British man in ‘racially or religiously aggravated attack’ on solicitors: Police

British man in ‘racially or religiously aggravated attack’ on solicitors: Police
Cavan Medlock is accused of a racially-motivated attempted knife attack on solicitors at Duncan Lewis.
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Updated 20 October 2020

British man in ‘racially or religiously aggravated attack’ on solicitors: Police

British man in ‘racially or religiously aggravated attack’ on solicitors: Police
  • Londoner Cavan Medlock used knife to try to take hostages, display racist flags to inspire others
  • Court told motive was law firm’s assistance to migrants in UK

LONDON: A British man has been accused of carrying out a racist attack on members of a law firm for assisting migrants in the UK.

Police said on Sept. 7, Cavan Medlock, 28, allegedly entered the premises of Duncan Lewis Solicitors in Harrow, northwest London, and conducted a “racially or religiously aggravated attack” on solicitor Sheroy Zaq.

He also threatened to kill one of the firm’s directors, Toufique Hossain, and Ravindran Tharmalangram, another employee, with a large knife.

At his trial at the Old Bailey court in London, it was also claimed that Medlock had planned to display the flags of Nazi Germany and the Confederate States of America while taking members of the firm hostage. 

He faces five charges, including causing racially aggravated alarm, harassment or distress; battery; and causing fear of unlawful violence.

Prosecution barrister Adam Harbinson told the court that Medlock, who appeared at the trial via video link from prison, where he was remanded in custody, admitted to police after his arrest that he wanted to take hostages and display the flags “so that like-minded people would take action.”

This came after heightened attention on immigration into the UK, following a number of high-profile incidents involving asylum seekers trying to enter the country by crossing the English Channel from France. 

British newspapers reported that UK Home Secretary Priti Patel was considering a raft of tough measures, including building asylum centers abroad in countries including Morocco, to make illegal immigration to Britain less appealing, while also suggesting that “activist lawyers” were delaying efforts by UK authorities to deport failed asylum seekers.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors wrote to the Law Society after the alleged attack, asking it to contact Patel to “ensure that public attacks on the legal profession are prevented from this point forth. It added: “The position as it stands is untenable, dangerous, and cannot be allowed to persist.”


UK hopes to be able to consider lockdown easing in March

UK hopes to be able to consider lockdown easing in March
Updated 17 January 2021

UK hopes to be able to consider lockdown easing in March

UK hopes to be able to consider lockdown easing in March
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of vaccinating the elderly, including care home residents, the clinically vulnerable and frontline workers

LONDON: Britain’s government hopes it can meet its target for rolling out COVID-19 vaccines and be able to consider easing lockdown restrictions by March, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday.
The country, which has Europe’s highest COVID-19 death toll, has been under a national lockdown since Jan. 5, when schools were closed for most pupils, non-essential businesses were shut to the public, and people were ordered to work from home where possible.
“What we want to do is get out of this national lockdown as soon as possible,” Raab told Sky News television.
“By early spring, hopefully by March, we’ll be in a position to make those decisions. I think it’s right to say we won’t do it all in one big bang. As we phase out the national lockdown, I think we’ll end up phasing through a tiered approach.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set a target of vaccinating the elderly, including care home residents, the clinically vulnerable and frontline workers — or roughly more than 13 million people — by mid-February.
If all goes smoothly, he has said that England can consider easing lockdown restrictions from that time.
The Sunday Times newspaper said British ministers had reached a deal to approve a three-point plan that could lead to some lockdown restrictions being lifted as soon as early March.
Areas will have restrictions eased once their death rate has fallen, the number of hospital admissions drops and some people aged between 50 and 70 are vaccinated, the newspaper said.
The Sunday Times quoted cabinet ministers as saying they were prepared to resist pressure from health advisers to delay the changes until most people are vaccinated, a process that would take until the summer at least.
“For the first time there are no significant divisions between hawks and doves in the cabinet,” a cabinet source told the newspaper. “Everyone accepted that we need to lock down hard and everyone accepts that we need to open up before everyone is vaccinated.”
A spokesman in Johnson’s office declined to comment on the report.