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Westminster Paedophile Inquiry Row: A shrewd move by Scotland Yard

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David HenckeLondon
Westminster Paedophile Inquiry Row: A shrewd move by Scotland Yard
Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe's decision to appoint a retired High Court judge to review procedures used during the Westminster Paedophile Ring investigation is a shrewd move that will benefit the Met,the public and calm the clamour.

The decision by Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Met Police Commissioner, to ask Sir Richard Henriques, a distinguished retired judge, to review police procedures covering Operation Midland is very shrewd.

At a stroke it will knock down the hysterical coverage in some newspapers of the investigation which has involved prominent VIPs being interviewed by the Met following allegations of sexual abuse and murder from a survivor known as Nick.

The papers- some of whom seem to act as judge and jury before the investigation has been completed - in wanting to clear prominent people and cast doubt on the veracity of the victim in alleging such crimes. They have also complained about the Met Police spending time and money looking at historic child sex abuse cases.

It will also prevent Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, grandstanding when Sir Bernard comes before him at the end of this month.

He will know as a lawyer that he can hardly grill Sir Bernard about the procedures of the investigation while there is an inquiry by a retired judge looking into the same issues. Nor can he second guess Sir Richard's findings.

Indeed instead he may have to explain why his committee was so quick to condemn the Met for its handling of its investigation into the historic alleged rape against the late Leon Brittan brought by " Jane" now an independent review by Dorset Police has largely cleared the Met of any errors.

It should also provide a valuable breathing case for the Met to take a balanced decision on whether it can proceed further with Operation Midland rather than all this orchestrated hue and cry that it must be stopped now.

Obviously it has been painful for Leon Brittan's family and the 92 year old war hero Lord Bramall to be at the centre of such allegations but that doesn't mean that the police should not investigate them.

Also it is not only cases brought by Nick that will come under scrutiny but also Darren where the Met Police appear to have taken the opposite decision and decided that Darren's claims were not worth pursuing.

One of the most interesting findings by the judge will be how he sees the police handled two entirely different victims and their allegations and what standards were applied.

In a statement announcing the review on Wednesday, Hogan-Howe said the aim was “whether we can provide a better balance between our duty to investigate and the interests of suspects, complainants and victims.”

The Met commissioner added: “We are not afraid to learn how we can do these things better, and that’s why I’ve announced today’s review in to how we have conducted investigations in to non-recent sexual allegations involving public figures.”

Henriques is a former high court judge who conducted an inquiry into how Lord Janner escaped justice over abuse claims.

He is also the prosecutor who brought the killers of James Bulger to justice and nailed Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered his patients..

Before retiring he was a judge presiding over terrorist trials including the trial of eight terrorists who would have slaughtered almost 3,000 people had their plan to bring down transatlantic airliners been successful.

So he seems a good choice to cut through all the hyperbole surrounding the VIP paedophile ring allegations and make sound recommendations on how the Met should handle such allegations in the future. My main reservation is how much of the report will be made public. Transparency is very important in this case.

#Westminster paedophile ring, #Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, #Met Police, #Operation Midland, #Sir Richard Henriques

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Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

No, I did not say you were 'to blame' for that. I said your involvement is likely to be examined. I think it is clearly nonsense that you made 'a lot of checks' and I think you know it. Again, it is increasingly appearing like you are defensively digging into your trenches because you've essentially dug yourselves a hole you can't get out of without seriously losing face. And part of that is this habit of claiming you have information that isn't in the public domain - just to try to buy yourselves a bit of breathing space. (As well as this nasty tendency to claim anyone who criticises you is defending the establishment or a paedo defender).

As I said before, had it been another media organisation, you'd be chastising them for not owning up to mistakes. Instead, you are just digging yourselves deeper into that hole. Is it arrogance or shame?

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

Who convinced 'Nick' to go to the police? Who attended the first police meeting with 'Nick'? Who presented 'Nick's' evidence as something they had already 'corroborated' (Exaro's words)? Who claims to have directly led to the opening to Operation Midland? If you do not think these things will be examined, you are risibly naive.

And Hogan-Howe is a police officer who in the past has shown he is only interested in the police story coming up roses. Everyone else must be to blame (his article in the Times on the JC De Menezes shooting here is testament to this). Oh he may say 'lessons can be learned' but he will make sure his officers are the least blameworththy.

But of course now Exaro is in a bit of a bind. They HAVE to almost accept the ridiculous and the clearly nonsense. Because the alternative is too terrible to think about. The alternative could be virtually career ending for you all. You've got yourselves into a situation now you almost can't retreat from and all because you didn't bother to do the most basic checks.

David Hencke

3 years ago

Wow so we are blame for the Met investigating Nick's claims. I don't think the Met will take kindly to you for that. They spent days examining the evidence before they decided to proceed and you haven't a clue of the full picture before deciding to make a judgement. And of course in his case we made rather a lot of checks. It might be a good idea if some of other media made some as well. before rushing to judgement.

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

Now it's my chance to say 'we'll see'. But once again, clearly you're of the mindset that Exaro shouldn't be held up for any criticism at all. And (like Watts you are probably peddling the puerile and childish fiction that any criticism amounts to an establishment conspiracy). The worrying thing is, you might all actually believe it.

David Hencke

3 years ago

Of course I don't, don't be daft. All I was saying it was not in the remit of the inquiry. If you want it to be write to the judge not me. I am sure he wkill be delighted to hear from you.

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

The other reason I think you're a bit wide of the mark here is that we have a police officer who has been allowed to start an investigation into his own force purely on his own terms. I think you'll find he'll make sure the blame is laid primarily at Exaro's door.

David Hencke

3 years ago

If the investigation commissioned by Hogan Howe is about internal police procedures the terms of reference do not include Exaro. We are not part of the Met Police and are not responsible for their investigations into alleged criminal matters.

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

I think you know full well what I'm referring to. Your question is clearly designed to try to make me say something dubious. If due process was so important, a journalist would have taken steps to verify and corroborate certain claims before publishing them. Particularly when some of those claims were from people who had been convicted of dishonesty in the past. (And I'm not merely talking of the three people you have mentioned by the way).

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

I was referring to Exaro when I said 'you'. The 'we'll see' has become a bit of a pathetic refrain. Bit like the sudden interest in due process. Whatever great things Exaro journalists might have done in the past, a journalist with an ounce of nous should have been able to smell bullshit when it was in front of their noses. The tragic thing is, there is a good chance that all that has happened will be counterproductive.

David Hencke

3 years ago

I have regularly referred to due process on my own blogs. What are you referring to on Exaro, Nick, Darren or Esther?

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

And of course, Harvey Proctor's book is released next month. No doubt you'll accuse him of trying to hamper a police investigation while defending Exaro's right to publish any old nonsense it likes.

Emer O'Farrell

3 years ago

I'm sorry - I don't think it will remotely silence things.

And this article is pretty mealy mouthed considering the organisation you representation David. You would have been quite insistent on News International banging their chest in mea culpa but it seems Exaro should be excused any kind of accountability.

You've behaved abominably but instead of showing a little bit of humility, you are (rather hypocritically) bleating about due process.

David Hencke

3 years ago

I have behaved very well and stand by what I have written in the Guardian, Exaro, Tribune and on my own blog for the last 40 years. - including the awards I have received for my journalism on the Guardian, Exaro and way back on the Northamptonshire EveningTelegraph. We'll see what happens