Tag Archive | Justice

The Shame of Operation Midland

aaa-harveyFalse paedophile allegations are as damaging as child abuse.

I think I have made it patently clear in this forum that I not only have no time for Conservatives, but I utterly despise them and consider most of them filth. On an evolutionary scale I would not place them in the primordial soup ~ they are much further down than that. So it may come as some surprise to many of my readers that upon listening to former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor on LBC Radio on Tuesday, 8 November, I was moved to tears by him.

Harvey Proctor was Member of Parliament for Basildon from 1979 to 1983, and Billericay from 1983 to 1987. Very much to the right, Proctor was a member of the right-wing Monday Club for many years, including spending time as it’s secretary. He won his 1979 seat on a ticket of reducing the number of “coloured” (his words, not mine) immigrants, opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and supported the return of capital punishment.

In June 1986 The People newspaper published allegations that Proctor had taken part in sexual relaitonships with men aged 17-20, when the age of consent for homosexuals sex was 21. The following year he was charged with Gross Indecency, and resigned his candidacy for his Billericay seat. He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,450. Wanting to put the whole matter behind him, he opened a prestigious shirtmakers shop in Richmond, London.

In November 2014 the Metropolitan Police launched Operation Midland into historic child sexual abuse allegations against politicians, celebrities, and VIPs, and included the allegation of a possible homicide or a child. Some of the allegations came from an anonymous complainant known only as “Nick”. On 4 March 2015, police raided the home of Harvey Proctor on the Belvoir Estate, based upon the allegations of “Nick”. Proctor denied any wrongdoing but resigned his post with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland on 25 March 2015 “with immediate effect”. He was interviewed by police in June 2015, and again in August 2015. On 25 August 2015 he gave a press conference in which he called the inquiry against him as a “homosexual witch hunt” and stated “I’m a homosexual. I’m not a murderer or a paedophile. I’m completely innocent of all these allegations.”

Meanwhile, Operation Midland was falling apart as claim after claim of “Nick” proved to be false or unproven. Among others investigated had been Army Lord Bramall and Lord Leon Brittan, who was gravely ill when his home was raided and he was questioned by police. Lord Brittan died in January 2015, without being told charges against him had been dropped. Harvey Proctor was the last person to be investigated by police, until 21 March 2016, when he was told that no further action would be taken, and Operation Midland was subsequently wound up.

On 8 November an independent review into the £2.3 million Operation Midland, which never resulted in one arrest, found several failings by the Metropolitan Police, and said the decision to abandon it should have been taken “much earlier”. Against many of their criticisms was the readiness of police to believe “Nick”, who had also implicated heads of UK security services.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, accepted “accountability for these failures” and stated “It is a matter of professional and personal dismay that the suspects in the investigation were pursued for so long when it could have been concluded much earlier. He apologised to Lord Bramall, the widow of Lord Brittan, and Harvey Proctor.

Speaking on LBC Radio, Harvey Proctor, now 69, told just what a toll Operation Midland had taken on his life. He told show host Iain Dale “It’s been devastating. Unrepairable. As you know I lost my job, my home, my family, unusual family although it might be, split asunder.

“I received death threats, and I am now destitute. I have no money. When other people say they have no money, they are down to their last hundred thousand. I have no money.”

Iain Dale then asked what the darkest time was, and for a good number of seconds the line went silent. Then Mr Proctor responded, sobbing audibly ~ and I openly cried along with him, and I cried, and cried as my heart went out to him.

No innocent person, whoever they are, deserves to be reduced to that.

As my regular readers will know, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And some may wonder then why I should care so much because of someone under investigation for paedophile offences. A chance to clear his name, surely? No, loves, it is precisely because I am an abuse survivor that I am sad ~ and angry ~ at the haphazard dealings of Operation Midland and the way that innocent men had their lives destroyed by an individual whom I can only describe as a fantasist, a police force too ready to believe him, and a police commissioner who should have had the sense to close down the operation much earlier.

Allegations of being a child sex abuser are among the most devastating anyone can have laid at their door. As we have seen in the case of Harvey Proctor, it destroys lives. Those accused can lose their marriages, family, friends, their jobs and livelihoods, their homes and their entire reputations, and can face endless verbal abuse, threats of and actual violence. And because the public believe “no smoke without fire”, that follows the suspect to the end of their days. Now, where the allegations are true, then as far as I am and concerned, much of that ~ short of actual violence ~ they deserve everything they get. And I mean that from the child sex attacker, right down to the paedophile who masturbates to images of naked children. Contrary to what some claim, it is not a victimless crime to view naked kids ~ someone, somewhere, is abusing those children, and because it is about supply and demand, every paedophile viewing those images are complicit in that abuse.

But where the suspect is innocent of all allegations against them, it becomes a very different matter altogether. To have your life destroyed because you are labelled a “pervert” by society is certainly an experience too many reading this will be all too familiar with. Many here will have had to change their identity, and maybe even to move home, perhaps many times over. They may have been cast out by their families, had partners shun them, denied access to their children, lost their jobs, been completely ostracised by society, almost certainly faced verbal abuse and threats, and in many cases, been subjected to actual violence. Many will have suffered mental trauma, perhaps even clinical depression, due to the treatment they have suffered. Innocent suspects of paedophilia suffer exactly the same. Indeed, in some cases it can be worse.

I recall in the late-1990s, some red-top newspapers stirred up a “paedophile panic” in the UK, from which we have never recovered. It led to lynch mobs chasing innocent people, mostly men, out of their homes and beating them up. The satirical magazine Private Eye one week ran a cartoon which showed a man running from a mob with the caption “I’m a PAEDIATRICIAN, you morons.” The following week it actually happened, when a woman paediatrician had her surgery burned out.

Feeling was particularly strong in Scotland, in the wake of the 1996 Dunblane massacre, when paedophile Thomas Hamilton gunned down 16 schoolchildren and their teacher. Just down the road in the Raploch district of Stirling, housewife Mags Heaney had set herself up as head of a vigilante mob which was attacking the homes of single men suspected of being paedophiles. When one such man complained to police, Mrs Heaney was taken to the man’s door, along with cameras from Scottish Television, and was forced to apologise to him. Mags Heaney’s family at the time were among the largest drug dealers in Scotland, who were selling everything from cannabis to herion to the very kids they claimed to be protecting. So arrogant they were that they even called themselves “Heaney Heroin Limited.”

Prosecutions and jail terms against many of the Heaney family, including “Big Mags”, followed, but they had done untold damage to the lives of many men, who had to move their homes, had lost their jobs in the process, and some of whom actually changed their identity to avoid future persecution.

I cannot reiterate just how dangerous false allegations of paedophilia are, and especially as a survivor of child sex abuse, how damaging it is to those of us who genuinely suffered. Why damaging? Because every time the police are busy investigating a false accusation, every time they have to deal with misguided vigilantes, every time they have to investigate themselves for failing to recognise false allegations, a child somewhere is being sexually abused, and the attacker is getting away with it.

Paedophilia, be it active or inactive, is much more prevalent than most give credence to. And what is more dangerous is the fact that by and large it is rarely a case of “stranger danger” or the myth (which it is) of the dirty old man in a shabby raincoat in the park; the overwhelming majority of child sex attackers are known to the child and their family, often family members or friends. And because none likes to think any bad of their family or friends, few are willing to admit that. Therefore, even in 2016, when there are many more cases of child sex attacks coming to light, and many more historical survivors coming forward, what we see remains very much the tip of the iceberg. The overwhelming majority of child abuse cases still go unreported, precisely because far from being strangers committing these crimes, it is those close to the victims.

And Harvey Proctor’s sexuality, and past convictions, are not lost on me either. There is certainly evidence that many thought Mr Proctor must be guilty because of his convictions for sex with boys aged 17 to 20, and that includes among the officers investigating him. Again, there are many reading this will know all too well that all too often the public think gay / bi / lesbian / anything other than straight must equal paedophile. All us “queers” are castigated by the cishet pubic majority as perverts, and to their uneducated hive mentality, if we indulge in one “perversion”, we must indulge in all of them. In fact, not only are the majority of paedophiles known to their victims, but they are mostly heterosexual men ~ even those men who prey upon little boys (this was true of my attacker). Whilst the incidence is much lower, heterosexual women make up the second highest proportion of paedophiles. But LGBT+ paedophiles are way down at the bottom of the scale, with the incidence of sex attacks on children among the community being extremely rare indeed.

So, in the wake of the findings of the inquiry into Operation Midland, where do we go next? Harvey Proctor has called for the immediate resignation of Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. I fully back that. Sir Bernard has already opted for early retirement, due to other incompetent incidents under his tenure. I personally think that January 2017 is too late for him to go, he should go NOW. But then, I reckon if Sir Bernard had one shred of decency left in his entire frame, he would go into an empty room with a loaded gun, and take the last honourable step left open to him. And yes, dears, I do mean that.

A review of how suspected child sex attackers are identified is definitely needed, including education of police officers to recognise that sexual diversity does not equal paedophile. Do I think the Met are homophobic? Yes, and one need only look at the way some LGBT+ people have been treated by the police in London to recognise the truth of this. But then, they are not alone among police forces in that respect.

I would also urge that police across the UK receive retraining and education in the entire subject of paedophilia, it’s incidence and the huge number of historical cases which go unreported, with the survivors often staying silent until their abuser is dead (as was my experience).

Anonymity should not only be afforded to accusers, but also to the accused. Those affected by Operation Midland not only had their lives destroyed by the authorities, but also faced trial-by-media, and are to this day suffering from a cishet public who still believe “no smoke without fire”.

The investigation of accusers should always be taken seriously. But at the same time, such allegations themselves need to be thoroughly scrutinised. I would suggest interviews of accusers not by police psychologists but by independent psychologists who can be called in to do so.

“Nick” needs to be prosecuted for the enormous damage he has done to a great many people. And unless found himself to have serious psychological problems, once convicted, I do believe he should be named and shamed ~ for his activities have been every bit as damaging to innocents as child sex attackers.

Unfortunately, all this is locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, and it may have done irreparable damage to future investigations of suspected child abusers. The independent inquiry into Operation Midland made 25 recommendations, including;

  • The instruction to officers to “believe a ‘victim’s’ account” should cease.
  • Investigators should be informed that false complaints are made from time to time and should not be regarded as a remote possibility.

Whilst false complaints are indeed serious to the point of being devastating to the accused, these recommendations are nonetheless disturbing. There are so very many silent survivors of childhood sexual abuse simply because nobody believes them. I know this, because I was one. These recommendations may make that all the more difficult, and an unwillingness to believe accusers may cause a great many more children to suffer some of the worst trauma possible in silence.

Trans Woman Found Dead in Male Prison


Vicky Thompson

Prisoner had threatened suicide.

On Friday, 13 November 2015, trans woman Vicky Thompson was found dead in her cell at the all-male Armley Prison in Leeds, England, having apparently committed suicide. Her Majesty’s Prison Service (which runs prisons in England and Wales) announced her death six days later, on the evening of Thursday, 19 November, only hours before the start of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“HMP Leeds prisoner Vicky Thompson was found unresponsive on the evening of Friday, 13 November,” said a Prison Service spokesman, “Staff and paramedics attempted resuscitation but she was pronounced dead at 21:10 GMT. As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman”.

Vicky, who had identified as female since her early teens but had not undergone gender reassignment surgery, had previously been incarcerated in Her Majesty’s Prison Leeds on a 12 month sentence, which had been reduced to a suspended sentence.  But when she broke the conditions of that, imprisonment was invoked. According to her boyfriend, Robert Steele, she had received harassment and bullying from the other prisoners, because she dressed as a female. Vicky had said that if she were returned to HMP Leeds, she would commit suicide. Her solicitor, Mohammed Hussain, had told the trial judge that Vicky Thompson was “essentially a woman”, that she was a vulnerable person, and pleaded for her to be placed in a women’s prison. Those pleas fell on deaf ears, and she was returned to HMP Leeds.

Vicky Thompson was only 21 when she took her own life.

I am not just angry today, I am FUCKING LIVID with rage. This girl’s death comes only weeks after the case of trans woman Tara Hudson, whom it took a public campaign to be moved from all-male HMP Bristol to a women’s prison. It is all too obvious that the Prison Service and the British government learned NOTHING from that case, and with tragic consequences.

I do not hold out many hopes for the investigation into Vicky’s death either. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman service will look into it from the perspective of cisgender privilege and no doubt shall decide that it was ‘tragic’ but ‘unavoidable’. When the English judiciary were petitioned to move Tara Hudson to a female prison, they immediately washed their hands of the matter and claimed that it was the responsibility of the Prison Service which prisons offenders should be allocated to. I have no doubt the so-called ‘independent’ ombudsman will reach the same conclusion. This is so much shifting the blame BULLSHIT.

Yes, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, just like the Scottish Prison Service, decide which correctional establishments to place convicted offenders in. However, it is part of the responsibilities of the judiciary to consider particular circumstances of each offender, and where it is deemed necessary to make recommendations to the Prison Service based upon those circumstances. That is precisely why Vicky Thompson’s solicitor underlined her vulnerability and asked for her to be placed in a female prison. The judge, whose name has not been disclosed, cannot claim that they were not made aware of the special circumstances surrounding Vicky, which he completely failed to act upon.

But the judge was not the only person to fail Vicky. Questions also need to be asked as to why the Prison Service managed to fail a vulnerable prisoner, under their very own guidelines, under not one but two circumstances. In the Tara Hudson case, a BBC spokesman told the BBC “It is longstanding policy to place offenders according to their legally recognised gender. There are strict rules in place to ensure transsexual prisoners are managed safely and in accordance with the law.” Vicky Thompson had previously complained of harassment and bullying from other prisoners, which proves that HMP Leeds failed upon that commitment. Secondly, Vicky was a known suicide risk, and yet somehow managed to take her own life. How was this able to happen? Why was a vulnerable prison apparently not on suicide watch? HMP Leeds therefore failed in their duties on that count as well.

As to the first criteria, that of recognised gender, the Prison Service cannot claim to know that Vicky identified as a woman, and if they even attempt that, then they will immediately make liars of themselves, for their statement announcing her death gave her name as “Vicky Thompson” – her chosen female name – and referred to her as “she”. We likewise know that she wore ‘female’ clothing in the prison. So, they have already identified Vicky as female. But then, one only need look at photographs of Vicky to tell she was a woman. Watch out for denials based on all the above in the forthcoming whitewash, sorry, I mean investigation.

It has been announced that the government is to review the criteria under which transgender offenders are jailed. It is not before time, but unless the current Conservative government, which does not have one transgender Member of Parliament, takes strong advice from the transgender community, then I do not hold out much hope for that either.

Certainly, the current criteria surrounding the imprisonment of transgender offenders is an absurdity and a bureaucratic trap, which far too many fall into. The current rules only recognise gender by biological basis and whether or not a prisoner has undergone gender reassignment surgery, and if so, they can prove that.

The rules state that if a transgender prisoner carries a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) or an altered birth certificate, then they shall be placed in a prison according to their recognised gender. Where no GRC is available, gender is determined by birth certificate.

Herein lie the problems. For a start a birth certificate can only be changed if the person has a GRC. Tara Hudson had undergone reassignment but did not carry a GRC. Therefore, as her birth certificate stated she was born male, despite having fully-formed breasts and female genitalia, she was placed in male prison.

GRCs are available, for a fee, only to transgender people who have undergone gender reassignment and lived under their chosen gender for two years or more. This of course requires the release of certain medical records to prove they have undergone reassignment and when. Many transgender people are against GRCs as they see them as governmental intrusion into their private lives and a “trans tax”. If you are cisgender and do not see a problem with GRCs, consider how you would feel if you had to release your medical records and pay to prove your gender. Then (hopefully) you will see how these rules single out one of the most maligned, misunderstood, and vulnerable sections of society, effectively coercing them – and only them – to carry “identity papers”, and pay for that to boot. The GRC is an insult to the transgender community.

Now, let’s look at Vicky Thompson in relation to those rules. She was 21 when she took her life, so given the slow bureaucracy of the English judicial system, we can safely assume she was at least 20 years old when first convicted. Gender reassignment surgery in England is only available for adults over 18 years of age. Before surgery is decided and carried out, there are several steps a transgender person has to go through, including years of psychotherapy, counselling, reviews, then hormonal treatment. In short, Vicky at 20 years old simply would not have had the time to have had the above steps, then undergo gender reassignment surgery and then wait the two years to obtain a GRC. We see here how the GRC rule puts transgender young offenders and older teenagers / early 20s at a distinct disadvantage.

Not that the present government would ever take advice from a slightly-to-the-left-of-Leon-Trotsky genderqueer pansexual like myself, but the recommendations on transgender offenders seems simple enough to me. Gender is not about what may or may not be dangling between your legs. If someone identifies as a woman, dresses like a woman, looks like a woman, and has done for years, they are a woman, and the opposite of all the above for transgender men. If something looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you can be fairly sure it’s not a fucking ostrich. That is the only criteria any prisoner, transgender or cisgender, needs to be categorised by.

Until the government wakes up to that, there are going to be more cases of trangender prisoners placed in the wrong environment, and thereby put in a place of danger both from other prisoners and themselves.

As it is, suicide is a terrible thing for anyone to do. I don’t think it’s the “coward’s way out”. Far from it, I think anyone who takes their own life has to be very brave indeed to take that step. I therefore do not nor cannot condemn a 21 year old girl, driven to despair after everybody in authority ignored her, to end it all.

No, I don’t blame Vicky Thompson for her own death.

I BLAME the staff of HMP Leeds.
I BLAME Her Majesty’s Prison Service.
I BLAME the judge who ignored all advice.
I BLAME the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP.
I BLAME the British Prime Minister, David Cameron MP.



Lord Janner: cover-up means no closure

Greville Janner

Greville Janner

It is no longer a conspiracy theory when it is the truth

I have been following the story of Lord Greville Janner in the media. At first I was not going to write about this, but as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse I feel I must, even if only because it is cathartic for me to do so.

The story surrounds Labour Party peer Lord Greville Janner, who has been the subject of many child sex abuse accusations, and who has since been deemed unfit to stand trial. The first such accusations against Greville Janner began when he was Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Leicester North West.

When former Leicestershire social worker Frank Beck had been charged with over 100 counts sexual abuse in childrens homes in 1991, police then confirmed they were investigating Greville Janner and he was interviewed by police. During his trial Beck claimed that on one occasion he personally intervened to prevent Janner from anally raping a little boy. One former child home resident giving evidence against Frank Beck also claimed that Greville Janner had also regularly abused him. Frank Beck was convicted of a number of rape and child sex abuse charges in November 1991.

The following month Greville Janner made a speech in the House of Commons (lower house of UK government) in which he steadfastly denied the allegations laid against him by Frank Beck and the former child home resident. His speech drew support from all sides of the House and calls for those facing false accusations in the nature of child sex abuse to be protected in law. The Crown Prosecution Service then dropped all investigations against him. In 1997 Greville Janner was enobled as a Life Peer of the House of Lords (unelected upper chamber of UK government) and took the title Baron Janner of Braunstone.

In 2002 another former child home resident went to Leicestershire police, making accusations of childhood sexual abuse against Janner. The case was never passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2006 yet another former resident lodged accusations against Janner and this time the case was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. In 2007 they decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

In 2009 Greville Janner was diagnosed with Alzeimher’s Disease, and went on formal leave of absence from the House of Lords, which continues to this day.

In January 2013 Leicestershire Police launched Operation Enamel, with help from London’s Metropolitan police, investigating historical child sex abuse operations. More than a dozen accusations of child sex abuse were made against Greville Janner by former child home residents. In December that year Janner’s home was searched by police, and in March 2014 his Westminster offices were searched. Janner subsequently signed his property over to his children, effectively making police unable to carry out further searches.

On 9 April 2015 Greville Janner sent a signed letter to the House of Lords asking to extend his formal leave of absence. The letter stated “I am writing to request leave of absence from the House of Lords for the duration of the 2015 Parliament. I understand that this will take effect on the next sitting day.” A House of Lords spokesman stated that the signature matched that of previous letters from Lord Janner, including another leave of absence letter of 3 October 2014, and he had no reason to believe that the letter had been written by anyone else.

On 16 April 2015 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that despite having sufficient evidence to bring prosecutions against Greville Janner for up to 25 child sex offences involving little boys from 1969 to 1988, they would be unable to charge him due to reasons of infirmity. Janner, now 88, had been examined by four medical experts in the preceding months, who had ruled that Alzeimher’s Disease was so severe that he was unfit to stand trial. The Crown Prosecution Service had received the evidence over a year previously and had never acted upon it.

Making absolutely no apologies, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders said in her statement; “Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Janner would have had the opportunity to challenge the evidence and defend himself through the trial process, with a jury ultimately deciding on his guilt or innocence some years ago.”

The decision brought anger not only from Greville Janner’s alleged victims and members of the public, but also from police officers involved in Operation Enamel. Detectives from Leicestershire Police maintained that their investigations into Janner would continue and even said they were considering an unprecedented challenge to the Crown Prosecution Service. Deputy Detective Chief Constable Roger Bannister, who had headed up the investigation called the decision “perverse” and stated “There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care. We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge this decision and victims themselves have a right to review under a CPS procedure.”

After decades of knowing of the suspicions about him, the Labour Party finally acted and suspended Greville Janner from party membership on the same day.

On 19 April 2015 The Times revealed that a barrister, Neil Moore, whom DPP Alison Saunders had consulted on the Janner case, had until late 2014 shared legal chambers with Daniel Janner, Greville Janner’s son. The premises at 23 Essex Street, London, had been raised with Mrs Saunders. A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson claimed that the two had not spoken in two years and that Mr Moore had acted with integrity.

On 22 May 2015 The Mirror revealed that a file containing accusations against Greville Janner has apparently been “lost” by the UK Home Office. The Wanless Report which investigates an alleged government cover-up of child sex abuse cases involving British politicians, mentions 114 such files that have been lost. One from 1986 names Greville Janner and another whose name has been obscured, states “re evidence in child abuse cases” and that the file was “Not found” and recorded as “presumed transferred to MoJ [Ministry of Justice] but not located”. Consider that this file apparently contains evidence against Janner from at least 1986, a full five years before he was publicly accused in the Frank Beck case.

On 25 May 2015, The Telegraph revealed that Alison Saunders worked in the same legal chambers as Greville Janner. The Telegraph stated “Ms Saunders began her career at 1 Garden Court chambers in 1983, when Lord Janner was already a leading QC there and she is likely to have worked with the same colleagues and moved in the same professional circles as him.” Lord Janner remained QC at 1 Garden Court chambers until 1986. A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service countered, “It is common knowledge that Alison Saunders had her pupillage at Garden Court chambers. But the DPP and Lord Janner have never met. This is ridiculous.” The article in The Telegraph also contained an earlier statement from Alison Saunders, in which she said “I’m not part of the establishment. If it was an Establishment over-up I’ve had to pay a very heavy price for it. It’s certainly not a cover-up.”

In another guise I usually blow conspiracy theories wide open. In this case, with so many suspect incidents, and so many inconsistencies, so many things setting off alarm bells, in all honesty I cannot do so. I can only conclude that there is indeed a cover-up being perpetuated, and one which the government is not even attempting to hide.

I am not for one moment accusing Greville Janner of being guilty. Neither I nor anyone else outside of the Crown Prosecution Service has the evidence to do that (and apparently they may not have some of it either). He and his family have constantly stated that he is totally innocent of all accusations laid before him. Yet for an innocent man, some of his actions have to be called into question.

Why sign over his property to his children after his home was raided by the police? Why should he feel the need to do this if he is innocent? If innocent, would his children then make legal attempts to block any further searches, and if so, why?

Can we believe that Janner’s Alzeimher’s Disease is so very pronounced that he is unfit to stand trial? He was diagnosed with the terrible mind-wasting disease in 2009, yet he was able to legally sign ownership of his property to his children in 2013. He signed letters to the House of Lords, asking that his leave of absence be extended on regular occasions, including one in October 2014, and one just days before the DPP decision not to prosecute, on 9 April 2015. Does that sound like a person with advanced Alzeimher’s so severe that they cannot stand trial? It has been stated by some that Alzeimher’s sufferers can have amazing moments of lucidity. This is true, but the disease is progressive and those moments tend to be just that; moments. Are we to seriously believe that Greville Janner snatched those moments to sign his property to his children?

Some others have mentioned that fantasy writer Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzeimher’s and remained largely lucid until his death in March 2015. This is equally true, but if Greville Janner had the same amount of alacrity as Terry Pratchett, then he should have been deemed perfectly fit to stand trial.

What are we to make of the link between barrister Neil Moore, and Janner’s son, Daniel Janner QC? On one hand we are told they shared the same legal chambers until late 2014, then on the other hand we are told that the two had not talked for two years at the time of investigation, early 2015. Just how likely is it that two men of law, in and out of the same offices, day by day, do not speak in two full years?

And of course, the file that was “lost”. I fully appreciate that in the mid-1980s the vast majority of government files were on paper. I once worked in a government office transferring data from old files onto a computer database. If any files went “lost” then heads tended to roll and there was a search for the said files. In my experience government files do not become lost unless someone wants them “lost”. The saddest fact of this is that the missing Janner files have probably been sent for confidential destruction a long time since.

What of DPP Alison Saunders starting her career at 1 Garden Court chambers while Greville Janner was a sitting QC there? I tend to agree with The Telegraph that she would have been “likely to have worked with the same colleagues and moved in the same professional circles as him.” Especially if she was indeed under her “pupilage”, who better to learn from than the sitting Queens Counsel in those very chambers? The Crown Prosecution Service spokesman who claimed that Saunders “never met” Janner cannot give any proof that is the case, and I would suggest that to expect the public to believe that two people working in the same legal chambers for three years never met is what is truly ridiculous.

By equal measure it is wholly disingenious for Alison Saunders to even try to claim “I’m not part of the establishment.”  As Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders is the head of the Crown Prosecution Service, a Crown office.  To suggest that the person in charge of bringing prosecutions on behalf of the Crown – the person who has the power to make the decision not to prosecute a suspected serial child sex offender – is not part of the establishment is not merely an absurdity, it is derisory.

So do the alleged victims have any cause of redress? Apparently not, according to legal experts. Not at least any that anyone is likely to trust.

Some point out that to be tried in absentia that Greville Janner would have to be at the trial to make a plead on the first day of proceedings at least. If unfit to do so, then the trial cannot proceed. Now, I’m not great legal mind but surely his defending counsel could make that plea upon his behalf? Is that not what they are there for? Indeed, given that his son is a Queen’s Counsel, let him take the case and enter the plea on his father’s behalf. But then there is the point that the judge may then have to deem if he finds the defendant is unfit to give evidence, or that evidence cannot be heard. The latter is the sticking point. In such cases it is really Greville Janner’s word against his accusers, and if he were deemed unfit to defend himself, then any such case would be thrown out as a mistrial.

Another point, which some legal experts have stated, that even if he stood trial and was found guilty, on reasons of age and infirmity, the judge may have no choice but to order an immediate discharge. Alison Saunders, the DPP, stated she examined this avenue and the possibility of a discharge is one reason she decided not to prosecute. As a survivor, I have news for Ms Saunders. Whether or not the accused is discharged or not is immaterial; it is justice being seen to be done and the victims finally having some measure of closure which is important. For what it is worth, whatever they have done, I would never condone sending an elderly and very infirm person to prison.  It is the conviction which matters, not the sentence.

Victims could of course bring private prosecutions. Firstly they would have to find the funds or legal aid which would enable them to do so. They would however be limited to the prosecutions they could bring, possibly only gross indecency and / or buggery, both of which would be very hard to prove without solid evidence to back them up. And of course, if the judge deemed Greville Janner unfit to stand trial, or his evidence could not be heard, then we are back to a mistrial. That is if they even got to bring the cases, as such charges require the permission of the DPP to proceed, and the DPP also reserves the right to take such cases over if she deems it necessary. Given her decision I doubt even one of the alleged victims even wants to approach the DPP.

Leicestershire Police are continuing to investigate the possibility of a Judicial Review of the decision not to prosecute. In doing so they would have to prove that the DPP did not act in accordance with both the law and the Crown Prosecution Service Code of Practice, did not act in good faith, or “uninfluenced by any ulterior motive, predilection or prejudice,” Based upon those criteria any judge hearing the case is highly unlikely to overturn the DPP’s position.

So that leaves only a public enquiry, which of course would be the remit of the government to carry out. The present government hardly has a great track record with public enquiries into child sex abuse. Another such enquiry into parliamentary sexual abuse only recently restarted after the first two people chosen to chair them were forced to resign after both were found to have close links to one of the alleged perpetrators. Sadly however, a public enquiry seems to be the only means of redress the alleged victims will ever have, and that stinks. It is not justice, it will not see a conviction being brought, it will rely largely upon the evidence of the accusers, and it does not settle the matter once and for all. In that estimation I would say that it is not, nor can it ever be closure for people who are suffering a life sentence.

And for what it is worth, for all the claims of innocence from him and his family, neither does it clear Greville Janner. If anything he will now forever be the subject of trial by media, and always be considered guilty in the eyes of the public. The decision by DPP Alison Saunders gives no closure for anyone in this matter, and I would venture that makes her position wholly untenable. If she does not resign, or the next incoming government does not dismiss her, then there truly is no justice.

In 1997 a case at the Old Bailey against an alleged Nazi War Criminal, Szymon Serafinowicz, was dropped on the grounds of the defendant being unable to testify on the grounds of senile dementia. Greville Janner, who was then Chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, was rightly livid and lambasted the Crown Prosecution Service, stating, “I am sorry that he was not tried while he was fit enough to stand. War criminals have managed to evade prosecution under our system of justice for decades. There were absolutely no reasons why he should have escaped charges for ever.” According to The Jewish Chronicle in 2012 Janner stated, “I don’t care what bloody age they are. These criminals should have been dealt with years ago.”

I could not agree more.

UK Government delays gay pardon among “paedophile” fears

_0000TuringNot content with condmening 49,000 gays, Whitehall now condemns them as paedophiles

Following the postumous pardon for computer genius and World War II hero Alan Turing, who was convicted of Gross Indecency, a petition has been gathered, which the family of Alan Turing are backing, to have similiar convictions against 49,000 gay men pardoned.  The men in question, like Turing, were convicted for homosexual activities, before it was decriminalised in 1967.  Around 15,000 of the men may still be alive.

Now the UK government are dragging their feet over the pardon, attempting to claim without any evidence to back their claims up, that a small number of paedophiles may benefit from the pardon.  A source told the Guardian newspaper, “There is huge frustration that the deal breaker now appears to be a fear that a general pardon might see what are being described as some paedophiles pardoned”

The claims come from the laws which followed decriminalisation of male homosexuality, whereby sexual relations between men were only legal for consenting males of 21 years of age or over.  Therefore, any man over the age of 21 having sex with a man between 16 to 20 years old was commiting an offence of having sex with a minor.  Age of consent in the UK was equalised at 16 years old in 2001.

Campaigners have suggested that objections about benefitting paedophiles could be overcome by introducing amendments may overcome this, by stating that acting under current law, sexual acts involving 16 to 20 year olds would be considered legal between consenting adults, and thereby past convictions of having sex with a minor should be quashed.

Indeed, such amendments would have that effect.  What worries me more about this is the wording used.  The term “paedophile” is being freely banded about in this issue, when even in law, including the post-1967 law, that simply is not the case.  Someone who is sexually attracted to an underage teenager is described as a hebephile.  Paedophilia only applies when the child is younger than 13 years old.

And I fully believe that the government, who know the definitions in law (or should do), are fully aware of this, and are purposely attempting to castigate men already unjustly convicted, of now being no better than kiddy fiddlers.  And worse still, they are doing that without offering one shred of evidence to that effect.

Well seeing it’s an election year, in which the Tory-dominated government will attempt any desparate populist measures to win votes, no matter who they may hurt in the process.

Simon Hughes of the Liberal-Democrats, meanwhile, is to demand any future coalition agreement includes an automatic pardon for the 49,000 men.  Too little, too late, Simon dear.  The Lib-Dems already sold out their principles and their soul to get into power, and if you lay down with dogs, do not be surprised when you wake up with fleas.

Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

_0Character assassination and trial by media can only ever hurt the innocent

I am somewhat disturbed at a story in Pink News, which concerns a Roman Catholic priest who is defending charges of molesting little boys.  Am I disturbed by the story?  Well, yes naturally, but the abuse of children within the RC Church is now so endemic that one comes to expect it.  What concerns me more is the level of journalism Pink News appears to have sunk to.

“Catholic Priest had huge gay S&M porn collection, court hears”, screams the headline; and my immediate and initial reaction is “So what?”

The story concerns Father Anthony McSweeney (68), who is defending charges that he molested three young boys between 1979 – 1981.  He has admitted buying gay S&M pornography during a visit to Amsterdam’s red light district, which he kept hidden until it was discovered by his housekeeper.

There is no indication of this pornography being of a paedophile nature, and if that is the case, then I completely fail to see what bearing it should have either upon the case, or Father McSweeney’s character for that matter.  I can already hear some of you shouting that he is a priest, he’s supposed to be celibate and an upstanding member of the community.  Yes dears, and first and foremost he is a human being, with the sexual drives and leanings of all human beings.  Oh, and by the way, if he’s tossing off to gay porn, he is still effectively being celibate.

If the prosecution is seeking to convict Father McSweeney, who denies all charges laid against him, then they are using the guilt by character argument.  And as far as the public is concerned, Pink News is merely helping them to do that.

Father McSweeney may be guilty for all I – and you – know, and he may well be innocent.  To attempt to destroy him by his character and by bringing his other sexual pecadilloes into the case however, could very well sway the case against him using an extremely low blow and on a completely false dichotomy.

Consider the case of silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and his part in the death of starlet Virigina Rappe.  On 9 September 1921 Virginia Rappe attended a party at a hotel suite rented by Roscoe Arbuckle.  That Rappe was a “good time girl” was no secret and it wasn’t long before she disappeared from the scene, as did Arbuckle.  She was found in a bedroom, bleeding profusely from her anus.  Her last words to other girls at the party were “Roscoe Arbuckle did this to me.  Don’t let him get away with it.”  She died soon after from a ruptured bladder and secondary peretonitis.  After three mistrials Arbuckle, accused of killing the girl by either vaginally or anally raping her, was acquitted of all charges.  His defence had been to prove that Virginia Rappe had loose morals, had several previous convictions, including extortion, and that veneral disease and, absurdly, cystitis, were the case of death.  The result was that a man guilty of the brutal rape (Arbuckle was hung like a horse, as well as being obese) of a young girl, walked free, purely because of the girl’s past character.

So it is that if Father McSweeney is tried on his character, because he is gay and has a penchant for sado-masochistic sex, then he is being tried on a false dichotomy which has absolutely no bearing on any paedophilic tendences he may or may not have.

That may have serious repercussions over who and what exactly on trial here.  Is it a priest accused of molesting young boys, is it being gay, or is it the BDSM lifestyle?  Most of my readers will already be painfully aware that the LGBT community in general and gay men in particular are often falsely accused of being perverts who prey upon little boys.  In fact, for those of you who are not aware, the opposite is true.  The overwhelming majority of active paedophiles who prey upon little boys are in fact heterosexual men. As case studies and statistics have proven, children are in fact much safer in the company of gay men.

Likewise, one would be hard-pushed to find anyone in the BDSM lifestyle who is sexually attracted to children.  BDSM is built upon trust between two or more consenting adults, who achieve sexual satisfaction through the willing subjection of the body and humiliation of the person.  I am not for one moment saying that there are not gay or sado-masochistic paedophiles; of course they exist, just as there are people with many sexual preferences who are also paedophiles.  No-one however could ever suggest that any child forced into gay or sado-masochistic sex would or could be a willing and / or consensual participant.  Yet by bringing the priest’s pornography collection into the case, it seems to me that the prosecution is immediately trying to make that correlation.

To attempt to make any such connection has the extremely dangerous potential to demonise both the LGBT community and those in the BDSM lifestyle (sometimes the same people) in both the eyes of the jury in the case, and worse still, the eyes of the public as sexual perverts who are a danger to children.

As we live in a culture of paranoia where parents see a paedophile on every corner (they’d do better to watch their own relatives and friends), such reporting can only serve to exacerbate the suspicion both LGBT are viewed with, at the very time children should be being taught all genders and sexualities are normal and something to be proud of.  To say I am disappointed in Pink News therefore would be an understatement.

The Pink News article can be read here: