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Rape trial collapse and Worboys fury

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Juries could be deterred from convicting people in future sexual assault trials as recent prosecution failings have undermined the public’s confidence, The Times reports. It comes after four recent trials have collapsed at the last minute because of last-minute evidence disclosures.

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The Daily Mirror reports that potential victims of the black-cab rapist John Worboys are urging police to reinvestigate dozens of alleged sex crimes. It comes after Justice Secretary David Gauke said a government-backed judicial review of the 60-year-old’s release by the Parole Board would not take place.

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Newly-appointed cabinet office minister David Lidington has told the Daily Telegraph that Britain could rejoin a reformed European Union within a generation. In its front page article Theresa May’s “de facto deputy” said it was impossible to predict what the EU would like in “10 or 20 years’ time”.

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The Guardian reports that insurers are being accused of depriving people with depression and anxiety of having access to life insurance. The paper reports dozens of people have said they have been denied cover for physical conditions, as a result of “mild mental health conditions” and “one-off episodes”.

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Private equity groups are looking to cherry-pick assets from construction company Carillion, according to the FT Weekend. The interest comes in a week where the government has struggled to protect thousands of jobs left at risk by the collapse. Canadian fund manager Brookfield and British private equity group Endless are among those who have shown interest, it says.

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The Daily Mail leads with news that 4% of the UK’s recycling was treated as waste and dumped in landfill last year. The paper says 471,000 tons was either buried or incinerated.

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An effective way to relieve the symptoms of many IBS sufferers has been found by researchers, the i weekend reports. According to the paper’s front page, scientists have proven special diets could help three-quarters of the five million people in the UK affected by the condition.

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Ant McPartlin’s painkiller addiction has inspired a storyline for ITV soap Coronation Street, according to the Daily Star.

Many of Saturday’s papers are troubled by the government’s decision not to challenge the release of Jon Worboys.

The Daily Express says critics see it as a “further slap in the face” for Worboys’ many victims.

The Sun, in its editorial, accuses the justice secretary, David Gauke, of “bottling out” of a fight. It acknowledges his lawyers told him that challenging the Parole Board’s decision might fail. “So what?” the Sun asks, arguing “there are worse uses of public money.”

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The Daily Telegraph detects a broader problem. The police, Crown Prosecution Service and prisons are all “a mess” it says. “How did it come to this point?” it asks, concluding that the Conservatives are “jeopardising their reputation as the party of law and order.”

The Times follows up the story of the prosecution of an Oxford student being abandoned after he had spent two years on bail, and just before his trial was due to start.

It says the former lord chief justice, Lord Judge, has warned that rapists will now be more likely to get away with their crimes, because the case has undermined public confidence in the justice system.

Lord Judge believes juries could be deterred from convicting in future sexual assault trials, the paper says, because they would not have faith in evidence placed before the court,

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The fall-out from the collapse of the construction firm, Carillion, continues to generate headlines.

The Guardian says the British Medical Association has demanded answers about the future of two major hospitals that Carillion was building – one in Birmingham, the other in Liverpool – amid concerns they will be delayed.

The Financial Times, meanwhile, reports that private equity groups and buyout firms are “circling”, hoping to cherry-pick Carillion’s best assets.

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If they manage to do so at cut-rate prices, it could add to the political difficulties confronting the government, the FT says.

Those political difficulties are laid bare in the Daily Mail’s leader column. It demands a public inquiry to provide “urgent answers” to the “glaring questions” that have been thrown up. Otherwise, it concludes, the government’s credibility could be “gravely undermined.”

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Another sector where cut-price deals are on offer is the funeral industry.

A price war has broken out, the Guardian reports, forcing one of the UK’s biggest undertakers, Dignity, to slash the cost of its cheapest funeral by 25%.

It seems people have become more willing to haggle.

“There is a growing part of the market that is price sensitive”, Dignity’s chief executive explains.

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