The failure to charge Piers Morgan with illicitly receiving information from the police

The failure of the police to investigate the then editor of the News of the World Rebekah Wade in 2003 after she had admitted to a Commons select committee that the News of the World had paid policemen for information (see https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/the-refusal-of-the-police-to-investigate-rebekah-wade/) is not an isolated instance of the police refusing to investigate members of the mainstream media over allegations of corrupt behaviour involving payments to the police by the media. I have direct personal experience of this behaviour.  

During the 1997 election campaign Tony and Cherie Blair attempted to have me prosecuted for writing to them.(see https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/when-tony-and-cherie-blair-tried-to-have-me-jailed/). The Blairs did not go to the police when I sent them the letters, but later after I had circulated copies of my correspondence with them just before the election campaign started to every major media outlet. The fact that they did not go to the police when I sent the letters shows they clearly thought the letters were a threat to Blair’s election chances not that I represented any threat to the Blairs.   When their  attempt to have me jailed failed dismally they attempted to intimidate me into silence by arranging for the Daily Mirror – then the NuLabour house journal – and its sister paper the Scottish Daily Herald to run exceptionally libellous stories about me.

Daily Mirror 25 March 1997

‘PEST TARGETS BLAIRS’ 

                  Jeff Edwards Chief Crime Correspondent                                      

                 Police called in over string of hate letters

                 Police are probing a string of race hate  letters

               to Tony and Cherie Blair.

               The deluge of sinister messages sent to the  couple

               through the Labour Leader’s office at the House  of

               Commons began last year.

                 Insiders   described   them  as   “personal   and

               offensive”.

                 And  they  feared the letter  writer  could  even

               become a stalker.

                 The  man behind the hate mail has been  described

               as 51-year-old Robert Henderson.

                 He sparked a huge row two years ago when he wrote

               an article criticising black players in the England

               Cricket  Team  for  the  Magazine  Wisden’s   [sic]

               Cricket Monthly

                                    GRAPHIC

                 The  magazine was successfully sued for libel  by

               England fast bowler Devon Malcolm.

               At  first  staff at Labour’s HQ in  Walworth  Road,

               South East London,  ignored the letters sent to the

               Blairs.

                 But  they decided to call in the police when  the

               TYPED messages became a rant against the couple and

               started  arriving  at the rate of three or  four  a

               week.

                 Insiders  say  the  letters  –  with  Henderson’s

               signature  and north London address – are  full  of

               graphic racist filth implying Mr Blair would  relax

               immigration laws once he gets to No 10.

                 A  Labour  insider said last night:  “The  writer

               said  things  like  ‘why are you  married  to  that

               idiot?  If  he gets elected he’ll let  in  all  the

               blacks and Asians.'”

                 Detectives  visited the Blairs at Labour HQ  last

               week.

                 They  were  shown dozens of  letters  which  were

               taken away for forensic tests.

                 The letters – posted in London –  have also  been

               studied by the Crown Prosecution Service.

                 Police said sending such material could result in

               an assault charge.

                 The  insider added:  “MPs often  get  threatening

               mail which would go in the bin.

                 “But this is different. It has become a campaign,

               a  bombardment.   The  writer  displays  tendencies

               associated with stalkers.

                 “This writer is unusually persistent. The tone of

               the letters has become increasingly nasty.

                 “He uses sewer language. The letters are racially

               insulting.

                 When  the Mirror approached  ex-public  schoolboy

               Henderson yesterday at his council flat, he refused

               to discuss the letters.

                 Last  night  a  Labour  spokesman  said:  “Public

               figures getting offensive material in the post  are

               advised to refer them to police.

                 “We now consider this man is not worth giving any

               more publicity to.”

                  A Scotland Yard source said: “By sending letters

               in a very unpleasant tone the writer has  committed

               an assault.”

                 Special Branch,  who organise protection for MPs,

               have been informed of the situation.

The article was accompanied by a large photograph of  me, printed  after I had specifically withheld my permission  for its use,  and was flagged on the front page with the charming  headline “COPS PROBE BLAIR PEST – EXCLUSIVE:  Fears over race hate mail.”

The  Mirror story contained  these  objectively  provable libels:  (1)  the  false accusation of  sending  ‘Race  hate’ letters  to Tony and Cherie Blair,  (2) the false  accusation that I sent  dozens of letters to the Blairs,  (3) the  false  accusation of assault,  (4) The false accusation  of  sending letters  containing  ‘graphic racist filth’,  (5)  the  false accusation of sending letters containing ‘racial insult’, (6)          the  false  accusation of sending letters  containing  ‘sewer  language’,  (7) the false accusation that I have  ‘tendencies associated  with  stalkers’,  (8) the  completely  fabricated quote  ‘If  he [Blair] gets elected,  he’ll let  in  all  the blacks and Asians’ and (9) the false statement that I refused to comment on the letters when approached by the Mirror.

Here is the Daily  Herald’s offering  published on the  same day as  the   Mirror story:

                    CHERIE BLAIR RECEIVES HATE LETTERS

                  Sicko letters sent to Cherie

                 Tony Blair’s Wife Cherie has been bombarded  with

               hate mail.

                 Police were called in after Mrs Blair feared  the

               writer showed classic signs of being a stalker.

                 The  letters,  which are said to  contain  racist

               filth  and  are described  as  “deeply  offensive”,

               began last year.

                 They  are  said to have been  written  by  Robert

               Henderson,  who  two  years  ago  penned  a  racist

               article criticising the selection of black  players

               for the English cricket team.

                 Detectives were shown a bundle of 100 letters  at

               a two hour meeting with the Blairs.

                 The  letters,  all posted in  London,  have  been

               taken away for forensic examination.  But Mrs Blair

               is thought to have declined to turn the matter into

               a criminal case.

 This story contained these objective provable libels:  (1) that  I sent “hate letters”  to Cherie Blair,  (2)  that  the letters were “sick”,  (3) that I bombarded Cherie Blair  with letters, 4) that I sent letters to Cherie Blair in  1996, (5)  that the letters contained “racist filth”,     (6)  that the police were shown 100 letters,  (7) that the letters were          “deeply offensive” and (8) that Cherie Blair declined to have  me   prosecuted  (That  decision  was  made  by   the   Crown       Prosecution Service who declared that “NO CRIME” had been committed).

 I responded to the Mirror  by writing this article which the Mirror refused to publish (they also refused to make any retraction or publish even a short letter from me).

 Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man

 Robert Henderson

 The Mirror story on 25 March ‘Pest targets Blairs’ contained one correct fact, I have been in correspondence with the Blairs.

 The article states that I have been incessantly bombarding the Blairs with letters. False. Beginning in March 1996, I have written Blair nine letters and his wife four. My last letter to his wife was dated 25th February: to Blair 27th January. This year I have written one letter to Blair.

I wrote to his wife as a last resort after Blair had persistently refused to deal with my serious complaints against two members of his party, my MP, Frank Dobson and Diane Abbott. The complaints concerned Dobson and Abbott’s behaviour towards me. I have only written as often as I have because of Blair’s persistent refusal to act honourably.

My letters to him all dealt with legitimate political subjects, namely the obligations of an MP to his constituents, Diane Abbott’s hypocrisy towards me (she got on her “antiracist” high horse after the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’), the publicly demonstrated anti-white racist behaviour of some Labour MPs, the misbehaviour of the media towards me, my inability to gain redress from both the Press Complaints Commission and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and, lastly, the committal of perjury by a barrister and a well known firm of solicitors.

My letters to his wife were primarily a conduit to Blair – this I made clear in my first letter Mrs Blair. Nowhere in my letters have I made threats. Never have I attempted to force my physical presence on either of the Blairs. Let me put the fears of this extraordinarily nervous couple to rest. You are not nor ever have been in any physical danger from me. (Terrified of beggars, terrified of me. This is a man to be prime minister?)

The Mirror quotes the Walworth Road insider as saying that my letters are full of “graphic racist filth” and “sewer language”. This is utterly untrue. There is a simple way to resolve the matter. I challenge the Mirror to first publish the letters upon which the article was based and then my correspondence with the Blairs in its entirety. Let the public judge.

The Mirror’s misrepresentation extended to completely fabricated quotes such as “If he gets in elected he’ll let in all the blacks and Asians”. It will come as a surprise to your readers to learn that I did not address the subject of Labour immigration policy in any of my letters. Frankly, I do not believe that a Blair government will make any substantial difference because Britain has not operated a meaningful immigration policy since we joined the EU. However, it would be nice to know one Labour policy before the election. So what is Labour policy on immigration Mr Blair?

I have expressed my personal opinion of the Blairs in my letters, but that is legitimate because they are public figures. The referral of the correspondence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is shameful and sinister: the opening of a Special Branch file on me ludicrous.

My judgement of Blair is that he is not intellectually or temperamentally equipped to be prime minister because he possesses a subordinate personality – by which I mean he is not one of Nature’s number ones – and is at once extremely nervous and intellectually vacuous. Like all weak men in positions of authority, he acts in an authoritarian manner to hide his deficiencies. I am also not ready for the embarrassment of a prime minister with the voice and manner of an overly earnest fifth former. (“I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe, pipe…I vow, pipe,pipe, pipe”).

People may disagree with my interpretation of Blair’s character, but it cannot be legitimately argued in a democracy that public judgement of the personality of a potential prime minister is illegitimate. Blair’s referral of the letters to the CPS is reminiscent of his authoritarian treatment of dissident Labour MPs and party activists. The man is simply unable to handle contrary opinion or criticism. (Still dreaming of a 1000 year Blaireich young Tony?) In a stable political environment such as ours, only weak men need to suppress dissent.

As for his wife, all I have done in one of my letters is point to the distance between her lifestyle and traditional Labour values and express my disgust at the hypocrisy of the decision to send her son to a school outside the borough. (Why should your children not be educated in the type of school the murdered white schoolboy Richard Everitt had to endure, Mrs Blair?) His wife is a public figure both by her association with Blair and her active political past. Ergo, criticism of her is licit.

I would add that more vicious and vulgarly expressed criticism of the Blairs appears regularly in the National Press. For example, the Daily Telegraph printed a story recently under the heading “Blair like a scared child says US interviewer” (4/2/97) and a Barbara Amiel article ‘I prefer my Cherie sour’ (24/2/9) depicted his wife as a curious mixture of the churlish and the submissive. As for vulgarity, how about computer simulations of a bald Blair?

That an ill-written sensationalist comic as the Mirror is become – I remember when it was a bona fide newspaper – should accuse anyone of sewer language is a joke in extremely bad taste. As for “graphic racist filth”, what about the Mirror story on 26 March headed “She should be hanged” showing a photograph of the black murderess, Sharon Carr? That type of presentation is grossly inflammatory as any black will tell you.

By referring the matter to the CPS, Blair is saying in effect that there will be two standards, one for the media, one for private citizens. This is incompatible with both the principle of equality before the law and democracy.

The article mentions assault through correspondence. The Mirror article was infinitely more damaging than my correspondence with the Blairs. If anyone is to be charged with this novel idea of assault it is the editor of the Mirror. Speaking of which I come to a more conventional form of assault.

The Mirror photographer, who gave his name as Simpson, began firing off shots before either he or the accompanying reporter, Graham Brough, had introduced themselves. That broke the PCC code of Conduct. I then told him that I suffered from an illness which included exceptional sensitivity to light. He continued snapping. That is an assault.

I also told the reporter and photographer that I did not give my permission for the use of the photographs. The Mirror has used one. That breached the PCC code of conduct.

Perhaps the most contemptible part of the article was the claim that I had the mentality of a stalker. I suggest that the Mirror looks at the beam in its own journalistic eye. It is papers such as the Mirror which harass people for no better reason than to provide copy that possess the mentality of a stalker.

The decision to print this article is better described as deranged than reckless. The matter is made worse because the writer of the article, Jeff Edwards, claimed during a telephone conversation with me (which I have on tape) that he had seen my correspondence with the Blairs before writing the article. Moreover, I recently sent copies of my more recent correspondence with Blair to both the Mirror editor and political editor. The awful truth is that these grotesque libels were committed deliberately not through recklessness. I can only suppose that recent Mail accusations of murder in the Stephen Lawrence case have removed the last vestiges of restraint from Fleet Street.

Because of the deliberate fabrication and the seriousness of the libels, I have asked the DPP to instigate proceedings for criminal libel against the Mirror editor, Edwards and the anonymous Walworth Road informant if he or she can be identified. Readers should note that Walworth Road have refused to allow me to speak to anyone with real authority within the Labour party.

The Mirror’s behaviour since the article has been as cowardly as that of Labour. Neither the editor nor deputy editor has been willing to ,speak to me. Obviously the Mirror has no confidence in their story.

I have written to Blair asking him to(1) identify the Walworth Road informant before sacking them and expelling them from the Labour party and (2) issue a statement making clear that your article was a tissue of inexcusably vicious lies.

As for refusing to comment when the Mirror reporter called at my flat, this is untrue. I told him I was happy to comment in writing but was unwilling to give an interview. I refused the interview because my experience since the publication of ‘Is it in the blood?’ has left me in no doubt that no person working in the media can be trusted to behave honestly. It is not that mediafolk operate a different code of morals when dealing with the private citizen, they do not operate any code of morals at all.

I cannot but feel that my offences are ones unknown to English law, namely the heinous crimes of not taking Tiny Tone immensely seriously and failing to grant him fawning respect.

Let me summarise your article in words which your readers will be able to understand with the aid of a dictionary. It was a cargo of ancient male gonads.

(1) 4/2/97

(2) 24/2/97

Because the Mirror and the Herald refused me any redress, I took my case to the Press Complaints Commission. Although they in the end refused to make an adjudication (without giving any meaningful reason), I did obtain one useful piece of information from them, a letter sent to them by the then Mirror editor Piers Morgan. In the letter, amongst much bluster, Morgan admits to two amazing things: the Mirror has not seen my letters to the Blairs and the story was based on a police informant: “The  police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [RH: thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published.”  Here is Morgan’s full letter into which I have interpolated my comments in brackets marked RH.   

 FROM THE EDITOR

 By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

 16 October 1997

 Your ref: 970738

 Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Mr Hayes

 Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.

As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH: Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].

 There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

 Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH: The letter of 20 May merely said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under the data Protection Act. These were legally required]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence with him.

 Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

 In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some  with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

 Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown Prosecution Service [RH: The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission  is perfectly entitled  to draw an adverse inference on the  contents  of those letters as a result of that referral.

 I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing {o Cherie Blair. To do so was clearly designed to intimidate.  In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article  clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs  Blair[RH: an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be  referredto  the  Crown  Prosecution Service).  I would also  refer  the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH: This was the Richard Everitt murder]. 

The  police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [RH: thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”. 

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr  Henderson’s  that  appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and  resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm,[RH: Malcolm refused to sue me after I made it clear I would take the case to the floor of a court]  whom the Commission will be aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the matter,  and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white  players.  [RH: The article put it forward as a possibility, no more].

 I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [RH: Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data protection Action to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me],  and he has assured me that the law has  recently developed whereby words (be they written or  spoken) can constitute assault [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] if the pattern of those words is such as to make the recipient of  them either anxious or ill.  It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking.

The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

 I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code. [RH: It was a clear breach both because I had advised them of my eye trouble and because they took  photographs having come over my threshold.]

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with  Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.

However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that  Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

 Yours sincerely

 Piers Morgan

 Having got cast iron evidence that the Mirror had been involved in illicitly receiving information from the police, I made a complaint to the Metropolitan police, viz.

                                                  26-August 1998

Chief-Supt Eric Brown

Metropolitan Police

12A Holmes Road

London NW5 3AE

                                      cc Metropolitan Police Committee

 Dear Mr Brown,

 I  enclose  a letter from the Metropolitan  Police  Committee dated 25/2/98. Please note the third paragraph.

           The complaints I wish to register are:

           1.  A breach of the Official Secrets Act        

                       Culprits:   An  anonymous  police  officer  most  probably  stationed at Belgravia station. 

                          The Mirror reporter Jeff Edwards

                           The Mirror editor Piers Morgan

           The  most  likely police officer is DS  Connor  of  Belgravia   Police.  This officer handled the Blairs  complaints  against   me.

           2.  A  breach  of the Public Bodies Corruption  Act  1889  as   amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

           Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

                              Any  Mirror  representative  responsible  for  the  offering or payment of a bribe.   

           3.  A  breach of the Prevention of Corruption Act as  amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act 1916

           Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

                             Any  Mirror  representative  responsible  for  the  offering or payment of a bribe.   

  4. A breach of the Met’s Code of Practice

           Culprits: The anonymous police officer mentioned in 1.

           The basis of the complaints

           The offences arise from a Mirror story entitled “Pest Targets   Blairs” published on 25/3/98 (copy enclosed).

 The Mirror story quotes unnamed police officer(s) as follows:

               “Police  said  that  sending  such  material  could  result in an assault charge.”

                and

                A Scotland Yard source said “By sending letters  in    a very unpleasant tone the writer has committed  an  assault”

 The statement that I have “committed an assault” is a breach of  the  Met’s  Code  of  Practice.  The  police investigate complaints. They do not decide guilt or innocence.

 In a letter to the Press Complaints Commission dated 16/10/97(copy  enclosed) the Mirror editor Piers Morgan claimed  that the  primary  source for the Mirror article was  a  policeman viz

                The police source of our article (whose identity we    have  a  moral obligation to protect) gave  us  the    detail of the letters that we then published.”  

 The  giving of such information would of itself  be  illegal. The  Mirror  confirms that they knew it was  illegitimate  by their “whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect”. 

 All police officers sign the Official Secrets Act. The police officer  who  supplied  the  information  to  the  Mirror  is consequently  guilty of a breach the Official Secrets Act. He has also breached the Met’s internal code of conduct.

 The  Mirror by knowingly abetting the breach of the  official Secrets  Act  is guilty of a criminal offence  which  carries the  same  penalties as that to which the police  officer  is subject.

 If the policeman was paid,  both the Mirror and the officer are  guilty  of serious criminal offences  under  The  Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1989 (amended by the  Corruption Act 1916) and The Prevention of Corruption Act 1906  (amended by  the Corruption Act 1916).

 The reasonable presumption must be that the officer was paid. First, he  restricted  the  information  to  one  newspaper. Second, what other plausible motive could he have had? 

 As  the Mirror has admitted to receiving illicit  information from the police,  a failure to both record and investigate my  complaints  will be tantamount to an admission of  deliberate maladministration of justice by the Met. As I am sure you  do not need me to tell you, such deliberate maladministration by the   police   commits  one  of  the  criminal  offences   of perverting or attempting to pervert the  course of justice.

 Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

 The complaint was passed to Scotland Yard where Det Chief Superintendent Ian Curtis supposedly investigated. My compliant ended in a curious way with Curtis ringing me to tell me that no action would be taken. During our telephone conversation, he admitted that no one at the Mirror, including the Piers Morgan and the reporter who wrote the story Jeff Edwards had been interviewed. Ergo, no meaningful investigation was undertaken. If charges of receiving information illicitly from a police offer cannot be brought against an editor who has admitted in writing to a quasi-official body investigating a complaint that he has received illicit information no one could ever be charged with the crime.

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