Harvey Proctor has accused the police watchdog of ‘institutional stupidity’ in its failure to protect the public by clearing the Metropolitan police in its disastrous investigation into claims of a Westminster paedophile ring.
The former Tory MP was wrongly accused along with other prominent figures from the worlds of politics, military and law enforcement by the fantasist Carl Beech, formerly known only as Nick, who was sentenced to 18 years in July.
The former Tory MP, who told the Justice Gap that he was the victim of a ‘homosexual witch hunt’, this weekend complained that the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) had ‘failed in its duty to protect the public from police incompetence, gross negligence, and ‘institutional stupidity’. By announcing that the Metropolitan Police had ‘no case to answer’ after Beech’s conviction for perverting the course of justice and fraud, Proctor argued that the IOPC had ‘whitewashed’ the bundled investigation known as Operation Midland despite a High Court judge’s findings that it had misled the court and made 43 separate errors in the course of its operation.
Proctor, who lost his job and home as a result of the investigation, read from an ‘explosive’ report by Sir Richard Henriques not yet released to the public which found that the police had given false evidence to obtain the search warrants. ‘What I want to know is why [the IOPC] took so little notice of it when they rushed out press statements at the end of the Beech trial to say that police have no case to answer. They do – as the High Court judge makes clear. By ignoring his findings this office has failed in its duty to protect the public. It is not independent of the police – it works hand in glove with them.’
Not a shred of evidence
In 2014 Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald kicked off Operation Midland with his now infamous public appeal in which he asserted that Nick’s account was both ‘credible and true’. The human rights law Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is advising Proctor, criticised the watchdog for its ‘abject failure’ to condemn the officers behind the claim at a time when ‘they knew his allegations were not only incredible and inconsistent but there was not a shred of evidence to confirm them’.
‘To assert, and to leave that assertion on the record for 9 months, that his allegations were true, amounted to a public declaration by Scotland Yard that distinguished men were guilty of the vilest crimes of murder and rape of children. To fail to condemn this police misbehaviour in the strongest terms and at the first opportunity, is a dereliction of duty.’
Geoffrey Robertson QC
Proctor’s solicitor, Mark Stephens, said that examination of the search warrant application showed that police had withheld information from district judge Howard Riddle which would ‘almost certainly’ have caused him to reject the application. ‘For example, not only do they airbrush over the inconsistent story told by Beech to Wiltshire Police in 2012, but they deliberately withheld the allegation that Edward Heath was an active participant in parties where small children were sexually abused,’ he said; adding that the former prime minister ‘would have been a red flag for the judge who would know that the former Prime Minister was being guarded around the clock by special branch for fear of reprisal by the IRA and would not have granted the warrant’.
Robertson pointed out that ‘the Achilles’ heel of civil liberties in Britain’ was the fact that applications for warrants are ‘shrouded in secrecy’. ‘They are never recorded or transcribed in any way so police can get away with misleading the court and even telling lies – because there is no record they would never be held accountable,’ he added.