12 Sept 1978: Hewitt tries to refocus NCCL Gay Rights Committee away from fighting paedophile cases as civil liberties issues per se

In January 1978 Tom O’Carroll had been dismissed by the Open University, in June the News of the World had infiltrated PIE’s AGM and in August the Protection of Children Act had entered into force.

On 12 September 1978 the NCCL Gay Rights Committee got together at the NCCL offices for their regular monthly meeting.

Letters to NUPE re free speech. Alan [Deighton] had discussed this with Patricia Hewitt. This was further discussed under item below.

Article for Rights! on chemical castration. This was temporarily suspended, due to discussions about rumoured new home Office policy. Nettie meeting with MIND on this on Bill Pate case. It was doubted that exact Home Office policy would be stated (prison secrets etc…)

Protection of Children Bill. Bill [Forrester] was in touch with Hattie [Harman] about how this was to be monitored. David Offenbach agreed to monitor prosecutions under the Act, and relay information to Hattie. Attempts to have PIE proscribed, and to prosecute its publications were discussed.

 

3. Paedophilia

A memo on ‘Paedophilia’ from Patricia Hewitt was read out and noted (memo appended) [scroll down for the document and Nettie Pollard’s note to Antony Grey]

 

5. NUPE and Free Speech

In the light of the Memo on ‘Paedophilia’ it was agreed that Roland [Jeffrey] contact Patricia Hewitt and ask her to again approach NUPE for a more satisfactory response over their members apparent attempt to prevent a discussion of, inter alia, paedophilia. Roland to ask Patricia for progress report so far and to invite her to next GRC meeting.

 

11. Visit to Brynmor John

Roland report on joint NCCL/JCWI visit on non-national gay lovers. Pending the outcome of the appeals of the cases in question, John would consider using his ministerial discretion; no guidelines were given, though he indicated that ‘persecution’ in the country of origin of the non-national partner would impress him strongly as grounds for the exercise of discretion.

 

photo 1-21

 

 

photo 2-20

 

Patricia Hewitt’s Memo on Paedophilia to staff and members of the NCCL Gay Rights Sub-Committee  during September 1978 attempted to re-focus the GCR’s almost exclusive scope on paeodophile civil liberties which left Nettie Pollard aghast. When forwarding the note to Antony Grey she prefers to construe Hewitt’s memo as a threat by NCCL to drop all issues relating to sexuality:

“Seriously Antony, this paper is really saying is that the powers in NCCL want NCCL to have nothing to do with the subject. For example, the thing to do with Tom O’C being thrown out of Swansea (you may remember seeing Patricia with Roland and me at the start of the year) – this has still got nowhere at all inspite of about six separate reminders from people on the Committee.
If were (sic) are not viligant NCCL will quietly drop all issues to do with sexuality.
Love Nettie”

Hewitt had not asked for all matters relating to paedophilia to be dropped. Cases where the ‘relationship’ involved a child of 14 or over (as submitted by NCCL to the Criminal Law Revision Committee), the NCCL Legal team or Gay Rights Committee may still appropriately become involved in.

“The EC [Executive Committee] agreed that paedophilia was not itself a civil liberties issue. In particular, it is not a gay rights issue and does not therefore fall within the scope of the gay rights committee.”

 

photo 1-20 photo 2-19 photo 3-17

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