Friday, 17 November 2017

Lies and Damned Lies on Oath

The erstwhile popular entertainer Rolf Harris has recently concluded nearly three years at Her Majesty's Pleasure. The previous pleasure he afforded her Royal Highness was in 2005 when he produced a superb painting of Her Maj to mark her 80th birthday. In 2014 he was convicted of a number of sex attacks on young women and girls. The most sinister of the charges was one alleging an attack on an 8-year old child... more about that in a moment.

In May this year, he was re-tried on four charges upon which the original jury couldn't agree. I attended most of this trial as a spectator and, taking notes throughout (as one would expect jury members to do!), I was in no doubt by the conclusion of the case that the charges should be dismissed. As it turned out, this is what happened but, once again, the jury members couldn't agree on their verdicts. There will be no more re-trials.

Now the Court of Appeal has quashed one of Mr Harris’ 12 original convictions from 2014, although the judges have upheld the remaining 11. Importantly, this quashed conviction concerned the most serious and revolting allegation of all, namely that Mr Harris had sexually abused an 8-year old girl during an event at a venue in Portsmouth in 1969.

This conviction was ruled ‘unsafe’ on the grounds that new evidence provided by the complainant’s own stepfather suggested that the girl would never have been permitted to attend such an event by herself at that young age. Moreover, the sole ‘eye-witness’ to the alleged assault - one David James -has now been exposed as a serial liar, fantasist and convicted fraudster, who has repeatedly claimed to have had a military career despite incontrovertible evidence that he is a lorry driver who never wore the Queen’s uniform and never served abroad in Korea, as he had claimed falsely on oath.

What is deeply shocking – but sadly hardly surprising in modern Britain – is that both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) were aware of this lying fantasist’s dubious character, yet withheld this vital information from the defence and – equally importantly – from the jury at the first trial. This man was permitted to lie on oath and Rolf Harris was duly convicted and sentenced, despite his repeated protestations that he had never performed at the Portsmouth venue at the time claimed. He was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment on that charge alone.

The imposture of the key witness was only discovered by Mr Harris’ defence team when preparing his appeal against conviction. In response, the prosecution claimed that its failure to disclose this man's utter unreliability was 'a mistake'. It was, if I may say so, a very convenient ‘mistake’ and yet another example, in a very long line of incidents, in which crucial evidence has been withheld from the defence in sexual assault prosecutions.

Will any action now be taken against the fantasist who stood up in front of a judge and jury and told bare-faced lies on oath? I very much doubt it. It seems that blatant perjury is no longer treated as a serious criminal offence – or even prosecuted – as long as it assists the police and CPS in getting convictions, particularly in prosecutions for alleged sexual offences.

Even if the liars fail to impress the jury and the accused is acquitted, they're still not called to account even when their lies are obvious. I repeat for the umpteenth time, the two perjurers who dragged me into a court of law in 2014 and were subsequently seen to be what they are - lying, insidious fantasists - have still not been called to account, and it's over three years since the preposterous trial.

I am currently following another appalling case of an ex-teacher who was jailed in 2014 on the word of a proven liar who was, at the time, facing serious criminal charges himself. Needless to say, any charges against him were put aside.

According to media reports Mr Harris’ accuser has apparently already pocketed £22,000 in compensation payments. No doubt she will be permitted to keep the cash, despite this conviction having been quashed (a less generous observer might prefer to say comprehensively trashed).

The main, obvious point of concern following this latest judicial reversal is, if Mr. Harris was not guilty of abusing that woman when she was an 8-year old girl, what effect did hearing the dubious evidence adduced on this particular charge have on the original jury when they considered all the other allegations against him? Can you imagine sitting on a jury considering the fate of a man who is alleged to have sexually assaulted an 8-year old child? Once they had decided he was guilty of this offence, surely the minds of those jury members must have been influenced when considering all the other allegations. How can they not have? Yet the judges in the Court of Appeal seem to have concluded that all the other 11 convictions are safe.

May I put it to you, Your Lordships, that I defy anyone to hear evidence from a witness who vividly relates a sexual assault allegedly committed against him or her at the age of eight and not form a highly negative view of the person accused. After all, that is why the CPS opts to ‘bundle’ as many separate charges against a defendant as possible, in order to suggest the accused’s propensity to commit similar acts.

Surely, when one convincing complainant gives evidence of a vile crime being committed against him or her, it must contaminate the rest of the trial, since the jurors form a view of the defendant, particularly if that complainant was a pre-pubescent girl at the time of the alleged offence. Had the jury in the first trial been made aware that there were grave doubts about the truth of this crucial allegation – and the fact that the one key eye-witness to the alleged incident was a notorious liar and fantasist – it  would surely have led them to be much more cautious about the remaining allegations against Mr Harris.

We live in dangerous times: even totally unfounded allegations of a sexual nature can end a person’s career – and, sadly, even their life – long before they have even been charged, let alone convicted. Publicising such allegations prior to a conviction opens the way for a rag bag collection of liars, fantasists and compensation hunters to invent similar stories which can all too often be seized upon by police officers, who then fail grossly to undertake any rigorous investigation. And, as the quashing of one of Mr Harris’ convictions clearly shows, even when key witnesses are known to the police as liars and fantasists, this crucial information may be withheld from the defence, the judge and, crucially, the jury.

We already have a gross ‘inequality of arms’ in our courts. Most defendants, unlike Rolf Harris, simply do not have the financial resources to pay highly skilled investigators (often retired police detectives) to examine the evidence, check facts and track down potential witnesses – something that can prove absolutely vital in so-called historical sexual abuse cases, where the allegations can date back decades. The police have resources to do this work but often seem to rely entirely on the complainant’s statements, rather than impartially, thoroughly and even-handedly investigating the allegations.

As things stand, our justice system is being brought woefully into disrepute, yet police, prosecutors and perjuring witnesses seem to enjoy complete immunity from any negative consequences of appalling miscarriages of justice. How many innocent men and women are currently rotting in prison, their lives ruined, as a direct consequence of deeply flawed prosecutions?

And, to conclude, does any rational person on the street not now begin to wonder just how many more lies have been laid at the door of the beleaguered Rolf Harris?


  1. Good blog - and I have always smelt a rat when it comes to these historic allegations - which are extremely difficult to prove/disprove due to the passage of time and failing memories etc. However when 3 judges close rank on Rolf Harris and say "no more appeal" all we can do is trust in the justice system and assume that they really did have enough "pattern of behaviour" evidence to say that he was indeed guilty of the other crimes. Although deep down I and the rest of the public will have a nagging doubt.

    1. There was NO evidence at all against Rolf. None. A 'pattern of behaviour' proves nothing at all, especially in these Witch Hunt Times and with celebrities in particular, for The Woodworms always fall out of the woodwork with their stories, NONE of which will ever be able to be proven, by the way, as there will be no witnesses to any of these alleged allegations.

    2. it does not matter what you or anybody else think. You can keep posting stuff on your Justice for Rolf Harris page for the rest of your days. You and others won't accept it - other people think he's guilty. The appeal has been rejected - forever !!! History is written.

    3. In point of fact there can be an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) at any time should fresh 'compelling evidence' emerge. Many convictions that are eventually quashed - including virtually all the major miscarriage of justice cases in recent history - have to go down that route before being referred back to the Court of Appeal. So your comment about the appeal being rejected 'forever' is simply wrong in law. Just clarifying the factual position.

    4. yes I understand that - but very difficult to find "fresh compelling evidence" from 30+ years ago - my point is that it really does look like the end of the road with the 11 other Rolf convictions after 3 judges have closed ranks and said: "an appeal is not in the public interests". Personally I would like to have seen the evidence (or lack of) re-visited as I think it was all flaky. And that's not going to happen now.

    5. This is why I blocked you from the page, Sally. Believe it or not, there are others who know a great deal about Rolf's case, FAR more than you. Trial One should absolutely be declared unsafe now. However, this is how the now corrupted 'justice' system works in the UK at this point in history. They've protected themselves, first and foremost...and yet hell with the actual truth.

  2. Throughout this hysteria their is a constant tattoo of "believe the victims" with the police constantly instructed to follow such a course. With one Yewtree officer sitting on the jury (and obviously influencing other jurors) none of the convictions should stand.

    1. Just to be specific, it was a Met. Police Officer. They claim he was not from the Op. Yew. force set up within The Met, but anyone can see that he was WAY TOO CLOSE to have EVER been permitted to be on the jury. The JUDGE refused to replace him when asked. Now, I wonder why that might be! Keir Starmer brought in the insane 'All Must Be Believed' ethos when he was head of The CPS. Alison Saunders continues it. Saunders should lose her job over what's going on, in my view. If public knew, they'd be horrified at what's happening. So many innocent people having their lives utterly imploded by Narcissists, Fantasists, Gold-Diggers, Revengers and the Mentally Unwell...and police are welcoming them all in. True insanity going on....

  3. Thank you so very much for this superb blog, Simon. As you know, I run the 'Support Justice For Rolf Harris' page in Facebook and thus have a very good understanding of what' been done to Rolf. I am so relieved that this case has been blown apart, for this woman lied from the very start, tried to increase the amount of £compo she received (£22,000!!) and gave many interviews to major newspapers. I have no idea if she was paid for these interviews, but someone should release this information if she was. She also gave two TV interviews, one immediately post-trial and the second saying how she wanted Rolf's sentence to be increased. (!!!!) The police and CPS have both behaved in the most abhorrent and corrupt manner and knowing a lot of what's gone on, I feel they should both be investigated deeply by an independent body now. It is truly shocking that Rolf was even charged, let alone put through court, then so wrongfully, and insanely, found guilty by a jury which also had a Met. Police officer on it, officially confirmed in July 2015. You are absolutely correct in what you say about this case having a profound effect on the collective minds of that jury, at that time, which would, most definitely, have thus affected their judgements on the other cases too.

    I see 'covering up' going on here, to protect our now deeply corrupt justice system, in my view. HOW they could EVER have refused to overturn the verdict on the case of Tonya Lee too, beggars belief! Whilst I'm SO pleased that this on ecase has been blown apart, I'm seething that the second one was not and that the trial was not declared unsafe in total, with a new trial being sought. I also find it DEEPLY disturbing that the woman now exposed as being the most horrendous liar is NOT going to have her case heard in court, this, allegedly, not being in the public interest, according to these judges. Since WHEN has NOT exposing a LIAR, charging them with PERJURY and informing the public of this been 'not in the public interest'? This reminds me of the charges they made against Rolf of allegedly downloading child porn and allegedly watching porn on an illegal under-age site, for they stated post-trial, that pursuit of these charges would now not be in the public interest! Oh, really? They COULDN'T pursue them for they KNEW that Rolf was NOT the person who'd viewed those *LEGAL* porn sites...and there were no downloads of child porn! Yet, they CHARGED him anyway, this being put in ALL the papers, PRE-trial, blatantly biasing ANY future jury..and then, they leave this as the final chapter in their 'Rolf The Monster' story, stating this at the end of the trial, on the steps of Southwark Crown Court! They also let the brother of this lying woman give them a statement about his sister, which one of the prosecution lawyers read out to the media at this time too, (!!!) on those same steps...stating how brave she was, the damage it had done to her...(it NEVER HAPPENED!) and that she was going to be writing a book (Oh my. WHAT a surprise!) in the future, to help other 'victims'....!!!! Of course, the book was never written, because it would appear that she couldn't find anyone to help her, let alone was it published, but she did put on her Twitter page (now removed) that it was "coming soon" and we'd "never beleave my story!" (her spelling. On THAT bit she was dead right of course. Lie after lie after lie...blowing Rolf's life apart without conscience, without care. Tonya Lee said, post-trial, "we were gobsmacked to be believed!"....possibly the only TRUE words she spoke throughout it all. She said those words in yet another interview, to Ben McCormack, who is himself, of course, now under investigation concerning child porn awaiting trial I believe. (Part 2 below)

  4. Part 2 - BOTH these women were in huge financial trouble. Tonya Lee made $60,000 one year PRE-TRIAL from her two interviews. She gave $10,000 to her now ex-partner, to make him 'go away' (her words from Court) after he'd told her he was going to blow it all open and tell everyone she'd lied, as she lied and lied all the time. Rolf's team even found the actual phone call of this...yet STILL those three judges decided NOT to overturn this conviction. There is so much more in relation to Tonya Lee, but suffice to say the Met Police were WELL AWARE she was a liar, as she'd lied to them from the outset. She was not ever a credible witness. The extra information William and Stephen found out about her mental health history was pure evidence of her lies to me, that she'd never once mentioned Rolf's name to her counsellors, whilst mentioning the name of a family member she alleged had abused her, around FIFTY TIMES! Yet STILL those three judges (how the feck did they EVER get to be judges?!) let this shocking case stand! YEESH!

    At least ONE convivtion HAS been quashed...and thus public opinion is now turning back to supporting Rolf.

  5. I think Sally's suggestion that "History is written" is a little sad, and takes no account of people who care that it should be written properly. I am in total admiration of people such as Simon Warr and Lizzie Cornish who fight for what is right and true.