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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This Court Ruling Could Be A Disaster For Hackney Council

Today's ruling by the Law Lords in the "Lotto rape case" might initially sound like a sensible decision. After all, a limit of six years in which to bring a case against someone who has attacked you and destroyed your life is not a long time. Especially in cases of sex abuse, of course, where it may be many, many years before victims are able to come to terms with (and sometimes even remember) what has happened to them and organise themselves to seek judicial redress.

David Greenwood, solicitor for one of the other cases heard at the same time as the Lotto rape case, has estimated that there could be as many as 6,000 child sex abuse compensation cases in the pipeline which could now be successful as a result of this ruling. And that's where the problem lies. The impact of this decision may be the resurrection of a little local problem which we thought we'd long since seen the back of. I'm no lawyer, but some legal friends of mine tell me that the removal of deadlines for compensation claims almost certainly applies to institutional claims as well as individual ones. What we are talking about here is Trottergate.

Mark Trotter - Town Hall Square statue nomineeThe individual perpetrator is long deceased, but the fact that he was a Hackney Social Services Department employee much of the sex abuse took place on property administered by Hackney Council opens a horrible possibility that people could come forward and sue Hackney Council. For a very great deal of money.

For those who know nothing about this case, Mark Trotter (1961-1995) was a well-known local figure in the 1980s, working for Hackney Social Services at Trowbridge House Children's Home from 1981 to 1993. He served as a Labour-nominated governor at a local school and was Labour Party Election Agent under then Labour Group Chief Whip Chris Bryant (now MP for Rhondda). Trotter was himself shortlisted for a Council seat at one stage.

A prominent and important figure in the local CLP, Mark Trotter was subjected to a tirade of accusations by opponents of the Labour Party in the BBC, the Evening Standard, the NSPCC and The Hackney Groveller. These individuals accused Trotter of being a paedophile responsible for the serial sexual abuse of dozens of the 400 children in his care, several of whom subsequently died of AIDS. They claimed that Mark had been reported to the Council at least three times during the 1980s for alleged child abuse, for "suspicious behaviour" involving "young visitors" to his flat and for beating up his lover and illegally evicting him. They also claimed that Hackney Council was aware that police raided Trotter’s flat in 1989 in a search for child pornography. Worse still, several members and officers, some still actively serving the borough today, were smeared in these attacks. A Labour Party member and former Senior Manager in Social Services was accused of privately advising a Labour Councillor not to let Trotter take care of her young children, whilst failing to report her concerns to the police. Another Councillor, still serving today, was accused of declaring that Trotter deserved a statue in Town Hall Square. Who in their right mind would believe that?

Until now, we've relied on the Barratt Enquiry, which exonerated Hackney Council, finding that there had been no cover up or corruption in the Council’s handling of the affair and that everything was the fault of media sensationalism. In his report, Barratt explained that Trotter had not been found guilty of any charges, as in one case the complainant had courageously decided to withdraw allegations and in the other case Trotter had heroically managed to die of AIDS before the charges could be brought. What worries me is that, following today's ruling, this may all open up again. Survivors of Trotter's sex abuse may just decide that this is the time to sue Hackney Council. Oh, well. I don't suppose it will be that bad, especially if we can keep the Hackney Groveller onside with some juicy new advertising contracts and write some exciting stories about pantomimes at the Hackney Empire and growing organic vegetables in London Fields in the next issue of Grain Harvest Today.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good let's hope its hits Hackney Council hard

angel thighs said...

"Worse still, several members and officers, some still actively serving the borough today, were smeared in these attacks. A Labour Party member and former Senior Manager in Social Services was accused of privately advising a Labour Councillor not to let Trotter take care of her young children, whilst failing to report her concerns to the police. Another Councillor, still serving today, was accused of declaring that Trotter deserved a statue in Town Hall Square. Who in their right mind would believe that?"

Ah! Bless their little cotton socks, what a lovely pair of jail birds.

Mark Trotter said...

I sense a coverup!

Johnny Zaza said...

" Another Councillor, still serving today, was accused of declaring that Trotter deserved a statue in Town Hall Square. Who in their right mind would believe that?"

AND WHO IS THIS COUNCILLOR? WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW. NO MORE COVER UPS!

angel thighs said...

For answer, click on link in comment above.

Johnny Zaza said...

Angel, No way!
LOL

Martha Stewart said...

Since when have I been a councillor in Hackney?

angel thighs said...

"Another Councillor, still serving today, was accused of declaring that Trotter deserved a statue in Town Hall Square. Who in their right mind would believe that?"

In her defence, said councillor wasn't sober at the time (nor at the time of Trotter's investigation, over which she presided, and found him to be spotlessly clean). Hic!

And what a credit to Hackney Labour Party she is! Hic!

Max Caller said...

Bulldog chewing a wasp springs to mind for the facially challenged comrade

lord london fields lido said...

Bulldog? If my dog looked like that I'd paint a face on its arse and teach it to walk backwards.

Anonymous said...

I knew Mark Trotter at this time and although I was unaware of the allegations surrounding him I was aware of the many sexual partners and one night stands he was having. I did hear about this a few years ago and was shocked! He stayed on at Trowbridge House after it closed down and used his 'room' there as a free for all!!!