Freelance spots sex victim name gaffe in chief's report

By Jean Morgan

A North Wales journalist, who drew the attention of North Wales
Police to the fact that Chief Constable Richard Brunstrom’s report to
his police authority named a child sex victim, has been interviewed by
the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Elwyn Roberts, who runs Mold-based freelance agency Dee News Service, was asked to provide a statement to investigators.

The
police force has since apologised to the girl, aged 13, and her family
and said it was reinforcing its vetting procedures for checking
reports. Copies of the report, the Chief Constable’s update to a
meeting of the North Wales Police Authority, were later destroyed.

Brunstrom
immediately called in the IPCC. Three investigators spent a week in
North Wales interviewing police officers, civilian staff, police
authority staff and also visited Roberts as the originator of the
complaint of contempt of court.

“I simply gave them the
chronology of how the matter came about,” said Roberts, a journalist
for more than 30 years. He covered the girl’s case in July at Mold
Crown Court when she was not publicly identified.

“I was scanning
reports to the police authority, which are public documents, and was
shocked to see the girl’s name, age, the village where she lived, and
the fact that sexual offences had been perpetrated against her,” said
Roberts.

He claimed that if he or any other journalist had done
the same thing then they would have been interviewed by police and
possibly prosecuted.

He was also concerned at the initial
reaction of the Crown Prosecution Service in Wrexham, which issued a
press statement saying that while it would take action against the
press in such circumstances, it would not take action against the
police.

But CPS headquarters in London stepped in and said no
such decision would be made until any file from the IPCC had been
received.

Roberts denied his complaint was revenge for an
incident last year when his office was searched by North Wales
detectives investigating Peter Bolton, when it was falsely alleged that
the assistant authority clerk had sent Roberts a confidential report.

Bolton, a former police superintendent, was later cleared when his trial at Chester Crown Court collapsed.

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