Tag Archives: crime

Operation Elveden become nonsensical over Piers Morgan’s illegal receipt of information from the Met

Note: The most likely explanation for this absurd email from Marion Kent is that Elveden are well aware of the toxic (for them) nature of the case and they are paralysed by the knowledge.  Robert Henderson

From: “Marion.Kent@met.police.uk” <Marion.Kent@met.police.uk>

Sent: Friday, 27 September 2013, 15:12

Subject: Re: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al

Sent on behalf of Det Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs

Dear Mr Henderson,

I have been asked to respond to you on behalf of Commander Basu in his absence.

I am aware that DI Smith has now passed onto you, as you requested, the contact details of Detective Chief Superintendent Bonthron, the OCU Commander of the Department of Professional Standards. DCS Bonthron is over seeing the review into your original complaint, a review which I asked him to undertake to assess whether there may be any new lines of enquiry which can be progressed. DI Smith wrote to you on 29.07.2013 to notify you of this. Your complaint concerning Mr. Piers Morgan sits outside of Operation Elveden’s terms of reference and it was for this reason that DPS have been asked to take the lead and review your case.

DCS Bonthron has recently informed me that you have made a formal complaint about Operation Elveden’s decision not to re-investigate your allegations and whilst that matter too is being investigated it is more appropriate for you to liaise with him so that he can update you on the progress of both issues.

Yours sincerely

Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs

Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta.

————————————————————————————————————————————-

To

Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Briggs

Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta.

CC Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

29  Sept 2013

Dear DCS Briggs,

Thank you for your email of 27 Sept. You write “Your complaint concerning Mr. Piers Morgan sits outside of Operation Elveden’s terms of reference and it was for this reason that DPS have been asked to take the lead and review your case.”

This is frankly bewildering. Operation Elveden’s remit is to investigate the illicit supply of information by police officers to the media. I have supplied you with a letter in which Piers Morgan admits  receiving information in circumstances which can only have been illegal.  Please explain to me  by return how that part of my complaint against Morgan is not within Operation Elveden’s remit.

To aid you let me remind you of what AC Cressida Dick told the Home Affairs Committee:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmhaff/67/67we18.htm

Home Affairs Committee

Written evidence submitted by AC Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police [LSP 40]

Question 3—Your policy regarding leaks by police officers to the press where no payments have been made

Operation Elveden’s terms of reference are “to investigate alleged criminal offences that police officers or public officials have accepted money for supplying information to journalists”. The terms of reference have not been changed, however when suspected criminal wrongdoing that does not include payment comes to light it cannot be ignored.

Of the 64 arrests made on Operation Elveden, only one has been where payment is not a feature of the investigation. It is difficult to comment further on this issue without potentially prejudicing future prosecutions.”

And

“LETTER FROM AC CRESSIDA DICK TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOCIETY OF EDITORS, 26 MARCH 2013

I am writing to you concerning the Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials (Operation Elveden) which is running in conjunction with the Operation Weeting phone-hacking inquiry.

In the light of some recent reporting and commentary about Operation Elveden I thought it would be helpful to reassure editors on a number of points. I am sure you will understand that for legal reasons I will not refer to current active cases. I believe it is important to remember that we are not investigating victimless crimes nor has the remit of Operation Elveden been extended to any police officer who has simply spoken with a journalist, as has been suggested. The investigation is about police officers and public officials who we have reasonable grounds to suspect have abused their positions in return for corrupt payments. However when suspected criminal wrongdoing that does not involve payment comes to light it cannot be ignored.”

That is of particular interest because it commits Elveden to pursuing investigations even where no payment to the police can be proved. Of course, it is odds on that the Mirror did pay the police officer concerned, but whether or not that can be proved after this period of time Morgan and Edwards can be readily pursued for this part of my complaints against them. In fact,  Morgan’s letter hands you their prosecutions on a plate.

I would further remind you that the information received illegally by the Mirror caused  me considerable damage so it definitely was not “a victimless crime”.  You might care to tuck away in your memory the fact that I had a heart attack 11 months  after the Mirror story appeared, an attack almost certainly down to the stress generated by  the story and its aftermath.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

 

Advertisements

Operation Elveden: I make contact with the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

20 Sept 2013

Dear Mr  Bonthron,

DI Daniel Smith of Operation Elveden (see first document down) tells me you are dealing with my complaints regarding the failure of Operation Elveden to investigate serious crimes involving these erstwhile employees of the Daily Mirror Piers Morgan (editor) and  Jeff Edwards (Chief Crime Reporter) ,   plus Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  (who I presume is now retired) .

You will find below my complete correspondence with  Operation Elveden and the CPS.  The correspondence with Elevden comes before the CPS. You will also see I have just written to the attorney-general.

If Elveden have not passed their complete file on my complaint  to you, the only thing you may now  be missing is the recording of my meeting with Det Supt Jeff Curtis at which he promised to interview Piers Morgan and  Jeff Edwards. This he then failed to do despite having a copy of a letter from Morgan to the PCC supplied by me in which Morgan admitted receiving information from the Met Police in circumstances which can only have been illegal . A facsimile of this letter is attached.

Operation Elveden have had my complaint and evidence  since the end of January. That is an unconscionable delay in investigating Morgan, Edwards, and Curtis.  The wilful ignoring of  such clear evidence as I have provided amounts to misconduct in a public office and/or an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Frankly, I find it very odd that you have not contacted me before now to arrange an interview. I wish to meet you to discuss this matter as soon as possible.  Please arrange to meet me ASAP.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————————————————-

From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Cc: mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk; keir.starmer@cps.gsi.gov.uk; alison.saunders@cps.gsi.gov.uk; Gregor.McGill@cps.gsi.gov.uk; Bernard.Hogan-Howe@met.pnn.police.uk; Neil.Basu@met.pnn.police.uk; Daniel.Smith3@met.pnn.police.uk; whittingdalej@parliament.uk; george.eustice.mp@parliament.uk; geraldhowarth@parliament.uk

Sent: Monday, 23 September 2013, 11:16

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

Mr Henderson

Thank you for the email below. I would like to point out we are currently reviewing the previous matters dealt with by D.Supt Curtis which you had sent to the MPS. This review is in hand and you will be updated in due course.

Many thanks

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

————————————————————————————————————————————-

156 Levita House, Chalton Street, London NW1 1HR

Tel: 0207 387 5018   Email: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

25 September  2013

Dear Mr Bonthron,

Your email of 23 September continues the behaviour I have experienced at the hands of  Operation Elveden. I have asked you to meet me and you have simply ignored the request.  Frankly, that does not inspire confidence in me that you will deal with this matter honestly. It also  builds on my rational mistrust of the Met Police which has developed through my experience of the force over the past  sixteen years.

It is not that think the police are generally corrupt,  but rather that there are two circumstances in which the will almost invariably  act dishonestly. The first is where their own misbehaviour places them in danger, for example, selling information to the media; the second is where those with power and influence are the subject of allegations of criminality.  Both circumstances apply with knobs on in my case.

Since March 1997, when the Blairs attempted and failed humiliatingly to have me prosecuted on bogus charges, I have been given ample reason for doubting the honesty of the Met. My experience with the Blairs is neatly summarised in this Early Day Motion put down by Sir Richard Body:

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 police refused to meaningfully investigate any of my complaints against the Blairs and  the Mirror.  I also suffered harassment throughout Blair’s premiership, behaviour which abruptly stopped when he left office.  The harassment went from ostentatiously opening my post to vicious incitements in chat rooms to attack me to death threats.  During that time I was unable to get the police to meaningfully investigate any of my complaints about the harassment.

I think that should be  enough to  put you in the picture.  Do not read into it that I am not prepared to give you a fair chance to play the honest man. Play square with me and you will have clean moral hands in this matter as far as I am concerned.  But if you attempt to shrug off my complaints you will become part of the scandal. Ask yourself this simple question Mr Bonthron; would you be happy standing in a witness box or before TV cameras trying to explain why a letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting receiving information from the Met Police in circumstances which can only have been illegal is not grounds to investigate that editor?

I ask again that you to arrange a meeting with me ASAP.  If you are unwilling to meet me, please say so and explain your reasons.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————————————————-

From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Wednesday, 2 October 2013, 15:19

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

Mr Henderson

Thank you for your further email. I explained in the first I would be having the matters raised in your original messages to the Elveden team reviewed then would get back to you. This has not changed and I will be in contact in due course.

Thank you

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 |Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

—————————————————————————————————————————-

From: “Alaric.Bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk” <alaric.bonthron@olympics.pnn.police.uk>

To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Sent: Wednesday, 2 October 2013, 15:19

Subject: RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al cont.

 

Mr Henderson

Thank you for your further email. I explained in the first I would be having the matters raised in your original messages to the Elveden team reviewed then would get back to you. This has not changed and I will be in contact in due course.

Thank you

 

Alaric

Alaric Bonthron

Detective Chief Superintendent

Directorate of Professional Standards – Deputy Commissioners Portfolio

MetPhone: 786633 | Telephone: 020 7161 6633 |Address: 23rd Floor, Empress State Building, Lillie Road, London, SW6 1TR

———————————————————————————————–

Det Chief Superintendant  Alaric Bonthron

Head of the

Metropolitan Police’s Directorate of Professional Standards

23rd Floor North

Empress State Building

Lillie Road

London SW6 ITR

 

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

 

8 October  2013

 

Dear Mr Bonthron,

I refer to your email of 2 October. Yet again you have ignored my request for a meeting with you. I am not going to get into a perpetual exchange of  emails making the  request and you ignoring it, so this will be the last time I make the request.  Are you willing to meet me and if not why not?

You may think that this extremely toxic (for the Met and you)  problem will simply go away if you ignore it. The question you should be considering is what if it does not go away, what if the media censorship is broken? How would you explain your behaviour if you were in a witness box or in front of TV cameras?  I can just envisage it: “Mr Bonthron, are you seriously suggesting that the possession of a letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting he received information illegally from the Met Police does not constitute  grounds for investigation?

Think about it.

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson

———————————————————————————————–

I sent my email to the attorney-general in the evening of the 18th Sept and got messages back from DI Smith giving me the contact details for the Directorate of  professional Standards, something he had failed to do for two weeks following  my request  I also received  an  email immediately from the staff officer serving the head of Operation Elveden . This was the first time I have had any response from Basu’s office.

Bonthron is the head of the Directorate of Professional Standards   and the fact that someone so senior is dealing with the matter is indicative of the concern my complaints are causing. The involvement of police officers of far too high a rank to investigate the type of complaints I have made is a common thread throughout my dealings with the police since the Blairs tried and failed miserably to have me prosecuted. Since 1997 I have had these  senior  coppers dealing with my complaints:

Det Chief Supt Tony Dawson – The Met’s Internal Investigations Command

Dept Supt Jeff Curtis

Chief Supt John Yates

Chief Supt Eric Brown

Supt Cliff Hughes

Supt Alex Fish

Chief Inspector Julia Wortley

Chief Inspector Ian West

Det Chief Inspector Stephen Kershaw

——————————————————————————–

RE: Operation Elveden and their refusal to investigate Piers Morgan et al

From

Neil.Basu@met.police.uk

To

anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Dear Mr Henderson,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of this e-mail and a second of the same date which is timed at 20:32hrs.

You have hopefully already received Commander Basu’s out of office notification and are therefore aware that he will be unable to respond to you personally in a timely way. I have therefore passed your messages to Detective Chief Superintendent (DCS) Gordon Briggs who is the officer overseeing the Elvedon, Weeting and Tuleta investigations. DCS Briggs will make contact to provide a response within 7 days.

Yours sincerely

Marion Kent PS 6010 CO

Staff Officer to Cmdr Neil Basu – Armed Policing

Specialist Crime & Operations

Room 1113 | 11th Floor | Tower Block

New Scotland Yard

10 Broadway

SW1H 0BG

MetPhone 761727 Telephone 020 7230 1727

Email marion.kent@met.pnn.police.uk

——————————————————————————————————-Email: Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk

http://www.met.police.uk

Your ref:

Our ref: Op Elveden

19/09/13

Dear Mr Henderson

In response to your recent request for information I am able to supply you with the below details.

The review of the original investigation is being conducted by the Department of Professional Standards. The Officer conducting the review is Detective Chief Superintendent Alaric Bonthron.

Mr Bonthron’s address is EMPRESS STATE BUILDING, LILLIE ROAD, LONDON, SW6 1TR

Mr Bonthron is contactable via the email address ‘alaric.bonthron@met.police.uk’

The Department of Professional Standards will update you at the conclusion of the review or in month should the review not be concluded sooner.

Yours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

 

Click on the tag Operation Elveden for the full story

See in particular https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/operation-elvedens-failure-to-investigate-pier-morgan-et-al-referred-to-the-attorney-general/

and

https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/piers-morgans-illegal-receipt-of-information-from-the-police-his-perjury-and-operation-elveden/

Operation Elveden’s failure to investigate Pier Morgan et al referred to the Attorney-General

Mr Dominic Grieve PC MP

Attorney-General

20 Victoria Street

London

SW1H 0NF

CC

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

Gregor McGill (CPS: Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

19 September 2013

Dear Mr Grieve,

Operation Elveden are failing to  investigate serious crimes committed by the Daily Mirror  for which they have  cast iron evidence.

The full story is in the correspondence I reproduce below. (The correspondence is divided into two sections – that with Elevden and that with the CPS). However, I realise that you are an immensely busy man,  so to take you to instantly to  the heart of the corrupt behaviour of Operation Elveden please read first the attached facsimile letter Piers Morgan  sent to the PCC whilst editor of the Daily Mirror. In this letter he admits receiving information from the Metropolitan Police in circumstances which can only be illegal, viz: “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect)…”.

The other document you need to  read is my initial email (dated  21 January 2013) to the then head of Operation Elveden  Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh – see first  document below this letter.   That will give you the background to and the range  of crimes Elveden are  failing to investigate.

I have provided Eleveden with a copy of Morgan’s  letter, together  with other evidence of criminal behaviour on the part of the Mirror’s erstwhile Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards,  in receiving information illicitly from the police. I have also supplied Elveden with evidence that both Morgan and Edwards  perjured themselves before the Leveson Inquiry.  Finally, there is the misconduct of the police in not investigating these crimes for which they have cast-iron evidence.

The behaviour of Operation Elveden has been extraordinary.  They have ignored my  repeated requests to be interviewed and provide  a formal statement. Astonishingly  my only contact with them has been through written correspondence.

Despite having the Piers Morgan letter (amongst other very strong evidence), DI Daniel  Smith (see letter dated 13 June 2013) informed me that no investigation would be undertaken without giving any meaningful explanation.

The Metropolitan Police’s ’ Department for Professional Standards is supposedly investigating the failure of Operation  Elveden to investigate the crimes I have reported to them.  However, no one from that department has contacted me. In addition, Elveden  have failed to answer my request that they give me the contact details and names of those conducting the investigation (see my email to DI Daniel  Smith dated 6 Sept 2013).

As you will see from the correspondence, I have also tried without success to get the DPP to act on what is a clear failure on the part of the police to investigate serious crimes . That is the reason I now write to you.  I realise that the police are meant to be independent of the DPP and the DDP is meant to be independent of the law officers. However, this is a wholly exceptional circumstance because we are clearly deep into who shall guard the guards territory, with the police blatantly failing to do their duty to  investigate very clear and serious crimes.   If the police are not brought to book over this, it means they are a law unto themselves.

I ask you to take up this matter and to  use your influence to get my allegations of criminality investigated thoroughly. I would greatly welcome a meeting with you to discuss the matter.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Replacing the BBC licence fee

Robert Henderson

I have always had objections to the licence fee. It is a poll tax enforced by an extensive and expensive bureaucracy armed with extensive powers to harass the public. The practical consequences of the fee are the poor subsidising the rich and thousands of the poor, mostly women, brought before the courts each year for non-payment of the licence fee. The last is far from being a small matter because recently it has been revealed that an incredible ten per cent of court cases in the UK (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/10256679/TV-licence-offences-account-for-one-in-ten-UK-court-cases.html).

But whether or not you think the licence fee is the best solution to funding public service broadcasting (PSB), your opinion  will become academic in the foreseeable future  because the technology is moving on rapidly. TVs as we know them will  be on the way out by the time the BBC charter comes up for renewal in 2016, as computers (and conceivably something completely new) become the means to view what we now call television. (A tax on personal computers is currently being mooted. Take it from a retired Inland Revenue Officer, this  is administratively bonkers).

The alternatives to the licence fee fill defenders of PSB with horror, and in most instances, justifiably so. Voluntary subscriptions could never provide the necessary finance and advertising would corrupt programming because of the need to draw audiences.

But there is one means of funding which could preserve the status quo – direct funding by the taxpayer. I have never understood the objection in principle to this. If direct funding could be cut off or reduced at any time by a Government, so can the licence fee. In principle, Parliament could pass a Bill tomorrow overturning the BBC’s current charter. More realistically, a future Government could simply decide to destroy or at least severely emasculate the BBC through legislative action.

Can anyone honestly say that the World Service (WS), which is (and always has been) directly funded by the taxpayer, has been the creature of any government? Has any government seriously reduced WS funding because it did not do what the government wanted? I think most people would give a pretty firm no to both questions. The BBC domestic service is in fact already receiving substantial direct payments from the taxpayer in the shape of  payments of around œ400 pa to compensate the BBC for the licence fee exemptions made for the over-75s. Has that made any noticeable difference in the relationship between the BBC and the Government?

Direct funding could be guaranteed on the same basis as the licence fee, a ten-year charter with a guarantee that direct funding would last for the period of the charter. Ideally, the funding would be linked to some objective criteria such as a proportion of the total UK broadcasting spend and adjusted annually according to whatever the total UK spend was for the past year. This would both guard against politicians interfering during the period of the charter and  provide less opportunity for the private side of the industry to complain about unfair competition because the proportion of the overall UK spend would remain static. That would remove the private sector fear that the BBC’s seemingly remorseless expansion will have limits. The BBC could strengthen their position further in that respect if they eschewed any active commercial activity beyond selling programmes which they have made in-house or funded directly from an independent production company.

Direct funding would also improve the relationship between the BBC and the public. All experience shows that direct payment by the individual is what causes friction. Hence, the Council Tax causes more friction than paying income tax, VAT etc from which central government pays the majority of local council spending. Hide the expenditure in general taxation and complaints usually die. Even the most  belligerent member of the “Why should I pay the licence fee when I don’t watch the BBC” brigade would find it difficult to rally under a “Why should I pay my taxes to directly fund the BBC” banner.

In the end PSB is reliant on what politicians do. But  there are several good reasons why they would not willingly damage the BBC. To begin with politicians are human beings (just)  and many have an affection for the Corporation. A substantial hard-core are committed to PSB in principle. Others see it as a prestigious British institution which deserves to be preserved for that reason. There are also the base political reasons. The first is obvious: dismantling or seriously damaging an organisation as large and influential as the BBC would be a risky business for any government, which would risk being caught in pincer movement of journalistic wrath and public resentment at the loss of a unique service (the BBC is one of those institutions which will not be truly appreciated until it ism not there).

The second base reason is wonderfully self-serving and simple. The continued existence of the BBC is convenient for politicians, because it provides them with political coverage and opportunities which no private broadcaster can offer. This advantage may grow as privately financed  broadcasting becomes increasingly fragmented in the future. Politicians need large audiences. Broadcasts with small and diminishing audiences is not what they want. If the BBC  continues to exist in something like its present size and importance, a large audience can be guaranteed.

In an ideal world, the public would have such elevated tastes that PSB would not be necessary because only the best programmes would be broadcast as the market acted to select them. However, the world being far from perfect, PSB funded by the taxpayer offers the best hope for broadcasting which is not driven solely or largely by the meretricious hand of demand.



Operation Elveden update – Stony silence to date from Met Police’s Department of Professional Standards

SCO12 – AC Private Office & Business Support

SCO12 AC Private Office & Business Support

Mr Robert Henderson

2.211

Jubilee House Putney

230-232 Putney Bridge Road

London

SW15 2PD

Telephone:

Facsimile:

Email: Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk

http://www.met.police.uk

Your ref:

Our ref: Op Elveden

06/09/13

Dear Mr Henderson

Further to our previous communication I can confirm that the Department of Professional Standards are reviewing the investigation. The review is not yet complete and I am therefore unable to provide you with the result.

I will provide you with more information when I am able to do so. But If I am unable to provide you with a conclusion within a month I shall inform you of this by letter.

Yours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG  CC

CC Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

G McGill (CPS Head of Organised Crime Division)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

7 Sept  2013

Dear Mr Smith,

I have your email of 6 September. Please supply me by return with the following:

1. The full  name(s) and rank(s) of those undertaking the investigation of my complaints.

2. The address of the office they are working from.

3. Their contact emails and phone numbers.

I wish I could say that I find it extraordinary that none of those investigating the complaints have contacted me. However, sadly I cannot say that because this very odd behaviour  is par for the course since I lodged the complaints with Operation Elveden.  Despite my repeated  requests to be interviewed and  to provide a formal statement I have had no meeting with the police. The only plausible motive for such  behaviour  is a desire by the police to avoid having to maintain to my face the absurdity that there are no reasonable grounds to investigate Piers Morgan et al when I have provided Elveden with a letter from  Morgan to the PCC in which he admits receiving information from a Metropolitan police officer  in circumstances which can only have been illegal when he was editor of the Daily Mirror.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Operation Elveden, Piers Morgan and the Crown Prosecution Service

Note: The CPS are getting nervous, hence the fact that they are responding with more than an anodyne non -reply. Robert Henderson

Mr Robert Henderson

16 August 2013

Dear Mr Henderson,

Your email of 25 July 2013 addressed to Keir Starmer Q.C., the Director of Public Prosecutions has been passed to me for a reply. I am the head of the Organised Crime Division of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). My division has responsibility for the prosecutions arising out of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

It may assist you if I explain the role of the CPS and that of the Police. The CPS is responsible for reviewing, and where appropriate, prosecuting the majority of criminal cases in England and Wales following investigation by the police. The CPS does not conduct investigations into alleged criminal offences and in the vast majority of criminal cases; this responsibility is borne solely by the police. The CPS has no power to instruct the police to carry out an investigation. That is a decision entirely within the discretion of the police.

I understand, however, that the MPS are currently considering the matters raised by you. If you are dissatisfied with the way the matter is dealt with by the MPS, any complaint  should be directed to the MPS itself and dealt with through its Complaints Policy rather than forwarded to the CPS.

Yours sincerely,

Gregor McGill

Head of Organised Crime Division

CPS

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London SE1 9HS

————————————————————————————————–

Gregor McGill

Head of Organised Crime Division

Crown Prosecution Service

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London SE1 9HS

OCDVRRandcomplaints@cps.gsi.gov.uk

19 August

Dear Mr McGill,

I have your letter of 16 August. I can assure you that I was very well aware of the relationship between the police and the CPS before I wrote to Mr Starmer.   I have been copying in the CPS and then eventually writing to the DPP only because these are wholly exceptional circumstances.  If the police were behaving honestly there would be no need for me to do so.

The exceptional circumstances are that we are in who shall guard the guards territory.  I have provided Operation Elveden with  categorical proof that Piers Morgan when editor of the Daily Mirror received information in circumstances which were illegal. That  proof is a letter from Morgan to the PCC in which he writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…”.  You will find attached a facsimile of the letter showing the Mirror letter head  and the PCC date stamp on receiving it.  Have a look at that and then tell me with a straight face that there are no compelling grounds to investigate Morgan, the reporter who received the information (Jeff Edwards) and the police officer ( Det Supt Jeff Curtis)  who risibly failed to investigate my original complaint after promising he would do so.

Despite that exceptionally  strong  evidence Elveden have, as yet,  refused  to act.  In fact, until I wrote to Mr Starmer they were trying to fob my  complaint off in the crudest bureaucratic manner – see DI Daniel Smith’s letter to me of 13 June which is included below.  Only by copying in the DPP did I provoke any action by the police.

As for the MPS,  it is now almost a month since I was informed that they were investigating my complaint about Operation Elveden’s  refusal to investigate. I have not been contacted by those supposedly investigating the matter.   This suggests they will not be contacting me. That in  turn points to another whitewash.  A  failure to contact me  is, incidentally,  par for the course.  Despite my repeated requests to Operation Elveden  to be interviewed and to give a formal statement I have been granted the opportunity of neither.  That behaviour may be reasonably interpreted as guilty policemen not wanting to have to meet me and tell me to my face that a letter  from a Fleet Street editor in which he admits receiving information from the police in illicit circumstances is not grounds to investigate that editor.

Where the police are failing to do their duty there has to be a mechanism by which the they  can be brought to book for their misbehaviour.  It is no good telling me to make another complaint to the police because the police have shown themselves to be corrupt in this matter.  The DPP may not be able to order an investigation but he could certainly make representations to Operation Elveden  that my complaints should be investigated or have a word with the Met Commissioner.  The Attorney-General might also be brought into play in terms of applying pressure.

A failure to investigate serious crimes where there is such strong evidence must constitute both misconduct in a public office and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.  Because  Operation Elveden have refused to act on the evidence I have provided   the senior officers involved are also  guilty of these crimes.  Consequently, the police have a very strong vested interest in suppressing my complaint because it shows the Metropolitan Police is a shocking light and could (and should)  result in the prosecution of senior serving police officers.

There could also be a further reason for  not acting on my complaints. It is possible that either a senior police officer was  involved in the passing of the information to the Mirror or that the  officer was junior then but senior now.

The fact that this matter has not been investigated is a genuine scandal because it shows clearly that the Metropolitan  police cannot be trusted to act honestly when a complaint is made about someone who has genuine power and influence.

I ask you to meet me as soon as possible to discuss the matter.  If the DPP and his nominated  successor are willing to join the meeting so much the better.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

20 August 2013 [I only received this letter  on 9 Sept because the CPS failed to pay the postage on the letter].

Dear Mr Henderson,

Thank you for your email in response to Mr McGill’s letter of 16 August 2013.

As you acknowledge in your correspondence and indeed as referred to by Mr McGill in his letter to you, this matter is being dealt with by the MPS’ Department for Professional Standards.

Accordingly, I would invite you to direct any further correspondence regarding the handling of that complaint to the relevant contact at the MPS or DPS as appropriate,. Subsequent correspondence with the CPS concerning this matter will be filed without response.

Yours sincerely,

Emma- Jane Charles

Organised Crime Division

VRR Feedback and complaints

Crown Prosecution Service

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London SE1 9HS

OCDVRRandcomplaints@cps.gsi.gov.uk

 ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London

SE1 9HS

Tel: 020 3357 0000

CC

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London – CPS)

Gregor McGill (Head of Organised Crime Division CPS)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Police Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

19 September 2013

Dear Mr Starmer,

As you will see from Emma-Jane Charles letter of 16 August  (copy  directly below) , the CPS is taking the position that no further correspondence will be entered into on this matter.  Most people would find that attitude extraordinary because I have brought to your attention the clearest possible case of an attempt to pervert the course of justice by the police by refusing to investigate serious crimes for which I have supplied the clearest and categorical evidence possible.

Ms James refers me to the “relevant contact at the MPS or DPS as appropriate”.  The problem with that is twofold: those at Operation Elveden have refused to meet me despite my repeated requests to do so.   Nor have I been contacted by the Department for Professional Standards (DRS).  I have requested the names, ranks  and contact details of those dealing with my case at the DRS from DI Daniel  Smith but he has failed to answer my request.

I cannot force you to act but you do need to ask yourself how your failure will appear if I manage to get the story up and running in the national media.

My reply has been delayed  because Ms James’ letter was sent without the postage being paid and consequently  I did not receive it until 9 Sept,  when I had to pay a postage due.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

From: Enquiries <enquiries@cps.gsi.gov.uk>
To: “‘anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk'” <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, 1 October 2013, 9:15
Subject: FW: Operation Elveden – The remit of Operation Elveden and DCS Gordon Briggs

Dear Mr Henderson

 

Thank you for your email.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police are separate authorities.  The CPS is responsible for reviewing and, where appropriate, prosecuting most criminal cases in England and Wales following an investigation by the police.  The CPS is also responsible for providing legal advice to the police about cases, although we cannot provide legal advice to members of the public. 

The CPS is not an investigative body and has no power to investigate allegations of crime.  Therefore, when a criminal offence has been committed, it should be reported to the police so that an appropriate course of action can be taken.

I note your concerns about the police, although I cannot comment on them.  If you wish to complain about the police you should contact the complaints and discipline department of the police force concerned.  You can also write to the Independent Police Complaints Commission at 90 High Holborn, London , WC1V 6BH .  Their telephone number is 08453 002 002.

I hope that this information is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Parliamentary and Complaints Unit (PCU)

Public Accountability and Inclusion Division

Crown Prosecution Service

Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HS

www.cps.gov.uk

 

 


From: Magness Samantha
Sent: 30 September 2013 08:50
To: Enquiries
Subject: FW: Operation Elveden – The remit of Operation Elveden and DCS Gordon Briggs

 Dear enquiries, 

Please see the email below and attached from Mr Henderson. I have not acknowledged.

 Kind regards,

 

Samantha Magness

Private Secretary | Director of Public Prosecutions

Private Office | Crown Prosecution Service HQ

Rose Court | 2 Southwark Bridge | London | SE1 9HS

t: 020 3357 0884 | f: 020 3357 0902

e: www.cps.gov.uk 

See also https://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/operation-elveden-piers-morgan-et-al-the-dpp-advised-of-elvedens-refusal-to-investigate/

Operation Elveden to review my Piers Morgan, Jeff Edwards and Jeff Curtis complaints

Note:  Elveden’s decision(see first email down)   to review their refusal to act is a decidedly interesting development which  suggests they or the CPS are starting to get worried. Both have every reason to do so.

There is evidence and then there is evidence. Much, probably the large majority, of  evidence of criminal behaviour carries with it an element of doubt. That allows for wriggle-room if the police do not want to investigate or the CPS to prosecute.

The problem for the police and the CPS is that the evidence I have supplied is completely devoid of doubt. It is simply an objective statement of what is and was.

The Mirror story contains information which shows that the Mirror’s then Chief Crime Reporter Jeff Edwards received information from the police; the tape recording of my interview with D-Supt Jeff Curtis proves he promised to interview Morgan et al at the Mirror, the police have my personal testimony that Curtis told me when closing the case that no one had been interviewed at the Mirror, something they can check with the file on my original complaint and the evidence given under oath by Morgan and Edwards at the Leveson Inquiry is simply a matter of record.

Most dramatically, there is Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admits receiving information in circumstances which can only have been illegal. That is the most toxic item for the police and the CPS because it is a beautifully simple piece of evidence. Anyone would understand it immediately they read the words “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…” That cannot be argued or finessed away.

I suspect that the reason the police have decided to review  the original decision not to investigate is down to the CPS effectively instructing them to do so. If so, the Morgan letter will probably be the reason which persuaded them to do act. It cannot be gainsaid.

Not yet cause to get over-excited, but the fact that there is any movement from Elveden is distinctly encouraging.

Robert Henderson 30 7 2013

———————————————————————————————————————

— Forwarded Message —– From: “Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk” <daniel.smith3@met.police.uk> To: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Monday, 29 July 2013, 15:24 Subject: RE: Operation Elveden are refusing to investigate stone-dead certain crimes

SCO12 AC Private Office & Business Support

2.211

Jubilee House Putney

230-232 Putney Bridge Road

London SW15 2PD

Telephone:  Facsimile:  Email: Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk http://www.met.police.uk

Your ref:  Our ref: Op Elveden

29th July 2013

Dear Mr Henderson

Thank you for your emails dated the 4th and 25th July 2013.  I was away from work for the first two weeks of July so I apologise for the delay in responding to your email dated the 4th July.

I am able to inform you that the matters raised in your emails have been forwarded to Detective Chief Superintendent Briggs. He has asked the Department of Professional Standards conduct a review of the original investigation to establish whether or not there are any additional lines of enquiry that can be progressed. I will ensure you are informed of the progress of that review and will write to you again four weeks from now accordingly.

ours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

SCO/12

Jubilee House, 230-232 Putney Bridge Road, Putney, London, SW15 2PD Mobile 07825 606 501 Office 0208 785 8924 Switchboard 0300 123 1212  email: daniel.smith3@met.pnn.police.uk

———————————————————————————————————–

Detective Chief Supt Gordon Briggs

Senior co-ordinating officer for Operations

Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta,

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

Cc

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

30 7 2013

Dear Mr Briggs,

I have DI Daniel Smith’s email of 29 July in which informs me that you have arranged for the Met’s  Department of Professional Standards (DPS)  to conduct  a review of my various complaints to Operation Elveden.  I do not have any contact details for the DPS, so please copy this email to whoever is in charge of the review.  In addition, I ask you to read not only this submission,  but my correspondence with Elveden so that you are aware of the exceptionally strong evidence which is being ignored .  The complete correspondence is included below.

Mr Smith tells me  that there will be “a review of the original investigation to establish whether or not there are any additional lines of enquiry that can be progressed.”

It is not clear to what he refers when he writes of “the original investigation”. If he means  the sham investigation conducted by Det Supt Jeff Curtis,  then the matter is clear: D-Supt Curtis promised me that he would question all those involved at the Mirror (definitely Morgan and Edwards plus anyone else whom the investigation turned up). He broke his word. Neither Mr Curtis, nor any other officer,  questioned anyone at the Mirror or sought  to examine their accounts for evidence of payments being made to the police officer in question. I know this because he  admitted it  to me in a telephone call. You can also check this fact by looking at the police file relating to my original complaint.  I supplied Operation Elveden with a tape recording of my meeting with Jeff Curtis on which he made his promise to me. The recording was made with his knowledge and agreement.

As to why  the original investigation was sham, the answer to that is very simple. My complaints  involved not merely a powerful man and organisation in Morgan and the Mirror, but the Blairs. Everyone who should have acted honestly in the matter acted dishonestly;  the police, the CPS, the DPP and the Police Complaints Authority. I could not even get my MP to look at the matter  because as luck would have it he is Frank Dobson,  who was then a member of Blair’s Cabinet.   It was a classic who shall guard the guards scenario leading to a shameful corruption of justice.

If  “the original investigation” refers to an investigation conducted by Elveden, that is a misnomer because no investigation has been made. Indeed, it has been a very rum business to date because the entire matter has been conducted in writing, despite my repeated requests for meetings with Operation Elveden officers and to give a formal statement.

The evidence I have  supplied to Elveden is exceptionally strong. I would be willing to put a great of money on Morgan’s letter to the PCC being the only letter from a Fleet Street editor admitting receiving information from the police illicitly  the Met has  received in its entire history. That piece of  evidence alone should be enough to start a proper investigation into  Morgan and Edwards behaviour. The facts of Jeff Curtis’ failure to act when he has cast iron evidence of a serious crime are clear and simple.  The perjury allegations against Morgan and Edwards  follow from those facts.

Almost certainly the Mirror’s police informant was paid. Proving that is not necessarily a lost cause.  It is 16 years since the event,  but in 1997 we were already well into the digital age. It is quite possible that electronic  records of the Mirror’s accounts  of the time  still exist. In addition, I spoke to Edwards on the day the  Mirror story was published and he went immediately  into a flat spin. Consequently, I think there is a sporting chance that he would go to pieces and admit everything if he is placed under investigation.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

From: robert henderson [mailto:anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk] Sent: 25 July 2013 20:45 To: Kier Starmer Cc: George Eustice; John; Basu Neil – SCO12; Gerald Howarth; Mark; Smith Daniel – SCO12; alison.saunders@cps.gsi.gov.uk Subject: Operation Elveden are refusing to investigate stone-dead certain crimes

——————————————————————————————————-

Keir Starmer (DPP)

Rose Court

2 Southwark Bridge

London

SE1 9HS

Tel: 020 3357 0000

CC

Alison Saunders Chief Crown Prosecutor (London)

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe (Met Commissioner)

Commander Neil Basu (Head of Operation Elveden)

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith (Operation Elveden)

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

Sir Gerald Howarth MP

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

25 July 2013

Dear Mr Starmer

I have been copying you in to a complaint I submitted to Operation Elveden in January this year. I have done this because my previous experience with the Met persuaded me that they cannot be trusted to behave honestly when complaints involve those with power, wealth and influence.   I enclose below my complete correspondence with Operation Elveden for your convenience.

There is a considerable scandal in the way Operation Elveden has responded to my complaints. Put simply they have been rejected without any investigation despite the evidence I provided being exceptionally strong.

The complaint  included a cast-iron case against Piers Morgan when editor of the Daily Mirror of receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal.   The evidence I provided was just about as conclusive as you could wish: a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC . In it he writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect…”  I attach a copy of the letter in facsimile.

There is also conclusive evidence against the Mirror’s erstwhile Chief Crime Reporter of having  received information from the police illicitly  and prima facie grounds for believing Morgan and Edwards committed perjury under oath at the Leveson Inquiry when they were questioned about receiving information from the police illegally.  Finally, there is  the complaint against ex-Det Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  for perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office  by failing to investigate the Mirror when the complaint about Morgan and Edwards’ illegal receipt of information was first submitted to the Metropolitan police.  This again is open and shut because Curtis failed to question Morgan and Edwards or examine the Mirror  accounts for evidence of payments  to the police officer who supplied the information referred to in Morgan’s letter to the PCC. He did this despite promising me that he would be interviewing Morgan and Edwards – provided Operation Elveden of a tape recording of Curtis making this promise.

The full details of  my complaint to Elveden can be found in the next  document down which is addressed to  the Deputy Assistant Commissioner  Steve Kavanagh on 21/1/2013.   Operation Elveden’s refusal to act (written by  Detective Inspector Daniel Smith)  and my response to that are the two last pieces of  the Operation Elveden correspondence below.

I am writing directly to you because this is a who shall guards the guards situation.  There is no point in my going to the Met to complain because they are the organisation about which I am complaining.

Nor is there any point in my making a complaint to them about criminal behaviour arising from the failure of Operation Elveden  to investigate the clearest evidence of serious criminality. Consequently, I ask you to intervene to ensure that my original complaints and the criminal aspect of Operation Elveden’s refusal to investigate are properly investigated.

This has already been dragging on far too long so prompt action please.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Operation Elveden refuses to investigate Piers Morgan despite the clearest evidence of his criminality

Robert Henderson

—————————————————

Metropolitan Police  TOTAL POLICING

Specialist Crime and Operations

SCO12-AC Private Office and  Business Support

2.211

Jubilee House Putney

230-232 Putney Bridge Road

London SW15 2PD

Telephone

Fascsimle

Email Daniel.Smith3@met.police.uk

www.met.police.uk

Your ref:

Our ref : Elveden

13 June 2013

Mr Robert Henderson

Dear Mr Henderson,

I write in relation to the allegations you made following your contact with DC Rooke in January of this year. I have reviewed the matters raised by you in this, and subsequent communications, with DC Rooke.

I understand that the matters raised by you relate to an article published in 1997 and that the matter was investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service (Complaints Investigation Bureau). The matter was referred to the Police Complaints Authority in 1999.

I understand that there is no new evidence or information available and as a result I have decided that no investigation will be conducted into the points raised by you.

In relation to the Perjury allegation, having read the transcripts provided, I do not believe there is evidence that shows an offence has been committed. As a consequence this allegation will not be investigated.

Yours sincerely,

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

————————————————————-

Detective Inspector Daniel Smith

Operation Eleveden

Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard

8/10 The Broadway

London  SW1H OBG

CC

Commander Neil Basu

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

John Whittingdale MP

George Eustice MP

Gerald Howarth MP

Keir Starmer (DPP)

mark.lewis@thlaw.co.uk

4 July 2013

Dear Mr Smith,

I have your letter dated   13th June which arrived on 21st  June in an envelope post marked 17 June.  I have mulled the matter over for a week or so before replying because your  decision regarding my complaints is  best described as inexplicable if taken at face value. Indeed, I think any disinterested third party would  react with the same feeling when faced with the truly indestructible evidence I have supplied to Operation Elveden and your blanket refusal to investigate.

To briefly recap the evidence, I have provided Operation Elveden with a letter from Piers Morgan to the PCC when editor of the Daily Mirror. In it he  admits to receiving information from a Metropolitan police officer in circumstances which can only have been illegal. You also have  a tape recording of a senior police officer D-Supt Jeff Curtis of Scotland Yard  promising to question Morgan and co and saying the evidence was straight forward plus transcripts of the evidence Morgan and Jeff Edwards gave under oath before Leveson in which they denied receiving information  from the police illicitly.  To that can be added the fact that,  despite his promise to me, Curtis failed to interview Morgan, Edwards or any other Mirror employee or examine the records of  the Mirror to look for evidence of payments to the police for information. Finally, there is the Daily Mirror story written as a result of the illicit information from the Met . That alone demonstrates that the police illicitly supplied information to the Mirror to their then chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards.

The fact that I was unable to get anyone in authority, not the police, nor the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to act at the time of the original complaints  is not evidence that no crime had been committed. Rather, it is  further evidence of corrupt behaviour within the police and the police complaints system.  The criminal (take your choice between perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office) refusal to act in this matter was generated by the implication of  Tony and Cherie Blair in the  case.  To give you a short guide to that involvement let me quote the Early Day Motion about the matter put down by Sir Richard Body MP on  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 Blairs made a profound misjudgement when they tried to get me prosecuted. As lawyers they must have known that their complaints were bogus and were relying on their political celebrity to persuade the CPS to charge me regardless of the evidence.  So feeble were their allegations  that the CPS sent them back within hours of receiving them  the papers submitted to them with an emphatic NO CRIME.

That immediately created a problem from the Blairs, but had they left it there that might have been the end of it,  because at no time did the police contact me about the Blairs’ complaints and I might never have known of their attempt to have me prosecuted. But the Blairs  could not leave well alone and made the further mistake of planting a false and toxically libellous story about me and their failed attempt in the  Daily Mirror. This alerted me not only to their attempt,  but the fact that Special Branch had been  set to spy on me (Special Branch are mentioned  in the Mirror story).   I then spent the entire Blair premiership suffering harassment which I can only presume came from either Special Branch, MI5 (I used the Data Protection Act to prove they held a file on me)  or some other agency employed by one or both of the Blairs.  The harassment included such things as death threats,  incitements to attack me on social media platforms and  regular interference with my post.

In addition to my complaints to the police against the Mirror, I also made a series of allegations  against the Blairs after I discovered they had been to the police. These  were also not  investigated in any meaningful way.

That was why everybody  but everybody in the Met Police  and the justice system refused to behave honestly when I first made the complaints about Morgan and  Edwards. If action had been taken against them then the Blairs would have been brought into the story, something they obviously could not afford to have happen.  The refusal  of the police and the  PCA to  deal honestly with my complaints is simply explained, namely, the political implications overrode their honesty  Until Operation Elveden began there was no  opportunity for me to again bring any part of the scandal to the police.  An amazing story but a true one.

The conduct of my complaints to Elveden has  been distinctly odd. I have made repeated requests to give a formal statement and meet with a senior member of Operation Elveden. Despite those requests I have not been given the opportunity to make a formal statement, nor,  despite my best efforts, met  any  member of Operation Elveden, junior or senior.  That suggests  a decision was made at an early stage to deliberately  exclude me from any participation in Elveden’s consideration of my complaints.  Writing a letter to me saying you will not investigate  for spurious reasons is one thing: telling me to my face that the Morgan letter to the PCC is not grounds for investigation quite another matter.

The paucity of detail in your letter also suggests that no meaningful consideration has been given to the evidence I provided. Indeed, your beginning of two paragraphs with “I understand that” suggests that you have not looked at the evidence. The other telling thing is that you do not give me any detailed reason for refusing the complaints against Morgan, Edwards and Curtis. All you say is that you understand that the complaints were previously investigated. Have you examined my evidence  in detail, including listening to the tape recording of Jeff Curtis and me?

Are you a gambling man, Mr Smith? Well, you are certainly taking a gamble here by refusing to investigate. Your gamble is this: you are betting that the fact that the Met are refusing to investigate the clearest evidence of serious crimes will remain outside the mainstream public domain.  That is a very big wager indeed.  All I need is for one politician or mainstream media outlet to  take up the story…

I suggest you sit down and try to imagine how you would explain to the mainstream media or a mainstream politician  Elveden’s  failure to act when you have in your possession a letter  from Piers Morgan when Mirror editor admitting he had received information illicitly from the Metropolitan Police.   When you have done that,  I hope you will reconsider your refusal to investigate and arrange to meet me to take a formal statement and tell me of the progress of the investigation you have started.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

Being arrested in England is no small matter anymore

Robert Henderson

There was a time when being arrested in England  did not matter very much.  Before digital technology  came of age your fingerprints  and mug shot might be taken,  but if  no charges were laid or, if you were brought to trial,  a conviction was not obtained  for the alleged offence which had caused your arrest, the chances of the ordinary law abiding person being inconvenienced in the future by the fact that those details were held by the police  were small. There was no Police National Computer (PNC)  until 1974 – which was a very rudimentary system  in the beginning and for a long period of time afterwards laughably underpowered with what we have now  –  and the widespread use of personal computers  was almost two decades after that.   DNA identification did not come into play until the 1980s and was very cumbersome procedure for years afterwards. Before computers arrived police had to rely on their  knowledge of the “usual suspects”, modus operandi and informers to hunt down the guilty. They would look at the records of those suggested by such avenues of inquiry,  but had no ready way of searching large numbers of records  on spec or of moving their search to the records of other police forces.  On spec  searches of criminal  records for the entire country were out of the question.

Today not only are fingerprints and mug shots taken but DNA samples as well if some is arrested on suspicion of committing a recordable offence (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/1139/contents/made).  Prior to the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2001/16/section/82) fingerprints and DNA samples would be destroyed if someone was not found guilty.  After the 2001 Act samples   could be taken without the permission of the suspect at the time of charge. The Criminal Justice Act 2003  (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/44) allowed samples to be taken on arrest for a recordable offence.  Presently, all records are held indefinitely  on the PNC, a database  which holds records for the entire country and  can be accessed by any police force in the country. Currently, the data is held indefinitely regardless of whether  an arrested person is convicted,  tried and found not guilty or released without charge. There is the Protection of Freedoms Bill which is still going through Parliament which places some restrictions on the holding of data of those not convicted of a crime,  but even if these become law –and  they could be amended before the Bill is passed – these still allow considerable opportunity for the storage of fingerprints, DNA and mug shots of the unconvicted, viz:

Protection of Freedoms Bill proposals

The following details relate to the Protection of Freedoms Bill, introduced on the 7 February 2011. As this has not yet been agreed by Parliament, these proposals are subject to change.

What if I am arrested for a minor offence, but not charged or convicted?

The provisions of the Protection of Freedoms Bill as introduced in Parliament provide that in the future these will not be retained at all.

What if I am arrested for, but not charged with a serious offence?

The provisions of the Protection Of Freedoms Bill as introduced in Parliament provide that the police will only be permitted to retain DNA and fingerprints in very tightly controlled circumstances. We will be establishing an independent commissioner to oversee DNA retention and they will make a decision whether retention is necessary, taking into account the age and vulnerability of victim of the alleged offence and their relation to the person arrested.

What if I am arrested for and charged with a serious offence, but not convicted?

The provisions of the Protection Of Freedoms Bill as introduced in Parliament provide that in these cases we propose to retain the DNA and fingerprints for three years, with the option of a single two-year extension by a court.

What if I am convicted of an offence?

The provisions of the Protection Of Freedoms Bill as introduced in Parliament provide that all adults convicted of any recordable offence will have their DNA and fingerprints retained indefinitely.

We are proposing a separate retention regime for those under 18 years of age who are convicted of an offence. Those convicted of a serious offence will have their DNA and fingerprints retained indefinitely. For those under 18 who are convicted of a minor offence their DNA will be retained for five years on a first conviction (plus the length of any custodial sentence) and then indefinitely following a second conviction. (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/powers/dna-and-fingerprints/)

DNA is especially important, because  unlike fingerprints  it can be readily deposited by someone else at the scene of a crime or inadvertently  picked up by  someone committing a crime or by the victim of a crime. In principle this could also happen with  fingerprints if someone deliberately or inadvertently  picks up something with someone’s  fingerprints on it and leaves it at the scene of a crime or a victim does so inadvertently. But the scope for framing someone in that fashion is  much less than it would be for DNA  because of the difficulty in both obtaining and retaining  a clear print inadvertently  or leaving  something with a clear print on it which could be plausibly seen by the police as being left inadvertently.

Fingerprints obtained in the messy real world  encountered by the  police are generally  a far from certain identifier  because of their incompleteness . Even where a clear whole print is available, the identification is not absolutely watertight, not least because the scientific basis of the system has been questioned successfully enough to prevent fingerprint evidence being used in trials in the USA, viz:  “U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollak last week ruled that such evidence does not meet standards of scientific scrutiny established by the U.S. Supreme Court, and said fingerprint examiners cannot testify at trial that a suspect’s fingerprints “match” those found at a crime scene. “ (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=91996&page=1#.UHVvghVZWSo).

It is worth adding that  justice systems around the world  accept different numbers of “points of similarity” in fingerprint evidence as indicative of a positive match.  It is all very messy and unavoidably subjective to a significant degree.

DNA is a different matter, or at least is thought to be a different matter. DNA  identification is based not on the subjective judgement of visible differences by humans,  but the machine matching of strings of DNA code.  This gives them an appearance of scientific rigour.  However DNA may be degraded or  mixed with someone else’s DNA which can make identification far from certain. Identification is also debatable with the controversial “low copy number” DNA testing  which deals with minute samples of DNA (http://www.mccannfiles.com/id190.html)  Moreover, there will always be false positives.  The likelihood of  those is strong when a database holds millions of individual DNA samples.  The numbers would be small but for those involved the results would be traumatic even if no conviction results. The worst case would be a  false conviction for a serious crime.

Apart from false positives, there are three ways an innocent man or woman could fall victim to an police investigation based on the DNA.   The first is it could have been planted deliberately by someone.  This could have  been done to either  harm the person whose DNA was planted or it might  have been an attempt to mislead the police by someone committing a crime. In the latter case the person whose DNA was planted need not have been known to the person doing the planting. They simply pick up something like a cigarette butt or a used tissue which they have either seen someone leave or they simply find after the person has deposited the item and gone.

The second circumstance would be if someone is the victim of a crime and they inadvertently  pick up something carrying DNA , for example a lost hair or  blood left by someone.  A truly disturbing and astonishing example of what can  happen involved  Mark Minick.  Minick was arrested on suspicion of rape. He had a criminal record  for robbery and his DNA matched that taken from a hair found on the victim.  The problem was that  Minick is white and small (5’6”) and the victim identified her attacker as black and large.   Notwithstanding this, the CPS proceeded with the case which was only dropped at the first court hearing where the prosecution offered no evidence (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-512980/DNA-farce-My-nightmare-white-man-charged-hunt-black-rapist.html#ixzz28ooimkcD). How did the victim have a hair of Minick’s?  He was working as a porter at the hospital at which the girl was  treated. Most probably she picked up the hair there.   Minick’s case shows emphatically how powerful a grip DNA evidence has on the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS): they were both willing to ignore the fact that the victim had identified her attacker as large and black while Minick was small and white because they had a DNA match from a source which could have come innocently and inadvertently into the victim’s possession.

The third opportunity for gratuitous involvement in a police investigation would be the use of near DNA matches as a pointer to who might be involved in a crime.  Suppose someone, most probably a near relative, has their DNA on the PNC.  The police may investigate the close relatives of that person in connection with a crime,  regardless of whether the relatives  have a criminal record or there is any evidence that they might be guilty. (section 5 http://www.genewatch.org/uploads/f03c6d66a9b354535738483c1c3d49e4/NationalDNADatabase.pdf).  Even if nothing happens beyond an investigation this is a considerable intrusion into their lives. Moreover,  even if completely,  innocent human nature being what it is, others who know of the police involvement may conclude there is no smoke without fire. Nor, as the Minick case showed, can there be any rational belief that the police and CPS will not allow DNA evidence to drive investigations and prosecutions where there is no other strong evidence of guilt.

The fact that even under the reforms proposed in the Protection of Freedoms Bill considerable numbers of people who have never been convicted of or even charged with a criminal offence will remain for years on the PNC means that tens of thousands of people at least  will potentially become suspects in future investigations for anything up to five years  despite having a clean bill of legal health.   If the Protection of Freedom Act  is not retrospective when it is passed , that is, it only applies to new arrests, then the numbers the innocent people involved could be millions.  To penalise the innocent  is unjust and immoral because it is based on the unethical  idea that the  greater good of the greater number is reason enough to mistreat individuals. If only the DNA and fingerprints of the convicted were held the risks of gratuitous police investigations of the innocent would be greatly reduced.

Nor is the injustice restricted to those with a clean criminal record. The DNA and Fingerprints of anyone convicted of a recordable crime will be held indefinitely.  That means people who have committed minor offences such as common assault  or driving without due care and attention without causing an accident (often only once in their lives) will be subject to the same risk of further gratuitous investigation based on false positives and so on  as those with no convictions who remain on the PNC.  This is disproportionate.

Here is a question which I have never seen publicly posed: why are fingerprints and DNA taken from every  person arrested regardless of the suspected crime?  It is easy to see that they might be useful in the case of criminals such as murderers, burglars and rapists, but what purpose does it serve for people such as fraudsters and those convicted of dangerous driving?  It is very improbable that fingerprints or DNA  records will be useful in solving future  crimes by people who are convicted of   fraud or driving offences if they commit similar offences.  It is also a fact that  most people, including career criminals, tend to commit the same type of crime if they commit more than one. There is a strong civil liberties case for saying fingerprints and DNA ( or any other future biometrics identifier) should only be taken where they are likely to help solve a crime or series of crimes.  If that practice was followed it would also greatly reduce the likelihood of people being harassed unnecessarily by the police.

There is also a broader question of the keeping of data other than fingerprints and DNA, for example,  notes of unsubstantiated complaints of crime or even reports of behaviour which might be considered suspicious.  These can have profound effects on lives because Criminal Records Bureau  (CRB) checks  are now required by huge numbers of adults  for the purpose of gaining employment or taking part in voluntary activities – the requirements have even been ludicrously extended to parents watching their children take part in school sports or Nativity plays (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210724/Parents-criminal-record-checks-banned-watching-kids-play-school-sport.html).

CRB checks are of two kinds :

•standard CRB check – for certain specified jobs, licences and entry into certain professions

•enhanced CRB check – for those carrying out certain activities or working in regulated activity with children or adults; applicants for gaming and lottery licences; and judicial appointments…

What you’ll find on a criminal record check

Standard CRB checks will contain details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC).

The enhanced CRB check will include any information from the PNC and may also search:

•information held by local police forces

•lists of people barred from working with children and adults which are kept by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Startinganewjob/DG_195809)

Millions of innocent people could find themselves barred from employment or voluntary activities through no fault of their own. Not only that,  where a CRB check is failed, unsubstantiated or simply wrong highly damaging information held by the police will be in the hands of people who know the person who has failed the check  and knowledge of a failure to pass a check,  even if the details of the failure are not known,  will cast doubt over the integrity of the person who has failed the check.

Police records are just part of an ever expanding portfolio of state and private enterprise databases which can affect lives, frequently without the individual even knowing. But police records and the ever swelling reach of the CRB check are by far the most intrusive and controlling of the surveillance apparatus  which exists at present in England. They need to be severely controlled.

As a bare minimum we should return to position that no person’s DNA and Fingerprints should be retained if they remain unconvicted and there should be no record kept of their arrests, charges or trials  on the national database.   The removal of all records of investigations from the national computer is necessary because otherwise innocent people may still be unreasonably investigated simply because they have been arrested, charged or tried but found innocent  for a similar crime before.

More broadly, it is pernicious to have information which the
police have received which may not even have led to an arrest or any, indeed, contact with the police being disclosed on CRB checks.  They should reveal only convictions and arguably only convictions relevant to job for which the check is made.  If someone has, for example, if someone has been convicted of driving without due care and attention when they were 17 and is applying for a teaching job when they are 35 the conviction is scarcely relevant.    In fact, there is a good case for doing away with CRB checks,  because there is no evidence they have reduced the type of offences they are meant to reduce, most particularly child abuse of one form or another. Their main effects have  been to dissuade many people from engaging in voluntary work, increased costs for organisations (especially schools)  and creating a general and unhealthy climate of suspicion in Britain.

These authoritarian policies  will become ever harder to remove the longer  they remain in place and technology improvements make the temptation to expand the surveillance through an ever expanding menu of biometrics irresistible to those with power. We need to act now.

Killing no murder – the right of the individual to defend their home

The arrest of Andy Ferrie and his wife Tracey after they allegedly  used a legally held shotgun to repel burglars is an all too familiar and disheartening story. Like the farmer Tony Martin who was convicted of  the murder, later reduced to manslaughter on appeal,  of a burglar, the Ferries live  in an isolated house and had suffered previous burglaries (three in their case) – see  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9520899/Businessman-arrested-over-burglar-shooting-was-living-in-fear.html. The burglar who was shot, Daniel Mansell, has already pleaded guilty to burglary  with intent to steal (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9522512/Shot-burglar-was-in-couples-bedroom-wearing-mask.html), but despite that admission of the crime against which they were defending themselves, the Feries have been bailed while the police investigate whether they should be  charged with GBH for shooting the man.

Update: The police have now said they will not be charged ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9524168/Couple-who-shot-masked-burglars-will-not-be-charged.html) , but their arrest means their fingerprints and DNA will have been taken and placed on the Police National database. That is significant because it is  very difficult to get the police to remove such records regardless of innocence.

After Tony Martin was convicted I wrote Killing no murder which I reproduce belowIt covers not only Martin’s case but the general problem of people who find themselves in a situation where they have to defend themseves.

——————————————————————————————-

Killing no murder

By Robert Henderson

Tony Martin’s conviction for murder after he killed the burglar Fred Barras, raises these important issues: the right of self-defence; the protection of property, the general use of police resources; the policing of Martin’s locality, the fairness of Martin’s trial and, above all, the relationship between the individual and the state.

The right to self-defence

Any attempt at definition short of giving a person an absolute right to defend themselves how they will is doomed to failure. Once a definition includes general qualifications such as “reasonable force”, it becomes unworkable, because the qualifications are hideously imprecise. The practical result is confusion and uncertainty and anyone who defends themselves is at risk of prosecution. The problem is exemplified in comments by Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative home affairs spokesman who recently said “People whose person or property is attacked should be able to defend themselves without fear of penalty from the law” (Daily Telegraph 24/4/2000), but then qualified this by saying that prosecutions could still take place in extreme circumstances. Once that qualification is made, the uncertainty returns.

What is required is a definition which is realistic in its appreciation of human behaviour and removes from any victim of an attack the fear that they may be prosecuted however they defend themselves.

The law on reasonable force as it is presently interpreted goes something like this: if you are attacked with a knife you may defend yourself with a knife: if you are attacked with bare fists you may defend yourself likewise. Do more in either instance and you will be in danger of being charged with an offence against the person, anything from common assault to murder. Pedantic proportionality is all. If you carry on assaulting your assailant after he is disabled, you will most likely face charges. If you have the opportunity to run away but do not, that may count against you in any assessment of whether you should be prosecuted. All this is demonstrably absurd. It assumes that people under attack can reasonably be expected to make judgements in the heat of the moment which in reality require calm consideration.

Consider a few of the variables in assessing what is “reasonable force”. Women, the disabled, children and older men cannot reasonably be expected to defend themselves from a simple physical assault from a fit, strong assailant. Other things being equal, a small man cannot be expected to fight a large man; an older man a younger man, a fit man an unfit man. But, of course, other things are often not equal.

Many men who are physically capable of fighting are absolutely hopeless at it. I have known a man of six and a half feet allow himself to be beaten by a man a foot smaller.Fighting is a matter of heart above all else. But it is also a matter of practice. Most men throwing a punch at someone’s face would be more likely to harm their fists than their opponent because they have never been taught to punch correctly. (For those without any experience of fighting, I would recommend the knee in the groin or a good-old fashioned headbutt.) More importantly, those who are not used to fighting (and middleclass men generally fall into this category) are not psychologically prepared for a fight. This will mean one of two things: the person either capitulates utterly or goes into a berserk rage and keeps on damaging their opponent until the rage passes.

To these disparities of size, sex, age and mental and physical competence, we may add others. Someone who is assaulted does not know whether an assailant is going to restrict themselves to simple assault without a weapon. They may be armed for all the victim knows. Nor need this be obvious. To take a recent well publicised case, that of Kenneth Noye who was convicted of murder in a road-rage incident. Noye carried a knife when he got out his car to confront his victim, but he only produced and used the knife when he began to get the worse of things as the two fought. (Noye is also a good example of the effect of age on the ability to fight. He was 48 at the time of the murder. His victim was in his twenties. Noye was a career criminal with a reputation as hard man. Yet until he produced a knife, he got the worst of a fight he might reasonably have expected to win. Age had caught up with him). It is also true that even if an assailant does not have a weapon, the victim cannot know how far the assailant is likely to go. Will he restrict himself to punching? Or is the assailant the sort to put the boot in when someone is on the floor? No one can know, Perhaps even the assailant does not know.

The obviously armed assailant presents a particular problem in judging what constitutes proportionality of response. If someone comes at you with a knife, is it in order to use a gun? If the assailant has a club, may one use a knife? The law as it stands gives no clear guidance. It is all “every case has to be judged on its merits”.

Then there is the question of what happens should you disable your opponent. Suppose that a small man fells a much larger man with a lucky blow of, shall we say, a candlestick. The smaller man is then left with the problem of what to do next. If he allows the more powerful man to recover, the smaller man will in all probability end up being badly hurt. The smaller man might be able to avoid that fate simply by running away (this is what the law would want you to do), yet he may be unable to reasonably do this even if he wishes to. That would be the case if the temporarily disabled man was a burglar and the smaller man’s wife and children were in the house where the fight took place. Let us further assume that there is no phone and the house is isolated as was the case with Tony Martin. In such circumstances, it could be argued with some force that it was reasonable to deliberately disable the burglar by a further assault while he was unconscious to prevent the chance of violence from the burglar when he recovered consciousness.

Behind all these circumstantial problems stand the very human emotions of panic and rage. When one is attacked, the only desire is to ensure one’s safety. Adrenaline flows and to say that any human being is in control of themselves in such circumstances is patent nonsense. The law does in practice take into account panic, but again it is all very hit-and-miss. Rage on the other hand is no excuse for what is judged a disproportionate assault.

The law as it presently stands effectively ignores human nature. It says that someone who is attacked must exercise truly marvellous self-control. In defending himself, the victim must not lose his temper and carry on attacking the attacker after the attacker has been disabled. This is utterly unrealistic. Someone in a blind rage or panic is manifestly not in control of their actions. There are good evolutionary reasons for that. When someone is responding to an attack, an uncontrolled response is the best way of responding to protect oneself. The evolutionary bottom line is: dead attacker equals safety.

What then is a reasonable law of self-defence? The great bugbear at present is proportionality of response. In drafting a new law, I would start from the premise that an attacker forfeits his right to the protection of the law, that he literally takes his life into his hands. If the attacker is seriously wounded or even killed, that should be seen simply as a reasonable consequence of the attack. The test of “reasonable force” would become defunct. All that would have to investigated after an assault was whether there was evidence which suggested that the claimed attacker was in fact not the attacker. Provided such evidence did not exist, the person assaulted would have no case to answer. I would also remove from an attacker who suffers injury any opportunity to take civil action against his victim.

The great danger with such a law is that murder could take place under the guise of self-defence. I would make two responses to that. Firstly, murder is very rare in Britain. It has been rare historically. The Canadian criminologist, Leyton Elliott who made a study of murder in Britain (Men of Blood) concluded that murder in England was astonishingly rare and had been, relatively speaking, since the middle ages. In other words, there good sociological reasons to believe that few murders would take place under such an amended law. Approximately 800 murders take place in England and Wales each year. The majority are “domestics”, that is,  the murder of a sexual partner. Murder for criminal reasons is rare.

My second point is that a claim of self-defence would still have to conform to the facts of the death. It would be no use, for example, claiming that a fight had taken place at on the morning of May 3 if the forensic evidence clearly showed that the body had been dead before that time.

I would introduce one further criterion to determine whether self-defence was proved, namely was the threat offered by the assailant credible. For example, most people have encountered the mad old lady who suddenly for no apparent reason sets about people in the street with a newspaper or some other equally inoffensive instrument. Clearly such a person would not present a credible threat to anyone other than another old lady or a young child. It would be ridiculous for a fit, younger adult to be able to claim self-defence against such an assailant. If on the other hand that same old lady entered someone’s house uninvited in the middle of the night and was struck down and killed by the householder in the dark under the apprehension that she was a burglar, that would be self-defence.

A law on the lines I have suggested would not be perfect. There would still be problems about establishing who was the assailant and who the victim. But that problem already exists under the present law. What such a law would definitely do is prevent the prosecution of householders such as Tony Martin who surprise those within their homes.

My proposal would also accommodate perhaps the most contentious part of self-defence, namely pre-emptive action. An assault which results in physical action against someone is clear cut. But the law does not say that to commit assault physical violence has to be used. A person may believe themselves to be in imminent danger of being assaulted – someone may be making threatening statements or carrying a weapon or coming rapidly towards someone else. In such circumstances, the law gives the person who fears he or she is about to be assaulted the right to defend themselves before they are assaulted. However, a person who engaged in such behaviour as things presently stand would have the greatest difficulty in sustaining such a claim if reliable witnesses were not present at the time. And if such witnesses were present, a prosecution might well result on the grounds that the presence of witnesses made an assault unlikely or one that could have been resisted. It is a ticklish problem to say the least. But one could use one of the main criteria for determining whether a physical assault had taken place to decide whether an assault was like to take place, namely the credibility of the witnesses.

In short, all my law would require someone to do would be to show that they had been assaulted by an assailant in circumstances where a credible threat existed. If that was proved, no prosecution would take place. There might be some rough justice in that, but less than there is at the moment. Moreover, what rough justice there was would most probably be at the expense of the wrongdoer rather than the law-abiding citizen.

The right to defend property

The cry “It’s only property!” is often heard. But the loss of property for many is not an inconvenience, but a severe blow to their lives. Property crimes are overwhelmingly directed against the poor. Most burglars “work” fairly close to where they live, which tends to be the poorer areas. If you are poor, then a burglar stealing your TV and microwave, your life savings stuck under the mattress or a burglar vandalising your home is a major event. Those are most pressing grounds for allowing people to defend their property.

In theory, a person may use reasonable force to defend their property. In practice, this right evaporates because of the way that the law is interpreted. It is the self-defence mess with bells on. Any attempt to prevent damage or theft is likely to result in a charge of assault or worse. I would obviate this by treating the theft or damage of property as an assault. The owner would then be able to take action without fear of repercussions in the same way as they ould resist an assault.

The general use of police resources

That there are plenty of police officers can be seen when they are required to police demonstrations or state visits such as that of the Chinese President, Jiang Zemin. Yet the number of police engaged in visible general policing has declined substantially. Why? The whole thrust of British policing in the past thirty years has been to move from community policing to rapid response, from the beat to Panda cars. One may add to that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984 – PACE) which greatly complicated police procedures and resulted in a vast increase in paperwork. The formation of the Crown Prosecution Service, which took away from the police the decision to prosecute, had a similar effect to PACE. Nor has the undue emphasis on meeting “targets” been helpful, because it has given the police a powerful incentive to go for soft offences such as motoring while ignoring real villains. All those are substantial reasons for the decline of community policing, yet they are far from a complete explanation of our present circumstances.

Political correctness and in particular “anti-racism” has resulted in large amounts of time and money being spent on what is essentially political indoctrination. This pernicious behaviour has developed over the past quarter of a century. In the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence enquiry it has got completely out of hand. A special Scotland Yard unit has been set up (The Racial and Violent Crime Task Force) and all police officers are to be subjected to additional “racial awareness training.” “Stop and Search” has been cut back because of police fears of being accused of racism if they stop blacks and Asians with the result that street crime has risen substantially. Not only that, but any complaint by a black or Asian of police racism or incompetence that gets publicity now results in a quite disproportionate amount of police time and money being devoted to investigations, which frankly have little chance of being successful.

An additional result of the Lawrence enquiry is that the police have become so nervous of their public image, that disproportionate efforts are also being made with other high-profile cases which have no racial content. The classic instance of this is the murder of the broadcaster, Jill Dando. More than a year after here death 40 detectives are still employed full time on the case. Common sense suggests that if the police have not solved the case after more than a year of immense effort, it is unlikely that they will do so in the future simply by carrying on in the same way. The only likely means by which the police will now solve the Dando murder is through an informant, most probably a disaffected ex-partner of the killer. The police must know this, yet they carry on the pantomime of maintaining 40 detectives on the case. It is pure PR.

The policing of Martin’s home area

“A Women’s Institute survey last year found that more than 70 per cent of rural communities had no police presence. In Norfolk, figures released on the day of the Martin shooting revealed that the area had fewer police officers per head of population than any other county. The western division, which covers 550 square miles, has 130 officers to cover any 24 hour period. In the past decade there has been a sevenfold increase in crime.” (Sunday Telegraph 23/4/2000).

Tony Martin lived in the western division. He, like many others in the area, had found that reporting crimes or threats of crimes to the police was a waste of time. Considering the minute numbers of police in his area that is scarcely surprising. But the inadequacy of the law went far beyond the failure of the police to take action. Both Barras and Fearon had multiple criminal convictions. Yet time and again they received either no prison sentence or only a minor one. In a sense, one can understand why the police were less than enthusiastic about investigating crimes committed by such people. But there was another good reason why they were dilatory.

The curse of political correctness

The dead boy, Fred Barras and his wounded accomplice, Brendan Fearon, came from gipsy stock (or traveller or Romany or whatever you wish to call them). The media coverage of this point was muted, doubtless because of the fear of being accused of racism. Yet it was clearly relevant to the Martin case.

In Tony Martin’s part of the world, West Norfolk, there is a strong Gipsy presence. The Sunday Telegraph (23/4/2000) reported that “more than 30 legal and illegal gipsy campsites. Other gipsies travel into the area to commit crimes, some from as far afield as Yorkshire. Brendan Fearon, for instance, the man wounded in the Martin burglary, is a gipsy from Nottinghamshire.”

An ex-police officer, Tony Bone, who runs an organisation called “Farmwatch” in Tony Martin’s area, had no doubts about the problems posed by gipsies: “There is an underlying issue with the growing numbers of travellers who have set up here over the past few years, ” Mr Bone said. “Many of them have made criminal activity a very sophisticated business.

The police have a policy of non-harassment of the gipsies, which has not helped. It is a big issue, And it has been going on for a protracted period. “People see their property stolen and damaged. Then they see police unwilling to go on to the sites to look for it. Ido not blame the individual officers, They are based too far away, don’t know the local areas and have received instruction not to harass travellers. But it has a very debilitating effect on the local population, who feel they are victimised by people who are living beyond the law.” (Sunday Telegraph 23/4/2000).

A spokesman for Norfolk police made this response when asked whether it was true that organised gipsy gangs were behind much of the criminal activities, he said: “Travellers are classed as an ethnic minority group. They need to be given the same level of respect as any other group. We are not in the business of encouraging any type of prejudice. As an organisation we do not want to point the finger at any minority groups.”‘(Sunday Telegraph 23/4/2000). In other words, the police are constrained by political correctness in their treatment of gipsy crime.

There, in all probability, is the primary catalyst which created the conditions which drove Tony Martin to arm himself illegally. “Anti-racism” (in reality anti-white majority racism) is perverting our society generally. If you are a member of a minority which is willing to create trouble to defend its members, the police will largely turn a blind eye to anything but the must serious crimes.

Was Martin Guilty?

Was Tony Martin guilty under the law as it stands? It is a moot point. Many people reading newspaper reports of the case might well conclude he was. Martin fired a number of shots. Fred Barras was shot in the back. Martin did not call the police until the following day. In addition, Martin’s violent views on gipsies and his possession of an illegal pump action shotgun must have counted against him with the jury.

But perfectly reasonable explanations can be given for Martin’s actions. He claims he fired in panic. This would account for the multiple shots. He claims that he thought both the intruders had escaped. Hence his failure to call for an ambulance. Quite reasonable in view of the fact that Fred  Barras died quickly. In the circumstances it would also be reasonable for Martin not to have gone outside until morning. As to expressing violent views against gipsies prior to the killing, his defence team tried to prevent these becoming part of the trial on the grounds that they were prejudicial. They failed and are using the failure as one of the groundsfor Martin’s appeal.

It might seem reasonable that Martin’s views on gipsies were admitted to the trial. Yet who can say they have not at some time said they would kill someone? Such comments do not mean much. By admitting the comments to the trial, the judge almost certainly prejudiced the jury. The law provides for the exclusion of evidence which is not directly related to a crime. A classic example of a judge excluding such evidence occurred in the trial for murder of some of the suspects in the Stephen Lawrence case. The police had secretly bugged the houses of one of the suspects. Several of the suspects were recorded making grossly racist statements and pretending to use knives. The judge refused to allow the material in evidence because the recording contained no reference to the suspects killing Lawrence. I think that Martin had at least as good a case for the evidence of his feelings about gipsies  not being admitted.

Why did the jury convict? Well, juries are odd beasts at the best of times and I can well imagine that they may have been swayed not only by Martin’s comments about gipsies, but also by the fact that Barras was shot in the back and left to die. But there is a complication. Since the trial ended there have been persistent reports of the intimidation of the jury by members of Barras and Fearon’s families and generally by the gipsy population in the area.

What credence should be given to these stories is debatable. However, members of Barras and Fearon’s families attended the court in force throughout the trial. Not only that but whenTony Martin was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Daniel Fearon, there was by all accounts a tremendous explosion of anger from his family and others in the public gallery. At that point the jury had not given a verdict on the murder charge. They then withdrew and came back later to deliver a guilty verdict on Barras’ killing. After that verdict was given there was again a most aggressive display from the public gallery, but this time in celebration.

The jury members may well have had reason to fear the consequences of a not guilty verdict to the murder charge. The hard truth is that while individual travelling folk may be perfectly amenable in their individual dealings with those from the mainstream, their group behaviour leaves much to be desired. Anyone who has ever had to deal with gipsies en mass will know, their group behaviour is all too often unequivocally antisocial. There are good sociological reasons for this: (1) they see themselves as separate from mainstream society and (2) they have the nomad’s mentality. (1) means that they will have a first loyalty to their own group and (2) creates a contempt for their immediate surroundings because they know they will soon move on.

That Martin was found guilty of murder and not guilty on the attempted murder charge is perverse. Both Fearon and Barras were shot in the same circumstances. Logically, both charges should have resulted in the same verdict, whether it was guilty or not guilty. One of Tony Martin’s grounds for appeal will be that the murder verdict was perverse.

The relationship between the state and the individual

There is an implicit contract between the state and the individual: the individual gives up his right to absolutely control his personal security on the understanding that they state will provide both physical security and meaningful redress for injuries which the individual may suffer from others. Patently this contract was broken in Martin’s case, who was left with the effective choice between defending himself and his property or letting criminals do much as they wanted. How he went about defending himself is another matter, but that was the objective choice.

The police did more than fail to protect Martin and his property, they denied him the legal means to protect himself. Martin killed with an illegal pump action shotgun. Previously he had owned an ordinary shotgun. Martin lost this because his licence was taken away after he had fired a warning shot to deter some intruders (he did not hit them). Had his licence not been taken away, Martin would, in all probability, never have purchased the pump-action shotgun. If that had been the case, he would have faced Barras and Fearon with an ordinary shotgun with two shots only immediately available. With only that weapon, Martin might never have shot anyone. He might have been deterred from firing because he knew he only had two shots. If he had fired, two shots have more chance of missing that half a dozen. The case also shows how easy it is to get guns illegally despite the draconian laws which now exist. The anti-gun fanatics might care to reflect on that.

Tony Martin may possibly have been guilty as the law stands, but I cannot see that he was morally culpable. He was doing the most natural of things, protecting himself from men whohad intruded into his most private place, his home.

See also http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/the-right-of-self-defence-in-england-2/

%d bloggers like this: