Henriques: Help or Hindrance

 

Sir Richard Henriques.

Sir Richard Henriques. Pic Credit: Blackpool Gazette and loucollins.uk

CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM

The heavily censored Henriques Report – only 84 out of nearly 500 pages released – comes firmly down on the side that all the prominent people investigated in Operation Midland are innocent of sexual abuse allegations made by “Nick” and the Met police should have closed down the investigation.

It has also triggered an investigation by Northumbria Police into whether ” Nick ”  should be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice by making such allegations.

More significantly  it  questions the whole approach of the police  in handling future complaints and allegations of child sexual abuse across the country.

It amounts to a rebalancing of the way the police handle child sexual abuse and rape cases from protecting the accuser to offering more support to the suspect.

In doing so it exposes a rift between the  judge and Operation Hydrant, the national co-ordinating investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse by prominent people headed by Simon Bailey, the chief constable of Norfolk.

Basically Henriques wants to  revert to the earlier situation where people who allege a crime was committed against them are treated as complainants and not victims of crimes and anyone who alleges child sexual abuse is not necessarily believed.

Simon Bailey clearly disagrees with this and makes it clear  that he believes  it will be detrimental to the trust people who have been abused  have in dealing with the police.

I disagree with both of them and think  they should be called survivors – as the use of the word victim  implies powerlessness- something I have not seen with the survivors I have met.

Henriques seems to want a return to historic times where from North Wales to London an accused paedophile could get away with it much more easily and die peacefully in his bed.

His assurances that people complaining have nothing to fear from telling the truth has  not worked in the past or we wouldn’t have this huge backlog of cases.

Savile and Sir Cyril Smith managed to avoid prosecutions altogether. But by taking abused people seriously years later North Wales paedophiles  Gordon Anglesea and John Allen have been convicted as a result of the Pallial investigation.

Operation Fernbridge also led to the  successful conviction of a well connected Roman Catholic priest who had escaped justice for some 40 years. Among celebrities who have been successfully convicted is Rolf Harris.

However the treatment of  the police of suspects like Paul Gambaccini, Cliff Richard and Lord Bramall that Henriques declares innocent  during the police  investigation seems to have been excessive and looks ( though he doesn’t go into the full detail in his heavily redacted report) that many procedural  mistakes were made.

He also challenges Bailey over the small number of false claims – and seems to suggest that there are likely to be more false claims against prominent people.

He says there is an imbalance between the anonymity granted to the accuser and the danger of the anonymity of the suspect being disclosed. However the police do not name the suspect until charged

His solution is to limit information released by the police while they are investigating the case by removing the age and the location of the person involved being interviewed,arrested or their home searched. I can see being reasonable over home raids and interviews but it is dangerous if it is extended to an arrest.

At present if a journalist becomes aware someone is arrested they will limit their coverage to avoid prejudicing a trial. If the police refuse to confirm this  they risk a  prejudiced trial because journalists won’t know and could  publish information that will damage their case.

There is also one serious error in his conclusion over Exaro’s coverage. He says the news organisation used a photo identity test on the survivor.  He implied we did it while there was an ongoing police investigation. Wrong. It took place before the police ever interviewed ” Nick”. It was done because if the person couldn’t recognise any of the people who he claimed had abused him, it would throw doubt on his claims. The  late Lord McAlpine case is an example where this did not happen with disastrous consequences.

I am also sceptical of him seeking ” confidentiality  agreements ” with survivors binding them forever to secrecy over their allegations which even he admits survivors would face no sanctions if they ignored it.

The survivors would in theory if the police decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute be left unable to tell anyone about his or her case. As a result they would  be left in a worse position than if they never complained to the police in the first place.

So help or hindrance? With firm evidence that there are at least 100,000 people now in this country viewing children being sexually abused for pleasure on the internet  there is a danger that a substantial shift in the balance from protecting the survivor to protecting the suspect could hinder the advances being made in bringing paedophiles to book.

You do not change the law  for the whole country based on a few very high profile cases even if a judge rules  that they were unjustly accused and there was no corroborative evidence.

Yes make some adjustments to officially confirming information to protect people who could be innocent. Don’t put back the present  direction of travel – otherwise you are giving comfort to that small minority who still persist in believing that child sexual abuse is just a ” conspiracy theory ” created by  a few people trying to make money out of innocent public figures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naysayers at bay:The damning child sex abuse figures that should make them think again

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk, who is co-ordinating the Operation Hydrant figures Ic credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk, who is co-ordinating the Operation Hydrant figures
Pic credit: Norfolk Constabulary

The disclosure by Operation Hydrant – the national co-ordination hub set up by the police to bring together all allegations of  historical child sexual abuse – this week  of a huge number of paedophile suspects should give any naysayer a shock.The figures are released on the National Police Chiefs’ Council website here should give massive cause for concern. There is a separate breakdown for Scotland here.

Basically they show that there are 1433  male suspects of which 216 are deceased Some 666 suspects related to institutions, and 261  are classified as people of public prominence.

Some 506 are classified as unidentified and 357 institutions have been identified within the scope of the operation.

The breakdown of the prominent people is 135  from the world of TV, film or radio,76 are listed as politicians –(it should be noted that these include local-level politicians, not just national figures); 43 are from the music industry and  7 are from the world of sport

Some 357 different institutions have been identified. These include:154 schools,75 children’s homes,40 religious institutions, 14 medical establishments,11 classified as being institutions in communities – youth clubs, community centres etc.,9 Prisons or Young Offenders Institutions, 9 sports venues and  28 other institutions (i.e. military, guest houses) In addition, 17 institutions are classified as ‘unknown’.

These figures come as a surprise even to journalists working on Exaro as they are higher than we  even thought.. But to anyone who has been campaigning to suggest that the almost every claim is based on ” false memory syndrome” or made up to claim compensation this should be a wake up call. Are they really going to say that all these people across the UK have made up these claims? This is just not credible.

Obviously the fact they are suspects means the cases are not yet proven but the perpetrators should stand trial if the police can gather enough evidence.

And when you think that probably each and every suspect has assaulted or molested often scores or more survivors – these are not after all long term relationships – the problem is severe. No wonder former CSA panel member, Graham Wilmer, of the Lantern Project, has told Sky News ” This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

These figures however are not just shocking- they raise questions about what sort of society the United Kingdom is now.

How come professional bodies from the police, social services, the NHS never suspected this was going on or possibly covered it up? How come the media both TV and print never discovered the scale of this at the time? What is going on now that we don’t know about?

It also raises questions about what sort of society we live in where it appears to be OK for minority to prey on children in this vile way? It raises questions for all religious orders – especially the Roman Catholic church where the issue of celibacy could be contributing factor to this problem.. From what I  know there is not  a religious order where they are not allegations of  child sexual abuse whether it is the Anglican Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses , the Methodists and the Mormons.

We also cannot wait EIGHT years for the Goddard Inquiry to decide what new arrangements are required for protecting children in the future.In case there is any doubt about what a horrific experience child sexual abuse is – read the judgement of the Supreme Court this week which lifted the ban on the publication of a book by James Rhodes, the pianist.

Classical pianist James Rhodes. Pic Credit: www.classicalmusic.com

Classical pianist James Rhodes.
Pic Credit: http://www.classicalmusic.com

This is an extract (Warning Strong Language) from the book read out in court:

“Abuse. What a word. Rape is better. Abuse is when you tell a traffic warden to fuck off. It isn’t abuse when a 40 year old man forces his cock inside a six-year-old boy’s ass. That doesn’t even come close to abuse. That is aggressive rape. It leads to multiple surgeries, scars (inside and out), tics, OCD, depression, suicidal ideation, vigorous self-harm, alcoholism, drug addiction, the most fucked-up of sexual hang-ups, gender confusion (‘you look like a girl, are you sure you’re not a little girl?’), sexuality confusion, paranoia, mistrust, compulsive lying, eating disorders, PTSD, DID (the shinier name for multiple personality disorder) and so on and on and on.

I went, literally overnight, from a dancing, spinning, gigglingly alive kid who was enjoying the safety and adventure of a new school, to a walled-off, cement shoed, lights-out automaton. It was immediate and shocking, like happily walking down a sunny path and suddenly having a trapdoor open and dump you into a freezing cold lake.

You want to know how to rip the child out of a child? Fuck him.

Fuck him repeatedly. Hit him. Hold him down and shove things inside him. Tell him things about himself that can only be true in the youngest of minds before logic and reason are fully formed and they will take hold of him and become an integral, unquestioned part of his being.”

Need I say more.