Monday, 2 December 2013

The worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history

[Today’s edition of The Times contains a brief article (behind the paywall) about the new musical based on the Profumo affair and the Stephen Ward trial. It reads in part:]
Profumo-linked trial is centre stage again
It is, a leading barrister will claim today, “the worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history”. It is also the subject of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical. The life and death of the society osteopath Stephen Ward and his connection with a scandal that brought down the Government 50 years ago continues to fascinate.

Geoffrey  Robertson, QC, will today call for the release of court papers in the National Archives and will claim that Ward was the victim of a smear campaign by the British Establishment, embarrassed at a sex scandal involving  John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War.

Ward died in August 1963 after an overdose of sleeping pills on the last day of his trial at the Old Bailey on charges of living off the alleged prostitutes  Christine Keeler and Mandy  Rice-Davies. As he lay in a coma, the jury reached a guilty verdict. In a book, Stephen Ward was Innocent, OK, Mr Robertson says this should be overturned.

“His trial was a farce,” Mr Robertson wrote in a newspaper yesterday. “There was no real evidence against him. Appeal judges hid evidence of his innocence and the trial judge improperly directed the jury to convict him on speculation.”

[The worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history? The Stephen Ward trial? Really? While the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the Lockerbie bombing remains unrectified? Mr Robertson seems to me to have gone overboard in his attempt to plug his book.  But he has always been curiously ill-informed and wrong-headed about the Megrahi case.]


  1. Even if we accept the view that the Stephen Ward conviction was a miscarriage of justice, exactly as claimed, it's not even in the same league as the Lockerbie debacle.

  2. "Even if we accept the view that the Stephen Ward conviction was a miscarriage of justice"...

    ... it is not what the topic is about.

    Was Stephen Ward a mafia-boss or a full-time pimp? Does not seem so. At least he had an impressive list of clients as an osteopath.
    Did he receive money from these girls who were not under-age, not retarded, not beaten into submission, not starving and not chained in his cellar?

    Probably, for whatever reason. Why this 50 years after - no, at any time - would interest a living soul enough to read a book about it is completely beyond me.

    The number of lives destroyed - in the same society that gave us the bathing-machine and crushed a number of its most brilliant minds for being gay - is likely to be so enormous that their stories could fill a library.

    Saying “the worst unrectified miscarriage of justice in modern British history” suggests that the author focuses on the trial itself, and not on elaborating on the narrow-minded society that can't see that its fixation on Sex-&-Celebrities is motivated by exactly the sexual drive and curiosity that is being frowned upon.

    I assume the mentioned book will give detailed descriptions of who the involved ladies had what kind of contact with.

    How fortunate that such matters also boosts sales. How unfortunate that these money will raise doubt about the motivation for choosing this topic among so many the world would benefit from knowing about.

    Is it a mystery if being an author of such stuff inversely will correlate with being well informed about (less important) events such as 270 people killed and their families still denied justice?

  3. Well he would say that wouldn't he?