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First hour news review: with independent councillor for Brislington East Tony Carey. Interview with Mark Watts, journalist, who has been covering the ‘Nick’ VIP child abuse court case – he feels trial was conducted in a troubling way: not all evidence against Harvey Proctor was seen – Harvey Proctor had sexual interest in ‘young boys’, judge in ‘Nick’ trial heard without jury – defendants didn’t have access to all information; ‘Nick’ being given 18 years means other child abuse victims may not come forward; Gordon Anglesea case; Gordon Anglesea: Exposed as a paedophile after 25 years of denials. www.foiacentre.com; Harvey Proctor had sexual interest in ‘young boys’, judge in ‘Nick’ trial heard without jury; John Wedger pushed out of Met for trying to prosecute VIP child abuse; Jim Gamble, expert witness for Avon and Somerset Police, set up; Kincora Boys home and MI5 setting people up. Yousef Makki: Boy cleared of murder filmed ‘stabbing’ video – courts not doing their job.
Tony Carey left Tory Party and is now going to run as an Independent; By-election in Brecon and Radnorshire. Paul Tanner from ‘Leavers of Bristol’ discusses how Bristol Post’s political editor Kate Wilson interviewed a group of eight of them for two-and-a-half hours in March, two months ago, but didn’t print the story. Sounds like an intelligence gathering operation rather than a journalists’ interview. Brexit: Boris Johnson in Wales saying backstop has to go; Nigel Farage, LBC on Irish border; electoral pacts.
Mark Carney – No Deal Brexit instantaneous shock to economy; Mark Carney part of G30. Miriam from Circle group, part of former Bearpit Improvement Group, on Radio Bristol discussing their kitchen equipment being stolen. Bristol Bearpit: ‘Squatters stole £14000 worth of kitchen equipment’
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Second hour Investigative reports: US sanction Iranian Foreign Minister – US imposes sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif. Iran’s top diplomat brushes off latest move in Washington’s ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, says action has ‘no effect’ – John Bolton saying why they did this: who is funding terrorism? Iranian military; worker on seized Iranian tanker says law was changed the day before tanker taken; Iranian Foreign Minister discussing sanctions on Iran.
Israeli President, Ruven Rivlin, on moving the capital of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israeli gangland killings in Mexico – Israeli Mafia history. Israeli army rape girl British woman who alleged gang rape in Cyprus arrested on suspicion of making a false allegation. Anton Chaitkin – oligarchy stopping humanity progressing. Trump suggests Baltimore ‘worse than Honduras’ – is this racist or true?
NYC judge delays Epstein trial until at least June 2020 – intelligence operation? Epstein promoting eugenics: Mr. Epstein’s vision reflected his longstanding fascination with what has become known as transhumanism: the science of improving the human population through technologies like genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Critics have likened transhumanism to a modern-day version of eugenics, the discredited field of improving the human race through controlled breeding. Mr. Epstein, who was charged in July with the sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14, was a serial illusionist: He lied about the identities of his clients, his wealth, his financial prowess, his personal achievements. But he managed to use connections and charisma to cultivate valuable relationships with business and political leaders.
UN Report: Afghan, NATO Forces Killing More Civilians Than Taliban. Syria – ceasefire in Idlib after peace talks in Kazakhstan. US involved in Sudan Oman.
Manfred Petritsch from All Smoke and Mirrors blog discusses Africom, Centcom and how Germany would be a target because of US military bases there. Tulsi Gabbard to be next Democrat leader? Tulsi Gabbard voted to condemn BDS, but she’s become a cosponsor of Ilhan Omar’s boycott bill– what are her beliefs?
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After Dark: Harvey Proctor on television in 1988, the year after first Met probe
23Jul19 By Mark Watts
Two police investigations gathered evidence that former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor had a sexual interest in children, Newcastle crown court heard.
One witness told the first police investigation, of 1986-7, that Proctor sexually abused him as a 14-year-old boy, while other witnesses told detectives that the then MP beat young men or boys and took photographs of their injuries, according to submissions to the court. One described a request for the procurement of young things.
Another of these witnesses, the court heard, told the police investigation that he discovered a big envelope of pictures of boys aged 11-19, including lots of kids about 11-12 years old. But no police action was taken on any of the claims.
The court was hearing legal submissions during the trial of Nick, Carl Beech, the man convicted yesterday of 12 charges of seeking to pervert the course of justice and one of fraud when making claims of sexual abuse by VIPs. I was the only journalist to cover the trial consistently, day by day, on Twitter @MarkWatts_1.
Sir James Goss, the High Court judge who oversaw the Nick trial, blocked defence attempts to admit the evidence on the grounds of insufficient relevance. But the hearing on June 21, held in the absence of the jury, could only be reported following its verdicts.
And it raises questions as to whether the Metropolitan Police Service disclosed any of the material to the inquiry into child sexual abuse chaired by Alexis Jay. And, if so, why the inquiry has so far chosen to ignore the evidence.
Collingwood Thompson, barrister for Carl Beech, made an application for more disclosure to the defence and for permission to cross-examine Proctor on specific issues. He made the application to the judge the day after the prosecution finished direct examination of Proctor and ahead of his cross-examination.
He said that he was basing his application on material disclosed by the prosecution to the defence only very recently.
He raised material gathered, first, by the police investigation before Proctor pleaded guilty in 1987 to three counts of gross indecency with a 17-year-old man and a fourth count with a man aged 20 at a time when the age of consent was 21 and, second, by Operation Midland that was sparked by allegations from Nick in 2014.
At the hearing, the judge largely worked from written submissions by defence and prosecution counsel. But Thompson confirmed the judges understanding that the material from the first investigation related to the circumstances of these offences dressing as children, punishing them in a particularly physically beating them to a stage where they were being marked.
Thompson wanted the evidence admitted to the case because it went to Proctors character.
Beyond the two complainants in the 1987 case, he told the court, there were four other witnesses referred to as witnesses 27, 7, 15 and 10 who described their sexual activities with Proctor as young men or boys.
One of the complainants alleged Harvey Proctor inflicted pain for pleasure, said Thompson. There is direct evidence of inflicting pain for the purpose of sexual pleasure, adding, A number of witness statements did appear to relate to these allegations.
A 23-year-old said that Proctor showed an interest in young boys, Thompson told the court. Someone who ran an escort agency [said]: He seemed to be interested in young boys.
One of the witnesses knew Proctor as Keith, but the former MP also used the name, David, the court heard. A witness said that Proctor identified himself as an MP.
Thompson told the court: These matters date from 1986, not so very long after the period we are looking at [in this trial].
In his summary of Thompsons submissions to the court, the judge records:
The activities spoken of in the witness statements include paying for rent boys/escorts, asking them to dress as schoolboys in shorts, pretending to be a headmaster or school teacher and punishing them for wrong-doing by spanking or repeatedly beating them hard on their buttocks with his hand, slipper or plimsole and a cane, in many cases causing pain and leaving marks or wheals on their buttocks.
In some cases, he took Polaroid photographs of the injuries inflicted. One witness says he discovered a big envelope containing Polaroid photos of boys aged 11-19 including lots of kids about 11-12 years old.
On occasions he told boys to engage in sexual activity with each other and he could be involved with up to four boys at any one time. One witness described a request for the procurement of young things.
Witness 15 states that, when aged 14, he was painfully slippered before being made to engage in anal intercourse. The activities were for sexual gratification: he was said to masturbate himself and/or the boys. There was a range of penetrative sexual activities.
The defence wish to cross-examine Mr Proctor about each of these alleged activities. They point to the case against the defendant arising from allegations made by him that Mr Proctor engaged in sexual activity with young boys at around the time he is alleged to have committed the acts of which the defendant accuses him.
They refer to the fact that there were occasions which involved more than one boy and in which boys were told to engage in sexual activity with one another, and there was a full range of sexual activity, including masturbation, oral intercourse and anal intercourse.
There was a sadomasochistic element to such sexual activity: Mr Proctor engaged in sexual activity with boys who were made to dress and behave as if they were younger which involved inflicting some pain for the purpose of obtaining sexual pleasure. The defence wish to ask him about these aspects of the facts of, and said to be surrounding his previous convictions.
The defence was making its application under section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
Thompson went on to 2015, and the Mets search of Proctors home under Operation Midland. He said that the prosecution had recently disclosed to the defence the schedule of items seized in the property search.
One of the allegations made by Nick was that, Thompson told the court, a victim was restrained on a table, tied to a table. One of the items here is, restraint, and another, straps.
Recovered a school uniform, with a childs underwear for a child of 13 to 14 blood stained Harvey Proctor declined to give a blood sample. Police had not arrested Proctor, so could only take a blood sample from him with his consent.
Thompson said: This is someone who enjoys inflicting pain for sexual pleasure, which is one of the issues relating to him.
The judge added that the list of seized items include whip and the crop, restraints.
Thompson said that seized items include whips, restraints and cane. He also referred to a notepad relating to child abuse, which was entitled, Bizarre Sex.
The defence had only seen a list of items recovered, and it wanted the judge to order the disclosure of, for example, this notepad.
Tony Badenoch, prosecuting counsel, intervened at this point to say that following the seizure by police of items in the property search, All material was returned to Mr Proctor. The prosecution could not disclose any of the material because the police no longer had it.
The judge added that the seized items included indecent photographs. He said that DC Danny Chatfield, who gave evidence earlier in the trial about Operation Midland but not about this issue, formally seized the items on behalf of the Met and signed the appropriate form.
The judge added: Perhaps we should have him tell us more about this.
But Chatfield was not recalled.
Addressing Thompson, the judge said: We are somewhat in the dark. You are in the dark, I am in the dark, and Ive got to make a judgment.
The judge summarised Thompsons submissions on the list of seized items in these terms:
The defence also want to question Mr Proctor about items on an exhibit list referred to in a statement from DC Chatfield [DCJ] who was involved in the search of Mr Proctors home on 4th March 2015 and the descriptions of various items seized and since returned to him.
Those items on the list about which they particularly wish to question him are (DCJ/21) a school uniform and childrens underwear (aged 13-14yrs) bloodstained, (DCJ/22) school blazer, (DCJ /23) schoolwear stained, (DCJ/24) whips/ruler with blood, (DCJ/25/3) whip/crop and (DCJ/26) restraint with leather straps.
“They submit that the possession of such items is to do with the alleged facts of the offence with which the defendant is charged, and so judicial leave to cross examine upon such matters is not required. They argue that it is implicit in the Crowns case that the defendant falsely accused Mr Proctor of sexually assaulting him and others in a way that involved the use of force and that the presence of such items at Mr Proctors home is capable of supporting the defendants case that he was someone with an interest in sadistic sex.
Badenoch objected to the defence application, saying that there was a real disconnect between what Thompson was seeking to introduce and the charges against the defendant. They are a million miles away from what is alleged by Carl Beech.
He told the court that the other matters, beyond the two complainants of 17 and 20, were not sufficiently serious for any prosecution to result.
The judge said that on those matters where Proctor had not pleaded guilty, I am not concerned about.
But the judge wondered out loud about the right approach in relation to the four offences to which Proctor had pleaded guilty, saying: We have more details from these witness statements, so the issue is what facts around these circumstances have relevance.
Badenoch insisted that they were a million miles away from the allegations in the trial.
The judge replied: Well, there are differences, but there are- there is that nexus.
He asked Badenoch for his response on the items found in the search.
Badenoch told the judge that he could see the author of the book in Chatfields statement. The indecent photographs could be mild, could be perfectly legal, the schedule did not specify. There was no prosecution, he said.
He repeated: All the material was given back to him.
In summarising Badenochs submissions to the court, the judge records:
The prosecution submit that Mr Proctors convictions amount to no more than engaging in consensual sexual activity with two males who were then under the prevailing legal age of 21 (Witness 9 was aged 16/17 and Witness 12 was aged 20). They point to the surrounding circumstances of the accounts of Witnesses 9 and 12 not having been the subject of any criminal charge. In any event, they do not involve any allegation of unlawful, non-consensual violence, or sexual activity, rape or sexual activity involving young children. Moreover, it is to be noted that when objection was taken to any particular activity requested by Mr Procter, he accepted the witnesss wishes. The other allegations recorded during the 1986-1987 investigation (Witnesses 27, 7, 15 and 10) were not the subject of any criminal charge or conviction. They amount to unsubstantiated allegations.
Further, the sole allegation of non-consensual sexual activity was with a young boy, Witness 15, who claimed to be 14 years old at the time of the alleged offence. However, that allegation resulted in no arrest, charge or conviction and the witness had provided an earlier statement in which he denied (by necessary implication) that he had ever met Harvey Proctor. It is, therefore, an unproven allegation from an unreliable witness, which is material to its weight.
The premises from which material was seized during the searches on 17 March 2015 were occupied by others, including a couple with a young child. All the property seized, including digital devices, was carefully examined. All the property was returned. Nothing illegal was recovered. No charges were brought.
The prosecution submit that the primary issue in the case is whether the defendant told the truth to the police when he made the detailed allegations of giving rise to the charges of perverting the course of justice. It follows that whether he told the truth in respect of his allegations against Mr Proctor is a matter of substantial importance in the context of the case as a whole. The allegations against Mr Proctor, in brief summary are of multiple offences of rape, both oral and anal, on occasions jointly with other men, extreme physical violence, including torture and the threat of genital mutilation with a pen-knife, being part of a group responsible for killing one boy and himself murdering two boys, after having raped one of them.
The prosecution submit that the true issue, in the context of the defence application, is whether Mr Proctor has a propensity, as a member of a group, to (i) commit acts of serious unlawful violence against very young boys; (ii) commit acts of serious, non-consensual sexual assault against very young boys; (iii) murder; and (iv) rape. It is accepted that if there was reliable evidence in relation to these issues it would be of substantial importance in the context of the case as a whole.
However, they submit, there is no such evidence, let alone evidence which has a substantial probative value in relation to those issues. Further, there is no probative evidence directed at the issues identified above at all. The prosecution led the evidence from Mr Proctor as to his four previous convictions by agreement and because they are relevant to the facts of the offences with which the defendant is accused, their case being that the defendant identified and deliberately chose Harvey Proctor as one his targets for false allegations because of his convictions in 1987 and the surrounding and resulting scandal, rumour and innuendo.
They dispute that the issues identified by the defendant are of substantial importance in the context of the case as a whole: they contend that whether or not Mr Proctor engaged male prostitutes, indulged in corporal punishment schoolboy fantasies or was concerned to possess photographs of them, are not issues of substantial importance in the case.
When focussing on the specific allegations made against Mr Proctor (and others) by the defendant, the issues identified by the defendant are divorced from the true issues in the case, or are at the very least tangential to them. Further, they submit, the body of the evidence upon which the defendant asserts goes to the issues identified lack the substantial probative quality required for admission. Mr Proctor was convicted of four offences of gross indecency, for which he was fined. The body of evidence does not establish that he ever engaged in sexual activity with younger boys to the requisite standard, or at all.
The prosecution assert that the proposed cross-examination of Mr Proctor in relation to the 1987 material would inexorably lead to the litigation of satellite issues in respect of which the Court of Appeal has repeatedly warned against, and the kite-flying and innuendo against the character of a witness which the Court has observed section 100 of the 2003 Act was intended to guard against.
In relation to the evidence of items recovered from Mr Proctors property on 17 March 2015, the prosecution disputes that it/they has/have to do with the alleged facts of the offence with which the defendant is charged, and thereby escape the provisions of section 100 of the Act.
They submit that if this category of evidence is capable of supporting the defendants case, it can only be so by way of being evidence of a propensity to act in the manner alleged, and so is bad character evidence. The potentially relevant items were subjected to forensic scientific examination and yielded no results relevant to this case. All items were returned to Mr Proctor.
In relation to evidence of a relevant propensity, the defence assert that the evidence is capable of supporting [his] case that [Harvey Proctor] was someone with an interest in sadistic sex.
The prosecution say that this is not the defendants true case. At no stage has the defendant alleged sexual activity of the kind alleged in the offences of which Mr Proctor has been convicted. Alternatively, they submit, if it is the defendants case that Harvey Proctor was someone with an interest in sadistic sex, then this is not an issue of substantial probative value in the context of the case as a whole: the defendants case is that Mr Proctor is a violent rapist and murderer of young boys.
The hearing started at 10.34am, and was adjourned exactly an hour later. The judge said as he adjourned that he would give his decision at midday.
At 12.01pm, the judge returned. He said: I have re-read these witness statements and the application, its supplication by your submission made to me this morning.
The application to cross-examine Harvey Proctor on the matter is refused, and the application to cross-examine about the items in paragraph 31 and the application to list the items seized and returned to Mr Proctor is also refused.
In his written reasons, the judge said:
For the reasons identified by the prosecution and summarised above, I am satisfied that the evidence the defence seek to introduce by way of cross-examination of Mr Proctor in relation to the search list is not evidence that has to do with the offences upon which is being tried [sic] nor, in any event, does any of it have substantial probative value in relation to a matter which is in issue in the proceedings and is of substantial importance in the context of the case as a whole.
The issues in the case are those identified [by the prosecution] above. The evidence of an interest in consensual sexual activity with young men, including the acting out of a fantasy of schoolboy punishment by a headmaster by beating is an interest and behaviour that is very far removed from the issues in this trial and has no substantial probative value in relation to any of them.
The evidence of the witness in the 1987 case who alleged a non-consensual act was not pursued or adjudicated upon and the witness himself was demonstrably unreliable.
For these reasons the defence application is refused.
Thompson then asked the judge whether he could cross-examine Proctor on his denials in relation to matters that later led to his guilty pleas.
The judge refused, saying that it was fraught with difficulty because Proctors denials would have depended on what questions had been asked of him exactly.
Thompson then cross-examined Proctor that afternoon, but was unable to raise any of these issues with him.
The defence team is understood to be seeking an appeal against Carl Beechs convictions over this, and other, rulings by the trial judge, including his rejection of another disclosure application and his decision to allow the prosecution to tell the jury all about the defendants guilty pleas in January on five charges of downloading and possessing indecent images of children and one of voyeurism.
Mark Watts (@MarkWatts_1) is the co-ordinator of the FOIA Centre.