Sunday, 4 October 2015

6th Oct Panorama - Platform for a crook?


BBC platform for crook?

When you asked me to participate in the programme, currently scheduled for broadcast on Tuesday 6 October, I asked you, ‘what is it about’? You replied, Chris Fay. I asked you, ‘Do you want to give a convicted fraudster license to print money?’

I have refused to take part in the programme, despite increasingly intrusive efforts to encourage me to do so.

And I ask you the question again. Because what I mean by a ‘license to print money’ is this. Chris Fay will capitalise on BBC criticism, garner support, acquire kudos, and he will moneterise notoriety.

You will provide a platform to a convicted criminal.  

In the course of doing so you will risk distracting from the important business at hand: the full and proper investigation into institutional abuse of children. I have to consider if this is the intention?

I ask you to cancel this ill considered, poorly motivated broadcast.

I would be most grateful if you could forward a copy of your programme to me at your earliest convenience. I have written to the Press Complaints Commission because I have considerable concerns about the programme.

1.     Reputational risk
You will be aware of the damage you are trying to do to the good name of the National Association of Young People in Care (NAYPIC), the organisation that supported and represented the interests of young people in, or leaving, care. The purpose of NAYPIC was to provide advice about further education, housing and benefits, signposting services, and information and resources to young people. The organisation championed the rights of those who had, through no fault of their own, left or been removed from their families and had been, or were currently, in local authority care.  

I was the last chair of the National Association of Young People in Care and continue to act as chair with the support of members of the management committee. Although the Association is not active, its reputation as a leading organisation, providing a voice to young people who have experienced the care system, is important to both myself, staff, funders and committee members, and most importantly those who have known the organisation as a credible and valuable source of advice, information and support.

It is for reasons of reputational risk, and to ensure the safeguarding of service users, I discharged Christopher Fay from his voluntary role in 1991. Mr Fay had attended our offices in a voluntary capacity for a very short period of time.

I would ask the BBC to cease and desist from referring to the National Association of Young People in Care in your show. I would ask you to also cease and desist from mentioning Christopher Fay in the context of NAYPIC an organisation with which he volunteered for only a short period. Mr Fay never represented the organisation and is certainly not its spokesperson. He merely assisted in some analytical, statistical research.

2.     Right to privacy
Following reports in newspapers last week, I was photographed in the street, while going about my business a little way from my home. The photographers were using professional camera equipment. The reasons for wanting to take photographs of me are not known. These individuals may have been staff press photographers or ‘chancers’ intending to sell a picture to the press. More worryingly, they may be violent thugs working for one or other of the many factions involved in child abuse; those commissioning child abuse, protecting perpetrators or carrying out attacks on victims, and witnesses who speak out or come forward to cooperate with police investigations. You have brought trouble to my door and whether or not this is deliberate, you have become complicit in this risk to my privacy, at the very least, and possibly my safety.

3.     ********’s vulnerability
I have recently been in regular contact with ********, a former client, who has indicated to me in our discussions that he never wanted to participate in your programme. ******** is a former service user and a sensitive and kind man. He is also, however, very vulnerable and I am extremely concerned about the impact the broadcast of your programme may have on his emotional wellbeing.

4.     I am perfectly sure you are aware of my complaints, have seen my blog and referred to my Twitter account where I discuss what I believe could be described as your harassment of ******** – your numerous phone calls to him, frequent visits to his home (all paid for by the licence payer) in your pursuit of a ‘story’. ******** is under police surveillance, the police say, for his own protection, and that they have put CCTV cameras in his house.

******** also told me that you and/or members of the BBC production team, asked him to come to my house wired, with a microphone, to talk to me, posing as a friend, to ask me questions related to your research, and to record our conversation. It was following this conversation with ******** that I sought advice from a lawyer, a senior media solicitor.

If it is the case that Mr Fay has received money, or remuneration in kind, for his participation in your programme, and/or in relation to the story of ********, I would remind you that I have not spoken to, written to or heard from Mr Fay in 25 years, that he acts for and on behalf of his own monetary or political interests.

5.     Prejudice to ongoing investigations

I am concerned that your programme, and what appear to be rather odd agendas, ethics and judgements, could prejudice ongoing enquiries and investigations. There is a danger your programme will undermine the possibility of justice for those whose lives have been impacted by, in some cases irreparably damaged by, child abuse.

As with the Dame Janet Smith Review into the BBC, that has been delayed as it may prejudice a live investigation, I would suggest the programme should be delayed while investigations continue, criminal cases are heard, and that those referred to, or alluded to, in your report receive a right of reply. 

Abuse witnesses/allegations:
Elm Guest House. This is a case I became familiar with after Carol Cazier asked NAYPIC to provide support to her children in care. Subsequently I gave evidence at a coroner’s hearing into her death.  I mentioned Leon Brittan at that hearing as a guest of Elm Guest House because Carol Cazier told me that he had been a visitor. This is shown in the coroner court transcripts and court and other reports that appeared in a number of newspapers. Chris Fay appears to be ‘claiming credit’ for exposing Leon Brittan. I simply gave evidence in court, while being questioned about the suspicious events surrounding the death of a Carol who had sought NAYIC’s support for her children, who she felt had been wrongly taken into care. This was one of hundreds of cases that I managed that year. And whether allegations concerned a public figure or an unknown abuser, this made no difference, as far as I was concerned.

As you know I put Mr Fay’s notes on the internet as my own had been taken in a raid on the offices of the National Association of Young People in Care in 1993. During that raid, clients’ files were removed. I returned to the office during the raid and recovered a number of files. As you know I was raided again more recently, on this occasion by police in 2012, shortly after Tom Watson made his House of Commons announcement about VIPs.

********’s case
His case is still being investigated and there is a risk to his chances of securing a safe conviction in a case that involves how care authorities failed in their duty of care, and put him in danger, resulting in ******** experiencing extremely traumatic events.  If you are concerned, as I am that ******** is being used, or coached, then please take the matter to the police.

6.     Separate issues

a.     Chris Fay is a crook.

b.     There are those involved in these matters who could be described as star-struck opportunists.

c.     There has been abuse of children at a very senior level.

d.     There are many who have been seriously abused in institutions.

e.     ******** is a vulnerable person who is trying to secure justice.

I would urge you to consider how you may have confused these issues.


Mary Moss

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