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COPS DRIVING ME ROUND THE BEND; THE LEGAL EAGLE WHO FIGHTS FOR YOU.

Do you have a legal problem? Write to our brilliant legal eagle Gary Jacobs at Justice With Jacobs, The Mirror, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP or fax to 0171 293 3834. Gary regrets he is unable to reply personally to letters. So please do not send in original documents. They cannot be returned.

Ginger from Oldham: Since I passed my driving test I have been victimised by the police. I am stopped once a month for a vehicle check.

I now keep records and have been stopped seven times since July 1996. None of my friends is ever stopped. Is there anything I can do to stop this?

JACOBS' VERDICT: Could it be that you are driving around in a heap, or that you drive a red car. These are cars that are most often stopped from my experience, but I don't know why, as it is not part of declared police policy. I never drive heaps or red cars, and I am never stopped, that is up till now!

Some car registrations are on record as having been used for crime by a previous owner, or they have a distinctive number plate that has been on a vehicle that was stolen in the past.

You may dress in a way that draws attention to yourself, and, while the police are not supposed to react in a stereotypical way, there is a possibility that they do so act in your case.

You should make a formal written complaint.

I have spoken to Greater Manchester Police, who have no record of you and would welcome the opportunity to investigate.

Son's gift of the grab

MR K from Oxfordshire: There is this thing that passes for my son.

I loaned him money to have his pet put down, and more so he could have driving lessons to get a job. The total was pounds 300.

He never paid me back so I sued him. I lost, as he said the money was a gift. I appealed and borrowed pounds 250 to pay a solicitor. I wanted JUSTICE.

My barrister did not prove that the first judge made a mistake, and I lost again. I am not prepared to let it go at that! What am I supposed to do?

JACOBS' VERDICT: Are you for real? Of course you lost! The law presumes that what you gave your son was a gift, and you have to prove the contrary, and you could not.

To pay out pounds 250 to pursue a nonsense claim for pounds 300 is a sign of madness. To want to go further shows me that you are obsessed. A visit to your local psychiatrist may help.

The fact that you started your letter by describing your own flesh and blood as "this thing" tells me so much about you. I have great sympathy for your son. Get a life...you need it!

LIFE SINKS

J Chaplin from Rotherham: In 1988 I decided to go to Antigua to become a fisherman and bought a fishing boat here, and shipped it to the West Indies on a banana boat.

When it arrived it was full of sea water. It was ruined as was my life. I sued and lost, as I claimed too late. I believe I suffered the biggest injustice!

JACOBS' VERDICT: Why did you not take out insurance? And why buy a boat here?

They have loads of boats in Antigua, and sea water does not ruin them!

TRAGEDY, NOT MURDER

Name and Address withheld: My son was unlawfully killed in 1990 when he suffered a heart attack while being set upon.

Four people were arrested and charged, but the charge was dropped, and I was not given any reason. We were not allowed to arrange his burial until nine weeks after this. Why did it take so long? And why was nobody prosecuted over the affair?

JACOBS' VERDICT: Your experience is so troubling that I feel you deserve a full explanation, but I cannot bring you much comfort. I can only tell you the truth.

Your son had drugs in his system, amphetamines, and an inquest declared that his death was accidental. In that case he was not unlawfully killed even though his death occurred at a time when he was being restrained after an incident at a night club.

Therefore the answer to your second question is that there would be no evidence that he was murdered, and sadly that has to be the end of it, unless you discover fresh evidence of someone's guilt.

The family of a victim of a suspicious death has to wait for the body to be released to enable potential defendants to have their own autopsy carried out.

In the case of your son, the coroner needed to be satisfied that there was no likelihood of this happening before he released the body.

I feel that you need help from a victim support group counsellor who will assist you to grieve and come to terms with the tragic loss of your loved one. Your GP will be pleased to give you details of a local support group.

WILL-POWER YOU REALLY DON'T NEED

D S Hannah from Spalding, Lincs: I have been asked to act as an admin-istrator of the estate of a close relative who has died without leaving a will.

What am I expected to do, and what pitfalls, if any, am I likely to encounter?

JACOBS' VERDICT: Being an administrator puts you in the shoes of the deceased as soon as you have been granted "Letters of Administration" by the probate office to administer the estate.

You must make sure that financial and property matters are sorted out as soon as possible, and that all liabilities are paid and the estate distributed among those entitled. If you get this wrong, you could be sued.

Even if the estate is very small, I advise that you employ solicitors to do everything for you. Their charges will be deducted from the assets.

If you do it yourself, you may regret it. The deceased's property might get damaged or lost while in your care, and you could be liable.

You have to maintain full records of every transaction, sell assets for the best price and use the cash to pay any tax and estate duty owed.

You must trace all potential beneficiaries, and if you miss any out they can come after you.

You have to pay all people who are owed money, and advertise for creditors.

Still fancy doing it yourself? Take my advice: get a solicitor to do it all, and tell all your friends and family to make a will.

DON'T PUT DOC IN THE DOCK

Mr Berry from Derby-shire: I had minor surg-ery to remove a lump from my wrist. I still have discomfort and loss of use of the hand. The hospital manager said the operation was not responsible. Can I claim compensation?

JACOBS' VERDICT: The new national pastime of suing doctors gets my goat! If a doctor is negligent, I can understand it, but why do you expect that after your wrist has been cut open there will be no after-effect?

The hospital manager is not usually medically qualified, and you might as well have spoken to the cook.

If you insist on suing, get a solicitor to have your medical records examined by a real expert.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Jacobs, Gary
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 22, 1997
Words:1234
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