The Friday Night Song
Monthly Archives: October 2015
Reblogged with permission from Tim Tate.
To read more excellent and informative blog posts by Tim please visit timtate.co.uk
Few documents have excited as much speculation as the membership list of the Paedophile Information Exchange. Claims about the number of members and their occupations have been made for more than 30 years, but the actual list itself has never been published.
Almost two years ago I learned the whereabouts of a copy of the list. I spent several months tracking down and then interviewing the person who held it. I was able to ascertain how this person came to own it and where it had been kept: a full chain of custody, in other words.
I also confirmed that last summer the list was handed to the Metropolitan Police and – subsequently – to the Goddard Independent Enquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. This ensured that if or when I obtained the document, there could be no suggestion that I had contaminated, amended or in any way interfered with its contents.
Last week, the document itself arrived at my office.
I have spent the past nine days analyzing the list. That process – of which more shortly – indicates that the police and the Home Office failed to assign sufficient importance to membership of PIE, and that children were subsequently sexually abused as a result.
First: the basic details.
The list is dated 1983 – 1984 (though there are handwritten annotations made, evidently by police officers, in 1985). These dates are important: they coincide with the period in which Leon Brittan, the Home Secretary, was under pressure to ban PIE. It is a matter of record that he did not do so.
There are 307 individuals listed as members. Four of the members were women.
Most – though not all – of the 307 have a membership number beside their name.
(It should be noted that this is only one version of what was, originally, a much lengthier record of approximately 1,000 members of PIE. The original full register was, in those pre-computer days, cut up and parceled to several police forces. This remaining list – the only one, to my knowledge, still in existence – is the result of that process.)
The document shows that some effort was made to establish the accuracy of the PIE membership records. 254 of the names were listed as UK residents: of these, addresses were shown and/or confirmed for 213 of them.
Of the remaining 41, just one was found to be an assumed name; 11 addresses were “unknown” and 4 others were shown as no longer in existence. 16 individuals were found to be unknown at the address given for them, with a final 9 showing no street address at all.
Of the 53 foreign members, there was one each in Sweden, Norway, Luxemburg, Canada and Iran; 2 each in the Republic of Ireland and West Germany (as it was then); 5 in Australia, 13 in France and 24 in the United States.
There are no recognizable politicians’ names on the list. And whilst Sir Peter Hayman, the foreign office official-cum spy outed as a PIE member in 1981 is included (his name, without any address, handwritten in pen), there is no mention of convicted spy and rumoured PIE member Geoffrey Prime.
There are two clergymen listed: one was a senior army chaplain. This man appears later to have resigned his commission and also have had a history of involvement with the Christian youth organization, the Boys’ Brigade. There is one other member shown as having a military rank – Major – but his address was a mail holding “BM Box Number” .
There are three University academics, two in the UK: one, Ken Plummer of Essex University,said last year that he had only joined PIE to facilitate his research. The address of the other was shown as an Engineering faculty, which presumably ruled out academic reasons for joining the organization.
Of the UK residents listed, 3 (all men) were recorded as having criminal records: CRO numbers have been written, in pen, beside their names – but with no details of what offences were committed. Additionally, one other member was listed as being in prison – again with no offence details shown.
These men with criminal records were rank and file members. The criminal convictions of PIE’s Executive Committee are not shown.
I do not have access to the Criminal Records Office database (maintained since 2006 by the Association of Chief Police Officers) or the former Criminal Records Bureau (now part of the Home Office Disclosure and Barring Service) . Nor do I have access to the Police National Computer which also maintains a database of criminal records. It is therefore impossible to know how many of the 254 UK-resident PIE members on the 1983-84 list might subsequently have been convicted of child sex offences.
But publicly available records, together with a separate list of British men who obtained child pornography from US dealers, show that several PIE members were subsequently convicted of offences against children- and that both the police and the Home Office failed to grasp the likelihood of this when dealing with either of the lists.
The US list first. In 1987 I was the researcher for a Cook Report documentary investigating child pornography. During the research I worked closely with two American law enforcement departments: US Customs and US Postals. Both maintained dedicated teamswhich were then the most effective international effort against the trade in child pornography. Both agencies supplied me with lists of British customers of proven American child pornography dealers.
Those lists contained 58 names and addresses: 53 were provided by US Customs, 5 by US Postals. Seven of those names appear on the PIE membership list: among them were three of PIE’s executive committee: Peter Bremner, Charles Napier and Leo Adamson.
Both US Customs and US Postals insisted that their lists had already been provided to the British government. Both were surprised that no action appeared to have been taken to investigate or charge the British men. The specialist agents in charge of both organisations said that their evidence should have been enough to secure convictions: this view was backed up (in a filmed interview) by the Assistant US Attorney who successfully prosecuted some of the American dealers in federal court.
I took the lists to the Metropolitan Police’s Obscene Publications Squad, with whom I was also working closely for the film. TO13 (as it was known) was then the only full-time police unit investigating child pornography. Its senior officer, Superintendent Iain Donaldson, was adamant that he had never been given the lists: he was angry about this and believed that what was plainly vital intelligence had been withheld from him, either by his superiors in the Met or by the Home Office which, under existing procedures, would have received them from the American government.
Donaldson was then fighting a bitter battle with the Met’s bureaucracy to increase the number of officers investigating child pornography and organized paedophilia. Of TO13’s 12 officers, just two were then tasked with tackling material involving children. We agreed that Roger Cook would interview Donaldson and hand the US lists to him on film: the Superintendent hoped that the embarrassment (to the Met) of appearing ignorant on national television would boost his chances of having more officers assigned to child pornography investigations. A clip of that (subsequently broadcast) encounter can be viewed below.
[Video can be viewed at timtate.co.uk]
Donaldson and his successors did eventually get more officers. But nothing appears to have been done with the names on the US lists – even though TO13 also held the PIE membership list on which seven of them were identified.
It would be another seven years before the first of those names – Peter Bremner (who had previous convictions in the 1970s) – was charged with contact offences against children: his victims were between five and eight years old. Bremner was jailed for six months.
Charles Napier was not prosecuted until the following year (1995). He was given a nine-month sentence on two counts of sexually assaulting an underage boy.
Leo Adamson was not brought to justice until May 2011 – 24 years after the Met was given the US lists showing him to be a purchaser of child pornography (and 27 years after his name appeared on the PIE list). At his trial, the court heard evidence that he and two other men had amassed 14,500 photographs, films and drawings depicting the rape and sexual abuse of young boys.
All three men were on the PIE membership list. All three men were also on the US Customs list. Had the Home Office or the Metropolitan Police acted on either, the men’s victims could have been spared.
Nor are these three former PIE officials isolated instances: the list I obtained last week shows that Membership Number 419 belonged to one T.J. Waters. It also showed that in 1983-84 his address was that of a private school in Surrey.
“T.J. Waters” is Terence James Waters: in the 1970s and early 1980s he was an art and carpentry teacher. He was also – according to the US Customs list – a proven customer of US child pornography dealers. Like Bremner and Napier he would not be prosecuted until the mid 1990s: in 1994 he was sentenced to 10 years for possessing indecent images of children – and for sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy.
But it would be a further 17 years before the facts about his systematic abuse of young boys at the Surrey school emerged. In 2011 he was charged with (and admitted) seven counts of indecent assault and five of indecency with a child. The court heard evidence that Waters had built a “secret room” in the school loft above his art room: during the 1970s and 1980s he took boys there to abuse them.
These men – Bremner, Napier, Adamson and Waters – are only those for which I have (thus far) been able to locate public records of criminal convictions. (The relatively small percentage of the overall PIE roster should not be taken as a reliable indication of the likely offending rate amongst its members, simply as an indication that without access to the criminal records database it is very difficult to locate convictions.)
There are others on the PIE list (as well as the US Customs/Postals lists) who should be – and should have been – investigated. PIE member No. 132, for example, was a teacher at an independent prep school for boys. He quit teaching unexpectedly early, but continued – according to his obituary – to help young pupils by taking them to sports fixtures in his car and buying them equipment.
The Goddard Enquiry needs to ask searching questions about what (if any) real effort was made by the Metropolitan Police to investigate the men who were identified on the PIE list. It must also seek an explanation for the failure to act on the US Customs and Postals lists. But above all it needs to demand answers from the Home Office. Why did Home Secretary Leon Brittan decide that PIE was not to be banned ? What instructions did he (or any of his successors) give to the Metropolitan Police that PIE members were to be thoroughly investigated and monitored ? At that time, the Met was the only police force to fall under the Home Secretary’s jurisdiction.
Goddard has the PIE list. It also, to my certain knowledge, has the US Customs and Postals lists from my Cook Report film. It needs to act on them.
To read more excellent and informative blog posts by Tim please visit timtate.co.uk
A retired Church of England priest has been found guilty of a string of sex offences dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.
Vickery House, 69, from West Sussex, had denied eight counts of indecent assault against six males aged 14 to 34, between 1970 and 1986.
He told the Old Bailey he was ashamed of his actions but claimed they were not sexual assaults.
House, of Brighton Road, Handcross, will be sentenced on Thursday.
The former vicar in Berwick, East Sussex, worked under Bishop Peter Ball, who was jailed for 32 months earlier this month after he admitted molesting young men between 1977 and 1992.
The Friday Night Song
Keith Vaz MP: What was the decision that you took about the allegation made by the witness ‘Jane’?
.DCI Paul Settle: On the 4th September 2013, and following the advice I’d received from the Crown Prosecution Service and in conjunction with further advice from the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the police applying what’s known as ‘The Code Test’ I decided that the investigation should not proceed any further..My reason for that was that I concluded that any action against Lord Brittan would be grossly disproportionate and would not have a legal basis as in order to interview him, we would have to have had reasonable grounds to suspect than an evidence (sic) [offence] had been committed.The investigation had shown that whilst an allegation had been made, the offence had not been ‘made out’ in law and, as such, those reasonable grounds had ceased..Vaz: So you found there was no reasonable grounds at all, and you went to the CPS. Did you have any difficulty – because this will become an issue in relation to other witnesses – did you have any difficulty in getting advice from the CPS?.Settle: Absolutely not. I reviewed all the evidence we had against Lord Brittan on the 7th of June and it’s a long time since I was at detective school, and I looked at the evidence, and I thought, I’m not quite sure about this, so I sought what’s known as ‘Early Investigative Advice’ from the Crown Prosecution Service. The report that I sent up was completely anonymised so there was no mention of Lord Brittan whatsoever in there, so we could get a completely objective, unbiased view and the report came back and that concurred with my thoughts that the offence of rape had not been ‘made out’ and that was specifically on the account that the victim, ‘Jane’, had given us. That’s before we spoke to anybody else – which we had done – but on the victim’s account alone it was unreasonable to suspect that anybody would have known that consent was an issue..Vaz: So there was no reason in your view to either interview him or to cause any further investigations to take place?.Settle: Absolutely not. I’d made an entry basically saying that I did not feel that the arrest of Lord Brittan was a proportionate response. The matter was over 40 years old, the offence was not clear-cut, the additional witnesses that we had traced despite it being 40-years-old did not support Lord Brittan’s presence. Jane had only identified him from a certificate she had allegedly seen and I was not convinced the necessary points for the offence had been proved.
From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]
1.5 You are entitled to be informed by the police of the following information and to have the reasons explained to you within5 working days of a suspect being: • arrested; • interviewed under caution; • released with no further action; • released on police bail, or if police bail conditions are changed or cancelled.
We’ll update this timeline when more information becomes available.
November 2012 – Complainant ‘Jane’ first makes allegation of rape against Lord Brittan to South Yorkshire Police. As the alleged incident took place in London in 1967, it was passed to the Metropolitan Police (MPS). 
December 2012 – Jane first meets with Tom Watson. 
July 2013 – Police seek ‘early investigative advice’ in respect of Leon Brittan. 
1 August 2013 – Early investigative advice provided. The reviewing lawyer’s advice was that in her view there was insufficient evidence. The lawyer advised that whether or not he was arrested and interviewed was an operational decision for the police.
Email also sent asking if the police intended to arrest and interview. No response received. 
4 September 2013 – DCI Paul Settle decides that the investigation into Leon Brittan over the rape allegation made by ‘Jane’ should not proceed. 
11 October 2013 – Exaro publishes ‘Police pursue new leads in paedophile case against ex-minister’ story which alludes to Jane’s case. HERE
3 February 2014 – Email sent from police to reviewing lawyer informing her that the police had taken no further action, but that the victim was unhappy with the decision and was seeking a face to face meeting or explanation in writing from the reviewing lawyer.
The CPS lawyer responded on the same day that as this had been a police decision the police were responsible for explaining the decision to the victim.
The case was now closed 
10 February 2014 – DCI Paul Settle meets with Tom Watson MP and explains decision not to proceed with Jane’s rape allegation. 
17 February 2014 – Meeting between complainant [Jane] and the Senior Investigating Officer [DCI Paul Settle] in the case to explain the decision to take no further action.  
Late March 2014 – Tom Watson meets Jane for the second time. According to his evidence at HASC he asks Jane to reflect and then write to him. 
April 2014 – Commander responsible for the Sexual Offences Unit, Graham McNulty, who was at that point unaware of the complainant’s reaction, requested an update on the investigation into the allegation concerning Lord Brittan. 
28 April 2014 – Letter sent from Tom Watson MP to the DPP 
28 April 2014 – Following the update, Commander McNulty asked for a review of the rape investigation from an experienced investigating officer who had not previously been involved in the case.  According to DCI Paul Settle this review did not look at his decision log. 
1 May 2014 – Tom Watson’s letter to the DPP received. 
2 May 2014 – Email from Head of CPS London RASSO Unit to MPS advising the CPS had received correspondence from an MP regarding the allegations against Leon Brittan and seeking confirmation that a file had not been submitted by the police.
6 May 2014 – Response from the Senior Investigating Officer [DCI Settle], confirming that a file had been submitted for early investigative advice and that subsequently he had made the decision to take no further action as there was insufficient evidence.
The case was still closed 
17 May 2014 – Exaro publishes ‘Tom Watson asks DPP to review rape claim against ex-minister’ story. HERE
17/18 May 2014 – The Sunday Mirror publishes ‘Tory cabinet minister accused of rape “protected from arrest in a murky establishment cover-up.” ‘ story. HERE and ‘Tom Watson blasts police failure and demands urgent inquiry into Tory cabinet minister accused of rape’, story HERE
19 May 2014 – According to DCI Settle the MPS begins its review. 
19 May 2014 – According to MPS review (started 28th April) findings,The review concluded, it recommended that Lord Brittan should be interviewed under caution.  According to DAC Gallan it was decided at the time of the review that Detective Superintendent David Gray take over from DCI Settle  According to DCI Paul Settle, he was informed when he made representations on the matter of the correspondence and his position to have no more to do with the investigation. 
20 May 2014 – Exaro publishes ‘ “Rapist” ex-minister named in Tom Watson’s DPP letter’ story. HERE
23 May 2014 – Exaro publishes a video of Jane’s account. HERE
27 May 2014 – Exaro publishes ‘Police smear woman who alleged rape by ex-minister’ story. HERE
30 May 2014 – Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution and by appointment at his solicitors. He denied the offence and stated that he did not believe he had ever met the complainant.
2 June 2014 – Commander McNulty received from the CPS a copy of the letter from Mr Watson to the DPP. 
2 June 2014 – Email sent from Detective Sergeant to reviewing lawyer,resubmitting papers via email and informing her that Leon Brittan had now been interviewed (on 30 May 2014), and requesting that she review the case in light of the interview.
The email should not have been sent direct to the lawyer as the case had been closed
Email sent from then Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins to Commander Graham McNulty enclosing the Tom Watson letter.
3 June 2014 – Email sent from RASSO Unit Head to MPS Chief Superintendent noting that the case would not be reviewed until it had been signed off by a police supervisor confirming that it met the evidential threshold for submission. A request was made for him to look into the matter.
3 June 2014 – Email from Detective Superintendent David Gray to RASSO Unit Head confirming the investigation is still live and asking for a decision to be based on the merits of the allegation, bearing in mind it is a year since the original advice was given.
3 June 2014 – Response sent from RASSO Unit Head to Detective Superintendent Gray stating that early investigative advice had been provided on 5 August 2013 and as far as the CPS was concerned that was an end to the matter, and explaining that there is a difference between early investigative advice and submission of a full file for a charging decision and this case was no different than any other insofar that the Director’s Guidance must be followed when submitting a file.
Essentially the officer in charge would need to confirm the investigation is complete; the MG3 would need to be signed off by a supervisor to confirm the evidential threshold has been passed and then a full set of papers would need to be submitted.
RASSO Unit Head commented that that any supervising officer may struggle to show that it meets the threshold bearing in mind the reasons given by the Senior Investigating Officer for the NFA which were that they could not advise on the case until the actions above had been completed.
3 June 2014 – Email from Commander McNulty to then Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins stating that the investigation was still live and the decision to interview Leon Brittan was made by an independent Detective Chief Inspector on the MPS Sapphire team based on the original CPS advice.
5 June 2014 – email sent from Detective Sergeant to RASSO Unit Head, saying the case has been reviewed by an Evidential Review Officer at Detective Sergeant grade who supported its submission.
5 June 2014 Response sent by RASSO Unit Head commenting that before the case could be accepted an officer of equal rank to Detective Chief Inspector or above needed to certify that the case had met the evidential threshold for submission to the CPS. In that submission information would also be required as to why that officer thought the original Detective Chief Inspector’s decision was wrong.
In addition, confirmation was needed that the investigation was now complete, for example there was clearly material that had not been supplied and needed to be explored further. Following that, the case should be correctly submitted in line with agreed police/RASSO procedures, that is, a paper file submitted with copies of all the relevant material, not sent via email to a personal email box.
5 June 2014 – the MPS submitted the evidence to the CPS which now included the statement from Lord Brittan and a record of the interview. 
5 June 2014 – Exaro publish ‘Met complains about Exaro’s “overly intrusive” investigation’ story. HERE
13 June 2014 – DPP responds to Tom Watson MP and says the matter will be referred to Supt Gray. According to Tom Watson the letter stated that the DPP felt that “procedures had been followed.” 
17 June 2014 – Letter of response to Tom Watson MP sent by the then Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins to Commander McNulty’s staff officer, for the attention of Supt Gray.
6 July 2014 – Lord Brittan was named in the media as being under investigation for a rape allegation.
7 July 2014 – Exaro publishes ‘DPP forced Scotland Yard to quiz Leon Brittan over rape claim’, story. HERE In which it is reported that “According to well-placed sources… the Met has replaced the officer in charge of the investigation [DCI Paul Settle]”
7 July 2014 – According to Met Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey in a letter to HASC (HERE) DAC Rodhouse becomes the Gold Commander in charge of Operation Vincente (the investigation into the allegation against the late Lord Brittan) 
30 October 2014 – Email from police liaison officer based at CPS London office to CPS legal manager, that she had received a submission of papers on the full code test in respect of Leon Brittan and was preparing to pass it to CPS for advice. Response from CPS legal manager was that this case was not suitable to be sent via the mailbox in the usual way and should be referred to RASSO Unit Head.
12 November 2014 – Papers resubmitted by police into RASSO police mailbox as per procedures for standard written advice cases and referred to Head of RASSO Unit. Papers included endorsement from Supt Gray.
22 November 2014 – ‘Triage’ of papers undertaken by RASSO Unit Head and case rejected on the basis that ‘neither the endorsement by Supt Gray or a Detective Sergeant satisfy the criteria set out in the Director’s Guidance, insofar that they are satisfied that the Full Code Test has been met. As the case has previously been NFA’d by the Police, as previously stated, we would additionally need the reasons why the decision made by the Senior Investigating Officer previously was wrong’.
21 January 2015 – Leon Brittan dies of cancer.
22 January 2015 – According to a letter to the HASC from DAC Rodhouse (HERE) “In response to media questions, the MPS confirmed on 22nd January 2015, the day after Lord Brittan’s death, that an investigation into a rape allegation in which a man in his 70’s had been questioned was ongoing. On the same day, a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, ‘A charging decision has not been made in this case and the matter remains with the police.’”
23 January 2015 – Deputy Assistant Commissioner Rodhouse wrote to then Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Tim Thompson asking the CPS to consider giving advice in the circumstances.
27 January 2015 – Operation Fairbank Gold Group meeting. DAC Rodhouse repeats request to RASSO Unit Head to review the Leon Brittan file. CPS RASSO Unit Head refuses and refers to the triage completed and previous contact, reiterating that before considering the file the following should be completed:
- An officer more senior than first Senior Investigating Officer to certify the case meets the evidential threshold to be submitted together with reasons why the earlier decision was wrong
- Confirmation that investigation is complete
Supt Gray stated that this had been done by him and submitted to the CPS. Subsequent email sent to Supt Gray from RASSO Unit Head states that his previous review of the case did not cover those points and if there was a further document which did, could he send it. No response to email received.
27 January 2015 – Email sent from then Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Tim Thompson to DAC Rodhouse saying that the issue would need to be considered centrally as it was not for the Area to decide an ad hoc departure from the Director’s guidance.
28 January 2015 – Email from then DCCP Tim Thompson to Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey and DPP’s Private Office, setting out the issue.
2 February 2015 – Area notified that the general issue was to be considered by the Director’s Legal Advisor and Strategic Policy and Accountability Adviser.
12 February 2015 – Meeting between DAC Rodhouse and the Chief Crown Prosecutor Baljit Ubhey and the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Tim Thompson. The CPS confirmed again that it would not revisit this case and explained that the Directors guidance and any change to it would have to be dealt with nationally.
Tom Watson’s evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, 21st October 2015. Keith Vaz, Chair, directed that the evidence should be specifically and solely related to the accusations by ‘jane’ against Lord Brittan.
Alison Saunders giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee 21 Oct 2015.
DPP Alison Saunders – “From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]”
Alison Saunders also makes clear that there was nothing in DCI Paul Settle’s original decision that was contrary to the ACPO/CPS guidance on the investigation of rape cases, which was referred to in Tom Watson’s letter to the DPP.
Patricia Gallan, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Specialist Crime and Operations and Steve Rodhouse, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Head of Crime and Operations giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee 21 Oct 2015.
Any objective viewer of yesterday’s evidence session of the Home Affairs Select Committee session would have to conclude that the decision making of the Metropolitan Police senior management was at fault.
I personally found DAC Steve Rodhouse’s evidence particularly unconvincing and his manner shifty.
DCI Paul Settle’s evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee, 21st October 2015. Keith Vaz, Chair, directed that the evidence should be specifically related to the accusations by ‘jane’ against Lord Brittan.
Of importance in all of this is the reasons why DCI Paul Settle decided to close the case without interviewing Lord Brittan.
Victoria Atkins MP – Where did the evidence lead you in this case [Jane] ?
DCI Paul Settle – The evidence led me to the conclusion that on Jane’s account alone the actual points to prove for rape were not there. Therefore, despite the fact that Jane was insisting that she’d been raped, in law, she hadn’t.
Later in the HASC session;
DPP Alison Saunders – From the complainants account herself, we [CPS] didn’t think there was enough on that alone for it to go ahead and there would not be sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect [for conviction]
The CPS opinion has never been made public, but the IoS can reveal that concerns were expressed as to whether, assuming an encounter took place, “the suspect was unaware that the victim was not consenting to the sexual intercourse between them”. “On the victim’s evidence alone,” says the advice, “there is no evidence that the suspect had asked the victim for sex, that he had demanded sex, that he had forced the victim to [lie] on the bed, neither did he ask her to remove her clothing”.
HASC: Letter from Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey to the Chair of the Committee, dated 14 October 2015
Oral evidence session 21 October
I have seen your letter of 13 October addressed to the Commissioner inviting him to attend an oral evidence session on the afternoon of 21 October to give evidence on matters concerning the late Lord Brittan. I have also seen the email sent from Carol Oxborough on the same date indicating that the Committee also wishes to take evidence from two officers involved in leading the investigation, namely DCI Paul Settle and DCI Sam Price.
With regard to the Commissioner, he is on official business overseas on the 21 October. He has, however, asked me to offer his attendance before the Committee on his return if the Committee would find that to be of assistance.
We do, however, have very considerable reservations about the attendance of DCI Settle and DCI Price before the Committee. We understand, of course, the Committee’s interest in the matters on which it is to take evidence and we are anxious that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) should be able to assist the Committee in the most effective way possible. We do not though think it is appropriate that relatively junior officers should be required to give evidence on purely operational matters in circumstances where it is possible for more senior officers to attend. In our view this would create an unhelpful precedent and may lead to anxiety amongst officers taking operational decisions that they may subsequently have to justify the detail of those decisions before a Committee of the House of Commons. This would seem to us to have significant implications for the operational independence of the police.
As I say above, we do understand the importance of the MPS being able to assist the Committee and, for this reason, I would like to suggest that both Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse should attend your session on 21 October to give evidence. AC Gallan has been the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations since 9 February 2015 and DAC Rodhouse became the Gold Commander in charge of Operation Vincente (the investigation into the allegation against the late Lord Brittan) on 7 July 2014. I am fully confident that AC Gallan and DAC Rodhouse will be able to give comprehensive evidence to the Committee on the matters it is considering while avoiding the difficulties that I mention in the previous paragraph.
Should you wish to discuss these issues I would, of course, be very happy to do so.
HASC: Letter from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse to the Chair of the Committee, dated 16 October 2015
I am writing in response to the questions that you have asked with regard to the investigation into Lord Brittan.
I hope that it assists if I answer each of your four questions in turn
1) When was it decided that no further action would be taken against Lord Brittan?
The investigation was ongoing at the time of Lord Brittan’s death, at which point the possibility of a prosecution came to an end. At no time had the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) publicly identified Lord Brittan as the subject of a criminal investigation. In response to media questions, the MPS confirmed on 22nd January 2015, the day after Lord Brittan’s death, that an investigation into a rape allegation in which a man in his 70’s had been questioned was ongoing. On the same day, a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, ‘A charging decision has not been made in this case and the matter remains with the police.’
Prior to this, the MPS had appealed against a decision by the CPS not to review a file of evidence sent to it in November 2014. The MPS was seeking independent scrutiny in order to reassure the public that a thorough investigation had been conducted and had resulted in insufficient evidence to bring charges. Correspondence with the CPS ended in June 2015 at which point the investigation was formally concluded.
2) Why did it take so long to come to that decision?
The MPS sent its final file of evidence to the CPS in November 2014. Although the MPS had judged that the evidence gathered made a decision to charge Lord Brittan unlikely, it still sought a review of the evidence. In our view, there was a need for a transparent external assessment of the case.
The CPS responded that it could not review the evidence because it fell outside its guidelines. These say the evidence should only be reviewed where the police believed that the case met the evidential threshold for charging.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse decided to appeal the decision by the CPS to refuse to review the file on the basis that the MPS still wanted to seek an independent view on the police investigation and decision making. It was felt that these were highly unusual circumstances where the previous independence of the police to tackle sexual offending by VIPs had been publicly called into question. A decision to take no further action in respect of this allegation would undoubtedly have resulted in media criticism and public cynicism and there was clearly a very strong public interest in ensuring that the correct decision had been made.
Lord Brittan could not therefore, at that point, have been informed that no action was to be taken in respect of this allegation. Although the MPS had concluded that there was not a strong case against Lord Brittan, the purpose of requesting a CPS view was to assess whether, in its view, it did reach the evidential standard. It would have been open for the CPS to conclude that it did not meet the threshold for charging and no further action should be taken, or that further enquiries were needed or that there was in fact sufficient evidence for a charge. It was therefore conceivable that a reviewing CPS lawyer could have concluded that LB could have been charged.
3) Why was Lord Brittan not informed immediately?
The investigation was ongoing at the time of his death as explained above.
4) What is the estimated cost of this investigation into Lord Brittan?
This investigation was conducted by officers engaged in a number of other investigations and was not separately costed. A brief assessment of the case indicates that the salary costs for the police officers who carried out the investigation are in the region of £3,800. This includes planning and conducting the investigation, preparing and submitting the files to the CPS. It does not include costs of supervision and governance through the Gold Group meetings through which senior officers and legal advisors scrutinise the investigative process. Nor does it include the costs of reviewing the investigation, legal support in drafting letters and communication support in dealing with enquiries from the media.
I hope that this information will assist the Committee.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner
This session will likely focus on the investigation into the allegation of rape by a witness known as ‘Jane’, and the circumstances and timing of the Metropolitan Police interview of Leon Brittan.
It may touch on other lines of investigation into the late Lord Brittan.
The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) will meet to gather evidence tomorrow, 21st October, at 2:15pm in The Grimond Room, Portcullis House. More information HERE
Giving evidence will be;
2:15pm – DCI Paul Settle, Metropolitan Police, Former Head of Operation Fairbank
2:45pm – Patricia Gallan, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Specialist Crime and Operations
Steve Rodhouse, Metropolitan Police, Deputy Assistant Commissioner – Head of Crime and Operations
3:15pm – Tom Watson MP
4:00pm – Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“The Committee firmly believes that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which the Home Secretary has established under the chairmanship of Judge Lowell Goddard, is the most appropriate channel for these very important matters to be examined.
Our evidence session is therefore intended as a continuation of the regular series of very helpful regular updates which the Committee received from the Metropolitan Police in the last Parliament and to hear evidence on a particular case.
The Committee fully appreciates that ongoing operational activities are a matter for the police and these areas will not be discussed during the session.”
Bury the name and you bury the shame…
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has today, Monday, 19 October, brought together all the various strands of non-recent child abuse allegations under a newly formed investigation team led by Detective Superintendent Ang Scott.
Whilst we are not prepared to give a running commentary on any ongoing live investigation, as Operations Midland and Fairbank have progressed officers identified a number of people and locations that were common to both enquiries. It is therefore operationally important to have the same officer in charge of these enquiries. This team will also be responsible for the preparatory work required to support the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.
This team will continue to investigate the various operations that are ongoing, including those historical allegations of impropriety by police officers dealing with sexual abuse in the period 1970-2005.
Detective Superintendent Scott, who is based within the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse (SOECA) Command, will oversee the work of officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, Directorate of Professional Standard and SOECA. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse remains as the Gold Commander.
To date the MPS has received 48 allegations of historical impropriety by police officers dealing with sexual abuse, during the period of 1970 to 2005. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is currently managing 29 of these.
The Friday Night Song
From a personal point of view, I’d just like to say that I met Peter on one occasion over 2 years ago and I found him to be one of the most impressive and principled people that I’ve talked to over the last 3 years and so I’m sorry to see him go though naturally I understand his reasons for resigning.
On Friday 16 October 2015 Peter McKelvie resigned from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s Victims’ and Survivors Consultative Panel.
Statement from Peter McKelvie
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it would not be appropriate for me to continue in my role as a member of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel VSCP on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). I have today been advised that I am likely to be required as a witness in the Inquiry’s investigations, and that the Inquiry may need to examine my work in pursuing allegations of CSA. In those circumstances it would not be right for me to continue to act in a consultative capacity, providing advice to the Chair and the Inquiry Panel.
Statement from Justice Lowell Goddard
I have accepted Peter McKelvie’s resignation as a member of the Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel (VSCP) on the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. I recognise and thank him for his contribution as part of the VSCP. I would also like to take this opportunity to stress that allegations concerning child sexual abuse related to Westminster are only one component of the Inquiry’s work. As I said in my opening statement the Inquiry’s terms of reference go far broader than this and encompass all institutions within England and Wales. This important work continues.
Statement from the Victims’ and Survivors’ Consultative Panel (VSCP)
Peter McKelvie has offered his resignation as a member of the VSCP based on his likely inclusion as a witness in the investigative work of the inquiry. We wish to express our gratitude to Peter for his enormous contribution to the work of our group and for his commitment over the last 30 years to protecting vulnerable children and victims.
Just to add that I have contacted the CPS with regards to the ACPO/CPS investigation guidelines for rape cases that was referred to in Tom Watson’s letter to the DPP. I’ve not received a reply but I have heard legal opinion that without any evidence beyond a complainant’s allegation to corroborate, there is no obligation on police to interview the accused and if this is the case then the police investigating Lord Brittan did not fail to follow those guidelines by not interviewing him originally as was suggested in the letter to Alison Saunders.
The Metropolitan Police is today (16 October) publishing the key findings from a report into the apology to Lady Brittan after the completion of an investigation into a rape allegation against her late husband, Lord Brittan.
The report was ordered by the Commissioner and has been sent to the Mayor in his capacity as the Police and Crime Commissioner for London. The full report is confidential as it contains details of the original allegation and it is not appropriate to put these in the public domain. Because of the unique circumstances of this case which includes it being the subject of a Commons Select Committee hearing the MPS is, in this release, naming Lord Brittan for the first time. The details of the report are summarised below.
The initial allegation of rape was made by the complainant to South Yorkshire Police in November 2012. The incident was alleged to have occurred in London in 1967 and so was passed to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
After an initial investigation, in which Lord Brittan was neither informed of the allegation nor interviewed, the MPS submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for ‘Early Investigative Advice’. This allows prosecutors to provide guidance and advice in serious, sensitive or complex cases.
In response, the CPS provided advice. Having received this advice, the investigating officer made the decision that no further action should be taken and the complainant was informed in person in September 2013.
In February 2014, the complainant met with the investigating officer and expressed unhappiness that Lord Brittan had not been interviewed.
In April 2014, the Commander responsible for the Sexual Offences Unit, Graham McNulty, who was at that point unaware of the complainant’s reaction, requested an update on the investigation into the allegation concerning Lord Brittan.
On receiving that update, after a meeting on 28April 2014, Commander McNulty asked for a review of the rape investigation from an experienced investigating officer who had not previously been involved in the case. This is part of established police practice.
On 17 May 2014, the complainant ‘Jane’ gave a media interview in which she detailed her allegation of rape against an unnamed ex-cabinet minister. She compared the investigation to cases then going through the courts in which celebrities were interviewed and was reported as saying that if the alleged attacker were not an ex-cabinet minister police would have arrested him and interviewed him under caution.
Also on 17 May 2014, there was a media report that Tom Watson MP had written to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to express his concerns about the investigation.
The review concluded on 19 May 2014, recommending that Lord Brittan should be interviewed under caution.
On 30 May 2014, Lord Brittan was interviewed by appointment at his solicitors. He was not arrested, and no searches were carried out. He denied the offence and stated that he did not believe he had ever met the complainant.
On 2June 2014, Commander McNulty received from the CPS a copy of the letter from Mr Watson to the DPP. There is no record of a copy being sent to the Commissioner, and no record of a briefing ahead of the interview with Lord Brittan. Nor would it be appropriate for the Commissioner to interfere in the investigation into a rape allegation, whoever was involved.
On 5 June 2014, the MPS submitted the evidence to the CPS which now included the statement from Lord Brittan and a record of the interview.
In response, the CPS said that before it was able to review the evidence, there were other inquiries the MPS should complete. It referred to the fact that the complainant had not been asked formally to identify Lord Brittan – a procedure required when the accused person has disputed being involved in the alleged incident.
On 6 July 2014, Lord Brittan was named in the media as being under investigation for a rape allegation.
On 7 July 2014, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse took over as the Gold Commander for the investigation.
Lord Brittan’s solicitors were contacted and informed of the need for an identification procedure. In essence, as Lord Brittan had disputed that he had met the complainant, there is a legal requirement to consider whether an identification procedure should be conducted. In this case, this consisted of ‘Jane’ being shown a series of images of men matching Lord Brittan’s broad appearance in 1967. The images were amended to conceal any distinctive features.
On 7 October 2014, this identification procedure happened. Contrary to some media reporting, Lord Brittan was not asked to participate in an identification parade alongside other men of his age in 2014. Lord Brittan’s solicitor was present during the identification procedure.
After completing the identification procedure, the MPS formally submitted a file to the CPS in November 2014 requesting a review of the evidence. The MPS requested a transparent, external assessment of the case as a matter of public interest.
On 22 November 2014, the CPS wrote back saying it would not consider the file because it did not meet the appropriate criteria. The CPS guidelines state that cases should only be referred at this point if the police believe there is sufficient evidence to charge a suspect.
On 25 November 2014, DAC Rodhouse decided to appeal the decision by the CPS.
It was felt that these were highly unusual circumstances where the previous independence of the police to tackle sexual offending by VIPs had been publicly called into question. A decision to take no further action in respect of this allegation would undoubtedly have resulted in media criticism and public cynicism, and there was clearly a very strong public interest in ensuring that the correct decision had been made.
Lord Brittan could not therefore, at that point, have been informed that no action was to be taken in respect of this allegation. Although the MPS had concluded that there was not a strong case against Lord Brittan, the purpose of requesting a CPS view was to assess whether, in its view, it did reach the evidential standard. It would have been open for the CPS to conclude that it did not meet the threshold for charging and no further action should be taken, or that further enquiries were needed, or that there was in fact sufficient evidence for a charge. It was therefore conceivable that a reviewing CPS lawyer could have concluded that Lord Brittan could have been charged.
The matter was raised informally with the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for London on 15 January 2015, and then in writing on the 23 January and the 2 February. Lord Brittan died on the 21January.
At no time had the MPS publicly identified Lord Brittan as the subject of a criminal investigation.In response to media questions, the MPS confirmed on 22 January, the day after Lord Brittan’s death, that an investigation into a rape allegation in which a man in his 70’s had been questioned was ongoing. On the same day, a statement from the CPS said: ‘A charging decision has not been made in this case and the matter remains with the police.’
DAC Rodhouse met the Chief Prosecutor for London on 12 February and requested that the file of evidence be reviewed and a decision reached on whether a prosecution would have followed had Lord Brittan been alive.
On 5 March, Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, requesting a change of CPS policy to allow files to be considered where there was ‘significant public interest’. A further letter was sent on 1 April repeating the request and referring to the case of Lord Brittan. It accepted that as Lord Brittan had now died, the CPS may not wish to review the file in this case but still sought a change of approach.
A final response was received from the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London on 24 June confirming that the CPS would not review the request.
Investigating officers met the complainant in April, in line with the ‘Victim’s Code’,and informed her that there would not have been a prosecution had Lord Brittan been alive. She was told the CPS would not review the file and that the matter was now closed.
No contact was made with Lord Brittan’s solicitors after they were made aware that a file was to be sent to the CPS following the identification procedure.
The report’s conclusion:
The MPS accepts that Lord Brittan’s solicitors should have been informed at the same time as the complainant was informed. This would have permitted them to clarify the position with Lady Brittan, for which the MPS apologised in a letter to her solicitors on 6 October2015.
There had been no previous contact between the MPS and Lady Brittan during the investigation as it is not normal procedure to inform anyone other than the person accused of the offence. Relatives of people who die whilst under investigation would not normally be contacted after their death and would not be told what the outcome of the investigation would have been, or indeed whether it would have led to a charge or not. But the MPS recognises – as it did throughout the dialogue with the CPS – that the public interest in the case required a different approach.
It is important to recall that the context at this time included significant reporting of allegations that the MPS had failed to investigate allegations against politicians properly in the past.
In 2013, a Home Office review found that “credible” elements of a dossier into alleged paedophilia, reportedly handed by the then MP Geoffrey Dickens to the Home Secretary Leon Brittan in 1984, were sent to police and prosecutors where they had “realistic potential” for further investigation.
On 7 July 2014, the Home Secretary ordered an inquiry ‘to consider whether public bodies – and other non-state institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse.’
On 31 October 2014, Fiona Woolf resigned as chairman of the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse after her social links to Lord and Lady Brittan were disclosed.
As of October 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission is managing 29 separate investigations concerning historic allegations of impropriety by MPS officers when dealing with sexual abuse in the period 1970-2005.
This helps to explain the context in which the MPS sought an independent review of its investigation.
The MPS is frequently contacted about ongoing investigations by MPs acting on behalf of their constituents or campaigning for a particular cause.We accept that this is part of their Parliamentary duties and a legitimate part of holding the police to account in a democracy.But the principle that police officers are independent when making decisions about operational matters is one that we firmly adhere to.
The MPS is concerned that current legislation allowing suspects to be publicly named before charge, whilst those bringing allegations are anonymous, creates an imbalance which should be addressed. The Commissioner has already stated that he believes there should be a ban on identifying suspects before charge to remedy this imbalance.
Under the ‘Code of Practice for Victims of Crime’, the police are required to update complainants or victims within five working days about such matters as arrests and interviews under caution during an investigation. (See Section 1.5 of the Code). Past experience has demonstrated that complainants can lose confidence in the investigation if they are not kept informed about such activity and find out via the media or third parties. The MPS believes this should be continued, but we recognise it creates a risk that the media find out the identity of suspects who have been arrested or interviewed under caution but have not been, and may never be, charged.
MPS response to the report:
– The Commissioner has asked a separate force to review this investigation to ensure it was thorough, properly conducted and to identify good practice.
– The MPS continues to advocate that the CPS should amend its Director’s Guidance so that independent advice can be provided when there is significant public concern but where the charging threshold has not been met due to insufficient evidence.
– The Commissioner invites legislators to consider the issue of pre-charge publicity for suspects and whether additional legal safeguards are required.
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A good friend of mine told me not so long ago that a great many people were confused about where I stood on some issues. “The problem is”, she told me, “you appear to write something that appears to be supportive of one side and critical of another and then without blinking you’ll write something that appears to be sympathetic to the other side and critical of the side you appeared to support earlier and this confuses some people who are watching.”
My friend wasn’t being critical of me, she knows my thoughts only too well, she was just trying to explain to me why it is that I tend to get attacked from all sides because there is sometimes confusion about where I stand. The big problem as I see it is the perception that there are ‘sides’ and that we all need to pick one. It should be obvious, I hope, that I support CSA survivors, justice, and the CSA Inquiry but to my mind these principles aren’t controversial, most commentators on the CSA issue would say they support the same. If it isn’t a contradiction to say so, the entire debate has become fractured and polarised – shared agendas, mutual animosities, misplaced loyalties, and improbable alliances determine these ‘sides’ and they are forever shifting. Given that most genuinely believe they have honourable motives while at the same time too many act in the most appalling way, I’ve never felt any great compulsion to join a ‘side’ and that way I’m free to write as I wish and if some who self-identify with one particular side or the other are confused by this – if they read some things I write as being supportive of their ‘side’ and want to co-opt it while reading other things I write and wish to ignore or dismiss it – that is their choice but what I’m not going to do is feel bound to always write posts that support a particular view just because to do so would make my life more comfortable.
This, I suspect, will be one of those posts that will leave a lot of people on all ‘sides’ a little confused.
You see, I have a great deal of admiration for both DCI Paul Settle and Tom Watson MP. I think that Paul Settle and his team of police officers always acted diligently and pursued their investigations correctly under incredible public pressure and press scrutiny and I think that Tom Watson was courageous for championing the cause of CSA survivors and he is one of the few high profile public figures that actually ‘gets it’. However, it is symptomatic of the broader debate that those commentating online and in the press feel it necessary to perceive and then portray both of them either through rose tinted glasses or through a glass darkly depending on their already established positions.
Yesterday, Tom Watson made a short statement in the House of Commons (HERE) it was bold and justified given everything that he will know but then Tom Watson also released his letter to the DPP and gave an interview to Channel 4 News both of which contained thinly veiled criticism of DCI Paul Settle.
I’m afraid that my own view on this is that these criticisms, which I’ve highlighted in the copy of the DPP letter below, are that they read more like a reflection from that time of the Gospel according to Exaro in their bunker. Pretty much all of the potential problems that Tom Watson faces over this issue stem from his over-trusting relationship with Exaro News, everything else like his original PMQ which his political enemies have attempted to spin against him, can easily be justified and are actually to his credit.
Naturally, it can all be reasonably explained but who on either ‘side’ are prepared to listen to reasonable explanations ?
And now what ?
Well, my own prediction is that this is all now going to get very nasty indeed and as I like and admire both Paul Settle and Tom Watson, and as I feel no great passion to write a detailed running commentary on the finer points of who is right and wrong, or continually but vainly attempt to correct misperceptions when everybody else commentating will be deliberately trying to perpetuate them – my own position on this will be rather like the young boy in the classic 1953 Western Shane, pictured above. I’ll watch wide eyed and silent but when the bigger and powerful men start brawling I know that I’m going to keep out of the way and just try to dodge the occasional bit of furniture that might fly in my general direction.