Will this be the silliest headline ?
Monthly Archives: June 2014
Jenny Hopkins, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in London, said:
“Rolf Harris used his status and position as a world famous children’s entertainer to sexually assault young girls over a period spanning 18 years.
“The victims in this case have suffered in silence for many years and have only recently found the courage to come forward. I would like to pay tribute to the bravery they displayed in coming to court and giving evidence. That bravery and determination has seen Rolf Harris brought to justice and held to account.
“Each victim, unknown to the others, described a similar pattern of behaviour; that of a man acting without fear of the consequences.
“The prosecution of sexual offences is often difficult and complex, perhaps even more so when the allegations are from some years ago. We will continue to consider cases and wherever there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest, we will work with police and victims to build strong cases which can be put before a court.
“I hope today’s verdict provides other victims with the courage and confidence to come forward no matter who is alleged to have carried out the abuse and when.”
Following the 26th June 2014 Commons Statement on Jimmy Savile by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, these two extracts are from Andy Burnham’s (Shadow Health Secretary) reply;
‘Reading the reports, it is not at all clear to me that a proper process has yet been put in place to hold people who failed in their public duties to account.
Can he assure us that, if evidence is revealed in any of these reports that any person still working in the NHS or Department of Health knowingly facilitated these crimes will now face the full weight of the law and that those who were negligent in respect of their duties will be held to account?’
It’s not clear why he’s drawn the line at ‘still working for the NHS or Department of Health’. Surely anyone involved who was negligent in their public duties should be held to account, irrespective of where they work today?
‘The Broadmoor Report raises serious questions about the conduct of the civil servants and ministers in the Department of Health in how Savile came to be appointed to lead the task force.
A meeting between Edwina Currie and Jimmy Savile in September 1988 records what he would like to do at the hospital if the Minister would “press the button” and records that she promised to give him her full support.
In evidence to the inquiry, Mrs Currie describes the main objective of Savile’s appointment as follows: “The principal question was can Government break this hold that the Prison Officers Association has on the hospital.”
She went on to say: “This task force was dreamed up and seemed like a very good idea and step forward Jimmy Savile who knew the place backwards and was more than happy to volunteer his time to do this. And we were happy to do it.”
It paints a picture of chaos in the department and a complete absence of due process for appointments of this kind.
These are extraordinary revelations…’
They are indeed.
On the surface, it would certainly seem that the appointment of Savile was more about political problem solving, rather than any particular regard for the patients at Broadmoor.
Interesting also that this article from the Sunday Express emerges today, alleging that Special Branch funded PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) between 1977 and 1980 to an amount equivalent to £400,000 in today’s money.
A retired official, who worked for Clifford Hindley in the Home Office Voluntary Services Unit, claimed;
‘[Hindley] said PIE was being funded at the request of Special Branch which found it politically useful to identify people who were paedophiles.’
“Hindley didn’t give me an explicit explanation of what Special Branch would do with information it gleaned from funding PIE, but I formed the belief that it was part of an undercover operation or activity. I was aware a lot of people in the civil service or political arena had an interest in obtaining information like that which could be used as a sort of blackmail.”
Perhaps the motive really was to identify people who were paedophiles with the intent to bring them to justice, and that maybe this contributed to the demise of PIE in 1985. However, its hard to be certain that this is the whole truth, when other reports suggest that Special Branch and MI5 were intent on burying evidence against MP Cyril Smith.
The Channel 4 Dispatches program, ‘How Cyril Smith got away with it’, broadcast on 12 Sept 2013, contains this;
‘Speaking for the first time, former CID officer Jack Tasker tells the programme that Special Branch officers arrived at his office, told him to halt his investigations and demanded that the file be handed over to them,.“They made it quite clear that anything that was kept by us would bring repercussions if we didn’t hand it over; that as far as we are concerned, the inquiry is finished … you will take no more inquiries into Cyril Smith.”
The file ended up being locked away in a safe at Special Branch offices in Lancashire. Former Special Branch Officer Tony Robinson tells Channel 4 Dispatches that he was surprised that a criminal file on Smith was being held by his department in the 1970s. He later received a call from MI5 asking for the file to be sent to them in London. At the time, Smith’s political star was rising as the Labour and Liberal parties were negotiating a political pact to keep the government in power.
Another former officer, Paul Foulston, tells Channel 4 Dispatches that he was warned off interviewing a victim of Smith and told to halt his investigation by two senior Special Branch officers. “It was quite apparent to us that they were in effect protecting Cyril Smith and not investigating him,” he says’.
Channel 4 Dispatches – Press Info
Maybe its now time that the task of looking in all the grubby corners and cupboards of our establishment is undertaken by a competent and fully empowered authority, with the mandate to publicly expose wrongdoings.
Until then, there will be doubts.
Extracts from Janice Turner’s Opinion article in The Times today;
A freelance despot, Savile befriended both high and low in the NHS. In return, they helped him commit his crimes
In the whole 253-page report into Jimmy Savile’s activities at Leeds General Infirmary there is just one instance where he troubles hospital bosses. Doctors complain that, although only a volunteer porter, he is plonking his vast Rolls-Royce in the consultants’ car park, filling two bays.
Savile skulking the wards in the dead of night; his access to nurses’ quarters and mortuary alike; the near-universal disgust felt for him by female staff — and, of course, his copious crimes — were not under their purview.
For a study in absolute power — how to win and exercise it; how to create useful allies and deflect would-be enemies; how to indulge undetected your taste for violence, humiliation and sexual depravity; how to steal trophies from the dead and the innocence from children and yet be garlanded with honours — forget Machiavelli. Read the Leeds and Broadmoor hospital Savile reports. Not every despot needs a nation; some go freelance.
The first principle of Savile’s modus operandi was: sort out the top and the bottom, then the middle will neither care nor dare. So at Leeds he first befriends night porters, dropping in for late-night chats, buying TVs for their seedy hospital bolt holes where they drank, played cards and entertained women. All against the rules, but Savile wouldn’t tell if they kept his secrets, too.
Besides keeping sweet the lowliest men, Savile ingratiated himself with the most powerful. At Leeds he befriended the chief governor; in Broadmoor he actually chose him, after Edwina Currie bizarrely trusted his judgment in heading up a task force to change hospital culture. He promised the minister he’d win officers’ compliance by threatening to expose their overtime fiddling to The Sun. He never did; conscious, no doubt, of what they had on him.
In Broadmoor, he didn’t need the slapdash security guards to lend him keys, to slip him in without question as he had in Leeds. The governor gave him, along with an office and a house near the grounds, a whole set of his own. This not only afforded him a back route to the women’s wards, but guaranteed nurses never challenged what he was allowed to see. Some were uncomfortable as Savile watched the female patients bathe, commenting on their “nice Bristols”. But they knew he had the power to have them sacked.
“No one knew” is the Savile refrain. But they saw, they heard, they knew.