Harry

Especially For Young Women

 
   

24/03/02

Silenced Witness

Alasdair Palmer

The Daily Telegraph

THE disturbing case of Bill Thompson, a criminologist specialising in child abuse, and a police search for pornography. Why was his home raided when he has legal protection?

Bill Thompson is a lecturer at Reading University. He's a criminologist and has built up an international reputation as an expert on sexual assaults on children.

He testifies as an expert witness - analysing the evidence presented by the prosecution and assessing whether it proves what the prosecutors claim it does.

His expertise has been accepted by the courts and appears to have convinced juries and appeal court judges: in every one of the 20 cases he has been involved in over the past two years, the side on whose behalf he has given evidence - and it is almost invariably the defence - has won.

 Dr Thompson found that the door to his home had been smashed in, his house searched

Two weeks ago, Dr Thompson found that the door to his home had been smashed in, his house searched, and his computer and many of his files seized. The same happened in his office at Reading University.

The raids were organised by Thames Valley Police.

Officers asserted they had information that Dr Thompson was in possession of child pornography and obtained a search warrant from a local magistrate before entering his premises.

Unfortunately, the police did not tell the magistrate that Dr Thompson was an expert witness in a myriad of child sex cases.

Detective Sergeant Kate Ford, of the Marlow Child Protection Group, who supervised the raid, explained that omission to Dr Thompson's solicitor by saying that: "Dr Thompson claims to be an expert witness, but he is not on any expert witness list we checked."

Dr Thompson is baffled by that claim. "I am on the Home Office website as an expert who has been consulted on the sentencing of paedophiles. I am a practising associate of the British Academy of Experts, which is recognised by the courts as an authenticating body.

Experts employed within the criminal justice system and academics conducting research are two of the six categories of people specifically singled out by the Child Protection Act of 1978 (and its amendment of 1988) as having a statutory defence against any criminal charge of possessing child pornography.

Dr Thompson and his lawyers will argue in the High Court next week that it is extremely doubtful that the search warrant should not have been authorised because Dr Thompson is an expert.

"You can't be an expert witness without having to evaluate this sort of material. It is part of my job," Dr Thompson continued.

"I am frequently asked for an opinion of whether pictures constitute child pornography: often the relevant pictures clearly are obscene, and I will advise them that the pictures cannot be defended. Clients often change their pleas as a consequence."

Dr Thompson has given lectures to police officers

Dr Thompson has given lectures to police officers in which he has explained the anomalous position that he and other experts such as him occupy in relation to the Child Protection Act.

"We have a statutory defence against any prosecution," Dr Thompson explained. "But it does not stop a prosecution from taking place. Under the law as it stands, people like me can be charged and prosecuted, even though no prosecution should succeed.

"Cork University has a multi-million-pound grant from the EU to study child pornography on the internet. That research couldn't happen at a British university because of the anomalous legal position.

"I have pointed out that it would make sense if the police and Home Office put together a list of experts who were allowed to look at this stuff. The experts could be vetted to ensure that they were not secret paedophiles. I would be quite happy for such a procedure to be in place."

The police say that, in raiding Dr Thompson, they were simply responding to "several" claims that Dr Thompson was downloading "massive amounts" of child pornography from the internet.

"That claim is demonstrably false," insists Dr Thompson. "And its falsity will be demonstrated the moment they go through my computers."

Dr Thompson has no doubt that he can dispose of the allegation that has been made against him. He doubts that he will even be charged. Still, it will not be so easy for him to restore his reputation: mud sticks.

He has been suspended form his university post while the allegations are investigated.

He has been suspended form his university post while the allegations are investigated. And merely being the subject of a police raid has meant that Dr Thompson has been dropped as an expert witness by the lawyers for several defendants on whose behalf he was due to appear.

"You make a lot of enemies when you point out that not everyone accused of sexually assaulting children is guilty," Dr Thompson notes wearily.

"People say you are an apologist for paedophiles, that you are trying to make the world safe for them. Of course it's nonsense. I want people who are guilty of sexual assaults against children put in prison.

it is often not sex offenders who are being sent to prison, it is innocent people

"The problem with the way cases are prosecuted at the moment is that it is often not sex offenders who are being sent to prison, it is innocent people."

As an example, Dr Thompson cites the dozens of men who are now serving terms of between 10 and 15 years for sexually assaulting children in care homes.

The assaults are alleged to have taken place between 20 and 30 years ago. There have been financial incentives for making allegations: the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will pay out up to 32,000 for sexual assault, and more is forthcoming if a suit can be mounted against the care homes' insurers. Sums of as much as 100,000 have been paid to those who claim to have been victims.

The men who made the accusations that they had been abused are nearly all convicted criminals.

"They usually say that, had it not been for the abuse, they would not have drifted into crime," Dr Thompson explains. "That claim can often be shown to be false: in one case, for example, the individual was in the care home because, even before he was in his teens, he had committed an armed robbery."

What has convinced Dr Thompson of the bogus nature of many of the allegations, however, is his analysis of the evidence that was used to convict the men.

"In 1991," he says, "the Law Lords ruled that allegations could be corroborated by volume - that is, the fact that there were several of them could help to show that they were all true. I can show that this principle is utterly mistaken. Volume, in these cases, does not corroborate anything."

The case of Roy Shuttleworth is a typical example, he says. Mr Shuttleworth worked in Greystone Care Home in Cheshire in the 1970s. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment in 1996 for sexually assaulting children in his care.

That was despite the fact that one of those who accused him had a conviction for attempting to obtain money from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board by deception, and that another was exposed as a liar in a subsequent trial.

"When I went through the witness statements, each one contradicted every other one.

"When I went through the witness statements, each one contradicted every other one. They all described Roy Shuttleworth as assaulting them - but each one described a different method of assault. This is, in my experience, quite unprecedented for genuine paedophiles.

"A real paedophile almost always has a single modus operandi which he develops and refines over time, and you find that reflected in statements by their victims: they bribe, they buy their victims something. They don't just suddenly assault, which is what Mr Shuttleworth was described as doing.

"That is not the only anomaly. When you draw up plans of Greystone, you find that what Mr Shuttleworth was alleged to have done was logistically impossible: you couldn't get out of the windows which one 'victim' said he had escaped from, and you couldn't walk naked across the school - as another claimed - in broad daylight without being noticed.

Furthermore, when the surviving duty rosters are compared with some of the dates on which Shuttleworth was supposed to have committed assaults, it became clear that he wasn't even in the care home at the time."

Dr Thompson cites Derek Brushett, who was headmaster at Bryn-y-Don Care Home in South Wales and was sentenced to 12 years for sexually assaulting those in his care, as another example of a case where "corroboration by volume is not corroboration.

"It is in fact contradiction. None of the statements support each other. If you look at them closely, it becomes absolutely clear that Mr Brushett should never have been convicted," he says.

At least 60 men are in prison as a result of the care home investigations.

At least 60 men are in prison as a result of the care home investigations. Bill Thompson has no doubt that most of them should never have been sent there.

"The police went trawling for evidence, and an unholy alliance of psychiatrists, social workers, judges and lawyers has allowed evidence which is demonstrably flawed, if not worthless, to be used to lock people up.

"There is no doubt that there has been child abuse in care homes. Sixty years ago it was rife, and those who made accusations were not believed. But now we have gone to the opposite extreme: guilt at past failures has produced an uncritical desire to believe every allegation.

"That has produced a legal disaster. People are being sent down for 10 or 15 years on evidence that wouldn't even be good enough to produce a court hearing for an accusation of any other crime."

It is not only the care home cases where enthusiasm to secure conviction in child abuse cases has produced serious injustice.

"There are dozens of them in `domestic' abuse cases," says Dr Thompson.

The police and social services techniques for interviewing children are almost universally abysmal.

"The police and social services techniques for interviewing children are almost universally abysmal. They are as bad as they were in the Cleveland case. Despite all the reports and criticism, nothing has changed since that scandalous episode over a decade ago.

"In practically every case, they break the guidelines. They make suggestions - in fact, they tell the child what to say. It is appalling.

"To my knowledge, only one police force actually uses a safe interview technique: Derbyshire. If all officers followed their example, I would never be able to find anything wrong with interview statements."

Dr Thompson's outspoken opposition to many of the techniques that have become standard in child abuse cases has created a great deal of opposition. If he is right, however, there are scores, perhaps hundreds, of men now in prison for offences against children which they did not commit.

It is a genuinely "appalling vista" - and one which, as yet, neither the judiciary nor the Home Office seems willing to confront.

Meanwhile Dr Thompson, who has been willing to confront that possibility, finds himself facing the allegation that he is a paedophile.

01/04/02 

Response To Child Abuse Expert

AH responds to an email from a child abuse expert concerning the current plight of Bill Thompson.

Hi X

Thank you for your email.

> Clearly there is a statutory > defence he should be > thinking of/ Not the "expert" route but the one > where it says material can > be used for training. However, he would have to > show this to be true.

Actually, he should not really have to do this.

Men were once seen to be innocent until proven guilty, until the recent CORRUPTION of the justice system - especially in areas to do with relationships and sex - where the burden of proof seems to have been reversed. In other words, Dr Thompson should not have to prove why he might have had various images on his computer given his job. 

But I take your point.

> Hopefully the > reading of the hard > drive etc should be able to tell what has been going > on.

There are many people who could put backdated stuff on YOUR hard drive VIA THE INTERNET without you even noticing. 

In the USA it is COMMON PRACTICE for father's groups, men's rights groups etc to be accused of being paedophiles, women-beaters, and so on.

There is a great deal of money at stake in supporting many myths e.g. concerning domestic violence, child abuse etc.

Those, like Dr Thompson, who try to expose these groups in defence of innocent people (men mostly) threaten their enormous resources. He is BOUND to be the target of WELL-RESOURCED attacks on his credibility and integrity - either openly or underhandedly.

His work threatens a monumental abuse industry that involves millions of people.

This includes lawyers, the social services, the police, the prison service, the psychoanalysts, the therapists, the women's pressure groups, the domestic violence industry, the refuge centres, the college campus 'women's welfare' units, certain hysterical religious groups and cults, huge multi-million dollar children's charities, the well-heeled advertisers who professionally, and so successfully, savage the psyche of the whole population to scare people into donating funds to them - which, in the case of the NSPCC, go to pay MOSTLY for advertisers, PR folk, and for other non-child services.

And they, the advertisers, have got their shareholders to please and wages to pay. Easily done, because they are the best, the most qualified, the most professional, and the most efficient MANIPULATORS in the country! WHICH IS WHY THEY GET PAID SO WELL.

And Dr Thompson is a man who has been threatening all of these people by exposing them and questioning them - and for many years now. 

And there are so many who have a lot to lose!

the conspiracy mushrooms

And it only takes, perhaps, one or two, or a few, of these most threatened folk, to start the flow of hostility against their target. By opening up channels of communication by those known to be sympathetic to their cause, the conspiracy mushrooms. It spreads cautiously at first. Feeling its way here and then there. But it's not that difficult. Look again at the list above. It is a HUGE industry. And it wouldn't take long to get to Dr Thompson via sympathetic contacts from anywhere within that industry.

Goodness me. If he was threatening my five-million pound advertising deal for next year, I, myself, would find it pretty hard not to take a pot shot at him while he delivered one of his lectures! 

But how much easier it would be just to discredit him! 

At the very least, one would just keep spreading the word out through 'sympathetic' avenues until the ball started rolling in the right direction.

This is exactly how those terrible witch-hunt child-abuse scandals in America ended up perpetrating the most awful injustices on so many innocent people. Even medical doctors ended up testifying in courts that knives in the anal orifices of four year olds would leave no signs!

It is incredible how incompetent, ignorant, hostile, or just plain compliant and silent, so many POWERFUL people out there can be. 

And for some of these hostile groups, it isn't just a question of money. The very fact that you do not agree with what they are saying or doing makes you as guilty as their enemy as far as they are concerned. And you become a target of their hatred.

You know the sort of thing. For example, 

"If you don't support our policy on immigration, then you are a 'racist'." 

"If you are pro-abortion then you are no better than a child murderer."

In many quarters, and in many ways, therefore, Dr Thompson is not a very popular man. 

He has trodden on the toes of many influential others.

And, of course, those who are hostile don't have to prove that anyone is guilty in order to ruin their careers, their reputations or their lives. 

They simply just have to keep making accusations that reach out to others.

And, of course, with this sort of thing, they can also make accusations to the police anonymously.

you live in a world full of hostility, greed, histrionics, hatred, manipulation and politics

And so it is that while you, yourself, are clearly a man of integrity, you live in a world full of hostility, greed, histrionics, hatred, manipulation and politics. And there are many thousands of people out there who would even see you as an apologist for child abuse, and who would quite happily undermine you, especially if you threatened their views or their funding.

And if you think that Dr Thompson can trust the police, you are mistaken. As you know, the police have been arresting and successfully prosecuting people all over the country despite offering no valid evidence to the juries in these cases - and juries who, it transpires, would rather imprison innocent men than risk the possibility that an allegedly potential abuser may go free.

The police - some of them - enough of them - are part and parcel of this heinous process.

Publicity is the only real protection, because it is the very secrecy surrounding 'sex' issues that allows the public to be so mis-informed and hyped up about it all.

If the media take Dr Thompson apart, then you and your professional colleagues will also be tarnished - a bit like Catholic priests.

And, in many ways, professional psychologists, even those who work in so many other areas, will deserve it.

For twenty years, with a few notable exceptions, the members of the British Psychological Society have done very little indeed to counter the ridiculous claims being made by non-qualified, non-scientifically trained activists in the abuse industry.

And the same is true for medically-qualified doctors.

Indeed, it is only a week ago that

A north Wales doctor accused of sexually assaulting 17 of his female patients has been found not guilty of all charges against him.

SEVENTEEN!

Were they all liars?

No.

But so successfully demonised are males that even the slightest suspicion brings forth hordes of women eager to make complaints about them and to 'test' their integrity 'officially' - and so perhaps even to make a good deal of money out of the whole enterprise.

Doctors, it would seem, will shortly have to be even more careful before they dare to examine their patients. And the more that they are demonised through the actions of hysterical and over-sensitive women who are daily encouraged to find abuse from some quarter, so it is that they will eventually become to be treated with the same wholesale suspicion as are Catholic priests  today.

And it will be the turn of your colleagues next, judging by the current demise of Dr Thompson.

We've surely seen it all before. 

The pathway to suspicion and demonisation is a well-trodden one. And it pays a lot of bills.

There are quite a few innocent men currently in prison

There are quite a few innocent men currently in prison thanks to many police and judges ignoring the highest principles when it comes to gathering and properly evaluating evidence on these most sensitive of issues. Not only does the political climate (feminism, abuse hysteria) continue to encourage this, there are now REAL FORTUNES to be lost in having people like you being so open and fair minded when it comes to dealing with such contentious issues in an objective and professional manner.

Being fair minded and objective, therefore, can be a dangerous game in areas to do with abuse.

All the best.

AH

 

 



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