A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious apartheid-era intelligence agency Boss
by JAMES HANNING, JONATHAN OWEN
Sunday 22 March 2015
A botched attempt by South African intelligence to blackmail Cyril Smith over his sexual abuse of boys may have helped the politician escape justice.
British police became aware of the plot in the mid-1970s while questioning a man over an art theft. He was subsequently convicted for possession of stolen goods.
The individual, who cannot be named, told police he had film footage of Smith sexually abusing boys. Detectives established that the man had links with the South African embassy in London and appeared to be working on behalf of Boss, the notorious apartheid-era intelligence agency, which was attempting to undermine Liberal MPs and others they regarded as unsympathetic to the regime.
Malicious rumours were also circulated about the private lives of former prime ministers Harold Wilson (right) and Edward Heath (left), as well as the former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe.
A senior source, speaking last night under condition of anonymity, revealed that in the event, Special Branch found the man had no credible evidence of Smith abusing children. The individual escaped prosecution for attempted blackmail and no action was taken against Smith. Subsequent allegations against the Liberal politician were either not proven or intentionally buried. “It isn’t clear if there was a deliberate cover-up or not,” said the source, “but after the South African episode, it seems that those who knew about it would have been inclined to dismiss claims against Smith as merely part of ‘that politically motivated South African nonsense’.”
The development comes after police were accused of dropping a subsequent investigation into Smith, seemingly under pressure from senior figures, heightening suggestions of a high-level conspiracy.