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back to article Chief constable caves to judges on disk grab

Avon and Somerset Chief Constable, Colin Port, bowed to the law this week and returned computer disks seized by his force from computer forensic expert Jim Bates. However, reports from the High Court in London, suggest that Mr Port is determined to keep on expressing the point of view that had him hauled up in the first place – …

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Vendetta?

The more this case goes on the more it looks liek a vendetta against Jim Bates by the Avon & Somerset police and Port in particular. Could this be related to the doubts about the Project Ore cases Bates had raised, namely the Police unwillingness to take into consideration fraudulent usage of credit cards which has ended up with potentially innocent people (ie the victims of the CC fraud) being put on the sex offenders register?

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On the dole.

And Port still has a job because?

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Port should have been sent to the clink

Let him cool his heels for a while, at Her Majesty's pleasure.

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Gotta love these academics

"It is not altogether clear what gaps in the law Mr Port is seeking to close."

Translation: this bozo has no clue and couldn't find his own arsehole with a torch, a mirror and a map.

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Anonymous Coward

What a Cock

Either Port is thick (and I'd assume he isn't having reached the position he has) or he's a complete and utter cock.

If he thinks it's an abuse of the pictured child when the image is viewed by an expert witness, then it would equally be an abuse when a police officer views the image. Follow this to it's logical conclusion and it would be impossible to ever prosecute anybody for viewing these images since nobody would be able to look at the images without commiting an offence. This is such nonsense that it clearly isn't what Port thinks.

So what does he think? Well maybe he thinks only the police should be allowed to view the images and then instruct the court. In other words he appears to be one of those coppers who thinks that the police are the law and the legal profession an inconvenience. I think they are politely called "old fashioned coppers". Is Gene Hunt his hero?

Either way if he had reason to believe that anybody was up to no good then he would have had evidence to back up this belief which he could have presented to the court. Clearly he had no such evidence or he would have presented it to the court yesterday, so he must have been acting on one of those legendary police hunches. Which would support the supposition that he is an old fashioned copper. Whether or not he understands the laws on indecent images of children is something of a moot point. I'd be more concerned that a senior police officer doesn't seem to understand the Police and Criminal Evidence act. Or worse still he does understand it and doesn't think it applies to him.

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Alert

Police state?

anyone found in possession of such images without good grounds for doing so is committing a crime and likely to be punished accordingly. The law allows certain individuals to possess certain images at certain times: s.46 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 specifically allows an individual to retain an indecent image for the 'prevention, detection or investigation of crime, or 'for the purposes of criminal proceedings' – but only so long as they are working on such matters.

And therein lies the crux.

If the images are used as a reference library to match images in other cases then they are used for the detection/investigation of crime.

The police need to understand they are not the state. they and thier experts have bias, Other independant experts must be allowed to exist.

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Lost the plot.

"Each time these images are viewed it is a fresh victimisation of the child,"

Wrong. The child is not involved, the abuser is not involved, there is no new victimisation. This doesn't detract from the severity of the initial incident which is depicted, and the full weight of the law should be brought to bear upon them, but it doesn't class as s new "abuse" either.

See the "Lost sale" arguement for copyright infringement for a (loose) analogy.

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Anonymous Coward

The Gap

The gap that he's seeking to close is the one that's going to see Operation Ore shuved up his arse. That gap being legal interrigation of the evidence - a pesky gap that means police can't get away with doing whatever they please all the time.

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Don't like the law?

".... most notably in The Sun....."

I wonder if this is the sort of appeals process that Harriet Harperson had in mind when she rattled on about the "court of public opinion" over Fred Badloser's pension?

Thought for the day: Is Max Clifford a barrister in the Court of Public Opinion?

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Anonymous Coward

If Bates was a witness for the prosecution

If Bates was an expert witness for the prosecution, do you imagine Police Chief Port would be behaving this way?

The idea that the only expert witnesses that can be used are ones approved by the police (not the courts) is a sinister idea. The courts have said Bates is an expert witness, yet the police call for rules that take that right from the court???

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Dead Vulture

What a farce

All a but cynical really... Port returns the stuff with hours before the case is heard and swerves contempt as there was no time constraint in place. It's just a shame that the media is generally reporting this as "Port Cleared of contempt" - which doesn't really give the full story.

There's something really unpleasant about this man's behaviour and the manipulative way he has approached the press. It's also deeply worrying that a chief constable could act in such a smugly defiant way regarding a court ruling - if this wasn't all being done under the "think of the children" banner it's unlikely the avon police would have thought they'd have gotten away with it

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Shock! Horror! Gasp!

Plod complies with court order???

All we need now is the Whacky one (and the Home Office) to do likewise, and I'll have to go and lie down for a while in a darkened room....

(It'll probably happen soon anyway:- 42 days in Room 101)

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realy

""Each time these images are viewed it is a fresh victimisation of the child,"!

seames to me to be a bit of a strech of logic

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Paris Hilton

Its All a Little Vague to me...

Ok, so going on the information given above it would suggest that Mr Bates DOES have some indecent images in his posession but that this is allowed due to the nature of his work. Given the definition provided this is ok for as long as the images are needed in the prevention or ongoing prosecution of others who posses/seek to posses such images. So, using that, Mr Bates must have been involved with the Police in some capacity surely? If so what is the Chief Constables issue?

I can only assume, and this is my assumption and in no way suggesting as fact, that in the opinion of the Chief Constable that Mr Bates possed the images that were NOT connected to the prevention/detection of like images. IF this is the case, Mr Bates must have been able to demonstrate to the court adequately that they were in connection with his work so again, what is the issue for the chief constable here? If the work of Mr Bates detects people who supply/demand such images I would argue that the retention of already created images would be justified. After all, as regretable as it is that the images he posses are in existance, its all after the event and cannot help the child in the picture other than to prevent reoccurence. And Im guessing we're not talking hundreds of images here?

I dont really know enough about what Mr Bates' "Professional Duties" are that would require him to need said images but clearly the Judge was satisfied. Anyone help me out here?

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Hysteria is alive and well....

It's sad to see that even the supposedly level-headed law enforcement community being gripped by the usual public hysteria...

I was going to say "surprising" instead of "sad" but then I hardly think this surprises anyone.

Something is definietly seriously wrong when even the police fail to comply with a court order.

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid motherf***er

They should fire him for being an idiot. There are courts that interpret the law and there is police that enforces it. Over. Police cannot, and in any circumstances shouldn't, interpret the law. That's way too dangerous in the long term.

Also, how often we can see somebody who has no clue trying to be smart? How often Mr. Port?

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Good to see...

...that Jim Bates continues to hold these clowns to account. He is a very brave man. The police - and their powerful friends in other 'child protection' organisations - have acted against Mr Bates time and again, smearing him, attempting to assassinate his reputation and even implying he's been taking 'a more than professional interest' in his forensic work. It's outrageous - and the Judges - thank God - can see right through it (and I never imagined I'd be saying that about Judges).

One can only hope that in the end the media will finally admit the grave miscarriage of justice that was Operation Ore, report it fairly, fully and expose the crooked police officers behind it all for the spiteful, vindictive, mob-baiting cretins they are. This is what Jim Bates has been fighting for: justice for the many innocent (but completely ruined) people caught up in the paedo-hysteria of Ore - to have the police be brought to account for their wilful deceit and misinformation (at the time and ever since) and to recognise that a huge miscarriage of justice has occurred.

It is no wonder - and sadly no surprise at all - that the police have acted in such an underhand and wholly disreputable way towards Mr Bates. He knows too much and he must be silenced. I fear the 'vested interests' in this matter have not yet finished with Mr Bates and will return to (what is for them) potentially explosive 'unfinished business'...

Thanks to John Ozimek and The Reg for staying on this story since the start.

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Hmmmm

Me thinks this Plod protest-esth too much!

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Stop digging you moron...

... this shows blatant disregard for the law. Yes, that same law you are supposed to uphold.

As for falsifying Bates' qualifications, he can still be instructed to act on behalf of a client, so in the end it's irrelevant.

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Black Helicopters

Comment

"We have asked Avon and Somerset Police for comment, but so far have received no response."

Isn't the normal comment from the boys in blue these days something along the lines of:

**TZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!**

*kick*

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Alien

A rod for his own back

"We need a nationwide accreditation system"

An interesting idea. But it will need to apply to the police as well as independent experts.

If the material really is as sensitive as Mr Port's comments imply then it will need to be handled very carefully. Probably equivalent to classified material marked as Secret or Top Secret. Separate locked rooms. Separate safes for storage. No access to such areas to anyone without the accreditation. In essence the sort of resources needed by Special Branch.

And who is going to fund all these checks? And who is going to fund all this equipment?

Paha! Cloud cuckoo land. Eating too many strange mushrooms. Sampling the results of raids by the drug squad.

Which is the icon for loony nutter.

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Why isn't this bent copper in jail?

The Chief Constable should be in a court cell until he purges his contempt. And his local police authority should be reviewing his suitability to hold that office.

The problem is that the Police consider themselves to be above the law: receiving much milder punishment (if any) when they break it when in fact, because of the special trust placed in them by the public, punishments should be harsher for police that break the law.

How can the court not act when such a senior police man stands up and publicly and repeatedly treats them with utter contempt and is seen to get away with it?

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'Loophole'

I suspect the 'loophole' the chief constable wishes to close is the one where the Police get to decide who's an expert witness. His main point of contention seems to be that somebody, somewhere, has given this man the opportunity to look at something that the chief constable did not approve of - obviously a heinous offence ...

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Send him down

This man (Colin Port) should be summarily dismissed from his post. A man sworn to uphold the law cannot remain in post when he holds the law in such contempt.

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Will the press print the judges' findings?

Or will they print the shrieking Chief Constable's rants?

We can all guess the answer to this one.

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Stop

Just a thought...

Mr Port would not have been shooting from the lip in all his interviews with "the Popular Press" so I can only assume that he has a sound legal basis for any comment. A legal basis no doubt paid for b the public purse. If not then his employers should be calling him in for a little chat regarding the bringing of his office into disrepute. If he has a sound basis then I'd suggest he re-visits his legal team and demands a refund... for dropping him in the doo dahhh.

Also, in his spat with Mr. Bates he seems to have incurred legal expenses. Will these be paid directly by him or will the National and local taxpayer pick up the tab? If he has been shooting from the lip and now expects the taxpayer to foot the bill then he is a sandwich short of a feast, not fit for office and should be dismissed or resign.

Why do some police, and not just in the middle & junior ranks, all to often demonstrate immense contempt for both the law and general public and then act as though it's not their fault and portray themselves, like MPs, as victims of the system?

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Stop

Surely...

...the Avon and Somerset force are going to have to get rid of this high-ranking liability sometime soon? He seems to be lacking so many different varieties of clue that it's difficult to know where to start with him. I mean even ACPO must be getting sick of him being such a wazzock by now?

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Anonymous Coward

Surely Port needs to go down for possession of child porn

"anyone found in possession of such images without good grounds for doing so is committing a crime and likely to be punished accordingly. The law allows certain individuals to possess certain images at certain times: s.46 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 specifically allows an individual to retain an indecent image for the 'prevention, detection or investigation of crime, or 'for the purposes of criminal proceedings' – but only so long as they are working on such matters."

So as soon as the courts told the filth that they should give the computer kit back they no longer had good grounds for possessing said hardware and accordingly said child porn contained therein.

So Port, and possibly a number of his officers, have committed a very serious offense here. Why are they not being investigated and prosecuted?

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Lock him up I say

Preferably with one or two of his more violent customers.

Police officers do not make the law, they carry it out. If he has something to moan about he should complain at the next free masons meeting about the judge to grand silly handshake and not do his dirty laundry in public.

Put your hand up if you think Britain is turning into an Orwellian nightmare run by petty, bureaucratic, moronic, control freaks.

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costs??

The costs for his debacle must run into 100's of thousands

1 cost of police time and resources to get a magistrate to issue unlawful warrant

2 cost of police time and resources to raid bates house (6 officers plus police cars and vans)

3 cost of lawyers to comminicate with bates lawyers over bail and other conditions

4 cost of juditial hearing (lawyers/2 judges/police time and resouces)

5 cost of application + lawyers for new warrant to re seize material from Port

6 cost of second warrant refusal (costs awarded to bates lawyers) police time and resources

7 cost of application of bates lawyers for contempt proceedings

8 cost of bates and lawyers commincations concerning returning of illegal seized material

9 cost of police and lawyers time and resources for contempt hearing.

10 cost of returning bates stuff to his solicitor's Police + resources

11 posible cost to variety of media sources

(there must be things I have missed)

and wait for it -------

yes you guessed didn't you ?

compensation to bates and his lawyers.

I do hope Avon and Somerset tax payers have very deep pockets.

If I was one of them, i'd sue Port for the money he has wasted.

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Re: Why isn't this bent copper in jail?

Is there a Reg reader in the Avon and Somerset area?

I wonder if there will be a response to a resident of the area who asks the Police Authority for their views on Mr Port's attempts to defy the courts.

http://www.aspola.org.uk/ContactUs.aspx

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Black Helicopters

@ A little vague

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/10/ore_case/

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Unhappy

@Chris Miller

Translation: this bozo has no clue and couldn't find his own arsehole with a torch, a mirror and a map.

Sure he can. That's him pictured under "goatse".

ok, i just threw up in the back o' my mouth.

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Alien

He Doth protest too much ?

I think this fits Mr Port very neatly, I wonder why ?

"He Doth protest too much...." , Now what is the meaning of that

saying ?.

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Turf him out

Any police officer who thinks he's better than the legal system he's employed to enforce (NOT DICTATE) should be thrown out of the force immediately.

He's tried to break the rules and tried to cover it up in true Gov style with a tabloid smear campaign and he's still kicking and screaming, to paraprase Ihre Papiere Bitte; give him the ...

**TZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!**

*kick*

...Treatment!!!

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Happy

Hmmmm

He's not in any of the photos, is he ?

ALF

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Linux

Nonce

Port may have escaped prison by handing back the disks at the 11th hour, but who will hold him to account for his libel that Bates is a paedophile? The judges were mildly grumpy about this. Big deal.

A Chief Constable smearing his opponent as someone with more than a 'professional interest' in child porn? I hope Bates sues, but I suspect that it will be the taxpayers who pick up the bill, just as they do with most cases of police abuse while the officer faces no consequences.

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*Very* tough of Constable Port.

Right up to the point when he *might* have to do some *actual* time. If he *really* believed his viewpoint he should have done the time.

Pussy.

Does this look like the harassment of a powerful and arrogant man whose been reading his own press and *believing* it?

What is Port trying to hide?

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Anonymous Coward

typical coppers

"I know nothing about the law.... but I enforce it anyway"

Can't wait for these idiots to have Tasers.

/not

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Move On .... Nothing Too Much to See Here

""As long as Jim Bates- or anyone else - is 'under instruction' in respect of particular cases, he may retain material: when that instruction ceases, he must either return it to the relevant authorities or destroy it.

"It is not altogether clear what gaps in the law Mr Port is seeking to close."

Under Instruction from Whom would then be the Question. And perhaps it is that Particular and Peculiar Door which Mr Port has Opened....... thus Rendering the Secrets inside Revealed and [NEUKlearerly] Attributable.

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Anonymous Coward

Slippery slope

No question in my mind that in much of the UK now, we've started down a very slippery slop when it comes to dealing with emotive matters like paedophilia and terrorism - with basic common sense giving way to calculated hysteria.

In court recently (as a witness in an assault case) I was profoundly shocked by the lackadaisical attitude to 'evidence' and unquestioning acquiescence to police opinion - the proceedings were a travesty of justice. Part of the problem in this area being that the bench couldn't care less about facts as long as they get to lunch on time, and the average legal aid solicitor tends to be a total waste of space.

And on this particular topic, I'm seriously glad of the modern upsurge in internet use - now almost every family. Years ago, when it was less common, it only took a dialup connection to raise police suspicions - "Internet, Eh? Eh? Eh? Well - we all know what you people get up to don't we? Nudge-nudge! Wink-wink!" In my rural locality, with crime levels (per head of population) worse than many inner cities, the police are now part of the problem rather than the answer.

And don't even get me started on Freemasonry - surely the vehicle for, if not the source of, most police corruption in this country. The steadfast lack of enquiry or action into the involvement of that corrupt organisation in police and government matters is a continuing national disgrace.

Colin Port has tried to pander to the worst elements of public opinion. Face it, Mr Port - most of that opinion now considers that you should be in gaol!

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