Lady Brittan apology: MPS publishes key findings from report

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.

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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.

Key findings:

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.

Additional context:

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.

New.met.police.uk

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26 Comments

Filed under Abuse, News, Politics

26 responses to “Lady Brittan apology: MPS publishes key findings from report

  1. Observer

    EXaro naming Brittan or even hinting at him and other crimes has hindered the on going investigations. Some journalists are premature in going for the big scoop. I am starting to believe Watts is one of those.

    On a separate note the Leverson connection to politicians and them retiring or being forced to quit grows. Harmon and Cameron are the two biggest scalps. I feel Milliband is potentially another and now they have turned on Tom Watson. Anyone connected to Leverson will in turn be ruined.

  2. My understanding is this, that Brittan would have have had problems explaining how the complainant knew certain details about him had he never met her, as he claimed. On the other hand, as he would have been tried under the auspices of the law and its’ guidelines in 1967 then, the complainant’s case was almost bound to fail due to her failure to specifically say “No” to her assailant.

    If one were of a truly conspiratorial nature then, it could be mooted that the complainant had been furnished intimate details of Brittan by some third party and either chose to make the complaint them self or, were encouraged to make the complaint by outside parties.

    Whether this case has any true merit we will probably most likely never know however, to pretend that Brittan wasn’t beset by rumours and veiled accusations from the early 1970s onwards, would be to ignore the truth of the situation.Any political commentator who claims otherwise is either criminally ill informed or, pedalling a particular agenda.

    For my part, the nicest thing I can think to say about Brittan is that. he was incredibly lax and had a totally laissez faire attitude towards accusations of a very serious nature whilst he held one of the highest offices in this country. He was either an incredibly stupid person, an analysis I find severely lacking or, he was the “perfect patsy” in many ways, to be used to hide the establishment’s dirty linen.

    Brittan’s elevation to such lofty heights was viewed with genuine surprise within the chattering classes in Whitehall and elsewhere within the bowels of the governmental machinery, Now it may well be that, it was all a terrible mistake and that, the several rumours about his sexuality were totally unfounded. Then again, if I were looking to bury a possible scandal involving the abuse of under age people circa the early 80s, then maybe Brittan was the perfect fit?

    • tdf

      “Any political commentator who claims otherwise is either criminally ill informed or, pedalling a particular agenda. ”

      Or, as in the case of David Aaronovitch, entirely incapable of self-reflection and learning.

      He never found those WMD’s in Iraq, did he?

      • gw

        Accusing DA of being a “friend of paedophilia” is a pretty debased thing to do. Adds nothing to the debate – only hinders it. For crying out loud!!

      • tdf

        When I copied that tweet from David Aaronovitch, I took it to be a generalised challenge. I did not realise it was in response to a specific question referring to his writings on paedophilia. I agree that accusing sceptical writers of being ‘friends of paedophilia’ is unhelpful at best. But he’s still an idiot.

  3. Pingback: Lady Brittan apology: MPS publishes key findings from report | Alternative News Network

  4. Hauge and Brittan and Thatcher had the Documents on The North Wales abuse in 1978,Thatcher did not want it to come out while in power..Hauge Brittain Destroyed WHY??????1980.

  5. Andy Barnett

    It’s clear from the statement that the Met had not dropped the case when Brittan died. So why are BBC News still reporting this?

  6. Dave

    What happened to the story of a video tape (the London Tape?) being confiscated by Customs Officers…? Has that become no more than rumour and hearsay…?

    • dpack

      it seems the early1980’s tapes with tricker are a red herring(although tricker is(was?) a vile chap , the late 1980’s one alledgedly seized from a vip by solanki who made a statement to the police naming that vip and describing the nature of the tape is yet to be clarified.

    • gw

      – Express journalist looked for evidence to fit a conclusion
      – Interviewed a customs officer and later wrote an article alleging that Russel Tricker had been caught with a compromising tape of Leon Brittan “LB”
      – The interview (which I have heard) does reference Brittan but in no way substantiates the claim
      -“LB” certainly refers to the “Lover Boys” film
      – Customs Officer gave statement to police as written about in the telegraph article linked within that post
      -Allegedly he said Leon Brittan was stopped at the border possessing indecent material

      To answer your question literally;

      “What happened to the story of a video tape (the London Tape?) being confiscated by Customs Officers…?”

      – by London Tape I assume you mean the “LB” tape. That is the “Lover Boys” film

      -Has that become no more than rumour and hearsay…? No, it is correct that Russel Tricker was stopped in possession of that tape, and others (Amsterdam Tramway Museum, Golden Boys 10)

  7. dpack

    did i hear on the news that the met have asked for a case review from “another”police force?
    is it a review of one allegation? or of the multiple allegations including the ones that have not been hyped in the press?

    re smeared by rogue spooky types it seems unlikely as he was very onside with the ones im thinking of.smeared by their opposition within the spooky world is possible but when that element tried to assert themselves they seem to have used truth as a weapon.

  8. “Tom Watson got his way on the rape allegation” that’s a very tendentious statement from #Panorama. posted by Peter Jukes.

    Just putting this here Gojam.

  9. Was the Right Honourable Sir Leon Brittan photographed by undercover police officers at an “underage sex den”? Yes or No?

    I am going to keep asking this question until we get an answer.

    It is hard to believe that retired police officers, alleged victims of Leon, Nick, Jane, the customs officer, are all lying about Sir Leon Brittan.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/top-tory-leon-brittan-photographed-5037869

    QUOTE FROM ARTICLE:

    “Top Tory Leon Brittan ‘photographed entering underage sex den during police investigation'”

    “Leon Brittan was photographed entering an underage sex den during a police investigation, it has been claimed.

    The Tory Lord, who died on Wednesday, is said to have been snapped by officers on a 1986 surveillance operation focusing on rent boy orgies run in North London buildings.

    Detectives were watching premises where the boys picked up at King’s Cross were dropped off to be repeatedly raped, say friends of an officer involved.

    Big names believed to have been photographed entering the dens included former Home Secretary Brittan, MP Cyril Smith and some top judges.

    Sources claim up to 16 high profile figures were due to be arrested.

    But the day before the swoops were to be carried out, officers on the investigation, called Operation Orchid, were allegedly told it had been disbanded.”

    Another article about Sir Leon Brittan allegedly attending paedo parties: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/554152/Leon-Brittan-paedophile-party-claims

    By the way ladies and gents, BE SURE to take screen shots of these articles before they are changed or disappear.

    Our establishment friends are working FAST to change, erase or disappear online news articles that implicate VIPs.

    Some have already been changed or vanished.

    Take screen shots of any interesting/relevant article you find!

    • Andy Barnett

      I read something earlier this year about Ted Heath forcing young Tory MPs to give him blow jobs in the HoC at gunpoint. Apparently posted by the son of one of those given this privelige. Cant find it now.

    • More nonsense. The mirror story isn’t based on accounts given by the detectives supposedly doing the surveilling, they are based on what other retired detectives claim they were told about it by their colleagues who were doing the surveillance. Gossip & rumor, nothing more.
      And the Express story you cited may be the worst piece of non-informative pseudo-journalism in the history of the English language.

      Leon Brittan was the MInister in charge of policing & justice at the time that Tom O’Carrol the leader of PIE was prosecuted & jailed (early 1980’s) – coincidentally the same time that rumors about Leon Brittan having teenaged boyfriends were originally spread. That’s no coincidence, those rumors were PIE’s vengeance – and you are DOING THE WORK OF PIE ACTIVISTS everytime you repeat slanders against Brittan.

      • tdf

        @Justin:

        “That’s no coincidence, those rumors were PIE’s vengeance – and you are DOING THE WORK OF PIE ACTIVISTS everytime you repeat slanders against Brittan”

        You put that forward as a speculative – and, granted, a plausible, theory, and now you are implying it is the only possible explanation? I have not seen you supply any definitive evidence for this theory. It is just one of multiple plausible explanations for the allegations/rumours about Brittan.

      • nuggy

        if that was true wouldn’t they have targeted dickens as well.

      • Sabre

        Give it a rest Justin. If you know the source of the mirror story tell the rest of us. Before you get a flash of inspiration and allude to stories I’ve criticised because they were from ‘informed sources close to …’ etc I’ll admit that the weakness with all the stories is that they are unattributed.

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