Open Letter to the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Lord Chancellor

Open Letter to the Rt
Hon Elizabeth Truss MP,  Lord
Quis Custodiet
Ipsos Custodes ? 
The erosion of the rule of law throughout the United
Kingdom and the
Crown Dependencies
Dear Lord
I quote this passage from
your recent speech in Westminster Hall, on the opening of the legal
“Our common law system   
founded on that precious asset, the rule of law   
has been emulated for centuries by countless jurisdictions.  An immensely civilising influence on the
world, it has spread liberty, order and prosperity to billions.  We know, and the world knows, that our
law and our justice system are among the best.  Our judges, many of whom are here today,
are rightly celebrated for being independent, impartial and utterly
Again, at your swearing in
ceremony on 21 July, 2016, you spoke as follows:
“The fundamentals of
civilisation and liberty depend on the rule of law.  It is our safeguard against extremism,
oppression and dictatorship    Our law, English common law   
is at the heart of everything I believe in  … ”
Your respect for the common
law is encouraging.  However, your
apparent belief that it still holds sway in the United Kingdom gives me great
concern, as it reveals a startling ignorance of the actual state of affairs in
this country, where current practice falls far short of the admirable principles
which you have sworn to uphold.
I recently received a
letter from the Safeguarding Unit of the UK Home Office.  It comes in answer to many letters
regarding crimes against children which remain unprosecuted, owing to subversion
of the rule of law, and is effectively a polite
After the usual obligatory
declaration emphasising the Government’s abhorrence of child abuse, the
anonymous writer goes on to note my numerous fruitless attempts to arouse the
interest of my MP, and others, in instances of this crime which have taken
place, or are actually taking place, with the apparent approval of the police
and judiciary; points out that I have repeatedly been informed that Ministers
are unable to intervene in individual cases; refers me to the “Independent”
Inquiry which has already had the ‘misfortune’ to lose not only three
chairpersons but any confidence which abuse survivors might ever have had in a
set-up so closely intertwined with the Home Office itself; recommends the Unit’s
own “Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation” report; washes official hands of
anything occurring north of the border, despite the fact that Scotland remains
part of the UK; and protests that the Government can do nothing in the face of
widespread flouting of the basic principles of justice in secret family courts
which, as revealed even in the mainstream media, now remove children from their
families on the plea of possible emotional harm at some future date: a decision
frequently reached on the say-so of “experts” who have never met the persons
they so lucratively condemn.  The
nameless conveyor of all this useless information then concludes by appreciating
that I may be “disappointed” by this response.
Well, no, actually.  “Disappointed” does not describe the
feelings I experienced on reading this letter.  To feel “disappointed” would require
some hope of a more satisfactory outcome. 
But after years of beating my head against the brick wall of bureaucratic
obduracy, I no longer expect any better. 
What I am feeling is not “disappointment”.  It is frustration   
and incredulity that, in a country which claims to be under the rule of
law, the very institutions paid by the electorate to ensure that justice
prevails may freely undermine it, with no fear of either restraint or
I had better begin at the
I did not really believe in
the prevalence of child abuse. 
Perhaps just a bit, in families, especially where stepfathers were
concerned: but not in children’s homes, and definitely nothing involving The
Great And The Good or, indeed, women. 
All this stuff that hit the headlines of the tabloids from time to time,
and crept more decorously into the less populist media, was a storm in a
teacup.  Child abuse was a subject
that I, like most people, found distasteful; which was outside the everyday
experience of decent people; and which occurred so rarely as to be
Then, in January 2010, I
heard a talk by a man called Robert Green: a Welshman living in England, a
retired travel agent, and now an independent investigator, who had been
recruited to seek justice for a woman from Aberdeen, Hollie Greig.  And everything
Hollie, who has Down’s
Syndrome, claims    and her claims have been endorsed by the
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority to the tune of £13,500   
to have been sexually abused from the age of six until she was twenty:
first by her father, then by her brother, then by 20 other named individuals,
male and female, including the head of her special school; a forensics officer
with Grampian police; a sheriff (judge); and various other persons occupying
prominent or responsible places in Aberdeen society.  In addition, she states that seven other
children, whom she also names, were co-victims of the abuse.  Yet no proper police investigation   
no interrogation of the accused or alleged victims, no search for
corroborative evidence, no inspection of computers   
has ever taken place: indeed, as was testified in court by DC Lisa Evans
of Grampian Police (the local force since gobbled up by armed and nationalised
Police Scotland), not a single one of those accused by Hollie in a
three-and-a-half hour statement made on 8 September, 2009, was subsequently
questioned.  Robert heard every word
of that interview.  He describes the
experience as “the worst three-and-a-half hours of my
Some have questioned Hollie’s story.  I will not enter into that argument
here, but simply refer you to this website,, the FAQs being particularly instructive.  What cannot be denied, even by those who
refuse to examine the overwhelming evidence confirming Hollie’s testimony, is
the vicious campaign which was launched against Robert Green himself, when he
decided to stand as a parliamentary candidate for Aberdeen in the 2010 General
Election in order to publicise the case. 
Again, I will not go into details: suffice it to say that since February
2010 Robert has twice been subjected to cross-border raids by Scottish police,
during which computers and other valuable evidence were taken from his home
without inventory, and never returned (ie, stolen); repeatedly hauled up to
Scotland, at his own expense, to appear inconclusively before a variety of
courts; twice imprisoned north of the border for several months and, during his
second period of incarceration, denied medication for a historic heart
condition, to the point where his family and friends feared for his life;  kept for months on end under house
arrest, forced to report daily to his local police station in Warrington, and
unable to leave home for any length of time, even to take a brief holiday; and,
grotesquely, subjected to threats of repeated court action by the lawyers of
ex-Lord Advocate of Scotland, Elish Angiolini, who enjoyed public funding, while
he was refused legal aid.
I think any reasonable person would agree that “breach
of the peace”    the original ‘crime’ from which this
litany of persecution proceeded 
  hardly merits such a
concentrated and vindictive war of attrition: particularly when, even before his
second term of imprisonment, the cost to taxpayers had passed £500,000, as
detailed by the Scottish Law Reporter in this article from 2011:  Would the
authorities really think it worth forking out sums like these, at a time of
“austerity”, if they had nothing to hide? 
In Hollie’s and Robert’s cases, again and again, the rule of law has been
held in contempt: yet neither Westminster nor Holyrood appears to be interested
in reasserting it.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?  Who will
keep an eye on the guardians themselves ?
Thanks to the UK Column News ( I began to hear of other cases.  That, for instance, of Melanie Shaw:
abused by her family, and placed in foster care; abused by her foster parents,
and placed in Beechwood Children’s Home, Nottingham; raped within weeks of
arriving in the home, where she states that she also witnessed the rape, torture
and murder of other children, and saw Sunshine Variety Club minibuses taking
little boys to Dolphin Square for the enjoyment of MPs, under the aegis of a
local “big beast” of politics; falling into petty crime and drug abuse after
leaving the home; struggling, against the odds, to establish a normal life for
herself, but still dependent on medication to keep the memories of her nightmare
childhood at bay; somehow achieving twenty years of peaceful existence, then
losing her adored younger son and all her hard-won stability after plucking up
the courage to report what took place at Beechwood to the authorities, and
attempting to ensure that her evidence was followed up by the
Melanie’s reward for her
all-too-accurate memory has been remorseless persecution, including the loss of
her long-term home; repeated imprisonment; denial of the medication necessary to
keep her on an even keel; denial of treatment for a boil on her leg, which
resulted in her appearing on crutches when the initial case against her   
a highly questionable charge of arson   
finally reached court; and, most recently, four months on remand, around
half of it spent in solitary confinement, while awaiting yet another trial for
an offence whose precise nature is yet to be revealed.  She is not allowed to see her lay legal
advisor.  She has had a legal team
which she distrusts thrust upon her. 
Post from friends and supporters is withheld.  In short, she is being denied her lawful
rights, let alone the kid-glove approach required when dealing with a woman who
is particularly vulnerable to fear and harsh treatment, as a direct result of
crimes committed against her while in the ‘care’ of public institutions.  In Melanie’s case   
as with Hollie Greig, as with Robert Green   
the authorities are holding the law in
Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes ?
And then there is Carol Woods.  Carol is a social worker: the kind of
social worker we need, whose honesty and commitment to the good of those in her
care should be appreciated.  But
ever since she refused to falsify records in order to facilitate a forced
adoption, and subsequently compounded this offence by exposing a crooked land
deal which profited political bigwigs while throwing disturbed children out into
the community, she has been on the run. 
I understand that she holds documentary proof that her home was taken
from her by illegal methods, including impersonation and false representation in
court (ie, that it has been stolen, with the connivance of the judicial
authorities).  She has faced death
threats and actual attempts on her life. 
She has lost everything, including her family, for in order to protect
them she has been forced to break off contact with those she loves.  One of the few people prepared to help
her was Mike Todd, who, as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police,
listened to her story and was ready to follow it up. By some inscrutable
mischance, however, he “committed suicide” before he was able to make any
headway with the case.  Once again,
there is neither time nor space to go into details available elsewhere: for
instance, in this interview:  What is
clear, from Carol’s testimony, is that in her case, too, the rule of law is
being held in contempt by powerful people.
Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes ?
There are many other,
similar, cases where the police and justice system, abetted by the social
services, are busily engaged in overturning the very laws which they are
appointed to uphold.
Think of 
the Welsh children’s homes scandal, where, according to the testimony of
local council official Sîan Griffiths, 
a judge ordered photographs implicating a prominent person to be
Think of the rough treatment handed out on Jersey   
an island held fast in the grubby grip of The Crown, aka the City of
London    to honest police chiefs Graham Power and
Lenny Harper, ,
and to the island’s former health minister, Stuart Syvret,
, when they dug too deep into crimes against children,
including those committed at Haut de la Garenne  (a favourite haunt of Jimmy Savile’s,
and not unknown to Ted Heath).
Think of the endless stream of children seized from
loving parents, some of them at birth, on the pretext of “future emotional
harm”.  This has been reported
regularly by Christopher Booker for many years now, without the resultant
publicity eliciting any effective response:
.  The unlawfully stolen children
are offered for adoption, in order to meet well-paid government targets, or, if
they are less fortunate, put into care, to feed the “industrial-scale”
child-trading industry: for, as a courageous Met officer, at great risk to his
personal safety, reveals here,
, the care homes of the UK are “a paedophile’s
Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes ?
The latest case relating to
organised paedophilia and its protection by the establishment, at the expense of
the rule of law, is that of Janice and Brian Docherty, whose four children were
kidnapped by the Irish authorities at the instigation of Police Scotland after
Mr Docherty reported a man    now positively identified as Detective
Constable Alan Low    who offered them £25,000 for “access” to
their four-year-old autistic son.  
At the time the family were living in a cottage on the Crimonmogate,
Aberdeenshire, estate of Viscount Petersham, brother-in-law of Princess
Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley, and, on his own admission, a friend of DC
Soon after they lodged their complaint at Peterhead
police station, the Dochertys were subjected to threats, intimidation and
booby-traps.  When a fraudulent
concern report by Scottish social services alerted them to plans to put their
children into ‘care’, apparently in an attempt to silence them, they sought
temporary respite by taking a week’s holiday in Ireland, during which time they
wrote to the higher Scottish and UK authorities, informing them of the unlawful
attacks on their family by those lower down the chain of command, and asking for
help: but on the day before they were due to return home, they were subjected to
a raid by members of the Garda and Irish social workers, who, it later emerged,
had been swiftly recruited by their Scottish counterparts.   (The unresolved case of Mary
Boyle’s disappearance from a remote farm in Donegal, in 1977, suggests that the
Irish establishment, like that of the UK, is particularly amenable to corruption
in cases involving child abuse: see Gemma O’Doherty’s video, here
The children were taken
into custody, allegedly on orders from Interpol (which Interpol has subsequently
denied, in writing), and the parents were hauled before an Irish court.  Fortunately, in this first instance an
honest judge ordered the children to be returned at once, declaring the evidence
against Brian and Janice which had been forwarded by Police Scotland to be
without merit, and stating specifically that it should not be used to pursue
them further at any future date.  Unfortunately, Police Scotland and their
collaborators in the Republic refused to take no for an answer, and the
terrorisation of the family continued, culminating in the violent kidnapping of
the children by eight social workers and four gardaí, two of them armed, a few
days before Christmas, 2015    the elder girl, then 13, protesting that
her human rights were being violated, as she was frog-marched down the stairs by
a hefty male officer, one arm twisted behind her back.  Since then, despite repeated pleas for
help to the UK authorities and their representatives in the Republic, habeas
corpus has been denied, with state custody being renewed again and again through
the vehicle of interim orders: and more than nine months later (at time of
writing) those children     British subjects, dragged under
protest from a close-knit and loving family     remain in separate foster homes,
while their parents, who have been declared robustly sane by an independent
psychologist, face dogged attempts to section them, in the fashion of the old
Appeals to the Scottish and UK governments for
assistance, in the face of collusion between the nationalised Scottish police
force and the Irish authorities 
  appeals which draw
attention to the illegitimacy of the “concern report” which set the wheels of
state persecution rolling    continue to be rejected with the usual
“We cannot intervene in individual cases”.   Yet how can the separation of
powers be offered as an excuse, when the Dochertys have never, ever, been accused of any
and the judicial arm of the State has no lawful grounds whatsoever for
interfering in their lives ?  When the guardian ad litem appointed by
the Irish court declares them to be exemplary parents ?  When not a scrap of credible evidence
against them has ever been produced, in or out of court ?  Again, it is impossible to fill in all
the details here.  A full five-hour
interview with the Dochertys themselves, plus a full transcript with detailed
notes, photographs, and additional information, is online at, and deserves to be distributed as widely as
possible.  These law-abiding people
and their children will remain in danger until the UK authorities, north and
south of the border, who are either driving or condoning the campaign against
them bow to public pressure.
Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes ?
The point I am making is
this: in every one of the cases quoted above, any reasonable person can see that
basic assumptions of the rule of law are being flouted with impunity by state
officials: the assumption that when a crime is reported it will be thoroughly
investigated; the assumption of innocence until proved guilty; the option of
trial in a properly-constituted court before a jury of one’s peers;  the requirement that detention by the
authorities be supported by correctly authorised warrants and court documents;
the requirement that justice should not only be done, but be seen to be done; the assumption that
those accused will be told of the charges and evidence against them, and that
they will be allowed to choose their own representation in court; access to
legal aid for all, in accordance with equality of arms and Magna Carta’s promise
that justice will not be sold, delayed or denied; above all, the safeguard of
habeas corpus, and that jewel in the crown of the Common Law, and ultimate
protection against legalised tyranny, the possibility of nullification by jury,
whereby not only the accused, but the law itself, is on trial in every case
which is brought before a properly constituted, open court.
Yet when I contact my MP,
in pursuit of justice for those who are finding these basic assumptions under
attack from the very institutions paid to uphold them, his lame excuse is that
he is unable to intervene in specific cases, or that his constituents are not
involved and it would be bad form to encroach upon the preserves of another
Member.   Apparently it is
beyond him to identify the unifying thread that runs through all these cases,
and to recognise the danger posed to constitutional government itself by state
apparatchiks, armed with protocols and regulations, who place themselves above
the law, with the compliance, indeed, the active support, of police and
judiciary.  So he shuffles off his
personal responsibility to ensure that the rule of law is maintained, perhaps by
agreeing a discreetly-worded non-reply to my letter with his party leader,
perhaps by passing my complaints on to the Home Secretary, who, with a brief
acknowledgment, forwards them to some other State agency, which either furnishes
me with a list of addresses to which I may send further fruitless appeals, or
comes up with a slick bureaucratic excuse to slam the door in my face (always,
of course, regretting the “disappointment” involved).
The fact is that, whatever
the original intention, an elaborate network of administrative and regulatory
bodies now serves to derail or prevent due process and undermine the rule of law
throughout the UK.  No wonder I give
a hollow laugh when I am thanked yet again for contacting this or that Minister,
only to be fobbed off with some glib evasive tactic, or waved on to this or that
department.  I have a sheaf of
letters accumulated over the past six years, many of them with identical
wording, assuring me again and again of the government’s commitment to dealing
with child abuse without fear or favour, but again and again “disappointing” me
with some ‘reason’ which makes it impossible either to answer my questions or,
crucially, to offer immediate relief to those enduring real-time persecution by
officialdom, without due process.
We are trapped in a
bureaucratic labyrinth, where every turn brings us slap up against a locked
door: data protection, perhaps; or non-intervention in individual cases; or MP
protocol; or defamation; or restricted access to information; even, when the
official concerned has been well and truly cornered, the excuse that following
the issue up would be likely to bring the government into disrepute, if not
down.  Variations on the theme are
endless, but, roughly translated, they all add up to, “Go away, and leave us to
trample on the law in peace.”  As
for the official Inquiries currently on offer, Melanie Shaw and Carol Woods will
have joined the ranks of the “Disappeared”, and the Dochertys be safely locked
away and forgotten in some Irish mental institution, before either the UK or the
Scottish version reaches any conclusions about the past, let alone comes to the
aid of those actually suffering, at this very moment, “the insolence of office”
and “the law’s delay”.  The guards,
left unsupervised to keep an eye out for the ‘public interest’ (ie, the interest
of influential public figures, and their own advantage), are being allowed to
run amok.
How has it come to this
?  How is it that a country which
has been accustomed to boast of its unparalleled justice system, and which only
last year was smugly celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, has
abandoned the first principles of right and wrong in its dealings with so many
of its citizens ?  Is there really
no provision which would compel the guards themselves to bow before the rule of
law ?  A master key, which would
unlock the doors of the labyrinth ?
Well, yes, there is.  It’s just that it’s rusty, and the locks
need oiling.
The key is representative
“But the UK already has a
representative government,” you say.
Well, once again, yes.  But who precisely does that
representative government represent ?   Certainly not those who elected
it.   Rather, it represents the
powerful backers of the party hierarchies, who control not only the selection of
candidates and leaders, but votes in the House.
The whipping system, in
particular, is a major contributory factor in the present corruption of the rule
of law.  Just listen, for instance,
to what Tim Fortescue, a Conservative whip in the Heath government, has to say
on the subject:
“Anyone with any sense who was in trouble would come to
the whips and tell them the truth: ‘I’m in a jam, can you help ?’  It might be debt.  It might be scandal involving small
boys.  Any kind of scandal which a
Member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could
help.  And we would do everything we
can, because we would store up Brownie points.  That sounds a pretty nasty reason, but
it’s one reason, because if we could get a chap out of trouble then he will do
as we ask for ever more.”
 (You can hear these words from the
horse’s mouth here:
Two things stand out from
Mr Fortescue’s obligingly candid admission.
Firstly, political parties consider criminal behaviour
on the part of their MPs less shameful than the bad publicity which would ensue,
should their wrongdoing hit the headlines. This is corroborated in the interview
with the Met officer in the link already quoted in relation to police cover-ups
(, when he reports former UK Police and Crime Minister,
Mike Penning, as saying,
“What concerns me most about all this is the public
perception, when this gets out.”
Secondly, Mr Fortescue
considers that concealment of the odd peccadillo, including actual crimes
against “small boys”,  is a jolly
good idea, since it strengthens something which, for him and his masters, is far
more important than the rule of law: the hold of party and government over
potentially free-thinking subordinates and
Are we to suppose that
others do not share Mr Fortescue’s priorities ?  Is it unreasonable to assume a similar
undermining of the rule of law by other whips, in other administrations ?   And would it be taking things too
far to suspect that this corruption, filtering steadily down from the top, has
sunk deep into the quagmire of institutions and quangos answering to such
corrupt governments    and, indeed, into any ‘charities’ which
have become dependent on government support ?
I think
The end result of
systematically covering up breaches of the law, while doling out honours and
subsidies for political advantage, must be an endless stream of captive pawns
who put their own survival above the honest administration of the realm, and who
are ever open to manipulation by those, either at home or abroad, who hold
reputations and bank accounts in the palm of their hands.  How can ‘representatives’ who owe their
continuing prominence, position and wealth 
  in some cases, indeed,
their very freedom and financial solvency 
  to such
all-too-provisional protection from above, be expected to risk their necks in
order to secure justice for the victims of abuse   
or of any other crimes, for that matter ?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes ?  At
present, nobody, it seems: certainly not our MPs, many of them, no doubt,
compromised; some of them, perhaps, even selected specifically because they are
known to be open to blackmail, and can therefore be relied upon to toe the party
But even ignoring the
possibility of widespread corruption, the growing fashion for referring to MPs
as “law makers” is an indication of the present parlous state of legitimate
government in the United Kingdom, which has been rightly described as an
elective dictatorship.  Our
representatives appear to have no grasp of the part played in our constitution
by the Common Law.  They no longer understand that the most basic
requirement of their job is not to bewilder and subdue the electorate by
churning out a plethora of superfluous statutes   
producing, as a by-product, a regulatory morass which blurs the edges of
morality, erodes shared values, and enables the courts themselves to pervert the
course of justice     but to ensure that laws which have
been tried and tested by juries through the ages, and which have therefore been
shown to have the whole-hearted consent of the population, are held in respect
and maintained in the face of all attempts to undermine
Hollie Greig, Robert Green,
Melanie Shaw, Carol Woods, and a host of others, up to and including the
Dochertys, have repeatedly appealed to their representatives, asking them to do
their duty and uphold the fundamental provisions of the Common Law, which, far
more effectively than currently modish ‘rights’   
a sop thrown by the State, and subject to arbitrary removal at the
State’s convenience    prevent the wealthy and powerful from
imposing their will upon the rest of us.  These repeated appeals have, to
all intents and purposes, fallen upon deaf ears.
The inevitable conclusion,
Lord Chancellor, is that the United Kingdom is not the country you believe it to
be.   All too often it is
displaying what Lord Bingham describes, in the words which you quoted in your
swearing-in ceremony, as “the hallmarks of a regime which flouts the rule of
law    the midnight knock on the door, the
sudden disappearance, the show trial”. 
I believe the usual term for such a country is a police
As a prominent custodian of
the custodes, and in view of your
public commitment on 21 July to “respect and defend the rule of law”, I trust
that you will take the time to investigate the many abuses currently being
inflicted upon law-abiding people in the name of “justice”; recognise that this
country has drifted far from the ideal state so rosily depicted in your recent
speech; and set about ensuring that the traditional safeguards which you admire
so much are reinstated and respected not only by yourself, but by government
ministers, MPs, and all other representatives and servants of the
I would be grateful for
confirmation that you yourself have read this letter, which expresses not merely
my own views, but those of numerous, equally disillusioned, British
Gillian Swanson  MA Oxon

6 October,

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