Maximum Impact 31.03.06

AS IS so often the case, the inability to get justice was the driver behind two of the stories we broke at the weekend. Mark and Leisha Servante had tried unsuccessfully for more than five years to reveal the danger posed to society by Michael Johnson and the injustice of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. The Sunday Mirror revealed how six years ago Johnson, recently convicted of the torture and murder of Mary-Ann Leneghan, had treated Mark and Lisa’s 13-year-old son Michael, whom he then left for dead, in a similar fashion.

However, the judge at the trial banned the couple from revealing Johnson’s identity to the media on the grounds of protecting his rehabilitation. If this wasn’t bad enough for them, they have tried ever since to get compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board as Michael was left both physically and mentally disabled by the attack. Maybe if they’d been able to warn us about Johnson then Mary-Ann would still be alive today. But justice protected Johnson and not his victims.

Similarly the person who, through MCA, provided the Mail on Sunday with its Deepcut Barracks splash, had tried unsuccessfully to get their message out through official channels, only to be frustrated by a brick wall. The story revealed that an independent inquiry showed clear evidence of abuse at the now notorious Deepcut Barracks. The report, which appeared on Wednesday, singled out 14 current and former soldiers for criticism over the deaths of four young soldiers between 1995 and 2002. I was particularly interested to see that the documents also revealed how the Ministry of Defence was preparing its damage limitation exercise to protect those named and shamed in the report.

AS PREDICTED last week, the secret loans scandal that has engulfed the Labour Party is now proving a real problem and embarrassment for the Conservatives. Kenneth Clarke is urging his colleagues that all secret Tory subscribers should be revealed, but others — including David Cameron and party treasurer Jonathan Marland — seem to be desperately trying to keep their anonymity. In a so-called open society, the fact that both the major parties have been enjoying secret loans in return for God knows what shows exactly how bad things have become.

It’s been very damaging to the Labour Party, but at least they have revealed the names of all those responsible. If the Tories refuse to open up, then it could prove to be even more damaging to Cameron and his Tories.

The fee for this column is donated to the Rhys Daniels Trust

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