Saturday February 17th, 2001
The Times They Are A Changing
There would appear to be little doubt that the present Lord Chief Justice of England, Lord Woolf is the most fair-minded Lord Chief Justice in my lifetime.
There is evidence that he has compassion, and his critical views on the prison system over many years have been fully vindicated.
The civil servants and politicians would do well if they listened to this wise Judge.
Unfortunately he has come too late for me, and many others.
Lord Chief Injustice
I had the unfortunate experience of being a professional thief during the terrible years when the iron fist of Lord Goddard ruled the Law Courts.
During the reign of this heartless man there were no balanced scales of justice, only weighted injustice.
He made a mockery of the justice system and democracy and, more often than not, made his mind up on the guilt of a person before he had heard a word of the evidence, or lack of evidence.
He had autocratic power and used it without tolerance.
He was also a pervert and has been identified as the Judge who had an orgasm when he sentenced to death a person accused of murder or passed a long prison sentence.
Defence Counsel was terrified of this monster and, with no disrespects to my Mafia friends; he was the Hollywood imagined Don and his territory was the Inns of Court and the Law Courts.
He had the style of an academic gangster, but had neither the worldly intelligence nor principles of any Mafia Don that I have met.
When Derek Bentley, a young man aged 19, who had a mental age of a person of 10 or 11, was brought before Goddard on a trumped-up charge of murdering a policeman, Goddard had made his mind-up that he would use Bentley to teach a lesson to anyone contemplating causing damage to The Establishment.
The case against Bentley was a disgrace and should never have come to court.
After a failed burglary, and with a number of police officers present, Bentley was under arrest, and in police custody when, the police said he called out to his accomplice who had a gun, "Let, him have it".
This was outrageous because there was no evidence to suggest that Bentley was a violent young man.
The Bad Old Days
However, in those days Counsel were reluctant to call the police liars because it meant they were likely to be in disfavour with the Judge.
It was also a fact that Judges rarely accepted that a policeman would lie on oath and usually did everything possible to make sure that a jury did not accept that police would tell lies.
Therefore even the best Counsel advised their client to suggest the police were mistaken and not liars.
Acting on this advice Bentley said that when he told his partner-in-crime, "Let them have it," he meant for his friend to surrender the gun.
Nevertheless, he did tell other prisoners in Wandsworth that he never said a word.
No doubt he also told his sister Iris.
Goddard made certain Bentley was found guilty and and ordered him to be executed.
Such was the fierce reputation of this almighty Lord Chief Justice a reprieve was denied, and young Bentley was hanged.
A Real Angel
However, Bentley's wonderful sister Iris made her mind up that she would fight to clear her brother's name, and succeeded.
There were no political groups willing to assist this lone woman with a family for whom she had to care.
Where were the organised demonstrations by activists?
There was just her family and her courage.
Some twenty years later his accomplice agreed that Bentley never said a word.
The reason he never came forward to tell the truth was because he was afraid that they would keep him locked-up.
Even when he was released he was still afraid because any person sentenced to life imprisonment is liable to recall and put back into prison.
To keep silent was a very wrong thing to do but we are talking about a kid teenager under intense pressure, and whatever he might have said after Bentley was hanged would not have brought back the terribly unfortunate Derek Bentley.
At least about 20 years ago when society was beginning to accept that policemen did tell lies on oath, he said Bentley never said a word.
The Price For Being An Angel
After years and years of fighting to clear the name of her brother this wonderful woman, whose determination and love for her brother made her a clone of my dear sister, Eva, finally made the authorities grant a pardon to her brother.
Iris took the brunt of the campaign to seek justice for her brother, but she was not alone. All the members of the Bentley family suffered, and were victims.
However the cost health-wise to Iris, and in financial terms, came at a very heavy price.
The worry and stress caused this gem of a woman to go to her grave before her time.
As far as I am aware not a penny in compensation has been paid to this family, which is an outrage.
Where are those politically correct organised political groups when the injustice imposed upon Derek Bentley is considered? They are nowhere to be seen.
So good is the false propaganda on the fairness of the English justice system that no matter how many times a person appears in an English court-of-law, civil or criminal, they always believe that this will be the time when the reputation of the system will be seen to be just, and that the Judge will be fair and throw out the obvious false evidence, prejudice and lies.
In my experience it was always wishful thinking.
When I appeared at the Old Bailey number one court with Charlie Richardson and others on trumped-up charges of murder, GBH, and anything else the prosecution could imagine, and in matters like this their fantasy has no bounds, the Judge was Sir Frederick Lawton QC.
The media labelled it, 'The Torture Trial.'
It proved to be a perversion of justice that ranks with the worst in legal history.
From start to finish it was nonsense.
Medical x-rays in police custody that could have disproved the lies went missing, never to be found.
On the evidence of proven liars who were prosecution witnesses only because they were promised leniency on serious criminal charges for which, with their criminal records, they would have received long prison sentences, Charlie Richardson received 25 years imprisonment.
I received ten years and served very day, plus another five years for being involved in a riot of which I was guilty. I was also serving five years for an alleged 'affray' in Mr. Smith's nightclub.
Affray? What affray? According to the prosecution we were supposed to have gone to Mr. Smith's to assert our authority over some local rivals.
We didn't even know the rival people would be there on the night of the affray'.
The other side was seriously 'tooled-up' and we had nothing. Ask yourself a simple question, is that logical? Would you go face-to-face with anyone that you knew was 'tooled-up' and take nothing with you?
I certainly wouldn't, and nor would any other sane person. We were totally unprepared.
If we had gone 'tooled-up' don't you think the police would have found them and photographs of them would have been splashed all over the newspapers and on TV.
There is no doubt that there was a bad row that night and Ronnie Hart was shot with his own gun and I was charged with his murder, but found not guilty.
However, there was no affray, unless trying to defend yourself constitutes an affray.
My friends, and I, did the best we could to defend ourselves. Determination and courage are great assets, but they are not sufficient on their own against loaded guns and other 'tools'.
Yes, I was guilty of the riot and served every day of the five years sentence, but had I received justice at the so-called 'Torture Trial', and the charges treated with the contempt they deserved, I would not have been in that prison and, therefore, not involved in the riot.
I was offered parole on a number of occasions but I refused it because it meant that I would have to admit that the prosecution case against us was justified, and not a complete load of b******s.
It would have also made desperate liars and corrupt officials appear to be honest and truthful people.
In addition I had no intention of taking a favour from people I had no cause to respect. So I served the full twenty years.
The Liars' Trade-Off
It was a conspiracy by The Establishment forces, and they used worthless people to do their bidding. As I sat in court and listened to the lies my main regret was that the alleged 'tortures' that were said to have taken place were fiction.
Not one 'straight' person made a complaint.
The prosecution witnesses claiming to have been tortured had all traded long terms of imprisonment for crimes they had committed, in return for telling lies on oath against my fellow co-defendants and me.
As these obnoxious creatures told lie after a lie, it became a game as each piece of excrement tried to outdo each other to please their Lords and Masters.
I would have dearly loved it have been true that I did badly physically hurt these evil disciples of Baron Munchausen, but unfortunately it was fabrication.
Exceptions To The Rule
I was brought-up to believe that if you can't speak well of the dead then keep a still tongue.
This is respectful advice, but for people like Goddard and Lawton I have to make an exception.
Goddard was no doubt a role model for Lawton.
At the nonsense 'Torture Trial' I proved in open court that Justice Lawton QC was either suffering from early signs of senile dementia or was a liar.
The fact that he lived another 44 years after the trial, and just recently was on television being interviewed, and giving a legal opinion, proved that he was not suffering from senile dementia, and was an unmitigated liar.
Judge Lawton was the son of the notorious prison governor William Lawton, and to be fair he was never in with a chance of being a decent person because he was doomed to inherit the poisonous genes of his father.
He spent most of his childhood in the staff quarters of the unholy Wandsworth prison, a dreadful habitat for a child to have to spend his formative years.
A Chance Meeting
Some time before 'The Torture Trial', and quite by chance, I met Lawton on a winter's evening at Victoria railway station.
I was with my wife Doreen and we had been to see her father who was in hospital.
Doreen wasn't keen on alcohol and there is no way we would be so disrespectful as to visit her father in hospital in a drunken state, and after the visit we directly made our way home to Brighton and never stopped at any place.
Doreen went to the W. H. Smith newsagents shop on Victoria station to buy some football magazines for our son Francis, a magazine for her self and some newspapers for me. As I waited for her I saw Lawton and recognised him.
I went upon to him and asked if he was Sir Frederick Lawton.
I had massaged his pompous manner, and it was obvious that he was delighted at being recognised.
With much grandness he said he was that person.
I then told him a few home truths, and said that his father was an evil bastard who had tried to murder me when I was in Wandsworth prison when his father was the prison governor, and that I had tried to hang his father on Wandsworth Common in an act of revenge.
Judge Lawton began to edge away from me, and I added a few well-chosen swear words as I walked after him, and continued to call out examples of behaviour for which his father had earned a dreadful reputation as a callous and sadistic prison governor.
Doreen came out of W.H. Smith's, and saw the commotion, and the crowd that was gathering.
She immediately came to me and grabbed my arm, and tried to calm me.
Lawton took advantage of this, and somewhat comically, made an effort to run to a taxi that he hurriedly got into, and the cab drove away.
The Judge Was A Liar
At the Old Bailey my Counsel, Charles Lawson QC reminded Judge Lawton of our unsociable encounter. His Honour Judge Lawton dismissed it by saying it had never happened.
I shouted to him that it did happen, and that he knew it had happened.
I was furious but Charlie Richardson, and the other defendants, sympathetically calmed me down.
Had Judge Lawton admitted that it had happened a retrial was inevitable so the trial continued.
Just before the break for lunch Lawton dismissed the jury and said that he did now remember (surprise, surprise) an encounter on a winter's evening on a London railway station with a 'drunken ruffian' but he was certain it wasn't me, and even if it was there was no reason why he could not hear the case.
This was a remarkable admission, and decision, by a senior Judge.
My Counsel, Charles Lawson and my Junior Counsel, John Lloyd-Eley were gobsmacked.
None of the lawyers, including the prosecution Counsel who bowed the heads in what I took to be embarrassment, could look at me.
The instant reaction is to say so much for English justice and denigrate it!
However, it is not the fault of the system that ensures that justice is denied, but instead it was, and still is, the interpretation of justice imposed by ambitious and ruthless Judges like His Honour Justice Sir Frederick Lawton QC, that is criminal.
In the Daily Telegraph of Tuesday, the 6th of this month a large amount of space was given over to an obituary of Sir Frederick Lawton QC, and a large picture of him in his ceremonial robes. There is an attempt at a smile on his face, but only a half-smile is managed.
Stalin, Hitler And Lawton
The unnamed writer of this cringing, at times bum sucking, obituary is either extremely naive, a clever, sarcastic humourist or a fictional writer whose fantasies are in the Lewis Carroll class.
If it is not the work of a clever, acid humourist, which is most unlikely, and is meant to be a true account of the life and times of Sir Frederick Lawton QC, and a former Lord Justice of Appeal, then it is a seriously flawed manuscript.
The facts are Lawton was a communist sympathiser who joined the ultra-right wing British Union of Fascists as the Hitler power-force made great advances and became the world's major military machine.
To be attracted by the likes of the son of the devil, Stalin, and then Hitler, is a good indication of Lawton's real character.
It also tells me that he was not a leader but a follower, which made him ideal fodder for the English Establishment.
He was a convert to Catholicism.
The writer goes on to laud Lawton as a criminal barrister of great renown. It's fiction.
He also goes on to say that when Lawton was practicing he was the highest earner at the criminal bar. If this is true then he was over-paid.
Although it has to be admitted that he was greedy enough to allow himself to be financially over-rewarded.
The truth of the matter is that he was never in the class of barristers practising at that time, like the peerless Victor Durand QC, the excellent Robin Simpson QC, James Burge QC, and to a lesser degree Edward Clarke QC.
There were also others.
The fact that only Edward Clark, a Buddhist, was appointed a Judge, tells its own story.
Had the first aforementioned three Masters of criminal law been allowed to represent the accused at the 'Torture Trial' the lives of innocent families, and those in the dock, would have been dramatically altered.
These superb defence Counsel would not have been intimidated by Judge Lawton, and nor would they have tolerated his misuse of power.
Prosecutor Not Defender
Lawton had little respect as a defence Counsel because he was at his happiest appearing for the prosecution.
The fantast who is responsible for the obituary gives Lawton credit for the unusual amnesia defence put forward by Gunther Podola (the fantast spells it Padola), a photographer, who was charged with the murder of a policeman
This again is rubbish.
Podola could not remember the policeman being killed. This was because when police arrested him they seriously assaulted Podola, and amnesia was a result of this beating.
The police excuse was that when they charged down the door of his room to make the arrest, the door 'accidentally' hit Podola.
If you believe that then Alice in Wonderland is a real life person.
Defence Counsel Lawton QC failed, or deliberately did not try, to convince a lay jury that Podola was suffering from amnesia, and at the Old Bailey he failed to convince the trial jury that he did not commit the murder.
Podola was hanged.
True To His Beliefs
The words speak for themselves and clearly identify the dark side of the character of the man.
Former Attorney General the late Sir Michael Havers described Lawton as a 'labrador' who had only to sniff the prospect of a good day in court and his tail would wag.
Sir Michael had a reputation for choosing his words carefully.
Therefore it should not go unnoticed that Sir Michael likened Lawton to a dog.
Women found him difficult and he was a moral coward. He would always avoid telling anything disagreeable to a colleague face to face, but instead he would send a note.
He had the perfect pedigree for The Establishment and they made him, a Queen's Counsel, a Knight of the Realm, a member of the Bar Council, serving as it's chairman from 1977 to 1986, a Bencher of the Inner temple in 1961 and in the same year was knighted. In 1972 he was sworn in as a Privy Councillor.
He was made a Lord of Appeal
How remarkably accurate was the man who said, 'All that glitters is not gold'.
When he retired Lawton did not go to Cheltenham, but instead chose to go to a village in Yorkshire, the county in which is Sheffield.
He was 89 years old when he died.
It's In The Books
Just in case some cynic wants to believe that I have waited for Lawton to die before 'slagging' him off, I will put the record straight.
It is now a matter of history that I 'slagged' him off when I wrote my first book that was published by Little Brown in 1994.
So, too, did Charlie Richardson in his book, which was published in 1991 by Pan Books.
No writs for libel were served upon us on behalf of his Honour Justice Sir Frederick Lawton QC.
The reason for this was that you are only able to successfully sue for libel if that which has been written about you is a lie.
Sir Frederick Lawton QC, and his lawyers, knew that they had no case against us because we had only told the truth.