Daily Archives: November 25, 2011

The Leveson Inquiry: the Blairs, the Mirror, the police and me

generalenquiries@levesoninquiry.org.uk

25 November 2011

Dear Lord Leveson,

I submit examples of misbehaviour  by  the media and  the  PCC plus collusion between the police and the media .   In every case I was the person who was directly affected by the behaviour.   For each case I enclose supporting documents which strongly support my accusation.

I wish to give testimony in person before your inquiry.

The  examples  of misbehaviour are:

1. The illicit receipt of information supplied by the police to the Daily Mirror

On 15 March 1997 the Daily Mirror ran a hideously  libellous story about me  which contained numerous serious  inaccuracies. I made a complaint to the PCC. As part of their investigation the PCC sent me a copy of a letter sent to them by the then Mirror editor Piers Morgan.

In it he admits receiving information from the police , 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.” This can only have been illegal because  there would be no need to protect the police source  if the information had been given legitimately.

A copy of Morgan’s letter is in the attached Word file PCC Piers  Morgan letter.docx . I have also placed a second copy beneath it with my remarks  on Morgan’s comments  interpolated within his text -  see the  square bracket contained  text marked RH.  A hard copy of Morgan’s letter will be sent to you.

2. The failure of Scotland Yard to meaningfully investigate the supply of illicit information to the Mirror  

I referred Morgan’s letter to Kentish Town police  with a request that they investigate  the selling of information to the Mirror. A copy of the letter is contained within the Word file Mirror Police source complaint.docx  The case was referred to Scotland Yard. There it was supposedly investigated by Det Supt Ian Curtis. In fact, no meaningful investigation was undertaken because Curtis admitted to me in a telephone conversation that no one at the Mirror was interviewed, not Morgan, not the author of the piece  Jeff Edwards, the Mirror’s chief crime reporter.

3.  The failure of the PCC

I made complaints to the PCC about the Mirror’s libel of me and their refusal to either make a retraction or allow me any opportunity to reply.   The PCC refused to come to a determination citing article   53.5 of the PCC’s  MEMORANDUM OF ASSOCIATION which states  “The Commission shall not consider a complaint which it believes to be frivolous or which it believes to be inappropriate to entertain or proceed with for any other reason”.  In other words, they can get rid of any complaint simply by saying they do not like it.

Mike Jempson, the director of what was then Presswise (now Mediawise] a charity set up to help victims of the press, sent them several   stinging letters  about their refusal .

Copies of the correspondence between Mike Jempson and the PCC  are contained in the attached Word file PCC Mike Jempson.docx.  Hard copies of the letters will be sent to you.

4 The Mirror’s Behaviour 

Copies of the Mirror story and that of its sister paper  the Daily Herald are contained within the attached Word file  Daily Mirror and Daily Record stories.docx. Hard copies of the stories  will be sent to you.

Both stories had a series of  grotesque libels of me.  As you will see from Morgan’s letter to the PCC,   the Mirror admit they do not have letters from me to the Blairs.   Hence, they had no ground whatsoever for believing the libels to be true.

My unpublished response to the Mirror story “Moral Simpletons target innocent man” was written soon after the story’s publication and covers in depth the libels and inaccuracies contained within the story.  A copy is contained within Word file Moral Simpletons.docx.

Mike Jempson saw my letters to the Blairs  and concluded that although robust there was absolutely nothing to support the Mirror’s description of me as a crude, foul-mouthed and dangerous racist . In addition, the Conservative MP  Sir Richard Body had sight of the letters and afterwards put down this Early Day Motion in the Commons, viz.:

10 November 1999

CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

 Sir Richard Body

 That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

The effect of the Mirror story

I was unable to gain any redress from the Mirror, the PCC or the  police.   Following the publication of the Mirror story I became the subject to harassment which included people posting my name, address and phone number on social websites  and inciting people to attack me.

This was on top of the unrequited media abuse I received after the publication of my  article in Wisden Cricket Monthly  “Is it in the blood?” in  July 1995. This  resulted in dozens of stories in the press totalling thousands of words to which I was denied any reply whatsoever, including by WCM who failed in the first obligation of as publisher to defend that which they publish.

In short, I was both grotesquely abused by the press and failed by every  body which supposedly exists to give redress for press misbehaviour.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————–

Below are the contents of the Word file mentioned in my submission to the Leveson Inquiry. RH
Contents of PCC Piers Morgan letter.docx

Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC admitting the illegal receipt of information from the police

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. 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 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 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  to 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 (to the extent that they be referred to 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).

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) gave us thle 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, 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.

I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace , and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault 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.

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

FROM THE EDITOR

Piers Morgan’s letter with Robert Henderson’s comments interpolated

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]. 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 to Cherie Blair. (RH I wrote to her as Blair’s wife and as  a public figure prominent in human Rights work]  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 referred to 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) [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 tile 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, 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 [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 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. [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] 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 an unequivocal breach of the Code of Conduct because the photographer took the photograph within my property].

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

————————————

Contents of Mirror Police source complaint.docx
 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 Superintendent Ian Curtis supposedly investigated. My complaint 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.

Note: I include this letter because once again the Metropolitan Police refused to act despite clear evidence of information being given illegally to the press by a police officer.

156 Levita House, Chalton Street, London NW1 1HR

Tel: 0207/387/5018 E-Mail philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk

16-March 2003

Sir John Stevens

Commissioner

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

10 The Broadway

London SW1

cc Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman MP

Frank Doran MP

John Thurso MP

Rosemary McKenna MP

Alan Keen MP

Derek Wyatt MP

Debra Shipley MP

Chris Bryant MP

Julie Kirkbride MP

Michael Fabricant MP

Adrian Flook MP

Rebekah Wade

Presswise

Dear Sir John,

The payment of money to police for information

I ask you to investigate a prima facie case of the corruption of police officers. On 11 March 2003, the editor of the Sun newspaper, Rebekah Wade, admitted before the Culture, Media and Sport Commons Select Committee that while she has been an editor with News International she had paid police officers for information. The information was given in answer to a direct question from the Labour MP, Chris Bryant. I enclose a Daily Telegraph report dated 14 March 2003 which contains details of Miss Wade’s admission. I was also there in person when she made the admission.

By paying police officers for information, not only does the police officer commit a criminal offence under the Public Bodies Corruption Act 1889 (as amended by the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1916) in receiving the money or other material inducement, so does the person paying the bribe. Any one of normal intelligence will realise that bribing police officers is illegal.

In addition, all police officers sign the Official Secrets Act (OSA). They commit a criminal act by supplying information covered by the OSA. Any information relating to police work will be covered. Similarly, a person receiving information where they know the supplier is in breach of the

OSA by supplying it, commits an offence by receiving the information. Both formal training courses for journalists and the various books designed to instruct journalists in the relevant areas of the law cover the OSA’s implications for journalists. Journalists will consequently know that police officers have signed the OSA and be aware of the implications for themselves of receiving information from police officers. Even if no money changes hands, the journalist still breaks the law if he knows he is receiving information from someone who has signed the OSA.

I also enclose a letter from the Mirror editor Piers Morgan to the Press Complaints Commission dated 16 Oct 1997. This contains an admission of the Mirror receiving information illegitimately from the police. I made a complaint about this some time ago and it was “investigated” by Det Supt Jeff Curtis. I put the investigated in quotes because Mr Curtis conducted his investigation without interviewing either Piers Morgan or the author of the story, Jeff Edwards. In fact, he did not go near the Mirror. Doubtless the Met’s investigatory methods have changed in recent years and they now include questioning suspects. Consequently, I ask that you re-open the investigation of Mr Morgan and Mr Edwards and actually interview them.

In view of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s interest, I am sure that you will wish to begin a most thorough investigation immediately of these matters and to give them all priority. Copies of this letter have been sent to every member of the select committee.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Wednesday, March 12 2003

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Newspapers are better behaved, says Sun editor

BY TOM LEONARD

MEDIA EDITOR

REBEKAH WADE, the editor of ” the Sun, joined other tabloid editors in lavishing praise on press self-regulation yesterday telling MPs it had dramatically improved newspaper standards over the past 10 years.

Wade, who started a controversial campaign to “name and shame” paedophiles while editor of the News of the World, made a rare public appearance to ha questioned by a parliamentary select committee investigating media intrusion and privacy.

She claimed that the “days of foot-in-the-door harassment and snatched photos are gone”, although she admitted that the NoW had in the past paid police officers for information.

Her successor on the paper, Andy Coulson, criticised St James’s Palace for failing to keep its side of the bargain over press coverage of Princes William and Harry.

Coulson – who at the weekend published pictures of Prince William in the streets of St Andrews, where he is a student – said that the palace had failed to provide newspapers with enough material about the princes.

It had promised to do so in 1997 in return for the press backing off from the princes while they were at school, he said.

Piers Morgan, the editor of the Daily Mirror, described the princes as “a huge Commercial property” – a phrase which Alan Rusbridger , the editor of the Guardian told MPs was “an odd way to describe them”.

————————————————
Contents of Word file PCC Mike Jempson.docx

Note: Here is the  correspondence conducted by Presswise on my behalf with the PCC. Mike Jempson has seen the letters. Note his description of their content in the first letter.

Presswise is a Charity which represents people libelled and generally mistreated by the Press. RH

PressWise Ltd

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol DS5 0HE

Tel 0117 – 941 5889

FaxO117 941 5848

voice-mail 0117 – 93-99-333

Sue Roberts

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

London EC4Y 8AE

23 Dec 1997

Your ref: 970738

Dear Sue,

I have been following the progress of Robert Henderson’s complaint against The Mirror and note the Commission’s decision not to proceed further (Christopher Hayes to Robert Henderson, 10 Dec 97). The reason given is that Mr Henderson had laid down ‘unacceptable conditions’ for supplying copies of his correspondence with Tony Blair and Cherie Booth which were the subject of The Mirror story.

Since he believes that The Mirror does not have copies of these letters - indeed Piers Merchant has admitted (16 Oct 97) that he has not had sight of them – his concern has been that he would be putting himself at a distinct disadvantage to disclose material which might be germane to any subsequent action, such complaints to the Data Protection Registrar or the law Society More to the point this raises a not infrequent problem for complainants, that they are expected to produce evidence to disprove stories rather that the newspaper being required to produce evidence to justify publication.

Rather than decide not to pursue the complaint further, should not the PCC request The Mirror to produce its evidence (the letters) to substantiate the serious allegations which (as Mr Henderson has pointed out) remain on file for future use. At least the PCC might have sought access to Mr Henderson’s copies under terms it considered more ‘acceptable’.

Robert Henderson made his original complaint on 21 April. He cited a number of instances in which he claimed that The Mirror’s story was inaccurate; he asked for a right of reply, and complained about the snatching of a photo while he was inside his flat and the assertion by ‘a Scotland Yard source’ that he had ‘committed an assault’ (para 23).

These remain the substantive complaints although in subsequent voluminous and complex correspondence between all parties one central issue has been the number and the nature of the letters sent by Mr Henderson to Tony Blair and Cherie Booth.

The Mirror story claimed they were a ‘deluge’ of ‘race hate letters’ ‘full of graphic racist filth’. We have copies of nine letters sent to Tony Blair (eight in 1996 on 4/3, 19/3, 31/3, 8/4, 17/4, 1/5, 2/12 & 31/12 and one in ’97 on 27/1) and four to Cherie Booth in 1997 (9/1, 27/1, 10/2, and 23/2). From these dates it is clear they were not’arriving at the rate of three or four a week’ as suggested in The Mirror story. And the one direct ‘quote’ from the letters in The Mirror (para 11) does not that appear in those we have seen. We have no way of knowing (and nor it would appear does the PCC or The Mirror) whether there were other letters.

Certainly the letters are robust and contain remarks which are personally offensive, but those to Mr Blair follow a lengthy correspondence with Mr Henderson’s MP Frank Dobson (originally about a previous PCC ruling, but later referring to remarks made by Keith Vaz MP and Dianne Abbott MP). Those to Cherie Booth express dissatisfaction about Mr Blair. The Blairs are at liberty to refer such matters to the appropriate authorities. That is not the substance of The Mirror story, which identified Mr Henderson as a potentially dangerous racist and a criminal.

To suggest that Mr Henderson, who has no means, should seek alternative legal remedies is an inappropriate way of seeking to avoid dealing with his complaint, Mr  Henderson is also aggrieved that assurances given to him by Mr Hayes were not honoured. We would urge you to reconsider the matter once and for all on the facts of the case.

Sincerely

Mike Jempsom

Executive Director cc. Robert Henderson

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Desiree Ntolo

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Clive SoLey MP

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PressWise is a not-for profit Limited liability company

Press Complaints Commission

Our reference: 970738

9 January 1998

Mr Mike Jempson

Executive Director

PressWise

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol BS5 0HF

Dear Mr Jempson

Thank you for your letter of 23 December regarding the Commission’s decision not to proceed further with the complaint from Robert Henderson against The Mirror.

The Commission reached this decision after careful consideration of the papers submitted by both parties. As you will appreciate, it is for the Commission to decide how – or whether – it should proceed with a complaint and in relation to the points in your third paragraph, the Commission considered it reasonable that a complainant should be asked to supply information which was central to the complaint.

Mr Henderson first wrote to us regarding this matter on 21 April. We informed him on 29 April that, due to police and DPP enquiries, the Commission could not consider the matter at that stage. He returned to us in a letter dated 23 September and the matter was swiftly taken up with The Mirror. As you know, after several exchanges of  correspondence the Commission reviewed the matter and decided it could not proceed in view of the conditions which he laid on submission of essential evidence and he was informed of this on 10 December. I trust you will agree that there has been no undue delay in dealing with this matter on the part of the Commission.

Most complaints which cannot be resolved fall to be adjudicated under the Code. Any “assurances” given to Mr Henderson by Mr Hayes were made in this context. I am sure you will understand that the Commission itself has the ultimate discretion as to how complaints should proceed and in these particular circumstances it considered it was inappropriate to proceed to adjudication.

For the record, I assume that your second paragraph should refer to the editor of The Mirror, Piers Morgan, not to Piers Merchant.

Yours sincerely

Susan Roberts (Mrs)

Director of Complaints

1 Salisbury Square London EC4Y 8AE Telephone 0171 353 1248 Facsimile

0171 353 8355

14 Jan 1998

Your ref: 97-0738

Lord Wakeham

Chairman, Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Lord Wakeham

re Robert Henderson & The Mirror

I am writing to you in response to Mrs Roberts’ letter of 9 January announcing that the Commission has decided not to proceed further with Mr Henderson’s complaint. I note that the Commission clearly regards it as more important that a complainant should comply with its every demand than that a newspaper editor should produce the evidence upon which a sensational and highly damaging story is based.

The Mirror story accused Mr Henderson of being a dangerous racist who had committed a criminal offence. He has been charged with nothing, and now he is being prevented from having his version of events weighed against allegations published in one of the largest circulation newspapers in the country.

As we all know there are rarely fewer than two sides to every story. In this case Mr Henderson has challenged a number of ‘facts’ which are central to the stow, above and beyond the question of the content of his letters to Mr Blair and Ms Booth. If the Commission refuses to adjudicate on his complaint, The Mirror story remains on file as ‘true’ and he has no other realistic means of attempting to put the record straight.

I had no difficulty in persuading Mr Henderson to send me copies of his disputed correspondence, yet the Commission appears to have made no efforts to seek access under mutually ‘acceptable’ terms. More to the point, the PCC does not appear to feel that The Mirror should be expected to justify its stow by disclosing how many, if any, of the letters were in its possession when it chose to publish.

We may be dealing here with an extremely sensitive and politically embarrassing case, but that should be no reason for deciding it would be ‘inappropriate to proceed to adjudication’. The Commission may dislike Mr Henderson’s ideas – although of course you have not had the opportunity to read them – but I understood one of the principles of freedom of expression is that everyone has the right to express an opinion; one of the principles of natural justice is that each party has the right to a fair hearing; and that in a democracy everyone has the right to challenge politicians – not to mention newspaper editors.

It is small wonder that there is public distrust of the PCC if what claims to be an ‘independent’ adjudicating body insists that ‘the Commission itself has the ultimate discretion as to how complaints should proceed’. It would be interesting to see how that line would go down at a judicial review.

I would urge you to reconsider your decision and put Mr Henderson’s case to the Commission for adjudication. For my part I shall ask Mr Henderson to give me permission to release copies of his letters for the eyes of the Commission only.

I look forward to your earliest reply.

Sincerely

Mike Jempsom

Executive Director

PressWise is a not-for profit limited liability company

Press Complaints Commission

From the Director

Our reference: 97-738

Mike Jempson Esq

Executive Director

PressWise

25 Easton Business Centre

Felix Road

Bristol BS5 0HF

20 January 1998

Dear Mr Jempson

Thank you for your letter to Lord Wakeham of 14 January concerning Mr Henderson’s complaint and the Commission’s decision not to proceed further with this complaint. He has asked me to respond.

The Commission’s reasons for its decision were given to Mr Henderson in Mr Hayes’ letter of 10 December. Mrs Roberts’ letter of 9 January answered the points in your letter to the Commission of 23 December. The Commission did not simply decide as you suggest that it would not proceed because it was “an extremely sensitive and politically embarrassing case”. The Commission did not make any judgement on the validity of Mr Henderson’s ideas although I fail to understand why you say that “of course” the Commission have not had the opportunity to read them. Not only the Chairman, but all the members of the Commission, have seen and considered all the correspondence on this matter and it is not in dispute that a principle of freedom of expression is the right to express an opinion and to have a fair hearing.

You comment on the fact that the Commission itself has the discretion as to how complaints should proceed and say “It would be interesting to see how that line would go down at a judicial review”. I draw your attention to 53.5 of the Commission’s Memorandum and Articles. In deciding not to proceed the Commission is acting within the terms of its articles. It has yet to be legally established whether the Commission can be judicially reviewed.

In conclusion I can see no reason for the Commission to review its decision, since it usually only considers a case in the light of fresh evidence or evidence that its judgement was fundamentally flawed. It would seem that no such evidence has been presented and I regret I am unable to assist Mr Henderson further in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Guy Black

cc Robert Henderson Esq

Extract from the PCC Memorandum and Articles

[The] Commission shall have discretion to consider any complaint from whatever source that it considers appropriate to the effective discharge of its function.

53.5

The Commission shall not consider a complaint which it believes to be frivolous or which it believes to be inappropriate to entertain or proceed wit for any other reason.

53.6

The Commission may refuse to entertain a complaint if it appears to it not to have been made within a reasonable time after the last occasion when the relevant material was published or when the unwarranted infringement of privacy took place.

53.7

In carrying out its functions in relation to complaints the Commission shall have regard to generally established freedoms including freedom of expression and the public’s right to know, and defence of the press from improper pressure.

3.8

Any decision of any subcommittee of the Commission relating to its or the Commission’s ability to entertain or proceed with its consideration of any complaint or to the results of its considerations shall be the subject to a right of appeal to the Board.

- 28 -

18 Feb 1998

Your ref: 97-0738

Guy Black,

Secretary,

Press Complaints Commission

1 Salisbury Square

EC4Y 8AE

Dear Guy,

re Robert Henderson & The Mirror

1. Access to the Henderson letters

The main point of my recent letter to Lord Wakeham has been ignored. I offered through PressWise to obtain the release of the disputed letters.

I can now confirm that I have authorisation from Mr Henderson to release copies of his letters for the Commission’s eyes only. I trust the removal of the only obstacle to resolution of this case means we can now progress to an adjudication.

Christopher Hayes letter of 10 Dec claimed that Mr Henderson’s terms for releasing the letters were unreasonable. I doubt any sensible person would happily disclose controversial documents which may have crucial significance for subsequent legal actions without proper safeguards. It seems to me that it is the PCC which is being unreasonable.

Given the peculiar circumstances, with The Mirror having published serious allegations without sight of the letters, I think it is entirely reasonable to request that if there is any suggestion that letters others than those in my possession were sent to the Blairs by Mr Henderson, the Commission should require sight of them from whoever claims they exist. They will of course require authentication, and Mr Henderson is best placed to do that.

It may be appropriate in this case for a meeting to take place between yourself, PressWise and Mr Henderson at least to resolve the matter of authentication. In any event I would ask that my recent correspondence be placed before the Commission, and that they be asked to reconsider their decision in the light of changed circumstances.

I am enclosing a copy print-out from Belgravia police obtained by Mr Henderson under Data Protection provisions. You will note that ‘NO CRIME’ has been recorded against him in respect of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Race Relations Act.

2. By way of clarification

In your reply to my recent letter to Lord Wakeham you queried my remark that the Commission ‘have not had the opportunity to read Mr Henderson’s ideas’ I was clearly referring to the sentiments expressed in the disputed correspondence. The Commission has not seen the contents of those letters so they are in no position to make judgements about them or The Mirror story.

Your reference to the PCC Mem & Arts is curious. I cannot believe you are suggesting that Mr Henderson’s complaint – that he has been publicly accused of being a dangerous racist and a criminal is - ‘frivolous’. I doubt that many members of the public would be comfortable with the idea that a body which exists supposedly to provide remedies for injured parties can sweep away complaints simply because the Commission believes them to be ‘inappropriate to entertain or proceed for any other reason.’

Sincerely,

Mike Jempson

Executive Director

—————————————————————

Contents of Word file Daily Mirror and Daily Record stories.docx

The Daily Mirror and Daily Herald stories with Robert Henderson’s commentary on them

The Mirror 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.

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 Daily Herald’s report published on the same day as the Mirror story:

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).

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.

————————————-
Contents of Word file Moral Simpletons.docx

Robert Henderson’s response to the Mirror 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. 

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