Friday, April 17, 2015

Official secrecy on abuse in Leicestershire children's homes

Allegations of child abuse - which he and his family have always denied - against Lord Janner were first aired publicly during the trial of Frank Beck.

Beck, who was in charge of a number of children's homes in Leicestershire including two in Market Harborough, was imprisoned for serious sexual offences against children in 1991 and dies behind bars three years later.

But the judge did his very best to ensure that those allegations were never heard. First Mr Justice Edwin Jowitt ruled that the trial could not be reported.

This ban was lifted only after the Guardian, Times, Independent, Daily Telegraph and Press Association went to the Court of Appeal. You can read a contemporary report of this appeal from the Guardian on the Spotlight on Abuse site - I have also borrowed it as an illustration here.

Then, Mr Justice Jowitt tried a different tactic. Desiring Progress has a contemporary Press Association report that begins:
A judge intervened in the Leicestershire child sex abuse trial today to prevent names of “people in high places” being revealed.
He was unable to do so and serious allegations against Greville Janner were heard in court and reported in the press. See Spotlight on Abuse again for a contemporary report of this.

After an interlude in the Commons in which Janner was cheered by a claque led by Keith Vaz, there came the public inquiry into abuse in Leicestershire children's homes.

This was conducted by Andrew Kirkwood QC, who decided that it should hear all its evidence in private. That report became hard to find over the years, although the University of Leicester's library has always had one. Today you can find a copy on the county council website.

Local rumour had it that when Frank Beck gave his evidence to the inquiry at Gartree Prison he mentioned a number of prominent names.

I am writing this because I have a strong feeling of unfinished business from the past and also to point you to a couple of sites that have assembled contemporary reports on this and other affairs.

One reason I am against the idea of a right to be forgotten is that allowing the powerful to scour their pasts will make it harder to gather such evidence in future and harder to right wrongs that the authorities have failed to right the first time around.


wolfi said...

Just saw it in the Guardian - it won't be so easy for the culprits to hide the whole sordid affair I hope! said...

If corrupt policemen are not dealt with the corruption continues unabated.

If, allegedly, abusing politicians are not investigated isn't it inevitable that the abuse will continue?

The evidence of collusion, conspiracy and promotion of abusers to positions akin to pimps for the powerful has now become so overwhelming. Evidence offered by Don Hale, journalist; Mick Creedon, policeman who testify to very senior people closing down evidence. Is Goddard Lowell going to be equal to the job of lifting the carpet on the whole sorry saga?

Or are we going to be treated to another damage limitation finesse?

If nothing else surely the reins of power on the Home Affairs sub-committee should be wrested from the hands of a fellow Leicester politician who acted so enthusiastically to protect Mr Janner in December 1991 (reported in Liberal England).

It seems that now - despite failing to bring this matter to court in 1991, 2002 and 2007 the CPS could have brought a 'fitness to plead' hearing against Lord Janner.

If the proper process had been followed and Lord Janner found unfit to plead then a trial of the facts would have brought some sort of justice to the alleged victims.

That the CPS failed to do so can only be interpreted as a lack of will on the part of the establishment to uncover any sort of truth.

Frankly only a thorough investigation of Mick Creedon's evidence that he was prevented from questioning Lord Janner and the resignation of Alison Saunders and Keith Vaz can now inspire any sort of public confidence.

Who covered up? Who resisted proper investigations taking place and were members of PIE involved - if so were they in a position to promote PIE sympathisers to positions in child care? Is there a long tail to this legacy which remains with us today?

Phil Beesley said...

Helenpender: "The evidence of collusion, conspiracy and promotion of abusers to positions akin to pimps for the powerful has now become so overwhelming."

Our host, Jonathan, suggested that we should think about mediocrity in a previous post.

Useless coppers are a consequence of copper hierarchy, which is not necessarily a part of collusion and conspiracy. Some coppers are just mediocre.

We should be thinking about how mediocrity is demonstrated in practice.
Mick Creedon is a "top copper". If you wish, reconsider my previous words about mediocrity.

Following twenty odd years in East Midlands policing, DS Mick Creedon arose to the rank of Chief Constable in Derbyshire.

DS Creedon was an officer doing his job.

Helen Pender said...

Now that's establishment speak.

Mediocrity and incompetence are the last excuse of an establishment caught without a thin veil of respectability to excuse their naked corruption.