Meet Jed Justice, an activist who is actually active, unlike many of us these days, including me, who tend just to moan about the way things are going rather than engaging directly with political and legal processes to right egregious wrongs. Jed submitted a detailed comment this week in response to All the world loves a lover?, Heretic TOC’s blog on the Jeremy Forrest case. He plainly has fire in his belly. This case of a teacher sentenced to five and a half years for a consenting relationship with a 15-year-old girl, even though the couple want to marry, had plainly incensed him, and rightly so.
So he has done something, as his comment relates. Rather than leaving this in the backwaters of an old page from last month, I have decided to feature it as a guest blog. See below. Before coming to that, though, I should add that Jed has an activist Facebook page which includes, amongst other interesting things, the 2012 Dutch documentary film Are All Men Pedophiles? – a title with great resonance for us following the revelations from Phil Tromovitch featured here last week. I haven’t seen the film yet and would be interested to hear from anyone who has.
Jed Justice’s Facebook page also features the excellent work of barrister Barbara Hewson, who was introduced here in Hail, an improbable age of consent heroine! in May. An update is that Hewson gave a superb interview on Channel 4 News (8 July). My thanks go to Tina Willis for alerting me to this. Hewson said there should have been no prosecution of elderly TV presenter Stuart Hall, whose sentence for “historic” offences of sex with minors was savagely doubled in length yesterday following a referral to the appeal court by British government law minister Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General. Hewson also stoutly maintained that the age of consent should be reduced to 13, which is the age it had been before it was raised to 16 in 1886 in the midst of a national moral panic whipped up by the press. Good for her!
In the Stuart Hall case, incidentally, the Attorney General had successfully argued that the time Hall would actually serve in prison could legitimately be made longer by ordering that sentences for separate offences should run consecutively rather than concurrently. Consecutive running is precisely what the judge had ordered in the Jeremy Forrest case. It is a really-kick-’em in-the-balls option which has long been available in English law but in my recollection (I was a court reporter many years ago) is used much less than concurrent sentencing (but note the “totality” principle in sentencing guidelines referred to by Jed Justice below). Thus the judge’s Maximum Jack approach in the consensual Forrest case was clearly way out of line, characterized as the case was by many mitigating rather than aggravating factors.
“Give ’em grief” Grieve did at least manage a bit of even handedness, though, in what has plainly been a busy week for him. Grieve was personally in court leading a prosecution against a juror for contempt of court. The juror reportedly wrote on his Facebook page ahead of the trial that he was looking forward to his chance to “fuck up a paedophile” after learning he would be trying a sex offender. While prejudice (in this case a juror alleged to have literally prejudged a trial, or publicly given the appearance of doing so) against paedophiles is not merely acceptable but pretty much obligatory in the UK, the Attorney General presumably felt he had to keep up the pretence that everything is being done to ensure fair trials for all.
So much news! And I haven’t mentioned half of what’s going on even just here in the UK. But it’s time to move from injustice to Justice – Jed Justice.
JED JUSTICE WRITES:
Sorry I’m not a criminal lawyer. Believe me, I wish I was. The next best thing I can offer is, I e-mailed Jeremy’s solicitor, Phil Smith, 6 days ago to ask him many questions concerning the possible grounds for an appeal against the sentence (besides making my own feelings clear). No reply yet.
I had not envisaged the viability of a possible appeal against any of Jeremy’s convictions but I asked Phil Smith about the post-conviction / pre-sentencing shenanigans. I typed:
What mystifies many of us most of all, however, is that Jeremy was advised to waive his rights under the extradition agreement and plead guilty to charges of ‘sexual activity with a child’. He is now officially branded an evil monster alongside Roy Whiting and Ian Huntly [sic; actually Huntley – TOC], in Orwellian terms an ‘unperson’ stripped of his former public identity, and disqualified from teaching children, for the rest of his life. Was this necessary?
TBH the angle of Jeremy’s guilty plea being extracted by foul play, corruption, or undue influence of some sort, and this invalidating his conviction, had escaped me; yet it was staring me in the face all the time! Not that his sentence would have been dramatically affected had he only been convicted for ‘abduction’: applying the principle of ‘totality’ (in accordance with the sentencing guidelines), the judge was minded to give him at least 5.5 years anyway, for his total criminal conduct.
However, the ‘big rush’ doesn’t add up. Had the judge deferred sentencing for at least a week, the probation service would have had time to submit a pre-sentencing report, and the judge himself might have benefited from this, given the complexity, controversy and sensitivity of this case.
The report might have confirmed that Jeremy’s state of mind was terrible, and his marriage was dead in the water, at the time his pastoral work (otherwise known as ‘grooming’) with X who cannot be named, began. They were both vulnerable. The judge failed or refused to recognize this. (Is this not how many intense – and enduring – relationships begin? In my humble experience, “You were there for me when I needed you” counts for a lot and earns loyalty.)
I will raise the poster’s specific point with Phil Smith but don’t hold your breath.
[TOC: In a comment on Heretic TOC made on 2 July in response to All the world loves a lover?, Aztec71 wanted to know whether the legal procedures had been rigged unfairly against Forrest when the crown court was temporarily converted into a magistrates’ court.]
I became heavily involved in this case, having started from a position equivalent to the rest of you, i.e. sharing your outrage at the injustice and the nauseating hypocrisy of self-proclaimed sanctimonious child saviours who abuse their positions of power to punish young people for their insolence in rebelling against victim ideology.
As Tom said, X is indeed a victim of abuse, by the State, not Jeremy Forrest. She told me as much herself, when she described her abuse to me on 5th July [TOC: my emphasis added], having told the world somewhat of this in her interviews for The Sun newspaper a few days earlier. (BTW that’s the first time in over 30 years that I have called The Sun a newspaper. Split narrative indeed!)
I asked X whether she had submitted a victim impact statement as the person who was supposed to be the primary victim. She had. In her statement, she repudiated her victim status and extolled the virtues of her ‘abuser’. The judge dismissed it as irrelevant and showcased her mother as the victim instead.
For whatever reason, X broke off contact with me after the above date. [TOC adds: This was possibly on advice from a solicitor, who may have judged that support, however much appreciated, from someone with a radical Facebook page might backfire.] Had I the chance, I would have asked her what I and others could do to help in her efforts to overturn the indefinite prohibition on her having any contact with Jeremy. No wonder the child saviours don’t want their cruelty in the name of child protection to be exposed. I have since learned that serious efforts are in process but the authorities are dragging their feet.
Secondly, I would have asked her where she stands on this malarkey of not naming her. Being under 18, she might not be at liberty to waive her anonymity, and might even get into trouble for naming herself!
I progressed from anger to action, joining two of Jeremy’s support groups (I don’t know if there are any others). To my complete surprise, I found myself in conversation with X and two other sources close to Jeremy (big names don’t usually bother replying to mere mortals, at least not to me).
This is both a privilege and a curse; the latter because my keener awareness of their pain is emotionally distressing, not to mention frustrating. I don’t have the time and resources to do this as properly and promptly as the job requires. How much worse must it be for Jeremy’s family and X herself? Every day that passes with no change to the status quo is another day of her continuing distress and suffering. She, her biological father and Jeremy’s parents are standing together as one but they don’t deserve to stand alone in their struggle against the might of the State; they deserve active public support.
In the Facebook search engine, type “Jeremy Ayre Fan Club” and “We Support Jeremy Forrest”
Twitter: @Jed_Jones #freejeremyforrest #jeremyforrest (the latter is mostly hostile, where reside potential lynch mobs of the feminist taliban; tweet there at your peril)
[TOC adds: Jed Justice also sent, as Heretic TOC comments, two emails he posted to Forrest’s solicitor in what is presumably his actual name, Jed Jones. I found these very interesting. See comments following All the world loves a lover?]