Friday, 25 April 2014

Daily Mail unearths ancient story!

Strange Case:  Cyril Smith Blackmail Beatings & Medical Exams

Here's a transcript of the Rochdale Alternative Paper's (RAP) follow up in June 1979 of their original exposure of Cyril Smith's antics at Cambridge House Hostel for boys in May 1979 - 35 years later with Smith long dead the Daily Mail has serialised the story:

From the Rochdale Alternative Paper
June 1979 (Number 79):
RAP’s revelations concerning Cyril Smith published in our last issue of RAP (May 1979) was a story in which the national press have been interested for a long time.  What prevented them from publishing previously was the laws of libel – which still prevent them from publishing it now.  RAP has not received a libel writ from Smith.

ONCE the story was out the media interest continued.  Several taxis from Manchester offices of newspapers arrived at Rochdale newsagents to buy a dozen copies each.  The People sent its representative, Harold Holborn, accompanied by a Rochdale Observer reporter!  John Derricot of the Mail, Bill Jenkins of the Sun, Mike Nally of the Sunday Observer, Chris Bryer of Granada, Chris House the crime correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph, and the news editor of the Star have all had conversations with us about the story.

Libel of course remains the problem, as of course it has been ours.  Clearly what we have said about Smith is defamatory.  The only defence therefore against libel is that what we have said is true.  Our London lawyer’s advice was simple:  if you know it to be true, print it.  We did.
The one national paper with enough courage to carry the story so far was Private Eye. It’s edition of May 9th ran a summary of the RAP story as its lead article.  It repeated the allegations RAP had made and included the extracts from sworn affidavits made by the young men concerned. Private Eye has frequently received libel writs from politicians. It was not received one in this instance.
None of which stops Smith from continuing to condemn others. As recently as his Ob ‘Letter from Parliament’ of 26th, May (1979) he commented on the actions of Labour Councillor Bob Crossland ['who had the effrontary to attend the Mayor making ceremony without a tie, and to sit and read throughout the ceremony....'].  He (Smith) found that behaviour to be ‘disgusting’ unlike, apparently, holding young men’s testicles and beating their bare bottoms, as he has done.
But we must again repeat, most disturbing is not what Smith did. It is the fact that he never had to answer for himself through the normal processes of law or face the publicity that would have involved.  There is still every reason to doubt that the police file even got as far as the D.P.P. – in spite of a statutory requirement for it to do so.  Until it is clear that he is subject to the same justice as the rest of us he should keep his mouth shut.


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