Harriet Harman slams “smear campaign” agains here in PIE case
Their view that children were not harmed by having sex with adults appears to have been adopted by those at the top of the civil liberties group.
Today we publish extracts from an NCCL report written for the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976 when Mrs Hewitt was general secretary.
It says: “Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence. As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose an overlap of two years on either side of 14.
“Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage.
“The Criminal Law Commission should be prepared to accept the evidence from follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’.
“The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.
“The present legal penalties are too high and reinforce the misinformation and prejudice. The duty of the court should be to inquire into all the relevant circumstances with the intention, not of meting out severe punishment, but of determining the best solution in the interests of both child and paedophile.”
Mrs Hewitt, 65, was general secretary between 1974 and 1983. After days of intense pressure, the former Labour MP for Leicester West finally admitted last week the NCCL was “naive and wrong” over its ties to PIE.
Patricia Hewitt described the NCCL as ‘Naive and WRONG’
Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence
“As the NCCL archives demonstrate, I consistently distinguished between consenting relationships between homosexual men, on the one hand, and the abuse of children on the other.
“When Jack Dromey, as NCCL chairman in 1976, vigorously opposed PIE at the NCCL AGM, he did so with the full support of the executive committee and myself as general secretary.”
However Labour MP Dromey’s opposition to PIE has been questioned by its former chairman, convicted paedophile Tom O’Carroll, who claims he felt “welcome” at NCCL meetings where he sat on the gay rights sub-committee.
Mr O’Carroll said: “While they did not like PIE and did nothing to support our objectives, they were afraid of appearing insufficiently ‘right on’.
“Consequently they were nothing like as strenuous and public in their efforts to distance themselves from PIE as they are now claiming.
“Dromey is quoted as saying ‘I was at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views’. That’s news to me. Maybe by ‘public’ he meant imprecations muttered to cronies at his local pub.”
Dromey’s wife Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, was legal officer at the NCCL between 1978 and 1982. She has expressed her “regret” over the NCCL’s involvement with PIE but has pointedly declined to apologise.