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.

Bath Gays Gagged

BATH: Bath’s Evening Chronicle has run two articles about the Bath Gay Awareness Group, but it will not carry the group’s paid advertisements inviting lonely gays in the Somerset University city to its meetings.

The Bath and Wilts Evening Chronicle – to give it its full name – will not carry the ads because they do not represent what is “truth and right” in the eyes of the paper’s managing director, Mr Edgely.

Mr Edgely, who is only a minor cog in the bigger wheel that owns the Chronicle, the Westminster Press group — the provincial newspaper group owned by Lord Cowdray, whose dilletante son Michael Pearson has as his hobbies owning the Hedonist, the biggest motor-yacht built since the war (complete with circular bed and bath with gold taps etc) and producing movies (such as Vanishing Point).

Lord Cowdray has as his hobby making money and to further this end controls S. Pearson Publishing, which owns Penguins, Longmans, Ladybird Books, the Financial Times and Westminster Press, a string of highly profitable newspapers with large numbers of advertisements kept apart by editorial matter of a high moral tone (for instance the word “rape” could not be used until 1968.)

It is in this high moral tone and the “family newspaper” aims of the Pearson organisation that motivates the smaller men of the hierarchy such as Mr Edgely, to refuse to allow Bath’s gays to run a simple advertisement in the Bath Chronicle’s personal ad columns.

Bob Illingworth, of BGAG met Mr Edgely to try to talk to him. Bob pointed out that BGAG only wanted to have the ad published to contact the many lonely and isolated gays in the city and help them come to terms with their homosexuality. It was not the group’s intention, he said, to “deprave and corrupt” people into becoming homosexual.

Mr Edgely, who’d refused to talk about his decision to bar the BGAG ad, eventually agreed to pronounce upon the subject of gays and gayness. He said that homosexuality was a gross abnormality and homosexuals were sick people in need of medical attention. To him homosexuality was abhorrent and not suitable to appear in the advertsiement section of his paper.

He told Bob the advertisements in the Chronicle represented the newspaper itself and should therefore represent what is truth and right. He failed to explain how the articles on the BGAG were truth and right if the ad wasn’t.

Maybe he was prepared to allow the editorial department to use the gays as a sort of freak-show to fill in between the display ads. Beyond that his Westminster Press-approved liberalism didn’t stretch.

Boys Burn House To Hide Murder

Three teenagers were sentenced on November 24, 1972, at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey) to terms of detention in connection with the murder of Maxwell Confait, 26, at his home: a bed-sitter in Doggett Road, Catford, SE6.

Mr. Richard du Cann, prosecuting, described the events as a “truly appalling crime.’ Mr Du Cann said that the three youths had broken into the house in the early hours of April 22, 1972, their motive being to rob or steal. Confait had discovered them shortly after they had broken in.

The court heard that 14-year-old schoolboy Ahmet Salih, of Nelgarde Road, Catford SE6 was a witness to the killing, by strangulation, of Confait.

Dead Man Was A Homosexual

Confait was said to be a homosexual who liked to dress in women’s clothing and was well-known in the locality. In the gay circles in which he circulated he was called ‘Michelle’.

After two of them had killed him all three of the youths set fire to the house, the rest of which was occupied by a Mr and Mrs Goode, and their five children. They awoke at 1.15am to discover smoke and flames coming from the basement. The fire was apparently started to “cover their traces”.

Colin George Latimore, 18, unemployed, of Nelgarde Road, Catford, was said to have strangled Confait by twisting some white electric flex around his neck. Lattimore was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility and of arson. Said to have a mental age of 10, he was ordered to be detained under security conditions in a mental hospital without limit of time. In a statement he was alleged to have described the death of Confait as “an accident”.

Ronald William Leighton, 16, unemployed, who lived in the same road as the dead man, was described in reports as being “on the borderline of the subnormal”. Convicted of murder and arson, he was ordered by Mr Justice Chapman to be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure (ie without limit of time) in such a place and under such conditions as the Secretary of State may direct.

Ahmet Salih, 14, schoolboy, also of Nelgarde Road, was convicted of setting fire to the house, with intent to endanger life; he was ordered to be detained for not less than four years in a place to be directed by the Home Secretary.

The police did not have to look far from the scene of the crime to find the accused. One of them lived in the same street as ‘Michelle’, the others just one street away.

Poly Prejudices

On the third of November a letter was sent to the director, Hedley of the Trent Polytechnic, from its catering manager concerning homosexual activity in the Poly; the head barman complained of people in drag using the bar facilities.

The director explained to the president of the Student’s Union that he wanted the so-called “homosexual elements” out or he would close the bar.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting, a motion was passed to the effect that the union would not accept any discriminatory practices upon people entitled to enter the bar and who are acting within the law.

Although an important issue, since it entails bigoted discrimination against minority groups, many of the members of the union with whom we spoke see this as part of a much larger scheme directed at curbing student autonomy still further, and it was felt by the Labour Club that recent disciplinary action were all part of this attack.

It is seen that Hedley is using this issue to split the Union, on the theory of divide and rule, and that drag is just an excuse, a tactical move, more political especially as it comes at a time when the Instruments and Articles come under review and the Executive’s time is taken up by the bar situation. At the root of Hedley’s continual threats to close the bar is his resolve that he would much rather not have a bar at all if it meant that the standards that he thought appropriate for an institution of further education were not maintained.

He states that he merely wants to maintain the standards which apply in any public house and that he doesn’t want his £13½m development plan endangered by a lot of queers.

He justifies his prejudices against what he affectionately terms “hard-line homosexuals” by referring to what is generally believed to be a fictitious telephone call from the Assistant Chief Constable who allegedly warned repressed Gruppenfuhrer Hedley that hordes of nasty offensive queers were changing their patronage from Mario’s which was following police advice by discouraging overt homosexuality. There is no reason to believe this is true.

Moreover, Hedley’s definition of drag is at best an unconventional one. It seems important to make this clear, by all accounts there has been, with one exception, no real drag except during Karnival.

By drag, Hedley means the use of makeup, and his hatred of homosexuality further manifested itself in the recent Management Committee meeting where he and Lyon (Deputy Director, Student Affairs) insisted that not only the bar was involved. If a person in drag (sic) was found in lectures or any part of the Poly premises, action would be taken. The president replied that in such a case that person would be defended by the Union.

Love and kisses to Gongster, Nottingham University Student’s Paper.

1972 Goes Out In Style for Gay News

LONDON: The editors and members of the editorial collective of Gay News disported themselves briefly in Shepherds Bush, to celebrate the end of the paper’s first half year of existence.

Not that the gays had it all their own way. Sandi Rutenberg, the GN typesetter brought along her South African boyfriend, and Richard Adams, Gay News’ art man brought along his wife.

The Christmas issue of Gay News was read by more people than have bought any other issue, as sales are up by about 1,000 — another reason for the editors to celebrate six months of publishing.

When Gay News first appeared it made British publishing history, as the first independent gay newsapper in the country. Since then it has picked up a design award and sales of about 10,000 – which results in a readership of 40,000 to 50,000, being the most widely read gay publication in the British Isles.

The Christmas party was held in the Green Room at the Wheatsheaf, Goldhawk Road, and, though it was a relatively sober affair, Hammersmith police and New Scotland Yard decreed that it should end at 1 am.

The bill was footed by friends of Gay News.

Doctors Stay Away

READING: Out of 90 doctors invited to a lecture on “Homosexuality and Doctors”, none turned up. But enough people did go along to make for a lively discussion on the medical profession’s treatment of gays.

The discussion’s leader was Dr Schlicht, a consultant psychiatrist, with two general practitioners.

It was generally agreed that homosexuality was not a medical condition to be treated by prescribing medicine. The doctor’s role was more that of a friend and adviser, helping homosexuals face their situation in an otherwise hostile society.

Some in the audience felt doctors should do more to change society’s hostility towards gays, but the doctors pointed out that they had limited time and resources and homosexuality was just one of several problems they dealt with. But, they said, facilities for homosexuals had much improved recently.

‘Policeman’ Black mails Aged Man

LIVERPOOL: A Birkenhead man posed as a policeman to blackmail a 73-year-old man from Wallesey, he told Liverpool Crown Court, where he was jailed for two years.

Noel Chapman, 36, pleaded guilty to four charges of demanding a total of £140 during July and August. Another man appeared with Chapman, but, because he pleaded not guilty, his case was put back for trial.

Judge Nance told Chapman “You repeatedly blackmailed an old man and induced him to part with money by pretending as a police officer that you would report his involvement in homosexual activities, of which there is no evidence whatsoever.

“You further set about staging a charade with another man, to get more money from him.”

Mr Glynmor Jones said Chapman had approached the 73-year-old man as he was leaving a public lavatory at Wallasey, accused him quite wrongly of being there for an ‘immoral’ purpose and threatened, as a police officer, to arrest him.

Chapman emphasised to the old man the publicity his arrest would attract and indicated that he would forget the whole thing for a fiver.

More demands for money were paid until August 24, when the victim found another note demanding money. He went to the police and arranged with them that he would pay over the blackmail cash in marked notes.

The old man handed the money to Chapman behind the library in Earlston Gardens, Wallasey. Police officers then arrested Chapman.

Librarian Says No

BATH: Despite requests from Bath’s Gay Awareness Group for Gay News to be stocked along with other newspapers and periodicals in the city’s library reading rooms, the Director of the Bath Municipal Libraries has refused to allow the paper to go on display, and he blames the re-organisation of local government, which is due to take place within the next year or so.

The libraries’ director also told BGAG that the libraries didn’t have enough notice-board space to take a Campaign for Homosexual Equality poster. He said the notice-boards were kept for official posters only.

But, having denied Bath’s gays any worthwhile publicity, he gave the impression of fairness by telling the group that it could fill in a registration form for the Directory of Local Societies, a card-index kept in the Reference Library. This, he said, would show “the time taken to complete the form will be amply rewarded by the publicity thus achieved.”