Lying in the Sun

Hogan Howe -Cybercrime

Hogan Howe Cybercrime 

BBC London
Drivetime Show
Eddie Nestor interview Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe

Around 25 minutes in, on the recording.


Let’s talk about cybercrime then, more specifically bullying.  Tell me about that file that was handed to you, re the McCanns... you know concerned individuals...and certainly that story has been in the headlines with tragic consequences yesterday, a file handed to you, are you looking at it at the minute?


No, what happened…first of all you may have seen over the last ten days that we’ve launched a cybercrime unit, about 500 officers.  That’s really intended to target people who steal things not necessarily bullying.   I think that’s going to be a real challenge to us in the future just in terms of volume. 

But in terms of that file.  What happened if you recall was that the family handed to our team who are investigating... or reviewing the murder of …sorry tut... reviewing the missing girl, the McCann daughter, the file was handed to that team, erm and we were liaising with Leicestershire police which is where the McCann family live, and as sadly it turned out, possibly the person who was trolling or abusing people may well have been.  So the file was in the process of being considered partly by the Met, partly by Leicestershire, but was likely to have been dealt with by Leicestershire police, not by the Met.


Just give us an idea of what trolling is actually because we’ve…on twitter we’ve been arguing about …you see I mean… I can say I don’t like the commissioner, I can say I don’t like the way he speaks to me, I don’t like... I could say all of that that’s an opinion that’s not trolling is it…at what point where is your line because as far as I’m aware it looks to me like a subjective line.. Where’s your line commissioner?


It’s not really where my line is it, it's where…what does the law say?


What does it say?


Where does abuse become a criminal offence, and of course well -  I don’t like you, you don’t like me, we are in conversation we’re abusive, well in…as human beings that’s just what happens in life isn’t it?   But of course if you become racist if you become threatening,  if you threaten to kill someone these are very different forms of things as human behaviour.  That becomes a crime.  If you threaten to kill someone you can go to prison for 10 years if they believe it and you want them to believe it.  If you are racist, there is a consequence  if you are threatening in your behaviour.  If you transfer that onto the cybercrime it’s broadly the same.  Mild, you know abusive behaviour between individuals sadly badly wrong but the police can’t get involved in all human behaviour they can only get involved where there is a crime.  And generally it’s where there are very aggravating circumstances you cannot blackmail people you cannot threaten them you cannot be racist, and broadly that’s the sort of line we draw in the cyber area.


It does pose challenges doesn’t it?


And frankly, we the police, cannot get involved in all bad behaviour between human beings I mean sometimes if we were to be defamatory with each other you know we might to have go to the civil courts not the criminal courts but defamation is a different area altogether the police don’t get involved in that goodness you have to go to a civil court for that, and some of these areas the civil law court will have to consider remedies, it’s not always going to be criminal law or the police.


Interesting Hogan-Howe's words:

So the 'person' who WAS abusing or trolling PEOPLE -  sadly as it turned out, possibly or may have been.

Think about those words.

The person who
WAS abusing or trolling (he is not definite which, abusing or trolling) - but he is definite in saying WAS but then continues by saying possibly or may have been?

It cannot be a case of the person WAS trolling and also POSSIBLY or MAY have been.  Cannot be both WAS and MAY HAVE/POSSIBLY.

And he cannot say - 'sadly as it turned out.'

The use of 'turned out' indicates a conclusion was reached.  And quite clearly
if it is only a possibility that the person being spoken of may have been trolling then there was no investigation/conclusion arrived at.  

How could there have been a conclusion when as Hogan-Howe has stated the file was in the process of being considered partly by the Met, partly by Leicestershire Police.  We could say this of anyone, anyone at all then who has ever tweeted about the Madeleine case without first viewing/investigating their comments that possibly they had been abusive.  Just as on the other hand we could equally say of anyone, that possibly they had not!

Hogan-Howe also said that ONLY if a crime had been committed would the police investigate, and what constituted a crime as in cyberbullying was:

  • Threatening someone
  • Blackmail
  • Racism

So who is the PERSON being spoken about in this interview who sadly POSSIBLY OR MAY have been trolling PEOPLE?  What reason for Hogan-Howe not to be able to bring himself to refer to whomever the person he was speaking of by name?  And what PEOPLE, WHO are the people this PERSON was/possibly/may have been trolling?

So many names in THAT file the file which the McCANN FAMILY handed to the Met Police.  A file compiled by a band of concerned individuals is what the public were led to believe.  Buddies, McCann acquaintances?

Hogan Howe said the Met Police (the ones investigating Madeleine's murder
...or missing status...were not going to be investigating the FILE, but handing it over to the Leicester Police (who after considering whether a crime had been committed presumably) would act.

So, no matter who Hogan-Howe is referring to as being a person who WAS trolling, possibly trolling or may have been trolling - there was no full blown investigation, in fact there was no investigation, only a file which was in the process of being considered.

Hogan-Howe did not say who he was making reference to in this interview.   I take it, safe to say it was Brenda Leyland he was referring to but he reluctant to speak her name, playing it safe!  

Good old Hogan-Howe, so glad he cleared that up for us.  Met were NOT involved, and Leicestershire hadn't yet decided that any crime had been committed by either Brenda Leyland or I take it any other persons named in THAT file of the McCanns! 

With his carefully chosen words (bearing in mind there had been no police investigation into Brenda Leyland, not according to Hogan-Howe) he still managed to leave the listening public with the distinct impression that Brenda Leyland HAD indeed been threatening the McCanns:- 

"...sadly it turned out, possibly the person who was trolling or abusing people may well have been...".  

(to be noted the McCanns are not on Twitter.  I asked previously, can someone be trolled if they are not on twitter?)

He also managed to clear the Met of any blame, responsibility or involvement. BALL firmly kicked back in the McCANN court!  And of course, that of the band of CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS, and whomever else conspired in this unsavoury mess which took a precious life.  

What is also absolutely clear here is that Brenda Leyland did NOT threaten the McCanns.  She spoke her mind with regards the case of missing Madeleine McCann, and like thousands if not millions of others, she did not believe the stories they have told, and with more than good reason!  

By Hogan-Howe's own definitions Brenda Leyland did NOT fit any of the criteria for cyberbullying as laid out by him: 

  • Threaten anyone
  • Blackmail anyone
  • Was not racist

It is clear from the comments on Twitter made by this lady that she did not commit any crime.

It is clear from this interview with Hogan Howe that Brenda Leyland did not commit any crime did not abuse anyone on Twitter, in life, not the McCanns, not anyone.   

If Brenda Leyland had committed any crime,  Hogan-Howe would not have been so mealy mouthed in this interview.

But what is more clear from the messages now being shown online which were sent TO Brenda Leyland, sent TO her by this band of CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS - who most obviously were dealing with, and had to have been in contact with the McCanns/Mitchell/someone in their team, for them to have been able to pass the file to the Met - is, that it was NOT Brenda Leyland who was bullying anyone - it was the so called concerned individuals.

One has to ask - How is it the McCanns could have missed the serious abuse and threats that these concerned individuals who they communicated with had been dishing out?   McCanns have a media monitor (some uncle or someone, the guy who mucked up for them in Court, but hell that's another story - he's not shown himself to be the most trustworthy or reliable individual for sure) and presumably this media monitor was looking around online, and if doing his job, he would have come across the concerned individuals their online messages to persons who do not believe the McCanns story that Madeleine was abducted long before the compilation of said file.

I think Hogan-Howe's performance in the Nestor interview was pretty much a case of 'job done' for him, he has no intention that the Met take any blame in this matter!

Where Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns, this band of concerned individuals, Sky and Brunt will kick the ball next- we'll have to wait and see!

What we do know from Hogan- Howe is that the McCann family gave the file to the Met, Operation Grange, who had no intention of dealing with it but passing it to Leicestershire Police.

So, with regards the main players in this, how does the chain look?  Well what we do know is:

  • The concerned individuals, compiled the file.
  • They contacted McCanns
  • McCann family accepted receipt of said file (safe to say I would imagine McCanns discussed with Clarence Mitchell and/or some other members of their team as to the next step)
  • McCanns pass file to the Met

What we don't know is WHO gave the file to Sky and Martin Brunt enabling Brunt to act as he did before the police had the opportunity (according to Hogan-Howe to consider its contents?  Or, who gave Brunt if not the entire file, but at least the tip off that a file existed, the nature of the content, for Brunt to be able to confront Brenda Leyland and tell her the police were after her?

Somebody did!

  • Did the McCanns/Mitchell give it to Brunt/Sky?
  • Did the Met give it to Brunt/Sky?
  • Did the concerned group give it to Brunt/Sky?

And that is a crucial question, as according to Hogan Howe, it WAS the McCANN family who gave it to the Met - AND NOT THE CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS who sent it to them.

Which tells us also that the CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS  
'first port of call' was NOT the police, as it should have been if they were concerned that a criminal offence had been committed - they chose to contact the McCanns?

I would ask -
How well do the McCanns KNOW the CONCERNED INDIVIDUALS?

Gerry McCann said people should be charged - Darn right they should be, both in the case of missing Madeleine and this latest tragedy.   Two lives lost!   

And for those of you who have perhaps not seen the
types of messages, Brenda Leyland - by all accounts a most decent lady - received, sent by the type of concerned individuals with whom the McCanns dealt/collaborated? here below a link to the the excellent blog 'Notes from a Potting Shedder' where they can be viewed.

Be warned, the messages sent to this lady were truly shocking. 

Without question these types of messages sent TO Brenda Leyland fit exactly Hogan-Howe's criteria as detailed being criminal.

As I said previously with regards tweets sent threatening the kidnapping of the McCann kids, that if such a tweet had ever existed on Twitter the person lodging such a comment would have been tracked down instantly and the tweet re-produced millions of times online - if it existed.

The concerned individuals would not have allowed such an opportunity to pass them by.

And, when they passed the file to the McCanns they the McCanns would have surely immediately phoned police - NOT waited until the concerned individuals put together their file.

That is just too ridiculous for words.

Someone threatens to kidnap your kids you spring into action you contact police you don't talk about it on radio as McCann did.

The fact that Hogan-Howe, the Met, Operation Grange were happy to pass THAT FILE on to Leicestershire Police to deal with tells us too there was NO tweet or threat to kidnap the McCann kids - had there been in that File a threat by way of a Tweet or in some other form, it would have been the first thing they wanted to see.  Hogan-Howe and Operation Grange would have jumped on it - he would not have been sitting on this radio show being all vague about a 'person who possibly/may have been/was trolling, people'  now would he - the glory of being able to say they the Met had caught the Twit person who sent it, especially when after 3 and half years they haven't been able to come up with a single thing re Madeleine's disappearance would have been - exactly what the Met need at a time when they are being heavily criticised for other cases.

As to Hogan-Howe - speaking the M word - that was no mistake!   Just exactly where he was going with it?   Like most everyone else, Hogan-Howe "knows" from the investigation that Madeleine will not be found alive.  The Portuguese investigation the evidence gathered already points to this.  Hogan-Howe planting the seed that Madeleine was murdered, but not by the non-suspect parents or their buddies of course, an indication perhaps that the closing of this investigation is not far off?

Anita if as you say Brenda Leyland had been contacting police with regards the case of Madeleine then they would already have known exactly who she was and would I am sure already viewed whatever she wrote as tweets.  The police would therefore already have known that this lady was NOT taking part in any criminal acts else they would have been in contact with her before any file was compiled.

Makes the reason as to why this lady was targeted by Brunt all the more curious.

Angelique what a lovely comment, thank you.
9th October 2014
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