Botched VIP paedophile inquiry: peers demand release of unredacted report

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, an independent crossbench peer, took part in the emergency debate [Image: Rex].

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, an independent crossbench peer who had been removed as chair of the independent inquiry into historical child sex abuse, took part in the emergency debate [Image: Rex].

How interesting that the Guardian should run with comments by Baroness Butler-Sloss, who was de-throned as chair of the inquiry into historical child sexual abuse because of past associations with people she might have had to investigate.

I mention this merely because the Graun doesn’t.

Like the Lords, This Writer has an automatic suspicion of redacted reports. Who decided what should be hidden, and on what criteria? How tight an interpretation of those rules did they use? What do they have to hide?

And it is no surprise that the police were working on a presumption that the people who had been accused were guilty. It seems the legal presumption of innocence is put aside whenever child sex offences are investigated. I have experience of this myself, in a case here in Mid Wales.

There was no material evidence to prove that the defendant had committed any offence, but the prosecutor simply demanded that – if he wasn’t guilty – he demonstrate who else could be. I thought that was the job of the police.

So, despite there being no evidence against him, this man was imprisoned for six years on the basis that he could not prove he wasn’t guilty, which is not a valid way for the UK legal system to work.

In this light, it seems that sight of the full report is vital. These inquiries are all about the secrets that people try to hide – let’s see what the police are hiding too.

A judge-led inquiry which has severely criticised the police investigation into an alleged VIP paedophile ring should be released in full, peers have said.

A summary of the report by Richard Henriques into Operation Midland, which was redacted by senior Metropolitan police officers, was released on Tuesday. It found the inquiry was launched on the basis of a single witness and made 43 separate errors.

Officers from the Met misled a senior judge to obtain search warrants and seemed to set aside the presumption of innocence to traduce the reputations of former MPs and war heroes, the report found. But only a fraction of the original 493-page report by Henriques was released to the public – and that was redacted after being examined by officers and their legal representatives.

In an emergency debate in the House of Lords, the retired judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, an independent crossbench peer, said: “It is so patently unsatisfactory that the full report is not produced for the public to read. Could I ask the minister whether in fact the Home Office should be urging the commissioner of police to make this report public?”

Following the release of the key findings, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said he “fully recognised” D-day veteran and former army chief, Edwin Bramall, former Tory MP Harvey Proctor and the late former home secretary Leon Brittan were all “innocent of the offences of which they were accused”.

Source: Operation Midland: peers demand release of unredacted report | UK news | The Guardian

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4 thoughts on “Botched VIP paedophile inquiry: peers demand release of unredacted report

  1. Barry Davies

    The problem is that if these three men are innocent the media feeding frenzy that accompanies these cases means that a large part of the public will forever consider them guilty.

  2. Jon Sawyer

    I am a victim of child abuse and cannot get the police to take a statement or to get forensics involved. I have physical damage to my body to prove what happened to me. I am 43 years old and the police have known about what happened to me for over 40 years.
    I find it extremely sick that the taxpayers of this country have paid an absolute fortune for an investigation of historical child abuse for us all to be told that there is no evidence of wrong doing by way of a heavily redacted pile of papers. I do not believe the redacted papers are as much use as they are made out to be. I believe that they are a distraction from the real enquiries that should be made. Maybe we will get to see the non-redacted pile of papers one day to find that out.
    My abusers are not VIPs but they are very well connected. When playing chess a pawn is a piece that can win the game, more important pieces get protected too well so you have to remove their protection piece by piece. I am a pawn and I would love to see a lot of people get the prison sentences they deserve one day (I wish that was today or yesterday or the day before….)

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