I recently,(Sept 26) wrote a Blog headed SIR HAROLD EVANS AND OTHER LIONISED LYING SCOUNDRELS.
During his year editing THE TIMES, not only did his paper attempt to defend at the PRESS COUNCIL, a blatant lie about casualties in “the Troubles” but it published a glowing Obituary of Lord Widgery.
And, when Tony Benn was a candidate for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party it carried a story of him having property and business interest in the West Indies, concocted to discredit him. Benn was a Privy Councillor and THE TIMES carried a letter from him refuting the lie the following day. THE TIMES apologised the same day, but its story had probably contributed to Benn’s losing the contest. A couple of years previously (before Evans was Editor) the paper had published a false story about Benn, and the following day had published Benn’s refutation and their own (sincere?) apology.
Both I and a reader in Paris, a Mr Fitzgerald, I think, had independently written to the paper asking it to correct the lie written by its correspondent Christopjher Thomas, but Harold Evans,as cowardly as he was dishonest ignored us. Then, independently Fitzgerald and I approached the Press Council and pursued the matter for months, a gruelling process because the Council was as cowardly and dishonest as Evans.
Neither I nor Mr Fitzgerald had the clout of a Privy Councillor and the Press Council, in cahoots with the newspaper deliberately stonewalled for nine months
As for Lord Hutton I referred to him in Blog 20 July “LORD HUTTON REDUCED THE PUBLIC’S FAITH IN JUDICIAlL INQUIRIES” a quotation from that most august, reliable and ethical British Organ, THE TIMES.
Back in the 1980s, Lord Gifford QC (a Hereditary Peer with an outstanding international record as a champion of human rights published a booklet “Death on the Streets of Derry”.
I reviewed the booklet for THE IRISH DEMOCRAT under the heading “SHAM JUSTICE.”
This is what I wrote in the Review:-
“Fifteen- year old Paul Whitters was shot by an RUC man with a plastic bullet after police had been attacked with stones. From the evidence Gifford is satisfied as regards the fact that the RUC were not in danger, that the boy was alone when shot, that the range was at most ten yards, and the shot was head high, apparently against regulations., aimed that way deliberately. As regards law, he is certain that a charge of murder should have been brought, and sustained, in court. No charges whatever were brought against the RUC.
Nineteen -year old Gary English and eighteen-year old James Brown died after two Land Rovers, armoured and weighing three quarters of a ton each, were driven at a speed of between fifty and sixty miles an hour, into a crowd. Already felled by one of the vehicles, and probably already dead, English’s body was run over by one of the vehicles reversing.
From evidence, including from one experienced BBC journalist, Gifford is convinced that the direction and speed of the vehicles were deliberate and that charges of murder should have been brought and sustained. One British soldier was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, and another was charged with aiding and abetting him. They were acquitted by a jury after a trial that prompts Gifford to inform us as to the correct procedure for a court of justice.
For one thing, a Judge should direct a jury on the law, particularly on the definition of a crime. For another he should remind them of the evidence. MR JUSTICE HUTTON failed to explain the law, disposed of the evidence in five paragraphs, and in passages covering six pages of transcript, spoke for the defense.
Gifford is not satisfied with the conduct of the prosecutions either. Wrong-footed from the start by not bringing a charge of murder and using the damning evidence to convince the jury, they allowed the Judge throughout to impute innocent motivation to the army. The Crown QC abandoned the case at the critical stage, leaving a junior counsel with the burden of cross-examining the defendants and the other crucial task of making the final speech.
Introducing the booklet, Gifford asks the following questions. What is the real nature of ‘the minimum force’ policy of the security services? What restraints are there in practice and what faith can the community have in the processes of judicial hearing?
It is many years since those questions exercised the keenest mines in Derry. Government propaganda, as instanced by Humphrey Atkins in THE DAILY MAIL included the three youths amongst those killed by the IRA , whilst THE TIMES numbers them amongst its spurious calculations of Protestant martyrs.