£3.6 MILLION COST OF OPERATION PALLIAL

June 11, 2016

rebecca_logo_04OPERATION PALLIAL — the police investigation ordered by David Cameron into historic allegations of child abuse in North Wales — has cost £3.6 million so far.

The inquiry, carried out by the National Crime Agency on behalf of North Wales Police, is largely underwritten by the government.

The Home Office has paid 85 per cent of the cost — leaving the North Wales force with a bill of £550,000 up to March 2016.

A further £278,000 was spent by the National Crime Agency.

Rebecca obtained the figures from North Wales Police under the Freedom of Information Act.

Operation Pallial is still active and is forecast to cost a further £890,000 in 2016-17.

The final bill is likely to top £5 million.

This is in addition to the £3 million spent by the Macur Review of the 1996-2000 North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.

♦♦♦

SO FAR eight men have been convicted and seven have gone to prison as a result of Operation Pallial.

One was gaoled for life and the others for a total of 43 years and 9 months.

They are:

John Ernest Allen 

In 2014 John Allen, the former head of the private Bryn Alyn Community complex in Wrexham, was sentenced to life for sexually abusing 19 children in the 1970s and 1980s.

It was his second conviction — in 1995 he was gaoled for six years for abusing six residents of Bryn Alyn.

Allen is the most prolific child abuser in the North Wales scandal.

006_ALLEN

JOHN ALLEN
CURRENTLY SERVING a life sentence handed down in 2014. In total, he abused 25 children in his care at the private Bryn Alyn Community. The complex of care homes around Wrexham was an immensely profitable business — local authorities in England and Wales paid him more than £30 million between 1974 and 1991 to look after problem children. Operation Pallial’s investigation into Allen’s activities continues.

Roger Griffiths 

The former head of Gatewen Hall, part of the Bryn Alyn Community, was gaoled for 9 months in April this year.

He admitted possessing 51 indecent images of adults and animal engaging in sexual acts.

In June 2015 he was acquitted of two counts of historic indecent assault.

In 1999 he was gaoled for eight years for a serious sexual assault on a boy, an indecent assault on another boy and several counts of child cruelty.

Keith Alan Evans

The former care-worker at the Bryn Alyn Community was given an eight months suspended sentence in March 2016 for a physical assault on a resident in 1983.

He was cleared of physically assaulting six other boys.

Gary Cooke

A serial sex offender, Cooke was gaoled in October 2015 for 14 years on 15 counts of indecent and sexual assault.

The court heard that five vulnerable young boys were lured to his home in Wrexham and plied with alcohol and other drugs before being abused by Cooke and others.

Cooke has used many aliases during his long career — he now calls himself Mark Grainger.

He has convictions for child abuse stretching back to the 1970s.

David Lightfoot

The former Wrexham publican, an associate of Gary Cooke, was sent to prison for 10 years on eight counts of indecent and sexual assault.

Roy Norry

An ex-local radio reporter, Norry was another of those involved in Cooke’s paedophile ring.

He was gaoled for 11 years on six counts of indecent and sexual assault.

Neil Phoenix

Gaoled for three and a half years on one count of sexually abusing a boy at Gary Cooke’s home.

Julian Huxley

The former Metropolitan Police officer was gaoled for four and a half years on two charges of indecent assault.

Huxley was working as a civilian at Wrexham Barracks at the time of the offences.

♦♦♦

THE CPS are considering files on a further 20 suspects.

Operation Pallial continues to investigate 100 historic abuse allegations.

♦♦♦ 
Published: 11 June 2016
© Rebecca
♦♦♦

CORRECTIONS

Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  
If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

 


MIRROR CONFIRMS GORDON ANGLESEA ARREST

January 24, 2014

rebecca_logo_04WEDNESDAY’S DAILY MIRROR carried an article confirming the arrest of former North Wales Police superintendent Gordon Anglesea.

A reporter from the paper spoke to the retired police officer outside his home on Monday (Jan 20).

He said “I have no comment to make”.

The Daily Mirror story was marked “Exclusive” but was in fact largely based on the Rebecca Television (RTV) article published last week.

The Daily Post in North Wales, which belongs to the same group, made the story its lead on Wednesday (Jan 22).

The RTV story was not acknowledged by either title.

The Daily Mirror later accepted that much of the article was lifted from the Rebecca Television piece — and has agreed to make a donation to the website.

♦♦♦

Keep up to date with developments on Rebecca Television investigations by clicking on the “follow blog by email” button on the right hand side of the home page.

Your email address will only be used to alert you to newly published articles…

MIRROR "EXCLUSIVE" The Mirror article published on Wednesday. The paper later accepted that much of the article was lifted from the Rebecca Television piece — and has agreed to make a donation to the website.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


GORDON ANGLESEA ARRESTED

January 16, 2014

rebecca_logo_04

RETIRED NORTH Wales Police superintendent Gordon Anglesea has been arrested on suspicion of historic physical and sexual assaults against children.

Anglesea was detained at his Colwyn Bay home in December by officers of the National Crime Agency.

He was the 18th person to be arrested as part of Operation Pallial, based at North Wales Police headquarters.

 Operation Pallial was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2012.

 His decision followed the BBC Newsnight programme which falsely implied that Tory peer Lord McAlpine had abused children in North Wales care homes.

GORDON ANGLESEA The retired police superintendent arrested on suspicion of historic sexual and physical abuse of children in North Wales. Picture: © Daily Mirror

GORDON ANGLESEA
The retired police superintendent arrested on suspicion of historic sexual and physical abuse of children in North Wales.
Picture: © Daily Mirror

ON 12 DECEMBER officers from the National Crime Agency knocked on the door of a house in a quiet suburban street in Old Colwyn on the North Wales coast.

Inside the property they arrested a 76-year-old man and later took him to a police station in Cheshire.

The detectives were part of the Agency’s Operation Pallial team.

They questioned the arrested man about allegations of child abuse dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

Seven men have alleged that they were sexually or physically abused by the retired police officer in the period 1975 to 1983 when they were between 8 and 16 years of age.

The following day the National Crime Agency, which is in charge of Operation Pallial, said the pensioner had been released on police bail until mid-April.

The Agency would not reveal his identity.

Rebecca Television understands it is Gordon Anglesea.

Between 1975 to 1983 he was a North Wales Police Inspector based in Wrexham.

He served as a policeman for more than 34 years and reached the rank of Superintendent by the time he retired in 1991.

Anglesea is a Rotarian and a Freemason.

Shortly after his arrest last December, he informed his local Rhos on Sea Rotary Club that he had been detained.

Six days after the arrest, on December 20, Rebecca Television rang John Roberts, secretary of the Rhos club.

We told him we were planning to name Anglesea.

Roberts replied that Anglesea had not resigned.

Roberts said the retired police officer had applied for leave of absence and that the request would be considered at the club’s January meeting.

At that meeting, which took place on January 7, Anglesea was given leave of absence until April.

He is a long-standing Rotarian, one of 51,000 members in Britain and Ireland.

He has been President of the Rhos on Sea club on three occasions — 1989-90, 1990-91 and 2007-8.

In 2010 he was the club official in charge of “Youth Service”.

A spokeswoman for Rotary International told Rebecca Television that “while there was a legal process under way, the organisation could not comment.”

nwpolicehq_001

NORTH WALES POLICE
Operation Pallial operated out of the North Wales Police headquarters in Colwyn Bay until it moved to undisclosed National Crime Agency premises.
Picture: Rebecca Television

Anglesea is also a Freemason of more than 30 years standing.

There are 250,000 masons in England and Wales — outnumbering Rotarians 5 to 1.

In 1976 Anglesea joined a masonic lodge in Colwyn Bay.

In 1982 he became a member of Wrexham’s Berwyn lodge.

He left in 1984 to join a new Wrexham lodge called Pegasus becoming its Master in 1990.

The secretary of the North Wales Province of Freemasonry, Peter Sorahan, said:

“In view of the fact that Operation Pallial is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for me to comment.”

“However”, he added, “I can assure you that if requested by the Police to do so, the Province of North Wales will provide full assistance with their inquiries.”

Masonic HQ, the United Grand Lodge of England based in London, also confirmed it would assist the police if asked.

On January 8 Rebecca Television wrote to Gordon Anglesea informing him that the website intended to reveal that he was the man arrested on December 12.

We asked for a comment.

Royal Mail confirmed delivery of the letter.

There was no reply.

Operation Pallial can be contacted on 0800 118 1199 or by email at operationpallial@nca.x.gsi.gov.uk.


© 
Rebecca Television 2014

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

 


SILENT TO THE GRAVE

December 16, 2013

rebecca_logo_04JUST AFTER the report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was published in 2000, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse was told it was seriously flawed.

The retired High Court judge was informed by television journalist Paddy French of allegations that a key witness had been prevented from giving evidence before the Tribunal.

Sir Ronald insisted that the meeting with the journalist — and the correspondence that followed — remain a secret.

It was only with his death in May 2011 that the story of an extraordinary encounter can finally be told.

(This article was originally published in December 2012.)

SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE The retired High Court judge chaired the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal. In 2000 he was told of serious allegations that the Tribunal had failed to do its job properly. Whatever he felt about those allegations, he took them to his grave ...

SIR RONALD WATERHOUSE
The retired High Court judge chaired the £14 million North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal. In 2000 he was told of serious allegations that the Tribunal had failed to do its job properly. Whatever he felt about those allegations, he took to his grave …

IN OCTOBER 2000 Sir Ronald Waterhouse agreed to meet Paddy French, then a journalist with the Wales This Week current affairs programme at HTV in Cardiff.

French had asked for an off-the-record briefing from the retired judge but did not specify the issues he wanted to talk about.

The meeting took place at Sir Ronald’s home in the village of Walford near Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire.

Sir Ronald agreed to the discussion, as he put it later, because he wanted “to ease your labours as far as possible in a friendly fashion by providing answers to any queries that you had that could be dealt with quickly.”

But French had not come for a friendly chat — instead over the course of the three-hour meeting he delivered a detailed critique of the work of the Tribunal.

The following year French sent Sir Ronald a long letter summarising the conversation.

Sir Ronald replied the next day.

This article is based on this correspondence.

"Dear Mr French, Thank you for your letter and for sending me the video, which I have watched with great interest ..."  The video was a copy of the 1997 Wales This Week programme that was censored by Tribunal staff. Illustration: Rebecca Television

“Dear Mr French, Thank you for your letter and for sending me the video, which I have watched with great interest …”
The video was a copy of the 1997 Wales This Week programme which was censored by Tribunal staff.
Illustration: Rebecca Television

French had attended the launch of the Tribunal’s report — “Lost in Care” — in February 2000 to report on the event for a Wales This Week special that was broadcast the same evening.

When he had time to read the 937 pages of the report in the days that followed, the television journalist realised a key witness had not been heard.

Three years earlier, when he was an independent television producer, French had been asked by Wales This Week to carry out a financial investigation into the affairs of the privately-owned Bryn Alyn Community in Wrexham.

Its owner John Allen had been gaoled in 1995 for six years for indecently assaulting six boys in his care.

In the course of the investigation, the team tracked down Des Frost, John Allen’s accountant and joint number two.

The story of Des Frost will be familiar to readers — it has already been told in greater detail in the article Silent Witness.

As well as information about the Community’s shambolic financial affairs, Frost also dropped a bombshell.

He told reporters he had reported allegations that John Allen had abused six boys at the home in 1980 — more than ten years before Allen was arrested.

“What he was saying was significant,” says French.

“If it was true and he had reported his suspicions, then Allen could have been brought to justice a full decade before he was gaoled.”

“And a high-profile trial in the early 1980s might have triggered a wider police inquiry.”

Frost had not been interviewed by the Tribunal, which had already begun hearing witnesses in public.

When the Tribunal learnt Wales This Week had interviewed Frost, lawyers threatened programme-makers with contempt proceedings if they broadcast any allegations.

The section of Des Frost’s interview dealing with these allegations was removed from the programme when it was broadcast in 1997.

But when Lost in Care was published in 2000, there was no mention of Des Frost and his allegations.

“I found the disappearance of Frost from the Tribunal  hard to believe,” says French.

Wales This Week had been prevented from telling viewers about the 1980 allegations because it would interfere with the Tribunal’s hearings.”

“We thought that the Tribunal warned us off telling viewers about the allegations because they intended to hear Frost’s evidence.”

“Yet Frost was never called.”

“One of the key conclusions of “Lost in Care” was that the North Wales Police could not be criticised for the way it had handled allegations of abuse.”

“But if Frost was telling the truth and he did report his suspicions, then that conclusion has to be suspect.”

“After the publication of Lost in Care in 2000, I suggested to the Wales This Week team that we should make a programme about Frost but there was little enthusiasm.”

“It was never openly stated, but the Waterhouse report had been a vindication of many of the programmes Wales This Week had made and there was little appetite in making a programme that undermined it.”

DES FROST The former children's home executive claimed he reported allegations of abuse against his boss more than a decade before detectives began to investigate.

DES FROST
The former children’s home executive claimed he reported allegations of abuse against his boss more than a decade before detectives began to investigate.

French began to investigate on his own account.

He spent many hours trawling through the transcripts of the Tribunal at the Cardiff offices of the Wales Office.

By the time he asked Sir Ronald for a meeting, his analysis of shortcomings had widened well beyond Frost and formed the basis of the series of articles that later became The Case of the Flawed Tribunal.

But Frost remained one of the major subjects of the meeting which took place between Sir Ronald and French in October 2000.

After French had laid out his account of Frost, Sir Ronald went out to make a pot of tea.

As the kettle was boiling, he came back and said he wanted to go on the record.

This is the account that French included in the five-page letter he later sent to Sir Ronald on 8 August 2001:

“Obviously our conversation was off the record — although you did go on the record to comment on the allegations made by Des Frost, accountant to the Bryn Alyn Community, that he had gone to the police in 1980.”

“Your position was that the inquiry had the local policeman’s statement: there was no indication Frost knew any more and that there was nothing he could add to the knowledge already gathered by the Tribunal team”.

Sir Ronald received this letter the next morning and his reply was posted that same day.

He was emphatic:

“I am afraid I must insist that the whole of this letter and our previous discussion shall remain confidential.”

"I am afraid

“I am afraid I must insist that the whole of this letter and our previous discussion shall remain confidential.”   Illustration: Rebecca Television

In his reply, Sir Ronald made no comment about going on the record.

“What is significant,” says French, “is that he didn’t deny making the remarks”.

“And it’s not surprising he didn’t want them published,” adds French.

“It was an inadequate response: Wales This Week had broadcast the fact that Des Frost had gone to the police and I am certain that Tribunal staff were well aware of it.”

♦♦♦

THE OTHER major topics of the conversation in October 2000 were Gordon Anglesea and freemasonry.

The background to the discussion is detailed in the articles The Trials of Gordon Anglesea and A Mason-Free Zone?.

Gordon Anglesea is the retired North Wales Police superintendent who was falsely accused of abusing children at the Bryn Estyn home near Wrexham by two newspapers, the magazine Private Eye and HTV in the early 1990s.

In 1994 he won a major libel action with the quartet — he agreed £375,000 in damages and the legal costs took the bill to over £3 million.

Gordon Anglesea had been questioned about suspected child abuse in the major police investigation which took place between 1991 and 1993.

When the Tribunal began its hearings in 1997, one of the most dramatic moments came when the barrister for the North Wales Police revealed that the file sent to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) included a recommendation that the former police officer should be prosecuted.

The CPS decided against prosecution.

GORDON ANGLESEA The retired police superintendent won a major libel case.

GORDON ANGLESEA
The retired police superintendent won a major libel case in the 1990s against media organisations who wrongly accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children’s home near Wrexham.
Photo: Rebecca Television

In his letter, Sir Ronald comments on this:

“It is correct that in relation to most individuals investigated the police did not make a recommendation to the CPS either way: the file of evidence was submitted without a recommendation in those cases.”

The defence in the libel action was unaware that North Wales Police had recommended prosecution.

Sir Ronald continues:

“I am not surprised that the police recommendation in respect of Anglesea did not emerge at the civil trial [i.e. the libel proceedings] and it seems to have been assumed that they had not recommended a prosecution.”

He then adds:

“If a sub-poena had been issued in respect of the relevant documents, Crown privilege would have been claimed (i.e. immunity from production) and it is highly doubtful whether the trial judge would have ordered that they should be produced because the issue before the jury was whether the defendants had proved that Anglesea was guilty of child abuse: to that issue the police recommendation was irrelevant in law and might well have prejudiced the jury against him.”

Gordon Anglesea is a freemason and there was a long discussion between French and Sir Ronald about the brotherhood, in particular the relationship between the police officer and the Grand Master of the North Wales Province, Lord Kenyon.

Sir Ronald’s attitude was summed up in his comment:

“I am rather sad now that you are pursuing tedious freemasons and the unhappy deceased Lord Kenyon.”

Sir Ronald said that he himself asked most of the questions about freemasonry — the barristers did not seem to be interested.

(Rebecca Television wrote to most of the leading barristers to ask if they were, or ever had been, freemasons.

None answered.)

One of the things that surprised French was that Sir Ronald was unaware that Lord Kenyon had his own masonic lodge, called Kenyon, based at his home in Gredington near Whitchurch.

Sir Ronald was also blissfully unaware that there was a police lodge in North Wales — Custodes Pacis, based in Llandudno.

French also told him the story of journalist Mark Brittain’s dealings in 1995 with Michael Argent, then chief constable of North Wales Police, over this lodge.

When Brittain met Argent, Argent denied the existence of a police lodge.

So Brittain sent him a photocopy of the lodge’s entry in the masonic yearbook.

Argent replies that, yes, Custodes Pacis does exist — but that the members are all long-retired officers.

Not so, counters Brittain, insisting there are serving members as well.

Argent now comes clean: there are four serving officers in the lodge.

In 1997 Brittain wrote to the clerk of the police authority, Leon Gibson, who was also chief executive of Anglesey County Council.

Gibson, who would not tell Rebecca Television if he is a freemason, replied to Brttain saying that the chief constable had been told by “colleagues” that the lodge did not exist.

In his letter to Sir Ronald, French said:

“You speculated that Argent’s denial may have been based on a desire to keep the existence of the lodge a secret from the Tribunal.’

French asks:

“Will you allow me to say so?”

On this, Sir Ronald was silent.

In his letter French also raises an anecdote that features in Lost In Care.

It was alleged that Kenyon had said he was determined that Gordon Anglesea would be promoted to Superintendent before his retirement.

LORD KENYON  Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, the fifth Baron Kenyon, was Grand Master of the Masonic Province of North Wales in the 1980s. The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was unaware that a masonic lodge met at his home or that he officiated over the opening of a police lodge in 1984.

LORD KENYON
Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, the fifth Baron Kenyon, was Grand Master of the Masonic Province of North Wales in the 1980s. The North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal was unaware that a masonic lodge met at his home or that he officiated over the opening of a police lodge in 1984.

This, the allegation went, was in return for Gordon Anglesea’s alleged light treatment of Kenyon’s son when he was in trouble with the police.

Police could find no evidence to support the allegation of preferential treatment of Kenyon’s son.

The Tribunal concluded that the story was a “malicious rumour.”

But there is evidence that Lord Kenyon did attend a police function and expressed surprise that Gordon Anglesea had not been promoted.

The Tribunal should have known about it because its own witness interviewing team had been to see the source of it — retired Police Federation official Harry Templeton.

But Templeton’s evidence was never heard by the Tribunal.

Once again, Sir Ronald was silent on this point when he replied, insisting that  he was “ … fully satisfied on the evidence available to me that neither freemasonry nor Lord Kenyon had any influence on the fate of Anglesea or anyone else in relation to child abuse.”

During the meeting with French, there was also a discussion about the role of Gerard Elias, QC as lead counsel for the Inquiry.

Elias is a member of one of the most powerful lodges in South Wales, Dinas Llandaf.

Sir Ronald did not accept that Elias was a prominent freemason:

“He is, of course, prominent in other respects but not as a freemason. He gave the Tribunal full details of his desultory membership and of his non-relationship with Gwilym Jones.”

Tory MP Gwilym Jones, also a member of Dinas Llandaf, was a Welsh Office minister when the Tribunal was established in 1996.

When Rebecca Television published The Case of the Flawed Tribunal in 2011 and 2012, the only comment carried from Sir Ronald was the one he insisted on in a later letter he wrote in April 2002:

“As far as I am concerned, I am content that you should say that you had put to me the substance of your research but that I had stated that the Tribunal had said all that it could properly say on the evidence before it in its report and that it would be both unwise and inappropriate for me to comment further.”

The Welsh Assembly Member met Sir Ronald Waterhouse at a function in 2006.

MARK ISHERWOOD
Welsh Assembly member Mark Isherwood met Sir Ronald Waterhouse at a function at the Welsh Senedd building in 2006: “He told me quite clearly that he now accepted that documentation had been withheld from the Tribunal which he chaired.” Photo: Mark Isherwood

French accepted the retired judge’s conditions.

“I agreed because I suspected he was the only person who could really help with this inquiry,” said French.

“I hoped that he would have made an entry in his diary or have left a detailed note for me after he died.”

“Sadly, when I contacted his widow after a decent interval had elapsed, she told me there was no such entry or note.”

Whatever he knew and whatever he felt, Sir Ronald Waterhouse took to the grave.

ragout_01

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2012 & 2013

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

 


THE MESSHAM INTERVENTION

November 13, 2013

rebecca_logo_04THE JOURNALISTIC nightmare which engulfed the BBC over the handling of child abuse allegations in North Wales has catapulted the Rebecca Television series The Case of the Flawed Tribunal into the limelight.

In November 2012 the Newsnight programme allowed Stephen Messham to falsely accuse Lord McAlpine of abusing children in North Wales.

There was plenty of evidence that Stephen Messham is a damaged character whose testimony required careful evaluation.  

But the BBC’s mistake has made it possible for the Rebecca Television investigation to be taken seriously.

David Cameron’s decision to launch an  inquiry means the allegations outlined in The Case of the Flawed Tribunal will be considered by a High Court judge.

(This article was originally published last December.)

STEPHEN MESSHAM

STEPHEN MESSHAM
Photographed in 2000 holding a copy of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal report, Messham was described in its pages as “severely damaged psychologically”.
Photo: Phil Noble / PA

HOW WAS it that Stephen Messham — a man “severely damaged psychologically” —  was allowed to accuse a senior Tory politician of child abuse on a  national current affairs programme when those same allegations had been dismissed as unreliable twenty years earlier?

Messham, the 49-year-old former resident of the Bryn Estyn children’s home near Wrexham, was the key witness in the BBC’s now notorious early November edition of Newsnight about child abuse in North Wales.

Messham claimed he’d been sexually abused by a senior Tory politician while he was in care.

Newsnight did not identify the man but a frenzy of speculation on the internet meant that Lord McAlpine was quickly — and falsely — “outed” as the alleged abuser.

A week later Messham saw a photograph of Lord McAlpine and declared he was not the man who had abused him.

The media firestorm that followed this disastrous broadcast forced the BBC’s newly-appointed Director General, former Newsnight editor George Entwistle, to resign.

It also cost the editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Iain Overton, his job.

It was the Bureau’s lead reporter Angus Stickler, a former BBC journalist, who came up with the idea for Newsnight and he presented the item.

On the morning of the broadcast, Overton tweeted:

“If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile”.

The night before Overton had attended an Oxford University Union debate where Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick, himself a former Newsnight journalist, asked him if the unidentified politician was McAlpine.

The Observer quotes Overton as saying: “Well, you said it.”

On the day of the broadcast, Michael Crick spoke to Lord McAlpine who denied that he was involved in child abuse — and said he would sue if he was named.

Newsnight did not contact the politician because it decided not to name him.

So why did Stickler, an experienced reporter who won the Sony Radio Academy Award for the best news journalist in 2006, make such an elementary mistake?

LORD McALPINE The Tory peer was faslely accused of child abuse by Stephen Messham on Newsnight. He

LORD McALPINE
The Tory peer falsely accused of child abuse by Stephen Messham on BBC Newsnight. He wasn’t named in the item but quickly identified on the internet. He brought successful actions against many media outlets.  Photo: PA

After all, there has to be a good reason why such a serious allegation had never been reported by a mainstream newspaper or broadcaster in more than two decades.

That reason was simple — journalists could find no evidence that justified publication.

The only title that did accuse Lord McAlpine was the magazine Scallywag — and Scallywag was never taken seriously.

In addition, there is plenty of easily accessible material about Stephen Messham’s tragic life.

Take Lost In Care, the report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal chaired by Sir Ronald Waterhouse.

In its pages, Stephen Messham is identified as “witness B”.

This is what the report said about “witness B”:

“We are satisfied that B has suffered a long history of sexual abuse before, during and after his period in care and, to a significant extent until he left care, of physical abuse.”

“As a result he has been, and remains, severely damaged psychologically: he has been greatly affected also by the sudden death of his young wife in very sad circumstances …”

“A major problem is that the damage is reflected in B’s personality in such a way that he presents himself as an unreliable witness by the standards that an ordinary member of a jury is likely to apply.”

“Thus, he is highly sensitive to any criticism and explosive in his reactions …”

“He has been described also as manipulative and there are many matters on which he is particularly vulnerable in cross-examination.”

Lord McAlpine is not the only figure Stephen Messham has falsely accused of serious sexual offences.

He was one of three witnesses who appeared in the 1994 libel action brought by former North Wales Police superintendent Gordon Anglesea against Private Eye, The Observer, the Independent on Sunday and the broadcaster HTV.

See the article The Trials of Gordon Anglesea for the full details of the case.

Stephen Messham is not named in this report but he is the witness who collapsed in the dock.

He was cross-examined about inconsistencies in his evidence.

A jury found by a majority 10-2 verdict that Gordon Anglesea had been wrongly accused.

Damages of £375,000 were agreed.

Another publication where Stephen Messham’s approach to evidence is highlighted is Richard Webster’s 2005 book The Secret of Bryn Estyn.

Here Messham is given the alias “Lee Steward”.

Webster tells the story of how Messham was approached several times about Gordon Anglesea by the freelance journalist Dean Nelson.

Messham complained to the police that Nelson was harassing him.

In a statement he said “ … I would like to say that at no time did Gordon Anglesea ever sexually abuse me.”

It was only later that Messham made statements claiming he’d been abused by Anglesea.

There was, then, plenty of evidence that Stephen Messham’s testimony should be treated with caution.

♦♦♦

WHEN STEPHEN Messham finally admitted he’d made a mistake about Lord McAlpine, there was a danger the government would call off the two inquiries into the North Wales scandal.

But in the highly charged political atmosphere that existed in the wake of the Jimmy Savile affair, David Cameron and the Cabinet decided that they must go ahead.

THERESA MAY The Home Secretary told Paul Flynn MP in the House of Commons that the Rebecca Television allegations would be investigated. Photo: PA

THERESA MAY
The Home Secretary told Paul Flynn MP in the House of Commons last November that the Rebecca Television allegations would be investigated.  Photo: PA

They are a review of the Waterhouse Tribunal by High Court judge Mrs Justice Macur and an investigation of new allegations of child abuse in the 1970s and 1980s by the director of the National Crime Agency, Keith Bristow.

Rebecca Television (RTV) is already a participant in these inquiries and has made several statements to both.

In addition, editor Paddy French met with Mrs Justice Macur at the Royal Courts of Justice earlier this year.

Before Messham’s intervention, the series of articles published as The Case of the Flawed Tribunal by RTV were totally ignored by the media.

Now the allegations are likely to be tested.

The most important of the failures of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal highlighted by the series is the treatment of Des Frost, the number two at the privately-owned Bryn Alyn complex of children’s homes near Wrexham.

Frost’s boss John Allen was gaoled for six years in 1995 for abusing boys in his care.

Briefly, Frost claimed he had reported allegations of abuse against Allen in 1980 — more than ten years before Allen was arrested.

He said that he asked detectives from Cheshire Constabulary to pass on his concerns to police in Wrexham.

(The full story can be found in the article Silent Witness.)

During the period when the Tribunal was taking evidence, in 1997, the HTV programme Wales This Week interviewed Frost about these allegations.

The Tribunal found out and threatened programme-makers with contempt if details of the allegations were broadcast.

They were removed.

But Frost was not called as a witness and his evidence  was never investigated.

Rebecca Television believes this was a major flaw in the Tribunal’s deliberations.

As a result, the Tribunal conclusion — “there was no significant omission by the North Wales Police in investigating the complaints of abuse to children in care” — is suspect.

Police visited Frost shortly after he was interviewed by HTV and took a statement from him.

In 2011 we wrote to the North Wales Police officer who carried out this interview — Detective Chief Inspector Neil McAdam — to ask what happened to this statement.

McAdam discussed this letter with his superiors who, after discussions with police HQ in Colwyn Bay, told him not to answer.

Rebecca Television complained about the lack of a reply.

The investigation that followed cleared McAdam because he’d been instructed not to reply — “ownership to respond” rested with “someone higher within the organisation”.

We had already written to Chief Constable Mark Polin about the matter.

He did not reply.

In October 2011 we also wrote to then Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan asking her to intervene.

QUESTION TIME The  former Welsh Secretary did not answer a letter from Rebecca Television asking her to appoint a barrister to examine allegations that the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal had not done its job properly.
Photo: PA.

QUESTION TIME
The former Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan (on the right) did not answer a letter from Rebecca Television asking her to appoint a barrister to examine allegations that the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal had not done its job properly.
The Tribunal had been launched in 1996 by William Hague (on the left) when he was Welsh Secretary. Last autumn  David Cameron launched an inquiry into the work of the Tribunal — not by a barrister but by a High Court judge.   Photo: PA.

The letter asked her to “appoint a suitably independent barrister to examine the Rebecca Television allegations.”

Gillan never answered the letter.

She passed it on to the Home Office where a press officer replied:

“Any concerns you have should be addressed to the chief officer (i.e. the chief constable) and not the Home Office. The Home Office has no power to intervene or act on your behalf.”

A year after Rebecca Television wrote to the Welsh Secretary, the North Wales child abuse scandal is not being investigated by a barrister as we requested — but by a High Court judge and the head of the National Crime Agency.

 ♦♦♦

NOTES

1
This article was first published on the old RTV website in December last year.

2
The timeline of last autumn’s events is as follows:

Wednesday, October 3
ITV’s Exposure programme “The Other Side of Jimmy” demolishes Sir Jimmy Savile’s reputation.
It emerges that the BBC Newsnight programme shelved a similar programme the previous December — allegations are made that the decision was influenced by the BBC’s planned Xmas tributes to Savile, who died in October 2011.
The row engulfs the upper echelons of the BBC including George Entwistle, a former Newsnight editor, who had just been appointed Director-General.

Friday, November 2
Iain Overton, editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, tweets:
“If all goes well we’ve got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile”.
The Newsnight report, fronted by Angus Stickler of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, interviews Stephen Messham who claims he was sexually abused by an unnamed senior Conservative politician.

The former politician is later widely identified on the internet by public figures — including Sally Bercow, wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Guardian columnist George Monbiot — as Lord McAlpine, former Tory party treasurer and a key supporter of Margaret Thatcher.

Monday, November 5 
David Cameron, on an official visit to the Middle East, announces two inquiries into the child abuse scandal in North Wales.
One would be into the way North Wales Police handled child abuse allegations in the 1970s and 1980s.

The second would be into the conduct of the 1996-2000 Waterhouse Inquiry by High Court judge, Lady Macur.

Tuesday, November 6 
Stephen Messham meets Welsh Secretary David Jones.
Home Secretary Theresa May makes a statement in the House of Commons on the North Wales child abuse scandal.
In the debate that follows, Newport West Labour MP Paul Flynn makes the following point:
“I ask the right hon. Lady to look not only at the fresh evidence but at the evidence that was available at the time and that was almost certainly suppressed by powerful people.”
“Will she look at the evidence produced by Paddy French and the Rebecca Television website on an edition of the Wales This Week that was never broadcast?”
This was Theresa May’s reply:
“The police investigations will look at the evidence that was available at the time in these historical abuse allegations, and at whether the evidence was properly investigated and whether avenues of inquiry were not pursued that should have been followed up and that could have led to prosecutions.”
“I can therefore say to the hon. Gentleman that the police will, indeed, be looking at that historical evidence. That is part of the job they will be doing.”

Wednesday, November 7 
Messham’s story begins to unravel:  Guardian reporter David Leigh uncovers “inconsistencies” in his story.

Thursday, November 8 
Philip Schofield, presenter of ITV’s This Morning programme, hands a briefly visible list of alleged abusers to David Cameron during a live interview.
ITV later disciplines 3 members of staff but does not say who they are or what their punishment is.
The company ends up paying Lord McAlpine compensation of £125,000.

Friday, November 9 
Guardian suggests the identification of Lord McAlpine is a case of “mistaken identity” because Messham told the Waterhouse Tribunal that the McAlpine who allegedly abused him was dead.
Guardian says it had asked Messham to comment on the Wednesday and Thursday but he had declined.
Later the same day Messham issues a statement saying the man in the Newsnight programme is not Lord McAlpine.
“After seeing a picture of the individual concerned in the past hour, this (is) not the person I identified by a photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me the man in the photograph was Lord McAlpine”.
BBC issues “unreserved” apology for broadcasting the item.
All investigations at Newsnight suspended and Corporation stops co-productions “across the BBC” with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
BBC Director Scotland Ken MacQuarrie drafted in to prepare a report.
McAlpine issues statement saying he will issue libel writs.
Subsequently, the BBC pays him £185,000 in damages.

Saturday, November 10 
BBC Director General George Entwistle resigns with a £450,000 pay-off.

Tuesday, November 12
Bureau of Investigative Journalism editor Iain Overton resigns.
Angus Stickler, the Bureau’s lead reporter, “steps aside” while an urgent investigation takes place — he later resigns from the organisation.

♦♦♦

© Rebecca Television 2012 & 2013

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


THE TRIALS OF GORDON ANGLESEA

November 11, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

GORDON ANGLESEA, the former North Wales Police superintendent, is an enigma.

On the one hand he won a famous libel action which saw some of the country’s biggest media companies pay£375,000 in damages for falsely accusing him of sexually abusing young boys.

On the other, he was an important character in the events which led up to the decision to set up the north Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in 1996.

He was a senior police officer and a freemason in a situation where critics were alleging that the police were covering up child abuse, some of which was laid at the door of freemasons.

The Tribunal could find no evidence that would have persuaded the libel trial jury to change its mind.

But its three members expressed “considerable disquiet” about some of the evidence Anglesea gave when he appeared before them.

And now a Rebecca Television investigation reveals that the judge in his libel action also shares that “considerable disquiet”.

GORDON ANGLESEA The North Wales Police superintendent won a major libel case against journalists who accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children's home outside Wrexham.  Photo: Rebecca Television

GORDON ANGLESEA
The North Wales Police superintendent won a major libel case against journalists who accused him of abusing young boys at the Bryn Estyn children’s home outside Wrexham.
Photo: Rebecca Television

WHEN RETIRED police superintendent Gordon Anglesea walked into Court 13 of the Royal Courts of Justice in November 1994 he was entering one of the most dramatic rooms in British justice.

This is the cockpit where some of the country’s most celebrated libel trials have been played out.

They include the Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer cases.

The 57-year-old Anglesea was in Court 13 because he had sued two national newspapers, The Observer and the Independent on Sunday, the magazine Private Eye and HTV, the holder of the ITV franchise in Wales.

His legal costs were underwritten by the Police Federation.

Anglesea claimed the four defendants had accused him of being a child abuser during visits he made to the Bryn Estyn children’s home just outside Wrexham.

The judge, Sir Maurice Drake, was a veteran of many libel actions.

Like Gordon Anglesea, he was a freemason, but he declared that they were members of the same organisation at the start of the trial.

He retired in 1995, the year after the trial.

He told Rebecca Television about his memories of the case.

“For about five years as the Judge in charge of the civil jury list,” he said, “I tried a very, very large number of defamation cases. Many of them did not make any lasting impression on me; but others did and none more so than that of Supt Anglesea.”

Sir Maurice Drake, the judge in Anglesea’s dramatic libel action, unusually answered questions about the case when Rebecca Television wrote to him. Photo: © Photoshop

Sir Maurice Drake, the judge in Anglesea’s dramatic libel action, unusually answered questions about the case when Rebecca Television wrote to him.
Photo: © Photoshop

Appearing before Sir Maurice was Gareth Williams, the Welsh QC representing Anglesea.

Williams was ennobled by Neil Kinnock as Lord Williams of Mostyn, and later became Attorney General.

He was to die suddenly in 2003 when he was Leader of the House of Lords.

The QC acting for Private Eye, The Observer and the Independent On Sunday was Britain’s best known libel barrister, George Carman.

He died in 2001.

It had all started three years earlier.

In December 1991 — eight months after Anglesea retired from the North Wales Police — the Independent On Sunday wrote about the police investigation into allegations of child abuse at the Bryn Estyn children’s home in North Wales.

The front page article stated:

“According to former residents of Bryn Estyn, Gordon Anglesea, a former senior North Wales police officer, was a regular visitor there.”

“He recently retired suddenly without explanation.”

One of the authors of the article, Dean Nelson, later claimed that this reference was not intended to imply that Anglesea was involved in child abuse.

Anglesea immediately went to his solicitor who wrote to the paper demanding an apology with damages.

The Independent On Sunday refused.

As a result of this article, the North Wales Police decided to investigate Gordon Anglesea as part of its broad-ranging inquiry into child abuse in North Wales headed by Superintendent Peter Ackerley.

The journalist Dean Nelson was sent back to North Wales to see if there were any witnesses who would testify against Anglesea.

Next into the frame was The Observer.

In September 1992 the paper stated:

“A former police chief has been named as a prime suspect in the North Wales sexual abuse scandal, police sources in the region confirmed last night…”

“The ex-police chief is due to be questioned this week as evidence emerges that staff in some children’s homes ‘lent’ children to convicted paedophiles for week-ends.”

When the North Wales child abuse inquiry investigated the latter claim, in the late 1990s, it concluded there was no evidence of children being farmed out to abusers.

The Observer did not name Anglesea but it was clear from the context that the reference could only refer to him.

The paper made similar comments in subsequent editions.

By this time Dean Nelson had found two former Bryn Estyn children who were prepared to testify they had been abused by the police officer.

BRYN ESTYN This building just outside Wrexham used to be the Bryn Estyn children’s home. Gordon Anglesea was accused of abusing children at the home. Photo: Barry Davies

BRYN ESTYN
This building just outside Wrexham used to be the Bryn Estyn children’s home where Gordon Anglesea was accused of abusing residents. Bryn Estyn closed in 1984.
Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

In September 1992 the HTV programme Wales This Week broadcast interviews with the two men, one identified, the other unnamed and filmed in silhouette.

The programme was watched by another former Bryn Estyn resident.

He told a BBC researcher that Anglesea had abused him and later agreed to give evidence against the former superintendent.

Finally, Private Eye entered the fray in January 1993 with an article based on research from the freelance journalist Brian Johnson-Thomas.

This article claimed Anglesea had investigated allegations against the son of the North Wales politician Lord Kenyon.

Lord Kenyon was a magistrate, a member of the North Wales Police Authority and the Grand Master of the North Wales Province of freemasonry.

Anglesea was also a freemason.

The allegations were made by one of the three men who claimed Anglesea had abused them.

The Waterhouse Tribunal also investigated this issue — and said it could find no evidence that Anglesea had ever been involved in the investigation of the allegation.

In 1993 or 1994 Superintendent Peter Ackerley, the officer heading the police investigation into child abuse at Bryn Estyn and other children’s homes across North Wales, sent a report about Anglesea to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ackerley recommended prosecution on the grounds that there was more than one witness claiming Anglesea had abused them.

His decision was to remain secret for many years.

The CPS decided not to charge the retired superintendent.

♦♦♦

WHEN SIR Maurice Drake started proceedings in Court 13 on 14 November 1994, neither he nor the defendants were aware police had recommended that Anglesea be prosecuted.

Anglesea was the plaintiff, the defendants were the four media organisations who pleaded justification, that is that their reports were true.

Libel actions are unusual.

Normally whoever brings a case – the state in criminal prosecutions or the plaintiff in civil actions – has to prove their case.

The burden of proof does not lie with the defendants.

In libel it’s the other way round — all the plaintiff, in this case Anglesea, has to do is to prove that his reputation has suffered as a result of the coverage.

He does not have to prove his innocence.

Since the defendants pleaded justification, they had to prove that he was guilty of sexually assaulting young boys.

Gordon Anglesea gave his evidence at the start of the case.

He was easily able to demonstrate the damage that had been done to his life and reputation by the accusations of being a child abuser.

His wife Sandra also gave evidence.

She said that up to the media reports she and her husband had enjoyed a normal sex life.

At the time when the sexual assaults were alleged to have taken place their sex life was normal.

The defendants brought the three men who claimed they’d been abused by Anglesea into the witness-box.

One of them was a resident of Bryn Estyn in 1980 and 1981.

He claimed to have been indecently assaulted by Anglesea on one occasion and then buggered by him on another.

He also claimed to have been assaulted frequently by Peter Howarth who, he said, knew Anglesea well.

(Howarth had been the home’s deputy principal.

Five months before Anglesea’s libel action started, he was gaoled for ten years for abusing boys at Bryn Estyn.)

Lord Williams was able to do considerable damage to the credibility of this witness by pointing out inconsistencies between several of his statements and variations in his accounts of the assaults.

Another witness was a resident of Bryn Estyn in the late 1970s.

He said he had anal and oral sex with Anglesea on several occasions.

He also claimed to have been buggered by Howarth between a dozen and two dozen times.

He too insisted that Anglesea and Howarth knew one another.

This witness was allowed to take tranquillisers while he was giving evidence and the jury were informed.

However, he collapsed in the dock and proceedings had to be halted for him to be given medical treatment.

Lord Williams was able to undermine his testimony by highlighting inconsistencies, including an early denial in a police interview that he had been abused by Anglesea.

He also made much of the fact that he had been paid £4,500 by Private Eye in settlement of an alleged libel before he would agree to testify against Anglesea.

LORD WILLIAMS, QC Lord Williams of Mostyn, Anglesea’s barrister, was able to undermine the credibility of the witnesses against his client.  Photo: © Photoshop

LORD WILLIAMS, QC
Lord Williams of Mostyn, Anglesea’s barrister, was able to undermine the credibility of the witnesses against his client.
Photo: © Photoshop

The final witness was a resident at Bryn Estyn in 1981 and 1982.

He claimed that he had caddied for Howarth about half a dozen times and had been introduced to Anglesea.

He alleged that Howarth and Anglesea played with his private parts while he was in Howarth’s flat at Bryn Estyn.

Lord Williams pointed out that he did not name Anglesea in his police statements.

He also made much of the fact that the witness had a serious drink and drug problem.

Lord Williams challenged all three witnesses to admit that they had fabricated their accounts.

All three insisted they were telling the truth.

The judge in the trial, Sir Maurice Drake, has told Rebecca Television about his memories of what happened during the fifteen days of hearings.

He started by saying “the trial took place many years ago and without refreshing my memory with the full transcript of evidence I am cautious about making comments about the case.”

But he added:

“One thing which I still have a very clear recollection of is the splendid advocacy of George Carman for the defence and Lord Williams of Mostyn for the plaintiff.”

“Although George Carman displayed all his usual skills with the jury he was, on this occasion, outshone by Gareth Williams.”

“Without Lord Williams’ advocacy I think it very possible indeed that the jury would have found for the defendants — and meeting both of them socially I told each of them that view.”

♦♦♦

ALTHOUGH LORD Williams had damaged the defendants’ witnesses this was not fatal.

Anyone who had been abused as a child and who never received a proper education was likely to be a witness with many difficulties.

Unless clear-cut forensic evidence is available, an allegation of child abuse is normally a closed issue and only the accuser and the accused can know what the truth is.

This means that other circumstantial evidence, which can be tested, becomes important.

In Anglesea’s action, there were two categories of these.

The first was the number of times he’d been to Bryn Estyn, the children’s home near Wrexham where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The second was whether he knew Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, who had been convicted of child abuse at the home five months before the libel action began.

The defendants’ case was that Anglesea had been at the home on more occasions than he admitted to and that he was on friendly terms with Peter Howarth.

PETER HOWARTH Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, was convicted of abusing children at the home five months before the libel action began. He was given a ten year gaol sentence for abusing seven Bryn Estyn boys over a ten year period. Photo: Press Association

PETER HOWARTH
Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn, was convicted of abusing children at the home five months before the libel action began. He was given a ten-year gaol sentence for abusing seven Bryn Estyn boys over a decade. He died in prison.
Photo: Press Association

Anglesea insisted he did not know Howarth and that the number of visits he listed were the only occasions he’d been to the home.

Anglesea was a uniform police inspector in Wrexham and came into contact with Bryn Estyn boys in 1979 when he was appointed to run the Wrexham Attendance Centre.

This was a Home Office initiative where magistrates could sentence boys to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday.

Then in 1980 he took over the area which included Bryn Estyn.

He was still in charge when Bryn Estyn closed in 1984.

When he was contacted by the Independent on Sunday journalist Dean Nelson, Anglesea said he had only ever been to Bryn Estyn twice for Christmas dinners.

When his solicitors wrote to the newspaper a few days later, they said that he’d been to the home on one other occasion, making three in all.

By the time he was interviewed by police in January 1992, a month after the Independent on Sunday article, the number of visits had grown to four.

As well as the two Christmas dinners and one in connection with the non-attendance at the Wrexham Attendance Centre of a boy from the home, he now remembered another.

“I can only recall visiting Bryn Estyn to caution a boy on one occasion at the request of the principal because of staffing difficulties.”

“Normally boys would attend at the police station and cautioning duties were shared with other Inspectors.”

By the time he submitted his Proof of Evidence for the libel action, in March 1994, he had been allowed to inspect his pocket books.

These dated from September 1980 — earlier ones had been destroyed in line with force policy.

He said: “I do not recall having any contact at all with Bryn Estyn before September 1980 and indeed I can think of no reason why I should have done so.”

He said his pocketbooks showed that he had given seven cautions at Bryn Estyn.

In addition, he said he had also visited the home on two other occasions on official police business.

He was always in uniform and he had never gone upstairs where Howarth’s flat was located.

With the two Christmas dinners, when he was not in uniform, that made a total of 11 visits to Bryn Estyn.

However, defence lawyers noticed that from March 1983 to February 1984 Anglesea’s notebook entries became brief with little detail beyond the times he was on duty.

Anglesea later explained this by saying it was caused by grief at the death of his four-year-old daughter in May 1983 which resulted in “a departure from my normally meticulous record-keeping.”

♦♦♦

THE SECOND area of circumstantial evidence was whether he had known Peter Howarth, the deputy principal of Bryn Estyn.

One of the men who claimed he had been abused by Anglesea, gave evidence that Howarth had introduced him to Anglesea on a golf course in Wrexham.

In July 1994, five months before the libel trial started, Howarth was sentenced to 10 years in gaol at Chester Crown Court.

He was found guilty of one count of buggery and seven offences of indecent assault on seven Bryn Estyn boys between 1974 and 1984.

One of these boys, Simon Birley, hanged himself from a tree in May the following year.

Howarth was to die in prison of a heart attack in April 1997.

In his Proof of Evidence for the libel action Anglesea was categorical about his knowledge of Howarth.

“He was not personally known to me. I have never played golf with him.”

“Indeed I last played golf in about 1968 when I disposed of my clubs.”

“I may have spoken to him on the telephone relating to the Attendance Centre.”

“If I ever met him, it has not registered, and I cannot recall him in any way.”

The defendants called two witnesses about this issue.

The first was Joyce Bailey, a part-time house-mother at Bryn Estyn between 1981 and 1984, and the wife of a police constable who had served in Wrexham.

She said Anglesea was a regular visitor to the home in an official capacity.

She remembered seeing him in casual clothes only once when he arrived in his own car.

He got out, took some golf clubs from the back of the car and gave them to Howarth.

The second was Michael Bradley, a senior probation officer, who had spent three months at Bryn Estyn in the late summer of 1980 while on a course.

He was the ex-husband of an executive at HTV who was not involved in the libel action.

He gave evidence that he was at the home one night around nine in the evening when he saw Howarth and Anglesea enter the building.

Howarth introduced him to Anglesea as a good friend of Bryn Estyn and the two men then climbed the stairs.

He said that he did not know Anglesea but recognised him when he saw pictures of him in the early 1990s.

But there is one witness who did not give evidence.

He was Ian Kelman, a retired police inspector who served in Wrexham at the same time as Anglesea.

In a signed statement, a copy of which Rebecca Television has obtained, he said that between 1975 and 1980 he was a detective sergeant at Wrexham and regularly visited Bryn Estyn in the course of his duties.

He says he saw Anglesea on at least two occasions, once in a corridor when Kelman was interviewing one of the boys.

This was during a period for most of which Anglesea claimed he’d never been anywhere near Bryn Estyn.

Kelman remembered the first incident well:

“A member of staff opened the door into the room where I was and I saw Gordon with him in the corridor.”

“It did not strike me as unusual. I got the feeling that the man was looking for somewhere to talk to him.”

“I didn’t speak to Gordon. He was in uniform.”

“The other time I saw him was in the car park outside the home.”

“He was either getting in or out of a car. It was as I was leaving.”

“At this time Gordon was a town Inspector.”

Kelman also says that Anglesea must have known Howarth:

“Any police officer who had contact with Bryn Estyn would know him.”

“Howarth always seemed to be around.”

“Any police officer going there would be there for a reason. You couldn’t just walk into the home.”

“A senior member of staff would want to know the reason for your being there.”

“More often than not, that senior member of staff would be Peter Howarth.”

But Kelman did not give evidence.

Rebecca Television spoke to him and he said he “was suffering from severe mental depression at the time.”

So his statement was never subjected to cross-examination at the libel trial.

Kelman was not invited to appear as a witness at the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal and so his evidence was not tested there either.

♦♦♦

THE DEFENDANTS also tried to undermine Anglesea’s credibility about the reason for his sudden decision to resign early in 1991.

In his Proof of Evidence he stated that he retired in April 1991 even though he could have gone on his full pension much earlier.

“I eventually retired after 34.5 years.”

“I had been diagnosed as a diabetic and had lost the sight in one eye. I therefore decided to take my pension.”

During cross-examination George Carman QC asked him if he had been interviewed by the then Chief Constable David Owen on 13 March 1991.

“No, sir,” replied Anglesea.

Carman asked if he’d gone to the chief’s office that day and Anglesea again said “No, sir.”

“Well,” said Carman, “I am suggesting to you that on the 13th March 1991 you were interviewed by the chief constable about your travelling expenses.”

“No, sir,” replied Anglesea.

Carman then asked if he had been interviewed by anyone else.

“Well, yes, by the assistant chief constable.”

It then emerged that he was told he would have to be suspended while an investigation took place into his expenses.

GEORGE CARMAN, QC George Carman, who represented the London media in the case, was the most famous libel barrister of his day. He cross-examined Gordon Anglesea. Photo: © Photoshop

GEORGE CARMAN, QC
George Carman, who represented the London media in the case, was the most famous libel barrister of his day. He cross-examined Gordon Anglesea.
Photo: © Photoshop

Anglesea claimed the amount involved was trivial and that he decided to resign immediately rather than be suspended in a manner which he felt was unjust.

In his final address to the jury Carman said:

“Well that took a long time to come out, didn’t it?”

“That’s hiding it, trying to avoid it, that shows he’s not quite the frank man he would have you believe.”

In his summing up, Sir Maurice Drake told the jury about the difference between libel actions and criminal cases.

In criminal cases, a jury has to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt before a guilty verdict can be reached.

In a libel action, the verdict is based on the balance of probabilities.

However, he added that the balance of the scales depended on the gravity of the alleged libel.

“The more serious the charge, the further down the scales have to go.”

“So in this case, where the charge against Gordon Anglesea is just about as serious as you could consider, the evidence required to prove the Defendants’ case must be that much stronger.”

After nine hours of deliberations, the jury found for Anglesea by 10 votes to 2.

Looking back on the case, Sir Maurice told Rebecca Television:

“In my view the evidence was very finely balanced.”

“My summing up was, I believe, absolutely free of any indication of what I felt the verdict should be.”

“I would not have been surprised if the jury had found for the defendants.”

“I believe that it was the evidence of Mrs Anglesea which tipped the scales in favour of the plaintiff.”

“Many jurors would find it difficult to believe that a married man could have a full sexual relationship with his wife at the same time as he was committing buggery …”

The jury never got to decide what the damages should be.

The two sides agreed that Anglesea should receive £375,000 in damages together with his costs.

The Independent on Sunday and HTV each agreed to pay £107,500 in damages.

Private Eye and The Observer each agreed to pay £80,000.

The final bill for the four defendants, including legal bills, would have been somewhere between £3-4m.

In February 1995 one of the three witnesses in the case was found dead.

He had hanged himself from the banisters outside his bed-sit in Wrexham.

Later, Gordon Anglesea was also to sue the magazine Take A Break  and the magazine Scallywag, edited by the journalist Simon Regan.

The cases were settled in his favour for undisclosed damages.

Anglesea’s libel victory was one of the most successful actions ever brought by a former police officer.

 ♦♦♦

BUT THE ordeal of the retired superintendent was far from over.

Two years after the libel action, the Secretary of State for Wales, William Hague, decided that there would be a full-scale inquiry into the extent of child abuse in North Wales.

Once again the limelight was to fall on Gordon Anglesea.

By the time he gave evidence before it, the Tribunal team had acquired statements from a further two witnesses who claimed they’d been abused by Anglesea.

However, the Tribunal decided that they were not credible witnesses in that they had been at Bryn Estyn before Anglesea had any known connection with the home.

The Tribunal also obtained records from Bryn Estyn.

These showed that Anglesea’s first visit took place in 1979, not 1980 as he had originally stated in his Proof of Evidence for the libel trial.

The records also revealed that he had visited the home on more occasions than he had told the libel trial.

Instead of the 11 he claimed, there were, in fact, 15.

Anglesea gave evidence at the Tribunal in January 1997.

He was asked why he had claimed in the period just after the Independent on Sunday article that he had visited Bryn Estyn on just a couple of occasions.

He told the Tribunal that he had assumed the newspaper’s reporter Dean Nelson was asking about the Wrexham Attendance Centre.

Nicholas Booth, who represented one of the men who’d accused him of abusing him, asked him to examine his own transcript of his conversation with the paper’s Dean Nelson.

Booth then asked him:

“Mr Nelson didn’t raise the attendance centre at all, did he?”

“He simply asked you whether you were a visitor to Bryn Estyn School in Wrexham, that’s right, isn’t it? … you were the person, the only person who brings in the words ‘attendance centre’.”

“That was what I recorded from the telephone conversation,” replied Anglesea.

He also explained why he started to give cautions, a formal procedure where a police officer issues a warning instead of prosecuting, at Bryn Estyn in 1982.

“It was as a result of a conversation with the principal [Matt Arnold] who was having staffing difficulties … because it meant he would have to send a member of staff to the police station for a boy to be cautioned … and he requested could we caution at Bryn Estyn.”

In the statement he gave the defendants in the libel action in May 1994 the former retired police inspector Ian Kelman stated:

“In 1980 I was promoted to Inspector. As part of my duties, I would administer cautions.”

“Virtually always, these cautions would be conducted at the Police Station.”

“I must have given in excess of 1,000 cautions up until my retirement, and I can count on one hand the number of times it was necessary to give cautions anywhere else but in the Police Station.”

“In terms of police practice, it is most unusual to give cautions outside a police station.”

“Children residing in community homes would also be usually be cautioned at a police station.”

Kelman’s evidence has never been tested, either in the libel action or the Tribunal.

Another aspect of Gordon Anglesea’s policy of giving cautions at children’s homes was not explored at the Tribunal.

Anglesea also gave cautions at the private Bryn Alyn home owned by John Allen.

Allen was gaoled in 1995 for six years for indecently assaulting boys at the home.

(See Silent Witness for the story of Bryn Alyn.)

Anglesea told the Tribunal that no-one at Bryn Alyn asked him to do so — he simply extended the system of cautioning that had been introduced at Bryn Estyn.

Anglesea’s pocket-books say he visited Bryn Alyn on five separate occasions.

When he was giving his evidence no-one asked him if any of the four visits that took place before the first caution at Bryn Estyn was a caution.

If any of these visits had been a caution, then Anglesea had been giving cautions at Bryn Alyn before Matt Arnold at Bryn Estyn asked him to.

When it came to Anglesea’s insistence that he didn’t remember Peter Howarth, the deputy head convicted of child abuse, the Tribunal uncovered a letter written to Gordon Anglesea by the Principal of Bryn Estyn Matt Arnold in March 1980.

Arnold, a lapsed freemason, had gone back to work after an illness that had started the previous summer.

“I received a letter today from the assistant director of Social Services,” wrote Arnold, “regarding the late attendance of boys at the attendance centre.”

“I have only just returned from a period of sick leave, so I’m unaware on a personal basis of all the discussions that have gone on between you and Mr Howarth.”

The Tribunal heard evidence from four former members of staff who supported Anglesea’s testimony but its report doesn’t give any details.

The Tribunal also heard evidence from “seven other witnesses, including four members of staff who spoke of seeing Anglesea at Bryn Estyn, and most of them spoke of seeing him there in the presence of Howarth.”

Anglesea said all these witnesses were mistaken.

Anglesea was also cross-examined about his golfing activities.

In his Proof of Evidence for the libel action in 1994 he said that he last played golf in “1968 when I disposed of my clubs.”

But when he had been interviewed by police in December 1992 he was asked if he remembered when he disposed of the clubs.

“I remember it well, really I don’t know who I disposed of it to, because it was very shortly after I got married, just couldn’t afford it, we had four children to look after, five, six to look after.”

Anglesea had divorced his first wife and married his second in 1976.

By the time he prepared his Proof of Evidence for the libel case his recollection was different.

“I have had some difficulty in recollecting this.”

“I originally thought that I brought them with me when I left the matrimonial home.”

“In fact they were left in the matrimonial home and I didn’t see them after that occasion.”

This was the version of events he stuck with at the Tribunal.

He insisted that witnesses who had seen him at Bryn Estyn with Howarth handling golf clubs weren’t telling the truth.

Gerard Elias, QC, the counsel for the Tribunal asked him:

“So those witnesses must, must they not, be lying about you?”

Anglesea replied:

“The witnesses are lying about me, sir.”

He also said that some of the evidence of Roger Owen Griffiths, the owner of a residential school called Gatewen Hall which Anglesea visited some half-dozen times between 1977 and 1983, was also wrong.

Griffiths told the Tribunal that the visits usually took place in the evening.

Anglesea said “That is incorrect.”

Griffiths said Anglesea would sometimes have a glass of sherry or whisky with him, adding:

“I never thought there was anything untoward about his visits since I was pleased that an eminent police officer was visiting us at the school.”

“Totally and utterly untrue,” Anglesea told the Tribunal.

At one point during his evidence, Anglesea told the chairman, Sir Ronald Waterhouse:

“My memory isn’t good, it hasn’t been good since about 1991.”

In February 2000 the report of the Tribunal was published.

It stated:

“We are unable to find that the allegations of sexual abuse made against Gordon Anglesea have been proved to our satisfaction or that the trial jury in the libel action would have been likely to have reached a different conclusion if they had heard the fuller evidence that has been placed before us.”

However, the Tribunal noted:

“In the end we have been left with a feeling of considerable disquiet about Anglesea’s repeated denials of any recollection of Peter Howarth and the way in which his evidence of his own presence at Bryn Estyn has emerged.”

“We agree with the trial judge in the libel action, however, that such disquiet or even disbelief of this part of Anglesea’s evidence would not justify a finding that he has committed sexual abuse in the absence of reliable positive evidence.”

THE SECRET OF BRYN ESTYN The author Richard Webster believed that Gordon Anglesea and Peter Howarth were the victims of a media-orchestrated witch-hunt.

THE SECRET OF BRYN ESTYN
The author Richard Webster believed that Gordon Anglesea and Peter Howarth were the victims of a media-orchestrated witch-hunt.

One of Anglesea’s champions is the author Richard Webster, the author of The Secret of Bryn Estyn which claims that both Anglesea and Howarth were the innocent victims of an orchestrated witch-hunt.

Webster says that he talked to Howarth before he died and before he could give evidence to the Tribunal.

“When I interviewed Howarth in prison,” wrote Webster, “he recalled Anglesea very clearly and gave the impression that he had dealt with him on a number of occasions.”

“It would be quite wrong, however, to conclude from this aspect of Anglesea’s testimony that he was attempting to conceal some guilty secret.”

“It would be entirely natural for anyone in his position, in danger of being damned by association with a man who had been convicted of being a paedophile, to seek to minimise his contact with such a figure.”

Rebecca Television wrote to Gordon Anglesea and asked him to comment on the issues raised in this article.

He did not reply.

In October last year, we went to see the former police superintendent at his home in Colwyn Bay.

He said he had not answered the letter but had consulted his solicitors.

Rebecca Television  sent Sir Maurice Drake the sections of the Waterhouse Tribunal report which revealed Gordon Anglesea’s additional visits to Bryn Estyn and the new witnesses who claimed they’d seen him with Peter Howarth.

Sir Maurice wrote back to say:

“Because I think the evidence was so finely balanced it follows that I think it possible that the new information which came out at the Inquiry could have tipped the scales in favour of the Defence.”

“But because I think the jury were so impressed by the evidence of Mrs Anglesea I think it more likely than not that they would have still have found for the plaintiff.”

“As to Sir Ronald’s feelings of ‘considerable disquiet’ about Anglesea’s repeated denials of any recollection of Peter Howarth”, he added, “you ask me if I share that disquiet.”

“The answer is Yes.”

♦♦♦ 

NOTES
1  This article was published in April 2010 on the old Rebecca Television subscription site.

2  It’s part of the series of articles called The Case of the Flawed Tribunal.

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


A MASON-FREE ZONE?

November 8, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

THE NORTH Wales Child Abuse Tribunal cleared freemasonry of any involvement in covering up child abuse.

But why did some fascinating information about the brotherhood never come to light?

 Why did the Tribunal’s own leading counsel not declare that he was a mason?

 And why was there no mention of a police lodge during the public hearings?

Rebecca Television investigates the claim that the North Wales Police was “a mason-free zone”.

THE NORTH WALES CHILD ABUSE TRIBUNAL There were three members of the Tribunal — Margaret Clough, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse and Morris le Fleming. The evidence suggests they did not come to grips with the role of freemasonry in the North Wales Police?  Photo: PA

THE NORTH WALES CHILD ABUSE TRIBUNAL
There were three members of the Tribunal — Margaret Clough, chairman Sir Ronald Waterhouse and Morris le Fleming. The evidence suggests they did not come to grips with the role of freemasonry in the North Wales Police.     Photo: PA

THE WATERHOUSE Tribunal set the tone for its approach to freemasonry right from day one.

In the very first session the barrister for one of the groups of former residents of care homes made an application about masonry.

The barrister, Nick Booth, asked that “the Tribunal should keep a register of the masonic membership amongst its staff, the members, its representatives and witnesses who appear before it”.

He explained:

“The duty of loyalty to a brother mason and his duty of impartiality if he is involved in the administration of justice is not a new one and it’s one that’s very much in the public eye, particularly at the moment.”

“The Tribunal will be aware of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee which is investigating the issue,” he added.

“Sir, I stress, if I have not stressed it before, that I am not making any suggestion of disreputable conduct, merely to put the matter beyond the reach of any possible public comment which might undermine the public confidence in the Inquiry.”

The chairman of the Tribunal, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, and the two other members of the Tribunal, retired for a brief adjournment.

“It will not surprise you that the application is refused,” said Sir Ronald on their return.

“As far as the staff are concerned,” Sir Ronald said, “in so far as the application carries any reflection upon the integrity of the staff of the Tribunal it’s repudiated, wholly unwarranted; there is no evidence whatsoever to support any suggestion that they have not acted with complete integrity…”

“The members of the Tribunal are in this position: the Tribunal was set up by Parliament and the members of it were appointed by the Secretary of State for Wales and the [criticism of the composition] should be addressed through the proper channels.”

GERARD ELIAS QC The leading counsel to the Tribunal kept silent throughout the discussion about a register of freemasons. He himself is a freemason …

GERARD ELIAS QC
The leading counsel to the Tribunal was silent throughout a discussion about a register of freemasons. He himself is a freemason and a past master of one of the most powerful lodges in Wales …

He said that the Tribunal’s own Counsel, Gerard Elias QC, was appointed by the Attorney General.

“Any criticism … should be addressed through the usual Parliamentary channels,” he suggested.

Gerard Elias said nothing during Booth’s application and he remained silent after Sir Ronald had made the Tribunal’s ruling.

Yet both Sir Ronald and Gerard Elias knew something that journalists reporting the Tribunal would have wanted to know.

Gerard Elias is a mason.

He’s a member of perhaps the most powerful masonic lodge in Wales, Dinas Llandaf.

The lodge, which meets in Cardiff, is made up mainly of legal professionals and members of the Conservative party, although there are members from other political groups.

Another member of the lodge, Gwilym Jones, was the Tory MP for Cardiff North between 1983 and 1997.

He was minister of state at the Welsh Office when the Tribunal was set up.

Rebecca Television has a source who was close to the heart of the Tribunal.

This source says Sir Ronald was aware of Elias’ masonic membership.

Yet he too kept silent about the fact that the Tribunal’s own Counsel was a mason.

(What happened at the Tribunal was in contrast to proceedings at the beginning of Gordon Anglesea’s libel case in London less than three years earlier.

Gordon Anglesea was a retired North Wales Police superintendent who was falsely accused by journalists of abusing young boys at a children’s home in North Wales.

He won a libel action and accepted £375,000 in damages.

The judge was Sir Maurice Drake.

Drake told the court that he was a member of an organisation to which Gordon Anglesea also belonged.

He did not mention freemasonry but the legal teams on both sides knew which organisation he was referring to.

There were no objections and no one ever questioned the way he handled the case.)

Dinas Llandaf is one of the 174 lodges in the South Wales Province.

South Wales is one of the more open of the 47 provinces in England and Wales.

Every year it gives copies of its annual yearbook to libraries and to any journalist who asks for one.

The yearbooks list the officers of each lodge and the current issue — 2009-2010 — gives considerable detail about Dinas Llandaf.

For example, it shows all the officers of the lodge and those members who have reached the highest position – master of the lodge.

Gerard Elias is shown as having been master in 1994.

(See the article Brothers In Silk for more on the influence of Dinas Llandaf.)

♦♦♦

THE NORTH WALES Province of freemasonry is a completely closed book.

It refuses to give out copies of its yearbook and these come into the public domain only occasionally.

In 1995 a copy came into the hands of journalist Mark Brittain who was Editor of the North Wales Weekly News at the time.

He quickly spotted a lodge called Custodes Pacis which was formed in 1983.

MARK BRITTAIN The editor of a local newspaper when a copy of the North Wales provincial yearbook came into his possession. He quickly spotted a police lodge ...

MARK BRITTAIN
The editor of a local newspaper when a copy of the North Wales provincial yearbook came into his possession. He identified a police lodge but found the chief constable unwilling to admit it existed.  Photo: Rebecca Television

He was told many members of Custodes Pacis — it’s Latin for Keepers of the Peace — were serving or retired police officers.

Police lodges are not uncommon.

Perhaps the best known is London’s Manor of St James which at one point contained many senior officers of the Metropolitan Police.

In 1995 Brittain wrote to the recently appointed Chief Constable of North Wales, Michael Argent, and asked him for an interview.

In his letter, he also asked if the new chief was aware of the lodge.

Argent wrote back to agree to an interview but told the journalist he could find no evidence of a police lodge.

When Brittain met Argent he told him he had evidence of the lodge’s existence and, after the meeting, sent him the lodge entry from the 1995-96 yearbook.

Argent wrote back in April.

He now admitted that the lodge list “did indeed contain names known to me and my colleagues although in each case they were retired from the force — in some instances for quite a considerable period.”

Brittain wrote back to ask if he was sure that there were no serving officers.

In May 1995 Argent replied and said that further enquiries had been undertaken.

“I am reliably informed,” he wrote, “that whilst, as I have suggested to you in my earlier letter, it consists mainly of retired police officers — certainly up to superintendent level — there are only four currently serving officers.”

“Three are identified as constables and the fourth is either a constable or at most a sergeant.”

Brittain says Michael Argent’s story changed three times during this correspondence.

The man who was chief constable when Custodes Pacis was set up in 1983 was David Owen.

When he gave evidence to the Tribunal, he did not mention the existence of the lodge…

We wrote to David Owen to ask him why he didn’t tell the Tribunal about the lodge.

He rang back to say he didn’t want to answer questions.

In September 1997, during the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal hearings, Brittain wrote to the North Wales police authority, which is responsible for the non-policing aspects of the force.

The then clerk to the authority, Leon Gibson, wrote back to say that the information about the membership of Custodes Pacis had come from an unnamed lodge member.

Gibson added that if the Chief Constable “remembers correctly, there were five, one sergeant and four constables.”

Gibson was also the chief executive of Anglesey County Council at this time.

He declined to answer our email asking if he was a mason.

♦♦♦

THE BARRISTER who represented North Wales Police at the Tribunal was Andrew Moran, QC.

In his opening address, he made it clear that the force felt masonry was an irrelevance.

He listed many of the senior policemen who had played a role in the child abuse investigations and said, “I am instructed to add, irrelevant though it should be, that none … is a Freemason.”

He added: “Where then, please, we ask is the masonic influence? Freemason[s] at the top of the North Wales Police? There are none … Mason-free zone, we would say.”

MORAN QC Declared North Wales Police "a mason-free zone" but didn't answer a Rebecca Television letter asking if he was a mason himself ...

ANDREW MORAN, QC
Declared North Wales Police “a mason-free zone” but didn’t answer a letter asking if he was a mason himself …

In this opening address, he did an unusual thing.

He said none of these people “is” a freemason and did not add the usual rider “or has been” when dealing with masonic membership.

He therefore left open the question of whether any of these senior officers had ever been masons.

The Report of the Tribunal reported this statement with slightly different but highly significant wording:

“At the outset of the Inquiry Counsel for the North Wales Police stated, on the instructions of the Chief Constable, that none of the current or former senior officers from Assistant Chief Constable upwards during the period under review had been a freemason and that the same was true of the relevant Detective Chief Superintendents and Detective Superintendent Ackerley.”

(Ackerley was the Superintendent who headed the major child abuse police inquiry between 1991 and 1993.)

We wrote to Sir Ronald Waterhouse about how the word “is” had changed into “had been.”

He never answered the question.

During the public hearings of the Tribunal freemasonry was little discussed, as its report makes clear:

“Although this question was quite widely discussed in the press before the Tribunal’s hearings began very few questions were asked about it during our inquiry and most of them were put by the Chairman of the Tribunal to give appropriate witnesses an opportunity to affirm or deny any connection with freemasonry.”

Rebecca Television sent a list of all the male barristers who appeared before the Tribunal to the United Grand Lodge of England and asked how many of them were freemasons.

We also asked if the police assessor to the Tribunal, Sir Ronald Hadfield, and the retired police officers who made up the Tribunal’s witness interviewing team were masons.

A spokesman replied: “I’m afraid I am unable to give you the information you require.”

“We would only do so if you were an official body making that request.”

When the Tribunal reported in 2000, its verdict was clear:

“Freemasonry had no impact on any of the police investigations and was not relevant to any other issue arising from our terms of reference.”

♦♦♦

THE MOST important known mason who appeared before the Tribunal was retired North Wales Police Superintendent Gordon Anglesea.

Anglesea had won a libel action against journalists who wrongly accused him of abusing children.

“Anglesea was questioned also about his connection with Freemasonry,” said the Tribunal Report, “because of an underlying suggestion that there had been a ‘cover-up’ in his case.”

“He disclosed that he had become a full member of Berwyn Lodge in Wrexham, in 1982, after being a probationer in a lodge at Colwyn Bay from about 1976.”

“He had then transferred to a new Wrexham lodge, Pegasus Lodge, in 1984 after a gap from April to September, because it offered an opportunity for swifter advance in freemasonry.”

The Tribunal Report then says he remained a member of the Pegasus Lodge despite a directive from the Chief Constable of the North Wales Police, David Owen, in September 1984.

This directive stated:

“We must be seen to be even-handed in the discharge of our office and my policy will be to say that if you have considered joining the Masons, think carefully about how that application might interfere with your primary duty.”

“To those who are Masons I would say that you should consider carefully how right it is to continue such membership.”

“In the open society in which we live that openness must be seen by all and must not be an openness partially [clouded] by a secrecy where people could question true motivation.”

During cross-examination of Anglesea at the Tribunal, Tim King QC, representing former residents of children’s homes, asked him if Owen’s directive had upset or concerned him.

“Not whatsoever, sir,” replied Anglesea, “I read that order two or three times and it did not — I felt it did not affect my particular position.”

GORDON ANGLESEA The North Wales police officer decided to ignore his chief constable's directive warning about freemasonry... Photo: Rebecca Television

GORDON ANGLESEA
The North Wales police officer decided to ignore his chief constable’s directive warning about freemasonry…
Photo: Rebecca Television

1984 was a watershed year for the public scrutiny of freemasonry.

That year saw the publication of Stephen Knight’s book The Brotherhood which followed other press investigations such the 1981 Rebecca magazine article Darkness Visible.

The same year Metropolitan Commissioner Sir Kenneth Newman and Albert Laugharne, an assistant commissioner, published The Principles of Policing which made it clear that membership of freemasonry left officers open to suspicion.

“Thus an officer must pay the most careful regard to the impression which others are likely to gain of his membership, as well as to what he actually does, however inhibiting he may find this when arranging his own private life.”

David Owen’s response to these developments was to call a conference of superintendents which decided to issue the directive.

Within a month of Owen circulating it, the Grand Master of North Wales Province of Freemasonry, Lord Kenyon, asked to meet with him.

The two men knew each other well: Kenyon was also a member of the police authority.

The meeting took place at Wrexham police station.

Lord Kenyon was accompanied by the secretary of the province, Leonard Ellis.

Solicitors acting for the masons wrote to the Tribunal in an attempt to get this narrative removed on the grounds that it was irrelevant to the Tribunal’s work.

The Tribunal rejected the attempt and its report described what happened when the Provincial Grand Master came face to face with the Chief Constable.

David Owen told the Grand Master that he had no intention of withdrawing his directive about freemasonry…

“At this meeting Lord Kenyon argued that the directive was totally misguided and asked that it should be withdrawn and he mentioned that a police officer (unidentified but not Anglesea) had been about to take the chair in a North Wales lodge but had declined to do so because of this directive.”

LORD KENYON  Tried to persuade the chief constable to withdraw his anti-masonic directive — and invited him to join the brotherhood.

LORD KENYON
The Provincial Grand Master tried to persuade the chief constable to withdraw his anti-masonic directive — and invited him to join the brotherhood.

“Owen’s evidence was that he told Lord Kenyon that he had no intention of withdrawing the directive.”

“In response, Lord Kenyon argued that the Chief Constable knew nothing at all about freemasonry and suggested it would be appropriate for him to join a lodge, such as the one at Denbigh, outside any area of his usual working activity, but this invitation was declined.”

♦♦♦

DAVID OWEN wasn’t the first chief constable Lord Kenyon had dealt with.

Four years earlier the grand master welcomed Sir Walter Stansfield back to North Wales after he retired as Derbyshire’s chief constable and brought his police career to a close.

Sir Walter had been chief constable of the Denbigh force before the reorganisation which led to the creation of the North Wales Police.

He was deputy chief constable of North Wales in 1967 when he was appointed Derbyshire’s chief constable.

When he left North Wales to take up the Derbyshire post, he didn’t sever his links with North Wales.

He joined a new masonic lodge, Dyfrdwy, which met at Ruabon, becoming its master a year later, in 1968.

In 1981 Rebecca magazine asked Sir Walter Stansfield why he had chosen to join a North Wales lodge after he left North Wales Police.

Had he been a member of a lodge in another part of the country?

Sir Walter didn’t take kindly to being questioned on the subject.

He said:

“Who do you think you’re talking to?”

He then denied being Sir Walter Stansfield even though the telephone number he was speaking on was listed in his name.

SIR MAURICE STANSFIELD  A war hero, Sir Maurice was chief constable of the  Derbyshire force. He was also a freemason in North Wales. . He wouldn't answer questions about

SIR WALTER STANSFIELD
A war hero, Sir Walter was chief constable of the Derbyshire force. He was also a freemason in North Wales. He wouldn’t answer questions about his freemasonry …

Sir Walter also makes a cameo appearance in Martin Short’s book about freemasonry, Inside The Brotherhood.

After Sir Walter left Derbyshire, the English force was rocked by the Alf Parrish scandal.

Parrish was appointed chief constable in 1981 but soon squandered police funds for his own comfort.

He was driven out of office by which time it was discovered that he was a mason — as were many of the police authority members who appointed him.

The key masons belonged to the oldest lodge in Derbyshire, Tryian.

A provincial yearbook obtained by Labour councillors in the mid-1980s revealed that another member of the lodge was Sir Walter Stansfield…

Back in 1981, North Wales Provincial Grand Master Lord Kenyon responded to increasing media attention, including Rebecca magazine coverage, by making a statement to masons in the province.

“… we have nothing to hide and certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but we object to having our affairs investigated by outsiders.”

“We would be able to answer many of the questions likely to be asked, if not all of them, but we have found that silence is the best policy: comment or correction only breeds further inquiry and leads to the publicity we try to avoid.”

♦♦♦

THE NORTH WALES Child Abuse Tribunal report dismissed any suggestion that Lord Kenyon had tried to promote the career of Gordon Anglesea.

The Report concluded that “there is no evidence that Lord Kenyon intervened at any time in any way on behalf of Anglesea.”

The Tribunal did consider a comment made by Councillor Malcolm King, who was also a former chairman of the North Wales Police Authority, that “there was speculation (he believed) that Lord Kenyon had asked for promotion for Gordon Anglesea.”

“This was said by Councillor King to have been based on a conversation overheard at a police function; and that the speculation was that Lord Kenyon had advocated Anglesea’s promotion ‘for the purpose of covering up the fact that his son had been involved in child abuse activities’.”

This was alleged to have related to an incident in August 1979 when Lord Kenyon’s son, Tom, reported the theft of articles by a former Bryn Estyn resident while the two men were staying at a flat in Wrexham.

The young man he accused of theft was arrested and later given three months detention.

However, during the course of the investigation police discovered a series of indecent photographs in the flat which was owned by a man called Gary Cooke.

Cooke was later gaoled for five years on two counts of buggery, one of indecent assault and one of taking an indecent photograph.

Cooke claimed that, after he was arrested and charged, Tom Kenyon came over and apologised to him for what had happened and handed him a letter.

He added that if Cooke agreed “not to say anything” he would have a word with his father to improve Cooke’s chances in court.

Cooke says he gave this letter to the police.

The officers who dealt with the case say they received no such letter.

Cooke believed that Tom Kenyon’s intervention shortened his sentence.

However, when Superintendent Ackerley was carrying out his investigation into this case in the early 1990s, he discovered that the prosecution file could not be found.

The Tribunal’s investigators discovered that there was no evidence Cooke had been shown any favour: he served a full third of his sentence.

In any case, the Report added, Lord Kenyon had no influence with the parole board.

The Tribunal’s Report conclusion was damning:

“We have received no evidence whatsoever in support of this allegation and it appears to have been merely a malicious rumour.”

LOST IN CARE The massive 937 page report cleared the North Wales Police of any failures

LOST IN CARE
The massive 937 page report of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal described an anecdote about the Provincial Grand Master trying to get a promotion for Gordon Anglesea as a “malicious rumour”. Yet the Tribunal’s own staff had been to see the policeman who told them he was sitting next to the Grand Master when he made the comment.

Councillor King was actually combining two separate rumours here: the first that Lord Kenyon had spoken up for Anglesea at a police function, the second that it was somehow related to favours Anglesea was alleged to have done for his son.

The Tribunal should have known that the first rumour, that Lord Kenyon had spoken up for Anglesea, had substance.

The source of the anecdote was Harry Templeton, a former constable and once the secretary of the Police Federation branch in North Wales Police.

The reason the Tribunal should have known about it was that two members of its own Witness Interviewing Team, made up of retired police officers who were not from North Wales, went to talk to Templeton.

Templeton told them he had been to a function at the senior officers’ dining room at Police Headquarters in Colwyn Bay and was sitting opposite Lord Kenyon who was present as a magistrate member of the Police Authority.

Templeton told the Tribunal team that Lord Kenyon had said that he was surprised Gordon Anglesea, then a chief inspector, had not been promoted to Superintendent and that he would see to it that he was promoted before he retired.

Templeton told them he’d made a signed affidavit about the incident for a national newspaper.

Templeton also told the Tribunal team there was another witness to the remark, Peter Williams, the then chairman of the Police Federation branch.

Templeton never said anything about Lord Kenyon’s advocating a promotion for Gordon Anglesea having anything to do with Tom Kenyon’s case.

This suggestion, he says, must have come from somewhere else.

When Rebecca Television sent Templeton details of the Tribunal’s findings in relation to this anecdote, he was shocked.

He says that the two retired Tribunal detectives had not taken a signed statement from him and he now feels there is a question mark about what they did with the information he gave them.

We also spoke to Peter Williams.

He  said that the Tribunal never came to see him.

He confirmed that he was at the function with Harry Templeton in their official roles as Police Federation representatives.

He recalls that Lord Kenyon expressed his surprise that Gordon Anglesea had not been promoted.

He does not remember him saying that he would see that it took place before he retired.

♦♦♦ 

NOTES
1  This article was published on 21 April 2010 on the old Rebecca Television subscription site.

2  It’s part of the series of articles called The Case of the Flawed Tribunal.

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.


MAY THE FARCE BE WITH YOU

September 24, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

THE BATTLE to force North Wales Police to launch a corruption investigation against a former Anglesey councillor is being lost.

The councillor was branded “corrupt” by the authority’s own Standards Committee last year.

It said his actions “amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

When the authority refused to report the bent councillor to the police, Rebecca Television did so.

For eleven months, two senior detectives did little but read council documents.

Finally, one of them claimed there were “inherent difficulties” in bringing a case “without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual …”

This statement is false.

In April this year a local resident who claims he lost money as a result of the corrupt councillor’s actions wrote to the chief constable and asked him to investigate.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out this glaring error, detectives turned up on the resident’s doorstep…

This farce follows a long catalogue of questionable behaviour which suggests the force is institutionally devious.

north-wales-police-logo

IN OCTOBER last year Rebecca Television wrote to North Wales Police Chief Constable Mark Polin.

This letter asked him to investigate an extraordinary decision of Anglesey County Council’s Standards Committee in August 2012.

The committee — which polices the behaviour of councillors — found that former member David Lewis Roberts had acted corruptly.

He had spoken in favour of  planning applications in an area called Shepherds Hill where he had secretly bought land.

He paid just £15,000 for nine acres of land and tried to overturn tight controls on building new houses in the area.

Had he succeeded, the land would have rocketed in value.

(The full story is told in the article The Case of the Corrupt Councillor).

The committee said his “conduct gave a clear impression he had misused his position for personal advantage, and that it amounted to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office”.

It added “Mr David Lewis Roberts’ conduct in local planning matters in the public office of county councillor had been within the generally understood meaning of ‘corrupt’ …”

However, the Standards Committee decided not to take any further action against Roberts, partly because he was no longer a councillor.

Rebecca Television asked the Chief Constable “to formally investigate this matter”.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams, based in Caernarfon, was given the job of establishing if there was enough evidence to start an investigation.

In November he wrote to say he had obtained all the papers involved in the Standards Committee hearing and promised an update “in the early part of next year”.

It wasn’t until April that he wrote again.

He said he had now assessed these papers and asked for further documentation.

“The relevant documents were received from the council in mid-February and the information is now being analysed to enable an accurate determination of whether there exists any evidence to support a claim of criminal conduct.”

He added, however, that he was moving to a different area and the matter would be passed to another detective.

This was Detective Chief Inspector Iestyn Davies.

By this time Rebecca Television had discovered that David Lewis Roberts had lied to the Standards Committee about the date he bought the land.

He had, in fact, actually purchased the site six months earlier — and had failed to declare an interest when he spoke up on a planning application from the family he had purchased his land from.

BENT Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded corrupt by the authority's Standards Committee. But North Wales appear reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

BENT
Former Anglesey County Council David Lewis Roberts — branded “corrupt” by the authority’s Standards Committee. But North Wales Police is reluctant to launch a criminal investigation against him.

This application was later approved, adding more than £100,000 to the value of the plot.

We sent the evidence to Iestyn Davies.

DCI Davies appears to have started from scratch.

In June he wrote to say “I am still reviewing a mountain of paperwork obtained from the council. I should get it done this week.”

In July he said he was planning to meet the council.

Earlier this month we wrote to him again, noting the “snail’s pace evaluation of the David Lewis Roberts’ issue”.

DCI Davies replied to say that he now saw “inherent difficulties in pursuing this matter to a court of law without the matter being subject of a formal complaint by an individual or a public authority such as the Council”.

On September 9 we emailed to say that he was wrong.

The matter had been the subject of a formal complaint.

In April this year Shepherds Hill resident Adrian Broad wrote to Chief Constable Mark Polin to ask him to investigate allegations of corruption against David Lewis Roberts.

Broad lives next to the parcel of land which David Lewis Roberts had bought.

He was convinced Roberts was going to obtain planning permission — and felt he had no option but to pay a high price for a small piece of land to create a buffer zone.

In May he received a reply from Polin’s office saying his letter “is currently receiving attention”.

A few days after Rebecca Television pointed out the mistake to DCI Davies, two detectives visited Adrian Broad.

If detectives had visited Shepherds Hill earlier they would also have found other residents willing to make formal complaints.

And there is one individual who would have been more than happy to talk to them — former councillor Barrie Durkin.

Durkin has openly been denouncing David Lewis Roberts as “corrupt” for seven years.

Durkin was a key figure in the Standards committee meeting.

The committee was hearing a report from Ombudsman Peter Tyndall which found that Durkin’s description of Roberts as “corrupt” was a breach of the council’s code of conduct.

Unlike the Ombudsman, the committee actually examined Durkin’s evidence against Roberts — and found it justified.

Rebecca Television will now lodge complaints against DCIs Andrew Williams and Iestyn Williams with the Professional Standards unit of North Wales Police.

“Going on past experience, the two officers will be exonerated,” commented editor Paddy French.

“And, on one level, that’s likely to be fair enough — both detectives were probably acting on orders from headquarters in Colwyn Bay.”

“But, once they have been cleared, Rebecca Television can appeal the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Committee.”

“That allows the possibility that the IPCC can consider if the force have been party to a cover-up of serious allegations of corrupt activity on its patch.”

♦♦♦

THIS IS the second time North Wales Police have examined allegations against David Lewis Roberts.

The first time happened by accident.

In 2008 the then Managing Director of Anglesey County Council, Derrick Jones, was trying to obtain anonymous letters from the ITV Wales This Week programme.

These appeared to come from within the council’s senior management.

One of them stated: “We are fairly senior people and are close enough to the action to see what’s really going on and thus are very unhappy especially in regard to the highly biased, political  … role that [some] … managers are willing to play for some pretty ruthless local politicians.”

ITV would not surrender the letters without a court order.

Derrick Jones asked North Wales Police to intervene.

NORTH WALES POLICEA long history of being economical with the truth.

NORTH WALES POLICE
A long history of being economical with the truth.

A letter from acting Superintendent Peter Gaffey, arrived at ITV Wales in Cardiff.

He wanted to see the letters to “assess the contents and ascertain if it warrants a criminal investigation.”

He promised he wouldn’t show the letters to the council.

ITV Wales told him that there would need to be a criminal investigation and a court application before the letters could be released.

The council never obtained the letters.

However Paddy French, then a producer with Wales This Week, thought that if the force was really interested in possible criminality, there was one obvious place to look.

“I wrote to Gaffey and asked him to look at the activities of David Lewis Roberts,” said French.

“I pointed out that the council had rejected a report from its own external auditors which said it was “imperative” the authority investigate alleged breaches of the planning rules by Roberts.”

“The council refused to do so.”

“I thought it was worth the force investigating to see if Roberts had also broken the criminal law.”

“I made it plain that residents of Shepherds Hill were saying that Roberts had bought the land and was determined to get planning permission on it.”

“What they were claiming turned out to be remarkably accurate — they correctly identified the land, the number of acres and the price.”

“I marked my letter “private & confidential” because I was concerned about the destruction of evidence.”

“I was shocked to discover Gaffey then gave a copy to the council.”

It took Gaffey less than two months to consider the issue.

He wrote that if Roberts “had failed to declare an interest as required in a planning application with the intention of making a personal profit, he would be guilty of misconduct in public office and possibly other corruption charges.”

“Those who had knowingly and dishonestly aided him in the scheme would fall for consideration as conspirators.”

“It is entirely possible that a criminal investigation might reveal written evidence or other evidence to support a conspiracy, but on the basis of your letter it is difficult to see that there is sufficient material to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed.”

“Until such suspicion has been established, methods such as search warrants and production orders cannot be used.”

At that point, evidence of Roberts’ purchase of the land had not come to light.

However, the information that has since emerged — from the Standards Committee and the investigative work by Rebecca Television — appears to satisfy all the conditions in Gaffey’s letter.

♦♦♦

NORTH WALES Police has not covered itself in glory in its attempts to deal with corruption on the island.

In the 1990s a long criminal investigation was carried out into the activities of councillor Gareth Winston Roberts.

This Roberts is no relation to David Lewis Roberts.

The probe came to nothing.

Gareth Winston Roberts was awarded an OBE for his services to employment on the island.

Those awarding the gong appear to have been unaware that the councillor had stood by and watched as Amlwch businessman Bill Farrell was bankrupted by the council.

(The story of Gareth Winston Roberts’ career is told in the article Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.)

In 1996 District Auditor Ceri Stradling carried out a detailed investigation into wrong-doing at the council.

By now, Gareth Winston Roberts was Leader.

Stradling produced two damning reports and found evidence of criminal activity in the council.

He called in the North Wales Police.

Stradling singled out the housing department, headed by director John Arthur Jones, for the most serious indictments.

Stradling criticised Jones for awarding contracts which were not good value for the people of Anglesey.

One of these contracts — for the investigation of housing fraud — was negotiated with the recently retired North Wales Police Superintendent Clive McGregor.

McGregor — who was later elected to the council and served briefly as Leader — has always insisted that everything he did was above-board.

The police investigation led to John Arthur Jones being prosecuted.

He was accused of using men to help build his house who he knew were in receipt of benefit from his own housing department.

He denied the charge.

The trial collapsed after witnesses admitted to talking to one another before they gave evidence.

Jones had been suspended as housing director and was later sacked.

It later emerged that Jones had gone on holiday with a North Wales Police detective while the investigation against him was taking place.

Detective Inspector Roy Gregson and his wife, a civilian police employee, had gone on holiday to Florida with Jones and his wife.

North Wales Police gave the officer “suitable advice” — one of the lightest forms of disciplinary action.

A spokesman added “we do regret, however, that the detective and the civilian employee acted so unwisely.”

John Arthur Jones became a councillor in 2004 and soon formed his own political party, the Radical Independents with four members.

In 2006 the party became the junior member of a new ruling coalition led by Gareth Winston Roberts.

Within months the administration was plunged into chaos when the Radical Independents spearheaded a surge in attempts to force through planning applications which were against the island’s structure plan.

These planning applications, if successful, turned small parcels of land worth a few thousand pounds into building plots worth over £100,000.

The most controversial of these schemes were the ones in Shepherds Hill.

They were strongly supported by David Lewis Roberts, a member of the Radical Independents.

He claimed that each of the Radical Independents were free agents.

“When we formulated the Radical Independents we had an agreement between the four of us — I’m sure the others would tell — that we’d do our own thing.”

The crisis came to an end in 2007 when the constitution was changed to prevent councillors from dealing with these applications.

As early as 2006 Barrie Durkin, who was a community councillor at the time, had sent a letter to every county councillor entitled “Nice Work If You Can Get It”.

BARRIE DURKIN  A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin branded David Lewis Roberts "corrupt" for more thsn seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he'd broken the authority's code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he'd been right all along ...

BARRIE DURKIN
A county councillor between 2004 and 2008, Durkin called David Lewis Roberts “corrupt” for more than seven years. Twice the Ombudsman found that he’d broken the authority’s code of conduct but last year the Standards Committee decided he’d been right all along …

The letter accused Roberts of “failing to declare an interest and corrupting endless planning applications …”

Roberts complained about Durkin saying he was “outrageous, intolerable and psychotic”.

The then Ombudsman, Adam Peat, found the language Durkin used was a breach of the council’s code of conduct and referred him to the council’s Standards Committee.

In 2007 the committee “censured” Durkin for the language he had used.

Neither the Ombudsman nor the Standards Committee bothered to examine if there was actually any substance to Durkin’s claims.

The ruling did not stop Durkin calling Roberts “corrupt”.

So Roberts complained again in 2010.

The Ombudsman, by now Peter Tyndall, again declined to examine the deeper issues — and inevitably found that, in calling David Lewis Roberts “corrupt”, Durkin had once again breached the code of conduct.

“To suggest that a person is corrupt or the perpetrator of unlawful or criminal acts is a very serious allegation to make and one which I consider should not be made lightly.”

It was the Standards Committee meeting in August 2012 which finally broke the spell — and got to the heart of the matter.

“It seems to me,” says Rebecca Television editor Paddy French, “that the committee on this occasion showed itself a better investigator than either the Ombudsman or the North Wales Police.”

“Sadly, though, the committee’s good work was rendered meaningless by the decision not to call in the police.”

♦♦♦

IT IS not just in issues involving Anglesey County Council that North Wales Police has been found wanting.

There are also serious question marks about its role in the investigation of child abuse allegations.

Rebecca Television recently published an examination of a vicious paedophile ring operating on the North Wales coast.

The investigation comprised a video — Brothers in the Shadows — and an article The Missing Masonic Child Abuser.

The ring involved a retired detective who was also a freemason.

He was caught and gaoled — but the freemason he claimed invited him into the ring was never brought to book.

North Wales Police was devious in its dealings with Rebecca Television.

When we asked the force if it had sought the help of the brotherhood in its attempts to track down this missing abuser, a spokesman said it had.

But we had already asked the masons, both locally and in London, if the force had been in touch.

They said it hadn’t.

They confirmed that the police had been to see them only after we started asking questions.

In 2010 Rebecca Television editor Paddy French and a cameraman door-stepped the retired detective to ask him about the missing mason.

Afterwards the retired detective rang the police and said French was harassing him.

“This is nonsense,” said French, “I had written to him and he had not replied.”

“I called at his house and he wasn’t in. I got hold of his phone and talked to him — he wouldn’t be interviewed.”

“A couple of days later we caught up with him at a garage on the A55 — and he spoke to us.”

“This is perfectly standard broadcasting practice.”

Some months later North Wales Police sent French a caution.

“I find this offensive” says French.

“Here we have a North Wales Police officer taking the word of a convicted child abuser at face value.”

“The officer finds it justifiable to issue a caution without ever speaking to me.”

“It gives the impression that the force is more interested in protecting criminals than helping an investigative journalist bring a missing child abuser to book.”

♦♦♦

THIS IS not the first time the force has been caught out in its handling of freemasonry.

A classic example took place in 1995 when the then Chief Constable Michael Argent tried to insist there was no police lodge in the North Wales Police area.

As we revealed in the programme Brothers in the Shadows, local newspaper editor Mark Brittain raised the issue after he discovered the existence of a lodge called Custodes Pacis.

When Argent denied the existence of the lodge, Brittain sent him the entry for the lodge.

Argent then accepted that, yes, it did exist but that there were no serving officers in its ranks.

He was forced to retract that claim as well when Brittain proved there were.

Brittain nows wonders if this attempt to bury the existence of the lodge was connected to the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal which was set up in 1996.

One of the key issues before the Tribunal was the issue of masonic influence inside the force.

The existence of Cusdodes Pacis was kept from the Tribunal — despite the fact that its chief counsel Gerard Elias is a mason.

♦♦♦

THE MOST serious question mark against the force is its role in the failure to call a key witness before the Tribunal.

This was Des Frost, joint number two at the Bryn Alyn complex of privately-owned children’s homes in Wrexham.

(This story is told in the article Silent Witness.)

Bryn Alyn’s boss, John Allen, had been gaoled for six years in 1995 for abusing children in his care.

Frost had given an interview to HTV in which he claimed that he had gone to the police with allegations against Allen more than a decade before the paedophile was finally brought to book.

The Tribunal warned HTV it would be in contempt of the Tribunal if it broadcast any allegations from Frost.

The allegations were not reported.

But Frost was never called to give evidence before the Tribunal.

Ten days after Frost had been interviewed by HTV, he was visited by North Wales Police Detective Inspector Neil McAdam and a statement taken.

When Rebecca Television emailed McAdam in 2009 to ask about this interview, he acknowledged the letter but never answered the questions.

We complained to the force Professional Standards department and were eventually told McAdam had been instructed not to reply.

“It is reasonable that DI McAdam has sought advice and guidance from his line managers expecting that ownership to respond …  rest with someone higher within the organisation,” noted the investigation report.

Rebecca Television had already written to Chief Constable Mark Polin about the matter.

He never replied.

And there the matter would have rested had it not been for Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision, last autumn, to reopen the investigation into child abuse in North Wales.

Rebecca Television had made a statement about the Frost affair to the Macur Review which is conducting an examination to see if the Tribunal did its work properly.

♦♦♦

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards


BROTHERS IN THE SHADOWS

September 9, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

THIS PROGRAMME examines the role of freemasons and police in child abuse cases in North Wales.

It tells how the existence of a masonic lodge for police officers was kept from the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal in the 1990s.

A local newspaper editor stumbled on the story some time before the Tribunal began work.

At first North Wales Police denied it existed — a stance it was forced to abandon when the reporter produced a photocopy of the lodge entry in the provincial yearbook.

Then it claimed no serving officers were members — but that position also turned out to be wrong.

The journalist was amazed when the Tribunal was not told about the lodge.

But the core of the video is the extraordinary story of a paedophile ring which operated on the North Wales coast in 2005-6.

Orchestrated by a murderer, the ring included a retired police officer and several freemasons.

One of these masons is still at large.

Rebecca Television asks if police have done enough to bring this masonic child abuser to book.

The story has uncanny echoes of the 1980s and 1990s when North Wales was awash with rumours of a paedophile ring — allegedly involving police officers and masons — exploiting children in care.

Those rumours led to the establishment of the Tribunal.

When Brothers in the Shadows was first published, in 2010, the general view was that the issue has been laid to rest by the Tribunal in its massive report, called Lost in Care, published in 2000.

The Tribunal found no evidence of a paedophile ring and cleared North Wales Police of charges that it had failed to investigate child abuse allegations properly.

Rebecca Television was virtually alone in raising questions about the work of the Tribunal.

These doubts were dramatically vindicated last November when David Cameron announced a new police investigation and a review of the work of the Tribunal.

Also published today is an article which examines the 2005-6 paedophile ring in more detail — The Missing Masonic Child Abuser.

(Please note that the programme is a high quality video and may take some time to begin playing.)


♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2010 & 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this programme — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this programme and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards


THE MISSING MASONIC CHILD ABUSER

September 9, 2013

rebecca_logo_04

A CHILD abuser is on the loose in North Wales.

He’s a freemason.

A retired police detective is the man who says so.

The former policeman is also an abuser who was caught and gaoled.

Both men were members of a child abuse ring organised by a man who had previously attacked and seriously injured two women and had nearly got away with murdering another.

The full story of what happened has never been told.

Rebecca Television asks if the police – and the masons – have done enough to track down the missing masonic child abuser.

LLANDULAS BEACH One of the North Wales beaches where a paedophile ring sexually exploited a young girl.  Photo: Barry Davies

LLANDDULAS BEACH
One of the North Wales beaches where a paedophile ring sexually exploited a young girl. Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

WHEN FORMER Birmingham police officer Raymond Ketland parked his car on a North Wales beach in 2005 a group of men walked by.

One of the group saw 66-year-old Ketland and walked over to him.

At his trial, prosecution barrister Andrew Thomas said Ketland told police he recognised this man as a member of the masonic lodge he belonged to.

The mason asked: “do you want to have a bit of fun?”

He pointed to a girl who was with the group.

Ketland decided to join in the “fun”.

The group sex was organised by Fred Lawlor from Abergele.

He had gained control of the young girl when she was 13.

She was 14 when police rescued her: she told them Lawlor instructed her to have sex with 50 men.

North Wales Police began investigating after a member of the public saw sexual activity and reported it.

Police launched Operation Furley and began to carry out surveillance on beaches between Llandudno and Rhyl.

On one occasion officers saw Lawlor with the young girl.

They considered that she wasn’t dressed appropriately.

He responded by writing to the Chief Constable complaining of harassment.

Eventually police raided Lawlor’s flat and discovered videos of the girl having sex with scores of men.

As well as having sex with the girl himself, Lawlor filmed encounters with other men, sometimes using a hidden camera.

When the videos were examined, police found 17 men who could be identified.

One of these was retired Midlands detective Raymond Ketland.

He was charged with two counts of having sex with a child, taking an indecent image and facilitating a child sex offence.

He was gaoled for two and a half years.

Th

RAYMOND KETLAND
The retired detective sergeant claims he was invited to join the ring by a fellow freemason. Photo: Barry Davies / Rebecca Television

Ketland refused to name the freemason who had invited him to join in the abuse.

A bishop from Liberal Catholic Church, Gerard Crane, appeared as a character witness for Ketland.

The Liberal Catholic Church is not connected to the Church of Rome.

Bishop Crane said he’d known Ketland for several years.

“I don’t know why he did what he did,” Bishop Crane told a reporter.

“He confessed to me and told me it was a moment of madness. He asked for forgiveness.”

“We have prayed together for the unfortunate girl. He is full of remorse and is distressed for any hurt he has caused.”

In December 2009 Rebecca Television asked Bishop Crane if he was a freemason like Ketland.

Bishop Crane said: “I have never denied my membership of freemasonry but it is a personal matter that is no concern of anybody else.”

“I joined many years before I came to live in North Wales, and I am not a member of any Masonic Craft Lodge in the Province of North Wales.”

“Nor have I ever been a member of the same Craft Lodge as Mr Raymond Ketland. I met him socially some seven years ago and regard him as a friend.”

“As such I was able to accede to his request to appear as a ‘character witness’ at his trial, and also to minister to him as a Priest.”

“At the time of the trial, when I heard about the ‘missing child abuser’, I implored Mr Ketland to reveal that person’s name to the authorities, if he knew who it was.”

“I repeatedly begged him to accede to my request if he had any information, but, for whatever reason, he would never do so.”

“In consequence, I never knew and still do not know, the identity of the man in question.”

“I did telephone the Provincial Secretary and asked him to investigate the allegation that one of his officers was the ‘missing child abuser’ but I was never informed as to the outcome of any such investigation which might subsequently have taken place.”

♦♦♦

DESPITE HER ordeal, the girl who was at the mercy of the paedophile ring is fortunate.

She had been manipulated by a violent woman-hater.

If he had not been caught she might have lost her life.

For Fred Lawlor has a lawless past.

In 1982 he was convicted of actual bodily harm after he repeatedly punched his then girlfriend and then jumped on her stomach.

She was seven months pregnant.

Five years later he attacked another girlfriend.

He first tried to electrocute her by putting the flex from an electric fire into her bath.

When that failed, he picked up a knife and stabbed her repeatedly.

She needed five operations to repair the damage and had to use a colostomy bag for five months due to the lacerations on her bowel.

Lawlor was gaoled for seven years for this offence.

Later another partner, Dorothy Carre, was twice reported missing by her family who described Lawlor as a “cruel, manipulative bully”.

She was last seen in 1999.

But it wasn’t until the paedophile ring case in 2006 that her fate was finally revealed.

Police used the BBC Crimewatch programme to appeal for public assistance to help identify the abusers they had not caught.

A member of Dorothy Carre’s family saw Lawlor on Crimewatch and rang the police to remind them she was still missing.

This time Greater Manchester Police carried out a more thorough investigation.

They found Dorothy Carre’s body in a shallow grave in the cellar of the house she had shared with Lawlor in Rochdale.

The skeleton revealed stab wounds to the spine.

The body had been wrapped in a duvet and buried under flagstones in the cellar of the rented house.

In October 2007 a jury at Manchester Crown Court decided, by a 10-2 majority, that Lawlor had stabbed Dorothy Carre to death.

FRED LAWLOR Psychopath, murderer and child abuser. Photo: Manchester Evening News

FRED LAWLOR
Psychopath, murderer, child abuser…   Photo: Manchester Evening News

He was gaoled for life.

Dorothy Carre’s daughter said: “Since 1995 Frederick Lawlor has taken our mother from us, initially by manipulating her into staying away from us and finally by committing the worst crime by taking her life in such a cruel, callous, heartless and premeditated way, ensuring she would never return to her family.”

By that time he was already in prison for organising the sex ring in North Wales.

At Caernarfon Crown Court in April 2006 he had admitted 18 sex charges against the young girl – four specimen counts of sexual activity with a child, seven of taking indecent images and seven of causing a child to engage in sexual activity with another adult.

The court was told he’d abused her at least 75 times.

Most of the men did not pay for sex with the girl.

The only one who did was Lawlor’s neighbour Gary Owen, 55, who had already served a six year sentence for sex offences against a 12-year-old girl.

This time around he was gaoled for another six years.

Sentencing Lawlor to an indefinite prison sentence to be reviewed in 15 years, Judge Merfyn Hughes told him “the full extent of psychological damage you have inflicted on this young girl won’t be known for many years.”

“You have completely ruined any immediate chance she may have had of leading a full life. She must have believed sexual promiscuity was the norm.”

“You carried on despite being investigated by police, and even had the affront to write to the chief constable claiming that officers were harassing you.”

He praised the police operation headed by Detective Inspector Wayne Jones for ridding the area of a large number of sex offenders.

“This would not have been possible without the observations carried out by police officers on the ground who visited the beaches.”

“It became a much larger inquiry that anybody had initially, perhaps, expected.”

♦♦♦

ONLY TWO of the men featured in the films remain at large.

Pictures of both have been shown on the BBC Crimewatch programme but they have never been identified.

MISSING ABUSER No 1 This image of an unknown man watching other men having sex with the young girl was taken by Fred Lawlor. Photo: North Wales Police

MISSING ABUSER No 1
This image of an unknown man watching other men having sex with the young girl was taken by Fred Lawlor. Photo: North Wales Police

Male 2

MISSING ABUSER No 2
The second man police were unable to identify. Photo: North Wales Police

Ketland has never identified either of these men as the mason who introduced him to the ring.

That means the missing freemason is a different man.

A spokeswoman for North Wales Police said: “Ketland would not co-operate with the police therefore it is not possible to say whether there was a masonic connection.”

In November 2009 Rebecca Television asked the North Wales Province of freemasonry if the North Wales Police had asked them for their assistance in identifying the missing masonic abuser.

Provincial secretary Peter Sorahan replied.

“We do not know and were never told who else was involved.”

“Furthermore we are completely unaware as to what action was taken by the Police against any other person and would certainly not support any person who was in any way involved; neither would we tolerate them in freemasonry.”

He said that Ketland was a “joiner” of a North Wales lodge.

In other words, the original lodge he entered – known as his “mother lodge” – is in another province.

He added that Ketland is no longer a freemason.

Sorahan also declined to give details of the lodges that Ketland belonged to.

“As I’m sure you are aware,” he said, “under the requirements of the Data Protection Act we can not disclose the names and personal details of members and their Lodges.”

(The Information Commissioner’s Office says provincial yearbooks are not covered by the Data Protection Act.)

At the time Sorahan was answering these questions, Rebecca Television had not yet been told by Bishop Crane that he had contacted Sorahan’s predecessor as provincial secretary, Leonard Ellis.

We asked Sorahan to confirm that Bishop Crane had contacted Leonard Ellis and, if so, what was the outcome.

Sorahan did not reply.

Chris Connop at United Grand Lodge headquarters in London said: “if the police were to contact us, we would do our best to give any information they requested if we were able to do so. The same is true of the Freemasons in North Wales.”

“They have not been in contact in this case.”

Also in November 2009 Rebecca Television e-mailed North Wales Police and asked if they had been in touch with the masons in North Wales.

It took a month and several reminders before a spokeswoman came back with a statement.

“The Masons have been approached by officers and are unable to assist further with identifying the outstanding offenders.”

Rebecca Television asked provincial masonic secretary Peter Sorahan to confirm that police had been to see him and that their visit had taken place only after we started asking questions.

He e-mailed to say “your assumptions are correct.”

A film crew finally caught up with Ketland in February 2010 as he stopped at a garage to buy a newspaper.

(This encounter can be seen in the video Brothers in the Shadows.)

WHEN KETLAND was doorstepped for the Brothers in the Shadows programme, he complained to the North Wales Police. The force chose to believe a convicted child abuser — and sent the caution above to RTV editor Paddy French. Photo: Rebecca Television

CAUTION
After Ketland was doorstepped for the Brothers in the Shadows programme, he complained to the North Wales Police that he was being harassed. The force didn’t ask Rebecca Television for its side of the story: it chose to accept the word of a convicted child abuser and sent this caution to editor Paddy French.

He had not answered our letters and wasn’t in when we called at his home in Llandudno.

He told us that the prosecution case at his trial was wrong.

The missing mason was not a member of his lodge.

He was a man he had seen only briefly and at a distance at a masonic social function – he did not know his name.

He said that he believed the man was a member of a provincial grand lodge because, when he first asked him to join the child abuse ring, he was wearing provincial cufflinks.

Rebecca Television has asked the Crown Prosecution Service if it had made a mistake in claiming that Ketland told police that the missing mason was a member of his masonic lodge.

They said they were not in a position to help.

We also asked North Wales Police what Ketland had said in his statement to police.

The force didn’t reply.

♦♦♦

Rebecca Television now knows Ketland’s masonic history.

He resigned from freemasonry in April 2006 after his conviction.

Before then he was a member of the Lodge of St Hilary which meets at Llandudno’s Freemasons Hall.

KETLAND'S MASONRY When he retired to the North Wales coast, Raymond Ketland joined the local St Hilary Lodge in Llandudno. This is the entry for the year

KETLAND’S MASONRY
When he retired to the North Wales coast, Raymond Ketland joined the local St Hilary Lodge in Llandudno. This is the entry in the 2008 Provincial Yearbook. Ketland insists that the freemason who introduced him to the child abuse ring is not a member of this lodge.

He was also a member of the Gogarth chapter of Royal Arch Masonry.

His original lodge is Hilbre which meets in Neston in Cheshire.

♦♦♦

NOTES
1  A version of this article was first published in 2010 along with the video Brothers in the Shadows.
2  There is no report which brings together the full list of those convicted in Operation Furley.
Police obtained 17 pictures of abusers from the material seized from Lawlor and 15 were eventually caught.
The combined sentences added up to 56 years in gaol.
The following alphabetical list is based on press reports.
Neither the Crown Prosecution Service nor the North Wales Police would fill in the gaps.

ALAN COLCLOUGH, 51, Rhyl
Charge: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

ERIC (MARK) CRAVEN, 47, Penmaenmawr
Charges: admitted 4 charges of sexual activity with a child, 2 charges of taking indecent photographs and 1 charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
Sentence: 4 years
Sex offenders register: life.

RONALD (ALBERT) FARRINGTON, 45, Birkenhead
Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child and 2 charges of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 3 years
Sex offenders register: life.

DAVID FORSHAW, 41, Rhyl,
Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 1 year and 9 months
Sex offenders register: life.

RAYMOND (AUSTIN) FOULKES, 51, Colwyn Bay
Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

MICHAEL KENNY, 54, Prestatyn
Charges: admitted 1 charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 charge of taking indecent photographs
Sentence: 1 year 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

RAYMOND KETLAND, 66, Glan Conwy
Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a minor, 1 charge of taking indecent photographs and 1 charge of facilitating a child sex offence
Sentence: 2 years 6 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

FREDERICK LAWLOR, 52, Abergele
Charges: pleaded guilty to a series of specimen charges: 4 of sexual activity with a child, 7 of taking indecent photographs and 7 of causing a child to engage in sexual activity with others
Sentence: indefinite, to be reviewed after 15 years
(Already serving life for the murder of former partner Dorothy Carre, several other convictions for violent assault)
Sex offenders register: details not known but probably for life.

GARETH VAUGHAN LLOYD, 47, Wrexham
Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 3 years 3 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

JOHN (EDWARD) McCOY, Abergele
Charges: admitted 2 charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 3 years
Sex offenders register: life.

GARY McILROY, 50, Ellesmere Port
Charge: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 1 year 9 months
Sex offenders register: details not known.

JAMES MARLAND, 22, Abergele
Charge: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 2 years 9 months
Sex offenders register: life.

GARY OWEN, 55,
Charges: admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child
Sentence: 6 years
Sex offenders register: details not known.

RONALD (WILLIAM) ROCHE, 49, Abergele
Charges: admitted one charge of sexual activity with a child and 1 of taking indecent photographs.
(Previously gaoled for 9 years for robbery)
Sentence: 2 years 3 months
Sex offenders register: 10 years.

RICHARD (ALAN) WHITE, 58, Old Colwyn
Charges: admitted 3 charges of sexual activity with a child and 1 of taking indecent photographs.
(Previous conviction for indecency in public)
Sentence: 3 years 6 months
Sex offenders register: life.

© Rebecca Television 2010 & 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards


A FISTFUL OF COPPERS

April 8, 2013

rebecca_6a
HOW OPEN was Winston Roddick QC in last November’s election for North Wales Police Commissioner?

The millionaire barrister won the election — but was it fair and square?

Why didn’t he level with the people of North Wales about his intention to be a part-time commissioner? Was it because the hourly rate for the job just wasn’t good enough?

And why didn’t he tell voters that he had once been a mason in Wales’ most powerful lodge? Was it because he wanted to secure the masonic vote without antagonizing electors opposed to masonry?

And is becoming police commissioner for North Wales part of his campaign to land a knighthood for himself?

pcc-winston-roddick

WINSTON RODDICK
The 72-year-old barrister has come under fire for not telling voters that he was planning to be a part-time commissioner.

LAST NOVEMBER the outsider won the election to become the first-ever police commissioner for North Wales.

The favourite had been Tal Michael, son of veteran Welsh Labour stalwart Alun Michael.

Tal Michael had held the £85,000 a year position of chief executive of the old North Wales Police Authority which the coalition government had decided to scrap.

His experience of running the old authority combined with his nomination by the Labour machine in North Wales appeared to give him the edge. Plaid were not fielding a candidate and the Tories never stood a chance.

Things didn’t work out the way the Michael dynasty planned.

While the Father duly took the plum post of South Wales commissioner, the Son was well-beaten by Roddick.

Welsh-speaking Winston Roddick, who was born and raised in Caernarfon and has a home in the town, beat him comfortably with a majority of nearly 10,000 votes.

Labour, not surprisingly, hit back at Roddick after the election for standing as an Independent when he’s always been a Liberal Democrat.

But Roddick’s political leanings would have been known by Tal Michael’s camp and doubtless they made sure electors were well aware of Roddick’s leanings when they went knocking on voters’ doors.

And they may well have brought up the allegation that Roddick’s campaign team attempted to smear Labour’s Paul Flynn in the 1987 General Election. The story is told in Flynn’s book Unusual Suspects.

Roddick was the Liberal candidate in the Newport West constituency when his campaign team circulated a leaflet just before the poll.

It claimed that “Liberals in Newport West believe in campaigning on the issues not the personalities. That is why we have not published the information given to us anonymously by the Conservative Party, that if published, would prove that the Labour candidate, Mr Flynn, is not fit to be an MP.”

Flynn was shaken: “It hit hard. [Leaflets like these] were known locally as ‘yellow perils’. Because of their timing, there was no chance to refute any claims made.”

Flynn later discovered the “information” was based on a 14-year-old press cutting about him being fined for having an out-of-date MOT.

“it was poisonous and imprecise, allowing the voters to invent their own major crime that made me unfit to represent them. The Liberal Candidate, Winston Roddick, subsequently apologised in person for it.”

Flynn won the election comfortably.

♦♦♦

Roddick has also come under fire for not declaring that he would not surrender his lucrative legal practice if he was elected.

The Western Mail revealed in November that it had “written evidence that Mr Roddick considers himself to have a general commitment of two to three days a week” as commissioner.

He told chief reporter Martin Shipton: “I am a barrister. If I am instructed as such, I will decide then whether to accept the instructions.”

He said he would work whatever hours were needed to carry out his duties as a commissioner even if that meant working more than a normal working week.

In 2011 Home Secretary Theresa May rejected a recommendation from the Review Body on Senior Salaries that part-time commissioners should receive a reduced salary.

This allowed shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith to make some political hay at Roddick’s expense.

“Did he tell the voters in North Wales that he was only planning to do a couple of days a week and spend the rest of the time working at the Bar? Or was this, like with his political allegiance to the Lib Dems, something he chose to keep quiet about?”

Roddick has strong views about the correct pay for people of his stature.

In 2008 he wrote to the then Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy to complain about the pay of barristers from legal aid.

The government had introduced legal aid reforms which were cutting the pay of barristers, forcing some of them to give up legal aid work.

“There are 350 barristers working in Wales and Chester of which approximately half undertake legal aid work.”

“They work on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of society and do desperately important work.”

Roddick told reporters: “I think that the government are offering as low as £79 an hour, which you wouldn’t pay to a plumber.”

Roddick is one of those barristers who has undertaken legal aid work. The most up-to-date figure we have for the level of his earnings is for 1996-97 when the Lord Chancellor’s Office released a list of the top 20 earners from legal aid.

Winston Roddick was joint 11th highest earner with a gross fee income of more than £350,000. Some of this income may have covered work done in previous years and Roddick would have had to pay overheads and other costs out of it.

NORTH WALES POLICEFrom his offices at police headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Winston Roddick QC will control a budget of £xxx,xxx and more than 2,000 police and civilian staff.Picture: Barry Davies

NORTH WALES POLICE
From his offices at police headquarters in Colwyn Bay, Winston Roddick QC will control 2,500 police and civilian staff.  Picture: Barry Davies

Even though he said that many barristers were leaving legal aid work because the hourly rate could be as low as £79 back in 2008, he’s now taking up the Police Commissioner role in 2013 when the hourly rate is just £39 an hour — less than half the rate.

No wonder he wanted to continue with his private practice.

The embarrassment over this issue may account for the delay in the appointment of his deputy commissioner. The deputy may find him or herself carrying out a substantial amount of Roddick’s workload when he is busy with more lucrative employment.

♦♦♦

ANOTHER THING that didn’t surface during the election was that Roddick had once been a member of the most powerful Freemasons lodge in Wales — Dinas Llandaf, based in Cardiff.

This lodge is where senior, favoured  members of the legal profession come together with some of the most powerful Tories in Wales.

The right-wing Stefan Terlezki, who was MP for Cardiff West from 1983 up until 1987 when Rhodri Morgan took it off him, was a member.

Another member is Gwilym Jones, Tory MP for Cardiff North from 1983 to 1997. Jones was a minister in the Welsh Office from  1992 to 1997.

One of the founders, Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, is the current Provincial Grand Master of the South Wales Province.

Roddick told us he resigned in 1997 “whilst I was a Crown Court Recorder because I felt that there was a growing perception amongst members of the public that membership might compromise judicial independence.”

“My view was that not only should I be  independent but that I should also be seen to be so.”

However, this means that his decision to resign was not taken out of opposition to freemasonry.

There is always the suspicion that the departure is motivated by expediency and that the former mason is really still a “brother” at heart.

Critics say you can take the freemason out of his lodge but you can rarely take freemasonry out of the man.

Roddick joined Dinas Llandaf in the 1970s and by 1983 he was lodge master.

In 1998 he was appointed Counsel General to the National Assembly.

His term of office in the £140,000 a year role came to an end in 2003. He did not rejoin Dinas Llandaf.

The attempt to appoint another member of the lodge, Gerard Elias QC, as his replacement as Counsel General was blocked by then First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

During last November’s election for police commissioner, the fact that Roddick was once a mason was not mentioned in his manifesto. The Wikipedia entry on him is also silent on the matter.

During the election for the position of police commissioner of North Wales, freemasonry could easily have played a substantial role.

The masonic province of North Wales covers most of the North Wales Police area.

Today, there are probably around 4-5,000 masons in North Wales and Winston Roddick’s first round lead over Tal Michael was under 3,000 votes.

The silence over his masonic connections probably did him no harm with the police constituency.

Roddick had worked as a police constable in Liverpool and rank and file members would have been attracted by a candidate who had first-hand experience of their jobs.

However, an overwhelming percentage of police officers do not approve of freemasonry which might have persuaded many not to vote for him.

We asked Roddick if the brotherhood had rallied to his cause and secured him the election. He said the question “borders on the fantastic”.

“It is wild and unsupported speculation and falls far below the line of what qualifies as legitimate journalistic comment.”

“I did not attend or address any lodge meetings, informal gatherings of masons at social or any other function, knowingly meet any mason or any official of any lodge at any time before, during or after the campaign.”

“There is one other point I should also like to make clear and I make it so as to demonstrate that you would not be justified in claiming or even suggesting that my historical links with freemasonry was something you uncovered.”

“I made it public on a BBC radio interview in 1999 that I had been a mason and why I had resigned.”

“It was information I had volunteered to those researching the programme. The programme was a highly popular one and the interview was broadcast twice.”

♦♦♦

WE ASKED Roddick if his decision to run for police commissioner was motivated by the desire to gain a knighthood.

His previous stint as the National Assembly’s Counsel General in the 1990s garnered him only the gong of Companion of the Order of the Bath.

This afternoon his press officer told us the commissioner was in meetings all day: “Many thanks for the opportunity … , however we will not be responding on this occasion”.

NB
THERE IS more information about Roddick and his membership of Dinas Llandaf in the article Brothers in Silk which is republished today.

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

COMING UP

ONE OF North Wales’ most colourful politicians is retiring after more than two decades as a councillor on Anglesey. Councillor Gareth Winston Roberts OBE has a chequered career — he was forced to resign as Leader in the 1990s after the District Auditor delivered a damning indictment of his administration. He recovered to become Leader again in 2006 but was overwhelmed by a planning crisis that saw his coalition swept from power in the 2008 elections. Rebecca Television examines his baleful legacy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.


BROTHERS IN SILK

April 8, 2013

rebecca_6a

THIS IS a tale of three Cardiff barristers.

Two flourished — they became QCs. One has been honoured by the Queen, the other has made his name in major public inquiries.

Both are members of an important legal lodge in Wales.

The third prospered but was never made a QC. He believes this was because he refused to join the lodge.

He took his fight to the European Court of Human Rights but failed.

 

IT’S 1973. For five years Roger Everest has been a barrister at the chambers at 34 Park Place in Cardiff.

Everest is invited by his clerk Ken Gorman to join a new masonic lodge that’s being set up. It’s to be called Dinas Llandaf.

One of the founders of the lodge, Eifion Morgans, is a barrister who will later become head of chambers at 34 Park Place. Morgans is already a past master of another Cardiff lodge, Shir Gar.

ROGER EVERESTThe barrister believes his decision not to join a masonic lodge prevented him from being appointed a QC.

ROGER EVEREST
The barrister believes his decision not to join a masonic lodge prevented him from being appointed a QC.

Another founder is solicitor Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards who had been a Tory councillor in Cardiff for many years.

Today he’s the Grand Master of the masonic province of South Wales. He stepped into that role in 2008 just as he retired from being the Queen’s man – Lord Lieutenant – in South Glamorgan.

Other well-known Tory members of the lodge have included Stefan Terlezki, MP for Cardiff West between 1983 and 1987 and Gwilym Jones, MP for Cardiff North and a junior minister in the Welsh Office from 1992 to 1997.

Everest decided not to join Dinas Llandaf. Ken Gorman warned him his advancement at the Bar would be affected.

Two other members of the chambers were happy to join the lodge. They were Winston Roddick and Gerard Elias.

When Dinas Llandaf opened for business the first master was the solicitor and Cardiff Tory councillor Julius Hermer.

In 1984 Gerald Elias was made a Queen’s Counsel – a promotion to the inner circle of barristers allowing the letters QC to be added after his name.

It’s called “taking silk” after the material in the gown a QC wears in court. Being a QC opens the way for a barrister to become a judge and with it the eventual possibility of a knighthood.

Roger Everest couldn’t help noticing that there was a masonic connection in Elias’ appointment.

The man who had an important say in appointing QCs in Wales, Mr Justice Leonard, was then presiding judge of the Wales and Chester circuit.

Elias’ appointment was made by the Queen on the advice of Lord Hailsham, then Lord Chancellor, but on the recommendation of the Presiding Judge of the circuit.

Mr Justice Leonard was a mason.

(He was also infamous as the judge in the 1987 Ealing vicarage case where he handed down shorter sentences for rape than for aggravated burglary.)

Two years later, in 1986, it was the turn of Winston Roddick to “take silk”.

Elias and Roddick are well-respected advocates who would no doubt have been awarded silk without any masonic connections.

However, Roger Everest claims that Eifion Morgans, who died in 1987, told him that their advancement was made easier by the fact the two barristers had met Leonard at masonic functions.

Roddick became master of Dinas Llandaf in 1983 and was followed a year later by Elias.

GERARD ELIAS QCDid his membership of Dinas Llandaf accelerate his appointment as a QC?

GERARD ELIAS QC
Did his membership of Dinas Llandaf accelerate his appointment as a QC?

In 1997 Elias was appointed lead counsel to the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.

A year later Winston Roddick was appointed Counsel General to the National Assembly for Wales.

On his appointment, he resigned from freemasonry and has never rejoined.

In 2003, when Roddick’s term of office came to an end, Roger Everest was intrigued to note that the man nominated for the £140,000 a year job by the Civil Service Commissioners in London was … Gerard Elias QC.

However, First Minister Rhodri Morgan, a Labour politician with an ardent anti-masonic reputation, put his foot down.

Morgan said “I did not register any over-riding objection to the shortlist, although I did comment on the fact that one candidate, subsequently recommended for appointment by the panel, was a prominent freemason.”

“I was, however, prepared to waive my concern on this issue, noting that the candidate was prepared to resign from the freemasonry, as did the previous general counsel on appointment.”

“When the permanent secretary advised me of the recommendation from the panel and I read the full papers, I became aware of information not previously available to me that the recommended candidate was also a board member of the Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting.”

Elias had joined the board of the Independent Supervisory Authority for Hunting ISAH. Another member of ISAH was Sir Ronald Waterhouse, the former High Court judge who chaired the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal of which Elias was leading counsel.

The First Minister vetoed the appointment because “I judged that the legal advice of a Counsel General prominently associated with these two controversial issues would not carry the necessary stamp of untramelled authority throughout the Assembly.”

THE DINAS Llandaf Lodge meets five times a year in Cardiff. The entry in the 2009-10 South Wales provincial yearbook names 34 of the current membership of 40. They are:S R Adam • A A Attard • F G Bottarini • G Bull • D Davies • J A Davies  • G Elias, QC • B M Etherington • S Evans • K T  Flynn, OBE • F A Green • P M M Grimson • J Hermer • E Howells • P S R Jamison • F A Jones • G A Jones • Gwilyn H Jones • G J Jones • M S  Lewis • K P Malloy • P R Marshall, OBE • W G D Morgan • P A L Mount • N H B Payne • P G Powell • J W  Reed • Neil J Richards • J W Richards • N J Richards • J S Sidoli • C M Williams • P M Williams, OBE • C E Yandell

DINAS LLANDAF, Lodge No 8512
THE LODGE meets five times a year in Cardiff. The entry in the 2009-10 South Wales provincial yearbook names 34 of the current membership of 40. They are:
S R Adam • A A Attard • F G Bottarini • G Bull • D Davies • J A Davies • G Elias, QC • B M Etherington • S Evans • K T Flynn, OBE • F A Green • P M M Grimson • J Hermer • E Howells • P S R Jamison • F A Jones • G A Jones • Gwilyn H Jones • G J Jones • M S Lewis • K P Malloy • P R Marshall, OBE • W G D Morgan • P A L Mount • N H B Payne • P G Powell • J W Reed • Neil J Richards • J W Richards • N J Richards • J S Sidoli • C M Williams • P M Williams, OBE • C E Yandell

Elias hit back saying he had never been to a hunt and had joined ISAH because of his disciplinary expertise in cricket. He had offered to resign from the organisation – and freemasonry – if it was felt there was any conflict of interest.

He denied that he was a “prominent” freemason and said he had not been an active mason for seven years.

This statement was made in March 2004. This suggests that he gave up being an active mason in 1997, the year when the public hearings of the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal began.

Rebecca Television checked the Dinas Llandaf entries in the provincial yearbooks. In every year Elias is shown as a subscribing past master of the lodge which meant that he continued to pay his dues and remained a mason. He is still listed in the 2009-10 edition.

Elias accepted the First Minister’s decision to veto his appointment but added: “Whether … the First Minister’s personal objections to my appointment are proper considerations, either as a matter of public law, or even as a matter of fairness and justice to a candidate, I leave for others to judge.”

Roger Everest tried to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights but the Secretariat refused to hear it.

Rebecca Television e-mailed Gerard Elias about Everest’s claims. He did not reply.

We asked Rhodri Morgan to comment. He told us he didn’t want to talk about the issue.

WINSTON RODDICK was elected police commissioner for North Wales last November. The article A Fistful of Coppers charts some of the controversy that surrounded his election.  

♦♦♦ 

© Rebecca Television 2013

CORRECTIONS  Please let us know if there are any mistakes in this article — they’ll be corrected as soon as possible.

RIGHT OF REPLY  If you have been mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let us have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory we’ll add it to the article.

DONATIONS  If you would like to support the work of Rebecca Television, you can do so by clicking on the DONATE button.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

COMING UP

ONE OF North Wales’ most controversial politicians is retiring after more than two decades as a councillor on Anglesey. Councillor Gareth Winston Roberts OBE has a chequered career — he was forced to resign as Leader in the 1990s after the District Auditor delivered a damning indictment of his administration. He recovered to become Leader again in 2006 but was overwhelmed by a planning crisis that saw his coalition swept from power in the 2008 elections. Rebecca Television examines his baleful legacy in the article Dirty Rotten Scoundrel, OBE.

 


%d bloggers like this: