Geoffrey Arthur Prime Court of Appeal 21st April 1983

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.

Redaction

Some reports have had victims names redacted and some assault details redacted.

This is a difficult balance-  normally I would think that  I should not “censor” details but on consultation with various people I have taken the decision to redact. This is mainly to protect victims, their friends and relatives from unnecessary detail and to stop the gratification of those who seek salacious details.

In addition to the obvious “victims redaction” I have thus “assault redacted” across most of the spectrum of abuse. This may obscure sometimes the legal reason for the appeal, but should make no large difference to the vital information for researchers that these documents contain. That information is mainly names of the perpetrators, past addresses, the actual charges the perpetrators faced – on which newspapers are pathetically inaccurate and this information enables the links between people and places and abuse at various times to be ascertained.

If you think that the balance is not correct or that a particular redaction needs reconsideration, please say.

For an Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog see [1]

Comment

Geoffrey Prime appeal against sentence. Application dismissed.

He had a “perverted interest in young girls between the ages of 10 and 15.” Over a period of months he collected information about 2,287 such girls and from time to time he telephoned them at their homes, sometimes to get further information about them and sometimes, in the course of doing so, he made obscene remarks. On three occasions he visited girls at their homes whilst their parents were out. He gained entrance by telling lies and when inside he assaulted the girls in a manner and in circumstances which must have been very frightening indeed to them.

Prime was caught out by his wife and then he confessed to spying. I believe he is out of jail now but still alive [2]

For an Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog see [1]

This particular case is unredacted.

[1983] EWCA Crim J0421-5

No. 6128/R/82

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Royal Courts of Justice

Thursday, 21st April 1983
Before:

Lord Justice Lawton

Mr. Justice Michael Davies

and

Sir Roger Ormrod

Regina
v.

Geoffrey Arthur Prime

(Transcript of the Shorthand Notes of Marten Walsh Cherer Limited, 36-38
Whitefriars Street, London, EC4Y 8BJ. Telephone Number: 01-583 7635.
Shorthand Writers to the Court).

MR. G. CARMAN Q.C. and MR. A. CLOVER appeared on behalf of the Applicant.

MR. K. RICHARDSON and MR. J. COWARD appeared on behalf of the Crown.

JUDGMENT

(As approved by Judge)

LORD JUSTICE LAWTON : On 10th November 1982, this applicant, Geoffrey
Arthur Prime, pleaded guilty, at the Central Criminal Court, to two
indictments. The first indictment charged him with 7 offences against the
Official Secrets Act, 1911 as amended in 1920 and 1939. He was sentenced to
14 years’ imprisonment on each of counts 5 and 6. Those sentences were
ordered to run consecutively to one another. On the remaining 5 counts, he
was sentenced on each of them to 7 years’ imprisonment; the sentences on
those counts were to run concurrently with one another, but consecutively
to the sentences on counts 5 and 6. The total sentence on that indictment
was one of 35 years’ imprisonment.

The second indictment charged him with indecent assault on three young
girls aged 11, 13 and 14. He was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment for the
indecent assault on the girl aged 11 and to 2 years’ imprisonment on each
of the counts charging him with indecent assault on the other two girls.
All the sentences on that indictment were to run concurrently with one
another, but consecutively to the sentences on the first indictment. The
consequence was that the applicant was sentenced to a total of 38 years’
imprisonment.

He now applies for leave to appeal against all his sentences.

Mr. Carman, who has appeared for him, has submitted that these sentences
were excessive and contrary to sound and accepted sentencing policy. He
told us that the total length of the sentences was the longest passed for
20 years and, as far as he has been able to discover, the longest
determinate sentence ever passed on a man as old as the applicant, who is
now aged 44.

Mr. Carman’s criticism of the sentence on the indictment charging the
sexual offences was directed mainly to the fact that these sentences were
to run consecutively to the sentences on the indictment charging Official
Secrets Act offences. For the purposes of brevity, I will hereafter refer
to those offences as the “spying offences”. He did submit, however, that
not enough credit had been given to the applicant for his pleas on that
indictment.

The facts upon which that indictment was based can be stated very shortly.
The applicant had a perverted interest in young girls between the ages of
10 and 15. Over a period of months he collected information about 2,287
such girls and from time to time he telephoned them at their homes,
sometimes to get further information about them and sometimes, in the
course of doing so, he made obscene remarks. On three occasions he visited
girls at their homes whilst their parents were out. He gained entrance by
telling lies and when inside he assaulted the girls in a manner and in
circumstances which must have been very frightening indeed to them. All
three cases called for a sharp sentence. He received sharp sentences, but
in all the circumstances the Lord Chief Justice thought it right to make
the sentences concurrent. In our judgment, there was nothing wrong with the
sentences on that indictment. On the facts, the applicant was a dangerous
man so far as young girls living in his area were concerned. The facts of
that indictment were entirely different from the facts upon which the other
indictment was based and, as a matter of sentencing principle, it was
right, subject to the totality of the sentences not being excessive, that
those sentences should run consecutively to the sentences on the spying
indictment.

Fortunately for justice, on the occasion of the last sexual assault, the
police received information about the colour of the assailant’s car. As a
result, they were able to interview the applicant on 27th April 1982. He
was asked about the assault, which had occurred on 21st April 1982. He
denied that he had had anything to do with it and told the police that he
had been at home on the day of the assault. The likelihood is that his
interview with the police led to enquiries by his wife. On 28th April he
confessed to his wife, first, that he had been guilty of the assaults on
the girls and, secondly, that he had been spying for the Soviet Union. He
went to the police himself on 28th April 1982 and confessed to them that he
had been the assailant of the girls. He was arrested, kept in custody and
he has been in custody ever since.

His wife no doubt was greatly upset by what she had been told by her
husband. She looked around the house. She found material there which was
consistent with her husband having been engaged in spying. She took three
pieces of this material to the police on 28th April 1982 and told them that
her husband had confessed to her that he had been spying. She probably did
not know, and may be her husband did not know, that though the information
would have alerted the police to the possibility that a grave Official
Secrets Act offence had been committed, nevertheless no prosecution could
have been started by calling her as a witness against her husband. What the
police could do, and did, was to apply for a search warrant to search the
applicant’s home in Cheltenham. When they carried out the search, they
found a number of articles which showed clearly that the applicant had been
engaged in activities which were a breach of some sections of the
Official Secrets Act. The finding of those articles was not by itself
sufficient to have justified the charges which were in fact ultimately
brought against the applicant. No doubt between the finding of those
articles and 8th June, the security authorities made many enquiries.

On 8th June they decided to start the interrogation of the applicant, who
was, as I have already said, in custody. The interrogating officers
revealed to him that they were in possession of incriminating articles. He
had to admit that the articles had been in his possession, but he
prevaricated as to how they had come into his possession and denied that he
had ever used them for the purposes of spying. He did admit on that
occasion that he had visited Vienna in 1975, 1976 and 1980, and Potsdam in
1981. He was seen again on 11th June 1982. On that occasion he admitted
that on two dates in 1979 he had booked flights to Helsinki with the object
of going to live in the Soviet Union, but said that at the last moment, for
the sake of his wife and his stepchildren, he had decided not to go. He
also admitted that he had been in possession of a briefcase, which had been
given him by the Russians for the purposes of carrying documents in a way
which would probably have defeated most police officers and some security
officers if he had ever been stopped and his briefcase opened. But he still
went on denying that he had ever spied for the Russians.

He was interrogated again for a considerable time on 25th June 1982. Once
again he denied that he had ever engaged in spying on behalf of the Soviet
Union. He was interrogated yet again on the morning of 26th June 1982. Once
again he denied that he had been spying for the Soviet Union. He was told
that there would be further interrogation on the afternoon of 26th June.
When the
interrogating officers came to see him, he told them that he would now make
a full confession of his activities. He did so. The confession was a very
long one, so long that it could not all be taken down on the afternoon and
evening of 26th June and had to be finished the next day. In the course of
that confession, he recounted in detail what he had been doing. He revealed
that he had approached the Soviets when he had been stationed in West
Berlin as a Corporal in the Royal Air Force. That approach had been made in
January 1968. He told them what had happened. On 31st July 1968 he retired
from the Royal Air Force with the rank of Sergeant. He then applied to the
Government Communications Service for a job. He would have appreciated that
his services might be used for intelligence purposes, because whilst in the
Royal Air Force he had been taught the Russian language and in West Berlin
he had been employed on intelligence duties in which his knowledge of that
language was useful.

Between retiring from the Royal Air Force and taking up the post which was
offered him in the Government Communications Service, he was in contact
with the Soviet Union intelligence service and received some instructions
from them as to how to proceed.

On 1st October 1968 he started his employment in the Government
Communications Service. After an initial period of training, he was posted
to a department of that service in London, where, over a period of years,
he was in almost daily contact with intelligence information of the highest
sensitivity and of importance to the security of the realm. In the course
of his confession, he revealed to the interrogating officers what was the
nature of that information and how he communicated it to
the Soviet Union intelligence service.

In March 1976, he revealed in his statement, he had been posted to the
Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham. After a time, he
received promotion and became head of a section. He then received
information which was even more sensitive and which, he admitted, he had
passed on to the Soviet Union intelligence service.

In September 1977, he decided to resign from the Government service. He was
then living in Cheltenham. At first he started working as a taxi driver in
that area. Later he took up employment as a wine salesman with some wine
merchants in Bristol. He seems to have continued to be of value to the
Soviet intelligence service, because he admitted in his statement that in
1980 he had visited Vienna and had made contact with the Soviet Union
intelligence service, and that he had done so again in 1981, when he had
visited Potsdam. On that occasion he told the interrogating officers that
he had received a sum of no less than £4,000 from the Soviet Union. The
inference he seemed to wish to give was that that was more of a pay-off for
what he had done in the past, than a reward for the information which he
had given on that occasion. He told the interrogating officers about
various sums of money which he had received over the years from the Soviet
Union. The payments had started with about £200 to £300 a time way back in
1968. As the years went by they increased, but as far as one can tell from
his statement, the total he received was no more than about £8,000.
Understandably, having regard to the long period of years, he was vague
about the amounts in the early years of his collaboration with the Soviet
Union intelligence service.
The information which he gave in the course of that confession enabled the
security services of this country to make an estimate of the damage which
he had done. That estimate had to be considered by the Lord Chief Justice
at the trial in camera : it has had to be considered by this court in camera
. It is of a very sensitive nature. It follows from the fact that we have
had to consider it in camera , that it is impossible for us to indicate in
this judgment how grave the damage was. It suffices, in our judgment, if we
record this. The Lord Chief Justice said about this information: “The court
has heard enough about your activities over at least nine years, as I read
it, and probably longer, to realise that by your treachery you have done
incalculable harm to the interests of security of this country and the
interests of security of our friends and allies.” We agree.

It follows, therefore, that this is a very grave case indeed. Mr. Carman
has accepted that it is a grave case and he has accepted that on certain
counts, if taken in isolation, sentences of 14 years could not properly be
criticised. His complaint in this court has been that it is the totality of
the sentences which is excessive. He has put his case in this way. He has
said, first, that the applicant provided the evidence against himself. That
was a factor which the Lord Chief Justice should have kept in mind and
which we should keep in mind. Mr. Carman developed that point at some
length. In answer to a comment from the Bench, he pointed out that although
the prosecuting authorities might have been able, from the very fact that
they were in possession of material which the applicant should never have
had in his possession, to bring some charges under the Official Secrets
Act (and from the basis of the admitted possession of that material they
might have been able to start an elaborate investigation, which might have
brought to light further facts upon which a prosecution could have been
founded) without the confession and co-operation of the applicant, there
would have been no hope whatsoever of being able to get together the
information to justify 7 counts, and no hope whatsoever of the security
services being able to assess the extent of the damage which the applicant
had done to the security of the state. He went on further to point out (and
this he did in camera , so I can only deal with it in the vaguest terms)
that as a result of the applicant’s co-operation with the security
services, some of the damage which the applicant may have done could have
been repaired. We are prepared to accept that as a reasonable possibility.

Another argument which Mr. Carman put forward was this, that if the courts
impose sentences of this length, there will be a disincentive on the part
of others who come under suspicion of spying to confess, still less to
co-operate with the security services. His argument was that if the courts
in the interests of the public generally approach cases of this kind in a
less Draconian spirit, it may in the end be of advantage to the public; but
if they go on passing sentences of this length, less information about
spying is likely to get into the possession of the security services. He
underlined the point, which is obvious in this case, that the investigation
by the police was started as a result of Prime’s wife telling the police
what her husband had said to her and what she had found. It is unlikely,
said Mr. Carman, if sentences of this kind become the norm that any other
wife, or any other relative or friend will ever take the
public-spirited attitude which the wife took in this case.

We have weighed all these factors together with a further factor, which was
not put before the Lord Chief Justice, and it could not have been. Since
his sentence, Prime has been interviewed no less than 13 times by the
security authorities and has told them that he is willing to go on being
interviewed. Mr. Carman submitted that this was a factor which we could
take into account. We know nothing about what has been said by Prime to the
security authorities, but as Mr. Carman was authorised by them to give us
this information, the inference is that what Prime has said to them has
been helpful. No doubt the fact that he has since his sentence been helpful
to the security authorities will be taken into account when, in the
ordinary course of events, in years to come his sentence is reviewed, but
it is not a factor which we feel justified in taking into account, save in
so far as it shows that since 26th June 1982, when he made his confession,
he has regretted what he has done and has been willing to do all he can to
minimise such damage as he has caused.

We turn now to consider the totality of these sentences in the light of the
law and the facts. First, the law. The Official Secrets Act, 1911 as
amended, provides for a maximum sentence of 14 years for an offence against
section 1 (1) (c) of the Act. The offence is for an act (and I emphasise
the word “act”) of communicating information. When sentencing a judge has
to consider each act of communicating. Some acts may be comparatively
trivial. Others may amount to acts of treachery. At least two of the counts
charged in the indictment we are considering were acts of treachery. In the
Lord Chief Justice’s words, they were, as I have already said, acts which
have done incalculable damage to the
security of the state. The other acts charged were not so serious as those
acts, but nevertheless damaging to the security of the state. When there is
a series of such acts, and that series covers a long period of years – in
this case a period of 14 years – there is no reason in law why consecutive
sentences should not be passed. Consecutive sentences are passed daily in
our courts in all kinds of cases. There is no reason in law why they should
not be passed for offences against the Official Secrets Act.

On two occasions in recent years, the argument has been advanced
unsuccessfully to this court’s predecessor, the Court of Criminal Appeal,
and to this court in 1969, that there is something wrong about passing
consecutive sentences when the sentences on particular counts have been as
long as 14 years. Those cases are * R. v. Blake * (1961) 45 Cr.App.R. 292
and * R. v. Britten * (1969) 53 Cr.App.R. 111 .

Whether consecutive sentences in this class of case should be passed must
depend upon all the facts of each case. This court has the duty of ensuring
that the totality of the consecutive sentences is not excessive. When
considering whether the totality of the sentences, each of which (as in
this case) cannot be criticised in isolation, has been excessive, this
court has to consider what is the appropriate object of sentencing the
offender before the court. There are four classical reasons for sentencing:
retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation and prevention. The last two have
no relevance in this case. Retribution is a word which in recent years has
been out of favour with criminologists. In modern sentencing policy it
means no more than this, that there are offences which are so grave that
the only way that judges can demonstrate that society will not tolerate a
particular kind of conduct is by
passing a sentence which truly reflects the abhorrence which right- minded
members of the public have of the offender’s conduct. The Lord Chief
Justice used the phrase “public abhorrence” when sentencing the applicant.
We are of the opinion that he was right to do so.

What this applicant had done was to take the Queen’s shilling, both as a
member of the Royal Air Force and of the Government intelligence service,
and then to have sold her, her subjects and allies to a potential enemy. In
time of war such conduct would have merited the death penalty. In peacetime
the law does not provide for a death penalty. The nearest it provides for
is a very long sentence indeed. In our judgment, right- minded members of
the public would consider that a very long sentence was appropriate, and
that is what the applicant received.

There is also in this class of case the element of deterrence. Anyone,
particularly those in the armed services and Government service, who is
tempted, whether by money, threats of blackmail or ideology, to communicate
sensitive information to a potential enemy, should have in mind what
happened to this applicant. This is particularly so nowadays when, because
of developments in the gathering and storing of information by electronic
means, those in comparatively lowly positions often have access to material
which could endanger the security of the state if it got into the wrong
hands. Nowadays it is not only the “Admiral Byngs” who have to be dealt
with severely, it is also those who are well down the Government’s
employment structure. For the same reason as Admiral Byng had to be dealt
with severely, the
humble may have to be dealt with in the same way.

Mr. Carman submitted that when the court came to consider the deterrence
factor in this class of case, it should remember that if the deterrence
factor is too prominent it may provide a disincentive. I have already
mentioned this argument, and we appreciate the importance of it. For many
offences it is a relevant consideration; for example, largescale robberies.
But when one comes to deal with the security of the state, a balancing act
has to be performed by the courts. It may be, as in this case, a very
difficult balancing act, because in this case the wife initiated the
enquiries. We are of the opinion that in the end the scales have to come
down on the side of deterrence. It is much better that spying should never
start than that the spies should subsequently confess. For these reasons
the application is refused.

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers.  National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C]  and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E]  from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G]  and Meditation [H] may be useful.

Links

[1] Cathy Fox Blog 2015 May 8 [constantly updated] An Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/

[2] Wikipedia Geoffrey Prime accessed 2015 May 21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Prime

[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html

[B] NAPAC http://www.napac.org.uk/

[C] One in Four http://www.oneinfour.org.uk/

[D] Havoca http://www.havoca.org/HAVOCA_home.htm

[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/

[F] SurvivorsJustice Blog http://survivorsjustice.com/

[G] Jim Hopper Mindfulness http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/

[H] Jim Hopper Meditation http://www.jimhopper.com/mindfulness/#cultivate

This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email cathyfox@bigfoot.com

cathyfox the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free

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the truth will out, the truth will shout, the truth will set us free...
This entry was posted in #OpDeathEaters, cathy fox blog, Child Abuse, Child sexual abuse, Court, Gloucestershire, MI5 MI6 Security Services, VIP CSA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Geoffrey Arthur Prime Court of Appeal 21st April 1983

  1. Pingback: An Index and Timeline of Court & Court of Appeal, EWCA Documents on Cathy Fox Blog | cathyfox blog

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