Was The Met’s Interview Under Caution Of Leon Brittan ‘Unlawful’?

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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.
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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?
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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.
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Vaz: So there was no reason in your view to either interview him or to cause any further investigations to take place?
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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.
To understand why the question of whether, subsequent to DCI Settle being removed as head of the investigation, the Metropolitan Police’s interview of Leon Brittan under caution on 30th May 2014 may have been unlawful or not we need to first clearly understand exactly what DCI Paul Settle is saying here.
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Cutting away all of the legal and official terminology, what is being said is that; In law, and from the complainant Jane’s own statement to the police, the criminal offence of rape did not take place.
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That is a very harsh way of putting it but necessary if we’re going to follow the argument through about whether Leon Brittan’s interview was lawful or not . It looks from the available evidence that this conclusion was reached because the issue of whether the accused would have known that Jane had not given consent was not demonstrated from her statement.
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It is not just DCI Paul Settle that reached the conclusion that from Jane’s statement to the police, no crime could be shown to have taken place. DCI Settle sent an anonymised account of the evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for ‘Early Investigative Advice’ and the CPS agreed with his view. Furthermore, the DPP Alison Saunders using the same legal and official terminology supported that position at the HASC when she stated;
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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]
This issue has become clouded in the public perception because, according to DCI Settle, the account that Jane has given to the media differs from the two statements that she gave, first to South Yorkshire Police and then to the Metropolitan Police (MPS).
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On Saturday 17th May 2014 Exaro News published a version of Jane’s account in 5 Parts. The first part of that account can be found HERE. In this account there are a few points at which any objective reader would conclude that consent was an issue. Two days later, on Monday 19th May , it appears that DCI Paul Settle was removed from the investigation and the decision to interview Lord Brittan under police caution was taken.
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It begs the question whether whoever had taken that decision had taken the time to read Jane’s original police statements before doing so or had simply based it on the account that had been published on Exaro and subsequently in The Sunday Mirror. I say, “it begs the question” but frankly, suggesting such profound levels of incompetence and negligence by senior MPS management would be so incredible that I feel somewhat foolish even posing it.
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It may be that Jane might decide to publish the two police statements herself, suitably redacted to protect her anonymity, and we may then be in a position to judge for ourselves in what respects these statements differ from the account published by the media. Jane can do this, the authorities can not and so for the purposes of this post I’m going to assume that the two accounts differ substantively and that the conclusion reached by DCI Settle and the CPS was the correct one and that when DCI Settle states that the first hurdle of any investigation, whether a crime had actually had taken place based on the complainant’s allegation – was not passed in this case, regardless of what the Jane felt.
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This then brings us on to the explanation that DAC Steve Rodhouse gave for re-opening the investigation and interviewing Lord Brittan under caution but before we do I’d like to suggest one avenue of investigation to any journalists that are reading this which may throw more light on the events at the Empress Building on the 19th May 2014. Lord Brittan was interviewed under police caution by appointment at his solicitors on 30th May 2014. It would be extremely useful to know when the police made this appointment to interview. Was the appointment made on Monday 19th May ?
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DAC Rodhouse gave two reasons why he felt it was right to re-open the investigation and interview Lord Brittan. The first was misidentification and the second was that the allegation may have been malicious.
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On the first point, given that the CPS had concluded that no crime had taken place, what purpose was served in investigating whether it was Lord Brittan who had not raped Jane, or if Jane had misidentified him and that some other man resembling Leon Brittan had not raped her ? The identity of the person alleged to have been involved is completely irrelevant given that on the basis of Jane’s police statements no crime had taken place.
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On the second point, that the possibility that Jane’s allegation may have been malicious and that needed to be investigated, I concur but under those circumstances Lord Brittan should have been interviewed as a potential victim and not under police caution.
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The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime stipulates that a complainant must be informed of any significant action taken by the police, such as an interview or an arrest within 5 working days of the action being taken.
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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.
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On Friday the 30th May 2014 Lord Brittan was interviewed under caution, which means that Jane would have to have been informed of this before Friday 5th June 2014 – One month later on 7th July Exaro published ‘DPP forced Scotland Yard to quiz Leon Brittan over rape claim’HERE
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The police were well aware that Jane had a close relationship with Exaro those that took the decision to interview Leon Brittan can not claim ignorance of the consequences of their actions. It is clear from DCI Settle’s evidence to the HASC that he understood what the consequences would be. Lord Brittan’s name was then in the public domain associated with a sexual offence.
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DAC Rodhouse’s account makes absolutely no sense.
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I’m not a lawyer and I’m not appraised of what constitutes a lawful and unlawful use of the police powers to interview a person under police caution and so I’m in no position to make a judgement. However, my suspicion is that the police acted unlawfully when it interviewed Lord Brittan under police caution.
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37 Comments

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37 responses to “Was The Met’s Interview Under Caution Of Leon Brittan ‘Unlawful’?

  1. Pingback: Was The Met’s Interview Under Caution Of Leon Brittan ‘Unlawful’? | Alternative News Network

  2. gw

    Not legal knowledge whatsoever but interview under caution seems excessive. What would the grounds be for interview without caution?

    This seems less about Watson and more about internal police dynamics and Exaro…yawn.

    • The police could have requested a voluntary interview.

      It is about internal police dynamics (IPD). Watson is kind of irrelevant.

      The IPD and the consequences of DCI Settle’s removal may have had consequences on the handling of subsequent investigations and will therefore be of great interest for possible future inquiries.

      • Parsonage

        “Watson is kind of irrelevant.”

        DCI Settle doesn’t believe so apparently

        What I thought very striking was that none of the accusations taken forward by Watson had been put to him by his own constituents according to Settle. It’s not although there aren’t issues

        “The Mail has discovered how children across the region have been failed by police, councils and social services – with some known offenders not being prosecuted and victims being locked away in secure accommodation to protect them.

        The sickening situation was revealed by Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) in a Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Prevention and Intervention Strategy published in September 2013. It was sent to partner agencies, including West Midlands Police, but was never issued to the media.”

        http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/west-midlands-police-report-reveals-7948902

        “West Bromwich East is one of four constituencies covering the Metropolitan Borough of Sandwell, covering the east and north-east of the borough. It includes most of the town of West Bromwich and the part of Great Barr that is in Sandwell.”

        Strange that.

        Maybe it’s just not the type of CSE that Watson wants to get involved in

      • Sabre

        Do the police always anonymise requests for early investigative advice or did they do so in this instance based on fears that cps advice is tailored to those being investigated? It appears that Settle was of the view that a prima facie case was impossible to establish due to the fact that legislation current at the time of the alleged offence was much stricter with regard to indication of ‘no consent’ at the time. Settle appeared to be mindful of the need to ‘keep his powder dry’ for possible future use.

    • Jack

      An interview under caution only applies where the police have reasonable cause to suspect the interviewee may have committed a crime or offence.

  3. Gojam,

    For whatever reason you have decided that Settlle was being truthful and Roadhouse was not. It also seems that the biased way the msm covered the hearing is not enough for you, so you need to add to it.

    However, missing from your piece is the fact that the CPS temailed Settle and said the decision to interview LB was an operational decsion for the police and then asked if he was going to conduct an interview. Roadhouse also said it was highly unusual for a suspect in a rape case not to be interviewed.

    I think anyone who looked at your tweets and recent posts can see that your biias and not your quest for the ‘truth’ is at play here. Thank God for tweets by Peter Jukes, Mysweetlandlord and Ian Pace on the hearing. In any event it is apparent that ‘jane’ has been used as a weak link to undermine TW and CSA, and to persuad the public that all charges againts LB are wrong. In fact the DM iin one of its stories conflated ‘jane’ and charges of child abuse in one story about LB, and then said they had all been dropped.

    If the purpose of this blog is to report the ‘truth’ where are your stories correcting the disgraceful way msm covered the hearing. Crickets.

    I know attack me again as an Exaro groupie much easier than addressing what I say.

  4. 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]

    What you quoted has nothing to do with should LB be interviewed. All it is saying is based on what they have so far, which obviously could change based on new evidence such as LB being interviewed. As Roadhouse said had LB been interviewed sooner the whole thing would have been cleared up much quicker.

    I am not sure if Settle is your source or your source’s source, but he came across as bitter with a nasty vendetta against TW, and his buddies stories in the DM back that up further. Seeems Pace, Landlord, Jukes and many others could see that, but you have dedcided his eveidnce wa ‘truthful’ no agenda, and his senior officers are being dishonest.

    • No Tricia,
      I have no sources as you put it.THE WAY I SEE IT AFTER READING EVIDENCE.DCI GOT GIVEN COMPLAINT.DCI WASUNT SURE REGARDING THE MERITS OF PROCECUTTING.SPOKE TO SANDERS (CPS) SHE MADE THE DECISION AS (DCI CANT)THEN TW WROTE LETTER ASKING WHY NO ACTION ON BEHALF OF (JANE) AT THIS POINT SHOULD OF CORRESPONDED WITH (DEAR MR TW,RE ISSUES RAISED ,THE CPS STAND BY ITS DECISION MADE)THEN WROTE THIS IS A CRIMINAL MATTER ,THIS IS NOT AN MP MATTER ,AND IF ANYONE IS NOT HAPPY WITH OUTCOME THEN IPCC THEY SHOULD COMPLAIN TO LIKE ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL,TW ,THIS MATTER IS A POLICE MATTER NOT MP/OR MEDIA/…..THAT SHOULD OF BEEN END OF IT ,,,BUT NO TW,TALKS TO EXTRO AND JANE TOO.THEN MEDIA BLOW OUT OF CONTROL.WHAT I WANT TO KNOW WHY WAS DCI SETTLE SACKED FOR?????????DOING HIS JOB ,OR TAKING THE WRAP FOR THE EXTRO LEAK?????????????????

    • M

      Alison Saunders, on the subject of a realistic prospect of conviction “At no time did this (Jane’s case) meet that test”.

      On the subject of the Met later requesting the review ie POST-Settle, she also then said “On the basis of evidence which was the complainant’s evidence and some other bits, we did not think there was a realistic prospect of conviction. It did not get any stronger with any further investigation and that’s why we were clear it never met the test for coming to us for charging advice because there was never a realistic prospect of conviction”

      Paul Settle was right.

      Jane hasn’t been used as a weak link. She was a weak link from the offset.

      • @tazzdevil,

        I wasn’t asking you if it was your source.

        @M

        Saunders was rights about Janner too. Let’s not forget CPS has a history of cover up – Bishiop Ball is just one.

        Leaving that aside as Roadhouse said had LB been interviewed from the outset this whole thing would have been settle sooner.

        What Gojam leaves out as it doesn’t fit his story is that after Settle sent case to CPS they said – the decion to interview LB was a operational decsion for the police and asked him if he was going to interview LB.

        There you have it.

        Yes, S was told BASED on what he sent – no case.

        S was told police decision to decide to interview LB

        S decided not to.

        S’s bosses decide he was wrong.

        BTW, Gojam your heqdline is crass, but with sucj talent I am sure the sun or mail could hire you.

  5. I have just listend to Janes interview with Extro 21 may…I am sorry ,listening to interview and jane revealing she was intraped before within her own flat,I would say i would be very very carefull who i entertained after that.Has Janes Friend who gave her information of blind date been interviewed to state she gave information for janes blind date? Jane stated she went down stairs.L B lived in top flat.jane then said LB looked on top of fridge and got keys and locked door.Why didunt LB do that when first went in as he didunt force her did he and that would of been his opputunity if intended to do what jane states.Jane then states she was pushed into back of room,it was dark,then she says LB told her to go in bedroom.jane did not mention she couldunt see bedroom or it was dark.Jane then states SHE sat on bed,Jane then states she cant remember who took her clothes of…..Jane then states he LB got on top of her, no screaming mentioned or struggle.Not on one occation, as JANE said LB forced me to take clothes of ,or even ripped them of.Jane then states she stayed in toilet and locked herself in bars on window but could see THROUGH window nobody around(she stats she didunt know area ,how would she know ,their could of been anyone around if she smashed window screamed and GOT attention to herself,SHE DOESUNT).Jane then states she comes out of toilet after while LB outside,she didunt state she had tryed to get away.Jane then states after it all LB gave her water .Jane SAID last she knew,LB wakes her she walks out and says she followed him as he walked fast…………I AM SORRY THEY ARE RITE NOT TO TAKE ACTION ,NOT ON ONE OCCATION DID SHE TRY TO GET AWAY.ANY WOMEN WHO FEELS IN FEAR RATHER GOES BLANK OR ABSOULOTERY MAD AND ANGRY AS FEELS OUT OF CONTROL .SORRY EXTRO YOU WERE JUST AFTER STORIES ,,TRY EXPLORING THE TRUTH .START WERE IT ALL ORIGINATED NORTH WALES……….WHAT A WASTE OF POLICE TIME AND MONEY WATSON JANE EXTRO.I HAVE BEEN REPORTING MY ISSUES FOR 35 YEARS ,BECAUSE ITS NOT A CELEBIRTY PAPERS DONT CARE……BUT THE POLICE HAVE A JOB TO DO AND MEDIA /POLITICS ARE GETTING IN THE WAY OF FACTS COMEING OUT…….

  6. gw

    I’m waiting for the Home Affairs Select Committee to grill people over the raid of Cliff Richard’s house…

  7. @sabre

    Good points. The truth is Settle could have interviewed LB and settled this whole thing. It was onvious from Settle’s testimony that had it been a regular bloke he would have interviewed him.

    BTW, is it true that one is charged based on the law at the time and not as it is now.? where is that from?

    • gw

      Think about it. Masters of the Hunt were not rounded up following the passing of the hunting ban! Article 7 of ECHR:

      1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.

      2. This Article shall not prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognised by civilised nations.

      Thanks.

    • Sabre

      Hi tricia, I have not been called to the Bar but I’m sure that one is charged according to the law at the time of the alleged offence. The trial tests for a breach of the law at the time of the alleged offence. On conviction one is sentenced according to law current at the time. I believe the above to be generally true there may be exceptions.

  8. I must looked it up and on a quick read it seems the issue of ‘consent’ was the same under common law and current statute when dealing with allegations of rape.

  9. gw

    http://www.richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk/news/13889773.Tory_mayoral_hopeful_Zac_Goldsmith_talks_Jeremy_Corbyn__tax_credit_cuts_and_Heathrow_expansion/ Zac comments on EGH, Grafton Close.

    Tricia: I’m afraid I have no idea. TBH I don’t think the main issue is the wording of the law…

  10. Jack

    This ‘Rape’ allegation was introduced to muddy the waters and distract from the original allegations. It has done its job.

    • dpack

      that seems very plausible looking at the way it has been reported by exaro and the msm .

      i have no idea if “jane”is telling truth but it seems that even if she is the law as it stands cannot give her justice regarding her allegation (and the evidence she could provide) and perhaps that has been deliberately misinterpreted in order to distract from other issues .

  11. Anon

    I’m getting increasingly concerned about the drift of recent articles in this blog.

    Either the TPTB have got Gojam by the nuts or he has become their willing puppet.

    Interestingly, comments in the Guardian have highlighted a link between Settle and the Daily Mail in a fundraising campaign.

    • Be careful with comments like that he will accuse you of being an Exaro groupie.

      But yeh his headline is complete BS – worthy of msm. Bottom line it would be an uphil and monumental task to prove that a police interview was unlawful.

      He says he is about truth and yet has he corrected anything put out by msm on the hearing? No, he actualy doubles down with this piece.

      He doesn’t even raise the question given the history of CPS – if they applied the same standard to LB as they would anyone. But has no problem raising the question – did the met read Jane’s statement?

      Settle is the source of many of msm stories. I think he is also Gojam’s source either directly or through someone else.

  12. John Stobbs

    The one thing that is being exposed in all this is that this country is as class ridden as it was in the days of my youth. Learn one fact, the Establishment commit no crimes, do no wrongs and treat the people as if they where the village simpletons who live on their estates. Of course many are either bought off or scared off. The Media Barons are in the control of the flow of information, and wine and dine with the Black Prince and the King. The Lawmakers are not seen as some Guardian’s or a Council of Wise Men, but people on the make and take.
    The one thing to remember as a member of the Establishment is never be afraid as each member defends another member regardless of the crime. For if they do not they would not have survived for centuries. As for the masses who gives a dam, about them, Justice is only a concept and victims are fantasists, The truth: well that is decided by those who have power.

    • dpack

      i broadly agree with most of what you say in that post apart from the media barons no longer have a monopoly on the flow of information.

      the new battlefield has a multitude of sources of information which has led to tptb playing “catch up” using a variety of tactics ranging from the great firewall of china to ” the art of deception” as well as the old fashioned stuff of bracken et al as seen in the msm.

      the genie is out of the bottle but it can still be obscured by smoke and mirrors .

      • Sabre

        They no longer have a monopoly on the flow, however, they still source and package most of the available information. We mostly consume MSM info and amend or transform it before launching it into cyberspace where it acquires credentials due to the fact that it is now from the alternative media.

    • Aardvark

      Totally agree, Britain is totally class ridden and the root of many of the problems regarding CSA are related to the massive inequalities that have always existed in Society. How can the Country with the richest area in Northern Europe also have 9 out of the 10 poorest areas in Northern Europe, with West Wales being the poorest? If you spend anytime in other Northern European Countries, the inequalities in Britain become blindingly obvious in comparison.
      http://inequalitybriefing.org/graphics/briefing_43_UK_regions_poorest_North_Europe.pdf
      The establishment have no intention of changing these inequalities, with a strangle hold over the justice system, which is still dominated by public school educated, establishment figures, who are certainly not going to address those inequalities, anytime soon.

  13. nuggy

    tory lord is treated exactly the same way anyone else would of been and torys mps think this is unfair what does this tell you about the goverment.

  14. GG

    The comments so far are interesting but appear to ignore a key stage in the decision-making process:-

    >>Settle:…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

    So, if I have understood correctly, there was real doubt, not only as to whether an offence was committed, but also if the alleged offender was even LB at all. Yet all commentators seem to give the impression that they know Jane (and the investigation) convincingly identified LB.

    Meanwhile the entirely separate issue of LB and possible boy offences slips further back into the darkness.

  15. dennis swan

    My understanding of the evidence provided by the HASC was that DCI Settle’s superiors at The Met disagreed with his decision not to interview Lord Brittan. The Met also must have had strong reservation’s about Settle’s reading of Jane’s evidence. The DPP was a sideshow at that stage, as all they could do was agree with Settle’s assumption’s until they had more evidence to consider, i.e. an interview with LB. One can deduce with a fair degree of certainty that LB is a figure that The Met view with some suspicion considering they have raided his home on a separate charge. Plus, why would Settle have been sidelined so dramatically if everything that he’d done was by the book? It was also clear from the evidence that Tom Watson’s involvement had no direct impact on the decision to review the case. Settle begrudgingly admitted that discussions regarding the review started weeks before Watson had even penned his letter – for some reason the mainstream media seem to have not reported this massively significant fact.

  16. Aardvark

    The focus should clearly be on the ongoing CSA investigations of Brittan and others, without the media speculation and interventions, which have only led to the diversions we are now seeing, the intention of which is to obscure matters even further. Jane’s rape allegation, is clearly being used to undermine the other CSA investigations, and as you say, push the issue of CSA further into the darkness.

  17. nuggy

    if your considering bringing criminal charges then surely an interview under caution is the only fair way to do it.

    would it be fair not to caution someone that what they said could be used against them later.

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