1. Troyhand said:

    [Extracts from a NAMBLA newsletter about the 1981 PIE trial extracted from declassified FBI files: NAMBLA 1979-86. This may answer your question about the two missing defendants. Although the opinion from the NAMBLA writer of this article is repellant, the information on the course of events during the PIE trials are more than likely accurate. NOTE: Posting this in no way endorses the views of this pro-predator article.]

    Click to access Extract_FBI-files_NAMBLA_1979-86.pdf

    [Page 159]
    NAMBLA NEWS FALL 1981 – [page] 10

    Tom O’Carroll & 4 others victimized by Brit “Justice”

    After two major trials and five changes in the wording of the indictment, the State, aided by a judge and jury, finally succeeded in its intention of convicting Tom O’Carroll of “conspiracy to corrupt public morals.” What crime, deserving solitary confinement for two years, was alleged to have committed? According to the State, he had conspired with other members of PIE’s Executive Committee to encourage advertisers in PIE’s Contact Page to gain introductions to children for sex. In a second charge the defendants were said to have conspired to corrupt public morals by encouraging advertisers in the same publication to exchange child pornography. At the outset, it should be emphasized that not a single guilty verdict was brought on the latter charge, but its importance in the trials lay in the opportunity it gave to Prosecuting Counsel, David Tudor Price, to prejudice the jury minds against O’Carroll on the first, more serious charge.

    The law of conspiracy to corrupt public morals is a judge-made law, introduced in the seventeenth century, which has never been passed by Act of Parliament. It had lain almost dormant for three hundred years, and, in 1976 the Law Commission recommended its abolition. Parliament, two years later, suspended any decision to abolish the law, because recent governments had found, to their delight, that it provided a useful means of suppressing the views of dissident minorities. Prosecutions can be brought on far weaker evidence than is normally required, and judges have power to adapt the law as they go along. The outcome is that a person may not be able to know if he has broken the law until he has been already tried and convicted. A second, ludicrous fact is that it is not illegal to corrupt public morals, only to conspire with another person to do so. In 1970 the House of Lords expressed its concern over the state of the law, and introduced a clause stating that the prosecution must prove that a defendant had intended to break the law. However laudable their motives may have been, the Lords failed to appreciate that they were asking future juries, twelve ordinary men and women, to perform an impossible task, to assess what the defendants had been thinking perhaps years previously. In the first of the present trials the jury recognised this difficulty and refused to bring in any guilty verdicts at all. One of the defendants, David Wade, was acquitted on both charges. Two others, John Parratt and Michael Dagnall, were acquitted on the more serious charge. They failed to agree on either charge against Tom, or on the lesser charge against John and Michael.

    The six men and six women in the second jury were a motley selection, including one barmaid and an elderly gentleman who represented a unique proof of the existence of life after death. Evidently they considered themselves perfectly qualified in the art of mind-reading, for they brought in a unanimous verdict of guilty against Tom on the more serious charge after only three hours. The lesser charge against him was waived. John and Michael were found not guilty – since the evidence against them was practically nonexistent, the jury could scarcely do otherwise – and they were released.

    If Tom did conspire to corrupt public morals, whom did he conspire with? Certainly not with himself, nor with the three other defendants, who were found not guilty. But the State had accounted for this possibility, and had named two further members of the Executive Committee in the indictment. Conveniently for the Prosecution, neither of these members was available to defend himself: Keith Hose, ex-Chairman of PIE lives outside the UK, and David Grove, who had been PIE’s Secretary, died of cancer last year. Two weeks before David’s death, his solicitor was condescendingly informed by the Director of Public Prosecutions that David would not be required to attend the trial. Yet his name was kept on the indictment. Judge Leonard in his summing-up speech, described the evidence against Keith Hose as “a straw in the wind,” clearly implying that he could not have been a co-conspirator. He was more equivocal about David, so we must assume that the jury thought him to be the other conspirator.

    How were Tom and, presumably, David alleged to have conspired together? Well, one of David’s duties had been to collect PIE’s mail, open the letters, and distribute them to members of the Executive Committee. Some letters were from members wanting to place adverts in the Contact Page. Very occasionally a member might, for example, wish to meet a family with children. Since there was a possibility that the member’s intentions might be sexual, Tom would point out that this was illegal, and suggest that the advert was altered so that it could not indicate that any illegal act was intended. Three months later, the amended advert would be duly published. The Prosecuting Counsel pounced on this point, accepting the legality of the altered advert, but claiming that Tom must have known the original intention of the member. Therefore, in his eyes, the altered advert was nothing more than a legal smokescreen. Had this view been correct, it is ironic to note that the Prosecuting Counsel did not demonstrate one single instance of sex between an adult and a child as a result of the Contact Page. Nor was any account taken of the fact that Tom had been answering at least six hundred letters a year, and been making numerous public speeches, as well as holding down a responsible and demanding job. The Contact Page only constituted a small and very hurried part of his work in PIE. In such circumstances occasional errors of judgement are inevitable, but they do NOT warrant a prison sentence.

    To make the conspiracy part of the charge stick – two people are necessary, remember – David Grove, conveniently dead, was a necessary accomplice. Having read the proposed advert from members, and, having presumably read the published versions THREE MONTHS LATER, David must, according to the Prosecution, have noticed that their wording had been altered. And, by letting them pass, he was automatically a co-conspirator. Had David been alive to defend himself, the sheer inanity of this assertion would have been glaringly obvious. He never showed particular interest in the Contact Page, and, at most,
    [Page 158]
    NAMBLA NEWS FALL 1981 – [page] 11
    would only have skimmed through it when it arrived. Furthermore, in a three month period David distributed at least four hundred letters amongst the Committee, yet he was assumed to have remembered the precise wording of only five letters which had been sent to PIE over a period of two years. So much for the alleged conspiracy!

    In the face of such trivial evidence, why did the jury at the second trial unanimously convict Tom, especially when there are good grounds for believing that at the first trial a majority were in favour of acquittal? Perhaps it was partly because the second jury were generally older and more set in their views. Perhaps they simply lacked the intellectual capacity to understand a law which even lawyers find extremely complex, and fell back on the notion that the State would not spend two years and hundreds of thousands of pounds unless somebody were guilty of something. But, in my view, the crucial difference between the two trials was due to an apparent turn of face by Judge Leonard. In the first trial he had restricted the showing of child porn magazines, relating to the lesser charge, allowing the jury to see only the front covers. His reason was that the jury’s verdict would be unfairly prejudiced against the defendants if they saw all the contents. Doubtless true! Exposure of sexually explicit photographs of children to a British jury, conditioned to believe in the myth of children’s sexual innocence, must be traumatic, and any rational verdict would fly out of the window. Yet Judge Leonard did precisely this at the second trial, allowing the Prosecuting Counsel to show twelve magazines to the jury. All this was irrelevant to the more serious charge, of course, but it could scarcely have failed to have a damaging effect on the jury’s mind.

    On Friday 13th March, 1981, Tom was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and sent to one of London’s more notorious prisons, Wormwood Scrubs, where he remains at time of writing (30th May). He is in solitary confinement, and will remain segregated from the rest of the prison population for the rest of his sentence. He is locked in his cell for twenty three hours a day, but is allowed to spend one hour on exercise with other segregated prisoners – provided it doesn’t rain! On advice from his solicitor, he will not appeal against the sentence. He is allowed to receive letters from personal friends only. His own letters are limited to two a week, one of which he must pay for, and he is allowed visits twice a month. All letters are strictly censored, contrary to a decision by the European Commission for Human Rights. We have succeeded in getting through some books, a radio, a regular subscription to a newspaper, and some money, but, as yet, very little else. The prison authorities have arbitrarily refused a number of items without explanation. I visited Tom some days ago, and he was very cheerful and said he felt well, but he had lost a lot of weight. As a result of the massive press publicity he is well-known to the other prisoners, and has had threats, verbal abuse, and one half-hearted attempt at physical assault. But he feels he can cope with these difficulties.

    Tom and Michael Dagnall face another, even more preposterous charge, conspiracy to commit gross indecency. The substance of the charge, for what it is worth, is that they were seen with two boys shortly before the second trial. In fact, the four had struck up a friendship at a local swimming baths, had then gone roller-skating two days later, and had planned to go horse-riding the following weekend, subject to the parents’ approval. Nobody has alleged that any indecency actually occured, or was ever attempted, only that Tom and Michael must have intended to commit gross indecency. BECAUSE THEY ARE PAEDOPHILE! The fact that there was no complaint from the boys or their parents, that there is absolutely no substantive evidence to indicate that Tom or Michael had planned anything illegal at all, and that Detective Sergeant Brian Collins, who was responsible for the PIE investigation, was driven 60 miles to observe the arrests, because “he was interested,” smacks of outright police harassment, and more. The implications of a successful prosecution will be horrifying for paedophiles in the UK. Any two paedophiles could be convicted of conspiracy if a child were seen talking to them. Tom and Michael are due to make their third appearance in court on 22nd June.

    [I don’t know the author of this article for NAMBLA, but whoever it was, he’s British. He wrote paedophile, instead of pedophile, favour instead of favor, etc. Not an American writer. On page 20 of this newsletter included in the declassified FBI files, there’s a review of O’Carroll awful book by a Michael Bronski.]

    [Page 165]
    NAMBLA NEWS FALL 1981 – [page] 20

    O’CARROLL: A Book From The Process of Struggle
    JANUS: More Lies From The Victimization Crowd

    Reviewed by Michael Bronski

    [The article shows what a farce and show trial this was and that the prosecution had no real intention to stop the paedophile ring called PIE or jail the predators.]

    *** “the State… named two further members of the Executive Committee in the indictment. Conveniently for the Prosecution, neither of these members was available to defend himself: Keith Hose, ex-Chairman of PIE lives outside the UK, and David Grove, who had been PIE’s Secretary, died of cancer last year. Two weeks before David’s death, his solicitor was condescendingly informed by the Director of Public Prosecutions that David would not be required to attend the trial. Yet his name was kept on the indictment. Judge Leonard in his summing-up speech, described the evidence against Keith Hose as “a straw in the wind,” clearly implying that he could not have been a co-conspirator. He was more equivocal about David, so we must assume that the jury thought him to be the other conspirator.” ***

    [Are these the same two that were “conditionally discharged” from St Albans Crown Court?]

    [The fact that a January 9, 1981 Peace News article states five defendants began the first PIE trial, while the second article of the first PIE trial has only four defendants makes more sense now. Was the fifth defendant Keith Hose who left the UK?]


    Peace News – January 9, 1981

    Political trials are not infrequent in Britain. The charges vary. It may be pacifists accused of talking to soldiers (the BWNIC trial); it may be journalists accused of listening to soldiers (the ABC trial); it may be anarchists accused of being anarchists (the Persons Unknown trial). A common factor in trials that are widely accepted as being “political” is always that the charges relate to ideas rather then actions, though they’re often dressed up in the form of an alleged conspiracy to do something or other. Another common factor is that they are “crimes” without a victim— other than perhaps the sensibilities of the authorities.

    The latest trial of this sort starts at London’s Central Criminal Court— the Old Bailey— on Monday next (January 12). Five men associated with PIE (the Paedophile Information Exchange) are accused of “conspiring to corrupt public morals”. They are not accused of any specific offence – indeed there’s no such offence as “corrupting public morals”, (This is one of the few remaining possibilities, since the reforms in the 1977 Criminal Law Act, of charging someone with a criminal conspiracy to do something which is not in itself against the law.)

    What will probably set this trial apart from others is the lack of traditional liberal and, perhaps, even more radical support because of the “sensitivity” of the subject matter. The five men have been members of the executive committee of PIE. The aim of PIE was to bring together paedophiles (literally, lovers of children) in order to come to a common assessment of their sexuality and to form a corresponding programme of legal reforms. The prosecution says that some of the paedophiles that the five helped put in touch with one another (not the five themselves) engaged in criminal activities.

    In his article on Pages 13 and 14 of this issue, Roger Moody argues that though there are criticisms to be made of PIE (Roger has himself written more radical defences of paedophilia in Peace News) it is important to stand out against this. The trial is part of a populist offensive which, if it succeeds against paedophiles, is likely to move on to other areas where sexual liberation has thus far been felt to be better established. We should say that our attitude to paedophilia per se is not as clear cut as our opposition to this trial. But we certainly know that the way paedophiles are characterised, as child-molestors, is largely false. And there is much of the analysis of society made by some paedophiles that we would agree with. A stumbling block, obviously, is the genuineness of “consent” by young children – but it can not be solved by ruling an age at which you’re “allowed to consent”.

    One group organising in opposition to the trial- which might last a month or so— is the Campaign Against Public Morals. They’re organising a lunch-time picket of the opening day of the trial (noon to 2pm, January 12, Old Bailey, London EC4). To lend support, contact: CAPM, BM 1151, London WC1V 3XX. To get up-to-date information about the course of the trial, further pickets, and so on, try phoning London Gay Switchboard on 01-837-7324 who hope they will be kept in touch.

    Peace News for Nonviolent Revolution, Issues 2136-2160
    Peace News, Limited, 1981

    [January/February ? 1981]

    The jury in the “conspiracy to corrupt public morals” case brought in three Not Guilty verdicts at the Old Bailey last week but failed to agree on four other counts. Three of the four men concerned from the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) will have to face a retrial on the remaining charges.

    The four men – Tom O’Carroll, David Wade, John Parratt and Michael Dagnall – were originally charged. on one count each (see January 9 Peace News), with “conspiring to debauch and corrupt public morals”. In other words, they were accused of conspiring to do something which did not, of itself, constitute a criminal offence – a traditional tactic in political trials. The accusation spelt out in the indictment was that the alleged conspiracy came about with their publication of a contact page for distribution to PIE members, “intending that advertisers would thereby induce readers to provide opportunities for the commission of various offences.

    These offences varied from indecent assault, through publishing obscene articles, to sending indecent material through the post. During the course of the case, the lawyers agreed that the different degrees of seriousness of these “consequences” of one conspiracy might confuse the jury. So each of the defendants was instead charged with the same conspiracy twice – but in one instance referring only to indecent assault as the conspiracy’s inevitable result, and in the other instance referring to the two lesser consequences. The judge directed an acquittal of David Wade on the first count because he was less involved with the contact pages.

    David Tudor-Price, the prosecutor, opened his case by referring to paedophilia as grossly unhealthy, and by exalting “the old-fashioned virtues of self-discipline”. He said the four had conspired with others on the executive committee of PIE to publish the contact pages. Four prosecution witnesses were brought (besides the police involved in the case)- they had been PIE members. The essence of the struggle between the opposing councel was whether these witnesses could be shown to have been “corrupted” by their contact with PIE, or vice versa.

    After the judge ruled that “expert witnesses” – such as are allowed in obscenity cases – were not admissible, the only defence witnesses were the two of the the defendants who went into the witness box, and four other witnesses – all essentially character witnesses – called on behalf of Tom O’Carroll.

    What was not raised was the idea that children are sexual beings, with the right to make up their own minds about their interaction with one another and with adults. In other words, there was no attempt to argue a justification of paedophilia as such – especially not of its sexual aspects. But after all, the four risked prison sentences, and denying that the alleged consequences of their actions were either intended or inevitable was obviously the area to fight on. There was no allegation that any of the defendants had indulged in illegal sexual activity, nor that any was known to have resulted from the contact ads, so the defence didn’t choose to fight on stickier ground than it had to.

    The judge’s summing up was reasonably fair, and took about 2½ hours on the Wednesday of last week, and the jury retired before lunch – as it turned out for nine hours. Eventually they could only agree to acquit David Wade of the one charge against him and John Paratt and Michael Dagnall of the first of the two charges. These two still face the second charge, and Tom O’Carroll is still due to face both charges. This means that at the retrial, Tom O’Carroll will stand accused on one count of conspiring with others, none of whom are in the dock with him. This is legally possible, but will surely not go down too well with the new jury.

    [This trial ended presumably in January/February 1981. The retrial was concluded on 13 March 1981 with the conviction of O’Carroll for 2 1/2 years. Haven’t seen any mention of the gross indecency trial for O’Carroll and Dagnall on 22 June 1981.]

  2. Troyhand said:

    Peace News for Nonviolent Revolution, Issues 2136-2160
    Peace News, Limited, 1981

    The start of the trial of the four men connected with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) on charges of “conspiring to corrupt public morals”- see the last PN – was delayed for a week, at the last moment. The trial eventually opened in Court 10 of the Old Bailey on Monday afternoon (January 19). It will probably last for about three weeks.

    Originally, five men had been charged, but one of them – David Grove – has now died of cancer. The Attorney-General had allowed the case against him to go ahead, until recently, despite knowing that he was suffering from a terminal illness. The Attorney-General, Michael Havers, also stepped in some weeks back to stop a deal that the prosecution were offering – to drop the conspiracy charge in return for Guilty pleas to relatively minor accusations of sending indecent material through the post contrary to the Post Office Act. Before the trial started, around 20 people picketed the Old Bailey calling for the dropping of the charges, though one of their leaflets was stopped from being distributed in case it was in contempt of court.

    As we go to press (on Tuesday) the prosecution is outlining its case to the jury; Monday afternoon was taken up with legal arguments and the selection of the jury. The conspiracy charge has been made less nebulous by allegations of which criminal offences the defendants intended to result from their actions. The four are accused of conspiring, together with others on the PIE executive, to publish a contact page in a PIE journal “intending thereby that advertisers would induce readers”: to provide opportunities to commit assaults on children; or to publish obscene articles; or to send such material through the post – and so “debauch and corrupt the morals of adults and children”.

    The judge in the case is John Leonard, who was the prosecution barrister in the ABC official secrets case.

    To support the campaign against the prosecution, contact: Campaign Against Public Morals, BM Box 1151, London WC1 3XX. For the latest information on the trial, further pickets, and other actions, try ringing London Gay Switchboard on 01-837 7324.

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