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’:
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?
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
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
I would also draw your attention to the following:
Guardian: Possible Cabinet Office cover up re: Cyril Smith child
Same story from the Mail:
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:
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:
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 /
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:
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.
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.