Wednesday, 1 August 2001

The Archer Saga

Sex, Lies and N.o.W Tapes    

Citizen Kane And Able Lord Archer

I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of people, and media companies, that have contacted me for my viewpoint on the Lord Archer affair. It is most satisfying.

I have only met Lord Archer on one occasion, and it was not exactly the most illuminating occasion in my life. We were both guests, in company with football legend Denis Law, on the Richard Littlejohn Live programme on television.

It is customary that when an invited guest on a TV chat show meets another invited guest they courteously shake hands.

There was no problem with Denis Law, and I was privileged to exchange very friendly greetings. However, with his Lordship it was very different.

When Lord Jeffrey Met 'Mad' Frankie

The prospect of Lord Archer being caught shaking hands with 'Mad' Frankie Fraser suddenly filled his Lordship with trepidation. It was written all over his face: What would the chairman of the Conservative say; what would be the reaction of Mrs. Margaret Thatcher and other Tory bigwigs? In his wild imagination he probably saw a photograph of the two of us shaking hands on the front page of a tabloid newspaper or Private Eye.

His body language suggested that he didn't know what to do: Should he run, rudely refuse a friendly outstretched hand or have a 'moody' faint.

I nearly burst out laughing. You see I knew more about Lord Jeffrey Archer than he imagined, and I thought what a cheek.

He was worried about shaking hands with me a retired villain when the reality is I should have been worried about shaking hands with a practicing scapegrace.

However, I kept a stiff upper lip, and we both took the 'risk', and 'Mad' Frankie Fraser and Lord Archer clasped hands. There was no ominous reverberating thunder-clap from the Heavens, nor did a streak of lighting flash across the sky, and as far as I know his Lordship was spared the cane from the Conservative party chairperson.

Seriously though, I was disappointed with Lord Archer. By unnecessarily causing stress to himself he exposed himself as man lacking worldly-wise ways. His behaviour indicated to me that he maybe was not a man of conviction, and as the recent revelations confirm he has quite a lot to learn.

With that said it is clear that I hold no brief for his Lordship.

'Pure' Hollywood

That which cannot be denied is that the Archer affair is a very high profile epic.   It is pure Hollywood - that is if it is correct to refer to anything as pure in Hollywood. It has all the best selling attractions sex, fabulous wealth, high politics, powerful people, recurring news headlines, courtroom drama, and the successful author with a fragrant wife of high intellect. Yes, it has everything.

The pity is that the brilliant Orson Welles never dreamt it up, and made it into a screenplay and movie. It would have made a classic companion to his master movie Citizen Kane, which he based on a ruthless newspaper tycoon.

In the real world how would you describe Lord Jeffrey Archer?

Is he an evil public enemy number one? Do his crimes compare with those negligent, most would say callous, people at Railtrack? Are children in danger when they are in his presence? Is there concern for vulnerable people on the streets because of the danger he threatens?

Of course not.

In my view he is acted like a fool and has, for some time, been 'playing' at serious matters of which he is ill suited, but there is not evidence that he is evil. Some of his behaviour could be mistaken for that of Walter Mitty, and he is unquestionably a very poor judge of character.

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

For a newspaper to call anyone a liar is really a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. If lies came with a four-year prison sentence the popular newspapers would vanish off the newsstands, and breakfast would never be the same. It would probably mean that only the Catholic Herald would be allowed to publish, but even that could not be guaranteed.

Q: What was the crime of Lord Archer that is the real cause of the outsize headlines?

A: He is considered to have told lies, and took the newspapers The Daily Star and the News of the World for a ride to the tune of over half a million pounds.

By any standards that is a lot of money, and both newspapers have good reason to feel sorely aggrieved. Had anyone been silly enough to have ripped me off for a large amount of money I, too, would have been very angry.

With that said, had it been possible for The Daily Star and the News of the World to charge other newspapers a royalty on the lineage the newspaper industry has gained out of Lord Jeffrey Archer they would have made enormous profits. This would have been an occasion when a search for dropped money that has slipped through a crack in barren rock face leads to the discovery of a bountiful gold mine.

Even without the gold mine The Daily Star and the News of the World are now able to regard their payments to Lord Archer as worthwhile investments.

The number of newspapers that they have been sold due to his Lordship must have had a marked plus effect on the bank balances of both newspapers, and made them the toast of newspapers around the world.

If anyone tried to convince me that Lord Jeffrey Archer took a gamble and sued a newspaper for libel for the sole purpose of making money then they would fail.

Every time anyone steps into a court of law it is a gamble because Justice is chance.   In a libel action it is a gamble for high stakes. If you win the award is likely to be very high, but to gamble on receiving justice in a court of law would make a candidate for Gamblers Anonymous baulk at the uncertainty let alone a very wealthy best selling novelist.

This view of justice may come as shock to many people, but it is based on experience.

The only guaranteed winners in a court action are the lawyers because even for the winner the legal costs will swallow up much of any award for damages.

When Fiction Was Allowed To Be Veracity

Over the years I have had a large number of newspaper lies hurled at me.

Before, we were arrested due to the perjury of serial liars that led to the ridiculous 'Torture Trial' a News of the World reporter Peter Earle, a drunk, was used by the notorious Chief Superintendent Tom Butler, who manufactured evidence in The Great Train Robbery, to build-up public opinion against the fictional Richardson gang.

Butler fed Earle stories that through the reporter's hazy scotch mist were changed from outrageous fiction to mock reality. More remarkable the then editor of the News of the World editor either believed, or wanted to believe, the false-witness Earle, and published the mendacious scribblings.   Probably, the hazy scotch mist had enveloped Bouverie Street, a small turning off Fleet Street, the then home of the News of the World   So outrageous were the claims by Earle we couldn't believe that people would believe them especially as they had been written shaky hand of a boozed reporter.

That was our mistake, and Butler's good fortune, because gullible people in high and low places did believe the nonsense.

At one time we were thinking of suing for libel, but some years before I had sued a newspaper that had printed lies about me, and won, but because of my police record the damages were restricted. It was a waste of time and money.

When we were arrested other newspapers that at first were sceptical of the far, far-fetched stories jumped on the bandwagon, and Butler was home. He had 'conned' them all. Maybe the newspapers were aware that they were being 'conned' but the 'Torture Trial' amphigorys sold newspapers like hot cakes, so they were not worried.

Lies, Lies And More Lies

Jeffrey Archer is a politician. This raises the question: For a politician not to tell the truth would it be like snow falling during a heat wave or finding booze, or reporter Peter Earle, in a pub?

You have guessed it right it would be as common as finding booze, or Peter Earle, in a pub.

Were lies told by government Ministers on the dreadful CJD scandal

Has the truth been told regarding the Foot and Mouth epidemic?

Did that man of Straw colour the truth when he did not renew the contract of Sir David Ramsbottom to allow this honest man to continue doing a superb job as the Chief Inspector of prisons, and is responsible for a study that seriously criticises the Prison Officers Association, a trade union that believes they are above scrutiny, and is totally contemptuous of the public?   v    Were the politicians being truthful when they gave their reasons for sacking Bob Kiley just before Mr Kiley was about to reveal the contents of a study that severely criticises the governments PPP proposal regarding the underground rail system?

Was the truth told about the death of Lady Diana and Dodi Fayed?

Is the truth being told on the dreadful state of the National Health Service, and the frightening lack of patient care?

Was the truth told by the Establishment top figures: The Earl of Portsmouth, Richard Clay, Christopher Sharples, David Wills, Sir Robert McAlpine, Lord Hanson, The Duke of Devonshire, when they gave their reasons for financing the appeal of former Tatton MP Neil Hamilton against the verdict by a jury that Mr Mohammed Al Fayed did not libel Hamilton when he said on TV that Hamilton had corruptly demanded and accepted cash payments from the hated enemy of the Establishment, Mr Al Fayed the owner of Harrods.

Is it true that according to newspaper reports Nicholas Purnell QC was paid a reported £250,000 on the brief, and refreshers of £3,000 per day to defend Lord Archer?

My personal answer to every one of these questions is a resounding no, the truth has not been told!

The Archer Epic Cast

The cast in the Archer picaresque are a truly motley crew.

Who corrupted whom depends upon the extent of your generosity.

TED FRANCIS

The person that blew the whistle that set in motion the criminal court case that has led to Lord Archer being incarcerated was Ted Francis, an alleged TV producer, who became Archer's co-defendant.

It was alleged that when Archer knew that a prostitute Monica Coghlan was going to go public and claim that she had a sexual liaison with Archer at 1 am on the 10th of September 1986, he induced 'dear old' Ted Francis, his long time friend, to support an alibi alleged to have been made up by Archer to cover the adulterous liaison with a prostitute.

Francis said later that he thought he was covering-up the extra-marital liaison of his friend with the late Ms. Coghlan for the purpose of merely pulling the wool over the eyes of his Lordship's redoubtable wife, Mary.

Newspaper reports have said that Archer promised Francis £20,000, but only paid him £12,000. Is this a fabrication or the truth?

If it is true then it was an extra-ordinary generous offer, and very surprising that Francis did not ask more questions on why his friendly gesture warranted such a high financial reward. Most friends do this favour without any thought of payment.

In support of the false alibi Francis wrote two letters to solicitors Mishcon de Reya.

Francis had met Mary, the wife of his friend Archer. Did he for one moment believe he was capable of fooling this remarkable woman, and was he not alarmed by the need for Archer's solicitors to be involved when there were was not even the slightest whisper that Mary was contemplating divorce proceedings?

Surely when TV producer Ted Francis became aware that solicitors were involved he knew that this could become a court matter, and that he may have to repeat on oath the lies that were the basis for the false alibi.

Was 'dear old' Ted unaware that to lie on oath is to commit the crime of perjury?  If he was that naive what sort of TV programme had he produced? The TV colour balance chart?   When the Daily Star published Ms. Coghlan's revelations Archer sued for libel, and was awarded £500,000 damages.

By a quirk of fate The Daily Star decided to change the date on which they had alleged that Ms. Coghlan had sex with Archer, thus the Francis alibi was not used.

Where I have difficulty with 'dear old' Ted's account is that Lord Mishcon, the senior partner in Mishcon de Reya, was personally overseeing the Archer libel action. Lord Mishcon is the former East End solicitor Victor Mishcon, who was considered to have a very good legal mind when his office was based in Shoreditch many years ago. Today he is considered to be one of the most fashionable of lawyers.

I find it difficult to believe that Lord Mishcon, and his colleagues at the highly rated legal partnership of Mishcon de Reya who act for Archer, did not take a full statement from Ted Francis, but, apparently, were content to rely solely upon two letters confirming the date of the alleged spurious 'alibi', in such an important high profile libel action against a national newspaper.   For a reputable firm of solicitors to do this would be remarkable. The usual course is to take a full statement from all parties to the alibi, and some might even request that the details be contained in a sworn affidavit before proceeding. There is not a shadow of doubt that experienced Counsel would demand at least a signed written statement was available before calling such an all important witness.

If for some reason they did not do this then I have no doubt that they explained to Francis that they would require a full statement from him.

'Dear old' Ted says that he had known for a long time that Jeffery Archer was a 'scoundrel', and when thirteen years after the alleged invented alibi it was announced that his Lordship was a candidate for the Mayor of London, he was so troubled that London might be 'afflicted' with Lord Archer as its Mayor, that he went for advice to a family friend Max Clifford. It just so happens that Max is a PR expert, that is of course a coincidence, isn't it?

After meeting with Max, Francis was later told that his story was worth £120,000, and this was the price that Max had agreed with the News of the World for the exclusive story of Francis, and for Archer's old  'friend' to entrap him by allowing the News of the World reporters to bug telephone conversations between Francis and Archer.

The 'seriously conscience troubled' Ted Francis could not bring himself to accept £120,000, but settled for a new car (£14,000 worth), and an alleged donation to charity.

There no doubt this that at first glance this appears to be a magnanimous decision by Francis, and it obviously made the intended impression on the jury because they found Francis not guilty.   In my view it is hypocrisy.

I fail to understand how a new car is anything less significant than £120,000 to induce a person to blow the whistle. In fact, I am inclined to believe it is worse.

A car is a bauble.

It is my belief that to make a bauble part of the condition for 'shopping' a friend whom Francis had known for many years dilutes any possible understanding of the reason that a person who claims that he is only 'shopping' a friend because his troubled conscience dictates he must do so for the good of Londoners and London.

Had the regular charge of conspiracy to commit the commission of a criminal act, in this case perjury, been the charge then Francis could not have been acquitted alone, Archer too would have had to walk. Obviously, the prosecution were well aware of this, and it is the reason why they chose to proceed with the less serious charge of perjury.

Initially it was reported in the press that 'dear old' Ted took umbrage in 1990 when at a Christmas Party, His Lordship arrogantly repeated in front of a friend of Francis that he still owed Archer £20,000. If the newspapers are correct and Archer was insolent to Francis then, the least Francis could have done is to have told Archer he owed no such debt, and taken his leave from the party.

If Francis was so concerned at the worsening questionable behaviour of his 'friend' Archer, why did he accept the invitation to that party, and other social gatherings?

If he truly believed that that the purpose of the alibi was meant only to fool Mary Archer did he not consider the risk that Mary might at one of the social gatherings decide to question him about his false alibi for Archer's adulterous liaison with the prostitute?

Francis, as a man of principal, had no alternative but to end his friendship with Archer if his Lordship was not prepared to apologise for insulting his old friend with the alleged false accusation that he him owed money, and it is surprising that Francis did not immediately curtail the friendship.

In view of the admission by Francis that he was in full knowledge that a false alibi was to be used by Archer albeit, according to Francis, for a different reason than he supposed, for the jury to convict Archer of perjury and acquit the willing conspirator Francis does seem a strange, some might say perverse, verdict.

MAX CLIFFORD

Max is about the only person who comes out of this affair with his reputation unsullied.

Max had the good grace to tell Archer that if he proceeded with his candidature to become Mayor of London the his 'good friend' Francis was going to blow the whistle. He could have done no more.

Probably, the delusions of grandeur at being London's first citizen had so turned the mind of Archer that he ignored the warning. Mistakes of that dimension come at a very heavy price.

Had Archer taken the advice of Max then the PR expert would have lost £24,000 in commission. Now that is behaviour deserving of respect.

MICHAEL STACPOOLE

In the 1980's this 'pillar of probity' Michael Stacpoole who, it is said, earned a living as a PR consultant was one of Jeffrey Archer's closest associates. According to Stacpoole they used to cruise nightclubs looking for available women companions. On at least one occasion he arranged an introduction to a prostitute for Archer.

This is another 'good friend' of Archer, and is the man who on platform 3 at Victoria Station on the 24th October 1986 handed to Ms. Coghlan an envelope said to contain at least £2,000 on behalf of Jeffrey Archer who, according to Stacpoole, told him that the woman would pass it on to its "correct destination."

However, Stacpoole invited Ms. Coghlan for a drink. Over a drink Coghlan admitted to Stacpoole that she was a prostitute, and that she needed the money to go abroad because newspapers were aware of her encounter with Lord Archer.

Unbeknown to Stacpoole the News of the World photographers and reporters were focused on the meeting.

The representatives of the newspaper had instructed Coghlan not to take the envelope, but to look for an incriminating note from Archer, preferably bearing his signature. There was none.

Two days later the New of the World ran a front-page story with the headline: 'Tory Boss Pays Off Vice Girl'. However, the article deliberately did not state that sex had taken place between the prostitute and Lord Archer.

The Daily Star was bolder. A week later they too ran a front-page headline story in which they implied that Lord Archer and the prostitute had sex, and that Coghlan specialised in aberrant sex.   Archer sought legal advice, and sued the Daily Star. The reason he gave for the payment to Ms. Coghlan was that the woman had contacted him for help, although they did not know each other, and he agreed to give her some money to go abroad.

When Archer feared that 'the good egg' Stacpoole would fall to the powerful persuasion of cheque book journalism he sent him to Paris on an all expenses paid, plus a cash weekly allowance, sojourn.

The News of the World settled out of court for a reported £20,000.

Before The Daily Star court case Stacpoole alleged that Archer told him that he would receive damages of one million pounds, and that Archer would give him £500,000.

He omitted to tell us the reason why Archer would have promised such a vast amount of money. The use of couriers is not the cheapest form of delivery, but half a million pounds to deliver an envelope to a person on platform 3 at Victoria Station, well...I ask you?

After The Daily Star libel case, for services rendered Archer paid that 'good egg' Stacpoole £40,000 over a period of three years.

He also arranged a job for Stacpoole with James B. Irwin a somewhat reclusive American billionaire, and friend of Archer's. For two years Stacpoole worked for James Irwin, but was then given the 'pink slip'. The sacking left the PR consultant with a mortgage on a house in Florida, and other debts. He was at his wits end.

Quite obviously Archer did not trust his friend, or probably to be more accurate he was advised by James Irwin not to trust Stacpoole if ever the chips were down.

Whatever might be correct, lawyers acting for James Irwin persuaded Stacpoole to sell his rights to any part he may have played in the Archer story for a mere £1 token payment, the mortgage on his Florida house would be taken care of, and he was given a cash payment.

In a recent TV Panorama programme on Lord Archer it became quite clear that Stacpoole was content to participate in the metaphorically 'shooting down' of the peer.

Perhaps, an indication of the principles and lifestyle of Stacpoole is illustrated by the admittance that when on one occasion they collected £2,000 from Archer the girl friend was asked, on Panorama what did they do? Her smiling reply was that we went off and had a very good lunch.   Scotland Yard detectives interviewed Stacpoole at length in the sin capital of Thailand, Pattaya where he is now resident, and he said, "I thought my testimony was important."

The prosecution never called him at the Old Bailey trial. This surprised a lot people.

There is no question that he was a main player in the Coghlan affair, yet the prosecution QC preferred not to call him. Strange - or is it?

ANGELA PEPPIATT

The senior secretary to Jeffrey Archer until a dispute arose over a bonus and unpaid expenses.

A palmary player in the role of a secretary scorned. This 56-year-old mother of two children started work for Archer after her husband became a bankrupt, and left her, and her children, with no home or money. She was in a difficult and serious position when Archer came to the rescue with the offer of a £22,000 job. Her children, Charlie and Catherine, would play with Archer's son William, now 29, at Archer's luxury flat in Alembic House overlooking the River Thames.

Part of her duties included taking part in the high-life of entertaining Archers friends and contacts. She had full access to Archer's credit cards, and kept his life organised.

Like a number of secretary's she became privy to many personal secrets of her employer. In the case of Ms. Peppiatt if the lurid light cast on the character of Lord Archer were true then she was privy to matters that were far in excess of the more normal personal secrets held by a secretary.   Despite her well-paid job money was still a problem. She says that family and friends paid her children's reduced public school fees due to scholarships, and she lived in a one-bedroom apartment.

Ms. Peppiatt alleged that Archer bought a diary for 1986 and instructed her to fill in names from a piece of paper for engagements on the 8th and 9th of September. Archer then taped over the blank pages claiming he was acting on legal advice to protect politically sensitive-information.

The admission by Ms. Peppiatt in respect of the alleged fake diary indicates that she was a party to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, yet she was not charged.

If, as the jury believed, that the diary made-up by Angela Peppiatt, according to her on the instructions of Archer, and produced in court at The Daily Star libel trial was a fake then the risk taken by Archer was astonishing.

It meant that had a member of the hawkeyed battery of lawyers that represented the newspaper, the defence lawyers or the Judge, who could be expected to, and actually did, handle the diary in court, had made the discovery that the diary was a fake then Archer would have been in very serious trouble indeed, and it is likely he would have gone to prison for even longer than four years.   The jury could also have asked to closely inspect the diary.

Surely Archer was well aware of this, and it beggars belief that he would take such a risk with his liberty, and career, merely to win a libel case.

Angela Peppiatt fell out with Archer over money in 1987. She claimed Archer reneged on a £10,000 bonus she said he had promised to pay her.

A £10,000 bonus for a secretary, presumably, for doing her job is extremely  generous? She must have thought Archer was a most financially rewarding boss.

At the Old Bailey Ms. Peppiatt said that women's articles bought on Archer's credit card were gifts she had bought for Archer's former secretary, and lover, Andrina Colquhoun the heiress step-daughter of a millionaire timber tycoon.

This was not confirmed by Ms. Colquhoun.

Now a happily married woman Ms. Colquhoun was at one time a lunch and dinner companion to Lord Lucan, but refused to become involved with the peer, as he was a married man with three children.   Ten years later she did become involved with a peer who was married and had two children - Jeffrey Archer.   Archer through his Counsel said Peppiatt had cheated on expenses. Angel Peppiatt disagreed with this allegation, and refuted it.

MICHAEL CRICK

He is the unofficial biographer, and a harsh critic of Lord Archer. He is a journalist who went gunning for Lord Archer.

NEAL HAMILTON

This former MP, whose 'cash for questions' in the House of Commons, and other dubious dealings have been well chronicled, was while a Tory MP appointed to oversee the DTI investigation into Archer's dealings in Anglia TV shares when it was alleged that the peer had 'insider' information.

Whoever was responsible for this appointment knew exactly what he/she was doing, and gave entry to Hamilton to enter the ranks of the poacher acting the role of a gamekeeper.

Needless, to say the investigation uncovered no illegality.

When Hamilton attempted to sue Mohammed Al Fayed the owner of Harrods, and the Ritz Hotel in Paris, France the High Court jury decided that Hamilton was a cheat and a liar. The Court of Appeal later confirmed the verdict of the jury.

EDWARD DU CANN

This former close associate of the late 'Tiny' Rowlands appeared on ' the Panorama TV programme on Lord Archer.

In the 1970's Edward Du Cann, a brother of the top criminal Queen's Counsel Richard Du Cann, was an MP and Tory Party chairman.

He was chairman of the City bank Keyser Ullman, a City institute, when the bank became involved in one of the biggest City scandal of the 70's after it was revealed that Du Cann, and some other directors of the bank, made massive loans to themselves that were not declared to the shareholders of the bank.

BARBARA JONES

Journalist Jones earlier this year saw Archer walking along a beach in South Africa in the company of a mystery blonde woman. The story of the married man Lord Archer escorting a blonde woman was syndicated around the world around the world, and Jones had 'a nice little earner'.

This defender of the institute of marriage is the same Barbara Jones who sat through much of the trial when Sonia Sutcliffe, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, sued Private Eye, and committed perjury by claiming not to have received money from the Press.

Ms. Sutcliffe did receive money from newspapers, and Jones was the courier of one payment of £25,000 paid by a newspaper to Sutcliffe for cooperation in the writing of a book.

BARONESS EMMA NICHOLSON

A former Tory MP, who defected to the Liberal Democrats and became a European MP has jumped on her high horse, and is demanding that the accounts for money raised by Archer 10 YEARS AGO for the Simple Truth Kurdish Appeal Fund should be examined.

How remarkable that the good Baroness has suddenly found the time and effort to send letters to the Serious Fraud Squad offices, and to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.   Baroness Nicholson said, "The Kurdish people feel let down".

I am sorry to hear that.

However, does the good Baroness Nicholson know that pensioners in this country not only feel let down; they know have been badly let down. Where was the Nicholson voice of concern when pensioners were recently given an insulting 75p rise, the cost of a less than best quality loaf of bread?

Because of the valiant efforts of many of these pensioners to preserve democracy in the last war Baroness Nicholson is today an elected representative in Europe.

Is it outside the knowledge of the good Baroness that the lack of treatment of people in the National Health Service is a major scandal?

Does she know that 10% of the people of this country live below the poverty level, and that many of them are pensioners?

Is she aware that British people are sleeping in the streets because money is not available to build shelters?

Has the serious thought occurred to the Baroness that a police investigation she is requesting into the Simple Truth Appeal will add to the workload of the police, and will mean that police will have to be diverted away from crimes, which place at great risk the vulnerable people in our society who want to walk the street without being terrorised?

As a European MP is she content to allow the Customs and Excise to continue to break European law by fixing a limit for goods for personal use brought into this country from Europe by citizens of this country, and if this unlawful limit is exceeded they have their goods confiscated, along with the vehicles used to convey the foods?

As a Euro MP what does the good Baroness propose to do about this abuse of the rights of UK citizens?

Or do these matters fail to concern her? If they do concern her what has she done about them?

When Baroness Nicholson has discharged her duties to UK citizens then she may have time to worry about foreigners. Until that time arrives then UK citizens have a right to be given first priority.

If she disagrees with this when the next European elections come around then let her tell the people of this country that her first duty is to foreigners. That is honesty, and she will be then known as a former Euro MP.

When she was Tory MP why did she not claim Parliamentary privilege and ask in the House of Commons for Jeffrey Archer to account for his alleged handling of the money from the Simple Truth Appeal, which would have protected her from any possible legal action, and ask any searching question she wished.

She has said that when she mentioned it to Jeffrey Archer in 1993 he became quite angry. Maybe this was because he was innocent and had a right to be angry or was it because he had spun yet another exaggerated story regarding the amount his fund had raised, and might be found out?   She goes on to say, "I think there is a lot more to be uncovered".

Surely this cannot be just a recent brainwave that has suddenly overwhelmed her?   If she felt Archer needed to give further explanations then she had a duty ten years ago to, at least, use her Parliamentary privilege, Did the good Baroness keep silent because Archer was a Tory favourite son due to his skill at raising money for the Conservative Party treasury, and that to have asked questions that may have shown Archer in a bad light would have infuriated her then party's bigwigs?

Why it should take ten years to decide that Jeffrey Archer has to be asked for an explanation regarding money raised for a charity warrants a full explanation by the good Baroness.

If she is interested in chasing the vast sums of money raised in this country for overseas charities she might like to find out where are the benefits for the people of Ethiopia from the millions raised from Band Aid? How is it possible that the Nelson Mandella concert at the vast Wembley Stadium allegedly lost money?

For starters these are two major fund raising efforts with question marks hanging over them.

Where does the money come from to finance wars in the Third World where people are starving?

It cannot in every case be rightly blamed on the CIA in America or other similar foreign agencies because they literally could not afford the massive costs.

The British are a generous people. They do more, much more, than their fair share for charity especially in the Third World yet where may the benefits of their generosity be seen.

Raising money for the Third World is a massive financial industry. It needs a complete overhaul, but this is a subject for another Viewpoint.

MR. JUSTICE POTTS

The Judge in the Old Bailey Archer trial.

This alleged guardian of justice refused to accept that 3,000 press cuttings put before him by Nicholas Purnell QC defence Counsel for Lord Archer to support his application that his client would not receive a fair trial.

Mr. Purnell also argued that the taping of Archer's 'phone calls with 'dear old' Ted Francis was a breach of Archer's Human Rights.

The arguments between Judge and Counsel went on for two weeks, and His Honour Judge Potts rejected every defence application.

When Mr. Purnell requested that Archer be allowed to leave court to attend the bedside of his dying mother who was on diamorphine, the Judge offered empty sympathy, but said he had a job to do, and refused the application until more information was available.

It appears that enough was enough for Mr. Purnell, and when he decided that he wanted to confront Mrs. Peppiatt with her 15-year-old credit card statement that Mr. Purnell believed showed beyond all reasonable doubt that the former secretary to Lord Archer had fiddled her expenses, he did not ask the trial Judge for permission to obtain these documents, but instead made an application to the Recorder of London Michael Hyam in an unlisted ex parte hearing.

Recorder Hyam granted the application, and Mr. Purnell was able to spring the credit card receipts upon Mrs. Peppiatt before Judge Potts and Mr. David Walters QC, leading for the prosecution knew what had happened.

The icy stares of Judge Potts clearly illustrated his anger at the brilliant, and courageous, tactics of Mr. Purnell. It would come as no surprise to me if prosecutor Mr. David Walters QC did not secretly admire the daring tactics of the dedicated defence Queen's Counsel.

How Judge Potts was able to decide that the crimes of Jeffrey Archer merited four years in jail defies explanation. That is until you become aware that had Archer received a sentence less than four years he would have to serve only half of the sentence passed. However, if the sentence should exceed three years and 364 days then he will only be entitled to one-third remission.

Before sentencing Archer this is what the Judge said, "These charges represent as serious offence of perjury I have had experience of and as I have been able to find in the books."

It is difficult to believe that an alleged learned Judge made this statement? Who does he think he is kidding?

Has he never heard of the Birmingham Six trial when perjury was committed; the Guildford Four when perjury was committed; the hanging of Timothy Evans found guilty on the false evidence of a murder he did not commit, and a hundred and one other cases.

Each time a policeman goes into a witness and gives evidence that the jury refuse to believe, is he not guilty of perjury and has one ever been charged? To my knowledge the answer to each question is no!

The brother of Mary Archer, hospital surgeon Davis Weeden says that his sister has accused the Judge of being biased towards her husband, Jeffrey. He adds that Mary Archer is determined to carry on the fight for her husband.

I would expect nothing less from this outstanding wife and mother.

I believe Mary Archer to be right about the Judge. I know only too well of obtuse and unfair Judges with the attitude of Judge Potts, and I have suffered intolerably because of such alleged guardians of justice.

MARY ARCHER

In the past had Jeffrey Archer come into one of Her Majesty's establishments where I was in temporary residence, I would have ensured that he would have been allowed to do his 'bird' without any aggravation from 'mug' inmates.

I would not have done this because I have cause to admire him or because he had been a prize fool, but would have done this because I have great admiration for his wife, Mary, and for the dignified way that their sons behaved while their father was on trial.

In cockney terms Mary is a diamond. The attempt by the newspapers, and some wretched women columnists, to degrade this loyal wife and mother was sickening.

Julie Burchill who writes a column for the News of the World had the temerity to sit in judgement on Mary Archer.

'It's A Certain Sort Of Cold-blooded, Cowardly Woman Who Can Only Get A Charge From Hanging Around Criminal'.

This was the headline taken from the vitriolic article written by Julie Burchill in the News of the World. In the article she spews out that Mary Archer's self-control verges on the sinister. Have you ever read worse rubbish?

I have been blessed with the loyalty and courage of good women. My sister Eva went through hell and back for me. My former wife Doreen, the mother of my son Francis, also suffered badly, and was truly loyal when placed in a world of which she had no knowledge.

The loyalty shown by Lady Mary Archer compares favourably with these two good women.

By standing solidly with Jeffrey she honoured her marriage vows to the full. I don't know of any decent woman that would fault her. The women I have spoken to have nothing but praise for Mary Archer.

Has Julie Burchill been loyal to her men, or women, friends?

It takes a special woman to do for her husband, and family, that which Mary Archer has done time and time again.   In my view Mary Archer is a special woman who has her priorities correct.

Mr. Justice Caulfield was right she does have a special fragrance. She is feminine, has beauty, her sex appeal is there for all to see, her dress sense is impeccable, she is an academic, but at the same time she flaunts none of these wonderful female assets.

While retaining these values she has been a married woman for 34 years, and a devoted mother.

Except when she is called to defend her self or those she loves, Mary Archer is far from being cold-blooded. 'A cowardly woman who gets a charge from being around criminals' how dare this be said about a woman with the qualities of Mary Archer.

Cowardly? Julie Burchill could not withstand for one hour the pressure and aggravation that Mary Archer has dealt with for years.

If anyone is the exact opposite to a coward then Mary Archer is that person. She has stood by her erring husband's side under microscopic media and public gaze whenever adversity has struck her family. She walked side-by-side with her husband into the Old Bailey every day. When necessary she showed that she was not afraid of Judge Potts nor was she in awe of the prosecuting Queen's Counsel.

Who are the criminals from whom as Ms. Burchill alleges that Mary gets her charge? I have never seen her with known criminals because she does not mix in these circles. I have seen her often in photographs and on TV with her husband and two sons.

Mary Archer is a proven good wife and mother, and I have nothing but respect for her.

For Julie Burchill to fail to recognise these great virtues in another woman is no credit to Ms. Burchill, a sad, but valid indictment.

Without wishing to offend Mary Archer may I recommend to a TV network that they use their best endeavours to make the facilities available for Mary Archer and Julie Burchill to confront each other before the TV cameras.

We will then be able to judge who really is cold-blooded and cowardly.

If there were more woman who had the passion of loyalty as displayed by Mary Archer the value of marriage would be held in far greater respect, and have a dramatic effect in reducing the dreadfully high divorce rate.

Dolly Parton sings 'Stand By Your Man'; Mary Archer puts this advice into practice for all to see.

The Wrong Method

The Lord Archer saga has been blown-up out of all proportion. It lies alongside the dreadful trials of Oscar Wilde and Ivor Novello.

I was in prison with the late Ivor Novello, the brilliant music composer. He was sent for jail not because he was guilty of minor black market offences during the last war, but because he was the famous celebrity Ivor Novello.

To see a highly sensitive and talented man like Ivor Novello put through the then rigorous prison regime was sickening. I tried to ease the purgatory of Novello as best I could, but this sensitive man never had the frame of mind or constitution to deal with the oppressive, crude and torturous prison way of life.

It was stomach churning to see the way that bully boy 'screws' humiliated, and abused such a delicate, and gifted person who gave so much pleasure to others through his wonderful music.

I hasten to add that the bully boy 'screws' never did it whenever I was in a position to do anything about it.

There is now no doubt in my mind that the trial of Lord Jeffrey Archer was used as a warning to other high profile people, in the hope it will deter them from straying away from the straight and narrow, and embarrassing The Establishment.

This is nonse if only because when an attempt is made to commit a crime the perpetrator carries out the unlawful act in the belief that he/she will not be discovered as the culprit. Only a complete idiot would commit a criminal act with the knowledge that he was certain to be caught.

Since when is justice served by by unfairly treating high profile personalities to send a message of fright to others?

Justice demands that the punishment should fit the crime ­ not the social problem.

In the week that Lord Archer was sentenced to four years imprisonment, a woman was given probation for killing a cat by putting it into a microwave oven, and pressing the on button.

A Confession

You may by now have detected that I have developed sympathy for Lord Archer. If you are of that opinion then it is a correct assumption.

Before I studied the details of the Archer case, and due to his unfortunate behaviour at our meeting, I was inclined to believe that which I read about Jeffrey Archer. However, as I delved into the details of the case a different painting began to appear. The clouds of black colouring began to take on a different hue they became diluted and lost prominence.

I found out that Jeffery Archer was a powerful supporter of charities. He developed a professional ability to conduct auctions at charity events, and was in demand. As far as I am aware he is not Jewish but he has assisted Jewish charities.

One Jewish friend of mine who does a great deal of work for Jewish charities has assured me that his Lordship will be sorely missed, and that a number of charities of all denominations will be the financial losers.

He rarely refused help any charity. If he was unable to help then his reason was valid.

The evidence that convinces me that he is not as bad as he has been word-painted is that I am unable to accept that the loyalty of a highly intelligent woman, which Mary Archer most certainly is, should be so badly misplaced.

I have no doubt that the person that is the real Lord Jeffrey Archer would now admit that he has been foolish, maybe extremely foolish. However, being foolish does not warrant a four years jail term, and being made an outcast in society.

He made some very powerful enemies, and they were determined to have their pound of flesh. When the bubble burst his so called 'friends' upon whom he elected to depend upon became papier-mache people.

However, I am in good company because not everyone has deserted him and there are remain people in high places who have expressed the good character points they know about Jeffrey Archer.

The very sad loss of his mother could not have come at a worse time.

The loss of a good mother is always devastating, but to do so when he is appearing at the Old Bailey and embroiled in a desperate fight to preserve his standing in society that I am sure had made his mother proud, and in a desperate fight to preserve his liberty, has to be viewed with deep sympathy.

I, too, was blessed with a wonderful mother for, which I will always humbly be very grateful.

In prison you have too much time to reflect. Allow me to assure you that each night when they slam his cell door Jeffrey Archer will have a very difficult time. Anyone that is unable to have a considerate understanding of this mental turmoil is not human.

If I may be allowed to advise Jeffrey Archer I suggest that he choose his friends in prison very carefully. If he puts this advice into practice then he will meet people that will surprise him by their understanding, good fellowship and loyalty. If he should choose wisely then he will learn a valuable lesson in people.

These people won't seek out Jeffrey Archer he will have to seek and find them. It may take time to build-up a relationship with them, but when this is achieved he will really understand the meaning of reliable good friends and good people.

Mugs are two-a-penny in prison. As in the world outside of prison good people are as rare as valuable diamonds in the ground.

Should he choose wrongly then he would have replaced the trash sycophants he consorted with at Alembic House, and whom he allowed to mingle with the rich and famous at his Shepherd's Pie with Krug Champagne parties.

 If only because of his responsibility to his devoted family Jeffrey Archer has to make certain he has learned his lesson.

That good man John Profumo fully made up for his foolish indiscretion in the Christine Keeler affair. It is a fact that due to the excellent charity work at Toynbee Hall in East London that for decades he has carried out for people desperate for help, his reputation today is held in far greater esteem then those 'pillars of society' that feasted on his blood when he foolishly denied on his feet in the House of Commons that he had not had an affair with Christine Keeler.

John Profumo paid a heavy price for this mistake, but was he solely to blame for misleading the members of House of Commons or did he act on the advice given to him by faceless people?

We shall probably never know because John Profumo is too fine a man to seek to blame others.

A LESSON FROM HIS GRACE

"I am deeply sorry for the trouble Jeffrey has got himself into, I hope he will bounce back. I do  not cut off my friends because of problems of that nature."

George Carey Archbishop of Canterbury
April 2002

A lesson from which we may all learn.

Postscript

Mary Coghlan died in a car crash just before the trial.

Michael Stacpoole has spent time in hospital over the past two years, and has suffered a minor heart attack. He was then involved in a motorcycle accident in which he suffered a fractured skull and other injuries.


The Charges, verdict and sentence:

With the intention to pervert the course of justice did between 22nd December 1986 and 7th April 1987, did procure Edward Francis to provide his solicitors with an alibi that he knew to be false and that was intended to disprove the criminal allegations made against him.

Verdict: Guilty. Sentence: Two Years imprisonment

With the intention to pervert the course of justice did between 26th of March 1986 and 7th July, in relation to diaries relating to September 1986; did fail to disclose the existence of his main office diary, a blue A53 size Dataday; did provide Angela Peppiatt with a blank 1986 diary, and did give her instructions to write entries in it; and did cause the diary to be handed to his solicitors for use in the court case as his main office diary.

Verdict: Guilty. Sentence: Four years imprisonment

Perjury: On 23rd of June 1987 did make a statement under oath for use in judicial proceedings that The Economist diary 1986, the appointments diary for 1986, were the only documents of that type that had been in his possession.

Verdict: Guilty. Sentence: Three years

Perjury: On 8th of July 2987, in a sworn witness in judicial proceedings at the High Court did knowingly make a false statement that the diary known as the main diary or Mrs. Peppiatt's diary produced in proceedings, was in existence and contained the entries relating to the 8th and 9th September 1986, before 26th October 1986.

Verdict: Guilty. Sentence: Four years

With the intention to pervert the course of justice did between the 6th April 1987 and 7th July 1987 make entries in an Economist diary for September 1986, and cause photocopies to be sent to his solicitors, and the diary to be handed to the solicitors.

Verdict: Not guilty

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