How the police failed to investigate a judge
By Nick Davies
The Guardian, September 2008
Police have been ordered to review their handling of the case of a judge accused of sexually abusing young children after claims that they failed adequately to investigate him because he was a friend of the chief constable.
The judge, who for legal reasons can be named only as Judge X, has been accused by his former wife of abusing children as young as 18 months of age, giving one of them a sexually transmitted infection; downloading child pornography on his computer; and using the transcripts of trials involving sexual offences for his personal gratification. The judge has denied all the allegations.
The former wife’s allegations in June 2006 were referred by social services to Dyfed Powys police, who investigated and concluded that they were baseless. The judge’s former wife then complained that the investigation had been inadequate and had the appearance of bias because, she claimed, Judge X was a friend of the then chief constable of Dyfed Powys, Terry Grange, a claim which Grange has denied.
Now a review by the Independent Police Complaints Commission has ordered Dyfed Powys police to reconsider the former wife’s complaint about the weakness of their investigation. In a summary report the IPCC’s case officer comments on the rejection of her complaint: “I fail to see how the findings can be supported without any evidence of a thorough investigation into all complaints made … it is clear that the investigation has not been completed.”
The IPCC review was told that:
· Although the former wife said she had personally witnessed Judge X naked with named young children, Dyfed Powys police failed even to interview the judge and phoned him for an off-the-record conversation, which had no evidential value;
· Although the former wife said she had witnessed Judge X downloading child pornography on his home computers and identified two sites which she claimed he had been using, Dyfed Powys police failed to seize any of the judge’s computers;
· Although she alleged that the judge had passed a sexual infection to a child Dyfed Powys police made no attempt to obtain relevant medical records;
· Although she accused him of using court transcripts for his sexual gratification Dyfed Powys failed to mention the allegation in its inquiry report.
When the former wife heard the outcome of Dyfed Powys’ investigation in January 2007 she filed a formal complaint that it was inadequate. The force considered this complaint and in July 2007 rejected it.
In August 2007 she appealed to the IPCC, who initially refused to review the handling of her complaint on the grounds that her paperwork had arrived with them six days after the statutory 28-day deadline. She sought a judicial review in the high court, which in June this year ordered the IPCC to review the case.
The IPCC review comes to no conclusion on the validity of the former wife’s allegations against Judge X. In a statement last night he told the ITV programme Wales This Week: “I only wish to state firmly that there is absolutely no truth in any of these allegations.” Nor does the IPCC make any comment on the claim that Judge X was a friend of the then chief constable, Terry Grange.
Grange, who was a spokesman on child protection for the Association of Chief Police Officers, retired with immediate effect last November after being accused of misusing force email and a credit card while having an affair.
The IPCC’s report requires Dyfed Powys police to reopen the case, initially in order to establish whether the former wife’s complaints about the original inquiry were properly handled. In a statement the police said: “The force will revisit and reinvestigate the complaints submitted, a process that will necessitate further engagement with the complainant. A new investigating officer has been appointed.”