Ghislane Maxwell at VIP Evening of Conversation from Women's Brain Health Initiative in 2016

Ghislane Maxwell in VIP Evening Of Conversation at Women’s Brain Health Initiative 2016

Let’s not forget. 

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial, which began this week in America begins, will be a lengthy one. It is a crime to engage in sex trafficking, even with minors.

Her victims deserve to be treated with justice if the evidence against her convinces a jury.

However, I am open to admitting that there have been some concerns about this process. Not least the fact that despite the presumption of innocence being a fundamental part of the law – and a key plank of the UN Declaration of Human Rights – it seems she is being treated as if she’s already been found guilty and is being punished in the most gratuitous of ways.

This much is abundantly clear from today’s MoS exclusive, in which the daughter of disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell offers an insight into her life in New York’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center, where she has spent the past 16 months in solitary confinement.

Of course, this isn’t the first we’ve heard of her poor treatment. There have been stories about her treatment for months.

But this is the first time we’ve heard from her own lips just how bad conditions behind bars have been for her.

Malnutrition, assault, threats, abuse – and a seemingly unrelenting campaign designed to wear her down mentally and physically.

She is experiencing problems with her eyesight, is losing hair and is gaining dangerous amounts of weight. To all intents, she has been treated as a felon.

Indeed, some might argue worse than a convicted criminal – certainly by British standards.

And what’s really extraordinary is that the Americans aren’t denying it. This is, in fact, how a civilized country should treat foreigners who have not been found guilty or sentenced to any criminal offense.

 This is not only unconstitutional, it is also illogical. Maxwell does not pose a danger to the lives of others.

If proven guilty, her crimes are history.

She isn’t as though she could cause damage to other people if she was detained in less secure surroundings or released on bail.

But I suspect that’s not really why she’s stuck in a 10ft by 12ft prison cell with an open sewer for a toilet and a rat for company.

She’s there because of Jeffrey Epstein, and the mess the American authorities made failing to bring this convicted paedophile to justice.

She is being made to pay not only for his wickedness, but for the embarrassment of the muppets who allowed him to take his own life – or be murdered – in jail, and thus evade proper justice.

Perhaps the US authorities are hoping that, by undermining her health and morale in this way, she will eventually – like so many others in her situation – give in and submit to a plea bargain, preferring to admit culpability without trial in exchange for a reduced sentence.

It does not seem so.

And it may even be, as her lawyers will argue, that her mistreatment combined with the unrestricted – and hostile – reporting of her case in the US media means that no jury can be convened that is not already prejudiced against her

 If that happens, then her alleged victims might never receive proper justice. That would also be an enormous injustice.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve never met the woman, never intend to and have no reason to defend her. She has to pay if she’s guilty.

But the bottom line is this: until any or all of the charges against her are proven she deserves – like anyone else – to be treated with respect and humanity.

It is concerning that America, the Land of the Free, has failed in this regard.

It’s about the poppy NOT you, Meghan 

The Duchess of Sussex’s choice of a low-cut, full-length, thigh-split scarlet Carolina Herrera gown to attend a gala in New York in aid of war veterans has won praise from fashionistas. It was also inappropriate for the event.

For a start, the colour eclipsed the red of the poppy on her breast; and secondly, you don’t dress like a diva to an event in honour of the fallen for the simple reason that it’s really not about you. I know that’s a concept the Duchess and Prince Harry struggle with sometimes – but still.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala

It’s clear that France’s refusal to stem the flow of migrants departing its shores is a calculated attempt on behalf of President Macron to make life tricky for his political nemesis, Boris Johnson, while also trying to curry favour with Right-wing voters in the presidential election next year.

However, the fact that he would sacrifice lives for refugees and turn a blind eye towards the crimes of people-smugglers shows us who he truly is. He is a morally bankrupt who is willing to do anything to keep his power. 

Matt Hancock is, reportedly in talks for a £100,000 Deal to create a memoir He spent his office time detailing. his ‘heroic’ hands-on handling The pandemic. There’s no doubt that ‘hands-on’ and ‘handling’ are two words closely Associated with his time office, or the rest Interest remains. We don’t know what to say.

One of the most irritating things about adverts these days are those weedy, warbly versions of popular hits that seem to accompany every scenario, whether it be a car on a forest road – or an alien eating mince pies, as per this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad, which features a breathy version of 80s hit Together In Electric Dreams. The store is now being accused by an ‘alt-folk’ duo from Wells of ‘borrowing the feeling’ of their version of the song.

I can’t bear the ad or the soundtrack – but even by the snowflake standards of modern life, ‘feelings’ are surely not subject to copyright law? 

My daughter, then 11, and 12 years old, loved going to Lush with her friends to purchase glitter bath bombs.

She may have even asked me to pay for it once. Don’t be fooled. Because now it transpires that Lush is flogging chest binders – garments designed to flatten and disguise breasts – in exchange for a £7 donation to a trans outreach organisation.

Now, I’m all in favour of helping trans men get the help they need, but there is something very sinister about a store that is frequented by impressionable young girls promoting a garment whose only function is to mute – and ultimately mutilate – the female form. 

I’m a huge Adele fan but even I admit that the hype surrounding her new album – which ‘drops’, as the young people say, on Friday – has been absurdly OTT.

The final straw came in footage of Oprah and her dressed in matching cream-and-white colors, and looking as if they were sitting high in the sky.

Oprah might be considered a god by some, while Adele may have the voice of an angel. However, they both are ordinary mortals. 

Sarah Vine: I’m a huge Adele fan but even I admit that the hype surrounding her new album – which ‘drops’, as the young people say, on Friday – has been absurdly OTT. Adele pictured with Oprah for upcoming CBS special, Adele One Night Only

Sarah Vine: I’m a huge Adele fan but even I admit that the hype surrounding her new album – which ‘drops’, as the young people say, on Friday – has been absurdly OTT. Adele is pictured together with Oprah during the forthcoming CBS special Adele one night only

Boris is too foolish to be written off

I read with some interest Petronella Wyatt’s comments on the Prime Minister last week.

In it she mourns for ‘the Boris of yore’, the ‘ebullient, rib-tickling Boris we used to love’ – that is to say the man she had an affair with 20 or so years ago while they were both working at The Spectator magazine (and, of course, while he was married with young children). I too knew that Boris, and I didn’t love him at all. In fact, I always found him rather insufferable – arrogant, a bit lazy, complacent, occasionally cruel – indeed, exactly what you would expect from an entitled Eton-educated toff.

Whatever you think of his current travails – and there is no doubt he faces some serious challenges – Boris 2021 is a much more nuanced and thoughtful individual, humbled and battered by the pandemic, far more conscious of his own failings than the buffoon of old.

Wyatt has many enemies and many others who are determined to take revenge.

But I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

Russia is considering banning non-vaccinated Russian citizens from buying alcohol. If my Russian friends are anything to go by, that should quickly resolve the problem of the country’s low uptake. It makes me wonder what British equivalents would look like: No cuppa, no jab?