The convictions of first Stuart Hall and then Max Clifford followed by Rolf Harris has led to the claim that Operation Yewtree has been a success. This claim is totally self-serving because although the conviction and sentencing of Hall was well warranted, the convictions of both Clifford and Harris were effected more by legerdemain than by due process. A detailed exposition of the latter case including the perverted methodology used can be found here.
This lengthy investigation arose out of allegations made following the death of Jimmy Savile, allegations which were never tested in a courtroom, and the vast majority of which were fueled by media sensationalism, fantasists of both sexes, and ambulance-chasing lawyers. The central thesis of Operation Yewtree was and remains that a substantial percentage of the men who have entertained us for the past half century and more are serial sex abusers, paedophiles or even child rapists. Common sense alone indicates that is not the case, or that at the very least high quality evidence should be demanded before even an arrest is made.
While some background investigation has clearly been undertaken, most of the resulting arrests have been the result of trawling, namely the police, the media and organisations with vested interests in perpetuating such claims have appealed for victims to come forward, and “victims” duly have.
Apart from these three aforementioned convictions, who else has been arrested? First and foremost the former Radio One DJ Dave Lee Travis, who has been pursued with incredible venom. Travis was charged with 14 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault. Dating back to 1976, they related to 11 complainants, the youngest of whom was 15 at the time. He was found not guilty on 12 counts but the jury failed to reach verdicts on the remaining 2, so the CPS asked for and was granted a retrial, and just for good measure, another charge has been added. Travis has already sold his house to pay his legal fees, and even if he is finally cleared of all charges he will be massively out of pocket.
At least one of his anonymous accusers lied blatantly claiming he had assaulted her when he visited a hospital. On hearing this allegation, a member of the public contacted his legal team to tell him he had videoed Travis who had turned up with his wife on the day.
Gary Glitter is currently facing charges. As is well known, Mr Gadd as he is addressed in court, is a convicted paedophile. However, he does not appear to have tried his luck with underage girls until the new Millennium. In November 1997, he was convicted of possessing child pornography, which can mean almost anything. If you don’t believe that, run the term “naked babies” through your image search, and you’ll be surprised at how many parents put pictures of their infants on-line totally unattired. Glitter was also accused of having sex with an underage girl at that time, but the charge was dropped. However, after relocating to the Far East he appears to have developed a taste not simply for jailbait but for very young girls. As a convicted paedophile he is an easy target, and few people will have any sympathy with him if he is convicted, but it is difficult to imagine him raping a teenage girl in Jimmy Savile’s dressing room as one fantasist has claimed.
Like Dave Lee Travis, William Roache was another victim of blatant perjury. The longest serving soap opera star in the world, Roache was accused not simply of indecent assault but rape. Some of these claims related to the Manchester studio where Coronation Street is filmed. Unlike the BBC’s London studio where Jimmy Savile, Gary Glitter and Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all are alleged to have carried out their crimes – including rape – the independent television studio up north has always had proper security, and among other things the Crown was not able to convince even a bamboozled jury that Mr Roache could have raped any of his victims in a toilet where he might just be interrupted at any moment.
Others accused of sexual offences include Freddie Star, who is now clearly not in the best of health; Jim Davidson, who appears to have conducted his own investigation that helped expose the lies of his accusers; and the heterosexual Jimmy Tarbuck, who was accused of indecently assaulting an underage boy sometime in the 1970s. He too was cleared without trial.
Another BBC personality to face arrest was Paul Gambaccini, and here we are faced with some amusing speculation. Although he is an acknowledged homosexual, Gambaccini is not one of those “in your face” gays, so it may be that one or more of his accusers are female. We may never know, but if he does eventually appear in court, it would difficult to imagine even someone as duplicitous as Sasha Wass QC arguing that one.
There are many other big names in the rumour mill, many such rumours predating Operation Yewtree of course, but this has obviously led to an increase in the outpourings of sick minds. Cliff Richard has long been the target of rumour mongers because his world does not revolve around sex. The latest victim of these outrageous smears is Leonard Rossiter, who along with his fellow comedians Tommy Cooper and Eric Morecambe died in 1984. What is behind this seemingly never ending spray of bile and venom?
All these accusers are granted anonymity; the only time that can be lifted legally is if they sell their non-stories to one of the tabloids or in the extremely unlikely event of their prosecution for perjury or some such, but nobody put it better than the late Lynda Lee-Potter when in the wake of false and malicious allegations against TV presenter Matthew Kelly she wrote: “The police know that individuals continually invent malicious stories about famous people. They do it out of malice, envy, for money or a pathetic yearning to feel important. They know that the current position, which allows the accused to be named without a shred of evidence, is an added inducement to the greedy, malevolent or mad.”
Such allegations are easy to make and difficult to disprove, indeed, as in the case of Rolf Harris and the woman from Portsmouth, they are impossible to disprove, the allegation becomes a self-evident truth, no evidence either supplied or needed.
As yet, there are no signs of this witch-hunt abating, but when this new investigation gets under way, we may find politicians thinking twice about permitting it to continue when they see their own names dragged through the mud with the time-honoured innuendo of no smoke without fire.
[The above article was published originally July 23, 2014. With regard to the quote by Lynda Lee-Potter, the convictions of Max Clifford and Rolf Harris, and about Operation Yewtree generally, see also my documentary Rolf Harris And You, which includes a transcript.].
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