Operation Midland has come to an end. The Metropolitan Police have announced they will proceed no further. Unfortunately, that still leaves many questions to be asked about the police’s behaviour in this affair. A sensational story, promoted by the Exaro news site, it threatened to reveal the truth about a ‘VIP sex ring’ that never was, but in reality promised what it could not deliver. The barrister Matthew Scott has written an excoriating article on some of the defiencies inherent in the investigation. Harvey Proctor, one of the accused, had his life turned upside down by the ridiculous claims levelled against him. And somehow, in the midst of them, the location of his home was leaked to the press whilst he was under suspicion of having committed some of the worst crimes imaginable. It’s no wonder he is now calling for a full inquiry into the investigation itself.
Mr Proctor is, rightly, particularly concerned about the leaking of details of the raid on his house to Exaro. Any inquiry, secret or otherwise, needs to establish who leaked that information because it was only after this that Mr Proctor’s name (though readily guessable from the information previously published by Exaro) was made public. The Met says that they did not name him (or indeed Lord Bramall or Leon Brittan who were named at the same time), but what steps have they taken to discover who did? At present the leak seems to be treated as an unfortunate but inevitable fact of life, like a leaking urinal in a police washroom, instead of as a disgraceful and gross calumny on innocent people. The result was that Mr Proctor had to leave his home, leave his job and – not entirely unsurprisingly – decided to leave the country. Poor Lady Bramall died knowing who knows what. And of course Leon Brittan, also implicated in the investigation, died whilst still publicly branded a suspect.
Mr Proctor wants both “Nick” and Exaro prosecuted for perverting the course of justice. Whether or not such a prosecution is brought it is essential that Mr Proctor’s call for an independent inquiry is heeded.
It is entirely possible that ‘Nick’ – probably the most important witness at the heart of the case – has received therapeutic treatment that has led him to make these accusations.
And then there are the therapists. Nick has spoken of having had years of “counselling”. It is not unheard of for some forms of psychotherapy to generate entirely false memories. If Nick’s stories have come about as a result of this counselling or therapy then the sooner his counsellors are investigated and, if guilty of professional or even criminal misconduct named, the better for everyone. Who knows whether other people – perhaps less well-known and less able to defend themselves than Mr Proctor – have been implicated as a result of their practices.
Is this a question of false memory, malicious accusation, or just bad therapeutic treatment? An independent inquiry would help to establish what exactly has occurred. Whichever way it turns out to be, Operation Midland has been an absolute shambles.
To read more of Matthews Scott’s blog post ‘Operation Midland: a miserable end to a miserable affair’, please click here