Sunday, 16 May 2010


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"VERBALS" EDITION 2 - published March 1978 -
see below for explanation.

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Excerpt from VERBALS at page seven - at 2nd para down it briefly describes
NEVILLE SANDELSON's Old Bailey cat-calling episode.

Prosecuting Barrister and LABOUR / SDP M.P. - NEVILLE SANDELSON.
Stand well back in case he loses his cool.

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Barrister who intervened in Courtroon fracas last week.
The above quite unconnected EVENING STANDARD report (of 14 May) has triggered a kindred 1977 memory and as this blogger was the mid-1970's victim of the OLD BAILEY "bewigged abuser" Neville Sandelson I've decided to produce this commemorative blogspot.
Old fogey Sandelson (then aged 54) is dead now so he's unlikely to repeat his unruly somewhat unique OLD BAILEY leading prosecution counsel courtroom antics. At the time he was also the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington. In 1981 he defecated to the then newly malformed SDP.
So what were the why's n wherefores of this unruly very very rare OLD BAILEY style bewigged harange.
The 'Seventies were a period in which the Criminal Justice System and especially the misuse by the police, Courts and prosecuting authorities of evidence of identification came in for extreme scrutiny and political criticism by highly motivated campaigning organisations. The issues became extremely touchy politically. Organisations which overlapped in highlighting the shortcomings of the policing, Criminal Justice and the Prison systems made it very plain indeed to those in power that something needed to be done and that the campaigns were not going to go away.
The publication VERBALS (reproduced above) was produced by JUSTICE AGAINST THE IDENTIFICATION LAWS (JAIL). This organisation itself had been spawned by activists and other interests at the heart of radical Prison Reform groups and additonally there'd been prosecutions against PETER HAIN for BANK ROBBERY (1976) and EAST ENDER GEORGE DAVIS for ARMED ROBBERY (1974) - cases in which unreliable IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE featured and fed the fight back incredibly. Hence the formation of the organisation JAIL. Even the defence campaigns organised around those accused of ANGRY BRIGADE participation significantly focussed political fight back campaigns on policing and the criminal justice system - especially through the UP AGAINST THE LAW COLECTIVE (UPAL).
This blogger - see my blogger "profile" details - was greatly involved in those campaigns and in 1977 was full time secretrary for JAIL's organisation - which necessitated that I liased with those seeking advice in relation to the misuse within the policing and CRIMINAL JUSTICE systems of IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE. JAIL was a bonafide orgnisatation to whom accused persons could write for help while on remand awaiting trial and when court proceedings such as at the OLD BAILEY fell due JAIL staff from time to time sat in court in the public gallery to listen and bear witness.
Such was the case at the Old Bailey in 1977 when a defendant accused of an Essex Post Office robbery offence stood trial. This defendant had been visited in prison and advised about how the evidence might proceed and this blogger had watched the Old Bailey case for 2 days or so. During this 2 day period there had been recesses when refreshment had been taken in the Old Bailey Refrectory - it became clear that prosecutor Neville Sandelson was well aware that JAIL had been scrutinising the case he was pursuing and during one recess he attempted to converse with this blogger in the Refectory. He was well aware also (being an MP) how politically sensitive in those times identification evidence had become and JAIL was greatly in the forefront so given this he attempted to strike up a passing conversation. This blogger discouraged him by simply replying that he did not to talk.
On the last day in this case that this blogger attended Court SANDELSON had been making his closing speech for the prosecution and had largely finished at mid-day when the court rose for lunch. I stood in the overhead public gallery to file out and SANDELSON still in the well of the court eye balled me and cockily cat-called "Is that alright for you then!" - meaning he'd put in very strong closing case against the accused. I had said absolutely nothing and was very shocked as I had attended courts many times and such an outburst was amazing. I did respond to reply just as I filed out towards the Gallery attendant - I simply asserted "Yes I'll be down your constituency next week" - my meaning being that I would go there to campaign for legal reform of identification evidence useages.
Had lunch and returned to Court at 2pm. I was refused admission to the public gallery because Sandelson had complained about my presence. The brief 1978 report (reproduced above) of this incident retailed in VERBALS (not penned by me) was inaccurate. I was barred but I simply left the Old Bailey precincts. I wouldn't have minded on the one hand having an opportunity to explain to the Court what had actually happened because instead it was acting solely on SANDELSON's verbal but on the other hand I certainly wanted to avoid causing any ongoing problem whatever for the accused. If I had initiated such an exchange I simply don't believe I would not have been done for contempt of court.
So that was it. Cat-called from the well of an Old Bailey courtroom by a bewigged prosecuting Counsel who also a flakey LABOUR PARTY M.P.


At 18 February 2011 at 00:03 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.


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