The Friday Night Song
Monthly Archives: May 2015
The Friday Night Song
I’m neither surprised or unsurprised by this statement by Northamptonshire Police and I absolutely accept that the force is investigating the Cyril Smith allegations with complete transparency, a point they are at pains to reassure the public on.
Obviously, it is always preferable if an allegation like this can be corroborated but if I’m candid there is such a catalogue of genuine and substantiated cases against Cyril Smith that the bigger picture isn’t really affected.
Still, it would be ideal if anyone who has information regarding this alleged incident could come forward.
Assistant Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet said:
“On behalf of Northamptonshire Police, I would like to reassure everyone there is complete transparency in the investigation into the allegations that Cyril Smith was stopped in Northamptonshire with indecent images of children in the early 1980s.
“A thorough and far-reaching investigation by the Force’s Cold Case Team is continuing and we have been working with other forces involved in the wider investigation.
“We have actively spoken to the author of the book where the original claims were made and he and his co-author, and another journalist who has investigated Smith, have all been interviewed as witnesses.
“A large number of former and serving officers, who were serving in various ranks at the time of the alleged incident, and a member of police staff, have also been interviewed, and none can support the events alleged in Mr Danczuk’s book.
“We have also made enquiries with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and no archive CPS materials relating to the specific allegations can be found.
“As yet, no witnesses have been found in relation to these allegations, however, we are continuing to search our archives and have widened the scope of our witness search, which includes contacting the people who were chief officers at the time.
“The investigation will continue until all reasonable lines of enquiry have been exhausted and the public can be assured that further updates will be provided as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
John Mann makes a passionate speech about CSA on the 1st day of the new parliament. He inducts new members into the ‘scandal’ of CSA in the country, and explains that he has put down an early day motion asking for the Official Secrets Act to be lifted for officials who wish to give evidence to help answer the question of how Cyril Smith, and others, were allowed to get away with prolific child abuse for so many years.
Yesterday evening saw the broadcast of part one of David Aaronovitch’s BBC Radio 4 programme entitled ‘The Anatomy of Panic’ which sought to look at the phenomena of ritualistic sexual abuse. That broadcast can be listened to here- BBC Analysis.
Obviously it is difficult to draw too many conclusions regarding the programme without listening to part two, which unfortunately will not be broadcast until next week, and if part two proves these observations redundant then I hope readers will understand.
For me there were many interesting and pertinent points addressed in the programme. However, its primary fault lay in that it appeared to try and generalise what is an extremely difficult, complex, and emotive subject. David Aaronovitch acknowledged himself the historical cycle between the extremes of believing every allegation of child sexual abuse, then having false and sensationalist claims publicly discredited, and the backlash that follows where the public and authorities feeling duped are incredulous of any allegation of child sexual abuse.
This cycle is repeated when, after a period of public incredulity, a high profile case is demonstrated to be true. David Aaronovitch acknowledges that this harms the interests of the genuine victims of child sexual abuse and yet it is precisely because of the kinds of generalisations contained in this programme that opinion becomes polarised and positions become entrenched.
There are some with an entrenched position who, shall we say, do not hold David Aaronovitch in high regard and as a consequence dismiss out of hand everything that he says on this issue. This is an intellectually bankrupt position because there were some interesting points in the programme and, if the environment were less poisonous, and the debate less polarised, much would be welcomed. The overview of the history of Satanist Ritual Abuse (SRA) and a look at False Memory Syndrome (FMS) would in a more intellectually open environment be recognised as important and valuable contributions to the debate and the observation that the false allegations in the past of SRA resemble in some ways some of the recent ‘Westminster/VIP’ allegations is insightful and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. In any genuine search for the truth these are points that must be considered. Unfortunately, too many on both sides of the debate are not in search of the truth but are seeking to validate their existing position.
Let’s now look at what I see as the failures of the programme.
For me the programme began poorly by referencing the recent Hampstead SRA hoax. In some respects this was inevitable given that David Aaronovitch lives in Hampstead and has written in The Times regarding the impact this has had on him personally and his community. However, it was an extremely poor example to begin the programme with. I’ve written here regarding the Hampstead SRA hoax and as regular readers will already know those behind it and those who perpetuate it are very small in number, a fair proportion of them have mental health issues, and many, significantly in my opinion, are not British nationals with English as a first language.
David Aaronovitch points out in the programme that “This time no one in the mainstream media was biting”. Actually, contrary to the general point that the programme was trying to make, none but those involved with the hoax was biting, not the police, not social workers, nor the overwhelming majority of those in the alternative media (AM). Most in the AM ignored it and of the few that took the subject on the majority, like this blog, condemned it and sought to expose it for what it was. One of the reasons I chose to comment on the Hampstead SRA hoax rather than ignore it is because I could see precisely how it could be used by such a programme as this BBC Analysis to discredit other genuine child sexual abuse allegations and so it has sadly been proven to be, but just because it has doesn’t mean that the comparison is legitimate because it isn’t, quite the opposite in fact as the police have arrested two of those behind the hoax and are seeking to question three others. Far from this case being indicative of a ‘panic’ it is rightly seen as a hoax with criminal implications for those behind it and so it was a very poor choice of subject, even if inevitable, for a programme that appears to seek to generalise the ritual elements of child sexual abuse, to kick the programme off with.
The second criticism I have regards that generalisation of the ritual elements of child sexual abuse I’ve just referred to. This is an extremely complex issue and as I’ve said, generalisation and over-simplification just polarises the debate. That some people who make allegations of ritual child sexual abuse, VIP child sexual abuse, or indeed any child abuse or any crime, are not always telling the truth really isn’t news, at least not until the mainstream media or the legal authorities in some way validate those false allegations through publicity.
Specifically, on the issue of ritual child sexual abuse there are cases within the last 5 years where individuals have been convicted for it.
Without wishing to be overly critical of David Aaronovitch, I’d have thought that the very first thing any journalist would do when researching for a programme looking at ritual child sexual abuse is to look at the hard cases where the UK judicial system have convicted individuals of ritual child sexual abuse and where, by extension, a jury having listened to all of the available evidence have found that an individual is guilty beyond all reasonable doubt of ritual child sexual abuse. The convictions of Colin Batley and those of Peter Petrauske and Jack Kemp are two such cases.
As I mentioned above, there are some who believe that David Aaronivitch is not a fair commentator on the CSA issue. That is not my view, I think he and other commentators can add robustness to the debate. However, he cannot be oblivious to the impression that this BBC programme with these failures gives to the neutral observer. By, on the one hand focusing on obvious hoaxes and long disproved cases, while on the other neglecting to address the difficult cases which have been established as factual, in the process of creating a programme that seeks to come to general conclusions regarding ritual child sexual abuse and the current explosion of CSA allegations more broadly, it is not difficult to see how some will conclude that David Aaronovitch is biased in his perspective on the issue.
I believe this is unfair and these failures can be put down to poor journalism. I think I can divine the point that David Aaronovitch is trying to make and if I’m correct it is valid but it is far more specific than many probably recognise. Generalising the issue and negatively co-opting the term ‘Ritual Child Sexual Abuse’ does nothing to further the public’s understanding of the issues and must surely be hurtful to those that have been the victims of ritual child sexual abuse, including those that have seen their abusers convicted for it.
Edit: We’ll come back to this following the broadcast of Part 2.
The Friday Night Song
“And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6
It is extraordinary that anyone might not be aware of secular law but is implausible that a Christian Archbishop might not be aware of the teachings of Jesus.
“On May 23, 2014 the current Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson gave sworn testimony under oath as part of a civil lawsuit involving a man, Doe 1, sexually abused as a child by former priest Thomas Adamson at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in St. Paul Park, Minnesota. Archbishop Carlson worked in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis handling child sexual abuse cases from 1979-1994 as the Chancellor and Auxiliary Bishop.”
Archbishop Carlson – “I’m not sure whether I knew it [CSA] was a crime or not,”
Full deposition 5/23/14
The Friday Night Song
In this case from 1972 the then DPP, Sir Norman Skelhorn QC, decided that right wing Tory MP Victor Montagu who had admitted indecently assaulting a boy for two years was of “previous good character” and so he was let off.
He was nothing of the sort. He sexually abused his own son Robert Montagu between the ages of 7 and 11 years old and Robert knows of atleast 10 other young boys his father abused.
A senior Conservative politician escaped prosecution for child abuse in the 1970s when he promised the authorities he would not see the victim again, according to files released by the National Archives.
Victor Montagu, a rightwing Tory MP and one-time political secretary to Stanley Baldwin, was let off with a caution by police and the director of public prosecutions in 1972 for indecently assaulting a boy for nearly two years.
The decision by the Dorset and Bournemouth police force and Sir Norman Skelhorn QC meant Montagu never stood trial and his paedophile activities were never exposed.
“The assaults, which are admitted, are not of themselves very serious, and if Mr Montagu is prepared to take the excellent advice given to him by Det Ch Insp [Jack] Newman and avoid any contact with the boy in the future I do not think that proceedings are called for,” a letter from prosecutors states.
Montagu was a leading figure in the establishment. He was an MP for South Dorset from 1941 to 1962 and became a member of the Monday Club, a rightwing political pressure group in the 60s. He inherited his father’s seat and became the 10th Earl of Sandwich in 1964, a title he renounced to stand for parliament again as an independent.
Montagu died in 1995 but the files on his case, which reveal that a prosecution against him for indecently assaulting a young boy was not pursued, have been kept secret for more than 40 years. They were released earlier this week after an application under the Freedom of Information Act.
Given that Alison Saunders, the DPP, consulted with Neil Moore QC during the CPS investigation and that Neil Moore has a professional relationship with Daniel Janner QC, Lord Janner’s son, and that Leicestershire Police have said that they raised concerns about this arrangement, I wonder if it really is in the interests of transparency for the CPS not to name the QC reviewing the DPP’s decision not to prosecute Lord Janner ?
A senior QC is to review the controversial decision of Britain’s top prosecutor not to charge Lord Janner over alleged child sex crimes, it was announced today.
In a move that could overturn the block on court action, the Crown Prosecution Service said that the QC, who has had no previous involvement with the case, has been hired to give an independent assessment in response to a request by alleged victims of the peer.
The unnamed barrister will decide whether Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was right to rule that it would not be in the public interest to charge the former Labour MP because of his increasingly severe dementia.
Ms Saunders has insisted that her decision – which has prompted criticism from victims’ groups, MPs and others – was justified because Lord Janner is too ill to stand trial and because there are no sanctions that could be imposed on him following a prosecution.
But if the QC decides that her assessment was wrong, the DPP’s decision will be reversed in a change that would result in the peer facing charges for alleged sex crimes committed over several decades.
Announcing the decision to hire the QC, who is not being named until after their assessment of the Janner case is completed, the Crown Prosecution Service said the move was in line a “right to review” policy introduced in 2013.
It allows any alleged victim to request a review of a prosecution decision not to charge the suspect in their case.
Such reviews are normally carried out internally, but the CPS said today that the exceptional circumstances of the Janner case had led it to hire a senior QC from outside the organisation to examine the DPP’s ruling.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “The CPS Victims’ Right to Review scheme was set up to give complainants the ability to ask the CPS to review its decisions – usually when there has been a decision not to prosecute.
“The CPS has been asked to invoke this process in the case of Lord Janner and that review is now taking place. This review would normally be done by the CPS Appeals Unit. However, due to the unique circumstances surrounding this case, the CPS has instructed external counsel instead.”
CPS guidelines say that such reviews should normally take around 30 days, but that longer could be required in more complex cases.
This interview with Vishambar Mehrotra for Thames News was filmed in 1982 following the discovery of Vishal’s remains. It is not the news piece that was broadcast but the raw unedited footage. Hence the seemingly odd questions to camera at the end by the interviewer.
An inquiry is to take place into claims evidence was altered during the police investigation into former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe in the 1970s, the BBC’s Today programme has learned.
The politician, who died aged 85 in 2014, was acquitted of conspiracy to murder the model Norman Scott in 1979.
An allegation has been made that a witness statement was changed during the original investigation.
Avon and Somerset Police has asked another force to carry out the inquiry.
The police watchdog, The Independent Police Complaints Commission, has been informed.
Mr Thorpe won the North Devon seat for the Liberals in 1959 with his energetic campaigning, and inspiring performances as a public speaker.
He went on to serve as the party’s treasurer before being elected leader in 1967, promising to turn the party into a radical pioneering force.
But his political career ended when his life became engulfed in scandal.
He was charged by Avon and Somerset Constabulary with conspiracy and incitement to murder.
The Friday Night Song
I became intrigued by this subject following an appearance on Newsnight by CEOP’s former head Jim Gamble, when he explained that one of the first things that CEOP set about doing after it was created was to research the psychology of paedophiles so they could better understand offenders and no doubt identify behavioural and psychological markers. Jim Gamble only alluded to this comprehensive study in passing, remarking that self delusional justification for offending and attempting to portray themselves as the victim in some way were common and known behavioural patterns in paedophiles.
This CEOP research is undoubtedly very useful and it is the kind of academic study that I’d really like to look at but I know that for very obvious reasons, I never will. Nor, without the wealth of data and access to the kind of expertise that CEOP could call on, would I have any chance of recreating such a study but that hasn’t stopped me thinking about the kind of applications such research could be put to.
One such application of paedophile profiling would be the identification of certain ‘offending types’. Naturally, every individual offender must be unique but categorising offenders into types must be a very useful tool because a man can do many things to attempt to disguise his physical appearance but it is almost impossible for him to change his psychological make-up. That psychological make-up may slowly evolve with time but it can’t be changed as simply as it is to wear a hat, grow a beard, or shaving off hair.
If we look at an extreme sexual offender like Sidney Cooke, what offender type would he be, how might an organisation like CEOP categorise him, what designation would he have ? We’ll start with the prefix SO for Sex Offender, then add an S for Sadist, and finally add a number on a scale from 1 to 5, in Cooke’s case 5, as a way of illustrating how extreme his offending was. Using this completely made up system we end up with an offender type for Sidney Cooke which is SO-S-5.
If we look at another sexual offender like Lord Janner based on the known accounts, we end up with a different offender type and designation. Lord Janner sought out what he considered loving relationships with young boys. I’m not in any way attempting to legitimise his offending by using that term, I’m simply trying to identify his psychological delusion. Janner would still have the same SO designation as Cooke but instead we’ll follow that with an PR for ‘pseudo-relationship’ and instead of a 5 we’ll give him a 3, after all despite the fact that Lord Janner was in a ‘pseudo-relationship’ with one boy for almost 2 years, he was not living full time with that boy which must be the extreme. So, using this system we end up with SO-PR-3 as Janner’s offending type.
I have no idea if CEOP or Police forces use a system of offender type designation like this. I suspect they do and I’m sure that it is far more sophisticated than my amateur efforts but what I do know, having followed many trials in the media, that similarities in multiple survivor testimony regarding an offender provides key corroborative evidence at trial. In the trials of Max Clifford (SO-E-3, where E stands for ‘exploiter’) and Dave Lee Travis (SO-E-1) it was the independent descriptions by victims of consistencies in the described offending that seemed key. [Note: this is why it is so important that survivors do not have contact before a trial]
So, what is going on if a known offender with an SO-PR-4 designation (for example) is described by a witness as exhibiting the behaviour consistent with an offender with an SO-S-5 designation ? It must be one of two things, either a) the information known and held by the police is incomplete or b) the witness testimony is inaccurate.
I think the public have in general a very over-simplified understanding of child sexual offenders and there is an inclination to unconsciously group them all together in one big group called ‘paedophiles’. This can lead to assumptions about the type of offending an offender is likely to be capable of. Sidney Cooke is an extreme example and thankfully his offending type is rare though I’ve no doubt that it as not as rare as convictions would suggest.
Without perspective how do we know if something is big or small, near or far away ?
To say Harvey Proctor divides people doesn’t begin to do the job. As a member of the Monday Club in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, he espoused views fashionable only on the right of the Conservative Party (which he insists were prescient, the migration horse having bolted long ago, he says)
As a dutiful Essex MP, first in Basildon from 1979-83 and then Billericay from 1983-87, he helped to provide the ballast on Mrs Thatcher’s back benches. But the red-top press got wind of his sexual preferences and he decided not to run again in the 1987 election.
It was bad enough that he was (pass the smelling salts) a homosexual, which no MP at the time dared admit. More seriously, he had been breaking the law by paying for “the company”, as he puts it, of rent boys, who were not above telling their story to, particularly, the left-of-centre popular papers.
Proctor thus became something of a pantomime baddie in parts of the media.
Becky Milligan investigates allegations of historical child abuse by prominent figures and hears David’s story
This is the third and final part of David’s Story from Radio 4’s World at One.
Explanation for burning diary here- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-32002102
Becky Milligan investigates allegations of historical child abuse by prominent figures and hears David’s story.
The third part can be listened to today on Radio 4’s World at One.
Becky Milligan investigates allegations of historical child abuse by prominent figures and hears David’s story.
The second part can be listened to today on Radio 4’s World at One.
I’m not going to add much other than to say that I’m as sure as I can be that the police did not directly tip off the media about the raid on Harvey Proctor’s home.
The full comment piece written by Harvey Proctor can be found at the Independent on Sunday
In the context of recent speculation and allegations on the internet, I write this to say that I am innocent of the allegations against me and I will maintain this stance until my dying breath.
On Wednesday 4 March 2015, the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Midland Team raided my home and, under a warrant investigating historical child sexual abuse, searched my house for 15 hours. I was told at 11pm that no statement would be issued to the press and my identity would not come out. That was not the case.
If not before, then within eight hours of the police leaving my home, details of the raid were leaked to the national media. ExaroNews – an odd internet news agency – was tipped off before the police left my home. Mark Conrad, a journalist for the agency, was phoning and emailing my office at 9.34pm – at least 90 minutes before the police left my house.
During and immediately after the search, I volunteered to be interviewed by the Metropolitan Police concerning Operation Midland’s investigations relating to allegations from the 1970s and Eighties.
My solicitors – Messrs Sakhi and Gatrad of Sakhi Solicitors, Leicester – arranged for me to be interviewed on Monday 23 March 2015. The police initially confirmed that it was convenient and then cancelled the interview at short notice, due to “circumstances beyond [the officer’s] control”. The appointment was rearranged for Tuesday 14 April 2015. It was through no fault of my own that on Thursday 9 April 2015 the police again cancelled the interview, scheduled for 14 April 2015.