Times caption: Harvey Proctor was exonerated in 2016 after being falsely accused of sexual abuse
A piece by Fiona Hamilton, Crime Editor, in yesterday’s Times:
Harvey Proctor, the former Tory MP, is suing Scotland Yard and the man who falsely accused him of sexual abuse for more than £1 million.
Mr Proctor’s legal team has lodged the damages claim in the High Court after he was targeted by Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police’s disastrous £2.5 million inquiry into false allegations of a VIP paedophile ring.
The documents reveal how police told a couple lodging with Mr Proctor that their daughter would be taken into care unless they moved out.
Mr Proctor, 71, was one of a string of high-profile figures accused of historical abuse by a man using the pseudonym Nick and was interviewed under caution during the 18-month inquiry. Mr Proctor was exonerated in 2016. A report by a retired judge criticised the investigation and debunked each of Nick’s allegations.
It has since emerged that Nick, whose claims were also a catalyst for the public inquiry into child abuse, has been charged with making indecent images of children. Nick, who is entitled to anonymity, has pleaded not guilty.
The Met has already apologised and paid £100,000 in compensation to Lord Bramall, the former chief of the defence staff, and Lady Brittan, whose late husband, Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, was also accused by Nick. The Met had raided their homes. The force had been trying to settle with Mr Proctor but negotiations broke down and the case will be heard in public at the High Court. Mr Proctor’s particulars of claim state that he is suing both parties for damages including loss of reputation, home and employment.
He says that after Nick’s claims were made public he had to step down from his role as secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Rutland.He also lost his home on the duke’s Leicestershire estate.
Nick also accused Mr Proctor of the murder of three young boys who he had allegedly abused, compounding the “defamation and malicious falsehood”, the claim says. It adds that Nick knew that allegations of abuse, torture and murder of children were among the “most damaging and humiliating lies that one person can publish about another”.
It also says that “elementary research” by detectives, such as examining crime or missing persons reports, or social services records would have shown the absence of evidence relating to Nick’s claims. [J4MB emphasis. Put another way, the police should not have assumed Harvey Proctor and the other men men guilty in the first place.]
The Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether Nick should be charged with perverting the course of justice. Prosecutors have had a file of evidence since September but are not expected to make a decision until the summer. Last night the Met said that it would defend the claims.
We wish Mr Proctor every success with his legal actions.
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