Harvey Proctor, Exaro and the pursuit of justice

Harvey Proctor’s news conference on Tuesday was either a chilling display of hypocrisy, or the moment a brave man finally took on the combined might of a misguided Metropolitan Police and a small but nasty and highly influential section of the press and internet. By so publicly denying the appalling allegations that have been levelled at him, Mr Proctor has ensured that his accuser’s claims – that he and other boys were raped and tortured, and in three cases murdered by a paedophile ring that also included Leon Brittan, Ted Heath, various Generals and the heads of MI5 and MI6 – can no longer be ignored.

The allegations come from a man with the pseudonym “Nick.” Amongst many other appalling sexual crimes Nick says that Mr Proctor threatened to castrate him with a pen-knife and was stopped from doing so only by the intervention of the former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath. And worse even than this, Nick accuses Mr Proctor of murdering two boys, and implicates him in the murder of a third. No bodies have been found and the identity of the boys allegedly murdered – though the subject of considerable online speculation – is unknown. Continue reading

WIltshire Police were wrong to name Sir Edward Heath

On 3rd August 2015 Wiltshire Police made an extraordinary announcement:

Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”

The context of the appeal for witnesses was that the Independent Police Complaints Commission were investigating Wiltshire Police over an allegation that a 1992 prosecution of a Salisbury woman, Myra Ling Ling Forde, had been dropped after she threatened to drag Heath into the case.

Earlier this week she insisted through her solicitor both that Heath was never one of her clients, and that she never threatened to name him. I was surprised to hear of the allegation, because I was her barrister in that case and it certainly never crossed my mind that Heath had anything whatever to do with her acquittal. Continue reading

We shouldn’t draw the wrong conclusions from Ben Fellows’s acquittal

The acquittal of Ben Fellows on a charge of perverting the course of justice by falsely alleging that he was “groped” by Ken Clarke during the making of a television programme is in danger of being misunderstood.

The allegation was that he had falsely told the police that after he had been plied with alcohol at a party, Ken Clarke had groped him, by touching his genitals over his clothing. Mr Fellows was described in the prosecution opening speech as a “an inventive and sometimes persuasive fantasist”. Continue reading

The Government’s Policies on the Human Rights Act and the EU are an incoherent muddle

The vast majority of Conservative MPs are united in the belief that Parliament should be sovereign and the British Supreme Court should be supreme. Yet the Government has embarked on a plan which (if it succeeds) will effectively entrench the precise opposite of what its MPs actually want.

The problem arises from a misunderstanding of the Human Rights Act and a failure to address the constitutional realities of EU law.

On the Human Rights Act, the Prime Minister has instructed Michael Gove to press ahead with preparations for its repeal and replacement by a British Bill of Rights.

Any sensible Conservative ought to realise that the repeal of the Human Rights Act is not just unwise but, if you are worried about Parliamentary sovereignty and the supremacy of our courts, entirely beside the point. The Act requires the Supreme Court only to “take account” of Strasbourg decisions, not to follow them; and it gives courts, whether British or European, no power to strike down Acts of Parliament. Under the Human Rights Act the Supreme Court is supreme and Parliament is sovereign. Continue reading

Committing Electoral Fraud to Back Jeremy Corbyn Is a Bad Idea

The latest polls in the Labour leadership election suggest that Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has his nose in front. It is hard to trust the unattributed briefings reported in the New Statesman this week, but one “campaign staffer” (presumably, although the report does not say so explicitly, a Corbyn supporter) said “he is in a commanding position … he is on course to win.”

Jeremy Corbyn wearing his "Lenin" style cap. (David Martyn Hunt)

Jeremy Corbyn wearing his “Lenin” style cap.
(David Martyn Hunt)

Bookmakers’ odds tend to give a more reliable picture than anonymous quotes, and here too the picture is pretty clear: www.oddschecker.com shows that the best price you can now get on Mr Corbyn’s victory is 4-1, and even for that you must move fast: several are quoting him at 3-1 . At the start of the election you could back the hirsute Marxist at 100-1.

Mr Corbyn’s standing has been helped by a campaign led by, amongst others, Toby Young. Young is an unlikely Corbyn supporter. Indeed, he is generally sympathetic to the Conservatives, and for all I know he may even be a Party member. He is particularly well-known for helping to found the excellent West London Free School. Continue reading

SATANIC ABUSE: A REPLY TO BELIEVERS

A Guest Post by David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch

Introduction.

Earlier this year BBC Radio 4 broadcast two programmes in the Analysis strand, which I made together with a BBC producer, Hannah Barnes. Ritual Sexual Abuse: the Anatomy of a Panic part one was broadcast on the 25th May and part two went out a week later.

I was asked to make these programmes because I had expressed a concern in various writings that some of the new accusations of historic VIP abuse of children, and the way in which sections of the media were handling them, were reminiscent of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80s and early 90s. During that time it was widely alleged and believed that a substantial number of Satanists and other cultists were or had been involved in complex rituals –involving child sexual abuse and even child sacrifice. Then, by the mid-90s the panic subsided. I felt that by analyzing that past panic we might better understand some aspects of the present. Continue reading

Cyprus Paedo scare: a near kidnapping or a near lynching? Mark Williams-Thomas must get to the truth.

As the Euro teeters yet again on the edge of complete collapse and Greece faces up to the possibility of economic Armageddon, the British press have been even more exercised about another issue in the Eastern Mediterranean: a Romanian paedophile ring operating in a Greek Cypriot hotel.

The suspected paedophile gang has apparently been preying on children staying at the Anastasia Beach Complex Hotel in Protaras.

Hard facts are difficult to disentangle amongst a vast amount of often contradictory reports, rumour and speculation. It probably doesn’t help that some of the guests at the hotel were enjoying a wedding party at 8.30 p.m. last Tuesday. Continue reading

Who is more ridiculous: the Naked Rambler or the CPS?

My client Stephen Gough, an ex Royal Marine better known as the Naked Rambler, has now been in prison, largely in a segregation unit, for the best part of 9 years. Once the remission rules are taken into account, that is the equivalent of a sentence of nearly 18 years. It is about what you would expect to get if you committed a rape of an eight year old child. By my very rough calculations the cost of imprisoning him (ignoring altogether legal and police costs) for those 9 years has been about £330,000.

His offence has been that he won’t wear clothes in public.

Who is being the most ridiculous here: Mr Gough or the Crown Prosecution Service? Continue reading

Theresa May wants to ban pleasure

I had rather naively thought that a central part of Conservative philosophy was that, unless there is strong evidence of harm that can be prevented or alleviated by Government action, it’s usually best to let people live their lives without interference from the state. Theresa May’s Home Office thinks rather differently. It proudly announced last month that since 2010 it has banned more than 500 new drugs, as though this were an end and a self-evident good in itself.

Well, we now know it was not an end, it was a beginning, and 500 banned substances were just a taster. In its Psychoactive Substances Bill the second reading of which is to take place in the House of Lords next week, it has made proposals to ban all “psychoactive substances” apart from a few defined exceptions.

Did you know that tea was a “psychoactive substance”? Well under this new law it will be, and you will be allowed to drink it only as a special exemption from the normal rule. Continue reading

If Michael Gove listens to Daniel Hannan’s honeyed polemic on Human Rights he really will get into a muddle

Daniel Hannan is one of the most persuasive advocates of repealing the Human Rights Act. In this week’s Spectator he was at his most eloquent and self-confident best, urging Michael Gove to see off the “powerful, wealthy & articulate” lawyers that prefer the rule of Strasbourg to that of the English common law, and warning of the “vicious” response to be expected from lawyers who, he asserts, might say – and even believe – that they are “defending the independence of the judiciary,” but are in fact motivated by the need to pay their mortgages and school fees, which are currently funded by a “multi-million pound industry … around human rights law.”

Daniel Hannan: eloquent as always

Daniel Hannan MEP: always eloquent

That last bit about money is rather a cheap shot. The notion that the Human Rights Act has spawned a “multi-million pound industry” is pretty far fetched. Very few cases are brought because of the Human Rights Act, and in the field of criminal law, where I practise, virtually none at all. Although the Act occasionally crops up during a criminal trial, its abolition would make no difference whatsoever to the volume of my work, or to my income and nor would it make any difference to that of the vast majority of my colleagues, very few of whom, incidentally, could begin to afford school fees out of their earnings at the bar, which have shrunk steadily since the Human Rights Act was passed. Continue reading