Please see the Gazette’s dedicated coronavirus page here >> Solicitors urgently needing to take instructions from clients in custody face waiting several weeks for a video-link appointment, the Gazette has learned.When Sonya O’Brien, a partner at Oldham firm Norcross Lees & Riches, requested an urgent video-link visit to see her client ahead of a bail application, the prison initially told her no slots were available for at least one month. The earliest prison video-link appointment that Kerry Hudson, director at London firm Bullivant Law, could get to see her client was two weeks after the trial date.The trial was listed for Monday but Hudson said the court was unable to produce her client. She had spent three hours on the Sunday creating a chronology of events ‘ready to oppose and resist pressure from the court to proceed to a trial that day if our client had been produced. And it was necessary as the bench (rightly) scrutinised the reasons for the ineffective trial’.She added: ‘No doubt without my efforts, the blame would have been centred on the defence not running around like maniacs trying to get the rest of the system to work.’The Law Society’s crime practitioners Covid-19 working group has written to HM Prison & Probation Service for an update on the possible return of face-to-face legal visits and the proper use of cloud video platform capacity to facilitate remote visits.The group says the lengthy wait means it is not possible to take instructions from clients sent to the Crown court following a first appearance at the magistrates’ court and prior to their plea and trial preparation hearing.Law Society president Simon Davis said: ‘It cannot be right that a court is in a position to give someone in custody an expedited trial date, but they cannot take advantage of that opportunity because their solicitor cannot take instructions.‘Efforts must be redoubled to facilitate contact between lawyers and their clients in custody through prison video links, and to reintroduce face-to-face prison visits as soon as it is safe. This could include Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service making more staff available to aid the movement of inmates around the prison to video/visit rooms as well as making more remote technology available to allow video conferencing.’A prison service spokesperson said: ‘The suspension of face-to-face meetings undoubtedly saved lives and we worked hard to ensure legal advice continued remotely. That includes providing more than 1,000 extra telephone handsets, hundreds of video meeting rooms and we are increasing capacity even further.’The Ministry of Justice said it is taking steps to increase video-conferencing availability at some locations through increased operating hours during the weekdays, and Saturdays in some cases. It is taking ‘urgent action’ to increase the physical number of video-link outlets at sites where capacity is limited and to support specialist courts. *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.
GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES Still perfect: Challenger Roman Gonzalez improves to 40-0 as a pro by beating Akira Yaegashi in the ninth round by knockout in their WBC flyweight title bout on Friday. | AFP-JIJI IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 RELATED PHOTOS Relentless: Naoya Inoue hits Thai opponent Samartlek Kokietgym during Friday’s WBC light flyweight title bout at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2. Inoue retained his title. | REUTERS Gonzalez, a former champion in the WBA minimumweight division and as a WBA light flyweight, won his third world title belt, maintaining his perfect record at 40-0 (34 KOs) as a professional boxer.Though Gonzalez was clearly a better fighter both offensively and defensively, Yaegashi, who tried to defend his belt for the fourth time, gave the 27-year-old a gutsy battle.Gonzalez kept raining his punches from Round 1, but Yaegashi refused to go down. He displayed toughness in the ring.Yaegashi gave it his best shot by exchanging hooks with Gonzalez, and it captured the attention of his fans in the arena.Yet Gonzalez seemed to never lose his composure and finished the Japanese fighter late in Round 9.“I’m so excited to have won right now,” Gonzalez said through an interpreter following the fight. “Yaegashi was very powerful, (a) great boxer.”Yaegashi, 31, said, “(Gonzalez) was indeed tough as I’d expected.“I was going to rally back when I’d get hit. It was as simple as that.”With the green WBC champion belt having slipped out of his hands, Yaegashi has a 20-4 (10 KOs) in his pro career.In another world championship bout, Naoya Inoue, who obtained the WBC light flyweight title in his sixth pro bout in April, successfully defended it for the first time by defeating Samartlek Kokietgym of Thailand in Round 11.Inoue overwhelmed Samartlek from early on, landing punches after punches, though the opponent was tough enough to stay standing until late in the fight.After the match, Inoue indicated his intention to move up to flyweight because he’d had a hard time losing weight.The undercard also featured Ryota Murata in a non-title fight.Despite the fact that he improved his professional record to 5-0, however, the contest was a bitter pill to swallow for Murata.Murata, the 2012 London Olympic middleweight gold medalist, got off to a fine start as he dominated Luna in the opening round and could have sent the Mexican middleweight champion onto the canvas in the fourth round.But Murata lacked attacking power to finish off his opponent, and was unable to post another knockout victory. He ran out of gas in the end.Murata mustered up his energy in the ninth and 10th rounds, the final two periods, yet he came up short to knock Luna down before the final bell.“I put on a rush in the fourth round and then I consumed my stamina,” said Murata, who defeated Luna by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91, 100-90 on the three judges’ scorecards). “And after the fifth and sixth rounds, I was like, I still had four more rounds to go. I felt tired that much for the first time.”Murata admitted that he was fine with his heart and lungs, but his muscles were over-strained.The fight also exposed that Murata still has a long way to go to become a world champion. It revealed that he lacked offensive weapons in particular.He seemed to stick to his straight right and right hook. It was in the final couple of rounds that he finally began using some combinations.“I’ve only fought in five fights,” Murata, 28, said. “And I got exposed how much I was lacking experience as a professional fighter.”Luna, ranked No. 21 in the WBC middleweight division (Murata is No. 12), said, “I didn’t think I was completely overwhelmed by (Murata).”But Murata tried to channel everything into positive elements to be a better boxer.“This is where I am right now,” Murata said. “But in myself, I take it positively. I don’t consider this a failure. If you think this is a failure, you can’t go up in the tougher competitions.”Inoue’s younger brother, Takuma, 18, posted a second-round TKO win over Chanachai Sor Siamchai of Thailand to improve to 3-0 as a pro. Against the ropes: Ryota Murata (right) punches Adrian Luna of Mexico in the first round of their 10-round fight on Friday’s undercard. Murata won by unanimous decision. | KYODO Ryota Murata, Akira Yaegashi, Naoya Inoue Number one: Naoya Inoue displays his WBC light flyweight title belt after Friday’s fight. | AFP-JIJI It was what some boxing fanatics would call a “barnburner.”Nicaragua’s undefeated fighter Roman Gonzalez earned a third world title belt with a ninth-round victory over WBC flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2 on Friday night. KEYWORDS
RELATED PHOTOS KEYWORDS IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 Brave Blossoms, Eddie Jones, 2015 Rugby World Cup GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES Eddie Jones | KYODO WARWICK, ENGLAND – The Brave Blossoms have moved to Shakespeare country and will be hoping it’s a case of “Once more unto the breach,” when they take on Samoa on Oct. 3 in their third game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.A day after its disappointing 45-10 loss to Scotland, Japan head coach Eddie Jones was still hopeful his side could reach the quarterfinals for the first time in its history. “We’ve got the most important part of the World Cup to come,” he said Thursday at the team’s country retreat.Jones said he took full responsibility for the loss to the Scots, saying he got a number of things wrong.“I got the selection wrong and I didn’t have the players mentally right,” he said. “That’s my responsibility and I will take responsibility for the defeat and the performance.”When asked to expand on how he got things wrong, Jones said a number of players had been unable to “back up their performance” of the opening weekend.On the opposite side of the spectrum Jones praised the performances of Michael Leitch, Michael Broadhurst, Ayumu Goromaru and Harumichi Tatekawa.“Those four players have been real pillars,” he said. “At World Cups players either shrink or grow and those four have been growing game by game.”Despite the loss, Jones said the team was still on track to make the last eight.“At the start of the tournament if we said we would have one win and one loss at this stage we would be pretty happy,” he explained. “So while it is disappointing we could have won two, we are in the perfect situation to achieve our goal of making the last eight. We need to win our next two games. And if we beat Samoa we are in the perfect position to make the quarterfinals.”With a much longer turnaround before they take on Samoa, Jones said he would give the players a little time off before they start preparing for the physical threat the Pacific islanders will bring.“Samoa will be a very different game,” he said. “South Africa and Samoa are very strong set piece teams. But Samoa and the United States (which Japan faces on Oct. 11) are more unstructured sides. So the way we will attack them will be different.”When asked if Japan’s failure to get any bonus points in the opening games could harm Japan’s chance of making the last eight, Jones said he was only concentrating on winning the remaining two games.“We can’t worry about that,” he said. “We just have to win. If we win three games at the World Cup that means we are 300 percent better than all the last Japan teams over the past 24 years. If we miss out on a quarterfinal spot because of bonus points, then so be it.”