Has there been a stitch-up in the child abuse imagery case against Cameron’s aide Patrick Rock?

Patrick Rock is accused of possessing indecent images of children [Image: Mark Thomas/Rex].

Patrick Rock is accused of possessing indecent images of children [Image: Mark Thomas/Rex].


The trial of David Cameron’s former aide Patrick Rock began today (May 31) – and looks like ending today, after the jury retired to consider whether the 20 images they have been shown were indecent.

Hang on! Only 20 images? Rock was originally charged with owning 59 such images – and of making three himself.

Where are the rest of them and why has the jury not been shown them?

A former aide to the prime minister downloaded images of scantily clad girls aged as young as 10 but denies the pictures were indecent, a court has heard.

Patrick Rock, 64, has admitted downloading 20 images of nine girls to his computer from a free-to-view website over three days in August 2013, and jurors at his trial were told they would have to decide whether the pictures broke the law.

The prosecution argued the images showed girls, although not naked, in sexual poses that drew attention to their genitals and breasts.

But Rock’s defence lawyer compared the images to Britney Spears’ video for her 1998 song Baby One More Time, which she made when she was 16.

The jury at Southwark crown court was shown the images, which featured identified girls aged 10 to 16 posing in clothing including bikinis, hot pants and a bra, and a ballet tutu.

Rock, of Fulham, south-west London, denies 20 charges of making an indecent photograph of a child between 31 July and 31 August 2013.

The trial started on Tuesday morning and the jury of six men and six women has already retired to consider its verdicts.

Source: Jury retires in trial of PM’s ex-aide over ‘sexual’ child images | UK news | The Guardian

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32 thoughts on “Has there been a stitch-up in the child abuse imagery case against Cameron’s aide Patrick Rock?

  1. NMac

    It will be interesting to see the outcome of this and, if found guilty, what sort of publicity this unpleasant character gets.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes.
      It seems the Torygraph article may have been misleading in its description of the contents… although we have no evidence to suggest there are no adults in the pictures with the children. Perhaps we’ll learn more later.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Yes! Thank you.
        It seems to have changed a bit from the original. See my response to janefae.

      2. janefae

        er, yes…level C is NOT sexual activity between children and adults. It is, more simply “images of erotic posing” and is highly problematic given how a lot of sexualised ad content tends to fall into this category.

        The real question, which you may wish to ask, is whether there were originally category A or B that have not been charged. Because, tbh, for the CPS to charge ONLY on category C is a tad odd.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        Right. Something seems to have happened, probably to the Telegraph article, for which Pierssy was able to give me a web link.
        I would not have described level C as “sexual activity between children and adults” without having read it somewhere, and the Telegraph article seems the most likely source, as my earlier article links to it.
        The wording of the relevant paragraph in my piece and that in the Telegraph piece is similar enough to suggest I had the information from there – and the Telegraph piece has since been changed.
        I wonder when that happened?
        It certainly raises questions about the images that were not mentioned in court – especially those that Rock was alleged to have created himself.

      4. janefae

        There appear to be two confusions here. The first relates to the content of the images, which, in legal terms is purely whether they were indecent or not. Not with whether they are level A, B or C.

        Levels relate to sentencing guidelines.

        That said, if someone, including the Telegraph described Level C as including sexual activity, that is wrong. C is the lowest level and attracts the correspndingly lowest sentence. In this instance, pure pssession of level C seems likely to result in a community service order.

        Separately, in early 2015, new guidelines were introduced around sentencing. These replaced the old five-point SAP scale with a new 3-level system.

        It also amended some interpretations of the law, specifically, the claim that downloading meant “making”. Technically, yes, it does mean making an image….but in popular conception, making has frequently been understood as creation/production which is treated far more harshly.

        Tbh, the question i’d be asking is why this prosecution went ahead with only level C images. The level, the activity and the volume is such as to make a successful prosecution doubtful, espesh – as we see in this case – because can include stuff very little different from your average sexualised advert.

        I’d almost have said i thought the DPP would discourage such a prosecution on grounds of high probability of losing for little actual gain.

        Almost as though they were calculating what would cause the least public uproar…letting him go…or tossing the softest of soft ball charges in his direction.

      5. Mike Sivier Post author

        Yes indeed.
        We really need to know what happened to those other 42 images, I think.

  2. Florence

    We knew he would be protected by the establishment, because they allowed him to resign before making the arrest. That allowed No 10 and Cameron to be kept out of the story as much as possible. Sad, sick, and so very much what we can come to expect from the vile Tories.

    1. hallanos

      He didn’t tell Cameron and co about being arrested at first! He was earmarked for a peerage and probably felt he was untouchable! They found out and then he was allowed to resign! It’s another planet Florence

  3. hallanos

    PATRICK ROCK: Will it be swept quietly under the carpet?

    The trial of Patrick Rock begins today 31 May 2016 at Southwark Crown Court! He was a close friend and confidante of St Dave for over 20 years. This man was a Thatcher protege and has been an integral part of the senior echelons of the Conservative Party for decades!

    In 2011, David Cameron brought him into his government by appointing him as his 10 Downing Street Deputy Director of Policy. He had a special responsibility to oversee the government’s initiative to deal with the increasing problem of child internet pornography!

    In March 2014 it was discovered that he had been arrested in 2013 on the charges of possessing child pornography images. He resigned on being found out, but not before!

    Rock was charged, in June 2014, with three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child in August 2013. He was also charged with possession of 59 indecent images of children.

    In December 2014 he pleaded not guilty to six charges of making indecent photographs of children aged between 10 and 13 and one charge of possessing 56 indecent images of children aged between 10 and 14.

    He appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 16 October 2015, where according to tweets issued by ExaroNews, ‘Judge Alistair McCreath … granted Patrick Rock bail until trial date in 30th May 2016 which was moved to 31st May.

    Case No. T20140498, Southwark Crown Court, 31 May 2016
    Patrick Robert John Rock
    Details: – No Information To Display –
    For Trial – Case Started – 10:31
    For Trial – Prosecution Opening – 11:11
    For Trial – PATRICK ROBERT JOHN ROCK; Defence Closing Speech – 12:08

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There we are: “In December 2014 he pleaded not guilty to six charges of making indecent photographs of children aged between 10 and 13 and one charge of possessing 56 indecent images of children aged between 10 and 14.”
      Why has he now been asked to answer only a charge of possessing 20 indecent (level C) images?

      1. janefae

        partly, i suspect because guidelines have changed in the interim. Basically, downloading always used to be covered by the misleading use of the term “making”.

        However, in the new guidelines, “making by downloading” is now considered to be covered by possession.

        Possibly the courts finally catching up with the internet

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Aha!
        But we’re still left with the fact that 42 images appear to be missing.

      3. janefae

        If they were Level C in the first place, someone may just have said the jury just won’t accept those are indecent. So the calculation becomes: do we go for max volume, but risk colouring the jury’s perception of the entire set by the fact that some are very marginally indecent?

        Or do we go for only the most obviously indecent?

        Of course, that’s just one logical explanation. Other explanations for odd things happening to charge numbers include the police losing the evidence and in another case, police using number of charges as bargaining counter.

        Really very difficult to know without having been fly on the wall at the relevant meeting.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        How do we know they were all level C?
        This man used to be very influential with David Cameron.
        It could be that more extreme images were excluded in a political decision to avoid embarrassment to the man some people still think is the prime minister.
        That has been the underlying strategy in this case since the beginning, after all.

      5. janefae

        Also, think twink!

        In the infamous “twink trial”, an individual was charged with accessing a website containing images of underage young men engaged in sexual activity. His defence – after contacting the production company – was simply that although they looked under age the men in question were all over 18.

        In the UK it is the actual age of the victim that counts, rather than the perceived age.

        Again, not saying that did happen….just that if i were defending this guy, i’d have used the intervening year or so to contact the originators of the images to check actual ages.

        Sorry if i am being contrary. I agree with you that there feels to be something going on and i might just chase up the CPS tomorrow to ask a couple of quite pointed questions.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        Let us know how you get on!
        I think the ages of the youngsters in these pictures has been checked and they were all less than 18. Regarding the missing 42 images – who knows?

  4. casalealex

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28054433

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26435939

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10675036/Who-is-Patrick-Rock.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/04/patrick-rock-tory

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/04/patrick-rock-arrest-david-cameron-defends-secrecy

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10931313/Cameron-aide-Patrick-Rock-charged-over-child-abuse-images.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30550796

    https://twitter.com/exaronews/status/655040414345506816, 16 October 2015; cf.

    http://courtnewsuk.co.uk/online_archive/?name=patrick+rock&sa=Search#results. 404 Page not found.

  5. loobitzh

    For me the fact that the girls were not naked is irrelevant, as is the level of perceived indecency.

    Its the fact that these young girls have probably been groomed and/or exploited to pose for them thats more the point.

    Thats sexual abuse in itself, and to have this man download these images of underage children is not excusable on the grounds of them resembling Britney Spears type images.

    I cant remember how old Britney was in the photos mentioned? but if she were underage, then she was likely also groomed and exploited by pedophiles.

    I hope this kind of defense doesn’t set some kind of precedence!

    Just occurred to me that this story could be some form of propaganda designed to alter public perception, opinion of such abuse etc….

      1. Jr catt.

        Why do you assume the children were groomed or mistreated in some way.lots of parents take photographs of children in bikinis etc and post them on the internet.Are they to be prosecuted soon for making and distributing indecent images.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        It depends what the images are.
        I don’t assume that the girls were groomed or mistreated, but I do want to know what happened to them.
        Another commenter reckons it’s okay because the images were downloaded from a legal US website. Legal in the US is different from legal in the UK. And that doesn’t assure us that these kids weren’t mistreated. Look at what Elijah Wood is saying about paedophilia in Hollywood.
        You assume that it doesn’t exist because you can’t see it, but these people are sly, and take pains to hide it.
        Look at the paedophile who was in the news yesterday – Huckle. He was only caught because he made some careless mistakes and law enforcement agencies were able to trace him.
        I’m not saying that I think anything terrible happened to the girls in the photos Rock downloaded – I hope nothing did. But it would be wrong to judge them by appearance alone.
        And, as a government advisor on preventing child pornography, Rock had no business possessing them at all.

      3. Jr catt.

        So we now live in a society where pictures of children posing in a bikini are indecent.Heaven help us.If they are deemed to focus on the “private areas”.Or they are deemed to have been used for sexual gratification by the viewer.i do believe that makes the children swimwear section of mail order catologues illegal!…and they have definetly been taken for financial gain!..how long before pictures of girls in tight leggings are illegal??!…….and we cover up the piano legs again!!!!….

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        You seem particularly keen to rubbish the court case against Rock.
        Are you not aware that he was convicted by a jury of his peers – people like you and me?
        If they thought the images were indecent, who are you to claim otherwise?
        What is your interest in this?

Comments are closed.