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Seeking Justice for the Gay Community

CHE (Campaign for Homosexual Equality) submitted a motion on a Statute of Limitation to this year's Annual General Meeting of LIBERTY (The National Council for Civil Liberty).

The motion had been passed unanimously by CHE in 2008 and CHE has been affiliated to LIBERTY for more than 20 years.

But just submitting this motion has resulted in LIBERTY chucking CHE out – after saying the motion was unacceptable for debate.

So much for LIBERTY
So much for free speech
So much for fair debate

More news later

Money Appeal

All the time we’ve been operating we’ve only had our own little bits of money Plus sometimes £20 or so for doing a talk to a Gay group - So we’ve not had a bank account.
But CHE have now given us £500 in a cheque. Ta.
And we’ve opened a bank account so we can now appeal for funds.

We also now have a PAYPAL account!

NEW - Child Abuse?
Antony Grey
New Dark Age?
Case Not Guilty
A Warning on Arrest re Solicitors and Legal Aid
Wolfenden Plus Fifty
Wolfenden in the Wilderness
Text Warning!
Roger Burg Appeal for Information
Norman Williams
Sex With Boys
The Way We Were
40 Years of Campaigning
Historical Abuse Appeals Panel
The Bolton Seven
Esquire Clubs
Rock n Roll John
Jason v. The Vicar
Don't Accept a Caution
Buyer Beware
Uncles Roger & Ken
The Story of MS
Young Man with Charisma
Don't Touch a Thigh
April 2006
July 2005
January 2004
July 2003




With very limited self-funded resources, C.H.E. (Campaign for Homosexual Equality) has monitored, in and around Bolton, a calendar of cases that should never have been allowed to progress in the way they did - and are doing.

There's been the infamous BOLTON 7 case, brought by Greater Manchester Police, which Brian Iddon, M.P. denounced as "silly" while calling for further law reform to prevent a recurrence. But only he of the local M.P.s and only one councillor, Noel Spencer (of Farnworth ward), spoke up that the lads had done nowt very wrong.

An anonymous tip-off started it all: that one of the seven had messed with children. This proved absolutely untrue, but it's enough to get bail refused. And GAYS BEWARE...It's often a fellow gay who does the tip-off out of grudge or tiff or some really wicked malice that finds in Bolton and district eager homophobe ears in all kinds of pivotal positions of authority - eager and able to pour public money into investigating and investigating and investigating. And daresay - if half of your average Mr and Mrs Boltons had their attics toothcombed by investigating officers while they were locked up, some item(s) could be found that could be prosecuted as indecent. Be careful - as the ITN newsreader Julia Somerville learnt, even innocent snaps of your kids in the bath can get you into trouble these days.

With the BOLTON 7 it was a video. Because they videoed their crude antics they got done. Mr and Mrs Bolton may not like it, but were it heterosex IT WOULD HAVE BEEN LEGAL. However, under an UNEQUAL LAW, male homosex is illegal if more than two persons are present. Even if only two are having sex. Though in private. Though the video was for personal use only. They could only be prosecuted because IT WERE MEN ONLY.

And to bring what they'd done to trial cost half a million. To prosecute behaviour done in private that amounted, as judge Michael Lever said in his sentencing remarks, to "little more than.,..smutty minded schoolboys tipsily experimenting with sex."

It's all got out of hand

Terry Connell

Then there was the Graham Cadman do. What happened here was that Graham, who has sold ice cream from his van around the streets of Horwich and district for donkey's WITHOUT EVER A SINGLE COMPLAINT LAID AGAINST HIM, had his Street trading Consent revoked by Bolton Metropolitan Council.

The Bolton Evening News (BEN) had discovered an old conviction and hit with a big splash all over the front page: VICE CREAM MAN EXPOSED. But what was exposed?

It was not a dark secret. It was a fact from the past, well known to a lot of older Horwich people, that Graham went to prison after a sensational case involving sex games, albeit between more than two CONSENTING ADULTS. Adults Only. But male only. The case went to the Old Bailey. And Graham was only one of a bunch. But the sentencing was so sensational that The Times ran an editorial on December 20th 1990 saying the case should never have been brought. Not that the B.E.N. told its readers that. The case against Graham and his pals would not have been brought were they a heterosexual crowd or lesbian. Done only because it were MALE GAY. But done he was. So Graham did his time. And came out. Returned to Horwich and back to ice cream van. Accepted by his neighbours. Indeed the B.E.N. published many letters saying what a likeable good ice cream guy Graham has always been. The chairman of Horwich Conservative Association supported him, declaring "The reason why I'm in politics is to help people who are victimised like Mr. Cadman." And adding that Graham could sell ice cream to his kids any day.

He's no danger to kids: not interested. Never assaulted anyone. He's a mild old gay. He's thinking of reapplying in time for next Summer. We cross fingers and wish him success. Ruth Kelly M.P. said she was appalled at the tone of the B.E.N. reports. He's been to see her and, hopefully, she might support him eventually. Because why deprive a guy of his livelihood? For homophobia run rampant in the press? Why put him on the dole - just because he happens to be gay? And to punish a man when he's done his time's a flagrant violation by Bolton Council of principles behind Rehabilitation of Offenders Act . Unchristian? it's UnChristian behaviour.

Peter Tatchell and Allan Horsfall demonstrate outside Bolton Town Hall in 1998 Then there's the police behaviour (Lancashire) up on the moors (we won't name the spot) but late at night male motorists cruise about looking and chatting one another up. Maybe getting in one another's cars and maybe fondling in the dark. A Singles Bar without the bar but with the wheels. Assignations happen: going back to one another's places. And then - bang: people start getting nicked by Chief Constable's Operations Support Unit from Great Harwood - complete with poofter patrol mobile equipped with Homophobe Antennae and in unmarked cars. P.C. Pretty Plod takes the offensive - acting agent provocateur: cruising by - "And what do you like doing?"

And the unsuspecting open themselves - tentatively. And - then "I'm a police officer: you're done."
In the dark. Done nothing.
"I say you're nicked you're nicked."
It's a fact of life: homophobic daily Bolton. (And District).

Usually these cases don't get publicity because the nicked plead guilty, though our advice is never do that: if you've not done anything, don't admit anything. GO NOT GUILTY. And - adverse inferences will not necessarily be drawn if you are silent. Consider counter-suing. Being led on by a police officer. In our experience some - by refusing to admit - are not charged. One of the "tricks" the police use is THE SHAME: to get the caught to confess - hoping for an easy arresting statistic. And the papers pass to the C.P.S. (Crown Prosecution Service) - and in Bolton and District in our experience they will have you taken to court definite if you do confess. Not for drugs. Maybe only a caution there - for drugs. But with homophobes it's to court for any scale of sex attempt. In our experience in Bolton and District absolutely you'll be in court if you confess. Only a fine - maybe: but your name in the paper - sometimes a ruination. For a victimless crime.

Let's face it, a lot of gays do not go trolling about - on the look for it. But some do. So do straights - straying hands: ask Monica and Bill Clinton. And gays maybe, for lots of reasons, are not so strongly bonded into nuclear family units. Of course some gays will be mainly celibate. Some entirely monogamous. Some not on scene at all. Some are - and remember loads of people indulging in homosex are mainly heterosexual. We're not asking for a special pleading: only for equality and common sense enforcement of law. People don't want to come out with all this sexual detail - heterosexuals don't have to - (unless you're Bill Clinton). But we're having to defend. We want equal dignity: but in freedom.

Denied in Bolton

Freedom from PERSECUTION. From being singled out for PROSECUTION. You see - let's face it, most people when young try a bit of this, and a bit of that, and do go looking about at that time. Some gays maybe never "grow up". And let's face it, there have always been what you can classify as public spaces but where - well, just as heterosexuals, particularly the young, go snogging up this dark alley back of that disco...gays do it. In Central Manchester there's a canal that runs through what's now officially and proudly promoted by the City Council as "The Gay Village."

All sorts go on down there - not just tolerated by the police (G.M.P.) but on posters and leaflets and condom packets gays are encouraged by the police to REPORT HATE from straights - who have been known to entice gays, lead them on and rob them. Gays in Central Manchester are encouraged by the police to report attacks on them. While outside Manchester Central it's full blown homophobia.

In Bolton Central - Crompton Place shopping centre, this man goes down for a pee. Down there is a younger man, with the demeanour of what's called "Rough Trade" who allegedly says "I bet you'd like to xxxx this?" Shades of Bill Clinton! The man (gay) pauses. Lad says "it'll cost you - £20." Haven't got, says the man.

"I'll take your watch then," and the boy grabs. The man resists. Lad then runs out and up to Security saying "I've been indecently assaulted - that man." It's known as the Portsmouth Defence because it's what a lot of R.N. ratings used to get up to in the Second World War.

But this is 1998: Bolton - and the Centre Security have nicked somebody: good for their careers; and Security pass the parties to P.C. Bolton Homophobe who says "YOU are nicked," to the guy. Not you'd both better come to the station and see if we can find the truth. It's one sided.

Get to court (Bolton Magistrates) and the man goes guilty thinking he'll get it over with quick. No counter- accusation. No fight. And this man has a gay lawyer. Gays beware - gay lawyers (who may advertise in the gay press) may merely be tapping a niche, and some have no experience or aptitude to fight for rights in court.

Public toilets can be trouble. Ask George Michael. He was in California and flashed himself to this handsome who replied, "There's my badge: you're nicked." There is some of that in Lancashire: police mounting surveillance operations on toilets and they catch a couple not exactly at it: but potentially about to be.

Get to court - and it's only the prominent person (in this case a Labour Party councillor) who is in the dock. He goes guilty - on advice (NOT ours) hoping for no publicity - but he gets publicity. The courts or someone have alerted the press - put the case on early. And the CPS outline what happened in quite a lot of detail to the magistrates, and they are egging it.

Candlelight Vigil, Bolton

"Many complaints of nuisance from the general public." They don't prove this. We check and there haven't been any complaints we can find. "Near houses": not true: and then "the toilets are opposite a children's playground." They are - a quarter of a mile away and on the other side of a river. But in any prosecution case these days merely mention 'children' and alarm bells ring on the bench. But in this case it's embellishment/fabrication. Embellishment: it's 'lies' to put the guy down: to push magistrates to hand down a heavier sentence: and lies going unchallenged.

What's put up by the prosecution purporting as fact is going unchallenged. The person's solicitor puts up a poor fight, acts as if he's done no homework. Anyway his client had admitted. It's just so sad to hear lies from the prosecution: aggressive policing - wouldn't a caution have sufficed? Or was he set up?

Ah! - dark thought - was he set up? By who - we don't think so - because by who? The Spirit of Homophobia. Hm. More serious matters:

When we mention to people elsewhere the scenes witnessed in both Bolton Courts, Magistrates and Crown the past 12 months (and some at Preston Crown, Blackburn Magistrates, and both in Burnley) - they're GOBSMACKED.

Sober and middle of the road folk say "This prosecution should never have come to court." It's against sense. It's outrageous. The accused should sue: why don't they sue for wrongful arrest - infringement of civil liberty and in the worst cases wrongful imprisonment?
Maybe they would if the accused were upfront, out Gay-Proud: but they're not (mainly). They're quiet, timid: embarrassed. And then there are these Serious Cases caused to come to court having been snitched on (these are the worst cases) for messing about a bit "homosexually" some years ago with "a child."

Were they fit - after that accusation - they MIGHT counter-sue. Were they young like the Bolton 7, the accused might say this prosecution is woffy. Wrong. And the cost - ah! - Bolton solicitors have rich little veins here - everyone on legal aid - (with only one exception) and their secretaries taking regular cheques off legal aid board to bank. Well, electronically it's done.

If you go to court and watch, it can be really sad. Ashamed, we've felt, to be British in Bolton.

We have seen the accused stumbling up the steep steps from the cells, led to the dock, shaking on their feet - the kindest persons they'll see in court, Group Four, turning them gently to face the bench. Weak, befuddled, not knowing why or what: it's pitiful. One solicitor - Bolton solicitor - indicates that his client doesn't understand the charge - may not be fit to plead - may not now know guilty or not guilty.

Well, it's medical reports.
And once "child" is mentioned by Crown Prosecution and 'further inquiries'...we've seen bail refused, refused, not even applied for. Medical reports'll be done from Strangeways Medical Wing. And the man's home is broken up/let go

And what is the charge? Some messing about. Not a killing. Not rape. No force. Not from a person in a position of authority.
Some - to use the phrase from the musical TOMMY - "messing abaht" - playing with some lad's bits, Uncle Ernie when the lad was "a child:" a child? And under age. What is under age? we're not talking paedophilia - are we? Depends.

The "lad" - now a man in his 30s - didn't object: not then: nor when he grew up. Only now - SEVENTEEN YEARS - TWENTY YEARS later (in one case) comes forward and protected by anonymity makes this accusation - "that he messed with me when I was a kid." What for? To what purpose a prosecution so late: even if it proved true?

And after some time in custody of one sort or another, the accused may say "Do me - I'm done for. Finished. I'm going guilty. Let's have it over with."
Lives are being ruined. It's wicked, what's happening in Bolton.
Benefiting? The briefs. An abuse of law.

Usually the accused feels such embarrassing humiliation he doesn't want help from any befrienders like us in CHE. But in one of these Serious Charges the accused did turn to us. And we went through in detail. We got him a woman solicitor from a Manchester firm who employ 'detectives' to check allegations meticulously: every damned one. And then briefed a London Barrister who at Bolton Crown - with a jury waiting to try him - put to Judge John Roberts that this man could not now have a fair trial BECAUSE so much time had elapsed. The accused had admitted a relationship when lad were 16 and man were 30: but not when he were "a child": not doing that or what or where the lad now said.

Terry Connell with the Mike Rhodes Award certificate. The award to the Bolton 7 came with £1,000 and was 'for their vigorous defence against prosecution under the gross indecency laws'

Point by point through a whole morning the London Brief argued to Judge Roberts, who then went into the back at Bolton Crown to do whatever Judges do in the back. About four o'clock Judge Roberts returns and agrees - there won't be a trial.

To have a trial would be an abuse of the legal process because so much time had elapsed; the defence could not be properly presented to a jury because too many witnesses had died or moved or were untraceable. The accused was let go and GMP destroy his DNA samples and fingerprints, but not his photograph.

What a performance - all because a former boyfriend on some mission of grudge went to police and said "When I were a child, he...." the accused had nearly gone to nick - for years but for the Grace of Standing Up - like the Bolton 7 - he didn't go to prison. Even if the allegations were true (and in this case they couldn't be), what good prison?

We are concerned that the natural revulsion we all share on hearing and reading cases of serious sexual abuse in Children's Homes by The Carers has snowballed into something like a Witch Hunt.

Encouraged by campaigning journalism, teenagers and ex-teenagers can open a field day making mountains out of molehills. Protection of the whistle-blower is assured. Compensation can be awarded. Even if no one's found guilty, they're told,
you may get compensation. Tempting? Hm.

And the "thrill" that he can go to prison - be named in the B.E.N. as a "beast" and be punished on a tariff that has seen in Bolton one year in the slammer for merely brushing a 15 year old lad's private parts - while covered. That'll do. That's enough: oh aye and make sentences consecutive so every lad every time you attempted to have a little feel (no more than that) a year.

And yet we say we live in an age of permissiveness? A free country. Different folks. Different strokes. Freedom to try this. Experiment with that. And here's another case. Bolton Crown. This man is on trial - for nearly 2 weeks - because he put up lads some years ago and this lad (ex-lad) alleges he stayed with him in his room overnight. This man made up a separate camp bed for him. Nothing happened. Staying overnight became a habit.

Then an occasion occurred when lad gets into the big and comfy bed with the man. What happened then? "The man puts his hand down my boxer shorts." And then. "I took his hand away." And then "We both turned over." And then. "We both went back to sleep." Nothing else happened? "No." But that's enough.
Come on. For a trial?
Yes. For a Bolton jury to convict?
Yes. For a man of previous good character to be deprived of liberty?
Yes. In Bolton. Yes.

We are not into paedophilia - AT ALL. But in cases that have involved post-pubescent lads it seems the sentences handed down in Bolton are far severer than they would have been 15-20 years ago.

It seems that as society now has to accept gay consenting sex as legal, where it's illegal i.e. more than two: or under 18 - the Homophobe Instinct in Judges etc. seems to mean, in Bolton, that they lash out punishment in a quite unimaginative way - throw the book at you - try to bang you up for any homosexual indiscretion.

Rape is a crime. Only one case we've monitored past 12 months or so, we dropped because it turned out to be, albeit heterosexual, in another league of seriousness beyond us. We'd not want any truck with that. The case was the ex-Mayor of Westhoughton.

In all the other cases we've followed - minor and serious - we wonder why the process of law just went on and on. Digging the past. "He brushed my thigh." And uncorroborated evidence - accepted with little challenge. Every little detail to reach a cumulative conclusion. Guilty. So much for permissiveness in Bolton

Years ago in the 1950s and 60s cases of homosexual indecencies, and occasional out of order behaviour, attempted fondling of, or attempts of 'messing about' nature with post-pubescent lads, would be dealt with - as would possession of a home made video (if they'd existed then) - by a fine and/or destruction of the video order. Not normally passing it on to committal and Crown P and D and a great trial that'll cost thousands and thousands of public money.

And we worry about the Quality of Defence.
On Friday 16th October we were in No. 2. court at Crown on the top floor. And in one case we're monitoring Mr. Assistant Recorder Warnock interrupted the Defence to say "Are you sure enough is being done for your client?"
Someone has to speak out: up.
In this case the Defence said they were sure enough was being done.

But often we think it's not.
Because we're sure in Bolton in 1997, 1998 and (unless things change) 1999, it is a home of homophobia.

Unnecessary prosecutions. Insensitive policing. Abuse of process. In the case of Graham Cadman, abuse of vetting by Homophobic prejudice.
(Graham is considering the Ombudsman)
Stop it.
Let us see Bolton return to what used to be Bolton Virtues:
Level headedness: fair does: equality: live and let live:
Minimal prosecution under laws used with some noggin of common sense.

This piece is dedicated to the two jurors who refused to say "guilty" in the Bolton 7 case, and in remembrance of Albert, who on a charge from a Bolton court, while awaiting trial by a Bolton jury, died in custody - 20 October 1998 - CHE



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