Plebgate – Fitting People Up

police-officersBy Andrew Brons.

Wow! We have discovered that police officers sometimes (not always?) tell porkies about the people whom they encounter.

We have it from the mouth of David Cameron no less, ex-Eton College, former (perhaps current) supporter of the claw-hammer-wielding and metal-dart-throwing, UAF and, oh yes, Prime Minister too, that police officers had told lies about his former colleague and chum, the former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell.  What utter cads, upstarts, bounders and plebs to tell untruths about their patricians and betters!

Of course, had Mr. Cameron been an ordinary person like the rest of us, he would have known, for years, that lying about their victims is what  police officers do. Dogs bark, cats miaow and police officers tell lies to secure convictions.

Years ago, in 1983, I was Chairman of the (1980s version of the) National Front. However, I was also a local activist; I did not shirk doing routine work with my local unit or adjoining units.

I was Chairman of the most disapproved-of party in the country and I did not have any convictions. That would have to change!

I was standing in the pedestrian precinct in Leeds with three of my colleagues – all from Leeds Branch – on a bleak October Saturday morning, selling or trying to sell National Front News. Three of us were standing together and chatting to each other and the fourth was standing a few yards to our right. We were standing next to some bollards, so we were not making an obstruction. We were not even shouting the name of our paper; we were simply standing waiting for people to approach us and some did.

A police officer approached us and told us to split up, which we did – I moved a few yards to my left but he insisted that I should move further. “How far?”, I asked and he said, “All the way down there”. I said, “In that case I’ll pack up and go home,” and started to pack away my papers. He responded by saying, “You’re nicked”. I said, “What for?; The case of Christie v. Leachinsky held that you must tell me the reason for my arrest”. He replied: “Don’t tell me the law; I’m a barrister too”. I was not a barrister and I had not, of course, claimed to be one. However, I did teach Law and about police powers, in particular.

He took me all the way to Briggate and my colleagues followed me. One colleague, Paul Vessey asked what he should do, so I said, “Ring my wife and get her to call  the (named) Bradford solicitor”. The officer then arrested that colleague.

We were put into a police van and I asked him repeatedly what the reason for my arrest was. He said, “If you don’t shut up, I’ll charge you under the Public Order Act”.

We were taken to Millgarth Police Station and I repeated my request for the reason for my arrest but received no answer.

After spending several hours in a cell, interrupted only by a short interview with my solicitor, I was released and told that I would indeed be charged under the Public Order Act but I was given no details.

It was only several weeks later that I received a summons with two charges: one under the Public Order Act 1936; and the other under the Justices of the Peace Act 1361 (providing for a binding-over order). My solicitor said that this was an implied offer of a plea-bargain. I would accept a binding-over and the Prosecution (then the police – the CPS had not been established) would drop the breach of the peace under the Public Order Act. However, I refused, because I had done nothing wrong. I still had a touching faith in British justice. How naïve!

The prosecution’s case was bizarre: the police officer said that he had heard shouts of White Power (a British Movement slogan that we were hardly likely to have been chanting) National Front and Kill the Jews (Yes you did read that correctly!). However, neither I nor any of my colleagues had those words attributed to us. If the last words had been attributed to us, we would have faced a (potentially fair) Crown Court trial. They were mentioned simply to demonise us. The police officer said that I had sworn at him using obscene language and calling him an inferior being. The  language  sounded as if it had been stolen from the Daleks’ script in an episode of Dr.Who. The idea that I would speak to anybody in that way beggars belief. The idea that I would address a police officer in such a way is literally incredible. It would be tantamount to saying, “Please arrest me”. I was hardly going to seek prosecution that could very easily have brought about my dismissal. Indeed it would have done so had it not been for some swift. footwork from the Principal and the Chairman of the Further Education Sub-Committee.

It should be remembered that there had been a campaign by left-wing students mainly from other colleges to lose me my job over 1981/1982. This prosecution was simply another attempt to achieve the same end by a different means.

The prosecution called a shop assistant from a local shop whose account was almost identical to our true account of what happened. I and my three colleagues gave clear corroborating evidence and so did a lady who was a member of the public. In addition, my College Principal and a colleague who was Social Tutor and liaised with our many overseas students, attended to give character evidence on my behalf.

The Stipendiary Magistrate conceded that I had probably not used the obscene language (which was tantamount to saying that the police officer had not given accurate evidence) but decided to find us guilty nevertheless and fine us £50 each.

The courts of the state were not going to concede that the Chairman of the National Front had faced fabricated charges. That case was a case of identity theft as clear-cut as if goods had been purchased on my credit card.

If Mr. Andrew Mitchell had been a senior member of some small radical party that would have been his fate. There is one law for  well-connected members of the Political Class and another for radicals opposed to it. If only I had fostered a cosy relationship with the Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher……………

 

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12 Comments

  1. The police for many years since Thatcher have been instruments of the state and an extension of the long arm. The Public Order Act extended that reach and all of us have to be guarded in what we say or do. Otherwise the long arm of the police will come a knocking. As this country floods itself with more and more immigration the UK majority population may wake up to the fact that the establishment parties set out to destroy the population of the UK.

    • Indeed. It is Mrs Thatcher who is most responsible for the growth of the PC mania in our country and the fact the police are merely instruments of whoever is in power for it was her government that passed the 1986 Public Order Act which outlawed real freedom of speech on certain matters. Try telling this to Daily Mail readers though and you will get a blank stare!

  2. I am truly sorry to read of your dreadful experience Mr Brons. I feel ashamed that this could have happened in what we were all taught to believe was a justice system that was fair for all, and that we were all equal before the law. All nationalists should be proud that you have continued the fight undaunted.

    As for Andrew Mitchell, yes he was fitted up, and the officers who did it should be sacked. However, I can well believe that he provoked the whole thing with foul language and a thoroughly unpleasant manner. They all deserve each other, and they all got what they deserved in my opinion.

  3. Yes, Mo. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had used those words that were attributed to him. After all, he went to the famous Rugby public school (old school of Neville Chamberlain no less) and there is no doubt that Tories like him who have been educated at these expensive public schools (Cameron and Osbourne come to mind as well here) DO indeed think of us ordinary people as ‘plebs’ and ‘oiks’. That disregard for the feelings of us ‘little people’ is surely one of the main inspirations behind workfare and their increasingly demented approach to the subject of mass unemployment? If the Tories win outright next time (an unlikely possibility) I wonder if they will send the unemployed up chimmeys like in Victorian times?

  4. Steven, they would have to tackle the problem of obesity first!

  5. Police misconduct is as old as the (very necessary) institution of a police force, and should be severely sanctioned if proved to the necessary standard.

    Writing so long ago as 1863 in his “General View of the Criminal Law of England” Sir James Stephen (later Mr Justice Stephen) said that:

    “It must never be forgotten that the poor and ignorant are the persons most affected by the administration of criminal justice; and the ministers of justice with whom they have most to do, the police, have just that amount of intellectual and social superiority to day-labourers, and the lower class of mechanics which make them the objects of peculiar jealousy, and renders it desirable to take special precautions against abuses of their power. Their rough and ignorant zeal would frequently lead them into acts of real oppression, if the law of evidence were altered so as to make such oppression useful.”

    Exactly 150 years on, little has changed.

  6. I remember this episode very well. The same PC was well known to Nationalists in Leeds and often made his view of us very plain. On another occasion, the same PC arrested an NF comrade without reason, and then assaulted him in the police van. He was charged with assaulting the police even though only he was injured! Our comrade (lets just call him BT), lost a front tooth in the assault. I myself went immediately to Millgarth police station to lodge a complaint against the PC in question, something that didn’t make me too popular with the police as I sold papers in the city centre!

    When the case went to court, the prosecution solicitor told the defence that “if your client pleads guilty to being drunk and disorderly, we’ll drop the assault charge”. Living in the real world and knowing that a magistrates court is nothing but a police court, our comrade reluctantly pleaded guilty to the D and D charge. He received a small fine rather than the custodial sentence he would have got if he’d have been found guilty of the more serious offence.

    I doubt if things have improved much since those times. The police are much more political nowadays, with political correctness the by-word for promotion.

  7. Gone are the days when the average citizen had unquestionable respect for the police. There is simply too much corruption and dishonesty, which goes far beyond reported corruption and dishonesty, for any reasonable citizen to have anything other than a healthy distrust of the “service”. The Met in particular, as illustrated by a number of high-level cases in recent years, has – quite literally – been getting away with murder.

  8. Perhaps this Leeds PC was imitating Shakespeare’s Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing:
    “You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the constable of the watch.”

  9. How very ‘marxist’ of the Tories to turn and distract from what was and still is a clear case of a self important Mr Mitchell trying to use an exit he surely must have known was ‘not allowed’ because he thought he was to important for the rules to apply.

    • Yes but it appears people inflated the story with completely fictitious accounts. Being disliked by the police does not justify that. People’s treatment by the police should not be a popularity contest.

  10. This is the first time the police have attacked the establishment of their own volition in my 35 years on planet earth as a Briton.

    I know about Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer and a few others but I don’t think they were as close to the front bench as Mr Mitchell. They were nuisance members that were thrown to the lions by their own party.

    Clearly, the British police force have new masters and view our duly elected parliament as little more than a parish council in some backwater.

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