Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Solicitor Slaps Claim on Rochdale MBC in Smith Case

Council Aim to 'Cleanse' Smith Stigma from Town  
PANNONE, the firm of solicitors acting for the victims of the now disgraced former MP Cyril Smith, has served formal documents on Rochdale Council entitled 'Particulars of Claim', which sets out the legal case.  Smith was the MP for Rochdale from 1972 to 1992, he had served as a Liberal Chief Whip under David Steel and Jeremy Thorpe, and was something of a political celebrity for a time appearing on many TV Quiz shows.  He was later knighted, as we now know, after being nominated by the now Lord David Steel.  Smith died in September 2010. 

Northern Voices has seen the contents of a letter to one of the victims of Smith which says that Mr. Justice Levinson has advised the legal firm Pannone, and is of the opinion that the case against Rochdale Council 'stands a good chance of success'.  Hence, we understand that proceedings against Rochdale MBC, that had already begun, has now been 'stepped up a gear'.   
The case relates to the physical mistreatment and sexual abuse by Smith, and others, of young lads in Rochdale at both Cambridge House Hostel in the 1960s, and at Knowl View in the 1970s, while in the care of the Council.  When, over a week ago, Northern Voices spoke to a spokeswoman in the Legal Department of Rochdale Council; she told us that the civil case proceedings are going on as normal, but are 'separate' from the investigation into Rochdale Council's responsibilities in these cases now being conducted by the barrister Mr. Andrew Warnoch QC on behalf of Rochdale MBC.   Yet, when asked if the two could be brought together she said:  'It depends how they progress'.  

Yesterday, a press officer for Rochdale MBC told us that the Andrew Warnoch investigation is 'looking into the decision-making process' to decide 'how things may be improved' and 'to develop terms of reference'.  He said that the Council wanted to bring in an independent figure so that the investigation could be 'taken out of the Council's hands', because we didn't want 'anyone accusing us of a cover-up''this is part of a cleansing process'.    The press officer insisted 'our job is to find out (what happened during that period) it's not in our interests to cover-up, our job is to be open and transparent'.  

On being questioned about the background of Andrew Warnoch QC, who specialises in defending clients; the press officer assured Northern Voices that it was 'not his (Mr. Warnoch's) job to defend us (the Council)', but rather to ascertain the facts.

NORTHERN VOICES 14, is still on sale at our usual outlets with coverage of our role in the outing of Cyril Smith. John Walker, a former editor of RAP (the Rochdale Alternative Paper), in a leading feature documents the intimate story of Cyril Smith which was used as the basis of the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches last September on the eve of the Lib-Dem annual conference. Since he left RAP Mr. Walker has occasionally contributed to Private Eye, here he is flattering in his praise of Northern Voices, and he writes of us 'being part of that long tradition of a radical press, that has never been afraid to call into question abuses of the powerful.' 

The printed version of NORTHERN VOICES 14, with all sorts of stuff others won't touch and may be obtained as follows:
Postal subscription: £5 for the next two issues (post included)
Cheques payable to 'Northern Voices' at
c/o 52, Todmorden Road,
Burnley, Lancashire BB10 4AH.
Tel.: 0161 793 5122.
email: northernvoices@hotmail.com


Victim said...

Thank you for your updated information. I was aware some time ago as it's all part of the legal process, and this is just a small part of that legal process, but has I say it is only the very early stage, it could take anything up to three years before we reach the end of that process. When we do final reach that point all those victims may final have both justice & an apologie from all those who failed to do their jobs which was to believe all those young children who suffered at the hands of a thug & a bully and a child abuser. We are looking for the truth and redress for all those wrong deeds inacted against his victims. It's a great shame all those in power who failed all those victims for far too long, so I now believe truth and justice is now the only way forward.

I hope you feel my comments are both fair and balanced.

Barrie said...

These "Particulars of Claim" made against Rochdale MBC by Pannone & Son's; What are the particulars referring to?

Peter said...

Very interesting particulaly the sally army bunch of self important smug arseoles . Well done great work