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The former head of Haringey children's services has agreed a six-figure payout for unfair dismissal, which could cost the council up to £600,000, BBC Newsnight understands.
In 2011, Sharon Shoesmith, who earned £133,000 a year, won a ruling that she was unfairly sacked after a damning report about the death of Baby Peter.
Peter Connelly, who was 17 months old, died in 2007 after months of abuse.
Former Children's Minister Tim Loughton said the payout "stinks".
The Court of Appeal concluded Ms Shoesmith had been "unfairly scapegoated" and her removal from office in December 2008 by the then Children's Secretary Ed Balls had been "intrinsically unfair and unlawful".
Keanu Williams murder: Opportunities missed to save two-year-old Keanu Williams. Keanu Williams died on 9 January
Fighting losing battle for children. Changing heads of children's service. Mother 'trusted' partner with boy
There were "a number of significant missed opportunities" to save a two-year-old boy from being beaten to death by his mother, a report has found.
Rebecca Shuttleworth is serving a life sentence for murdering Keanu Williams.
The toddler was found with 37 injuries, including a fractured skull and torn abdomen, in Ward End, Birmingham.
A serious case review said social care workers, the police and health professionals had "collectively failed to prevent Keanu's death".
The different agencies had "become confused" as their strategy discussions had focused on the medical and forensic aspect of his injuries, the report said.
It concluded that although Keanu's death could not have been predicted, the agencies involved could have seen that he was "likely to suffer significant harm".
The toddler should have been subject to a child protection plan "on at least two occasions" to address issues of neglect and physical harm, the report said.
Jane Held, from the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board, said Keanu died because there were "failings across every agency".
"No-one walked in his shoes, staff were distracted by his mother's needs and by taking what she had told them at face value," she said.
Ms Held said there had been "double-figure sackings" since Keanu's death.
Shuttleworth, 25, of Cottingham Road, Manchester, was convicted of murder and four counts of child cruelty after a five-month trial. She was ordered to serve at least 18 years.
The serious case review report makes eight recommendations:
Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) should review child protection to focus on the "child journey", and "key facts" should be readily available to front-line staff.
Agencies should review the access that staff have to records.
BSCB should ensure records are sent to relevant people and filed properly.
There should be a "critical review" of child protection medical assessments and support procedures.
BSCB must track and review the process of any changes.
Procedures for "whistle-blowing and challenging" to be reviewed by all agencies involved in the case.
New training programmes for staff.
There should be a management review to provide evidence that action has been taken.
The report was told there has been an "end to end" review of the child protection system since Keanu's death, as it became clear there had been poor performance and a general lack of compliance with child protection procedures.
Rebecca Shuttleworth Rebecca Shuttleworth was found guilty of murdering Keanu
In a comment that echoes those made after the death of starved four-year-old Daniel Pelka, the report says that Keanu had become "invisible".
The serious case review into the death of Keanu Williams is the twenty-third to be published in Birmingham since the Local Safeguarding Board's inception in 2006.
Peter Hay, from Birmingham City Council said admitted that its track record over recent years was "poor" and said the council was "unequivocally sorry".
"Keanu's death is another tragic reminder of the consequences of failing children's services," he said.
The National Children's Bureau said it was "particularly worrying" that the review found that no conversations were held with Keanu to find out what he was feeling.
Dr Hilary Emery, from the children's charity, said no child at risk should ever be "only seen and not heard".
"We urgently need to review how best to support children within the child protection system - especially the very young ones - to ensure their voices are listened to at every opportunity," he said.
The report was told there has been an "end-to-end" review of the child protection system since Keanu's death, because of "poor performance" and "a general lack of compliance".
Mother guilty of Hamzah Khan killing
A woman whose four-year-old son starved to death and was left in his cot for nearly two years has been found guilty of killing him.
Hamzah Khan's mummified remains were found at his Bradford home in 2011.
His mother Amanda Hutton, 43, was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence at Bradford Crown Court.
The jury heard Hamzah had a "grossly inadequate" diet, suffered osteoporosis and was wearing a baby grow for a six to nine-month-old infant when he died.
Hutton was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on Friday.
One doesn't need to broaden their horizons beyond the tip of their own nose nor look too far to notice the increasingly lethal activities of an expanding bureaucracy class of rent seekers or the actual demographics of those killing society at the root.
What these peoples all have in common is their shared objective, for good easy fees, to appropriate all authority and all control of peoples lives and property, whilst transferring responsibilities and consequences for the same to political unfavorites.
The economic outcomes always, are inevitably expanding State budgets, State borrowings and State indebtedness to pay for these types in their lofty careers of social-fabric destruction. Yet the consequences for the destruction wrecked by these vile peoples, will be blamed on and borne by the victims of these commissars applying further bureaucratic processes and procedures for which more fees will be billed to the bankrupt State.
Here's an example of a list of enriched bureaucrats, both creating necessary space for their official intervention into peoples lives, and also living off good wages, commissions and salaries to be drawn on rebound business created from the bad consequences of their interventions. http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-09-17/daniel-pelka-serious-case-review/
By Shirley Edwards
August 24, 2013
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Fatherless Generation.
[These are my views as a woman living in England, on how the culture and spirit of my country has changed over 50 years. Why the country does not feel protected or strong any more, how it has lost, and is losing it values and decency, and how we are daily losing our free speech.]
British home and gift shops are awash with the current trendy artwork of 'statement'. A single word, carved usually in wood; such words as 'Relax', 'Home', 'Love' and 'Family', are the most affordable popular words to display in your home. It says everything about you, your life, your marriage, and your children. They are 'nice' objects. They epitomise everything we want in life, but don't always know how to achieve. They emphasize an 'ideal' of how things should be, but are unfortunately rare in most homes today.
Constables 'Hay Wain' from 1821, is another piece of British artwork, but this time hangs in the National Gallery in London. One of the most famous of paintings, well above the average household budget, it is estimated to be worth millions. Some consider it 'Priceless'. Other works by John Constable can be seen in the Albert and Victoria Museum
The Hay Wain is a depiction of the British countryside, an idyllic scene from its era. Painted in East Berghoft, Suffolk it is near to a place called Flatford Mill, and shows a hay cart standing in the River Stour, and in the distance, workers collecting hay in the fields. It is a picture of 'Peace'. It was however recently vandalized, as one of a series of attacks on artwork in Britain. In depth enquiries are now being made into how security was breached and the painting allowed to be 'damaged'.
Another painting, this time of the Queen, and called The Coronation Theatre, and which was hanging in Westminster Abby, has also been vandalized. A member of the Fathers4Justice organization had attempted to spray paint the word 'HELP' across it.
Julie Jackson, who was visiting London from Maine, said: "I'm a little surprised, we've been saying how friendly and non violent the city is compared to New York. I'm really sorry to hear this happened."
Lee Irvine, from Arizona, added: "I think what's happened is really unfriendly and distasteful.
"The portrait was something we wanted to see, it's a shock. I guess tomorrow we see the empty space."
Lee made an interesting comment about having to see the empty space.
Although the picture had been removed for repair, it is also rare to see a portrait of the Queen and her husband together.
Paul Manning, the perpetrator of the Hay Wain crime, and another member and protestor of the organization Fathers4Justice recently attended court and was charged with criminal damage. Paul had glued a photograph of his son Elliot, again with the words 'HELP' on the photograph on to the painting in a desperate plea after he lost a final appeal for custody rights to his son. It drew attention to the plight of the numerous fathers and fatherless children across the country who are being alienated from each other. They know about empty spaces.
They believe their children are being damaged by the secret family closed court system, currently operating within the UK. They want to do something about it. They want equal parenting. They have gained attention. They also believe there is a 'reverse sexism' taking place, that men are being demonized. It is as unacceptable as discrimination against women, but profoundly damaging to young men and boys who increasing feel isolated and disconnected from their families and society. I agree.
Paul is an alienated father who loves his son. He is one of millions. Contrary to the belief that fathers instigate and abandon families, and in many cases clearly do, statistics show that the majority of family breakdowns are now being instigated by women. In Paul's case, his wife had stated the 'spark' was missing from their marriage. Fifty per cent of children today, before they reach the age of 16, will also hear the news that their parents are divorcing. So what is happening to family life today and what are the effects this is having on our children?
According to the Office of National Statistics, it is recorded that the UK has the highest proportion of fatherless families of any other European country. 1 in every 3 children live in fatherless homes. This makes about 4 million children today. One in 3 of those will lose contact with their father permanently. A fatherless child is not a small problem. It is one of the major problems with us today.
It is the 'Plight' of poor 'Blighty'.
It cannot be ignored that it is reported 70% of young offenders also come from lone parent families (Youth Justice Board 2002) 93% of families are headed by a single mother, and 40% of mothers admit to obstructing contact (Department for Social Security)
What fills the empty vacuum inside a child's heart when it has no close contact with a father? Besides the mother, who and what do they bond to?
Throughout my own childhood, in the 60's and 70's, despite the cultural changes and sexual revolution of those days, I rarely heard of single parents, unless they were widowed, and rarely heard of divorce. The 'spark' which I often hear missing in today's 'relationships', was certainly missing in my own parent's lives, yet I am eternally grateful that I grew up in a household with a mother and a father who were able to stay together. One of the most poignant memories I now have is of my father standing on the doorstep looking at his watch if I was late home. The fact that someone was looking out for me, and cared enough to do that instilled a sense of security. I think of it today.
I believe when a father is missing from a family an invisible screen of safety is removed, and all sorts of insecurities and problems are then allowed to enter. Will this apply to all single lone women raising children? No, but the above statistics do not lie.
Britain, with its plight of the fatherless represents how the spirit of the country feels as a whole. There is emptiness, that there is no genuine loving strength surrounding you. Looking out for you. It is a spiritual dilemma as well as a physical one. People sense it, but don't know what it is.
Fathers need to be reunited and encouraged to be with their children as much as possible. Men need to be reinstated to their importance within society and in the family, which I believe has been overlooked at the expense of promoting the equality of women over the course of 50 years.
The British male now often lives in secret servitude and fear to his wife who confidently knows without any doubt she ultimately has the winning upper hand with the custody of children should relationships not go how they wish.
Children are often used as a leverage tool, a threat to the family, by women, who in 93% of cases are always awarded priority carers.
The secret family courts, meant to protect the child, sometimes only confuse the child and their parents. Most cases may be better transparent. In secrecy, outsiders also believe the priority carer must have been the most fit parent. This may not always be the case. The anguish of thousands of British fathers, and grandparents, who feel they are being unjustly denied access to children they love, when they feel they have done nothing wrong, testifies to this.
The fictional novel by British children's author, Michelle Magorian, called 'Goodnight Mister Tom', can attest to the story of troubled youth and the impact that a lost father can have on a child. The novel is one of the better exports from the UK, and I can really recommend the film version starring actor John Thaw in his role as widower Mr Tom
The story is about a troubled young boy called William who is evacuated during the Second World War and finds himself in the care of widower, Mr Tom. It is a wonderful story about learning about trust and finding stability. The genuine love that children need from a father figure. When William is requested back to London by his mother and Tom does not hear from him, he does what any loving man and father should do. He goes looking for him, until he finds him, and ultimately saves him.
Though a fictional piece of writing, the truth of its message will ring true with any fatherless child, and even re-kindle some appreciation for your own. One cannot help but be inspired and reminded of how important a good father is. Everybody wants one.
Fathers-4-Justice, pull some pretty crazy and bizarre stunts. The eccentricity of a father dressed as Batman climbing the wall of Buckingham Palace and hundreds of fathers dressed as Father Christmas storming department stores might have given us all a chuckle at some time, even irritated us, most especially as they are sometimes carried out in such staunch and cold establishments, which are meant to be serious; but no-one can deny that these fathers care. Men who love their children fight for them. The founder of the organization believes in humour, but says himself they are a tragic 'comedy'.
De-facing famous art work is not something to be encouraged. Fortunately, the paintings were not damaged permanently. Carrying out such acts is not always a good representation of the organization; they are criminalizing themselves, and will lose respect, despite many understanding their desperation.
Some of these fathers are being labelled 'terrorists'.
However, the response to how we view works of art, and the reason why we value such paintings as the Hay Wain, reflect a huge contradiction in comparison to how little we speak and show concern for the actual 'reality' on what is destroying family life, and what we can do about it. Do we cherish it? Do we care? Do we need an in depth enquiry into how security was breached and the family allowed to be 'damaged'.
What is to become of the generation of the fatherless?
Many young people hold on to the ideals of 'Family', 'Love' and 'Home'. Despite confusion, there is an 'inward' ideal which drives them on. We all inwardly know how things should be.
The leaders who are meant to be in control of the country, and could be excellent role models, do not seem to possess the genuine characteristics of what strength and stability is; rather their leadership appears counterfeit, petulant and unjust. Wayward. It appears to reward the wrong, and punish the right. And like the carved words in the gift shop, can only offer an interpretation and pretence of leadership rather than the genuine thing.
Many people in Britain fell the same way as Americans do about their country. Despite the odd flag waving event, and the certain pride we take in sport, we have however lost our patriotism.
Patriotism, Patriarch, Father.
Many cannot put into words what they see. They outwardly cry 'HELP'
We should inwardly cry too. Everyone needs a father.
People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.
"By the end of today, another 200 children will have been cruelly separated from their fathers in secret family courts."
Matt O'Connor, Founder, Fathers4Justice
Fatherless ness is an obscenity. No child should be denied their human right to a father.
Speak not in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. Remove not the old landmark and enter not into the fields of the fatherless.
Psalm 23: 10.
Click here for part -----> 1, 2, 3, 4,
© 2013 Shirley Edwards - All Rights Reserve
1- Portrait of the Queen sprayed with paint in Westminster Abbey.
2- Fathers 4 Justice
3- Fathers4Justice protester charged criminal damage
4- YouTube Video
Shirley Edwards was born and lives in Great Britain. She has always worked in administration, but have also taught and studied complimentary health. In administrative roles, she has worked within The Church of England. She also worked for some years as a volunteer within the hospice movement.
Shirley has an interest in all health issues, loves the British countryside, and enjoys writing. She is thankful for talk radio and loves listening.
Shirley has always been concerned about the loss of freedoms in her country, also the demise of America, a country she loves for the original reasons on which it was founded. She believe in the Pursuit of Genuine Happiness.
E-Mail: [email protected]
"I spent some time in Denmark, mostly Copenhagen. People treated me distantly at first, until they heard my attempt at speaking Danish and realized that I am Canadian."
"Apparently to the Danish eye I look Swedish, and they're not too fond of Swedish party tourists."
"Sweden is ruled by psychopaths in the government."
"I think its common for women (people, really, but women more so) to over estimate the threat a man poses simply because he is a man. the fact that he didn't immediately comply and spoke his mind meant to her: "aggressive male wants to assert his dominance; he will cause harm". the fact that she wanted him to lay on the ground in the first place is probably for the same reason. She sees herself as in danger and responsive to his supposed threat and doesn't perceive her own behavior as assaultive."
This site is for the naming and shaming of contact deniers - parents, solicitors, judges, Cafcass officers, MP's and any other parties involved in contact denial and the forcible separation of children from their fathers. It is clear to us that the lack of enforcement of legally binding court orders between children and their fathers is encouraging resident parents to deliberately break the law with impunity, often with the encouragement of their legal representatives. No longer. Where court orders have been breached and where contact has been denied for no good reason, the names of those concerned will be published here along with the names of anyone else involved directly or indirectly with contact denial. Contact denial is a serious human rights violation.
When naming parents, you will need to be in possession of a court order for contact which we may need you to supply. Please note, all content is moderated so there will be a delay before your content appears.
Upload your content to our name and shame wall
Forget about the stinking dog of a sub-normal woman whom may or may not exercise her falsely assumed authorities, to eject her child's father from its life for a moments whim or fleeting fancy, if you can ...http://www.the-spearhead.com/2013/06/12/british-columbia-children-not-entitled-to-father-without-mothers-consent/
... and think about the parasitic amoeba and army, of state processors, state contractors, state bureaucrats, state intruders and state interferers whom are the REAL force demanding, suborning, supporting and enforcing such odious laws. It is these bloodsucking pathogens that have the real might and the real means to ever create circumstances for the perpetual need of such laws, such institutions and such unwanted services to misandry, as they may wish to supply by force.
When anti-male-anti-father misandry is looked at in unsentimental monochrome and seen for what it is, you begin to see its institutional staff, as that malevolent omnipotent force, driving all the hatred and trivialization of men as men and men as fathers. By fomenting, normalizing and validating antimale anxieties and anti-male enproblematizations, these official processors and enforcers on State wages are able to perpetually justify their activities and their services for which we must all pay by force.
How else would the growing army of job-seeking and rent-seeking officials ever get to draw such easy salaries and such excessively high bills off their public treasuries for unwanted services, if not by first disguising their foul economic intents and malign pecuniary purposes behind "rights-talk" for women and children ?
Natural roles, as I see them, are so personal, intimate, and in some cases intangible, that we often make errors when we try to assign them to manmade institutions and ideologies, but that does not mean that they do not exist.
Take farming, for example. When French missionaries first encountered the Iroquois around 1600, the women did most of the farming for corn and squash, while the men hunted and made war (the Iroquois were very warlike). Back in France, however, farming was mainly a man's job, although women certainly chipped in. So, obviously, we can't say that farming is a natural role for one sex or the other. It can certainly *become* gendered, and in some contexts this is an adaptive thing.
[Quoting welmer]:"""Continuing my discussions with a journalist, I defend my assertion that natural sex roles do exist, and claim that this proves feminism to be a fundamentally flawed, and therefore discreditable ideology"""
You don't have to defend the assertion Welmer. Everyone on earth, including those you argue with know that natural sex roles exist. But to allow that assertion, or any other assertions of basic reality to subsist as an institutionally recognised notion is what is not allowed.
The used, abused, mal-treated, extorted and expropriated stooges whom endured all the other bad regimes of history were no less human nor no less deserving of human institutional recognitions, than those that personally benefited or institutionally illtreated them. But ... for the malign institutions and the beneficiaries of those malign institutions to admit of their preys common humanity, natural sex role, natural strengths or natural endowments, would be to admit of their preys ordinary natural human identity.
Admitting of the ordinary natural human identity of putative un-persons and putative sub-humans causes problems for regimes.
A person or a peoples cannot be sucessfully or justifiably exploited, used, abused or harnessed for some involuntary purpose or other fixed objective, without their first being abbraded, denied or minimised of their ordinary natural human identity.
So you see Welmer, it is superfluous disputing with, arguing with, querrelling with or attempting to correct women, men, strangers, family members, feminists, government workers, state enforcers, Police, Judges, Legislators, authorities ect. These people either as personal beneficiaries or as institutional staff, rely for their own daily bread, their own careers, their own life chances, their own social status, their own welfare, their own self-esteem, their own constructed identity, and for their other personal or pecuniary interests, on the structural, social, cultural denial and minimisation of your ordinary natural human identity [...an identity which includes mens and womens natural sex roles.]
It is enough advise for a man whom has ears and good sense to avoid all dealings, contact, entrapment or triangulation by these people, either as staff or as potential beneficiaries of existing institutions and structures. Your context is not their context, and at this moment in time in the stream of history, it is they whom call the shots and set the rules, which they are able to change, adjust and alter at any moment to suit their particular advantage at will or whim.
Feminists in Power: IRS Agents Working for Planned Parenthood
by W.F. Price on May 16, 2013
In the emerging IRS tax scandal, it has come to light that the agency was not only apparently deliberately discriminating against conservatives during an election year, but inserting itself into issues such as abortion.
According to the Thomas More Society, A Catholic law firm that takes on charitable cases, a client that attempted to get nonprofit status faced demands from the IRS that the entire board sign a letter promising not to publicly protest Planned Parenthood:
In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent "Ms. Richards" told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board's signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved. After a series of letters following a request for more invasive information, Thomas More Society special counsel Sally Wagenmaker sent a letter to the IRS demanding the tax exempt status be issued immediately.
Wagenmaker summarized her concerns about what she called "the IRS's disturbing ability" to stall and suppress legitimate applicants. She explained how through lengthy questionnaires and wrong citations of applicable law (as in the case of Coalition for Life of Iowa), applicants with less fortitude or without access to legal advocates like the Thomas More Society will be effectively silenced from exercising their constitutional freedoms. Wagenmaker added, "The IRS's role should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for 'charitable, religious, or educational' qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions. It's high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers' potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means...what the Ways and Means committee will discuss may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses."
Given the DOJ's recent moves against free speech in universities and the witch-hunt against the relatively obscure Jason Richwine, it appears that there's a real push afoot to criminalize politically incorrect expression in the United States.
Poiuyt May 16, 2013 at 14:16
The interesting bit of information is not so much the raw data exposed on femaleist cross infiltration, political subversion and malfeasance of governmental departments supposedly exercising public trust.
The interesting bit of news here is the grave institutional concern by rent-seekers-dot-gov and socialism's acolytes for their ideologies long term economic sustainability. And what better way to do so than to gain control that most vital organ of the Treasury called the IRS.
It cannot have been missed by Socialist-Genderists that the IRS, being that incomparably important institution, empowered beyond the Judiciary itself, is THE institution that must be subverted in favor of their malevolent cause, if such cause is to be sustained in economic viability.
Most truly used and abused fools of their era always had their plaintive eyes fixed on a favorable Judiciary alone, ... but not Socialist-Genderism. These shrewd subversives have long infiltrated the systems real vitals, from where they've successfully spread their malevolent grip and dominion, by an undermining misuse and abuse of both the Judiciary and the IRS in breach of public trust.
Its time for Men's Rights Activists, Sovereign Individuals and all other souls harboring an abhorrent distaste for ideology, totalitarianism and injustice to start lodging Freedom of Information Act requests of their local and federal Inland and Internal Revenue Services.
Lets build a picture of whom is really doing what, how and why ?
Age of consent should be 13, says barrister.
Barbara Hewson told online magazine Spiked.
A prominent barrister specialising in reproductive rights has called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13.
Barbara Hewson told online magazine Spiked that the move was necessary in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal to end the "persecution of old men".
She also said that complainants should no longer receive anonymity.
The NSPCC called her views "outdated and simply ill-informed" and said to hear them "from a highly experienced barrister simply beggars belief".
Her remarks come after a number of high-profile arrests over allegations of historical sexual offences in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Among those to have been convicted is former BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall, who admitted 14 charges of indecently assaulting girls, including one aged nine, between 1967 and 1985.
Ms Hewson described Hall's crimes as "low-level misdemeanours" which "ordinarily... would not be prosecuted".
"What we have here is the manipulation of the British criminal justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle," she said.
"It's time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest."
She argues for an end to complainant anonymity, a strict statute of limitations to prevent prosecutions after a substantial amount of time has passed and a reduction in the age of consent to 13.
She said that "touching a 17-year-old's breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one's hand up a 16-year-old's skirt" are not crimes comparable to gang rapes and murders and "anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality".
The NSPCC described crimes such as Hall's as "incredibly serious" and said that "to minimise and trivialise the impact of these offences for victims in this way is all but denying that they have in fact suffered abuse at all.
"Any suggestion of lowering the age of consent could put more young people at risk from those who prey on vulnerable young people."
It also argued that complainant anonymity should be maintained and that historical prosecutions should be allowed as "many who are abused are bullied, blackmailed and shamed into staying silent, often well into adulthood".
The Hardwicke chambers, where Ms Hewson works in London, said it dissociated itself from her comments.
In a statement, Hardwicke said: "We are shocked by the views expressed in Barbara Hewson's article in Spiked.
"We did not see or approve the article pre-publication and we completely dissociate ourselves from its content and any related views she may have expressed via social media or any other media outlets."
Wednesday 8 May 2013
Yewtree is destroying the rule of law
With its emphasis on outcomes over process, the post-Savile witch-hunting of ageing celebs echoes the Soviet Union.
I do not support the persecution of old men. The manipulation of the rule of law by the Savile Inquisition - otherwise known as Operation Yewtree - and its attendant zealots poses a far graver threat to society than anything Jimmy Savile ever did.
Now even a deputy speaker of the House of Commons is accused of male rape. This is an unfortunate consequence of the present mania for policing all aspects of personal life under the mantra of 'child protection'.
We have been here before. England has a long history of do-gooders seeking to stamp out their version of sexual misconduct by force of the criminal law. In the eighteenth century, the quaintly named Society for the Reformation of Manners funded prosecutions of brothels, playwrights and gay men.
In the 1880s, the Social Purity movement repeatedly tried to increase the age of consent for girls from 13 to 16, despite parliament's resistance. At that time, puberty for girls was at age 15 (now it is 10). The movement's supporters portrayed women as fragile creatures needing protection from men's animal impulses. Their efforts were finally rewarded after the maverick editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, WT Stead, set up his own secret commission to expose the sins of those in high places.
After procuring a 13-year-old girl, Stead ran a lurid exposé of the sex industry, memorably entitled 'The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon'. His voyeuristic accounts under such titles as 'Strapping girls down' and 'Why the cries of the victims are not heard' electrified the Victorian public. The ensuing moral panic resulted in the age of consent being raised in 1885, as well as the criminalisation of gross indecency between men.
By contrast, the goings-on at the BBC in past decades are not a patch on what Stead exposed. Taking girls to one's dressing room, bottom pinching and groping in cars hardly rank in the annals of depravity with flogging and rape in padded rooms. Yet the Victorian narrative of innocents despoiled by nasty men endures.
What is strikingly different today is how Britain's law-enforcement apparatus has been infiltrated by moral crusaders, like the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). Both groups take part in Operation Yewtree, which looks into alleged offences both by and not by Savile.
These pressure groups have a vested interest in universalising the notion of abuse, making it almost as prevalent as original sin, but with the modern complication that it carries no possibility of redemption, only 'survival'. The problem with this approach is that it makes abuse banal, and reduces the sympathy that we should feel for victims of really serious assaults (1).
But the most remarkable facet of the Savile scandal is how adult complainants are invited to act like children. Hence we have witnessed the strange spectacle of mature adults calling a children's charity to complain about the distant past.
The NSPCC and the Metropolitan Police Force produced a joint report into Savile's alleged offending in January 2013, called Giving Victims a Voice. It states: 'The volume of the allegations that have been made, most of them dating back many years, has made this an unusual and complex inquiry. On the whole victims are not known to each other [sic] and taken together their accounts paint a compelling picture of widespread sexual abuse by a predatory sex offender. We are therefore referring to them as "victims" rather than "complainants" and are not presenting the evidence they have provided as unproven allegations [italics added].' The report also states that 'more work still needs to be done to ensure that the vulnerable feel that the scales of justice have been rebalanced'.
Note how the police and NSPCC assume the roles of judge and jury. What neither acknowledges is that this national trawl for historical victims was an open invitation to all manner of folk to reinterpret their experience of the past as one of victimisation (2).
The acute problems of proof which stale allegations entail also generates a demand that criminal courts should afford accusers therapy, by giving them 'a voice'. This function is far removed from the courts' traditional role, in which the state must prove defendants guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
What this infantilising of adult complainants ultimately requires is that we re-model our criminal-justice system on child-welfare courts. These courts (as I have written in spiked previously) have for some decades now applied a model of therapeutic jurisprudence, in which 'the best interests of the child' are paramount.
It is depressing, but true, that many reforms introduced in the name of child protection involve sweeping attacks on fundamental Anglo-American legal rights and safeguards, such as the presumption of innocence. This has ominous consequences for the rule of law, as US judge Arthur Christean pointed out: 'Therapeutic jurisprudence marks a major and in many ways a truly radical shift in the historic function of courts of law and the basic purpose for which they have been established under our form of government. It also marks a fundamental shift in judges' loyalty away from principles of due process and toward particular social policies. These policies are less concerned with judicial impartiality and fair hearings and more concerned with achieving particular results...'
The therapeutic model has certain analogies with a Soviet-style conception of justice, which emphasises outcomes over processes. It's not difficult, then, to see why some celebrity elderly defendants, thrust into the glare of hostile publicity, including Dalek-style utterances from the police ('offenders have nowhere to hide'), may conclude that resistance is useless. But the low-level misdemeanours with which Stuart Hall was charged are nothing like serious crime.
Touching a 17-year-old's breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one's hand up a 16-year-old's skirt, are not remotely comparable to the horrors of the Ealing Vicarage assaults and gang rape, or the Fordingbridge gang rape and murders, both dating from 1986. Anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality.
Ordinarily, Hall's misdemeanors would not be prosecuted, and certainly not decades after the event. What we have here is the manipulation of the British criminal-justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle.
It's interesting that two complainants who waived anonymity have told how they rebuffed Hall's advances. That is, they dealt with it at the time. Re-framing such experiences, as one solicitor did, as a 'horrible personal tragedy' is ironic, given that tragoidia means the fall of an honourable, worthy and important protagonist.
It's time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest. Adults and law-enforcement agencies must stop fetishising victimhood. Instead, we should focus on arming today's youngsters with the savoir-faire and social skills to avoid drifting into compromising situations, and prosecute modern crime. As for law reform, now regrettably necessary, my recommendations are: remove complainant anonymity; introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions; and reduce the age of consent to 13.
Barbara Hewson is a barrister at Hardwicke in London.
(1) Moral Crusades in an Age of Mistrust, by Frank Furedi, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013 pp60-61; 'No Law in the Arena', by Camille Paglia, included in Vamps & Tramps: New Essays, Penguin, 1995, pp24-25
(2) Moral Crusades in an Age of Mistrust, by Frank Furedi, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, p70
reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13604/