Janet Dobson. The wife of hapless mayoral candidate Frank had a better week than her husband. At an industrial tribunal she was cleared of sexual and racial discrimination, although her employer Hackney Council was found guilty. Dobson accused Wangui Wa Goro, an academic employed as an equality officer, of “gross misconduct” and alleged that Wa Goro’s gender guidelines were plagiarised from a document published by Lancashire county council. Wa Goro was suspended for nine months, three times longer than recommended in the council’s guidelines. The tribunal found that while Wa Goro had used elements of the report, it did not amount to plagiarism.
Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, who won £75,000 libel damages after the New York Times and The International Herald Tribune said that he had had a “well-publicised bout with drugs and alcohol”. As well as compensation, the judge ordered the papers to bear the entire costs of the trial to show the court’s displeasure at the way they had conducted the action. During the case the chef’s lawyer, George Carman QC (above), said that although White occasionally had an alcoholic drink, he was a “most abstemious” person and normally drank soft drinks. A spokeswoman for the New York Times said: “While we respect the British libel system, [in the US] a report based on a good faith misunderstanding, as was the case here, could not be the basis for a successful libel suit.”
Asylum seekers. After weeks of being vilified in the press and turned into council tax scapegoats by local councils, those seeking a real UK welcome can see a knight in shining armour in the shape of the Lord Chancellor. Lord Irvine promised an extra £23m – probably in the form of vouchers – to provide the asylum seekers with better legal advice. Irvine said that there were too many poor quality and even unscrupulous advisers providing immigration advice. “Lawyers do some good and they’re capable of doing good in this area,” he said.