Bully Boy Tactics

The TV and press are reporting that Ian Brady's lawyer has been arrested for preventing a lawful burial by not revealing the whereabouts of Keith Bennett, Brady and Myra Hindley's last undiscovered victim.

First, it would seem that the lady who has been arrested is not in fact a lawyer so I'm not going to harp on about breach of legal privilege etc.  Instead I wanted to tell a short story about a client I represented a few years ago.

There was a rugby match at Twickenham and I ended up representing every single fan who was arrested that day... all five of them.  They were picked up on a Public Order Act offence, the details of which are not relevant.  Four of the men were released but one was further arrested for murder and kept in police custody.

I met the murder squad detectives and was given disclosure along the lines of: There was a murder in 1995 [I can't recall the year, but it was a while ago].  We know your man didn't do it and wasn't involved, but we think he can tell us who did do it.  Why haven't you asked him before, I enquired.  Oh we have, Sir.  We've arrested him four times now to ask about this.  I don't expect he'll be any more helpful this time but we've got to keep trying.

Speaking to the client he took the view that it was just Bob, the policeman, playing his games and an arrest for murder was nothing to worry about.  Client wasn't even interested in taking action for what would appear to have been a completely unlawful arrest. 

Unsurprisingly, the client was released without charge, although it did take a long while for that to happen.

The point is this: sometimes some police officers use bully tactics, like this blatently unlawful arrest of a potential witness for a crime they knew he did not commit in order to force the detained person to give information that the officer wants.

I would love to give chapter and verse on the law of preventing a burial without lawful excuse, but it isn't covered by any of the law books I have at home.  I have to say that I doubt that what the arrested woman has done amounts to the offence, although I could be wrong.  I do wonder therefore whether the arrest is in the same vane as that of the man I represented.


  1. The murdered boy's mother went into a hospice a few days ago. I wonder if that prompted their action?

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