Thursday 14 March 2013

Cyril Smith bullied Sex Abuse Investigation team.

Sir Cyril Smith tried to bully police investigating claims he molested young boys, according to secret files revealed for the first time today.

Documents obtained by us show how the late Liberal MP went to Rochdale police station in 1970 and asked to speak to investigating officers.

He demanded to be told why detectives were investigating him and said that he wished to be given the names of his accusers.

Sir Cyril, who was then a prominent councillor, also asked to be told if he was going to be charged so that he could decide whether to stand for MP at the next Parliamentary election.

At the time, police were investigating claims that he had molested young boys when he was secretary of a hostel which had closed in 1964.

Officers went on to submit a file of evidence but prosecutors eventually decided not to pursue the case, allowing Sir Cyril to realise his ambition of a Parliamentary career.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act now show that in January 1970, Sir Cyril asked to meet with detectives to find out the names of his accusers.

A transcript of the conversation between Sir Cyril and detectives shows how he was determined to challenge the police for investigating him.

Sir Cyril began the meeting by asking bluntly ‘Why are the enquiries going on?’ and ‘to whom did you approach for statements?’

He also asked what stage the police had reached in their enquiry and when he would know if he was to be charged.

In the same interview Sir Cyril admitted speaking to three boys after they had given statements to police.

The detective responded: “I must warn you about interfering with witnesses.”

Sir Cyril was accused during the interview of going on a ‘fishing expedition’ by confronting police about their investigation.

According to the transcript, Sir Cyril laughed and replied: “Well yes, fishing – I think that is fair comment.”

He added: “I’ve got to give a decision, one way or another, whether I’m going to fight the next parliamentary election as a Liberal in Rochdale, and if I’m going to be charged, I’m not going to accept.”

Sir Cyril refused to discuss the allegations against him in the meeting but a month later, in a police statement, he did give his side of the story.

He said that the allegations would be ‘damaging’ if made public, but added: “I wish to state most emphatically that I have never behaved in any indecent way towards any of these boys but have done my best to help them at a difficult stage in their lives.”

On March 11 – just six weeks after his visit to Rochdale police station – detectives passed Sir Cyril’s file to prosecutors, describing his conduct as ‘inexcusable’.

Their covering note added: “He has used his unique position to indulge in a sordid series of indecent episodes with young boys to whom he had a special responsibility... he appears guilty of numerous offences of indecent assault.”

But the file, submitted by Lancashire Constabulary, was knocked back by prosecutors and three months later Sir Cyril did indeed stand for parliament – losing to Labour incumbent Jack McCann.

Two years later, he won the seat in a by-election following McCann’s death. He served as MP for Rochdale until 1992.

Rochdale’s current Labour MP Simon Danczuk said the documents obtained by us prove Sir Cyril tried to meddle with the police probe.

He said: “This exchange reveals how hard Cyril was pushing the police to drop charges and the fact that he was warned for interfering with witnesses shows he was clearly trying to influence the investigation.

“I know from speaking to police officers that Cyril had too much influence on the case and this transcript is a perfect illustration of what he was up to.”

Saturday January 24, 1970 – 11.20am, Rochdale police station
OFFICER: Well, very briefly the allegations concerning that, are that you went along there and examined these boys by taking their pants down. Whether that’s right or not, I don’t know.

CYRIL: I understand that that’s the subject of the investigation.

OFFICER: Which, pending on what explanation you put forward, would seem improper.


OFFICER: If my information is right, you spoke to one of the boys, who has been interviewed.


OFFICER: What was that about?

CYRIL: He told me what you had been asking him. He told me he had made a statement to you. I’ve seen two of them and the third came to see me. I’ve asked them if they have made statements.

OFFICER: I must warn you about interfering with witnesses. The only reason I am here this morning is because you wanted to see me. I did not want to see you. You must have some suspicion about you and them, about what’s in the statements or you would not be here, would you?


CYRIL: Well – er – I’m hesitating, not because I’m frightened, but I’ve seen a solicitor obviously, and he says I must make no statement or answer no questions. If they want to question you on those lines, tell them that you have appointed a solicitor. It’s not that I’m afraid to answer the questions, it’s purely because I’m advised not to do.


OFFICER: What you have come on this morning is just a fishing expedition. You want to see what we know.

CYRIL: Well, yes, fishing – I think that is fair comment. But one of my problems is – I don’t know if you know about local affairs.

OFFICER: No, I have no connection locally.

CYRIL: Well the situation is this. In three weeks time, I’ve got to give a decision, one way or another, whether I’m going to fight the next Parliamentary Election as a Liberal in Rochdale, and if I’m going to be charged, I’m not going to accept. Guilty or not guilty, it would be unfair to the party. On the other hand, if I am not going to be charged I would like to have a do, and I have got to make my mind up in the next three weeks.

Lots of rumours, ‘reliable’ evidence... but no charges
FOR decades, rumours swirled around Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith – a political legend locally and nationally.

But despite police 40 years ago being convinced he had indecently assaulted young boys, the 30-stone Liberal never faced justice.

Following our major investigation last November, we revealed that between 1970 and 1998 police tried to have him charged three times.

But when his 80-page file was first passed to the Director of Public Prosecutions – the precursor to the CPS – it was marked ‘no further action’. The DPP passed it back with a terse one-page note saying the allegations were ‘completely without corroboration’ and that the ‘character of some of these young men would be likely to render their evidence suspect’.

Many of them had been residents at Rochdale boys' hostel Cambridge House.

By 1998, when the file was passed to the CPS, prosecutors agreed the evidence was ‘reliable’. But because he had already told been there would be no charges, they said there could be no action without fresh allegations.

The CPS now believes both the 1970 decision and the 1998 ruling would today be different.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your time and interest