Angie Freed In Angry Trial

LONDON: Gay sister Angela Weir was freed by an Old Bailey jury last month at the end of the Stoke Newington 8 trial — otherwise known as the Angry Brigade trial — which turned out to be not only the longest case that court has ever known, but also its most under-reported case.

The fact is that only Time Out gave the trial week-by-week coverage. And it’s even more surprising that the mass-circulation papers weren’t interested in the story until four of the eight had been convicted of bombing offences, which the prosecution claimed were the work of the so-called Angry Brigade.

After the best part of a year sitting in the court listening to conflicting prosecution evidence (as on the topic of the explosives used) the 12-man jury retired. But only after Judge James had summed up the trial – to “refresh” the juror’s minds. In this factual account of the evidence the judge deemed it necessary to remark on the fact that Angela’s witnesses were gay. And he didn’t stop there. He went on to say “Don’t hold it against them (the witnesses) that, perhaps in other peoples’ eyes they are not normal members of society, they are normal in their own eyes.”

The state of the law in England then, as now, is that the jury decides matters of fact. The judge is there only to advise them on points of law and to make the legal decision necessary – that is, sentence the accused once the jury has found them guilty. He must not evaluate the various bits of evidence presented; that’s what the jury’s for.

However, after a couple of days recess the jury could only manage to reach a majority decision of 10 to 2 to convict four of the people accused with Angela of conspiring to cause explosions. Conspiracy, according to Judge James, can be a wink or a nod or any other slight sign of agreement.

The four convicted were said to have stored explosives for Angry Brigade bombers in their home in Amhurst Road, Stoke Newington.

Apart from jailing four young people for alleged conspiracy in a number of bombings, the Stoke Newington 8 trial – the first really big show-trial of political dissenters in Britain this century – guaranteed promotion for Commander Bond, the detective who made the arrests, made sure that the two men cleared of conspiracy charges with Angela were kept in prison for 16 months awaiting trial and during the hearing of the case, with no recompense now that they are cleared, and ensured that Angela’s political line changed substantially.

In Time Out’s interview (TO 148) she told the magazine’s news team: “The things I was mainly involved in were Gay Liberation and Women’s Liberation, and I think I was involved in them in a reactive way, you know, saying ‘This is terrible, we must do something about it’ – involved in a moral kind of way. Now I’m more convinced of a proper Marxist understanding of the situation and a strategy which comes from that and the need for proper organisation.”

It took the state a million pounds to make Angela a committed Marxist.

Men Jailed For Bizarre Perfomances

STAFFORD: The Crown Court here jailed three men for taking part in what were described as “bizarre and disgusting performances” in the bedrooms in a house nearby Longton, after a case in which the court heard that the house was visited by a succession of boys, youths and young men.

A fourth man (aged 19) who faced charges of indecency with the others was put on probation for two years.

All four had pleaded guilty to indecency charges but the case concentrated on 40-year-old Derek a driving instructor, who owned the house where all the ‘offences’ were said to have happened.

Even his defence lawyer told the court that Derek was emotionally immature and incapable of forming a sexual relationship with a woman. He added “He has a basic defect of personality.”

Mr John Field-Evans, prosecuting, outlined the facts of the case in more detail than usual, because, he said: “The public ought to be made aware of the facts.”

He told the court that for the last three years, boys aged between 12 and 19 had visited Derek’s house.

Some of the boys were truants, others had left home and at least one was in the care of the local authority.

He said: “One of the most disturbing factors in this case is that a housemaster from a local authority home at Penkhull, a man by the name of Alan Perry, took one of the boys from the home and introduced him” to Derek. Perry does not appear in court and the police are still looking for him.

Derek, who was said to be “a confirmed homosexual”, admitted nine offences of gross indecency. He asked for 28 other “offences” to be taken into consideration.

Judge Brian Bush sentenced him to a total of six years imprisonment and said: “For three years, your home became a refuge for young boys on the run.

The reason you did this was in order to practise your perverse desires on these young boys.

“No-one who has read the papers in this case could be in any doubt that you are an evil man – and it is clear from reports that you did not consider your conduct to be serious, nor do you have any conception of its effect on the parents and families of the boys concerned.”

With Derek in the dock were 25-year-old Derek, of Bury, Lancashire, 33-year-old Graham, of Hanley, and 19-year-old Michael of Meir. Each of them admitted two ‘offences’ of ‘indecency’ and Graham asked for a similar ‘offence’ to be taken into consideration.

The 25-year-old Derek, a former public health inspector for Manchester Corporation, was jailed for two-and-a-half-years. Graham who runs a menswear store in Hanley, was jailed for two years and Michael – who was said to have been the ‘victim’ of a number of the ‘offences’ – was put on probation.

Mr M. Hytner, the counsel for the younger Derek, said he was a homosexual, although his link with the other Derek was ‘tenuous’.

He said: “Even as the law stands now, the life of a homosexual is a lonely one. He met this man Perry and was introduced by him to (the other Derek).”

Mr Brian Gibbons defending Graham, said that he was “only slightly involved in this dreadful state of affairs. One of the 15-year-old boys he assaulted was a willing partner. He had nothing to do with the other bizarre and disgusting performances in the house.”

Mr Gerry Famon, who appeared for Michael said that he had “begun to go down hill after running away from his home and going to lodge with (Derek). He now has a girlfriend and has told her all about these offences – he is now on the right road in life.”

These Are A Few Of My Favourites Lies

LONDON: After the first two defendants in the Champion “drag-bust” case lost out to the authorities in early November (GN10) in an explosive atmosphere after the magistrate had cleared the public gallery, a new magistrate was fielded to hear the cases against the other three gays arrested at Notting Hill’s Champion pub.

But this new magistrate found all three guilty as charged, despite confused police evidence. As he said in his preamble to announcing that he thought they were all guilty: “The question is whether I can be sure that the police officer was telling the truth, or whether I should belive the defence evidence.”

So, deciding that it was more likely that the policeman had told the truth, he found Douglas McDougal guilty of obstructing the highway outside the Champion late on October 24 (reported in GN7), Richard Chappie and Peter Borne both guilty of obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty.

Certainly the magistrate gave the impression that their guilt was not “beyond all reasonable doubt” – the classic formula for a verdict to be arrived at — as far as he was concerned and it came as something of a shock after his “liberal” overture when he pronounced them all guilty and fined Douglas £5, and Richard and Peter £15 each.

All three conducted their own cases and dressed up for the occasion. The public gallery was filled with up to 20 gays supporting the three in the dock in various stages of “drag” and make-up.

At the beginning of both the morning and afternoon sessions the magistrate warned the gays in the public gallery that if he didn’t like the way they behaved he’d have them all thrown out. A warning he had to repeat halfway through the afternoon session.

Basically the evidence for the prosecution was given by PC Allen, of Notting Hill Police, who said that he’d arrested Douglas for obstructing the 15-feet-wide pavement outside the pub after a group of gays had been ejected from the pub at the landlord’s request. They had sat down as a protest against his refusal to serve men in “drag”.

PC Allen claimed that as he was leading Douglas to the police-van double-parked outside the Champion, Richard Chappie had jumped on his back and Peter Borne had grabbed his arm to stop him.

This was backed up by PC Alan Wiseman of Notting Hill, who said at first that he was sitting in the front of the van when Douglas was put into it, and later said he was standing by the doors, when he was pressed for that answer by the prosecuting solicitor.

Allen also claimed that Douglas had said that he was not going to be arrested by a member of the “working class”. PC Wiseman admitted he’d heard none of this.

What PC Wiseman did admit, however, when questioned by Douglas MacDougal, was that he had started to charge the three, leaving the room for a while to write up his notes and then returning to finish the charge procedure. But when he was questioned by the prosecution PC Wiseman was wise enough to change his story.

This neat sleight of tongue was completely ignored by the magistrate, as was the entire defence case.

Douglas said that he had never stopped walking, therefore he had never caused an obstruction. PC Allen, on the other hand, had called the gays “fucking queers” and had told him (Douglas) to “fuck off’ towards Notting Hill Gate which was not the direction that Douglas wanted to go. So he walked back, without stopping. It was then that PC Allen grabbed him add dragged him by the hair to the police-van.

Both Peter and Richard brought witnesses to say that neither was the type of person to go around hitting 15-stone policemen, who were already ‘over-excited’.

Summing up the case the magistrate said: “One of the things I have to ask myself is whether the comment about the ‘working class’ was made up by PC Allen or whether McDougal said this. I think it is a statement that most people are likely to use. And at the same time, it is unlikely that PC Allen would have made it up.” But even he didn’t sound altogether convinced.

When he announced the sentence the public gallery turned from a gentle smoulde of discontent to open amazement, with shouts such as “Why don’t you hang them while you’re at it?” people lighting up cigarettes and others noisily leaving in disgust.


LIBERATION NOTE: Gay Lib supporters suggested the reporters from Gay News and Lunch didn’t attend the second half of the case if the reporters valued their safety. Despite this intimidation, both Gay News and Lunch returned and reported.

FASHION NOTE: Quote from a Gay Libber to the Gay Newsman at the Champion case. Gay Libber looks down nose and says: “You don’t look very gay. You look like a Young Socialist.” This came from one of the current GLF power clique.