Geoffrey Dickens raised ‘security implications’ of PIE ‘diplomat’ with Sir Michael Havers
Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens caused consternation by using parliamentary privilege in 1981 to link “diplomat” Sir Peter Hayman to the Paedophile Information Exchange.
PIE was notorious as the organisation that campaigned for and encouraged adults to be able to have sex with children.
Three years earlier, Hayman reportedly left a package of “obscene literature” on a London bus. It was addressed to him under an assumed name, “Peter Henderson”, at a rented flat in Notting Hill, central London.
Hayman was living with his wife of 36 years in Oxfordshire, but he used the London flat as a contact point for his membership of PIE.
“There appears to be a clear violation of the doctrine of equality before the law”
– Jeffrey Thomas, Labour MP
The package is said to have been handed in to Scotland Yard, and officers from the obscene publications squad raided the flat.
The police found 45 volumes of obscene diaries at Hayman’s flat in which he described sexual experiences and paedophile fantasies.
In addition, officers found a large amount of correspondence with other PIE members, in which they shared their desires and images of child sex abuse. Hayman was listed in PIE’s membership list as “Henderson Peter No. 330”.
Police discovered that he was a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which promoted sex with children. Officers also raided the homes of several PIE members. This resulted in the prosecution of Tom O’Carroll, PIE’s chairman, and four other member of the organisation’s executive committee in 1981 at the Old Bailey, formally known as the “Central Criminal Court”.
O’Carroll was jailed for two years after being found guilty of conspiring to corrupt public morals.
Private Eye revealed, however, that one PIE figure had escaped prosecution – Hayman. Moreover, references to him during the trial were to his assumed name.
Dickens, the late Conservative MP, sniffed a cover-up. He named Hayman in connection with the case in two parliamentary questions in March 1981.
The two parliamentary questions about Hayman, and the answers, are reproduced below:
Geoffrey Dickens (Conservative): “Asked the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster if he would move to set up a select committee to investigate the security implications of the entries contained within the volumes of Sir Peter Hayman’s diaries referred to in the trial of Tom O’Carroll at the Old Bailey.”
Francis Pym (Conservative, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster): “No.”
Geoffrey Dickens (Conservative): “Asked the attorney general if he would prosecute Sir Peter Hayman under the Post Office Acts for sending and receiving pornographic material through the Royal Mail.”
Sir Michael Havers, (Conservative, attorney general): “In 1978, a packet containing obscene literature and written material was found in a London bus. The subsequent police investigation revealed a correspondence of an obscene nature between Sir Peter Hayman and a number of other persons. Altogether, a total of seven men and two women were named as possible defendants in the report submitted by the Metropolitan Police to the director of public prosecutions.
“The director advised against prosecuting any of the nine persons either under section 11 of the Post Office Act 1953 or for any other offence. Among the considerations that he took into account were the factors that the correspondence had been contained in sealed envelopes passing between adult individuals in a non-commercial context and that none of the material was unsolicited.
“Subsequently, the Metropolitan Police submitted a further report, which revealed that one of the nine, not Sir Peter Hayman, was also carrying on a correspondence with a tenth person. The police investigation showed that the two shared an obsession about the systematic killing by sexual torture of young people and children. In view of the extreme nature of the material they had sent each other, the director of public prosecutions decided to prosecute them for conspiring to contravene section 11 of the 1953 act. There is no evidence that Sir Peter Hayman has ever sent or received material of this kind through the post.
“It has been suggested that Sir Peter Hayman was considered as a possible defendant following the police investigation into the conduct of the Paedophile Information Exchange which led to the recent trial at the Central Criminal Court for conspiracy to corrupt public morals. That prosecution was against persons alleged to have been involved in the management or organisation of PIE. 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. At the recent trial, while there were general references to members of PIE, including, though not by name, Sir Peter Hayman, there was no reference to any material produced by him or found in his possession.
“I am in agreement with the director of public prosecutions’ advice not to prosecute Sir Peter Hayman and the other persons with whom he had carried on an obscene correspondence.
“The director of public prosecutions and I remain determined that, where the evidence justifies it, prosecutions will be brought in cases involving sexual acts with children or offences under the Protection of Children Act 1978 – indecent photographs of children.”
The Press, like Dickens, sensed a cover-up. The role of the attorney general came under particular scrutiny. He was then Sir Michael, later Lord, Havers, the late brother of the first chairwoman, Baroness Butler-Sloss, who was appointed to head the overarching inquiry into child sex abuse.
A month after the parliamentary questions, the issue over Hayman was raised in the House of Commons again. Havers defended the decision not to prosecute Hayman. The exchanges are reproduced below:
Christopher Price (Labour): “Asked the attorney general if he would introduce legislation to define the circumstances in which anonymity may be granted to witnesses or potential witnesses before the courts.”
Sir Michael Havers, (Conservative, attorney general): “No, sir. The general rule is that a witness must be identified, but statutory provision already exists to protect the identity of witnesses in rape cases and cases concerning children and young persons. A court has the discretion, which is rarely exercised, to allow witnesses to give their evidence without their names being made public in other exceptional circumstances – for example, in blackmail cases. This discretion, which provides both flexibility and sufficient safeguard in the interests of justice, will be made statutory by clause 10 of the Contempt of Court Bill now before the House.
Price: “That is, of course, if that bill goes through.
“Without going into the merits of the Hollis case and whether MI5 is capable of finding spies, I should like to ask the right hon. and learned gentleman whether he does not think that the one issue in the Hayman case that has not been cleared up is why one particular witness in that case was allowed – when in all other respects he was on all fours with every other witness – not to have his proper name–
Arthur Lewis (Labour): “He wore the old school tie.”
Price: “– disclosed to the court? Is there a rule that ensures that senior civil servants are given preference in this matter?”
Havers: “There is no such rule, and the honourable gentleman does not have his information right.
“The crux of the case against O’Carroll and others, all of whom were members of the executive committee of Paedophile Information Exchange, was that they were encouraging criminal offences by publishing ‘contact’ advertisements. Sir Peter Hayman was never a member of the executive committee, and was therefore not made a defendant in that trial. To obtain the necessary evidence of the purpose of the contact advertisements, Treasury counsel advised that witness statements should be taken from a number of persons who had advertised. Of those who, as a result of this advice, made witness statements, three– two of whom subsequently gave evidence at the committal proceedings, had been among the eight persons who were named as possible defendants along with Sir Peter Hayman in the first report referred to in my answer to my honourable friend the member for Huddersfield, West (Geoffrey Dickens) – [March 19, 1981]. Treasury counsel had not included the name of Sir Peter Hayman as a potential witness because there was no evidence to suggest that he had ever been an advertiser or that he had attempted to obtain access to children so as to commit offences against them through his membership of PIE or otherwise.
“At the committal proceedings, Hayman was referred to by a number of witnesses under the name of Henderson because that was the only name by which they knew him. No mention was made of him at the trial of O’Carroll under his true or assumed name, although counsel for the defence were aware of his true name and could have adduced this in evidence if they had considered it to be relevant.”
Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Conservative): “Since sending obscene material through the post, even without financial gain, is a statutory offence, are not my right honourable and learned friend and the director of public prosecutions perilously close to following the precedent set by King James II, who used prerogative action to dispense with laws with which he disagreed rather than asking Parliament to change them?”
Havers: “If my honourable friend believes that every time there is evidence of a criminal offence the person concerned should be prosecuted, he should look at the records over the past few years. In fact, in this case two others were charged in respect of much more horrifying material, and the court in its wisdom granted them each a conditional discharge.”
Jeffrey Thomas (Labour): “Does not the attorney general agree that the case raised by my honourable friend the member for Lewisham, West (Christopher Price) does not lie easily within the parameters that the right honourable and learned gentleman indicated a moment or two ago? Does not he agree that there is widespread disquiet and that the matter of chief public concern is that there appears to be a clear violation of the doctrine of equality before the law? Can he say whether others have been shielded in this way, and, if so, who and in what circumstances?”
Havers: “I regret that the detailed answer that I gave to the first supplementary question does not seem to have been absorbed by the honourable and learned gentleman. There is no question of Sir Peter Hayman or any of the other eight concerned in the ring with him being given special treatment. What happened was that when it was necessary to consider whether those contact advertisements were having any effect. Some of those who had advertised were called as witnesses. Sir Peter Hayman had not been an advertiser; he had not used the contact side of the magazine.”
Last Wednesday, an abuse survivor known as “Nick” gave an anonymous video interview in which he talked about how MPs and other VIPs such as Hayman sexually assaulted and raped boys at Dolphin Square, the block of luxury apartments near Parliament where many MPs have their London flats.
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