Monthly Archives: January 2012

Poems of Politics

The carnival of lies

 

“You needn’t worry,”

Said Mr Heath in ’72,

“You’ll be as British

As you ever were!”

And smiled through his lie.

 

“The British people,”

Tromboned Mr Wilson in ’75

“Must choose” -

But only on our terms

Said the creatures in the shadows.

 

“It’s only a market -

And markets are good!”

Said Mrs Thatcher in ’85,

Seduced by a word.

Mr Heath grinned.

 

“Subsidiarity means,”

Said Mr Major in ’92,

“We may still do some things

We’ve always done. It’s a triumph!”

Mr Heath laughed  out loud.

 

“We’re winning the battle,”

Chanted Douglas Hurd in ’95

“Things are moving our way.”

Sir Edward lay replete

With his long betrayal.

 

“We’re at the heart of Europe”

“Thinbgs are going our way”

Trilled Tony Blair

And the whole of Europe laughed

As it closer sheared the sheep.

 

We’ll give you a referendum

Said Cameron and Clegg

If  Britain has not been sold again

Before we get to number 10

As Brown scurried  to his treason.

 

I’ve used our veto  brags Cameron

And Europe drops the veil

Of democratic pretence

And  functionaries devour

The elected.

————————————–

And the liberal said

 

And the liberal said,

With a moron’s profundity,

All men are the same.

How strange that they

Should fight in our new world.

 

And the liberal said:

How ridiculous,

This is the twentieth century!

But the mass of men acted

As they always had.

 

And the liberal said:

This is mediaeval,

Reason will prevail.

But the mass of men shouted reason down,

As they always had.

 

And the liberal said:

It’s only a matter of time,

Of men being shown the way.

But the mass of men refused to sit

On one legged ideological stools.

 

And the liberal said:

Just a little more time

Or another way.

But the mass of men refused to be

Bound in the ways of reason.

 

And the liberal said:

We know best, man can evolve,

Nurture is all.

But the mass of men still moved

In predestined genetic ways.

 

And the liberal said:

We need more money,

It’s just a matter of education.

But the mass of men heard their words

And thought them empty vanity.

 

And the liberal said (privately):

How infuriating!

What lesser men are these!

But the mass of men refused

To see their fault.

 

And the liberal said:

These are but children,

Give them time to learn.

But the mass of men rose up

And no longer let the moments pass.

 

And the mass of men said:

What a thing is freedom!

How painful, so burdensome a state!

And oppressed the liberal

As he had oppressed them.

——————————————————–

The internationalists

 

Men who do not understand

What is beyond

The satisfaction of plodding reason

And mundane wants and needs;

Men who do not see

That a land is more than

Rocks and rivers, trees

And fields or the

Atom called a man,

But a myth of oneness

Which a people has,

Where rich and poor

Live half separated lives

Yet still believe

Themselves a part

Of something greater

Than a vulgar mass of

Coldly counted men.

——————————————————–

Heresy

A man says forbidden things,

Then another  and change

Filters through single

Grains of courage.

What was blasphemy

Becomes the commonplace,

And men are as lions

Who once would have lighted

The way to ignorance

With the tallow

Of their thoughts,

Sent heavenwards

By stinking faggots,

Damp with hate and fear,

To leave an ash

Of unrequited curiosity,

Which like the phoenix

Is never truly killed.

——————————————————–

Cumulo-nimbus

Twenty twenty one

And the pogroms come

Because no Public One

Would heed the thrum

Of Nature’s drum

Saying ever on

Before each one

The tribe must come.

——————————————————–

Too late, too late!

Bend your mind towards the wind,

All around is heard the whisper -

Our rulers are effete

And none new to be found.

Soon the world will shake

Before never altered truths

Of blood and  land

Which hide behind

The scapegrace clothes

Of selfish fools

Who mewl upon an idea

Thinking wishing is reality.

Leveson Inquiry: Robert Henderson’s application for core participant status

The Leveson Inquiry- Note on the Directions Hearing 25 1 2012 in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice

Robert Henderson

I attended a directions hearing  for the decision on whether I would be designated  a Core Participant.  I shall not be Core Participant (unless I can somehow persuade Lord Leveson  otherwise), but I could be a witness.

Regardless of whether or not I end up as a witness, the hearing was far from being a waste of time.   I was able to put my case  before a sizeable number of people (probably 50), including  lawyers  representing various people  who have been mistreated by the media, other applicants for core participant status and members of the public, some of whom were  mediafolk.  In addition, the negligent  and superficial way the applications for core participant status were treated showed the Inquiry in a bad light.

Leveson began the proceedings by blithely announcing that he had not read any of the submissions  for core participant status.  Consequently, he made his decisions purely on the oral testimony given at the hearing by the applicants for core participant status.   This was not only odd in itself,  but became doubly so when placed in the context of the advice given to Core Participant applicants before the directions hearing:

“Dear Sir
You have made an application for Core Participant status for module 2. The Chairman will consider your application at the directions hearing which is listed for 2pm on Wednesday 25th January.  It is not necessary for you to attend the hearing, but you may do so if you wish.  If you do propose to attend, please let me know by 2pm on Tuesday 24th January.
Regards
Sharron “

If an applicant had chosen not to appear, it is probable their application would have been dismissed without their submission being considered.

Leveson  further hamstrung  the applicants by saying that he would not get into the detail of individual cases. I did manage to overcome this restriction  but as a method of proceeding it was absurd for an inquiry into press misbehaviour. The final shackle he  put around the applicants was the  danger of  jeopardising   legal action outside of the Inquiry.  Although there was no question of sub judice  because no charges had been brought, I decided not to name  the ex-editor who had committed perjury before the Inquiry by denying any knowledge of receiving information illicitly from the police.  I did this because  I wish Leveson to refer  to the police the perjury, the receipt of information illicitly from the police and the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully the receipt of information illicitly given by a police officer and illicitly received by the ex-editor and his staff.   If I submit the complaints the likelihood is that the police will repeat their behaviour and refuse to investigate meaningfully or at all.  Nonetheless, if I do not get a positive indication from Leveson I shall submit the complaints.

Despite all these seeming grave handicaps to free expression I managed to get a good deal of embarrassing material  into my testimony.  This included the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted in 1997 (that produced a real murmur); the Mirror’s libelling of me and failure to offer me any right of reply and  the PCC’s abject failure to deal with my complaints honestly .  I also, without giving names,  described the perjury of the ex-editor, his admission of having received information illicitly from the police and the police’s refusal to meaningfully investigate the ex-editor’s admission that he had received information illicitly from  the police.  I emphasised that the Inquiry had been in possession of all these facts for more than a month and that if I was not to be a core participant I certainly wished to be a witness.

All that ensured that there are now substantial numbers of people who know that the Leveson Inquiry  has facts which by definition must fall within  the ambit of the Inquiry. Leveson himself acknowledged that  the receiving of illicit information from the police was  indisputably pertinent.

After the hearing  I discussed my situation with the Chief Solicitor to the Inquiry Miss Kim Brudenell.  I got her to agree to a number of actions.  These are:

1. to ensure that my submissions are brought to the notice of Lord Leveson.

2.  to advise me if a formal witness statement  is required after you have reviewed what I have already submitted.

3. to advise me  when and  how  the evidence I have of  the ex-editor receiving  information illicitly and his subsequent perjury before the Inquiry should be  reported to the Metropolitan Police.  I am  willing to make the complaint myself, but  I think it would be most appropriate for the this to be done  under the auspices of the Inquiry, not least because the perjury was committed at the Inquiry. (I wrote to the Inquiry on 22 December advising Lord Leveson of the perjury).

4.  to  advise me when and  how the failure of the Metropolitan Police to meaningfully investigate my complaint to them that the ex-editor had admitted receiving information illicitly from the police – the investigating officer told me that no one at the paper  had been interviewed – should be reported to the Metropolitan Police as a complaint of a perversion of the course of justice.

The English origins and value of the USA’s Second Amendment

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” (American Constitution Second Amendment)

American liberals have a problem. They wish to remove the constitutional right to bear arms from the American people.  Their problem is the Second Amendment. To honestly achieve their aim they would have to amend the Constitution. But such amendments are difficult going on impossible.

To initiate amendments, either two thirds of both houses of Congress must vote for them or two thirds of the State legislatures must call for a convention for proposing amendments. That is just the proposal process. This is followed by acceptance by the individual States. In the former case, three quarters of the States must ratify the amendment individually: in the latter three quarters of the convention must vote for the amendment.

Those are stringent terms to meet in any political system, but particularly so in a state as vast and diverse as the USA and with such a strong tradition of regional government. Add to those structural difficulties the existence of widespread gun ownership and powerful lobbies such as the National Rifle Association and the mountain becomes practically  insurmountable by honest means. So what does the liberal do? What he always does when he wants to ban something which is permitted by the Constitution: he pretends that the Constitution does not mean what it manifestly says.

In the case of the Second Amendment the attack takes the form of pretending that the Amendment was merely meant to provide for a militia rather than affirming and protecting the right of people to arm themselves individually. Happily, there is plenty of ammunition with which to shoot down this claim: in the Constitution itself, in the historical circumstances in which the Constitution and Amendment were drafted, in the very logic of a militia.

The claim that the amendment is simply to safeguard the right of America’s military forces to keep and bear arms is self-evidently absurd. If true all the amendment would mean is that the federal government could not disarm the militia soldiers who represented the majority of its armed forces. It would be practically a redundant clause.

The fact that the Amendment states that the right is not merely to bear but to keep arms might be thought by most honest folk to be a pretty clear indication that the private
ownership of weapons was what the framers of the Amendment had in mind. Moreover, what would be the point of the Amendment if it was not to confer such a right to the
individual? Any other permission to keep and bear arms must of necessity be dependent upon permission from those with political power and authority. It would thus again be a futile and redundant clause. It is noteworthy that nowhere in the Constitution, amended or otherwise, is any instruction on the exercise of such state power given or hinted at.

When judging the intent of the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (which contains the Second Amendment) it is necessary to know the general social and intellectual backcloth against which they worked. They were heir to the English tradition of liberty and government by consent rather than pure tyranny. The Americans who rose against the England of King George 111 did so because they considered themselves part of the tradition of English liberty. In seeking independence, they were not repudiating that tradition but in their own minds returning to what they imagined was the true path of English liberty which had become corrupted in England. It is against this ancient English tradition that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be set.

What does the unamended Constitution of 1787 say about the protection of the newly formed United States? Section 8 of Article 1 grants to Congress the right:

To raise and support Armies, but no appropriation of Money for that Use shall be for a longer term than two years.

“To provide and maintain a Navy.

“To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.

“To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.

“To provide for organising, arming and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.

The first point to note is that the Army and the militias are clearly distinguished as separate entities. The second is the time limit on the power to raise money for armies. This is highly significant. There was a very long tradition in England of professional standing armies being heartily mistrusted as the tool of despots. It was the attempt to
institute a standing army of thirty thousand men which was one of the main reasons why King James 11 was overthrown in 1688. Armies were raised for wars, but in peacetime militias were the order of the day. Indeed, until the first world war England never had a great standing army. (The English tradition is also echoed in the absence of any time restriction placed on the funding of a navy by the Founding Fathers. The English never feared a strong navy as such because it could not be used against them).

With this English mistrust of standing armies and reliance on militias went a tradition of not merely allowing weapons to be generally held, but of such a practice being  positively encouraged to ensure the defence of the country. Feudal military obligation was in fact built on the private provision not merely of men but of arms and equipment. In late medieval times statutes were enacted to encourage long bow practice. The Spanish Armada which attempted to invade England in 1588 was repulsed by a mixed English fleet of private and Royal ships.

Perhaps the strongest single circumstantial reason for dismissing the liberal’s interpretation of the Second Amendment are the well attested motives for those promoting
the Bill of Rights. Those who pushed for the first ten Amendments did so because they believed that the rights and liberties of the individual were not guarded explicitly
enough by the original Constitution. Thus ,if we are to believe the liberal, we must accept the truly fantastic explanation that in the case of the Second Amendment the
protection of individual liberty was utterly cast aside without reason, public acknowledgement or, most compellingly, any contemporary comment, adverse or otherwise.

There is also a question of simple practicality. When the Amendment was passed (December 1791), the infant federal government simply did not have the means to finance the arming of militias. Thus, they can only have envisaged private arms being put to the service of the state, a tradition which as previously mentioned had a long history in
both England and the Thirteen Colonies. Moreover, subsequent history bore this out, for the greater number of troops employed by the American Union in its wars against Britain and Mexico in the first half of the 19th century came from militias. In an age of minimal government, the Second Amendment underpinned the whole scheme of national defence.

Does the Second Amendment allow for any government abridgement of the right to keep and bear arms? It might just be possible to sustain an argument that a register of guns would not breach the Second Amendment provided there was no restriction on the right to own and bear weapons, that is no person could be denied the right either to appear on the register or bear arms. But even here it could be argued with some force that the registration of weapons – particularly if it required complicated bureaucratic procedures – was an interference with the general right to bear arms. Moreover, if a right is general and absolute, it is by no means clear how any procedure initiated by and insisted upon by the state could be legitimate because by definition there can be no legitimate restriction of the right.

Americans produce a multitude of reasons for retaining their guns. They argue on the grounds of personal liberty. They argue on the grounds of deterring crime. They argue on the grounds of personal protection. They argue on a dozen and one grounds. This to my mind is a mistake. Good causes do not need to be bolstered by a battery of  arguments. Good causes need but one argument. The only necessary argument for private gun ownership is in the Second Amendment: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” The key words here are “a free state”. That phrase cannot mean solely to maintain the state in its independence from other states, because that could as well apply to a dictatorship as well as a democracy. In the context of the reasons for the American War of Independence “a free state” must also mean the maintenance of the freedom of the citizens from the oppressive power of the state. That after all was what the whole breach with England was about. Moreover, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are written in a manner which actively extols the individual over the state, viz: “We the people of the United States in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (preamble to the Constitution).

The general motivation for demanding gun control is not the saving of lives. (Its only effect in England has been to leave guns predominately in the hands of criminals and the state). Liberals wish to remove the general right of gun ownership in America for the same reason that they wish to interfere with peoples’ lives generally: they are natural authoritarians. They know that their philosophy (such as it is) conflicts utterly with human nature and are thus driven to suppress any resistance or dissent through the intimidation of political correctness and the practical control of public life. The disarming of the American people is part of this oppressive strategy.

The desire to restrict the holding of arms has always come from those who wished to not only monopolise power but to do so on their own terms. When the crossbow was invented, the medieval nobility attempted to ban it because it reduced the effectiveness of the armoured and mounted knight. Failing in that, they attempted to restrict, with some success, its ownership to people they could control. The Samurai in Japan enforced ruthlessly their rule that only Samurai should carry swords. When the demobbed conscripts of British Army returned to Britain after the First World War, the British government passed the first serious laws regulating gun ownership not because they feared that the British would begin to murder one another in great numbers but because they feared Red revolution.

If Americans wish to retain what is left of their freedom, they will do well to keep the Second Amendment intact. This means not merely retaining the status quo, but the mounting of legal challenges to every restriction on the holding and bearing of arms in the United States. The plain and hideously inescapable fact is that every attempt to restrict both gun ownership (or indeed any other weapon) and the bearing of arms made since the inauguration of the United States has been illegal. That applies whether or not the interference with the Constitutional right was undertaken at the federal or the state level. I suggest that legal action should consist not merely of Constitutional challenges, but civil actions for damages against the federal and appropriate state governments by those actively and personally denied the right to bear arms.



Poems of Existence

God’s Ennui

The press of moments

The dullness of the present

The synthesising of existence

The ending of doubt

The quietude of knowing

The staleness of omniscience

The desire for oblivion

The impossibility of nothingness

The sadness past the mending

The blind wall of the futile

The eternal engine of isness

All becomes part of a whole

Nothing has distinction.

The viciousness of being.

 

The ineffable   

A flower opening, a man thinking;

A mole burrowing, purblind only in sight.

Wings beating an ageless rhythm,

Generations uncounted.

Normal is as normal does,

Abnormal is as most don’t,

Undigested otherness.

Purpose always inherent

In things which are,

Yet where to seek or glimpse

A semblance of certainty?

 

Omniscience

I am the perceiver.

I have the power.

I know the ending.

I was the why.

I am the now.

I will complete.

I shall say enough.

 

Necessity

Logic is the god of isness,

The cranking engine of being.

Every possibility, every was

Or might or maybe

Ground hard sure to facts

By the mill of must,

If this then that, not perhaps.

The universe thralled

To laws which chide

Green doubt to oblivion

And fashion certainty.

All is one thing or another,

Gorgeous simplicity.

 

The building of illusion

An ultimate point of mass,

Expanding, none knows why,

To a  state where particles

Shimmer into simple atoms

Which transmute to complexity

Through mere existence.

Ten a world discordant,

Settling to a unity of form

Which accidentally births

The amoeba  from flinty inertness,

Disrupting entropy accidentally

But signifying nothing.

An eon or two of isness

And a being who thinks

Tat here is free will,

An untrammelled desire,

No chance agglomeration;

The building of illusion.

 

Groping

Screech, screech!

Events.

Screech, screech!

Concatenation.

Screech, screech!

Undecided being.

Screech, screech!

Consciousness.

Screech, screech!

Ideas.

Screech, screech!

Action.

Screech! Screech! Screech!

 

Circles

Existence equals competition.

Competition equals events.

Events equal results.

Results create conditions.

Conditions are existence.

Existence equals competition.

Causation

Motion to energy, awareness or unnoticed isness.

Where is proper explanation and analogy?

Things which are, have been or linger for futurity

Through the aperture of consciousness.

But give no lasting truth

Because of chaos.

 

Solipsism

Like times were never seen

Nor perceptions made,

But in the sanctum of my mind

Where all creation’s laid.

Intellect

The ascribing of value.

The judging of the unbounded

The pounding of the moments

Upon the skein of mind

The sharpening of sense

At the knowledge of error.

The sin of hearing things

Above the commonplace.

The pestle of being

Grinding to madness

The understanding.

 

Futility

This press of being which grows within

This shaking of the mind

This maddening of me

These falling leaves of experience

Which flutter to nothing

In the vice of time

This debris of a life

Littering my conciousness

Ex nihilo I came

Ex nihilo I go.

 

Leveson Inquiry – the response to Robert Henderson’s application to be a Core Participant

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC1

22 12  2011

Dear Lord Leveson,

Piers Morgan indubitably lied to the Inquiry (20 December) when he claimed that he had never illicitly received information from the police.   On 25 November I submitted a series of complaints backed by documentation to the Inquiry.  These were definitely received by the Inquiry  because an acknowledgement was sent to me.

My submission included a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC in which he admitted that the Mirror had received information from the police illicitly. I include  a copy of that letter below with the relevant passage highlighted.  As Morgan refers to it in his letter to the PCC, I also send you a copy of the article I wrote in response to the Mirror which Morgan refused to publish.

Because Morgan gave his evidence to the Inquiry under oath,  he added perjury to his original criminal offence of illicitly receiving information from the Metropolitan Police.  I ask you to take action against Morgan for this perjury and to recall him for questioning about his receipt of illicit information from the Metropolitan Police,  both in terms of that he admitted to in the letter to the PCC  and the extent  of the practice generally during his editorship of the News of the World and the Daily Mirror.

In my submission I asked to give evidence in person.  You have failed to answer that request to date.   However, I see from  the Inquiry website that you are seeking, amongst others things, the following for module 2 of  the Inquiry:

“The Inquiry would be interested in the experiences of the victims of crime and the public more generally, who feel that they have been adversely affected (perhaps through a data leak or breach, or through the reporting of a case) by the current relationship between the press and the police, with examples where possible. The Inquiry would also be interested to receive submissions in relation to this issue on whether it is felt that the current investigation and complaint regime are adequate to properly address instances of this type”. http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Key-Questions-Module-2.pdf

The evidence which I have already  given the Inquiry  relating to Piers Morgan and the subsequent failure of  Scotland Yard to meaningfully investigate the crime – the officer responsible Det Supt Jeff Cutis admitted to me that the “investigation”  had been closed without  anyone at the Mirror being questioned – indubitably falls into this category  of information.  This case has the great advantage for you of having objective and categoric proof of both the Mirror’s receipt of illicit information from the Metropolitan Police and the failure of the Metropolitan Police to meaningfully investigate my complaint about the illicit disclosure of information.  The full details of these events  were supplied in my submission of 25 November.

You are asking for applications for Core Participant status for Module 2 of the Inquiry to be made by 13 January.  Please treat this email and my original submission of 25 November as an application for Core Participant Status.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email by return.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

————————————

RE: Morgan committed perjury at the Inquiry/Application for Core Participent statusWednesday, 4 January, 2012 17:12

From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson’”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”

Dear Mr Henderson

Your e-mail of 22 December requesting Core Participant Status has been passed to the Legal Team.  As you may be aware Rule 5 of the Inquiries Rules 2006 deals with Core Participants in these terms:

‘(1) The chairman may designate a person as a core participant at any time during the course of the inquiry, provided that person consents to being so designated.

(2) In deciding whether to designate a person as a core participant, the chairman must in particular consider whether—

(a) the person played, or may have played, a direct and significant role in relation to the matters to which the inquiry relates;

(b) the person has a significant interest in an important aspect of the matters to which the inquiry relates; or

(c) the person may be subject to explicit or significant criticism during the inquiry proceedings or in the report, or in any interim report.

(3) A person ceases to be a core participant on —

(a) the date specified by the chairman in writing; or

(b) the end of the inquiry.’

As you will see, Core Participants are those considered to be those closest to the issues being considered by the Inquiry with the consequence that a Core Participant will have a more active role in the Inquiry than a participant who is only a witness. They are usually (although not invariably) represented and the legal representatives provide the point of contact with the Inquiry.

Before your application is placed before the Chairman, I would be grateful if your would confirm in writing how, considering the matters set out above, you consider you fall within the definition of a Core Participant for Module 2.  Please let me have your confirmation by 13th January.

For the avoidance of doubt, you can in any event, submit evidence to the Inquiry and you do not need to be a Core Participant to do so.  The inquiry will consider the evidence you provide although this does not necessarily mean that you will be called to give evidence.

Kind regards

Sharron Hiles

Senior Assistant Solicitor to the Inquiry

————————————

Sharron Hiles

Senior Assistant Solicitor to the Inquiry

Leveson Inquiry

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC1

9 January 2012

Dear Ms Hiles,

Thank you for your email of 4 January. I indubitably fall within the definition of a Core Participant for Module 2. This is because:

1. I provide irrefutable proof of Piers Morgan’s   receipt of  information illicitly from the police when editor of the Mirror – the Piers Morgan  letter to the PCC which  I have already released to the Inquiry

2. The proof of  Morgan’s  receipt of information illicitly demonstrates that Morgan committed perjury when he appeared before the Inquiry.  Morgan’s response to questions about receiving information illicitly from the police begins at line 20 of page 86 of the Inquiry  transcript. It runs

.            20   Q.  Okay.  Can I ask you, please, about paying police

21       officers.  Is that something which happened at the

22       Daily Mirror whilst you were editor?

23   A.  I have no reason to believe so, no.

24   Q.  Are you saying by that that it was not brought to your

25       attention?

Page     87

1   A.  I’ve never been made aware of any evidence for that at

2       all.

3.   I am directly involved because the  information Morgan received illicitly concerned me.

4. I have provided evidence to the Inquiry  that the journalist who  received the information from the police initially was Jeff Edwards,  chief crime correspondent of the Mirror and Chairman of the Crime Reporters’ Association.  How do I know it was him? Edwards  wrote the Mirror story about me which led to me to my  complaint to the PCC which in turn prompted Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admits receiving information illicitly from the police. I supplied by email a copy of the Mirror story with my original submission to the Inquiry of 25 November  2011  and a paper copy was sent on 28 November 2011.

5. I have provided evidence to the Inquiry of  police corruption in the investigation of  my complaint to the police that Morgan, Edwards and the Mirror received information from illicitly the police .  D-Supt Jeff  Curtis  of Scotland Yard supposedly investigated my complaint  but failed to interview Morgan, Edwards or anyone else at the Mirror. Ergo, no meaningful investigation was carried out despite the police having Morgan’s letter in which he admitted receiving information illicitly from the police.

All of these matters fall categorically within the Core 2 remit.  I can also, if required, testify to every matter  covered by the Inquiry bar the phone-hacking.   I have been the subject of vast media abuse, the PCC have utterly failed me and the police have refused to investigate meaningfully  or at all other complaints of criminal behaviour  I have made about the Mirror. These matters are covered in detail in my original submission of 25 November 2011.

I must be just about the best witness you could have.   I have fundamentally  important evidence to give,  I can  prove what a say beyond any doubt  and have direct and personal experience of most of the media abuses the Inquiry is addressing. As a bonus, if I am called you will not run into the problems you have encountered with other witnesses where they have claimed they cannot answer questions because they might   incriminate themselves or reveal a source.

Your email worries me somewhat because it suggests that you may not have my original submission of 25 November. Therefore, I have re-sent this  to you by separate email.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email by return and confirm that you have my original submission of 25 November.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

——————————-

RE: Morgan committed perjury at the Inquiry/Application for Core Participent statusMonday, 9 January, 2012 11:48

From: “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”Add sender to ContactsTo: “‘robert henderson’”, “Leveson Inquiry Solicitors Team”

Dear Mr Henderson

Thank you for your e-mail and your further e-mails.   Your application will be considered by the Chairman in due course with the other applications for Core Participant Status.

Kind regards

Sharron Hiles

Barry George and the celebrity effect

Note: When Barry George was convicted  of the murder of the  television presenter Jill Dando in 2001 I  wrote  the  pamphlet   entitled Barry George and the celebrity effect  for the Libertarian Alliance.  In it I argued  that the evidence  was very weak and entirely circumstantial and the conviction palpably wrong, a judgement borne out when the conviction was overturned on appeal in 2008.   The Dando murder prosecution case, like that in the Dobson/Norris trial,  rested on dubious  forensic evidence and there was a great deal of character assassination of George as there was with Dobson and Norris.   Both the George and Dobson/Norris trial verdicts seem to be the outcome of not an honest evaluation of the evidence but a reaction to the public emotion surrounding  the cases. Robert Henderson

Barry George and the celebrity effect

Robert Henderson

On 2 July 2001 Barry George, 41, was convicted at the Old Bailey of the murder of the broadcaster Jill Dando, best known as the presenter of the BBC programme  crimewatch. Few, if any recent convictions, have been greeted with such disquiet by the media. Leader comment (3 July) from the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph give the gist of press feeling:

“Despite his loathsome character and criminal record, the evidence against George was hardly compelling” (Daily Mail).

“…there can be few convictions that need the imprimatur of the higher courts [ie the agreement of the Court of Appeal that the conviction is sound] more than this.” (Daily Telegraph).

The comment is all the more noteworthy for coming from the two British national newspapers most unfriendly to the criminal and most supportive of the courts and the police.

From the moment that prosecuting counsel Orlando Pownall said in his opening speech that the Crown’s case against Barry George was in effect (because the forensic  evidence was utterly inconclusive) entirely dependent on circumstantial evidence, the alarm bells started ringing.

They rang even louder when Pownall said that the evidence was “compelling”, for a strong case needs no such gratuitous promotion but speaks for itself. As the prosecution unfolded it became all too clear that even by the standards of lawyerly hyperbole, “compelling” was going it a bit.

The prosecution were unable to show that (1) George had a motive, (2) that he was particularly interested in, let alone fixated with, Dando, (3) that he was in the immediate area of Dando’s house at the time of the killing and (4) that he had access to a gun since 1982. They produced no direct witnesses of the killing, no weapon and no unambiguous forensic evidence. Moreover, they failed to do all this despite devoting immense amounts of money and manpower to the investigation – 40-50 detectives worked on the case full time for more than a year. In addition, George at no time admitted to the police that he had committed the murder or had any knowledge of the crime,that is,  he did not make a confession (or any compromising statement) and then retract it. Throughout he strongly maintained his innocence.

Occasionally, as in the case of the murderess Rosemary West , circumstantial evidence is of a nature where a conviction is safe even if it is the only evidence (Fred and Rosemary West murdered many young women they befriended). To find her not guilty, the jury would have had to believe that she was able to live in the same house with her husband over a period of many years during which time he buried umpteen bodies of young women and girls he had befriended without Rosemary having an inkling of what was going on. There was also evidence given by girls befriended by the Wests who escaped being murdered, that Rosemary had accompanied her husband when he had gone out looking for girls to befriend and that she had been present when they were later subjected to physical abuse by Fred West.

The evidence against Rosemary West strained credulity past the breaking point because, although it was entirely circumstantial, it was also powerfully linked to the crimes being tried. In the Dando trial there is nothing to strain credulity past the point of no return nor was it linked powerfully to the crime. Indeed, the very opposite, for the weakness of the evidence presented against George was quite startling. So weak in fact, that even if there had been a really “killer” piece of evidence linking George directly to the murder, for example, if the murder gun had been found in his flat, it is difficult to see how the evidence presented at his trial would have added to the case against him because it relied so heavily on fanciful supposition mounted on the most contentious premises. The best that could be said for the prosecution case was that the evidence they presented was extremely voluminous.

The facts of the shooting

Jill Dando was shot at about 11.30 on Monday, 26 April 1999 on the doorstep of her house at 29 Gowan Avenue, Fulham, West London. Shortly before her killing she was captured on CCTV in several places. There was no evidence from the videotapes of anyone following her.

Miss Dando was found lying with her head against her front door. Her car keys were in her hand and her handbag open with the strap over her arm. She was almost certainly about to open her front door when attacked.

Damage to the lower part of the door suggested that Miss Dando was crouching when shot. There was a small bruise on her right forearm which was probably made by the killer grasping her arm. The killer probably forced her to the ground and held her in position for the killing.

Miss Dando was killed by a single shot to the head made at very close range. The fatal bullet went into her head just behind the top of the left ear and exited above the right ear.

Prosecuting counsel described the result of this shot thus: “An impression of the muzzle and foresight of the weapon used was discernible in the area surrounding the entry wound which suggested it had been pressed firmly against the left side of her head upon discharge,” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

The police found a yellow bullet and shell case at the crime scene. The shell case was of 9mm short self-loading pistol calibre. The weapons expert called by the prosecution claimed that “Such ammunition had never been widely distributed.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01) There were six markings along the top of the cartridge suggesting a pin punch or similar instrument was used to secure the bullet.

From the bullet and shell case it was deduced that the gun used to kill Miss Dando had a smooth-bore barrel which had either been converted from a blank pistol or was a reactivated weapon. It was not fitted with a silencer, but because it was fired so closely to the head, the noise of it firing would have been substantially reduced. The markings at the top of the cartridge suggested that it had been adapted and may have carried a reduced charge, which would have created a quieter report when the gun was fired.

A single fibre (not from Miss Dando’s clothing) was found at the scene of the crime.

Two witnesses (neighbours of Miss Dando) who probably heard but did not see the killing said Miss Dando screamed and then came the sound of a shot. Presumably she must have seen the gun. These neighbours reported seeing a man but neither identified him as George. Indeed, the photofit produced from their description did not greatly resemble George if at all.

The facts of the shooting suggest a most efficient killer. He has moved swiftly to her, rapidly placed her in a position to be killed, killed her quickly with a single shot to the head, muffled the sound by placing the gun against her head and, possibly, reduced the report further by using adapted ammunition. This behaviour was utterly at variance with George’s chaotic character.

The prosecution tried to argue that the single shot (professional killers always use two according to the prosecution – such wondrous certainty over the palpably uncertain was displayed by Mr Pownall throughout the trial) and the use of a re-commissioned gun or modified blanks pistol, suggested that the killer was an amateur. The fact that one shot was used is, of course, no evidence of a lack of professionalism. Miss Dando was shot in a public place and the killer may well have decided on one shot to avoid drawing attention to the killing. The fact that the gun was a re-commissioned one or a converted blanks pistol also means nothing. Such guns are commonly used by London’s underworld, much more commonly by all accounts since the tightening of the gun laws by the Blair government.

George’s character The prosecution were, to put it politely, intellectually confused in their arguments relating to George’s character. On the one hand they wished us to believe that George was capable of having coldly planned and executed a most efficient killing without leaving any forensic or other direct evidence to convict him. On the other hand, when it suited them, they portrayed George as a reckless near simpleton.

George’s character as depicted at the trial suggested a seriously inept and disorganised man. As a boy he was a problematic enough a personality to have been sent to a special boarding school. He has never been able to hold down a job and has spent almost all of the time since he left school unemployed. He suffers from epilepsy to the extent that he was allowed an attendant in the dock at the Dando trial to assist him in the event of a fit. He was said to be of low intelligence. He lived in a terrible physical mess – his flat was covered with a deep “soil” of paper and other oddments such as a large number of rolls of undeveloped films.

Of particular importance to the trial was the fact that George is a serial fantasist of Walter Mitty proportions. This had two effects. First, evidence that he had lied to the police became essentially worthless without other corroborating evidence, because lying was second nature to George and, indeed, it is the type of behaviour which would have been reasonably expected from him in the circumstances of being arrested and questioned by the police. Second, much of the other evidence, such as his habit of  following women, could be plausibly explained by his tendency to act out his fantasies.

George’s fantasy world was one in which he sought satisfaction, and doubtless attention, by pretending to be someone glamorous or connected to someone glamorous or to have been in glamorous or sensational circumstances. At various times during the twenty years prior to the murder he has claimed to be Steve Majors (a name derived from Lee Majors and the character, Steve Austin, he played in the TV series The Bionic Man), an SAS soldier by the name of Thomas Palmer (an SAS soldier involved in the Iranian Embassy siege), Paul Gadd (the pop star Gary Glitter’s real name) and Freddie Mercury’s cousin (for which he used the name Barry Bulsara) to mention just a few. He has at various times also claimed to be in possession of a rocket propelled grenade launcher and to be able to roller skate over four double decker buses.

George did not merely have fantasies he acted them out. When he was pretending to be Freddie Mercury’s cousin, Barry Bulsara, he went to Mercury’s home after the singer’s death in a hired white limousine and left flowers outside the house. He then proceeded to sign autographs for a while, having persuaded mourning fans that he was related to Mercury.

In 1983 he was arrested by police in Kensington Gardens near to the Princess of Wales’ home, crouched in the bushes, dressed in pseudo military gear and equipped with a knife and rope. The police arrested him but did not press charges, although they searched his flat. The Royal Protection Group (RPG) did however, list him as a potential threat to the Royal Family. An RPG member also suggested him to the team investigating the Rachel Nickell murder in 1992 as a possible suspect.

In 1985 George was living in a bed and breakfast hotel in Gloucester Road, West London. There he came to know a family by the name of Dobbins. After they moved to a flat in Fulham George called on them unexpectedly dressed in combat gear and a balaclava. Once in the hallway of the flat he produced a handgun and fired a blank shot. He showed the Dobbins’ son, David, the blank rounds in his pocket and then left.

A further example of his exhibitionistic and obsessive mentality comes from his medical history. George attended no less than 18 different surgeries in West London at various times and was known as a “heart sink” patient because he was constantly coming in with imagined ailments.

Doctors who examined George after his arrest diagnosed an impressive array of psychiatric disorders: psychopathic personality, narcissistic personality, histrionic personality, paranoid personality and Asperger’s Syndrome (a disorder linked to autism). As a boy he was diagnosed as suffering from attention hyperactivity disorder. George was also diagnosed as having somatisation disorder and concurrent factitious disorder.

Whether psychiatric diagnoses mean anything is debatable. However, the police and courts credit them and therefore should have taken them into account before a prosecution was mounted. The interesting thing about these diagnoses is that they relate to personality traits which could innocently explain every part of George’s supposedly suspicious behaviour both before and after the Dando murder. A psychopathic personality is prone to lying and using aliases.

A narcissistic personality is one who urgently seeks attention and admiration and has a heightened sense of self-importance. A histrionic personality will imagine they have a well developed relationship with someone they do not know at all in a personal sense. A paranoid personality has obvious ramifications for George’s suspicion of the police.

Asperger’s sufferers have major problems with personal relationships and a tendency to become obsessive. Finally, somatisation disorder and concurrent factitious disorder explained his imagined illnesses.

Guns and the military

George was undoubtedly fascinated by guns and the military. The police found in his flat camouflage trousers and a jacket, notes about stunts to raise money for the SAS, books such as Uniforms of Elite Forces, SBS, the invisible raiders and various other survival and gun related magazines.

However, George appears to have been as unsuccessful in his efforts to achieve a life which regularly included guns and the military as he was with virtually everything else he attempted. He joined the Territorial Army 10th Bn Parachute Regiment in December 1981. He served until the following November but did not complete his basic training, although he attended 29 voluntary training days which included basic weapons training. In August 1982 he joined the Kensington and Chelsea Pistol Club as a probationary member. In September his full membership application was refused. He attended the club on eight occasions and concerned himself primarily with pistol shooting. In 1991 he applied unsuccessfully to become a member of the Royal Green jackets and the Field Ambulance Volunteers. That was the extent of his military involvement and weapons training.

When the police searched George’s flat for the second time, they found a list of firearms which they showed to George. This promoted him to say “That’s from when I was with the TA. I have only handled weapons under supervision.” This, if true, meant that George had not handled working firearms since 1982. Try as they might, the police could not prove he had. The best they came up with was the firing of blanks at the Dobbins’ home and a recent picture of George taken showing him holding a replica pistol capable of firing only blanks.

The police conduct of the investigation

The police did not take George seriously as a suspect until nearly a year after the murder, despite some reports from the public early in the investigation which suggested that he might be worth investigating. The police explanation for the delay was the sheer volume of leads they had to follow up - these ran to several thousands. This could conceivably be the reason, but more probably by the time the police turned their attentions to George they were getting desperate because of their failure to charge anyone and feeling utterly thwarted by the sheer lack of hard evidence to follow up. This view is leant weight by the words of Assistant Commissioner Brian Moore who said at the conclusion of the trial: “It was a strange attack. It was not seen by anybody, the killer was not seen by anyone at the time and very little forensic evidence left behind. There could be no more difficult environment to investigate a case.” (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01).

The police gain the vast majority of their convictions through one of three means: catching the perpetrators in the act, intelligence from underworld informants and the sheer incompetence and lack of self control of many criminals – more criminals are probably caught because they boast about a crime to other criminals who then inform on them than by any other means. Where none of these events occurs, the police inevitably struggle. It is not that they are dim or incompetent. Rather, it is in the nature of things that if a crime is committed by someone who leaves no material evidence, is not connected to the victim, tells no one and is not subject to the attentions of an informant, then the case is next to insoluble. In particular, the police have a pretty poor record when it comes to solving stranger murders, no matter how much effort they put into an investigation. The failure of the Metropolitan Police (the London police force) to even charge someone for the murder of PC Dunn (a few years ago he was shot down – probably by drug dealers – while answering what appeared to be a routine call) or to gain a conviction which would stand the test of an appeal in the case of the especially brutal killing of PC Blakelock during the Broadwater Farm riots in 1981, shows how difficult such cases are to solve. In both cases the police force investigating the crimes had the greatest possible incentive to solve the crime, it was the best resourced and largest police force in Britain and had by far the greatest experience in murder investigations, because of the disproportionately large number of British murders which take place in London.

In most investigations the police just put it down to experience if they cannot solve the crime, even if it is a murder. Files may be kept open for a long time, but active investigation either stops altogether or is severely reduced.

But where the crime is sensational, especially if it is a murder, there is no question that the police devote more time and effort to a case than they would normally do. Had Jill Dando been an Old Age Pensioner killed in her home by a burglar, her case would have been quietly investigated for a few months and then effectively dropped if no obvious leads remained unexplored. But because she was Jill Dando, media celebrity, the police could not face doing that. Instead they employed a disproportionate number of  detectives (40-50) for a disproportionate amount of time ( more than a year) at a disproportionate cost (around £4 million). That amount of effort in turn creates an ever increasing need in the police mind for a person to be charged and brought to trial.

Any murder trial in which someone is not charged until many months after the event is likely to be suspect. Where the murder victim is a well known and liked celebrity, it is a near certainty that no real evidence exists if the accused is not charged until a year after the killing. The detective in charge of the Dando investigation, Detective Superintendent Hamish Campbell said after the trial that he had no doubt about the rightness of the verdict and then continued tellingly: “The ones [murders] that worry me are unsolved murders: cases that leave people without an answer for losses.” (Sunday Telegraph London 8/7/01). There is a strong element of the classic policeman’s mentality in that statement, both “he wouldn’t have been convicted if he was innocent” and “a job well done because a culprit has been found and punished”.

Why did the police pick on George when the evidence against him was so weak? His sister, Michelle Diskin put forward a plausible reason after the trial: “My feeling is that Barry looked disposable. They thought he could disappear and no one would notice. They thought it was just him and his elderly mum. They didn’t realise he had a large family network.” (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01).

The Crown Prosecution Service

The prosecution was sanctioned by Alison Saunders, then the Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor for central London with the Crown Prosecution Service. She was interviewed by the Sunday Telegraph after the trial (8/7/01).

Ms Saunders insisted that the case passed the “realistic rospect of conviction test” – that a conviction is more likely to succeed than fail.

She admitted however, that “…it was a difficult decision to take because there was no eyewitness to the murder and no smoking gun, and we had to consider it very carefully.”

Ms Saunders was of course aware of George’s criminal record – see below. She claimed that she was not influenced by that, but one wonders whether at some level she did not take it, wittingly or unwittingly, into account. There was, of course, also the pressure she must have felt to bring someone to trial both because of the victim’s celebrity and the immense effort devoted to the investigation.

The evidence presented against George

Ms Saunders said that she was persuaded to recommend charges by the forensic evidence, statements by witnesses placing him near the murder scene, his efforts to obtain an alibi and George’s lies over not knowing where Dando lived or who she was. Let us examine the evidence under those four heads.

Forensic

The only forensic evidence which supposedly linked George directly to the killing was a minute chemical residue, too small to be seen readily with the human eye, and a single strand of fibre.

The chemical residue was found in the inside pocket of George’s coat. The coat itself may have been contaminated by the police because it was not kept properly protected on its journey from George’s flat to the forensic laboratory. In between, a policeman took the coat to a police forensics laboratory to photograph it. There it was, quite naturally, taken out of its protective bag to photograph it. The photographic studio had in the months before been used to photograph a gun which was seized at Heathrow and then test-fired in a laboratory before it was brought to the studio. The head of the Dando investigation, Det Supt Hamish Campbell, admitted George’s coat should not have gone to the studio before the laboratory.

Bearing in mind the minute size of the particle, is it probable that such a tiny amount would have been transferred to the pocket if George was the killer and had inadvertently placed it there soon after firing the gun? Surely if the residue had come from the careless transfer of residue by George, he would have left more than a single microscopic particle in the pocket? On the other hand, a small amount of residue from the previously photographed gun might well have been picked up in the studio and inadvertently transferred to George’s coat.

Most feebly of all, the prosecution could not even prove that the residue came from a gun . All they could say was that its chemical profile suggested this. But under questioning, the Crown’s firearms expert witness, Robin Keeley, had to admit that the residue could have come from a firework (no laughter please).

Even if it is allowed that the particle was from a gun, a very big if, the prosecution has another large obstacle to overcome, namely if it came from a gun it could have come from any number of guns. Moreover, bearing in mind George’s propensity for using blank firing pistols, why not from that source? The prosecution tried to show that the chemical composition of the residue was inconsistent with a blank round and consistent with that found at the scene of the crime, but as they could not definitely rule out the possibility of a firework as the source of the residue, there has to be a reasonable doubt about such claims.

As for the blue-grey fibre which was found at the crime scene, the dangers of drawing conclusions from such evidence are substantial. First, the fibres may be too small to be able to be matched forensically. Second, most fibres are mass produced so that their use as an identification tool is next  to worthless. The fibre in the trial was mass produced. The prosecution said the fibre was “Not inconsistent with” a fibre taken from George’s clothes. Again, embarrassingly feeble.

The identification evidence

It must be remembered that the witnesses were not asked to identify George until approximately a year had passed. That fact alone should cast a severe doubt over any identification.

The two neighbours, Richard Hughes and Geoffrey Upfill-Brown, who saw a man moving away from her house failed to identify George. The man had no apparent disguise or getaway vehicle. Neither identified George as that man.

Three other witnesses gave identification evidence of a sort.

Susan Mayes saw a man of “Mediterranean appearance” standing by a car at 7 am – Dando was shot at 11.30 am. She later identified him as George.

Teresa Normanton also saw a man of “Mediterranean appearance” at about 9.50 am. She also identified George but tentatively, saying she was not sure because of the  moustache George wore at the identity parade.

Charlotte de Rosnay saw a man from her bedroom window. When shown the video identification parade she recognised George but could not be sure that the man she had seen from the window was George. This evidence is significant because George was not merely a resident in the area but was a familiar figure on the streets where he regularly loitered for hours. de Rosnay’s evidence suggests that she knew George by sight because of this habit of his. The other two witnesses may well have known George by sight, not perhaps in a conscious fashion, but simply as an involuntary effect of seeing him frequently as they went about the area.

I might well have headed this section “identification” evidence. As evidence it is laughably inadequate. The two neighbours did not identify George – indeed the identifit picture created from their description did not greatly resemble George. The three people who saw a man earlier are uncertain that it was George. But suppose it was George, what relevance does it have that he was in the street hours earlier? Minutes earlier would be relevant. But hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people must have been in that street in, say, the six hours before the killing. Why pick on one and say that his presence hours before the event is relevant? Not only that but as George made a habit of hanging about in the streets in the area, seeing him would have been unexceptional.

Note also that two of the witnesses describe the person they saw in the hours leading up to the as of “Mediterranean appearance”. Two points arise. First, can George be so described? I would say not. He is dark haired but not swarthy, which is what one would normally associate with such a description. Second, why should two witnesses use the same precise description? A bit of a coincidence. Could it be that they met at the police station, either before and after the video ID parade and discussed it among themselves? If so, that would be a breach of the rules governing identification parades.

There is also the compromising fact that one of the witnesses had “a liaison” with a member of the detective squad working on the case. (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01). The jury did not know this, but the fact was brought out in legal argument with the jury absent. Michael Mansfield said: “They continued a relationship when he [the police officer] had been warned not to. It is most unfortunate that a witness of this kind, given her testimony, should have any liaison.”

The alibi attempts

In the days following the murder, George attempted to establish as alibi for the time of the murder. The alibis involved a day care centre for the disabled and a minicab firm nearby to the centre which he visited on the day of the murder. He visited them two days after the murder and asked people at both venues to identify when he visited them on the day of the killing and what clothes he was wearing. One of the people at the disability centre testified that George had been there at 11.am, half an hour before the murder took place, directly contradicting the prosecution’s case that George had lied about the time he visited the centre.

Why did George do this? Well, again the behaviour is consistent with his obsessive need to fantasise. Moreover, George had been interviewed by the police during the Rachel Nickell murder enquiry. It is possible that he was worried, not irrationally in this instance, about being targeted by the police for the Dando murder.

The lies George told the police

When interviewed by the police in 2000, George denied knowing who Miss Dando was or where she lived. These were probably lies.

Before the shooting George told a woman he knew that someone famous in lived in Gowan Avenue, a person whom he described as a “very special lady.” That is very suggestive of knowing that Miss Dando lived there.

The police accused George of lying about the time of his appearance at the day centre and the minicab office and his movements on the morning of the murder. They were not able to show conclusively that George was lying in either instance.

In fact, one of the people at the day centre substantiated George’s story about arriving at 11.am, half an hour before the killing took place. (Alasdair Palmer Sunday Telegraph 8/7/01).

The police also found two notes in George’s handwriting in his flat. These read: “Although I did not know Jill Dando personally, my cousin Freddy Mercury was interviewed by her back in 1986.

“I was present with him, so for this reason I feel it’s poignant to express together the situation of Jill’s death and my coming to Christ.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

None of this proves anything. In fact, any evidence about George’s lying has little relevance when one remembers his propensity to fantasise. Moreover, the notes were written after the murder, not before. After the murder George had joined in the mourning for Miss Dando with gusto, as indeed he had done after Princess Diana had died, signing a book of condolences and leaving flowers at the spot where she died. I would suggest that George had simply created a new fantasy and woven it together with an existing one about being Freddy Mercury’s cousin.

Other evidence

The prosecution presented a mountain of other evidence. What follows is a sample to give the flavour of the generally weak reasoning employed by Pownall, and the ease with which apparently compromising behaviour by George can be explained by his general eccentricity. The prosecution thought these facts of significance:

George had a fascination with guns and the military. Big deal.

George lived at 4 Crookham Road, 500 yards from Jill Dando’s home. So what? In fact, if anything that could be an argument against his involvement because it would greatly raise the risk of discovery and only a very reckless personality would have undertaken such a public killing in the area in which he lived.

A woman. Sally Mason, who knew George, gave evidence that George had told her he had been at the killing although he did not admit to being the killer. “I was there you know”. (Daily Telegraph 5 May). When Mason asked him directly whether he had been the murderer George refused to answer.

Once again, such behaviour is consistent with George’s propensity to fantasise.

The prosecution claimed George had a fascination with the BBC, where he once worked as a messenger, and would collect copies of the Radio Times and the company’s internal magazine. So what?

Approximately 100 rolls of undeveloped films was found in George’s flat developed. These contained some 2,500 photographs. These were of 419 women whom the police assumed George had mainly photographed as he followed them about. Interestingly, only two of the photos included Miss Dando and these were taken from the TV. The fact that they were left undeveloped suggests that George’s fantasy ended with the taking of the picture. The fact that he had only ever taken photographs of Jill Dando from the Television (and only two of those) suggests that he had no great interest in her and had not followed her.

A List of models was found in his flat. Again one must ask so what?

What the prosecution case amounted to

Precious little, the honest answer has to be. The prosecution showed that George was a rather pathetic, exhibitionistic personality who was obsessed with guns and  celebrities (although not with Dando). That places him in the same category as tens of thousands of others. The fact that he lived near to Miss Dando made his involvement less not more likely in view of the public circumstances of the killing.

His propensity over a very long time to follow and engage in (since his time in prison) only low grade harassment of women is suggestive not of murderous tendencies but of the reverse, that is  his fantasies were played out at a level well below that of serious violence.

The limpness of the prosecution’s case is most palpable in the frequently absurd reasoning Oliver Pownall put forward. I will give one of the most potent examples of this habit. Referring to the evidence given by the witnesses about the man seen on Gowan Avenue the morning of the killing Mr Pownall came out with this gem:

“It is inconceivable that there were two men in Gowan Avenue that morning, both of the same age height and general appearance, both of whom had an interest in Jill Dando and experience in handguns.” (Daily Telegraph 5/5/01).

I dare say Mr Pownall is a highly intelligent man, but he should be ashamed of himself for presenting such an obviously ridiculous argument before a court.

George’s criminal record

After the trial, much was made of George’s criminal past and instances of indecent assault and harassment which did not come to court.

George’s criminal record was if not petty, undramatic and even more importantly, very short and far in the past by the time that Miss Dando was killed. It consisted of convictions for indecent assault in 1982 and an attempted rape in 1983 for which he was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment. He has never been charged with attacking a woman (or a man for that matter) with a weapon or causing serious physical injury.

In 1980 George seriously molested two women, a civil servant and June Zeller, an actress. The latter was attacked by George in 1980 in a lift but he was acquitted of indecent assault on her in May 1981 at Middlesex Crown Court – at the same hearing which convicted him of indecent assault on the civil servant. George was caught after the civil servant noticed him hanging about near her office some weeks after the attack. (Daily Telegraph 3/7/01). This reckless behaviour is consistent with George’s tendency to play out his fantasies.

The fact that George never did anything after 1983 which bought him before a court strongly suggests he was not dangerous to the extent of killing someone deliberately. His one brush with prison probably frightened him enough to keep his fantasies within safe limits afterwards. It should be mentioned that when George attempted the rape for which he was convicted, he ended the attempt by apologising to the woman before running off. Not the action of a completely amoral personality.

It has to be said that George is not someone who would be welcomed as a neighbour. Apart from his criminal convictions, he has a long record of what one might describe as low grade harassment of strange women. He talks to them, he follows them, he stares at them. However, none of this behaviour was sufficient in the years between 1984 and 2000 to bring him before a court. Not only that, but Jill Dando had not reported any problem with a stalker to the police.

Nor it seems, because it was not mentioned at the trial, had she mentioned any such problem to her friends, family or fiancee.

The jury were of course, unaware of his criminal record. As a general rule the keeping of a man’s criminal record from a jury is a to be applauded. Ironically in this case it could conceivably have been to George’s advantage if the jury had known because of the length of time which had elapsed since he was last in court.

Why did the jury convict?

The answer lies I suspect in the frequently displayed behaviour of juries when faced with a case involving a celebrity. It is remarkably difficult to gain a conviction in front of a jury where a celebrity is on trial, often almost regardless of the evidence offered. The jury is reluctant to believe that someone they feel they know and often admire could be guilty or, perhaps even more fundamentally, deserving of punishment even if they are guilty. The same effect in reverse applies to cases where the celebrity is the victim. There the jury feels a desire to convict. The immense media coverage associated with the Dando murder and her widespread popularity with the public doubtless enhanced this natural tendency.

George’s counsel, Michael Mansfield QC, recognised the difficulty his client faced when he made his final speech to the jury: “We ask you to be careful about the strength of feelings there may be. It will do no justice to Jill Dando’s memory or this case were you to allow those feelings to mould together what otherwise might be a non-existent case because there is in some unconscious way or another a desire to see someone pay.”

It is true that the jury deliberated for thirty-two hours spread over five days before coming to a verdict and it could be argued that this means that the jury were not swayed by Miss Dando’s celebrity. In fact, the time involved means little because it was a 10-1 majority verdict – one of the twelve jurors had been excused from jury service during the trial. The most probable explanation for the time taken to come to the verdict is that a small group, perhaps as few as two, did not want to bring in a guilty verdict and it took time to persuade enough of this group to vote for conviction by a majority verdict. It is also a fact that long, high profile trials with a mass of evidence rarely bring rapid verdicts, probably because the jurors feel that they should spend a decent time considering the verdict simply because the effort in bringing the prosecution is vast.

Are the jury to be blamed? No, because juries are human. Nor should it be safely assumed that a judge or panel of judges would necessarily be immune to the pull of celebrity or without prejudice. One only has to remember the summing up in the Archer/Daily Star libel trial in which the judge drooled over the “fragrant” Mary Archer to be cured of that belief.

The real culprits are the police for devoting such an inordinate amount of time and money to the investigation and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for agreeing to the prosecution and encouraging the police in their investigation. One of the tests the CPS use for determining whether a prosecution should go ahead is that there is a good chance of a conviction. That judgement should be made on the evidence not on the likely response of the jury to celebrity involvement.

Who else might have killed Jill Dando

Various rumours circulated after the killing. Could it have been an underworld figure whom Crimewatch had damaged or angered? Was it a revenge attack by Serbs following Miss Dando’s appearance on a programme dealing with the Nato attack on a Serb television station during the Kosovan war?

Either was more plausible than the idea that the shambling, fantasising disorganised personality that is Barry George could have acted so out of character as accomplish what was in effect the perfect murder – single shot to the head, no witnesses, no weapon, no conclusive forensic evidence.

Because no claim of responsibility was made by a political group, I suspect it was an underworld killing not a political one. The fact that a re-commissioned gun or modified blanks pistol was used would also support this idea because such guns are widely used by criminals in Britain.

In his closing speech, George’s counsel, Michael Mansfield QC pressed the Serb line hard. This was probably a mistake because it was taking the jury into James Bond territory. In fact Mansfield would have done better not to suggest other assailants and simply rest his case on the inadequacy of the prosecution case.

The lessons to be learned

What can be done to stop such cases being brought to court? We need a new approach to the value of evidence. Despite cases such Rosemary West, it might be best to outlaw prosecutions based purely on circumstantial evidence or, if that is thought too extreme, only allow them where the circumstantial evidence is of a nature as to directly link the defendant to the crime, as was the case in Rosemary West.

The feeble suppositions and the subsequent chains of reasoning based on the suppositions which appeared in George’s trial should not be admitted as evidence. British courts need to realise that identification evidence of strangers is next to worthless (every academic study on stranger identification has shown this) and that forensic evidence is far from being cast iron. The latter may be scientifically dubious. In that case the jury may well be misled. It may be scientifically debatable – which means juries are asked to choose between conflicting experts without any rational means of doing so. It may be beyond the ability of a non-expert to evaluate (which includes judges and counsel as well as juries).

There is a good case for banning forensic evidence which is too complicated for the non-specialist to understand. The jury also needs to be made aware of the limitations of even the most familiar forensic evidence. Even fingerprinting is by no means the cast iron certainty it is normally credited with being. An American historian of science, Simon Cole, has just published Suspect Identities: a history of fingerprinting and criminal identification (Harvard University Press) which demolishes their infallibility and attacks the science which underlies fingerprint evidence.

There is also the question of both unwitting contamination and the deliberate planting of evidence. For example, suppose I wish to implicate someone innocent in a crime. I drop something, say one of the person’s hairs, at the crime scene. The DNA identifies the hair as that person. Perhaps it is unlikely that by itself the hair might lead to a conviction. But what if the innocent person cannot provide an alibi? Suppose it is a crime of violence, what if the innocent person has been heard to say they would kill the person? It is just too easy for a circumstantial frame to be built up where a piece of supposedly hard forensic evidence exists.

Because of this we should insist that such forensic evidence is corroborated or substantiated by at least one other piece of evidence. That would require a change in English law which allows that single piece of evidence – including a confession – is enough to gain a conviction.

The other worrying aspect of the case is the incontinent use of police resources in this case. This mirrors that in other recent investigations such as the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the investigation into the death of Ricky Reel, or, to take an earlier crime, the murder of Rachel Nickell.

As the police have strictly limited resources, there should come a point in any investigation where a decision is made that enough is enough, that sufficient time, money and manpower have been devoted to the case to make any chance of gaining a conviction thought further effort extremely unlikely.

Does George have grounds for appeal?

George has a better chance of an appeal now than he would have had even a few years ago. The new appeals regime is more open to examining the actual evidence presented to the jury than old appeals regime was. Nonetheless, unless he can introduce new evidence, to mount a successful appeal he must be able to show that there was a mistake in law or that the prosecution evidence introduced was flawed. What the Appeal Court cannot do, unless they create a precedent in a criminal trial, is overturn the verdict of  the jury simply because they think the verdict was perverse. I say create a precedent in a criminal trial, because last year the Appeal Court overturned a jury verdict in a  libel case, that involving the footballer Bruce Grobbelar and the News of the World, because they judged it to be perverse, However, Grobbelar is now taking that case to the Lords so the right of the Appeal Court to make such a decision is undecided.

The summing up was not obviously at fault. The judge heavily emphasised the circumstantial nature of the evidence and the possible dangers that could arise from a  prosecution case based purely on circumstantial evidence. The judge was also sympathetic to George’s decision not to give evidence, commenting that he thought it was reasonable because George was manifestly not competent, mentally and physically, to withstand the rigours of cross-examination. Thus, George’s failure to give evidence should not have been a black mark against him when the jury came to consider the verdict.

Where the judge may have been at fault is in allowing evidence from those who had not absolutely identified George at identity parades to be admitted and in keeping from the jury the liaison between a witness and a police officer working on the case.

There is also the question of whether evidence such as the forensic results of tests on the residue in George’s pocket should have been admitted when the residue could not be certainly identified as from a gun and because it could not be definitely shown to be compatible in composition to the residue on Miss Dando.

I hope George’s appeal succeeds, but I would not bet the farm on it.

Conclusion

The depressing truth is that George has been found guilty without a single piece of direct evidence being offered against him, while the circumstantial evidence on which he was convicted was weak in the extreme. No one can feel safe if this conviction is allowed to stand.

Personally I doubt whether he was the killer, not least because it is improbable that such a disorganised personality could have successfully planned the act, carried out the act and covered up the material evidence afterwards.

This trial and conviction is the latest nail in the coffin of English justice. Apart from the various miscarriages involving Irish bombings, we have had cases such as that of Stephen Cisko (who was convicted of murder on a confession obtained under dubious circumstances and who spent nearly 20 years in prison before DNA evidence proved his innocence – tragically he died shortly after his release from prison) and lately that of Michael Stone who was convicted of the murder of Lin and Megan Russell solely on the testimony of two cell-mates that he had confessed to them. One of the witnesses against Stone has since admitted that he lied under oath to obtain favourable treatment by the prison authorities and parole board. It is noteworthy that Stone like George was a disturbed, disorganised individual with a criminal record, who seemed to be someone who would not be able to muster much support if he was convicted on inadequate evidence.

If the public are not to lose all faith in English justice something must be done soon to prevent such inadequate prosecutions being mounted.

The most depressing thing of all is that English justice for all its faults is probably as fair a system of justice as any in the world and arguably the fairest. It has an ancient unbroken tradition, formal equality before the law, habeous corpus, sub judice, well established principles of due process, widespread use of the jury, substantial provision for legal aid and above all the presumption of innocence. The whole is underpinned by the potent concept of natural justice.

These legal goods stand on the platform of an immensely strong strain of personal freedom in English history which has produced a general principle utterly at odds with continental systems of law, namely the idea that an Englishman may do anything legally which is not forbidden by law.

But, alas, structure is no safeguard against human bias and error. God help anyone who comes before a court anywhere in the world is the honest and depressing truth.

Stephen Lawrence, Gary Dobson, David Norris and a political trial

Robert Henderson

The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence is a savage and sinister travesty of justice. That is not because the defendants are necessarily innocent . What is profoundly worrying is the decision to prosecute regardless of the feeble quality of the new  evidence,  the placing in double jeopardy of Dobson (who had been formally acquitted in 1996 of the murder  when a private prosecution was brought) ,   the general  difficulties of a trial held 18 years after the event, the all too perniciously potent legacy of the Macpherson Report  and the almost continuous media circus which has accompanied the Lawrence killing for nearly 19 years and repeatedly savaged the reputation of the defendants .

The impossibility of a fair trial

The question of whether Dobson and Norris could get a fair trial should have been tested before the case was heard.   Despite assiduous attempts, I can find no  media reports that either Dobson or Norris’ lawyers applied to have the trial struck down on those grounds.  If no application was made by their lawyers ,the defendants would have every reason to feel cheated  because if ever there was a case where a fair trial would have been impossible this is it.

To understand exactly how outlandishly contaminating the circumstances surrounding the defendants were  it is necessary to  know of the  previous attempts at prosecution,  the scandalous behaviour tolerated at the Macpherson Inquiry, especially the behaviour towards the suspects,  and the virulent and extended  hate campaign waged by the British media against Dobson and Norris (and other  suspects).

The police originally had five  white  youths in the frame  for the murder, Dobson and Norris plus  Luke Knight and the brothers Neil and  Jamie Acourt.  The CPS refused to prosecute in 1994. The parents of Stephen Lawrence  then initiated a private prosecution   against  the five suspects, but only Jamie Acourt, Gary Dobson and Luke Knight  stood trial. The granting of a private prosecution is rare for any crime because the Attorney-General has to sanction such prosecutions; for a charge of murder it is unprecedented at least  in modern times( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/first-private-prosecution-for-murder-3-held-1616684.html.)

The trial collapsed when the judge ruled that the identification evidence of  Lawrence’s friend Duwayne Brooks, who had been with him on the night, was inadmissible (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-41.htm#41.3). That was scarcely surprising as Brooks originally told  the police he could not positively identify any of the attackers then later changed his story and said he could and picked out Neil Acourt and Luke Knight. As by his own story, Brooks ran away as fast he could when the attack happened and the  attack took place at night (around 10.30 pm on 22 April), it would seem improbable that he could have identified  the attackers with any certainty.  It is worth adding that (1) identification evidence is notoriously unreliable, especially where strangers are involved, and (2) the three independent witnesses to the attack were unable to identify any of the attackers.  The attack was also over very quickly.

Despite the failure to mount a criminal prosecution by the CPS and the abject failure of the private prosecution, the British media continued their campaign against those suspected of the murder. In 1997 the Daily Mail ran a front page which accused the five suspects of murder and challenged them to sue for libel (http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/features/frontpage/lawrence.html).    This was an act of outright cowardice by the Mail because they knew none of those they accused could afford to sue them.  A libel case against a the Daily Mail would have probably  have cost, at 2012 prices,  £1m to fund  because the Mail were determined to take it to court. But even if  the case was  won,  the judge would probably not have awarded  the plaintiff their  costs in full or even at all  and any  award would certainly be far less than the plaintiff’s  costs and probably derisory. If  the case was lost the plaintiff  would have to bear his  own costs and those of the Mail which would mean at least £2 million at today’s values.

The one family amongst the accused which had some degree of affluence at the time of  murder was that of David Norris, whose father Clifford was reputedly running  the drug trade in South London.  But Clifford Norris was jailed for nine years in 1994 and served seven years which reduced him to penury. In 2006 the Guardian found him living in a bedsit (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/aug/06/politics.lawrence).

But   even if a libel suit  had by some miracle been mounted, it is dubious if it would have succeeded because of the public demolition of the suspects’  characters over years. That would almost certainly have seriously biased any jury against them and  it could have been argued that the plaintiff(s) had no reputation to lose. Even if  a suit was successful, any damages would probably have been derisory on the same grounds of little reputation to lose.   It is worth mentioning that the editor of the Mail, Paul Dacre, knew Stephen Lawrence’s father  Neville, because Neville  had done some plastering work for him.

In 1998, through a combination of the more or less perpetual  media campaign and the religiously  politically correct  Blair Government,    the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry began presided over by a   senior judge,   Sir William Macpherson. This contained truly amazing scenes. In what was  a quasi-judicial proceeding there was an atmosphere close to mob rule.  Within the Inquiry  frequent interruption occurred in the public galleries, especially when the police were giving evidence.  At one point members of the Nation of Islam invaded the building and fought with the police (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/stephen_lawrence/282378.stm).

When the five suspects left the Inquiry after giving evidence  they were met by a mob and were physically attacked  by missiles and  directly assaulted by members of the mob (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/123608.stm).  Why they were expected to walk  through a mob when they left the building is a mystery because the police must have realised the crowd was likely to attack. Nor did the police show any urgency to either protect the suspects or arrest their assailants.

The publication of the Macpherson Report  in 1999 on the evidence given at the  Inquiry ensured the  Lawrence murder remained in the mainstream media throughout the eleven years leading up to the recent trial.   In addition, Macpherson’s  “anti-racist” recommendations, which included a dangerously broad definition of a racial incident as ” any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm),  were adopted throughout public service and then by private and not-for-profit  employers, especially the larger ones, many of which rely heavily on public contracts.

Politicians  of all mainstream parties competed to be the most enthusiastic  about this new quasi-Maoist “anti-racist” regimen under which  to make any comment which could be construed as “racist”,   however absurdly,  would probably mean the end of a career of a politician or public servant.  Unsurprisingly, public servants at all levels became eager to demonstrate how politically correct they were, both to advance their careers and to protect themselves.

Perhaps the single  most sinister  consequence of Macpherson  was the institutionalising of “anti-racism” – extremely crude  propaganda in practice – within the British state education system (http://www.schools-out.org.uk/teachingpack/stephenlawrence.htm), but the effect on  the police and justice system runs it close.

Macpherson did not believe that  racism did not  have to be consciously motivated.  He labelled the Metropolitan Police “institutionally racist”  (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-06.htm#6.6) ,  by which he meant, as far as he meant anything, unwitting racism arising from the general culture of  a corporate body.  The Metropolitan police at first rejected the tag of institutional racism but eventually  caved in, after which the other police forces in Britain followed suit.

To attack police racism, whether  deliberate or unintentional, Macpherson recommended that the police be directly placed under race laws:   “47/11That the full force of the Race Relations legislation should apply to all police officers, and that Chief Officers of Police should be made vicariously liable for the acts and omissions of their officers relevant to that legislation.” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).   This was enshrined in law in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/34/contents)

The effect of Macpherson on  the police was to render them, and especially the most senior officers,  rigid with political correctness – the toxic fruits of which  can be starkly  seen in the police statement that the recent killing of the Indian student Anuj Bidve by a white attacker in Salford was a “hate crime” despite the fact that  the police admitted  there is no evidence for this  (http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/white-attackernon-white-victim-racist-motive-non-white-attackerwhite-victim-no-racist-motive/).   This mentality has continued to drive the Stephen Lawrence case.

The publication of the Macpherson Report provided the mainstream media with a never ending stream of stories related to the Lawrence killing. He became the lead icon for “anti-racism”. No area of life escaped. Not only schools and the police but every workplace was directly or indirectly affected by the consequences of the Lawrence murder.  Stephen’s mother Doreen ceaselessly  campaigned for further investigations  into the death . The ever expanding band of “anti-racist” interest groups were ready at the drop of a hat to use his death as a lever to get other perceived racist affronts into the public eye.    The mainstream media, without exception dominated  by enthusiastic “anti-racists” and “multiculturalists”, was  always willing to run another Stephen Lawrence story and only too eager to seize on any claimed example of racism and give it an airing, frequently with reference to the Lawrence murder.

Because of the constant media’s constant return to the Lawrence story there was never any chance that it would fade in the public mind.  Any trouble the  five suspect got into, including criminal convictions,  was given great prominence in the media.   The period after 1993 was also the time when the Internet took off so that no mainstream  story is ever really taken from the public fold.  Details of Norris and Dobson’s criminal past may not have been allowed into evidence at their trial, but anyone googling their names would have soon discovered the material.

With all that history,  is it conceivable that a jury could be empanelled which  was not aware of the defendants’ past  and was not influenced by the massive amount of adverse and often crudely abusive media coverage they would have inevitably experienced just in the normal course of living? To not be aware of the media’s  representation of the Stephen Lawrence case and Dobson and Norris’ involvement in it, the jurors would not  have read newspapers or listened or watched news bulletins or current affairs programmes over the past 18 years;  not found such information when using the Internet; not attended  “antiracist” courses in their workplace  and not been at school (and probably university)  after 1999  because of the institutionalisation of “antiracism” propaganda  (with Stephen Lawrence at its centre)  in British schools following the recommendation  that this be done in the Macpherson Report (Recommendation 67 – http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).  .

Even  if by some miracle twelve people could be found who were unaware of the Lawrence case and the reputation of  Dobson and Norris,  there would still be the hurdle to overcome of the intensely politically correct atmosphere that has been gradually  created by the British elite over the past forty years.   Whites in Britain have been conditioned to believe that  it is dangerous not to play the multiculturalist game. To fail to accept the Lawrence case narrative presented to them and find Dobson and Norris not guilty would expose them to the dreaded charge of racism.  At the same time non-whites have developed a tremendous sense of victimhood  which leaves them unlikely to approach a trial such as this in disinterested fashion.

However the jury was comprised the jurors would have had good cause to return a guilty verdict regardless of the evidence.  If the jury was all white they could, and almost certainly would have been,  be portrayed, at best,  as whites  looking after their own. If the jury was racially mixed it would be very difficult for the white members to argue for a not guilty verdict if the non-white members were against it.  Conversely, a non-white member on the jury who did not believe guilt had been proved would be nervous – for fear of being seen as an uncle Tom – about voting  for not guilty, if such a vote would mean there was a unanimous  verdict and consequently it would be known that they had voted that way.

(I have not been able to  discover any details about the composition of the  jury other than that it was comprised of 8 men and 4 women  and people from the locality of the killing were excluded (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15735026). If anybody has details of the age, class, race and ethnicity of the jurors please let me know. )

If there is an equivalent case  in terms of sustained adverse  media coverage which has gone to trial I would glad to know of it.

The racist video

A video made secretly by the police of some of   the suspects including,  Dobson and Norris, during the original investigation   into the murder shows Dobson and Norris (and the others) engaging in extremely crude racist talk. Here is an example:

Neil Acourt. Sequence 11. “I reckon that every nigger should be chopped up mate and they should be left with nothing but fucking stumps….”

David Norris. Sequence 50. “If I was going to kill myself do you know what I’d do? I’d go and kill every black cunt, every paki, every copper, every mug that I know..

I’d go down to Catford and places like that I’m telling you now with two sub-machine guns and I’m telling you I’d take one of them, skin the black cunt alive mate, torture him, set him alight …. I’d blow their two legs and arms off and say go on you can swim home now …. (laughs).”

Gary Dobson. Sequence 27. “He said the fucking black bastard I am going to kill him. I cracked up laughing. I went what black geezer. He went the Wimpy one the fucking black nigger cunt, fucking black bastard. I went what the Paki……”

Luke Knight. Sequence 11. “…. it was Cameroon, a fucking nigger country… Fucking our presenters saying oh yeah we want Cameroon to win this, why the fuck should he want niggers to win it when they’re playing something fucking like Italy…..”  (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-07.htm#7.11)

It is astonishing that the video was allowed in evidence because there is a principle in English law  that  nothing can be introduced into evidence if it is not direct evidence of the crime and  would be likely to serious  bias jurors. The prime example of this is the long-standing refusal to allow evidence of previous convictions into evidence (this has been weakened as a principle too,  but still obtains in most criminal cases).  The video clearly falls into this  category because there is no admission in the recording that the suspects had committed the crime.

It has been suggested that those involved suspected or even knew they were being bugged,  and deliberately went over the top with their language to taunt the police.  But there is no hard evidence that this is the case.  Moreover, if the prosecution seriously believed that  the recording was made  when those recorded knew or suspected they were being recorded, that would have been another reason for  excluding it from evidence because it did not represent Dobson and Norris’ normal behaviour.   Because of the  conditioning to the “antiracist” mindset  outlined above, it is difficult to believe the playing of the recording to the jury followed by the evidence given by Dobson and Norris about the recording would not have had an adverse effect on the jury.

The fact that no admission of having killed Lawrence was made in the secret recording is  a pointer to their innocence.   To build on that instance there is a considerable  amount of surveillance over the years which failed to catch any of the suspects  making any admission of involvement in the murder:

“ Just weeks before the Macpherson report was published in February 1999, then Met Deputy Commissioner John Stevens asked one of his top detectives  John Grieve, to launch a no-expense spared new probe.

Career detective Mr Stevens told Mr Grieve, a deputy assistant commissioner, he could recruit the best detectives in the force.

At its peak, 120 officers were working on Operation Athena Tower, which lasted four years.

Yard chiefs were in constant contact with the then Home Secretary Jack Straw, the only person who could authorise telephone intercepts on the suspects.

Yard Assistant Commissioner David Veness approved dozens of bugging operations on the gang’s cars, homes and workplaces, while a surveillance team was constantly on their trail.

A source said: ‘It was run like a big anti-terror operation. The team had every piece of kit you have ever heard of. It was pure James Bond.’

It was during this phase that a house was purchased in the same street as one of the murder suspects, and an undercover officer tasked with infiltrating the gang.

TV INTERVIEW AND A SPY HELICOPTER

Two months after the Grieve probe started, the five suspects agreed to be interviewed by Martin Bashir on ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald.

Programme makers were in close contact with the Met before the programme was recorded but for legal reasons, detectives ruled out suggesting the line of questioning.

Had they done so, defence lawyers could have argued they had used Bashir as ‘an agent of the police’ – scuppering the possibility of using it as evidence at any future trial.

Bedrooms and other pre-selected rooms in the secret house in Scotland where the interview was filmed had recording devices installed.

Scotland Yard even had a helicopter hover over the group as they played golf nearby, recording their comments, relayed by satellite from tiny microphones hidden in their golf trolleys. But the ‘bugged golf buggies’ did not provide any vital new leads – and neither did the TV show.

In May 2004, the CPS announced there was insufficient evidence to bring murder charges. One detective remarked at the time that the Yard’s best hope was if one of the suspects ‘became a vicar’ and gave a true account of what happened”. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged-killers-homes-cars-pubs.html  – this Mail article is worth reading in its entirety).

The fact that, despite the immense surveillance efforts made over a long period, no admission was ever recorded or heard by undercover officers pretending to be their friend strongly points to their innocence.  The temptation for young  men, adolescents when the crime happened,  to boast  amongst themselves about the crime if they had committed it would have been very strong because that is the way of young men.  Imagine keeping quiet about it for years on end even when you are drunk and  amongst people you think are your friends. It would argue for an iron self-discipline that few could muster and would be vanishingly  unlikely  to be found in every one of a group of five or more.

The breaching of double jeopardy

The ancient English law principle of no double jeopardy  – that there should be no more than one trial on the same offence or evidence after an acquittal  has been gained – was diluted by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This provided for  more than twenty offences  to attract the possibility of a second trial on the same charge after being acquitted previously.  Murder is one of the qualifying offences. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/part/10).   The breaching of double jeopardy was one of the Macpherson  recommendations – no 28  – although he was making the suggestion only in relation to racist crimes. (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-47.htm).

The removal of double jeopardy is dangerously wrong  in itself,  because of the opportunity it gives to the state to behave in an oppressive manner. To that  ill  is added that of de facto retrospection, for it is not only crimes committed after the 2003 Act which are caught by it but any crime committed before the Act was passed. Dobson was acquitted during  the private prosecution  and  until the 2003 Act was passed could not have been retried.   He is also a victim of retrospection.

There are supposedly strong safeguards against the abuse of power built into the 2003 Act.  The court of Appeal  has to quash the original acquittal and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)  has to give the go ahead for a new prosecution.  There is also a seemingly stern test for the new evidence on which a fresh trial will be based. Section 78 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires that the new evidence must meet the following tests:

78 New and compelling evidence

(1)The requirements of this section are met if there is new and compelling evidence against the acquitted person in relation to the qualifying offence.

(2)Evidence is new if it was not adduced in the proceedings in which the person was acquitted (nor, if those were appeal proceedings, in earlier proceedings to which the appeal related).

(3)Evidence is compelling if—

(a)it is reliable,

(b)it is substantial, and

(c)in the context of the outstanding issues, it appears highly probative [Having the effect of proof, tending to prove, or actually proving] of the case against the acquitted person.

(4)The outstanding issues are the issues in dispute in the proceedings in which the person was acquitted and, if those were appeal proceedings, any other issues remaining in dispute from earlier proceedings to which the appeal related.

(5)For the purposes of this section, it is irrelevant whether any evidence would have been admissible in earlier proceedings against the acquitted person. (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44/part/10).

The problem with such putative safeguards is that they  allow a great deal of latitude in their interpretation and the decisions,  whether or not to quash the original acquittal or mount a fresh prosecution, are made by members of the  elite who are often associated with politicians.  For example, the present DPP,  Keir Starmer, is a member of the Labour Party (he was named after Keir Hardie) and was  appointed by a Labour government.   Consequently , there is also a  “Who shall guard the guards” element to fret over.    But I shall leave that  question  to the judgement of the reader. What I shall go into in some detail is the question of the “New and compelling evidence” on which the re-trial was based.

The new forensic evidence

This consists of a minute blood stain identified as Lawrence’s blood, two human hairs of 1mm and 2mm  respectively (which could only be tested for maternal DNA because the hairs had no root) and a small amount of fibre identified as coming from Lawrence’s clothes which was found on clothing taken from  the defendants’ homes after the murder.   Technology was not advanced enough in 1993 to have extracted a complete DNA profile from the blood stain, but that is irrelevant because, according to media reports,  the blood stain was not spotted in 1993. The stain was tiny but not invisible being 0.25mm by 0.5mm (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081758/Stephen-Lawrence-verdict-The-evidence-convicted-David-Norris-Gary-Dobson.html).  

In the 1990s two separate forensic examinations were made of the clothes and other items gathered by the police in 1993 as possible evidence.  The first was conducted by Adam Wain  who was working with the police. The second  by Dr Angela Gallop who acted for the Lawrence family in 1995 when the private prosecution was being prepared.  Both found blood and textile fibres; both came to the same conclusions: that there was too little blood to test and  the connection between Lawrence and any of the suspects’  clothing was thin,  in Dr Gallop’s words  “Even in combination these fibres provide only very weak evidence of any association between Lawrence’s and Dobson’s clothing.” (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-25.htm – this is section 25 of the Macpherson Report)

But there were  fibres which had some similarity with the garments worn by Dobson and Lawrence:

“ 25.7 In summary, the conclusions of Mr Wain were really as follows: First, amongst the extraneous fibres removed from the bag from the right hand were two brown wool fibres that had the same microscopic and colour characteristics as those from Mr Dobson’s cardigan. One of these had similar dye components as those from the cardigan. The other one was too small for dye testing. 

Also he found that one grey cotton fibre from Stephen Lawrence’s jacket had the same microscopic characteristics as fibres from Mr Dobson’s jacket. That discovery was made in June 1994. Also a single white polyester fibre found in the bag from Stephen Lawrence’s right hand had the same microscopic characteristics as those from Mr Dobson’s jacket. As that fibre was white no further relevant tests could be carried out.”

25.8 The report of Mr Wain continued as follows … “Evaluation conclusions … where fibres are found to match the component fibres of a garment, this does not mean that they necessarily came from that garment. They could have come from another garment of the same type or another source of similar fibres. Therefore, in my opinion, there is weak support for the assertion that the two brown wool fibres recovered from the bag that was covering Stephen Lawrence’s right hand came from an exhibit ASR/2, namely a cardigan recovered from Dobson’s home”, and that, “there is very weak support for the assertion that the single grey cotton and white polyester fibres that were recovered from Lawrence’s jacket and right hand bag came from item LA/5, namely a jacket found at Dobson’s home.” (Ibid)

The importance of these early findings on the fibres are twofold: (1) it shows that extensive searches for fibres and their extended  testing was undertaken when the evidence was fresh and less likely to be contaminated (2) that  similarity of fibre was weak evidence of  where the fibre came from.

It is rather difficult to see how two highly experienced forensic scientists could have missed the fibres which were presented as evidence in the trial just concluded.  More to the point, even if they did miss them,  why are these putatively new  fibres any more potent as evidence now than those  found and tested in between 1993-1995? There would seem to be no ready answer to that because a fibre is just a fibre, a dye is just a dye.  There has not been  technological advance which will identify the  particular garment from which a fibre has come.

Even if there was other evidence, forensic or otherwise,  the new  fibre evidence  would add little to it simply because of its uncertainty.  If there was a great deal of evidence which pointed to Dobson and Norris being involved with the killing it might add a small  circumstantial something  but that is all. But there was not a great mass of strong evidence in this trial. The two hairs  found on Norris’ clothing could have been simple contamination as the evidence bags nestled together, unwitting transferred during other tests or even transferred by the officers initially  collecting evidence who also visited the Lawrence home.  It is worth adding that the clothes from which fibres were taken were not  collected for several weeks after the murder and the police themselves thought it unlikely that any fibres  from Lawrence would have been left on the clothes after that time(http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-25.htm) .

The only really  important new evidence put forward was the microscopic blood sample on Dobson’s jacket collar (http://news.sky.com/home/uk-news/article/16141534) and the two hairs.   The fibre and hair evidence really added nothing to this. The DNA evidence either stood or fell on its own merits. As  there was no blood evidence against Norris (only inconclusive  fibres and the two tiny hairs). He should have been acquitted because there was no meaningful evidence against him.

The blood evidence against Dobson presents more complex problems.   The defence did not question the blood  DNA analysis. Instead they attacked its veracity as evidence by claiming contamination.  There were solid grounds for doing this.   The blood stain was not seen  by the two forensic scientists who had examined the jacket in the 1990s. The evidence  had been stored for 18 years.  The clothes were stored in paper  evidence bags sealed only with sellotape - the original forensic scientist  Adam Wain warned of the  dangers of contamination as the bags and sellotape seals degraded (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2011/11/24/stephen-lawrence-murder-trial-forensic-expert-had-concerns-about-contamination-of-evidence-old-bailey-hears-86908-23585745)  Evidence bags containing Lawrence’s clothes and effects were stored with those containing the Dobson and Norris evidence.   Detective Sergeant John Bevan and Detective Constable Linda Holden, two of the officers involved in the initial investigation,  visited the Lawrence home as well as taking raids on the suspects homes (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8908314/Officers-may-have-contaminated-Stephen-Lawrence-evidence.html).  An officer on the case  DC Paul Steed  deliberately  sabotaged his records relating to the forensic  evidence (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/09/stephen-lawrence-trial_n_1139000.html . A forensic worker Yvonne Turner  mislabelled evidence in 1993, including the garments at issue in the Dobson/Norris trial (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/23/stephen-lawrence-trial-evidence-mislabelled)  It is also true that contamination of forensic evidence is a not uncommon problem in many cases which heavily rely on it.  (http://www.impactnottingham.com/2012/01/can-we-really-rely-on-forensic-science/).

Having said all that there is the question of how the blood soaked into the Dobson jacket collar. Three other flakes of blood which tested as being that of Lawrence were found loose in the evidence bag, although again these had been missed in the earlier forensic examination.  They could plausibly have been in the bag as  the result of contamination by a simple mechanical transfer of material.  Dobson’s defence rested on the fact that the blood on the collar could have been caused by the liquid with which the jacket was sprayed to test for saliva. This could have softened another scrap of dried blood which allowed the blood to soak into the collar.

The prosecution brought Rosalyn Hammond as an expert forensic witness to say this was “practically impossible” (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/2011/12/08/stephen-lawrence-murder-trial-contamination-not-to-blame-for-bloodstain-on-accused-s-jacket-says-expert-86908-23620646/).   Prosecuting counsel in his final speech to the jury said the blood on the collar could not “realistically be caused by contamination”. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16271736). Note that neither the witness or the prosecutor say it was actually  impossible. In fact, they used  the sort of phrases that people use when they are trying to paper over the cracks in an argument. Nor  is the spraying for saliva the only plausible way the blood could have got onto the collar. For example, someone opening the bag which had been contaminated with loose tiny flakes of blood could have had water or another liquid on their hands and without knowing it transferred both blood and liquid to the Dobson jacket.  It is also rather curious that only a tiny amount of blood would have soaked into  the Dobson jacket if it had been transferred during the attack or conceivably after the attack with blood from the knife or hands.  The fact that the blood was on the collar makes it even less probable because staining elsewhere – the sleeve or front of jacket would have been more likely  than the collar, especially if the blood was transferred in the attack. It should also be remembered that the blood stain and the three other loose flakes in the evidence bag were missed by both forensic investigations in the 1990s.

There are further strong circumstantial reasons to doubt the blood sample. Much was made in the Macpherson report of the failure to arrest any of the suspects for two weeks  after the killing and the fact that on two occasions before any arrests were made Dobson and Jamie Acourt  were seen leaving their homes carrying black plastic refuse sacks which might have contained items of clothing (http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm42/4262/sli-18.htm).  The Macpherson report concluded that  this might have been clothes worn at the killing which were being disposed of to destroy any potential forensic evidence, a rather large assumption to say the least.   But If that was indeed the case why would they have kept any of the clothes? Common sense would have told anyone who had been involved in the killing to get rid of everything. . In  addition,  it should be remembered that David Norris’ father Clifford was a heavyweight villain who reputedly ran the drugs trade in South London at that time.  If he knew  his son and others had been involved with the murder  it is difficult to believe he would not have told his son  to make sure all those involved got  rid of any clothing or anything else they were carrying or wearing in case  these  provided  forensic evidence.

Exactly how the Court of Appeal and the DPP concluded this was “New and compelling evidence” I am at a loss to understand.   As for the jury, the judge warned them they had to accept the forensic evidence as being beyond reasonable doubt before moving to the question of whether Dobson and Norris were guilty.   Whether the jury understood the full ramifications and complexity of the forensic evidence we shall never know, but it is difficult to see how they could have met the steep test of “beyond a reasonable doubt”  on any rational basis.

The viciousness of the  white liberal

Nothing I have written is meant to suggest  that Dobson and Norris (or the other suspects) are  admirable human beings.  However, it is interesting to see the hypocrisy and viciousness of   modern day liberals as they respond to this case.

If this had been black defendants from similar backgrounds to those of the five accused the mainstream media would have been full of broadcasts and articles saying their environment was responsible for their misbehaviour, how disadvantaged they were and so on.    Nor has any meaningful  allowance has been  made by the mainstream media for the youth of  Dobson (17) and Norris (16) at the time of the attack or the fact that Norris had a father who was a serious criminal. It should also be borne in mind that the suspects lived in an area of heavy non-white immigration, unlike the regulation issue white liberal who,  curiously you may think for those putative worshippers of diversity, so often manage to  arrange their affairs so that they live in very white worlds.

As they are white working class men,   white liberals (and their black and Asian auxiliaries) feel free to casually vilify them in the crudest manner which demolishes any pretence they have to actually believing in the “liberal internationalist, be understanding, don’t blame anyone”  credo they continuously promote.

That bastion of liberal sanctimony the Guardian greeted the convictions with the tabloid worthy headline Monsters in the dock (http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/06/1?newsfeed=true) while the Daily Telegraph from supposedly the other side of the political spectrum  thought it relevant to comment on the physical appearance of the three members of the original five suspects not charged in this trial – The Acourt brothers and Luke Knight – and to sneer at the difficulties which the all but Jamie Acourt have experienced since the Lawrence murder (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8974918/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-Jamie-Acourt-Neil-Acourt-and-Luke-Knight-profiles.html).

The vindictiveness of the liberal can be seen in their howling for longer sentences for Dobson and Norris – despite the fact that they were aged 17 and 16 at the time of the murder -  and the willingness of those with power to pander to the public cries. The Attorney-General  – a politician in the British government – has already agreed to review the sentences to see if they are “unduly lenient”  because one or more “members of the public” have requested that he do so  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8994957/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-Attorney-General-to-review-sentences.html)

It might be thought that the liberal dominated media would at least have been disturbed by the diluting of double jeopardy, but with a few honourable exceptions such as Peter Hitchens  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2083636/Stephen-Lawrence-murder-I-dont-believe-man-stand-trial-twice-crime.html#ixzz1irbOpuHd) there has been a ghastly silence.

The unpleasant truth (for liberals) is that modern liberals, far from being interested in truth and fairness and  treating all human beings alike, are just like every other human being: they favour those they approve of and attack those they deem beyond the Pale.  In fact, liberals today are more likely to behave viciously towards those of whom they disapprove than the general run of Britons because they are rigid ideologues and like all ideologues they carry their beliefs to any length of sinister absurdity.

Shades of the Barry George conviction

When Barry George was convicted  of the murder of the  television presenter Jill Dando in 2001 I  wrote a pamphlet for the Libertarian Alliance entitled  Barry George and the celebrity effect  [http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/barry-george-and-the-celebrity-effect/ ]. In it I argued  that the evidence  was very weak and entirely circumstantial and the conviction palpably wrong.   The prosecution case, like that in the Dobson/Norris trial, also rested on dubious  forensic evidence.

I attributed the jury’s willingness to convict on such feeble evidence  to Dando’s  celebrity and the massive amount of irrelevant character assignation of George which occurred during the trial, character assassination which  was then gleefully amplified  by the media. Barry George was acquitted on appeal in 2008 when the weakness of the case against him was finally officially recognised.

Something similar seems to have  happened in the case of Dobson and Norris.   The police, the DPP, the  Court of Appeal  had obvious reason not to bring the case to trial or, in the case of the jury, to reach a verdict of guilty. Dobson should not have tried again because of the breach of double jeopardy and even under the new rules on second trials after an acquittal,  neither Dobson nor Norris should have been retried because of the patent impossibility that they would get a fair trial because of all that had occurred in the previous 18 years.  In addition, the new forensic  evidence was seriously compromised by the very real risk of contamination. This should have caused the case to fail to meet the “new and compelling” criteria for a new trial. The jury should have come to a not guilty verdict because clearly the “beyond a reasonable doubt”  standard was not met because of the risk of contamination.   The only plausible explanation for all of these things not happening is the creation by the media, politicians and interest groups of an atmosphere in which none of those involved in the process from gathering evidence to giving a verdict felt it possible to do anything other than allow the process of re-trial to proceed.

It is not necessary for those involved to have consciously made a decision not to do what circumstances and facts said they should do. All that it required is for those involved to have been in effect brainwashed by the coverage of the Lawrence case over 18 years and the ever increasing grip which  “antiracist” propaganda has on Britain which makes many white Britons believe that in some curious way whites are always in the wrong when black complaints of abuse by whites are involved.

This was a political trial pure and simple.  The desire for a conviction became part of the “anti-racist” crusade which the murder generated.  No expense has been spared  with an estimated £50 million having been spent on it  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged- killers-homes-cars-pubs.htm). At its height 120 officers were employed on the case full time (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2081901/Stephen-Lawrence-trial-Police-bugged-killers-homes-cars-pubs.html). Even today there are 25 officers doing the same and suggestions that they should be re-deployed to other duties is causing media uproar.  The squad may well continue, viz.: ‘ Scotland Yard has denied reports that the team investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence is being disbanded but it admitted the case is currently “dormant”’. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16435790)

Compare the Lawrence case with the investigation of  the murder of a fifteen year old white boy Richard Everitt by Asians in 1994. (http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-deaths-of-richard-everitt-and-stephen-lawrence-compare-and-contrast/). One person was convicted of the murder  and released after 11 years. Upwards of ten were in the gang which killed him who went looking for a white boy to attack. Unlike the Lawrence case there has been no sustained  median campaign to bring the others to justice, no Public Inquiry like that of Macpherson, no ongoing massive police  squad devoted to a continuing investigation, no outcry by the media at the release of the convicted killer after only 11 years.  This was a murder which the British elite wished to sweep under the carpet as quickly as possible.  The double standards of the British elite are howlingly obvious and disturbing.  The British public can see what is happening and are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the “white, wrong; black,  right”  policies and mentality of those with power and influence in this country. That could be the ultimate legacy of the Stephen Lawrence circus: the straw which broke the grip of the “antiracist” multicultural propagandists on British life.

Stephen Lawrence’s murder was just that, a murder.  It was as grave a crime as any other murder arising from the similar circumstances of a gang attack. No more, no less.

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