Murder Underlying the News of the World Scandal

 

 

 

 

 

 

This man is Jonathan Rees, a former Met officer and private detective jailed for trying to frame someone as an unreliable witness in divorce proceedings.  He was also suspected of a 20 year old axe murder – that of his partner back then, the body found in the car park of a South London pub.  Details at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/11/jonathan-rees-private-investigator-tabloid

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/mar/11/news-of-the-world-police-corruption?intcmp=239

The murder remains unsolved.  The CPS offered ‘no evidence’ after 19 months of legal wrangling.  The case raises some interesting issues on just what a ‘reliable witness’ is, given ‘supergrass’ evidence was intended to be presented.  On what I’ve read, I would not have been convinced by the ‘evidence’ and am more inclined to see it as yet more evidence that police and prosecution investigations need more active scrutiny than we give them.

Rees was caught out through the use of a wire put in his office – this in respect of framing the woman.  One has to wonder why this was not possible in 1987 when his partner Daniel Morgan was murdered, especially as both Rees and Morgan had been suspected of working with corrupt Met officers.

Rees may well be innocent of the Morgan murder and is calling for a public enquiry himself, as are Morgan’s relatives.  I’d call for one too, if I believed they weren’t just another part of the clown secrecy establishment’s white-wash weaponry.

In Stockwell, there blatant facts were first of dire cock up, then interference with the already laggardly IPCC along with the leaking of a pack of lies, then the cover up of officers being allowed to collude, the dumb story of shouting warnings that 17 members of the public didn’t hear – all not evidence of utter stupidity and lying, apparently – but never put to a real jury.  The Tomlinson evidence is again obvious and again there was severe reluctance to put it to a real jury.

In this case it appears a senior Met man has lied to Parliament and all sorts of assurances given by worthies are turning to dust.  Bent Met people seem all around as much as when I worked there before the alleged purge.  As ever, I see the police as no special case – there is now widespread corruption in politics, the press, finance and the law.  Everywhere there is self-regulation it fails.  By the time cops start trying to discredit people trying to get them to do their jobs and our courts turn evidence of innocence to that of guilt (Nico Bento) and what 17 people actually don’t hear is not good enough evidence that something was not shouted, it’s hardly surprising our Prime Minister hires a sleazy media magician.

There are ways to approach these matters without judges, public enquiries and the kind of stuff that eventually tells us a sexed up dossier wasn’t sexed up and that an ice cream cone in the possession of an Iraqi is a shaped-charge WMD; or that the Met is institutionally racist when the real problem was that some bimbo in uniform didn’t do what she could have for a poor guy who’d been stabbed.  Something is very rotten in the State of Denmark.  It’s a rotten orchard and we need a much wider focus than blaming individuals or cops.

What are we not getting while resources are wasted on 20 year old cases making fortunes for lawyers, what news do we not get as the Dirty Digger’s functionaries turn down the expenses scandal, and how corrupt are our politicians that they just have to be better at spin rather than tell the truth directly?  There is a bigger story we are blind to as this muck unfolds.  Why is our Parliament so quiet on how the very rich are getting richer?

12 retired police officers to stand trial in Wales

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/07/06/eight-retired-policemen-to-stand-trial-over-roles-in-lynette-white-murder-trial-91466-29003229/

12 retired police officers are to stand trial for perverting the course of justice in two separate trials over an infamous miscarriage of justice dating back 20 years.

That’s right – 20 years.  Some of the details can be found in the link above.  All the officers are pleading not guilty – I guess most of us would try our arms after 20 years!

The case, involving the murder of a prostitute, is as dire as that involving Nico Bento, the guy convicted on a non-murder through the use of a loony forensic non-expert wheeled in instead of our own internationally renowned expert.

In the US they believe they are seeing cases of acquittals because juries don’t trust either police of prosecutions, partly through personal experience and perceptions of wider injustice in society.

I doubt I have any sympathy for the former officers in this case, but I’m concerned that only police are the only officers on trial.  This case and Bento should have led to defence and prosecution lawyers being put in the dock, and probably people from PSDs and elsewhere for suppressing doubts relevant to the defence.  The Met is looking as bad as ever in the current phone tapping farce too.  Judges should be struck off in cases like this too.

At deep levels the problem concerns the cowed state of our society which resembles the performance management of the Soviet Block.  There is a problem in public perception of the difficulties of policing and it is difficult to justify anything that makes policing more difficult given the current failure to prevent anti-social crime.  I believe it’s time for root and branch changes across the CJS.

In a way Gadget-type commentary is right in that we are bureaucratising everything to death, but the people into this really don’t see themselves as a big part of the problem.  Much is known in good practice about what to do, but this is left in the hands of people with no interest in achieving such good practice because their own jobs, pay rates and fees are bound up in keeping things as they are.

Miscarriages of justice are not rare, but daily and in substantial number.  Judges estimate about one case in ten and some decent statistical work concludes a range of 10% to 15% on jury trials.  Massive numbers are hidden in the daily routines of not dealing with anti-social crime, the treatment of witnesses and bungles like Baby P.  The Welsh case is already a failure – if there is a case why was it not pursued much earlier?

 

Crime Figures From America

The modern American prison system evolved as an alternative to flogging: penitentiaries were designed to “cure” prisoners of their criminality—to render them penitent—rehabilitating them into productive members of society. On this score, as on most others, it has failed. Indeed, prisons seem to cause more crime than they prevent, hardly surprising when you throw a bunch of criminals together with nothing to do and lots of time. Today roughly 2.3m people live in America’s prisons, more than live in any American city other than New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. America’s incarceration rate of 750 per 100,000 is five times the world average; roughly one in every 31 Americans—and one in every 11 African-Americans—is under some form of correctional control, whether prison, probation or parole.  England and Wales have now exceeded 85,000. In France, with the same population as Britain, prison numbers are 59,655 and in Germany with over 20 million more people, 72,043.  The US system would mean about half a million in gaol here.

Nearly all of us think we are too lenient – one only has to look at the number of cases Ambush Predator raises and such matters as 1 in 30 rapes being committed by released rapists to think we should imprison more.  Yet the same matters should also lead us to wonder why criminality is so high and why apparent year on year on year drops in recorded crime and what the BCS picks up do not tally with actual increasing numbers in prison and our feelings more should be going for longer.  In the US the greater numbers banged up, often in dire conditions, has not acted as a deterrent.

About one third of UK men pick up a ‘list one’ conviction and about 6% do so 5 or more times.  A quarter of people in the US have criminal convictions, but I don’t know if their ‘list’ is comparable – it’s still 65 million people.

Do our courts know what evidence is?

At 2:00 in the morning on 25 January 1995, Boston police officer Kenny Conley was chasing a shooting suspect who climbed over a chain-link fence. An undercover officer named Michael Cox had arrived on the scene moments earlier, but other officers had mistaken him for a suspect, assaulted him from behind, and brutally beat him. Conley chased the suspect over the fence and apprehended him some time later. In later testimony, Conley said that he ran right past the place where Cox was under attack, but he claimed not to have seen the incident. The investigators, prosecutors, and jurors in the case all assumed that because Conley could have seen the beating, Conley must have seen the beating, and therefore must have been lying to protect his comrades. Conley was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to thirty-four months in jail.

This is obviously a US case, but courts around the world have difficulty with “evidence”.  There’s a long list from the UK I’m aware of – Nico Bento being the classic, in which the very evidence that should have secured his acquittal was turned to the damning piece.  This involved a judge and jury being asked not to believer their own eyes but the cock-and-bull of an “expert” already discredited elsewhere.

Kenny Conley is more likely a decent cop doing his job with some bravery than some in the UK public eye recently.  The matter is reported in the journal i-Perception –

http://i-perception.perceptionweb.com/journal/I/volume/2/article/i0436

This journal has much about it I would commend, notably that it is free to read and freely available – a model our public affairs should follow.

Our court systems rely on concepts of evidence that are very dated.  Decisions on fact are essentially taken by lay people – magistrates and juries.  This might be a good thing, given some of what is emerging on “expert” decisions in the Crown Prosecution Service and seeps out on bureaucratic manipulations in the like of Baby P, though the same flaws are present in our court rooms because what can be presented in court is severely limited by cost, representation and ‘legal rules’.

Human history is not one in which many people have shown much notion of what real evidence is.  In this case, it isn’t so much that the academics have established that it is quite likely that we might well not see and incident whilst focused on another, but that courts are making decisions on what they cannot know as though they could and prepared to send people to jail on that basis.  Many questions spring up, including that if this can happen to a cop with representation, what else might be going on in cases with no representation?

I feel for Kenny, having been in a similar situation.  The point really though is that the time for our courts to be subjected to proper public scrutiny is long overdue – and this needs to be scrutiny beyond that of superior courts.  I gave evidence that wasn’t quite true in order to both tell the truth and defend an officer doing his job.  Other officers present lied that they could not see the incident, something easily disproved in an recreation (there wasn’t one).  I was some distance further away and arresting someone else – they were, in fact, just watching and the idle and incompetent of many other incidents.

Our courts have been pretending on evidence for centuries.  Our legal system is based on fictions and in no way approaches scientific criteria on evidence – it could not entirely of course.  What really worries me about Kenny’s case is that we would send a man to jail in the belief he was lying about the fact that he could have given evidence, with no one bothering to find out whether anyone was likely to have been able to.

One cannot read i-Perception and conclude anyone was likely to be able to give the evidence Kenny was assumed to have been able to witness.  Yet we assume all kinds of worthies can’t see the blatant corruption around them in Baby P, Parliamentary expenses and in hiring a bent forensic expert who lies to court (Bento) or in CPS decision-making on Harwood and in failing to disclose on undercover officers etc.  All these worthies are clearly more guilty than Kenny, even if he did see the fight.  Unlike the nose-in-the-troughs the sharp end appears exposed to the same unfair ‘justice’ as the rest of us.

What about an experiment on whether we would ‘see’ corruption around us?  The Establishment knows we do – that’s why Tisdale and the guy who told us which direction the Belgrano was sailing in were prosecuted and why whistle-blowers are treated like lepers.

Kenny Conley eventually won on appeal, though not on the academic research.  My own feelings are that it is time to stop the nonsense of magistrates and juries making up their minds on whatever is skewed at them in the weird settings of courtrooms.  Could we not come up with a better system of public scrutiny?  I don’t really mean new court systems – something systemic that would not have to rely on ‘personal integrity’ or ‘value ethics’ acting in secret?