Tag Archives: Leon Brittan

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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Are accusations against Lord Sewell simply politically-motivated ‘revenge’ attacks?

Lord Sewel, smoking, as seen from below. The Sun on Sunday is clearly anxious to confirm its ownership of this inoffensive photograph - along with more incendiary evidence against the formerly-Labour peer. But was its release timed to damp down public reaction to allegations about late Conservatives?

Lord Sewel, smoking, as seen from below. The Sun on Sunday is clearly anxious to confirm its ownership of this inoffensive photograph – along with more incendiary evidence against the formerly-Labour peer. But was its release timed to damp down public reaction to allegations about late Conservatives?

Isn’t it convenient for the Conservative Party that the ‘drugs and prostitutes’ allegations against a former Labour peer have been made so soon after four of their own were implicated in child sexual abuse?

A matter of days after ‘lost’ Cabinet Office files relating to the activities of late Conservative politicians Leon Brittan, Sir Peter Hayman, Sir William van Straubenzee and Sir Peter Morrison became public, the Conservative Party-supporting Sun newspaper released photographs and footage, allegedly showing Lord Sewel taking drugs with prostitutes.

An update today (July 27) appears to show him making disparaging remarks about other politicians – although his alleged descriptions of David Cameron as “the most facile, superficial prime minister there’s ever been”, and Boris Johnson as “a joke” seem more likely to win him support than disapproval.

Coincidence?

Of course, it’s possible – and we should not ignore that.

But it is also possible that The Sun may have been holding the evidence, or may have been given it, to try to control damage to the Conservative Party that will be caused by the child sexual abuse allegations.

We know, for example, that the Conservative whip’s office has held information on criminal activities by that party’s MPs, and used it to ensure their loyalty to party policy.

Who knows how many other organisations run a so-called ‘dirt book’?

Considering the opportunities available, it seems obvious that a newspaper like The Sun would have one.

What a shame that such behaviour has nothing to do with bringing criminals to justice and everything to do with blackmail or political advantage.

David Cameron ordered that the Conservative whips’ ‘dirt book’ should be made available to the investigation against historic child sex abuse in January. Nobody seems to have paid any attention to the fact that the mere existence of this book criminalises Cameron’s party as accessory to an undisclosed number of crimes.

The legal reference is in R v J.F.Alford Transport Ltd (1997) 2 Cr. App. R. 326. It was held a reasonable inference that a company, knowing that its employees are acting illegally and deliberately doing nothing to prevent it from being repeated, actually intends to encourage the repetition. This will be a natural inference in any situation where the alleged accessory has the right to control what the principal is doing. We may, therefore, infer this in the case of the Conservative Party.

Isn’t it time all political organisations and national media were ordered to deal up their own ‘dirt books’ – or had them taken away forcibly by the police?

It isn’t good enough that allegations such as those against Lord Sewel are allowed to dribble out when it creates an advantage for their political opponents.

If evidence is held that shows criminal behaviour by the so-called “great and the good”, then let’s get it out into the open now – and clear the filth from both the Green and Red Benches.

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Were pervert MPs protected to prevent embarrassing a Tory government?

Implicated: Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

Implicated: Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

If The Guardian‘s story yesterday is correct, it seems the Conservative Government of the 1980s was perfectly happy to protect child abusing cabinet members, because the harm they caused to “small boys” was deemed to be less important than “the risks of political embarrassment to the government”.

In fact, the risk posed to children was not considered at all; the only concerns set out in correspondence between then-director general of MI5, Sir Anthony Duff, and then-Cabinet Secretary Sir Robert Armstrong were dangers to security (national security?) and political embarrassment for the Conservatives.

If that does not make you physically sick with disgust at the attitudes that pervaded the top level of government in the United Kingdom, read it again until it does.

Implicated in the papers are the recently-deceased former Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, along with Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary private secretary, Sir Peter Morrison, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee.

Note carefully the fact that everybody implicated had a knighthood – indicating just how institutionalised child abuse appears to have been.

The other connection between them is that they are all dead – meaning that, if they did commit crimes against children, all of them escaped justice because they were connected with a Conservative government.

The papers came to light months after an official review concluded that claims the Home Office covered up child abuse allegations in the 1980s – including when Lord Brittan was Home Secretary – were “not proven”, and also several months after the sudden death of Lord Brittan himself – it was claimed he had succumbed after a long battle with cancer but, if so, it is strange that nobody seemed to have heard of it before.

The Cabinet Office is saying that the papers have only come to light now, because they had been kept in a store of “the Cabinet Secretary’s miscellaneous papers” at the National Archive where they had lain, largely uncatalogued and unregistered, with others accumulated over several decades up to 2007.

Do you believe that cover story?

Cabinet Office permanent secretary Richard Heaton wrote to Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC and author of the official review, in May apologising for a “flaw in the way the Cabinet Office initially responded” to his, and fellow review author, barrister Richard Whittam’s, request for documents, and confirming that three categories of papers had since been identified as potentially relevant.

In a supplement to the review, released online yesterday, Wanless and Whittam said: “We are concerned and disappointed that the Cabinet Office was aware of the separate Cabinet Office store of assorted and unstructured papers, yet informed us that the searches covered all records and files held.”

So there it is. A previous Conservative Government hid evidence of child abuse among its ranks.

And the current Conservative Government obstructed investigations into these historic abuses until after all those involved were dead.

What do you think of that?

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Lord Janner to face justice after DPP ruling overturned | UK news | The Guardian

So there it is – there will be a ‘trial of facts’ on the Janner sex abuse allegations.

This Blog believes pressure should be put on the CPS for further ‘trials of facts’, to establish the guilt/innocence of others who have been accused but have not faced trial.

Pressure grows on director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders to resign as it emerges trial of facts will take place after sex abuse allegations

Source: Lord Janner to face justice after DPP ruling overturned | UK news | The Guardian

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Paedophile politicians vilified on mainstream TV as Janner decision is overturned

Greville Janner: He will face paedophilia charges after all.

Greville Janner: He will face paedophilia charges after all.

It’s what some might call a ‘happy coincidence’: Reports emerged that the decision not to prosecute former politician Greville Janner for alleged historic child sex offences, at almost the same time comedian Adam Hills was raging about the way politicians have been able to cover up such activities in the past.

The rant, on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, was well worth seeing. For those who missed it, here it is, but be warned – he uses extremely strong language:

In Janner’s case, we are told a barrister has spent several weeks examining the evidence as part of an independent review, and has concluded there should be a hearing of the allegations. A decision, expected next week, would overturn the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision in April not to pursue the peer, who is said to have dementia.

The move would put pressure on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to resign. She was criticised after it emerged that several other alleged paedophiles who have been diagnosed with dementia have still been pursued through the courts, and a review of the decision was announced last month.

The evidence could be tested in a criminal court in a ‘trial of facts’. The judge would declare at the outset that Janner is unfit for trial, but then ask a jury to decide – on the basis of the evidence – whether he committed the acts of which he has been accused.

There could be no verdict that he is guilty and no criminal sentence – but the jury could make a hospital order, a supervision order or an order for the defendant’s absolute discharge. This would be in order to protect the public, although it is unlikely that Janner is capable of any misdeeds in his condition.

This raises an interesting question: Can we have a ‘trial of facts’ in the cases of other MPs, against whom allegations have been made but who cannot – for many reasons – be punished?

The Blog has no intention of making unsupportable allegations but there are many questions hanging over the name Leon Brittan that deserve to be resolved – along with many others.

While the public may not need to be protected from them – especially if they are dead – isn’t there an argument to be made that they should not be held up as a good example to others, if the allegations about them are true?

Does anybody agree?

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Are the paedophilia probes getting too close to the Tories?

150309MailCoverUp

Blocked for 11 months: The Mail on Sunday describes how the Conservative-run Cabinet Office tried to hide information about paedophilia in the corridors of power.

According to Labour’s Simon Danczuk, the government is refusing to publish at least four files on historic child abuse because it is worried about what information may be revealed ahead of May’s general election.

Oh really? This suggests that the facts must be more damaging than any speculation. We all know that leading Conservative MPs, including at least one cabinet minister from the Thatcher era, have been implicated in the ongoing paedophile investigation.

Yesterday we learned that then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been told about child abuse allegations relating to the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, but still gave him a knighthood in 1988.

And the Daily Mirror, together with investigative news site Exaro, has revealed that police have raided the London and North Yorkshire homes of the late Leon Brittan as part of Operation Midland – set up to ­investigate historic claims of child abuse by a group of powerful men.

The Mail on Sunday report states that the Cabinet Office – run by Conservative Francis Maude – repeatedly blocked attempts to see documents about Cyril Smith, and only relented under threat of High Court action.

It said David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both been accused of colluding in the cover-up.

Mr Danczuk told the paper: “Nick Clegg and David Cameron have colluded in covering this up. It involves their people and we should not have to learn about this piecemeal because of journalists pestering for information.

“Both men need to come clean and make a personal commitment to revealing everything that is now held by Government departments.

“The Prime Minister promised there would be no stone unturned into the inquiry of historic sex abuse in Westminster. But the Cabinet Office seems to be doing the opposite.

“Clegg, who sits in this department, has already written to me refusing to carry out an investigation into who knew what about Cyril Smith in his party and it’s disappointing to see the Cabinet Office continuing this unhelpful approach.”

This is not the only information being withheld by the government prior to the general election. It is known that Jeremy Hunt is holding back a highly critical report on NHS management – apparently for political reasons.

Iain Duncan Smith is withholding information on the full cost of his disastrous Universal Credit vanity project until after the election.

And of course the government is refusing to reveal how many sick and disabled people its vicious ‘welfare reforms’ have killed off – as reported in this blog last month, and many times in the past.

Didn’t David Cameron say his would be the most open government ever, ushering in a new era of transparency? Yes he did.

What a shame this most evasive of all governments is working so hard to hide the information people need, if they are to make the right choice at the general election.

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Leon Brittan: Why Lawson is wrong and there is a real case to answer – David Hencke

Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

It seems Sunday Times columnist Dominic Lawson has attacked the credibility of those who have connected the late Leon Brittan with the current Met police investigation into  historical child sex abuse dating back to the 1980s. Fortunately the excellent David Hencke is on hand to take apart Lawson’s arguments and call that reporter’s own tactics into question.

“By taking the argument that those who say that he could be a paedophile – such as Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk  are part of a  frenzied Labour left-wing plot to get back at Tories close to Margaret Thatcher,he is way off the mark,” writes Mr Hencke.

“For a start, he questioned whether ‘Nick’s account  about  Leon Brittan and others sexually abusing him was accurate. Yet ‘Nick’ has already been described by the  Met Police as ‘a credible witness’. They do not do such a thing lightly. and they certainly don’t do it just because Tom Watson or Exaro News say so. They make up their own mind.

“Second, if he started to examine the known facts about  the allegations against Leon Brittan he might have pause for thought. ‘Nick’ is not the only person to make these allegations. Separate allegations have been made by more than a handful of other survivors and a number are still being followed up by the police because they involve other people.

“As a journo if you want to establish the probability of a fact – one of the most compelling arguments is when two or more people who did not know each other give a similar story. So unless Dominic Lawson is going to argue that there is a wicked conspiracy among survivors across England to name and frame Leon Brittan for some unknown reason this does not stand up.”

For much more information on this, read the article on David Hencke’s own blog.

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Never mind his life; important questions must be asked about Leon Brittan’s death

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Why would the police be called to Leon Brittan’s home if he was succumbing after a long battle with cancer?

And why would a post-mortem examination be required? Post-mortems, or autopsies, are carried out on the orders of a coroner to determine the cause of death – in order to inform a decision on whether to hold an inquest. This is in cases where the cause of death is unknown, or in the event of a sudden, violent or unexpected death.

None of those would apply to a case in which the deceased died of cancer – would they?

Lord Brittan died on Wednesday aged 75. He was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government and later a European Commissioner – but recently faced questions over his handling of child abuse allegations, centring on a dossier on alleged high-profile paedophiles handed to him in the early 1980s by former Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens.

Is there more to his death than we’re being told?

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Get your conspiracy theories out – Leon Brittan has died

Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

Leon Brittan [Image: Guardian].

Did anybody else know anything about Leon Brittan having cancer before today’s announcement?

According to his family, the former Home Secretary died last night, aged 75, after a long battle with the disease.

This writer was completely unaware that Mr Brittan had been diagnosed with it, and a (quick, admittedly) search of the Internet makes no reference to it either.

The death, and the revelation that it was due to a hitherto-unmentioned disease, is almost certain to lead to conspiracy theories – especially when one considers the fact that Brittan’s reputation has been tarnished by his connection to historic allegations of sexual abuse, in which it has been suggest that he not only hid evidence of such crimes, but may have committed them himself.

Personally, this writer finds it a huge inconvenience. I have been working on a piece of fiction involving a group of assassins working for the Establishment (not the government) to eliminate anyone likely to cause embarrassment to the power-that-be; their modus operandi being to make the death look like an accident or natural causes.

Now I’m going to have to rework chapter one completely.

Afterword: Some readers may feel this article does not show proper respect to somebody who is recently deceased. While sympathy is due to Mr Brittan’s family, there are so many questions remaining to be answered about his life and conduct that they should not be avoided for the sake of social niceties. That is how it is ensured that these matters are forgotten.

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Two down: Woolf resigns from sex abuse inquiry

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

Beleaguered: At last, Fiona Woolf has done the decent thing, after acknowledging that she could never hold the trust of child sex abuse victims due to her relationship with Leon Brittan, who might have to give evidence to the inquiry she had been appointed to chair.

The second chair of the so-called independent inquiry into historic child sex abuse cases has resigned, according to the BBC.

Fiona Woolf said she wanted to “get out of the way” after it became clear that victims did not have any confidence in her.

To the Tories, you see, image is everything – and it had been made abundantly clear to Mrs Woolf that hers was tarnished by her freely-admitted association with Leon Brittan, a man who, as Home Secretary during the 1980s, managed to lose a dossier containing the names of more than 100 alleged child sex offenders, including some prominent Conservative Party members (if rumours are to be believed).

The association made her as suspicious to victims’ groups as her forerunner, Baroness Butler-Sloss, whose own name was unavoidably linked with that of the late Sir Michael Havers, attorney-general during the 1980s, whose behaviour has also been called into question by allegations that he tried to hush up child sex abuse allegations against prominent members of the Establishment.

And these were all Establishment figures in their own right. Mrs Woolf had tried to distance herself from these claims by making assurances that she herself was not a member of the Establishment – but her case was lost before she even made it. She is, you see, the Lord Mayor of London.

This second resignation from an inquiry that is supposed to be independent, by a chairperson who had clear ties to people she would have been investigating, has raised renewed claims that the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, has not carried out ‘due diligence’ when considering who to appoint.

Mrs May seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. She has to appoint someone who is acceptable to the Conservative Party, but who is also acceptable to the general public – and the public has serious issues with her choices for the reason laid out in this very blog less than a month ago: Will a Conservative-led government ever find someone to chair this inquiry who is free of any alleged connections to its subject matter?

And the longer this drags on, the more suspicious the entire situation will seem. People will start asking more deeply disturbing questions. Logically, the first will be whether Mrs May has encountered so much difficulty in appointing a chairperson because the Conservatives want to influence the inquiry’s outcome, to ensure that nobody connected with them is ever implicated.

You see, image is everything to the Tories, especially with a general election taking place in the not-too-distant future.

David Cameron had given his backing to the choice of Mrs Woolf – as, if memory serves, he did to the choice of Baroness Butler-Sloss – so the resignation calls his judgement into question.

Then again, it seems that almost everything said about Cameron these days calls his judgement into question, whether it is his cavalier attitude to the NHS privatisation started by his former boss Andrew Lansley (that he didn’t understand), his keenness to award NHS contracts to Tory donors, his (alleged) failure to take an interest in the European Union’s re-evaluation of membership fees until he was presented with a bill for £1.7 billion this week, or any of the many other bombshells that seem to be bursting around him every day.

A report in Thursday’s Guardian has accused him of misleading the public over the total amount of his government’s planned austerity cuts that have been implemented during the current Parliament. Cameron said four-fifths of the process was complete, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies said more than half were still to come into force.

Now this.

Never mind Fiona Woolf’s resignation – isn’t it time we demanded Cameron’s?

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