The week ahead: Mark Duggan inquest, Spectator's Leveson debate, April Casburn sentencing, Six Nations gets underway - Press Gazette

The week ahead: Mark Duggan inquest, Spectator's Leveson debate, April Casburn sentencing, Six Nations gets underway

Monday sees a pre-inquest hearing take place into the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, whose fatal shooting in Tottenham back in August 2011 sparked riots that then spread across London and to other parts of the UK. Judge Keith Cutler presides at the High Barnet hearing, which comes after evidence given by a pathologist at a separate trial suggested Mr Duggan’s injuries were inconsistent with the Met Police’s account.

On the same day France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius – who recently said that he sees no sign of the Assad regime falling – hosts senior officials in support of the Syrian National Coalition, the country’s main opposition alliance. The meeting follows bleak news from the United Nations, which described the refugee crisis caused by the country’s long-running civil war as “desperate”.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN’s Joint Special Representative for Syria is then scheduled to brief the UN’s Security Council on the conflict on Tuesday, with an international donors’ conference, chaired by the organisation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, slated for the following day in Kuwait.

Lakhdar Brahimi. Credit: Reuters

At the High Court on Tuesday, claimants will seek a ruling on whether the alleged mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners held by British forces took place as part of a systematic policy of abuse. The lead claimant is Ali Zaka Mousa, who alleges that he suffered mistreatment at the hands of British solders between 2006 and 2007. The case is scheduled to run until Thursday.

Space agency NASA is set to launch its NASA TDRS-X satellite on Tuesday, the first launch of a Tracking and Data Relay Satellite for ten years. The satellite will be launched from Cape Canaveral, and will allow for in-flight communication between spacecraft in low-earth orbit.

Anyone running the Blackberry 9 smartphone operating system will have to immediately discard their now-utterly outdated device on Wednesday, as Research in Motion launches the imaginatively-titled follow-up, Blackberry 10. The launch event, which is also set to reveal BB10-powered devices, was delayed from October 2012 due to the company’s heavy financial losses.

Horsemeat’s on the menu at an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee session scheduled for Wednesday, when representatives from the Food Standards Agency and Food Minister David Heath will discuss the contamination of beef products sold by British and Irish supermarkets. Last week Burger King followed Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland in taking “precautionary measures” and withdrew its Whopper.

Popcorn at the ready: on Wednesday evening Andrew Neil chairs a Spectator debate on Leveson in which Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair John Whittingdale, Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn and blogger Paul Staines take on News Corp-bothering MP Chris Bryant, media lawyer Charlotte Harris and litigious former FIA chief Max Mosley.

Max Mosley. Credit: Reuters

A ballot of Police Federation members in England and Wales opens on Thursday which will see members voting on whether police officers should have the right to strike. The ballot was called in light of what the Federation says is “an unprecedented attack on policing by government” and has been described by chair-elect Steve Williams as “arguably the most important decision” faced by police during their time as officers.

The return of Harry Redknapp to the Premier League managerial benches brings with it the joyous prospect of that transfer window staple: the car window interview. The window, which slams shut on Thursday, has become the flagship event in the Sky Sports News calendar, with a rotating cast of besuited men and heavily lacquered women reporting breathlessly on loan deals for teenaged reserve team players and the rumoured whereabouts of mercurial international strikers as if they were events of the gravest import. Which they are, obviously.

As reported last week, the deadline for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make a decision on the future of Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity units falls on Friday. Last week the campaign against closure received some unexpected support in the form of Millwall FC, who brought forward to Friday their FA Cup tie against Aston Villa to avoid clashing with the demonstration.

The sentencing of DCI April Casburn, the Metropolitan Police officer found guilty of misconduct in a public office for passing information to the News of the World about the Met’s investigation into phone hacking, takes place on Friday. Following Casburn’s conviction, the first secured under Operation Elveden, judge Mr Justice Fulford warned that a jail term was a “real possibility” for an officer who insisted she was acting as a whistleblower, but whose actions were condemned by her employers as corrupt and an abuse of position.

April Casburn. Credit: Reuters

Finally, England’s Six Nations campaign opens at Twickenham on Saturday with a match against Scotland, and last year’s runners up go into the tournament buoyed their recent record-breaking win against world champions New Zealand and the presence in the squad of the spectacularly-named Billy Twelvetrees.