Monthly Archives: July 2015

Freddie Starr Loses Libel Case Against Karin Ward

Karin Ward (in yellow) behind Freddie Starr on Clunk Click 1974

Freddie Starr and Karin Ward on Savile’s ‘Clunk Click’ show 1974

Freddie Starr has lost his libel case against Karin Ward. This follows allegations made in the 2012 documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile  by Ms Ward that Freddie Starr had sexually assaulted her.

Mark Williams-Thomas  told The Needle following the verdict; “As I told the court I had no doubt that Karin Ward was telling the truth. If I had concerns , even the slightest, I would not have done the interview with her and exposed her through it to national and international media scrutiny and attention. I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Even though the standard of proof is lower in a civil case, the judge having decided that on the ‘balance of probability’ that Freddie Starr had sexually assaulted Karin Ward rather than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ the standard of proof needed in a criminal case, it is likely that Operation Yewtree will now look again at the original decision not to charge Freddie Starr for this offence.

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Op Pallial: Gordon Anglesea Charged

Capture

Former Police Superintendent Gordon Anglesea

This is quite a significant development. Gordon Anglesea has been charged with 5 offences against 3 boys.

For anyone unaware, Anglesea successfully sued for libel in 1994 after Private Eye, the Independent on Sunday and HTV (Harlech Television/ITV Wales) published allegations. There’ll be a few ‘bruised’ journalists watching this with interest.

An ex-police chief who was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing young boys has been charged.

Retired North Wales superintendent Gordon Anglesea, 77, was arrested in 2013 and bailed, then re-bailed in January this year by detectives from Operation Pallial, a National Crime Investigation into claims of historical sex offences in the North Wales care home system.

Today, he was charged with five sexual offences against three boys between 1979 and 1987.

A spokesman for the National Crime Agency said: “A 78-year-old man from North Wales has been charged with five offences of sexual assault and two offences of buggery, following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

“Gordon Anglesea, from Old Colwyn, is alleged to have abused three boys between 1979 and 1987, when they were between 11 and 16 years old.

“He was arrested by officers from Operation Pallial in December 2013. Pallial is an independent NCA investigation into recent allegations of past sexual abuse in the care system in North Wales, being delivered by the NCA at the request of Mark Polin, the Chief Constable of North Wales Police.

Daily Post

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IICSA Chair Goddard today clarifies the Official Secrets Act and retention of documents

After nearly a year of ‘will they? – won’t they? – and, we hope they don’t’ prosecute whistleblowers for breaching the Official Secrets Act, Chair Lowell Goddard addressed the subject in her opening statement for the IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) today, when she clarified that whistleblowers will not be proscecuted under the OSA.


She said:

‘One area of concern has been the need to offer whistleblower protection to those who pass evidence to the Inquiry. I am pleased to be able to announce today that we have secured strong legal protection for whistleblowers. Following a process of discussion with the offices of the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, an agreement was reached pursuant to which the Attorney General issued an undertaking on 15 June 2015 that no document or evidence provided to the Inquiry will result in, or be used in, any prosecution under the Official Secrets Acts or any prosecution for unlawful possession of the evidence in question. The full terms of the undertaking have been published this morning on the Inquiry’s website. I am satisfied that this undertaking provides the greatest possible protection for whistleblowers, consistent with the requirements of the public interest, and I am grateful to the Attorney General for providing it.’

She also published this letter from the Attorny General;

Attourny General OSA letter 1
Attourny General OSA letter 2

She went on to speak about security files, saying; ‘there is no obstacle to prevent the Inquiry from having access to even the most sensitive information‘.

‘In the course of its work the Inquiry may need to inspect files held by the security and intelligence services or information held by GCHQ. The statutory powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquiries Rules 2006 make special arrangements for the handling of classified material which can be inspected under secure conditions. Where necessary, sensitive or classified information can be made the subject of a notice or order restricting its publication or disclosure, and it can be tested in a closed hearing. So there is no obstacle to prevent the Inquiry from having access to even the most sensitive information. I have been given the necessary levels of security clearance to inspect material held by the agencies, as have members of the Inquiry’s legal team, and I have no reason to doubt that I will receive the full co-operation of the agencies in the provision of the information I need to inspect.

She had previously ‘taken steps to issue retention instructions to a very wide range of institutions in order to put them on notice that the organisations for which they are responsible must preserve all records relating to the care of children by their institution without limit of time so that they remain available for inspection by the Inquiry.’

In her opening statement she explained that the IICSA now had;

‘power to order the production of documents and the attendance of witnesses. A failure to comply with such an order without reasonable excuse is an offence punishable by imprisonment. It is also an offence for a person, during the course of an Inquiry, to destroy, alter or tamper with evidence that may be relevant to an Inquiry, or deliberately to do an act with the intention of suppressing evidence or preventing it being disclosed to the Inquiry. I trust that message will go out loud and clear to all State and non-State institutions, whose actions may fall within the Inquiry’s broad terms of reference.

Full text

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Call Me

The Friday Night Song

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Lord Janner: Contempt Of Court.

Untitled

On Monday 29th June the CPS announced that on the previous Saturday 27th June Lord Janner had been charged with 22 counts of Buggery and Indecent Assault against 9 different male complainants who were all minors at the time the offences were alleged to have taken place.

On 7th August at Westminster Magistrates’ Court Lord Janner, or more likely his legal representatives, are due to appear and the judicial process will be under way.

The most likely first legal challenge Lord Janner’s representatives will attempt will be to claim that due to months of adverse and prominent publicity in the MSM (and years in the AM) their client would be unlikely to receive a fair trial and so the charges should be dropped. However, David Perry QC would have taken into consideration the possibility that such a legal appeal would be made when he overturned the original decision of the DPP not to charge Lord Janner due to his health and so I doubt such a legal gambit would be successful.

What is less certain is whether some material that might be published following the CPS decision to charge Lord Janner might be considered prejudicial to a fair trial. Regardless, what is without doubt is that anyone who does publish potentially prejudicial material could find themselves in contempt of court which can carry a 2 year prison sentence if found guilty.

The CPS statement was clear;

“As there are now active criminal proceedings nothing should be said, commented on, or shared online which may prejudice those.”

CPS Blog

This covers comments on Twitter, Facebook, Forums, and comments left on blogs like The Needle.  When you leave a comment you are the publisher and you are responsible.

This case has become unusually complicated primarily due to the publicity that followed the original decision by the DPP not to prosecute Lord Janner. When this decision was taken broadcast, print, and online media could publish allegations and speculations on this case after considering the risks of civil litigation but free from the threat of criminal proceedings. This has now changed.

Professional journalists have rudimentary legal training and if part of a media organisation, access to legal advice. The chances are that you do not and some of the issues like for example, past CPS and police failures related to this case that you were free to speculate about before charging might be considered prejudicial now.

I will be taking an extremely cautious approach to allowing comments on The Needle regarding the Janner case from this point onward.

Lord Janner’s legal representatives will no doubt be scanning the internet looking for examples of prejudicial comments online that they’d hope to use to demonstrate that Lord Janner can not receive a fair hearing.

Whether you’re leaving a comment on Twitter or on a forum please think carefully before doing so and ask yourself this; even if you are willing to risk contempt of court proceedings and a possible 2 year prison sentence, do you want to be the cause of this case failing to proceed ?

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Essex – public appeal for evidence of a possible child abuse ‘cover-up’ in the 80s and 90s

If you have knowledge of abuse or a ’cover-up’ at County Hall, Essex Police can be reached by dialling 101, the NSPCC child abuse hotline is at 0808 800 5000 and County Hall is at 01245 430430.

THE LEADER of Essex County Council has issued a public appeal for evidence of a possible child abuse “cover-up” in the 1980s and 90s.

David Finch said the authority and Essex Police were keen to investigate recent allegations about a “paedophile ring” operating at County Hall.

Cllr Finch urged witnesses to come forward after a former NHS manager made a speech at the Houses of Parliament last week, where he made allegations of a child abuse “cover-up”.

The claims were made by Robin Jamieson, who was district psychologist – managing 20 staff – for Southend in the early 1990s and sat on the Child Protection Committee.

Mr Jamieson made a speech at a “whistleblowers event” at Westminster last Tuesday in front of MPs, barristers and campaigners.

He claimed that in the 1990s he was approached discretely by junior staff with alarming allegations, suggesting serious failures in child protection.

He said he reported the concerns to the council but found the response “insulting and threatening”.

He claimed he informed the police but had no knowledge of any subsequent investigation.

Yellow Advertiser

Essex, link to Glo database

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