IICSA in Wonderland.

by Anna Raccoon on October 19, 2016

1476833026651Truly, the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting on the 18th October was a wondrous affair.

There sat the latest incumbent of the poisoned chalice chair of IICSA, Alexis Jay, blinking wildly in the unaccustomed parliamentary limelight, looking for all the world like a child giving an ABE interview, supported on either side by her two ‘appropriate adults’. As each question was posed, she blinked ever faster, her little mouth opened and closed, and she glanced at her minders for support. Occasionally they trusted her to reply for herself.

The ‘appropriate adults’ were Drusilla Sharpling and Ivor Frank, two long standing members of the ‘advisory panel’ appointed to the ‘judge led’ public inquiry. A curious phrase that – ‘judge led’ – as you will come to appreciate.

It would appear, or we must believe, that no member of the panel had ever claimed that Dame Goddard was a racist, nor that she had ever shouted at anyone, nor that she had claimed you had to travel 50 miles from London before you saw a white face. No, siree, no such claim had ever been made, contrary to what you might have read in the media.

Dame Goddard has instructed Carter-Ruck in respect of these claims.

In fact the only complaint that ‘had ever been made’ was that Dame Goddard ‘would have preferred to sit alone’, that she kept ‘the panel at a distance’, that she was ‘couldn’t adapt to a  collegiate style’ – or to put it in shorthand, that she was under the impression that this was a ‘judge led’ inquiry…and she was the judge…

3 The inquiry panel (1) An inquiry is to be undertaken either—

(a) by a chairman alone, or (b) by a chairman with one or more other members.

Inquiries Act 2005

So tense did relations become between the panel who thought they should be telling her what to do, and a highly experienced judge who thought she was running a ‘judge-led inquiry’, that, shock horror, the panel had thought it necessary to hire a professional ‘facilitator’. 

A facilitator is someone who engages in the activity of facilitation. They help a group of people understand their common objectives and assists them to plan how to achieve these objectives; in doing so, the facilitator remains “neutral” meaning he/she does not take a particular position in the discussion.

If you wonder who was paying for this person to help the dog understand that the tail thought it should be wagging it – we did of course. The taxpayer.

Did anybody, in this unhappy atmosphere take any steps to do anything positive about it, or did they all sit around moaning to each other? Well, sort of, somebody did, though I have to say, in hindsight, it appears to be more of a back covering move.

Drusilla Sharpling told the committee, and she was very specific about the date this occurred – 26th April – she repeated it a number of times, that she told a ‘Home Office official’ about the troubles, with the panel’s knowledge – stipulating at the same time that ‘the information was to go no further’, and that ‘no action was to be taken’. That might seem a curious way of going about ‘whistleblowing’. Unless you just wanted to be able to say, at some unspecified time in the future, that you had reported your concerns ‘to the Home Office’…

Helpfully, she named the Home Office official. Mary Calam, Director-General for the Crime and Policing Group (CPG) at the Home Office. Mary Calam was not the liaison between the inquiry and the Home Secretary, which struck many on the committee as making her an odd choice.

She becomes an even odder a choice when you recollect a press release from April 2016…  22 days earlier, Mary Calam had ceased to be a Home Office official, or even a civil servant. Ms Sharpling says ‘I don’t indulge in gossip’  – I am not sure what to term disclosing your ‘information in confidence’ about your ‘boss’ to someone who is no longer an appropriate employee.

Mary Calam was as good as her word, and had told no one at the Home Office of the confidence entrusted to her. Quite right too. 

Meanwhile, someone was leaking a steady stream of stories to The Times concerning Ben Emmerson QC and Dame Goddard. Poisonous stories. Stories designed to discredit a judge who thought she was leading a judge led inquiry, and an eminent QC who was fully aware of the parameters of a judge led inquiry. The present chair of the Inquiry, Alexis Jay, and her two minders, Drusilla Sharples and Ivor Frank, were all quite sure that there was no truth in the stories.

Both Ben Emmerson and Dame Goddard elected to resign. The assumption you might have made from the media coverage was that there must have been some truth in those stories – yet here were the most informed parties telling a parliamentary committee that there was no truth in them. Furthermore, neither Goddard nor Emmerson was penalised in terms of monies they were due in respect of their contract, and Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary to the Home Secretary was at pains to point out that any attempt to do otherwise would have resulted in drawn out legal fisticuffs.

Far be it from me to suggest that both Emmerson and Goddard had decided that their reputations and their sanity were too valuable to put up with the backstage shenanigans and briefings to the media that were occurring.

Shortly after Dame Goddard’s resignation, the merry band of four panel members was depleted further. Alexis Jay was appointed Chairman.

7 (3) The power to appoint a replacement chairman may be exercised by appointing a person who is already a member of the inquiry panel.

Inquiries Act 2005

It was now ‘The Jay Inquiry’ – a social worker led inquiry, supported by her two stalwart ‘appropriate adults’ – Ivor Frank, barrister, and Drusilla Sharpling, barrister. They may, or may not appoint another barrister as counsel to the inquiry to replace Mr Emmerson. 

One of the reasons for the past resignations, or should we say ‘designations’ of this Inquiry as being variously, the ‘Butler-Sloss Inquiry’, or the ‘Woolf Inquiry’,  was that those eminent person ‘had lost the confidence of some of the victims and survivors’. Every time that cry went up, then the chairman was replaced. 

In the middle of this hearing, loud shouts were heard coming from the back of the room and business had to be suspended for some minutes whilst a gentleman called Raymond Stevenson of the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association was ejected from the hearing. The interruption came just after Ivor Frank suggested that the inquiry could be finished by 2020, not least because ‘inquiry workers wanted their lives back’.

‘So do we!’ responded Mr Stevenson.

I understand that the Shirley Oaks Survivors Association are amongst those less than happy at having the inquiry led by a social worker in view of the involvement of social workers in the circumstances which led to their (documented in their case) abuse. It would seem a more valid objection than ‘had coffee with Lord Brittan on two occasions’ which saw off a previous Chairman that other survivors were unhappy with.

images-2Does this mean that we will see a new Chairman appointed to lead the Inquiry? Good heavens no – both the appropriate adults were quick to say they were very happy to have the still-blinking-rapidly Alexis Jay in charge.

If that meant that ‘certain core participants’ refused to engage with the Inquiry – well, so be it….

We now have an Inquiry, originally estimated to cost £100 million, assuming it only lasted 10 years – but can last for as long as the Chairman chooses it to last…

(1) For the purposes of this Act an inquiry comes to an end— (a) on the date, after the delivery of the report of the inquiry, on which the chairman notifies the Minister that the inquiry has fulfilled its terms of reference.

Where the ‘panel and the Chair’ (the Messrs Jay, Sharpling, Frank, and the ghost like figure of Malcolm Evans, international expert in Torture) are firmly in control of how the inquiry proceeds, what it does, when it reports, and whether it condescends to appear before another parliamentary committee or not – as Mr Frank pointed out to the committee with anger flashing in his eyes. ‘We are here as a matter of courtesy, not right’.

Who cannot be added to by the Minister except with the agreement of the Chair:

(2) The power to appoint a member under subsection (1)(b) is exercisable only— (a) in accordance with a proposal under section 5(1)(b)(ii), or (b) with the consent of the chairman.

Which declines to answer any parliamentary questions concerning how they came to be in control of this Inquiry on the grounds that to discuss the behaviour of individuals or the reasons why they have departed would be an ‘infringement of their privacy rights’.

I just hope that employers, such as the church, the army, or local authorities, that are summoned to appear before hearings of this inquiry and commanded to reveal all information about their various employees take a similarly stringent application of their employees right to privacy…

Despite the fact that Keith Vaz had extracted a promise of an interim report this year from Dame Goddard, the new Chair hopes that ‘we might’ hear from them with an interim report in 2018…

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexander Baron October 19, 2016 at 5:23 pm

The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association – what a racket. They should shut this whole gravy train down, and that nutter Saunders.

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Michael Massey October 21, 2016 at 9:52 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/21/we-have-to-deliver-justice-the-man-who-fought-for-the-survivors-of-shirley-oaks

Could not be bothered reading the piece – like majority of stuff in Guardian nowadays – so no idea if it amounts to anything

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 9:59 am

“A racket”? Is that your considered opinion of the efforts to have what happened at Shirley Oaks adequately investigated?

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

I thought the police have made clear that it was more than adequately investigated and unless new actual evidence is presented there is no need for a further examination?

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

It sounds as if you’re narrowing down the whole of SOSA’s complaints to aswer them with the police’s announcement concerning the death of Peter Davis. As far as I am aware IPCC has not yet reported on its investigation of alleged police failure to purse an adequate investigation of the abuse of children in Lambeth residential care homes. Do you nhave more up to date information?

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Sorry for the miskeying: “answer” not “aswer”; “pursue” not “purse”; “have not “nhave”

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Helen October 19, 2016 at 6:28 pm

I have ended up with 2 very puzzling questions.
1. HASC Chair declared that they had ‘oversight’ if the inquiry on behalf of the house so I am puzzled. Can Ivor Frank be right in indicating that they may not necessarily attend further HASC meetings?
2. As the panel and chair of the enquiry kept pointing out HR and confidentiality, then surely Drusilla has breached not only the HR of Dame Goddard at that time but also global panel confidentiality undertakings with a third party? As it was not able to be advanced and the information was given to someone who was no longer even a civil servant, then it can only amount to gossip and a serious breach of confidentiality.

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Anna Raccoon October 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Bb-b-b-ut Helen…it can’t be gossip, Drusilla said she doesn’t gossip!

I wonder if they met at Mary’s leaving do?

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The Blocked Dwarf October 19, 2016 at 6:34 pm

They may, or may not appoint another barrister as counsel to the inquiry to replace Mr Emmerson.

If they can find one, i should think the fact 4 top-of-the-range lawyers have already put down their cups and petit fours and left The Mad Hatters teaparty would be warning enough to any member of the legal profession …and any lawyer not already scared off is probably representing the Janners.

“Have some whine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.”

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The Blocked Dwarf October 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm

`I told you buttering up wouldn’t suit the VICTIMS!’ he added looking angrily at the March Hare.

`It was the BEST butter,’ the March Chair meekly replied.

The March Chair took up the brief and looked at it gloomily: then she dropped any pretence of legality and looked at it again: but she could think of nothing better to say than her first remark, `It was the BEST buttering up, you know.’

…meanwhiles the Chesterfield smoking Raccoon, sitting on a branch watching the shenanigans faded from sight, until only the ghost of a smile could be seen

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Helen October 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm

The plot thickens. Our Prime Minister apparently responded during PMQ’s that she heard about ‘concerns’ from Senior Civil Servant but did not act on hearsay. So if it was a then current civil servant she heard from, who was gossiping? Was it Mary , ex civil servant or a panel member. I am so confused but the only thing that has any clarity is the complete and utter hatchet job being done on Goddard.

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Tommy K October 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm

Are you sure it was PMQs and not this afternoon’s episode of Yes Prime Minister?

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Helen October 19, 2016 at 7:47 pm

If Goddard was to sue the Times, would they have to disclose their source/sources at Court?

This is getting murkier by the minute.

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Anna Raccoon October 19, 2016 at 7:49 pm

I would imagine the Times would settle handsomely out of court rather than let it get to that point.

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tdf October 19, 2016 at 8:28 pm
Anna Raccoon October 19, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Er, it is according to Anna Raccoon too…?

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tdf October 19, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Ah yes so I see. I saw your tweet on Twitter but only scanned the article you wrote.

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suffolkgirl October 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Ah, Raymond Stevenson, very well known in the parish of Southwark for suing the Council for £10 million pounds for alleged loss following failures in the planning process. The case was envenomed by allegations of discrimination and outright racism against the Lib Dem Council which resulted in its commissioning Herman Ousely to report, which he did in his own inimitable way. The Labour opposition, Lee Jasper, and Harriet Harman all stirred the pot, and for nearly two years Raymond and his group of supporters disrupted council meetings. Security was beefed up, court orders sought and the Council pretty much didn’t know which leg to dance on.
Rather amusingly, in the midst of this the Labour group gained control. Up until then they had urged the Lib Dems to settle this massive claim. When they were in the driving seat they found they could not. The reason for this can probably be guessed at from its fate in the High Court. The claim was dismissed and no appeal lodged. Mr Stevenson was legally aided throughout, possibly on the basis of an HRA claim which was withdrawn shortly before the hearing.
He also claimed £1million from well known chanteuse Jessie J, who is reported to have settled on terms not made public.
Not a figure to be disregarded,especially as he apparently has the ear of the Daily Mirror. I should emphasise however that as Anna has stated criminal convictions have been obtained against Shirley Oaks staff, and imho this is one area of the inquiry’s remit which certainly merits investigation.

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Mrs Grimble October 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

Yes, I think three people were convicted of physical and sexual abuse, and one had child porn photos as well. But in the last two or three years, the stories about Shirley Oaks have ballooned, as have the numbers of claimed suvivors; there was a paedophile ring, cover-ups, Labour politicians who happened to have spoken a couple of times to one of the convicted paedophiles etc. And of course, one J Savile was a regular visitor to the place (a fact not not mentioned in either the Yewtree Report or the Smith Review – another cover-up!) and the ‘decent’ houseparents, just like the nurses at Stoke Mandeville, had to hide their charges away from the cigar-smoking PaedoMonster.
There are some dissenters – former residents who say they were happy and well-cared for there and knew nothing of the abuse, but Raymond Stevenson has decided that his version of the truth is the only one that is heard, making sure of it by hiring a PR firm to represent the Survivors Association.
There is absolutely no doubt that children were abused there – but it’s highly unlikely now that the truth will ever get out.

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David October 20, 2016 at 3:23 pm

You forgot the alleged murder of my friend’s (Raymond Stevenson,) friend, by hanging at the school?

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Mrs Grimble October 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

No David, I didn’t forget that. But as you yourself acknowledge, murder has only been “alleged”. If you’ve been reading any of Anna’s posts, you should know that allegations aren’t proof.

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David October 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

Precisely, ‘you got it in one’. That is why further investigations are needed as part of the inquiry !!!

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Mrs Grimble October 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm

If murder has been committed then it’s the police’ job to investigate. Not an inquiry.

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David October 22, 2016 at 9:40 am

The inquiry will look at ‘cover-ups’.

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 12:07 pm

It’s not unknown for children to have been well cared for even at homes that were notorious for abuse of other children – for example a cottage homes structure allowed different regimes to prevail in different buildings. You obviously know considerably more about the realities of the Lambeth situation than most of the commenters here but I’m puzzled that you seem to be arguing that the voices of children who were abused should to be listened to without the voices of children who were not abused being given an equal hearing. The point of IICSA’s Lambeth thread is to understand why the trruth has been so difficult to establish.

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Cascadian October 20, 2016 at 2:29 am

Is the landlady implying that Westminster is filled with gossipy bureaucrats? Even worse, the government (Attorney-General) cannot determine who is a judge and who is a social-worker? How could that be?

Frankly after hearing for so many years that government would run exceedingly better with more women (and their emotional intelligence) I am enjoying IICSA in wonderland, truly, equality has been achieved-the females are equally inept as the men and they are damn well going to prove that.

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tdf October 20, 2016 at 6:08 am

@Cascadian

Substitute “much more inept than” for “equally inept as” and I agree with everything you say in your post.

If the ladies want to run the world, fine, let’s see ’em get on with it.

I’m going to sit back and relax and rub my hands with glee (I always keep a tin of glee handy, one never know when one may need it!).

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JuliaM October 20, 2016 at 9:14 am

tdf, pretty soon ladies will indeed be running the world, with May, Sturgeon, Merkel and soon to be Clinton in the driving seats of their respective countries. What a utopia they will usher in, eh?

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Don Cox October 20, 2016 at 10:55 am

I think Ms Raccoon could run the world better than any of those ladies.

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Cascadian October 20, 2016 at 5:28 pm
Mr Wray October 21, 2016 at 12:18 pm

I’d hate to be a US ambassador in a ME country if Clinton gets in. I wonder how many will resign on the spot?

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Moor Larkin October 22, 2016 at 12:27 pm

If I ruled the world
Every day would be the first day of Arab Spring
Every heart would have a new song to sing
And we’d sing of the joy every morning would bring

If I ruled the world
Every woman would be as free as a bird
Every voice would be a voice to be heard
Take my word, we would treasure each day that occurred
My world would be a beautiful place
Where we would weave such wonderful dreams
My world would wear a smile on its face
Like the woman in the moon when the moon beams

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tdf October 23, 2016 at 1:27 am

I think Nas’s similarly named song may be more apposite!

“Life
I wonder
Will it take me under
I don’t know
Imagine smoking weed in the streets without cops harassin’
Imagine going to court with no trial
Lifestyle cruising blue behind my waters
No welfare supporters, more conscious of the way we raise our daughters
Days are shorter, nights are colder
Feeling like life is over, these snakes strike like a cobra
The world’s hot my son got not
Evidently, it’s elementary, they want us all gone eventually
Troopin’ out of state for a plate, knowledge
If coke was cooked without the garbage we’d all have the top dollars
Imagine everybody flashin’, fashion
Designer clothes, lacing your click up with diamond vogues
Your people holdin’ dough, no parole
No rubbers, go in raw imagine, law with no undercovers”

Juhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8_0UJ9leDM

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David October 20, 2016 at 9:07 am

Knowing he reasons why they have departed would be an ‘infringement of their privacy and privacy rights’ is the way to go. They cannot say why they really left or the fact that MI6 are trying to discredit Judge Goddard. Only the senior members of the legal team were privy to the shenanigans going on, and Justice Goddard was only able to talk to them about it.

I knew Raymond Stevenson very well a few years ago, long before all this became of ‘public interest’, he told me he never expected the death of his friend ever to be investigated at that time. He does know something of the cover-ups that the legal team discovered from the very beginning of the Westminster Abuse Enquiry.

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Greg Tingey October 20, 2016 at 9:57 am

This is goping to go nowhere, at great public (taxpayers) expense.
The moment “they” dumped Butler-Sloss, I knew it was going to be a disaster & so it has proven

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Are you suggesting Butler-Sloss should have been kept on despite her role in protecting Peter Ball? How could the Inquiry ver have been taken seriously under her chairing?

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Has it ever been taken seriously ? And if it was, any credibility it may have had disappeared with the legal team…if not long before. I doubt any still hidden former institutional abusers are quaking in their fleece lined booties (tartan with zips up the side) , i doubt any OAP members of the ‘Establishment’ are worried that their cover ups will be uncovered…not by the likes of Jay and her minders.

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 4:51 pm

So at least you didn’t take Butler-Sloss seriously.

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm

Oh I take any High Court Judge, especially as eminent a one as BS was (I mean, 1st Female Appeal Court judge is saying something) and her defence of Chard showed to my mind a huge amount of personal courage (even if she did manage to sound a bit ‘Lady Bountiful’). It is the whole thing from the moment May came up with the wheeze that I can’t take seriously , they gave far too much airtime to ‘survivors’. As soon as it was announced that Survivor groups would be having any input at all it was pretty obvious the whole thing was going to dissolve into a circus. They might as well invite Jeremy bloody Kyle, Exaro and David Icke on board.

I was just checking their own website and Ben Emmerson is still listed as their counsel!

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tdf October 23, 2016 at 2:34 am

Butler Sloss was 80 years of age at the time she was suggested as the chair.

Come off it, TBD.

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Bandini October 20, 2016 at 11:50 am
Bandini October 20, 2016 at 11:57 am

(Not sure if Ward’s date of birth has ever been confirmed before, but assuming the information is correct I calculate her age at the earliest possible encounter with Savile at Duncroft to have been 15 years, 9 months, and 27 days.)

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Bandini October 20, 2016 at 12:20 pm

“The total sum claimed at the date of commencement of this claim is £952,462.04”, to which will be added “any future costs and
disbursements incurred” and “interest”.

Incredible, when the ball started rolling with this:
” On 22 October 2012, on a Panorama programme, the BBC broadcast a clip of the
Clunk Click episode of 7 March 1974 showing Starr as a guest and the Claimant in the
audience, following which a narrator said one of the guests was Karin Ward, aged just 14…”

How old?!? Just 15 years, 11 months, and 10 days. The BBC should pay up & then sue Jones & MacKean & anyone else involved in the farce for, oh, whatever they can think of. Without all this there’d have been no mega-inquiry…

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm

And Operation Pallial would never have led to the conviction of of lible settlement beneficiary Gordon Anglesea. Still falsely acused?

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Bandini October 22, 2016 at 1:56 pm

I fail to see the logic here, Owen, and I’ve never opined on the case of Anglesea.
(Whether or not someone is falsely accused – an objective fact – is not dependent upon the subjective ruling of the courts; sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don’t. I only followed it casually in the press & there were things which raised an eyebrow both for and against the man in the dock… hopefully the jury made the correct decision.)

Now, about ol’ Jimmy Savile: falsely accused of fiddling with a 14-year-old, eh? Because there’s nothing subjective about dates ‘n’ ages. ‘Not Guilty!’ Don’t suppose you had any luck helping Ward track down those HDLG rapists? Owen, where’ve you gone?!? Come back!!!

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Bandini, I believe it was the revival of interest in so-called “historical” crimes of abuse following the revelations about your “innocent till eternity” Saville that led to Operation Pallial reviewing the allegations against “innocent for decades” Gordon Anglesea.

I also remembered the routine trashing of survivors/victims here as “compo-seekers” and wondered whether Anglesea’s very substantial libel settlement obtained under false pretences might provoke similar condemnation. A warning to people who are quick to apply the adjectives “fasle” and “wrongful” to unproven allegations are sometimes over-hasty.

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Bandini October 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm

And the recent Ched Evans case a warning to those who revel in accepting a court verdict when it suits them, ignoring it when they don’t…

So, the lies perpetuated by a knowing press are somehow responsible for an ex-copper in Wales getting banged up? And because ‘we’ like this verdict we’ll just overlook the ‘little fibs’ that got us here? What do you think of the £952,462.04 (and growing) mentioned above – ‘obtained under false pretences’?

I’d be surprised if there isn’t an attempt to recoup the damages paid to Anglesea, ‘though Ian Hislop seems uninterested in recovering the monies paid by Private Eye.

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tdf October 23, 2016 at 2:00 am

Ian Hislop’s lack of interest in recovering the monies paid by Private Eye is interesting in itself, I think.

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 3:22 pm

wondered whether Anglesea’s very substantial libel settlement obtained under false pretences might provoke similar condemnation.

It may well do, but I only heard of the Anglesea’s conviction myself last night and I know for a fact that the Landlady is incommunicado atm with no access to the interweb. Also there may well be nothing of particular interest for her in the case , or rather the reporting of the case.

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tdf October 23, 2016 at 1:52 am

@Bandini

You critique Owen on his logical error, but it seems to me that you commit a logical error yourself. It is not objective fact whether or not someone is falsely accused. That is the verdict of the courts – which, as you correctly state, are subjective. For example, and purely for the sake of argument, it is technically possible that a convicted rapist or child abuser could be falsely accused by some, but have actually committed the crimes against another.

As regards the Anglesea case, I also hope that the jury made the correct decision. Whether or not they did, I do not know.

As for HDLG, there have been convictions, if I’m not mistaken.

One of those convicted was an-ex resident of HDLG. And that troubles me, to be honest.

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Bandini November 16, 2016 at 1:44 pm

(TDF, if you’re still there… I wrote the following reply to you three weeks ago but comments were closed ’til now; apart from seeing that Anglesea has now been sentenced & is appealing the conviction I haven’t followed the case further, so…)

TDF, maybe I wasn’t eplaining myself very well. I’ll try again…

Imagine a book – ‘The Great Ledger In The Sky’. It contains an accurate record of all that happens & absolutely nothing else.
’15:23GMT 3rd April 1973, falling tree causes displacement of air in uninhabited forest’… sort of thing.
Whenever an accusation is made it can simply be checked against the facts and its truth known: it is either a false (or ‘wrongful’!) accusation or it is not.

We mortals have to guess most of the time, weigh up the odds, use a bit of common sense… and cross our fingers & pray we’ve got it right. That’s what the courts and juries do, and that’s what they’ve done in the case raised here by Owen. But the real truth of whether or not Anglesea (or anyone else) carried out those actions is a fact which exists independently of the jury’s verdict: he’s not more guilty today than he was a week ago, it’s just that as humans we don’t have access to that Big Book Of Facts so we muddle along as best we can, relying on our fallible system of justice as it’s the best we’ve been able to come up with. We put a wig on its head to reassure ourselves that it’s ‘The Truth’, perhaps?

As mentioned to Owen there were aspects of the Anglesea case which caught my attention (both ‘for’ and ‘against’); this, for example:

“The witness, who alleges he was raped by former Supt Gordon Anglesea at a Wrexham attendance centre between 1982-83, had also made allegations against a North Wales doctor, Tania Griffiths QC, defending, told Mold Crown Court.
She asked the witness if he had not made false allegations of abuse against the doctor.

“He sectioned me into Denbigh Hospital. It was wrong to section me at that age,” the witness said.

“Did you feel bitter, did you feel vengeful?” asked Miss Griffiths.

He had told a counsellor that he was sexually abused by that doctor.

“You made false allegations against a professional man,” she said.

“He didn’t abuse me. He abused me by putting me in a psychiatric unit,” said the witness.”

I obviously wasn’t there in court to hear all the evidence, so I’m reliant on the press accurately reporting what went on – yoiks!
(As a side note Paddy French, who has long had an interest in this, states that he was the ONLY journalist who attended the complete trial – the result of media cost-cutting in the electronic age, perhaps.)
Anyway, if the article IS accurate it ought to at least make us stop and think as the jury appear to have accepted the accusation of a previous false accuser. Perhaps they were right to do so in this case. Better cross those fingers.

P.S. The reference to HDLG was specific to Karin Ward’s ridiculous claims – claims Owen has tacitly admitted he doesn’t believe himself (see also the ‘man in a suit’ behind a spooky curtain at Stoke Mandeville church).
http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/167133/gordon-anglesea-trial-witness-accused-of-false-abuse-allegations.aspx

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Doonhamer October 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

The names of these worthies could have been penned by Dickens or even Beachcomber.

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james higham October 20, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Wonderful post as usual. Summed it up nicely, gave us the atmosphere.

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suffolkgirl October 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm

None of what you say surprises me, Mrs Grimble. The CSE inquiry is even more vulnerable to Mr Stevenson’s campaigning style than a local authority. I see there has been one full blown investigation by Lambeth into the historical abuse already and several police investigations into the death by hanging of a boy. Just what this inquiry is going to add to to those is hard to see.

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David October 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm

@ suffolkgirl It might show up the cover-ups that went on at Shirley Oaks. Had it been a relative of yours who was found dead there, you might show a little more empathy, or perhaps not?

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The Blocked Dwarf October 21, 2016 at 12:38 am

It might Chuka a few lines more of print.

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

Clever, eh?

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm

No I just forgot to put in a ‘get’ (if you’ve read many of my comments you’ll know i have a habit of forgetting words, blame decades of alcoholism and speaking German 24/7).

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tdf October 23, 2016 at 2:15 am

@Owen

Maybe lighten up just a tad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngb-2Wr8d_0

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Pericles Xanthippou October 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

Can think of nothing to say on this subject but, on the other paw, …

Happy anniversary to Mme. Raccoon and Mr. G.

<3

ΠΞ

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The Blocked Dwarf October 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

*wishes he had remembered* 🙁

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Fos October 21, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Madam Landlady

I’ve connected your remarks about IICSA with the Inquiry held into the Aberfan Disaster fifty years ago.
An enquiry into something that really mattered (76 days). I’m not sure the comparison is completely valid, but it is certainly striking.

http://figures-of-speech.com/2016/10/scrapbook.htm#j

Happy anniversary, despite that!

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suffolkgirl October 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm

@David. The setting up of this inquiry has been, imho, bedevilled by people signalling their empathy and short on people actually turning their minds to how it is going to achieve concrete results. I think Lowell Goddard flagged up this very point. Staffed as it seems to be chiefly by home office administrators, and lacking according to her, an adequate information retrieval and assessment system, I am very dubious as to how it will cope with the allegations of abuse on ‘an industrial scale’, some 600 hundred according to the SOSA. While it can compel testimony its actual powers of investigation are far more limited than those of the police. In that context the police last looked into the death you are referring to in 2014, and could find no new evidence.
As I said up thread, I do think that this limb of the inquiry’s work is worthwhile, but that the expectations of the survivor group have been raised to unrealistic levels as to what it can do, even if it were working perfectly, which it clearly isn’t. It’s well worth rereading Goddard’s comments on this also.

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David October 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

Justice Goddard and senior members of her legal team also ‘looked into a murder’, that the police had just ‘looked into’, and they did not like what they saw.

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Bandini October 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Did you hand over your bag of pubes yet, David, or are you having them independently combed for clues?

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 9:44 pm

🙂

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The Blocked Dwarf October 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm

The survivors of abuse and taxpayers in general should count themselves fortunate that at the person who must shoulder the blame, whose ‘here’ the buck stoppeth at, is no longer in charge of sorting out anything important, no complicated international negotiations…nothing like that.

After the plucky little Walloons rejected the treaty today, does anyone still think TM The PM is going to get the Brexit deal she is hoping for? Infact I heard some Belgian saying the reason they had rejected the whole Arcadian deal was 1.because they , unlike most of Europe, had actually read the bloody thing and 2. to set a pattern for future *cough* negotiations.
Sure Brexit is going to happen but it looks like it will harder than a Times Crossword.

Oh and David, i have no idea of the details of the death of the hanged boy beyond what I have found in a couple of newspaper articles and they reported ‘Death By Misadventure’ which, with the other details, would lead me to believe said lad was indulging in a spot of Erotic asphyxiation (not unusual in abuse victims btw) and managed to strangle himself (belt from clothes hook on toilet door perhaps?). One fact I am sure of is that even back in the pre DNA, pre CSI days of the late 70s, faking a death by strangulation is incredibly difficult. Even the lowliest pathology assistant in the basement of some county hospital would be able to spot that either the garotte supposedly used wasn’t the same as had actually killed him or was used at a different angle etc. Maybe because we used to regularly hang people in this country but pathologists can ‘read’ the neck of a strangled person with an amazing degree of accuracy.

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 12:15 am

TBD, is there any evidence that the erotic asphyxiation fetish is more common among abuse victims? It does seem plausible that it might be, it’s just I have encountered specific reports/research studies on that.

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 12:55 am

No I know of no evidence, i was speaking from my experiences with abuse victims. I really should have put a ‘IME’ after that somewhat sweeping statement….and corrected some of the syntax errors along the way.

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 1:15 am

Ah ok. I have read that there are several deaths per year in Ireland due to this fetish, mainly young adult or late teenage males allegedly. It is very little discussed in the media, as, understandably, it is a sensitive issue for families of bereaved.

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 1:25 am

The death of the Tory MP Stephen Milligan in 1993 led to all kinds of conspiracy theories, most suggesting he was murdered.

Very few noted that in photos and footage, he displayed potentially a sign of auto-erotic fetishists, being that one of his eyes was significantly smaller than the other (possibly due to damage to the eye nerves as a result of oxygen restriction.)

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RCMrs Grumble October 22, 2016 at 7:07 am

Sure about that? I have one eye smaller than the other; its a condition called hyperopia and its a birth defect.

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Mrs Grimble October 22, 2016 at 7:11 am

Sorry about the wrong username, Anna. Tablet keyboard, duff eyes and fat-finger syndrome do not a happy combo make!

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 9:48 pm

I wasn’t trying to suggest that all cases of this condition are caused by auto-erotic asphyxiation, probably only a small % are and the much larger % are, as in your case, due to birth defects.

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 12:16 am

^ HAVEN’T encountered, I meant.

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 10:24 am

Your reasonable observations pointing out the Inquiry’s difficulty reconciling its inconsistencies over transparency and noting the slippage from Woolf’s promised timing of an interim report are devalued by your usual deteermination to mislead. “‘had coffee with Lord Brittan on two occasions’ which saw off a previous Chairman that other survivors were unhappy with.” falls a long way short of your vaunted meticulous application of forensic expertise. You seem incapable of resisting the opportunity for a “clever” put-down even when it draws attention to your own unreliability as an analyst of facts you claim to be interested in.

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Eddy October 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Your saying so doesn’t make it so. If you think she is wrong you need to show why, not simply claim it.

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

draws attention to your own unreliability as an analyst of facts

Unreliable? I’d like to see examples (like more than one or simple mistakes) of where you claim she has been unreliable. One thing the landlady is is meticulous in her representation of the facts, unlike so many other bloggers . Or as she put it recently to me :” I like having a roof over my head” (ie a successful, or even an unsuccessful libel suit, again her could cost her her home).

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Owen October 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm

“had coffee with Lord Brittan on two occasions” for starters.

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Eddy October 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Wooooosh.

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The Blocked Dwarf October 22, 2016 at 6:29 pm

You mean it should actually have read ‘had dinner at Lord Brittan’s twice and took coffee with Lady Brittan on a small number of occasions’ ? You’re probably right and she shouldn’t have paraphrased it for effect ( I assume) but if that’s all you’ve got to back up your ludicrous claims then I would hold my peace if I were you for risk of looking stupid.

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 11:02 pm

@TBD or Eddy

Is it your view that Woolf was the right person for the job?

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tdf October 22, 2016 at 11:19 pm

@TBD & Eddy,

Having coffee with someone on a few occasions is slightly different in character to being a guest in someone’s home for dinner, wouldn’t you have thought? The former suggests no more than a passing acquaintance, if even that. The latter, perhaps something more. Or perhaps not.

But perhaps all of this is besides the point.

Both Charles Moore and Matthew Scott (hardly raving far left anti-establishment conspiraloons, either of them) criticised Woolf’s appointment – the former, because he watched her performance in front of the House of Commons committee, and felt that it was unimpressive, the latter, on the grounds that she lacked relevant experience for the job. I’m inclined to agree with them both. I think Woolf was unsuitable for those two reasons. Not because she might have had coffee with the late Lord Brittan on x number of occasions, or was a guest in his home on y date ten years ago, or whatever.

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