a while that Holder knows little about the law, now we know that he knows little about politics too.
He’s wrong on the law and he’s wrong the politics as well.
How does he hold his job again?
That Holder’s an impeachment target too, and perhaps a more likely one than Obama, doesn’t help his case.
Ask yourself: How did Al Gore make his money? What did Geraldine Ferraro do after Mondale lost his campaign? When was the last failed vice presidential candidate to have a bestseller? Or a movie made about them?
Sarah Palin was an excellent choice as a running mate.
Liberals and establishment Republicans often ask me: "What was John McCain thinking when he selected Sarah Palin?" To which I reply: "What was anyone thinking when they voted for Obama?"
That an unprepared black man is better than a more qualified woman? Who exactly is waging the war on women?
For a person who has been so vilified by the press, Palin's judgment has proven more often right than wrong.
If John McCain could borrow an ounce of common sense from Palin, he’d be president today. About the only thing that brought conservatives out for McCain was the Palin selection.
And in that I judgment I’m sustained by the massive success Palin has had on the American stage. In my lifetime, no American politician has quite captured the attention that Sarah Palin has. Liberals hate her, but can’t stop talking about her; Conservatives love her and won’t stop talking about her; and she makes the establishment nervous, and don't want to talk about her at all. She has, despite having no political skills or smarts-- as liberals would have you believe-- run circles around the political elite in both Washington, DC and Alaska.
She's the pink elephant in the room.
If you look at what she accomplished in Alaska, there was a reason she was so popular. She ran roughshod on the frozen tundra over the political elite from both parties, and reformed politics there.
Like Ronald Reagan did, she knows how to appeal over the heads of the elite and the media, straight to the American people.
In my opinion, that’s one reason she would have made-- still could make-- an excellent president of the United States.
Far better than Eric Holder, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and a host of names which liberals would treat with more seriousness right up until they got the nomination.
Palin also has the advantage of knowing who she is.
That’s an advantage when confronting progressives, who, whatever else you might say, are certainly more committed ideologically than the establishment GOP is.
That Palin is willing to talk about impeachment—Obama or Holder doesn’t matter-- is a strength, not a weakness. In the short run it might be seen as pandering to the base, but ultimately, when the history of the Obama administration is written, it will be apparent that Palin, once again, got it right.
And after all, we pay a president to get decisions right. That’s the key to being an effective executive over the long haul. It’s a quality that has been noticeably lacking in the White House for a while.
Biographer David McCollough said that Truman was often the only one who knew what he was talking about on the national stage, yet Truman was reviled by the elite establishment who put him down as insignificant, just as they do Palin.
But Palin possesses such knowledge as Harry Truman.
It’s called common sense.
Eric Holder does not.
He’s a horse’s ass and a sophisticate.
If it weren’t for sophistry guys like Holder would have to make their way in the world on reality.
I’m thinking Palin has too much common sense to run for president of the United States, but if she does, I think Palin-Paul 2016 seems about right.
Just ask anyone in the media or at the RNC. Their derision will tell you I'm right.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.