Brother of child abuse inquiry judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss was accused of ‘cover up’
Late brother of Baroness Butler-Sloss, judge in charge of Westminster child abuse inquiry, was attorney general who refused to prosecute paedophile spy
“Why they wouldn’t have spotted that, or think that’s an issue, raises serious questions. It’s far too Establishment – and the Government need to think again.”
Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at law firm Leigh Day who represents alleged victims of abuse at institutions related to the forthcoming inquiry, said the appointment should be “reconsidered” so alleged victims can have faith in the inquiry.
“To enable them to be able to believe in the findings of this inquiry and for it to be seen, in their eyes, as a safe environment in which to talk about their experiences, there can be no shadows of doubt cast by links to allegations of an establishment cover-up.
“Whilst Lady Butler-Sloss is a person of enormous integrity the concern really is that she is just too close to the establishment and in particular concern over her her family connection to Sir Michael Havers.”
Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons Health Select Committee, said she did not doubt the peer’s integrity but it was “hard to see why Baroness Butler-Sloss would want to accept a role so many regard as conflicted at the outset”.
Baroness Butler-Sloss told the BBC she was unaware of her brother’s link to the controversy and said she will not resign.
“I know absolutely nothing about it,” she said. “If people think I am not suitable, then that’s up to them.”
Sir Peter Hayman was the deputy under secretary of state at the Foreign Office, and was reputed to be a senior officer in MI6, the foreign intelligence service.
He was a subscriber to the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a network which lobbied for the lowering of the age of consent. In 1978, he was caught sending and receiving obscene literature through the post after a package was found on a London bus.
When police raided his Bayswater flat, used to conduct obscene correspondence, they found 45 diaries describing sexual fantasies concerning children and activities with prostitutes.
Seven men and two women, including Hayman, were named as possible defendants in a report submitted by the Metropolitan Police to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
However, only one of the group was prosecuted after police found they had an “obsession” with sadistic sexual activity involving children.
Three years later, in the House of Commons, Geoffery Dickens, the MP who had campaigned against child abuse, used Parliamentary privilege to name Hayman. He feared an establishment cover-up like that which surrounded the Cambridge spy ring.
He asked Sir Michael Havers – then the Attorney General – if he “will prosecute Sir Peter Hayman.. for sending and receiving pornographic material through the Royal Mail.”
In a written answer, Sir Michael said he agreed with the DPP not to prosecute Hayman or the other members of the obscene correspondence ring.
There was “no evidence” that the diplomat had sent or received “extreme” material, Sir Michael said. The obscene correspondence “had been contained in sealed envelopes passing between adult individuals in a non-commercial context”, he added.
Sir Michael added: “Although Sir Peter Hayman had subscribed to PIE, that is not an offence and there is no evidence that he was ever involved in the management.”
In evidence that Sir Peter was “treated differently” by the authorities, it was reported at the time at the committal proceedings that he was referred to in court by the cover-name ‘Henderson’.
However, in subsequent questioning in the Commons, Sir Michael insisted: “No special treatment was afforded to Sir Peter Hayman and no steps were authorised or taken to protect his identity.”
“There was, so far as the Director of Public Prosecutions is aware, no evidence whatsoever of Sir Peter Hayman having received or sent by post any obscene photograph of a child or young person or of his having taken such photographs.”
He added: “The mere possession of obscene material whether relating to children or adults is not in itself a criminal offence.”
Sir Michael Havers is reported to have argued with Dickens outside the Commons chamber before the disclosure of Hayman’s name.
Mr Dickens said afterwards that Sir Michael’s response was a “white-wash” and the “cover-up of the century”.
Four years later, he claimed he had suffered harassment after naming Hayman, including burglaries at his home and appearing on a killer’s hit-list.
He said of Hayman: “I have had to consider a gentleman with a very distinguished career for which he was many times honoured, and his family.
“But I have also to consider the parents whose children are procured, sometimes for a bag of sweets, to perform sexual acts and pose for sexual photographs.” Hayman was later convicted of gross indecency in a public toilet, and died in 1992.
Sir Michael Havers sat in the Thatcher Cabinet alongside Lord Brittan, who has admitted as Home Secretary he received the now “lost” Dickens dossier into allegations of an establishment paedophile ring.
This morning John Mann, the Labour MP, said it is “very likely” that copies of the Dickens dossier are still held in Government departments. It is “not credible” that they have all been destroyed.
“What I’ve uncovered is that there were multiple copies, that they were circulated across Government, across departments and everyone who was given a copy had to sign the Official Secrets Act. That’s why people have been unable to come forward and say anything about it publicly,” he told Good Morning Britain.