The CSA Inquiry, The BBC And The Strange Case of Patrick Rock

In the last couple of weeks, the BBC and the Tory press have worked tirelessly to scupper the VIP child abuse story. In a recent edition of Panorama, the BBC poured cold water on the claims that the now deceased Leon Brittan was involved in child abuse or had raped a woman in 1967. Yesterday, Tory MP Nicholas Soames demanded that Tom Watson “apologise” for “traducing” Brittan’s good name. Watson rose to his feet in response and refused to issue an apology. Good for him. First, you can’t traduce or smear a dead person and second, Watson doesn’t need to apologise for anything.

The front page of today’s Daily Mail has this banner headline with the words “Labour’s child abuse witch hunt” in the opening paragraph. No agenda there. Right?

However, what is clear from these efforts is that the inquiry must be getting uncomfortably close to the Tories, so close that they’re now pulling out all the stops and getting their media chums to produce propaganda to counter any further accusations and smear the victims. The timing is also interesting for the fact that Harvey Proctor, a former Tory MP who’s so right-wing that he’d make a fascist blush with envy, recently appeared at a news conference to deny any allegations that he sexually abused children or witnessed any murders.

Now, before anyone reading this gets any ideas in their head that I’ve libelled Proctor, think on. I’ve done no such thing. Proctor was, however, a member of the notorious Monday Club. He apparently moved to purge the group of National Front members. So what?

Here’s the edition of Panorama in question.  The programme’s rationale is evident from the start: “It ain’t true”.

As Tom Pride observed yesterday, if Panorama’s team are so damned good at investigations, why did they fail to say anything about Jimmy Savile, who was working in the same building?

Let’s now turn to the case of Patrick Rock or to give him his full name, Patrick Robert John Rock de Besombes. Rock is the scion of an old Norman aristocratic family, a thwarted parliamentary candidate and was, until 18 months ago, a Downing Street aide. I say “was” because he was caught in possession of indecent images of children and appeared in court on those charges in July, 2014 and was bailed.  In December, 2014, Rock appeared at Southwark Crown Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Then it all went quiet.

I found this letter from someone called “P. Curran” to the Cabinet Office on the What Do They Know website that makes a Freedom of Information request. P. Curran writes:

Dear Cabinet Office,

I am seeking information on Patrick Rock, a former senior aide to
David Cameron, who appeared in court over child abuse images.

According to this Guardian report of Friday 19 December 2014 12.40
GMT, he was ‘ bailed to return to Southwark crown court for a
pre-trial hearing on 27 February 2015’:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/…

Since then there has been no news whatsoever. What has happened to
Mr. Rock please? Has he had his pre-trial hearing yet? And if so
where and when?

Yours faithfully,

Thankyou.

P. Curran

The letter was written on 2 June, 2015. If the pre-trial hearing took place, then there is no record of it. This begs the question: “why”?

A follow up letter appears on the same website, dated 17 June, 2015.

Dear Cabinet Office / FOI Team Mailbox,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Cabinet Office’s
handling of my FOI request ‘Trial of Patrick Rock’.

Many thanks for this reply, but if you read my original question,
this is not what I asked.

I asked: “What has happened to Mr. Rock please? Has he had his
pre-trial hearing yet? And if so where and when?

I did NOT ask whether the information was held on your paper or
electronic records.

I would also draw your attention to the following:

Guardian: Possible Cabinet Office cover up re: Cyril Smith child
abuse allegations:
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015…

Same story from the Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-….
Indeed, from the article: “Downing Street cynically tried to
prevent the release of damaging files exposing the scale of the
cover-up over paedophile MP Cyril Smith.
The Cabinet Office repeatedly blocked The Mail on Sunday’s attempts
to see the bombshell documents – and caved in only after being
threatened with High Court action.”

Same story from Sky:
https://www.newstalk.com/Thatcher-knew-o….
From the story:
“He [Simon Danczuk] added: “(The Cabinet Office) have resisted
publishing these documents for over 12 months – that’s not
acceptable. They refused to tell the public who
nominated Cyril Smith for a knighthood. A journalist managed to get
that out of them after going to the Information Commissioner. It
was indeed David Steel.
And we now know they are resisting publishing at least four other
files relating to historic child sexual abuse. We have to ask the
question is the Cabinet Office fit for purpose?”

Private Eye story on Cabinet Office cover-up:
https://twitter.com/privateeyenews/statu…

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/w…

So, given Mr Patrick Robert John Rock was deputy head of David
Cameron’s policy unit at the time of his arrest and has known him
since the late 1990s (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28054433 /
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics…),
I would be extremely grateful if you cold please tell me about the
trial / pre-trial hearings of Patrick Rock, supposedly held at
Southwark Crown Court , case number T20140498 (not whether the
information is stored on your paper or electronic records) .

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/t…

Yours faithfully,

P. Curran

The exchange between P. Curran and the FOI team continues for the next few weeks until, finally, there’s a reply from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

REVIEW OF REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000
Cabinet Office Internal Review Reference: IR 321173
(Original Case Reference: Fol 321173)
Thank you for your email of 17 June 2015. You asked for an internal review of our response to
your request for information of 8 June 2015. In your request you asked for information about the
trial of Patrick Rock.
It may be helpful if I start by explaining that the Freedom of Information Act provides a right of
access, subject to exemptions, to information held in a recorded format by a public authority.
Public authorities are specifically scheduled under the Act and the Cabinet Office (including No1 O
Downing Street) is one of those scheduled authorities. Each government department and agency
is separately listed under the Act.
As such, the Cabinet Office can only respond in terms of information we hold in a recorded format.
I have reviewed your request and have concluded that the Cabinet Office does not hold any
recorded information, which would answer your question. I recognise your interest in this case but
I regret that we do not hold the information to be able to answer your question.
The substance of your request is a matter for the criminal justice system, which is outside the remit
of the Cabinet Office. The only advice and assistance I am able to offer is to suggest that you write
to the Crown Prosecution Service or Her Majesty’s Court Service. I should also explain that even if
they hold any information in a recorded format in scope of your request, one or more exemptions
under the Act might apply.
If you are unhappy with the handling of your request for information you, have the right to apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

It turns out that that Rock is due to appear in court in the next three days. However, there is nothing in papers about it, nor have the television news providers mentioned it.

Don’t you find that a little odd? I know I do.

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4 Comments

Filed under Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry

4 responses to “The CSA Inquiry, The BBC And The Strange Case of Patrick Rock

  1. One’s reaction to Harvey Proctor’s denial that he had ever abused any children may depend on how one defines “children”; if one includes any person under the age of 18, then it would appear that he has quite forgotten the offences to which he pleaded guilty in 1987.

    On May 20, 1987, Harvey Proctor stood in Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to four charges of gross indecency with rent boys under 21, that being the minimum age at the time for male homosexualism Three counts involved a 17 year old, committed between June 1, 1986 and August 31, 1986; the other involved a 19 year old, on April 11, 1986.

    It could be, of course, that he was completely innocent of all charges and that he spent time with the lads playing tiddlywinks or teaching them the finer points of chess, only pleading guilty to spare them the ordeal of a trial in which their wholly blameless pastime would be questioned by a nasty minded prosecutor.

    The story ran in the Glasgow Herald on May 21, 1987 –
    http://bit.ly/1GEdIM6

  2. l8in

    Reblogged this on L8in.

  3. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    The Cat here argues that there’s a cover-up being attempted by the Tory media and the BBC to prevent the public being informed of the true extent of high-ranking paedophile abuse. This comes from the Tories’ demands that Tom Watson apologise for his accusations of paedophile abuse by various politicians, echoed by the Daily Mail. Even Harvey Proctor has emerged to deny that he was ever a child molester. As one commenter to the Cat’s post remarks, this is despite the fact that Proctor was convicted of gross indecency with youths under the then age of homosexual consent. This was 21 at the time, and the youngest of the rent boys involved in the case was 17. There has been a recent Panorama programme pouring cold water on the notion that there was ever a high-ranking paedophile ring. Finally, the government has shown itself very reluctant to release information on the case of Patrick Rock, the Downing Street aid found in possession of indecent images of children. The Cat reports that he was due to appear in court in the three days following his post about this issue. This has, however, very definitely not been reported in the press. Again, this is in marked contrast to previous high-profile sex scandals, where the press were positively queuing up to cover the cases and repeat just about all the lurid details they could.

    Now it might simply be that the legal authorities have imposed a curtain of silence around the case for perfectly good and just reasons. There are very strict laws regarding the reporting of child abuse, not least of which is that the child’s identity must be protected. Furthermore, it could be argued that the sheer high profile of the accused means that any news reports about the trial could skew the decision of the jury and so cause a miscarriage of justice. This has been the argument made before in some particularly controversial and emotive court cases that have received very extensive coverage. The problem with this is that Rock, or de Bascombes as he should properly be known, has been simply accused of possession of indecent images of, but not the direct abuse of children, whose identity needs to be protected. The law doesn’t seem to apply in this case, and similarly cases in which people have been caught with images of the sexual abuse or simply indecent images of children have been regularly reported in the press.

    The Cat has concluded that the paedophile inquiry is starting to get too close to home for the Tories. From the evidence presented her, he’s right. And a lot of people are similarly smelling the odour of rodents.

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