Annual Report of the Press Council, Volumes 29-31
Press Council, 1982/1983
Attorney General’s complaint upheld
The Sun produced no evidence for its allegation that at the trial of the spy Geoffrey Prime the attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, held back mention of the accused man’s involvement with a child-sex organisation to avoid embarrassing security chiefs, Council said when upholding Sir Michael’s complaint that the editor refused to withdraw this false allegation and declared that the editor should either have substantiated or withdrawn it.
Brian Dixon had reported that Prime’s perverse obsession with little girls, which laid him open to blackmail, was not discovered by the security services. Papers found at his home showed he belonged to a child-sex organisation, Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), but no evidence about the find was given at his Old Bailey trial. US spymasters were furious and could not understand how British vetters did not discover Prime’s peculiarities. They were convinced the Attorney General did not mention the involvement with PIE to save embarrassing British security chiefs.
For the Attorney General, Mr J. Nursaw, complained to the editor, Mr Kelvin MacKenzie, that Sir Michael knew of no evidence connecting Mr Prime with PIE, and the Director of Public Prosecutions had assured him police found none. The Attorney General sought a prominent correction as soon as possible. Mr MacKensie replied that Mr Dixon stood by every word. His source was a senior police officer. One of the magazines found at Mr Prime’s home was sold only to PIE members. He would not run a correction but would write to Sir Michael.
Adjudication: The Sun’s story about the background of the spy Geoffrey Prime was written by a reporter of long experience and high reputation, Mr Brian Dixon. He has provided the Council with a detailed statement of what proved to be true – background information about Mr Prime which he gathered from a long established but unnamed contact. Mr Dixon has said that the contact also told him police found two Paedophile Information Exchange magazines at Mr Prime’s home. The magazines were later mentioned to the reporter by a senior London police officer, also unnamed, and another anonymous police contact said the Americans had expected Mr Prime’s involvement with a child-sex cult to come out at his trial.