Monday, July 8, 2024

Leading Scientist Joins Calls for Covid Convictions Amnesty; Johnson and Sunak Should Retain Covid Convictions, Says Starmer, and other C-Virus related stories

Credit: Ben Cawthra/LNP
Leading scientist joins calls for Covid convictions amnesty:
Turning citizens into criminals in a public health crisis is ‘embarrassing’, says neurology professor. ‘Wipe the slate clean,’ he declares
A leading scientist has backed calls for a Covid fines “amnesty” as he warned that criminalising the public must be avoided in future pandemics.
Karl Friston, a neurology professor at UCL and a member of the independent Sage (scientific advisory group for emergencies) panel of experts during the pandemic, said the slate should be wiped clean for the 29,000 people landed with criminal convictions during Covid.
“It was clear that Covid was a public health crisis. As such, wiping the slate clean would be a proper acknowledgement that a public health crisis calls for public health responses that elude politicisation or criminalisation,” said Prof Friston, a consultant for special advisers to the Cabinet Office in the pandemic.
“I imagine that the Cabinet Office is a little embarrassed by this particular legacy of the coronavirus crisis.
“Turning citizens, under its duty of care, into criminals is, hopefully, something that can be avoided in future pandemics.”
Prof Friston, scientific director at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, is the second senior scientific figure during Covid to call for such an amnesty.
In an interview with The Telegraph last week, Sir John Bell, the leading scientist who served as Boris Johnson’s Covid testing tsar, said it was not right that people had a criminal conviction “simply because they met six people instead of four”.
Sir John and Prof Friston were responding to the calls by charities and former Cabinet ministers, including Sir Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, to wipe people’s slates clean for offences such as attending gatherings, leaving home during lockdowns and failing to wear face coverings. --->READ MORE HERE
Photograph: Sue Gray Report/Cabinet Office/PA
Johnson and Sunak should retain Covid convictions, says Starmer:
Labour leader says Tories calling for amnesty on rule-breakers are out of touch with people who paid high price
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should not have their convictions removed for breaking Covid rules, Keir Starmer has said, amid calls from Conservative former cabinet ministers to nullify criminal convictions for Covid rule-breakers.
Starmer said they should not have their convictions removed, though ex-ministers have made the case that 28,000 people who were given the convictions should have their slates wiped clean.
The Labour leader said it was wrong for that to apply to the then prime minister and chancellor, who were fined amid the Partygate investigation when they attended a birthday gathering for Johnson.
Starmer said: “Seriously, they want Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak’s convictions to be removed? Some great amnesty? Come on.
“Many, many people paid a very high price in that pandemic. They don’t understand how deep that goes. The now prime minister and his predecessor but one are convicted of breaking the rules that they put in place and if they don’t understand how deep that goes it just reinforces how out of touch they are.”
Robert Buckland, who was justice secretary during the pandemic, said it was unfair the convictions could bar people from jobs such as teaching, social work or police roles, especially given how young many offenders were. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Supreme Court rejects COVID-19 vaccine appeals from nonprofit founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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