Recent posts have described how many of the people involved with the Waterhouse Inquiry found their careers heading for the stars soon after the whole shameful travesty. There were so many lawyers at the Inquiry – nearly all of them acting for the people accused of seriously abusing children or concealing the abuse – that until now I’ve only blogged about the most high profile or the names that I recognised. However I have been sufficiently intrigued by the way in which defending a bunch of vicious criminals acted as a booster to so many otherwise mundane legal careers that I’ve taken the opportunity to research a few more of the names involved. I have not been disappointed. So here we go.
Anna Pauffley QC. Anna represented over 100 people who had received ‘Salmon letters’. These were letters sent out to people who were alleged to be guilty of physical or sexual abuse of children or who were likely to be the subject of criticism. The Salmon letter recipients included people who had been named by the former children in care as having abused them – some of these people had already been convicted and even imprisoned by the time that the Waterhouse Report was completed. Other Salmon letter recipients were people who had witnessed or been told about abuse but who did nothing. So the Salmon letter recipients included some Grade A scumbags. Anna represented people who had punched and kicked children, who had raped or buggered them or forced them to participate in oral sex. If the former children in care were to be believed – and of course Anna’s job was to suggest that they weren’t – some of their abusers took them to other locations where they were molested by unknown people as well. One of the many people whom Anna represented was Lucille Hughes, former Director of Gwynedd Social Services, whom it was acknowledged even by Waterhouse had known that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but who had not acted.
Sir Ronald Waterhouse devotes part of his report to thanking all the noble lawyers who worked so hard to defend the indefensible and noted that some of the witnesses ‘were subjected to necessarily severe cross-examination by Counsel for those against whom they made specific allegations’. Ronnie admitted that a number of witnesses found giving evidence so distressing that they were admitted as psychiatric emergencies, others became so distressed that dear old Ronnie just refused to accept their evidence, scores of others needed counselling to support them through the Inquiry and yet others were referred for long term mental health care. Others left the Inquiry ‘holding each other’, which Ronnie interpreted as meaning that they had ‘left something negative behind’, rather than that they had been just about destroyed. It’s OK though! Ronnie notes that ‘we believe however, that the satisfaction in their minds of knowing that they have been listened to will substantially outweigh the disadvantages of providing that evidence’. (Of course they were not at all satisfied when they read Ronnie’s report which dissed nearly all of them and whitewashed the biggest child abuse scandal that the UK had seen.) Ronnie was however very mindful indeed of the traumas that those accused of abusing the youngsters might experience. He observed that for the Salmon letter recipients the Tribunal was ‘a particularly anxious time’, but that ‘anxiety has been mitigated…by the Tribunal’s anonymity ruling…in respect of any person against whom an allegation of physical or sexual abuse had been or was likely to be made’. Ronnie also ‘exercised restraint in naming names’. I note that none of the paedophile gang or their friends needed emergency psychiatric treatment or left ‘holding each other’. They probably left uncorking the champagne.
So what became of Anna who defended Lucille et al by severely cross-examining anyone who dared allege that they’d been abused? Like Nicola Davies QC, Anna is now a Dame of course! She was appointed a High Court judge in 2003, although she did end up in hot water in 2015 when she publicly stated that it was ‘Okay for migrant families to hit their children’ (it’s their culture you see). Gov’t spokespeople were wheeled out to explain that child abuse was unacceptable from anyone. But what did the Gov’t expect from a woman who was made a Dame after psychologically assassinating people who relived details of the most horrific abuse – sensitivity???
Dame Anna was assisted in her defence of people who had done some pretty dreadful things by Rachel Langdale. Rachel was appointed a QC in 2009 and she now advertises herself as a specialist in Children’s Law. Last month she featured in ‘Counsel’ magazine maintaining that ‘The Only Way Is Ethics’, discussing the importance of in house ethics training, underlining the importance of Ethics Committees and discussing ‘the integrity which lies at the heart of the Bar’. So has Rachel finally seen the light? Or is she a hypocritical unscrupulous cow who’ll do anything to advance herself?
Alistair Webster QC. Alistair acted for the senior managers of Clwyd County Council. A previous post (‘Ain’t Nothing Clean – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’) detailed just how culpable and either dishonest or incompetent these people were. Alistair is still going strong and is a Crown Court recorder. He is a member of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association and describes his fields as ‘commercial crime, crime and regulation’. He boasts that he has acted for the defence in ‘large drug conspiracies’ and many ‘gangland murders’. (Many people who grew up in care in Clwyd were found dead, sometimes shortly after giving evidence against their abusers.) In 2015/16 Alistair defended Indranee and Meghadeven Pumbien, who owned Briarwood Rest Home in Preston, when they were accused of the serious abuse of elderly people in their care, as well as perverting the course of justice. Among the allegations were that a 99 year old woman was burnt after being dropped into a bath of scalding water. Another elderly person had two inexplicable black eyes and bruising on their arms. Alistair also represents Top Doctors in trouble with the GMC, both at Tribunals and in the High Court. Alistair was assisted in his defence of the Clwyd senior managers by Suzanne Goddard. In 2015 she became a circuit judge on the Northern Circuit.
Andrew Caldecott QC. Caldecott appeared at the Waterhouse Inquiry to act for Gordon Anglesea. Anglesea had of course recently won a libel case after ‘Private Eye’ and others accused him of molesting boys in care. Anglesea was awarded almost £400,000 in damages. One of the men who gave evidence at the trial was found dead some weeks later. In 2016 Anglesea was convicted of sexually abusing boys in care and was imprisoned. Caldecott describes himself as a leader in the field of defamation and he also has an interest in human rights law no less. Caldecott acted for Constance Briscoe, the former barrister and judge, when Briscoe’s mother sued her for libel after Briscoe published a book maintaining that her mother had inflicted dreadful cruelty upon her when she was a child. Briscoe won the case. In 2014 Briscoe was imprisoned after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice in an unrelated case. She is now an ex-judge.
David Knifton. Knifton defended, among other people, Nefyn and June Dodd, who were accused again and again of serious physical violence against children resident at a children’s home in Bangor. One of Dodd’s specialities was to make children lick his boots or sometimes his bare feet. At one point a forged letter purporting to be from one of Dodd’s accusers was sent to Lucille Hughes in support of Dodd and his wife. Not only did Ronnie brush this piece of very incriminating evidence to one side but he decided not to believe numerous former residents who claimed to have been assaulted by Dodd and his wife. A number of former staff accused Dodd of brutality as well. One of my former neighbours used to work in the children’s home that Dodd managed and she described him as being a ‘total fascist’. Knifton was appointed a Crown and County Court Recorder in 2002. He advertises himself as a specialist in clinical negligence and personal injury.
Steven Crossley. Crossley represented Roger Saint, the foster carer who sexually assaulted children repeatedly but who was nonetheless allowed to adopt and foster again and again (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). Crossley represents Top Doctors and Angels in trouble at GMC and NMC hearings and also specialises in helping police officers who’ve ended up in hot water. He has defended a number of doctors and police officers accused of sexual assault.
Barrie Searle. Represented a number of ‘care workers’ accused of abuse at Waterhouse. These days Barrie represents Top Doctors and Angels in trouble with their regulatory bodies. Barrie is based in Manchester and is a recorder.
Theresa Pepper QC and Charles Gratwicke QC acted for ‘care workers’ accused of physical and sexual abuse. Theresa is now a recorder on the Northern Circuit. Charles Gratwicke QC is the resident judge at Chelmsford in Essex and led the tributes when a ‘controversial’ colleague retired. This colleague seems to have made some positively dangerous decisions with regard to people convicted of serious offences, including sexual ones. Not that Charles minded – he really liked this bloke because he was ‘his own man’ and Chelmsford was fortunate to have been graced with his presence.
Jodie Swallow represented the dreadful Stephen Norris, a truly hideous specimen who was described as coarse, obsessed with sex and unsuitable to work with children by his fellow paedophiles, so one can only marvel at the depths to which Norris must have sunk. He was one of the ‘care staff’ who had already been imprisoned by the time that the Inquiry was held, so I’m not sure why he actually needed Jodie to represent him. So where is Jodie now? She hasn’t gone far geographically. She is an honorary lecturer with the Criminal Justice Team at Glyndwr University in Wrexham and a part-time postgraduate student at Chester University. When she was working as a lawyer her ‘area of expertise’ was ‘dealing with cases of sexual abuse especially involving children’ – well yes, she represented the people who molested them. Jodie gave up practising law in 2001 because she wanted to spend more time with her young children. Presumably she wanted to give them a bit of high quality parenting lest they ended up in care in the hands of someone like Norris. Jodie managed to get on the Radio 4 sociology programme ‘Thinking Allowed’ last year, talking about women’s experience of domestic abuse. No doubt she kept very quiet about acting for Stephen Norris when she was chatting to Laurie Taylor.
Now we come onto a real star – the late Anthony Jennings. Jennings acted for Peter Howarth, one of the most notorious paedophiles who worked at Bryn Estyn. Before he molested boys at Bryn Estyn, Howarth molested boys at an approved school in Gateshead. Like Norris, Howarth was already in prison by the time the Waterhouse Inquiry was underway. One might have thought that representing Peter Howarth would not be the best career move, but it certainly didn’t hold Anthony Jennings back. Jennings died in 2008, but his obituaries have nothing but praise for him – he was clever, skilled, full of fun, ‘larger than life’. He became a QC in 2001 and in 2002 was given permission to try rape trials. In 2003 he was appointed a Crown Court recorder. So how did the man who defended Peter Howarth describe his area of expertise? Civil rights of course! Howarth’s civil rights presumably, not those of all the kids whom he molested. Jennings was well-known in legal circles, but he wasn’t half as well-known as one of his colleagues. Jennings was a co-founder of Matrix – the chambers where Cherie Booth aka Mrs Tony Blair practised…. They’ll have known each other well.
I’ve kept the most stunning example of career progression until the end of this post. The lucky winner of this award has got to be Fiona Walkingshaw. Fiona was de facto solicitor to the Tribunal and remained so until Ronnie handed over the final documented whitewash. Fiona worked for the Welsh Office, had been on secondment to Europe and then returned to help Ronnie out. So Fiona loyally assisted Ronnie as witnesses collapsed in distress, as they were hauled off as psychiatric emergencies, whilst Ronnie discredited nearly all of them yet described the paedophiles who wrecked their lives as ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ or ‘strict but fair’. So what is Fiona doing these days? She’s a counsellor, what else would she be? Not just any old counsellor though – Fiona is a tutor with the Psychosynthesis Trust. She specialises in ‘bereavement, issues of love and loss, working with children and young people’. She enjoys her work because it gives her the ‘opportunity to witness and support the journey of other souls who open themselves up to transformative compassion’. She’s not in Wales anymore, she’s based in the south east of England and is listed as holding sessions with the Croydon Young Persons Service for girls between 11 and 18 who are refuges and asylum seekers. I think that Fiona ought to get her arse back up to north Wales and quickly, because there’s a few souls up there who are on a journey after spending years being raped and buggered in the children’s homes. They didn’t experience much love, but there was an awful lot of loss and quite a bit of bereavement as well, particularly after five of them died all at once in an arson attack (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’). Come on Fiona, Wales needs you and your therapeutic skills – and of course the empathy and compassion that you’re advertising in your biography…