Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Amazingly foolish statement by London police

Deciding and publicly declaring guilt before a matter had even come to court.  If that's not "prejudicing" a case, nothing is

Senior police admitted that giving public credence to claims of rape and murder at the heart of Westminster had been an error.

They said that repeatedly describing untested claims by the man – known as Nick – as ‘credible and true’ had appeared to pre-empt the outcome of the case – adding that only prosecutors can rule whether a case is brought to court, where a jury must ultimately decide where the truth lies.

The Met Police broke its silence after days of criticism of Operation Midland, its multi-million-pound historic child sex abuse inquiry.

Dozens of officers are investigating claims by Nick that three boys were raped and murdered by an Establishment sex ring.

After interviewing him three times last year, the Met held a press conference in which senior investigating officer Kenny McDonald said his allegations were ‘credible and true’.

The statement ignited a frenzy of claim and counter-claim about who might be responsible for such appalling crimes and whether there was conspiracy at the highest levels to cover them up.

Yesterday, Scotland Yard appeared to accept that these comments may have led the public to assume Nick was telling the truth, insisting in a statement: ‘We always retain an open mind.’

It added that the starting point for child abuse inquiries was always to ‘believe the victim’, adding: ‘That is why … our senior investigating officer stated that he believed our key witness and felt him to be credible.  ‘Had he not made that considered, professional judgment, we would not have investigated in the way we have.

‘We must add that whilst we start from a position of believing the witness, our stance then is to investigate without fear or favour, in a thorough, professional and impartial fashion, and to go where the evidence takes us without prejudging the truth of the allegations. That is exactly what has happened in this case.’

Last week, former director of public prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC said it had showed a ‘medieval contempt for the accused’ by backing Nick’s uncorroborated claims so publicly.

The force has struggled to find any evidence to stand up the accusation that prominent figures including former prime minister Edward Heath were involved in the paedophile ring at Dolphin Square in Westminster.

Police have interviewed Lord Bramall, 91, one of the country’s most senior former soldiers, and former Tory MP Harvey Proctor.

But 11 months after the investigation began, it is understood that many officers are divided on whether it is possible to continue, and some are raising questions over Nick’s credibility.

Mr Proctor strongly denies any involvement and said the allegations had destroyed his reputation and that of eight other alleged paedophile ring members.

In its statement, the Met said the focus of its inquiry remained on ‘allegations of the homicide of three young boys’.

It added: ‘These cases take time. We can all see the legacy that has been created by police and other authorities who appeared not to take allegations seriously in the past and the impact that has had on the confidence of victims to come forward.’

Original report here

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