Fenwick, Chamberlain, O’Hanlon, Jones, Fisher, Hamer, Moody, Tilley, Alton and Brown. Court of Appeal 15 March 1978

These court appeals from 1978 relate to police corruption in the Obscene Publications Squad, which is relevant to a post, yet to be published, on how police corruption affected child sexual abuse.

This have been subjected to automatic reading software and so some mistakes could creep in. Many have been corrected when spotted if the correction is obvious. If not obvious then a questionmark is left in the text. The text therefore should not be seen as definitive.

2016 Cathy Fox Blog Index / Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation [2]


Nos. 343/R/77 3079/R/77

EWCA Crim J0315-1


Wednesday, 15th March 1978

Lord Justice Geoffrey Lane



George Edward Fenwick

Michael Leonard Chamberlain

Charles Edward O’Hanlon

David Cyril Jones

Peter John Fisher

David Gareth Lee Hamer

Alfred William Moody

Rodney Lawrence Tilley

Leslie Frank Alton

and Bernard Peter Brown

(From the Shorthand Notes of Walsh, Cherer & Co. Ltd., 55-57 Clifford’s Inn, Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1BU. Telephone Number: 01-242 7057. Shorthand Writers to the Court.)

MR. F. WEITZMAN, Q.C. and MR. T.J. LANGDALE appeared on behalf of the Applicant Fenwick.

MR. M.H. SELF, Q.C. and MR. R. GREY appeared on behalf of the Applicant Chamberlain.

MR. W.M. HOWARD, Q.C. and MR. J.G. BOAL appeared on behalf of the Applicant O’Hanlon.

MR. E. LEWIS appeared on behalf of the Applicant Jones.

MR. S.N. PARRISH appeared on behalf of the Applicant Fisher.

MR. G. SHINDLER, Q.C. and MR. B. BARKER appeared on behalf of the Applicant-Hamer.

MR. V.K. WINSTAIN appeared on behalf of the Applicant Moody.

MR. S. BATTEN appeared on behalf of the Applicant Tilley.

MR. R. SONES appeared on behalf of the Applicant Alton.

MR. M. KALISHER appeared on behalf of the Applicant Brown.


(As approved, by Judge)

LORD JUSTICE GEOFFREY LANE: One confesses that it is with a heavy heart that one turns to consider the sentences imposed by the learned Judge on these various Applicants. The sheer waste of valuable manpower in confining to prison men who, if free, could no doubt be making a valuable contribution and a much needed contribution to society is an appalling thought. However, it is necessary to face the fact that for a considerable period of years this particular section of the Metropolitan Police, the Obscene Publications Squad, was involved in wholesale corruption. The very men who were employed by the public to bring the corrupt to book were thriving themselves on the proceeds of corruption. It may be, as has been urged before us, that there are others and many others who were involved in this sorry story and who have escaped prosecution or escaped conviction or escaped their just deserts. That is inevitable in this sort of situation when this type of corruption has been going on for years, as it obviously had.

It is true that many of those who have appeared before this Court and appeared before Mr. Justice Mars-Jones and a jury at the Central Criminal Court, had little to do with the setting up of the corrupt organisation: they came upon it already organised and they had the misfortune to be posted to this Squad. It is true that it was extremely difficult no doubt for anyone who was posted to that Squad to avoid being drawn into the net, avoid being involved, avoid being compromised to the point where it was, practically speaking, impossible to speak out and to do anything about it, but one of the unpleasant tasks which faces this Court is to ensure that the level of sentence in this type of case is sufficient in the future to provide the stimulus to the faint-hearted so that the fainthearted will not permit themselves to become embroiled should they find themselves facing temptation.

Heavy sentences were undoubtedly called for. The first question we have to decide is whether the general level of sentence which the learned Judge selected as appropriate was correct. Having decided that one way or the other we then have to decide whether the ratio of sentences upon which the learned Judge decided as between the various Defendants was correctly assessed.

Detective Chief Superintendent Moody was the most senior officer involved who now remains in the picture. He was sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment. Below him, dealing (as we announced we intended to) with the first two trials together so far as sentences are concerned, came Detective Chief Inspector Fenwick who was sentenced to ten years and Detective Inspector Alton who was also sentenced to ten years. Were those sentences excessive? We think not. We have been referred to section 3(3) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. We do not think that is a matter which we can possibly take into account.

So far as Detective Chief Superintendent Moody was concerned Mr. Winstain, with the eloquence to which we have become accustomed in this case from him, has said everything that could possibly be said on behalf of his client, but, as the learned Judge – we think rightly – said in the course of sentencing Moody (I now read from page 86 of Volume 4 at E) “you were undoubtedly the main outlet of this conspiracy; you also corrupted many other officers, including young officers, young detective constables. By reason of those facts and the high office that you occupied, you must go to prison for twelve years.” Nothing really that can be said by way of mitigation can detract from the force and the accuracy of those remarks. It is perfectly true, and must be true in a case such as this dealing with police officers, that Moody had a splendid record up to the time he was discovered, he had commendations galore and there is no doubt it would not be difficult to find, in his case, numbers of actions which he had performed which went to nothing except his credit, but the Judge, we think, was right in what he said and right in the sentence that he passed.

The same goes so far as Fenwick is concerned. He, as I say, was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in all. He came, it is true, to an existing system but he helped it along enthusiastically. He was an active recruit to the system and the corruption and nothing that he did was anything but a benefit to the corrupt system in the Obscene Publications Squad.

We have been addressed by Mr. Sones on behalf of Alton, who was also sentenced to ten years. He, too, came to the Squad when corruption was firmly established. It is not fair, said Mr. Sones, to put him in the same class as Moody. We think the Judge accurately differentiated between those two by the two years’ difference in the sentences imposed upon them. There was only one point in mitigation which impressed this Court so far as Alton was concerned and that was the terrible sickness from which his wife is suffering. Unhappily we feel we have to harden our hearts against that particular ground and not disturb the sentence.

Chamberlain was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment. He was a Detective Constable and it was urged upon us in mitigation on his behalf by Mr. Self that he, Chamberlain, was not as bad as he sounded. He was in fact a Detective Constable who, not unlike Detective Constable Brown, had busied himself most enthusiastically in the affairs of the corrupt Squad; indeed of all the officers with which we have been concerned, Chamberlain seems to display the most cynical disregard for any idea of duty or honesty and showed no signs of remorse. He was an officer who, quite deliberately, gave false evidence at certain proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court involving a person charged with attempted purchasing of pornographic literature which resulted in that man’s acquittal. For that activity he was rewarded financially. We find it impossible to accede to the arguments which were advanced on his behalf. We think that eight years in his case was a proper sentence.

O’Hanlon was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. He had been a Detective Sergeant. On his behalf Mr. Howard put forward a moving plea. He made two points which we think we should deal with particularly. The first was this, that this was not the worst sort of corruption. By that Mr. Howard did not mean that it is not serious or very wicked or terribly wicked for the police to be involved in corruption, what he meant was that this was corruption concerning pornography rather than corruption concerning something more vicious, such as drugs. To that we have, with regret, to reply that whatever the particular scene of the corruption, if police are involved and involved to this extent, the gravity can scarcely be over-emphasised. The other point was this, that it would have required a man of extreme strength of character to set himself up against the corruption which he would find when he arrived at the Obscene Publications Squad. To that again we have to say, with regret, that that is the purpose of imposing heavy penalties, so that people shall be reminded that the alternative to not resisting may be even worse. The sentence on O’Hanlon of seven years was a correct sentence.

Jones, who was a Detective Sergeant convicted of three substantive particular counts as well as conspiracy, was sentenced to seven years. There is nothing that we can see that is wrong with that particular sentence. There is no reason to doubt the Judge’s assessment of Jones’s participation.

Fisher was convicted of County? an earlier conspiracy to accept bribes. We feel sympathy with Fisher. He was sentenced to four years and we were moved by the address which Mr. Parrish made on his behalf. There again we feel it was quite impossible to say that the Judge was wrong in the assessment that he made of Fisher’s complicity or the sort of punishment which that complicity deserved.

Turning then to the other men with whom we have been concerned today and whose sentences now arise for review on their application, the first is Hamer. Mr. Shindler, on his behalf, has pointed out what indeed could have been pointed out with respect to any of these men up to the time of discovery of these offences, that they had been sound, honest, reliable, competent and trustworthy men. Mr. Hamer had the good fortune to have these remarks said on his behalf by Detective Superintendent Roach. This is referred to in Volume 3, page 57. He lived in modest circumstances, is married with two young children and it was, to some degree, suggested that he was rehabilitated because after he left the Squad there was no suggestion he had in any way been involved in anything in the slightest way discreditable.

Tilley was in special circumstances because he had not only pleaded guilty to the chief Count against him, but he had also assisted the prosecution by giving advance information of what he was likely to say in evidence and accordingly assisted the provision of evidence of corroboration in respect of such evidence. As far as he was concerned, the Judge said had that situation not been as it was, he would have sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment; as it was he reckoned that three was enough. Hamer sought to draw comfort from that on the basis that he, Hamer, a Detective Constable, had been under the command of Tilley and the fact that Hamer got four years from the Judge and Tilley only three was inappropriate and that he should at least not have had more than Tilley. That disregards the service that Tilley had performed and disregards the fact that Tilley had, at least to some extent, shown contrition by his change of plea; albeit at a late stage.

That leaves Brown. Mr. Kalisher, on his behalf, quarrels with the Judge’s assessment of Brown’s complicity. Let me read from page 87 of Volume 4 of the proceedings where the Judge deals with this particular Applicant. “Bernard Peter Brown, although you never rose above the rank of Detective Constable your rank belies your importance in this conspiracy. You were a collector of bribes on a large scale and you did a substantial share of the really crooked work which was necessary for the perpetuation of this conspiracy and you did so with ingenuity and shameless audacity. I thought that I ought to put you in exactly the same category as Detective Constable Chamberlain, whom I dealt with in the last trial, but I am persuaded that there is this to be said in your favour: there is no evidence that you corrupted anyone else.” This was a man, Brown, who collected bribes and collected a-large number of bribes. He was one of the men who was responsible for re-selling seized pornography so that it could be sold again by the pornographers and he took a hand in falsifying statements so that justice could properly be perverted. We think, if anything, the Judge was erring on the side of leniency and had the matter been open to us, we would have put him in precisely the same class as Chamberlain. There is nothing in this application at all.

Let me say this in closing. In general this very experienced Judge had spent days and weeks listening to the evidence in this case, obviously making meticulous notes and one can see, from the way the matter appears in his summing-up, that he, par excellence, more than anyone else, had precisely the feel of this case, and far better than any one of us was able precisely to estimate the relative degrees of responsibility which existed between these various defendants. It would only have been in the face of a glaring error of some sort that we would have presumed to interfere with the ratio of sentences which this learned Judge decided upon, unless perhaps there had been some change in the factual circumstances since the date of the trial.

Neither of those two considerations apply here. We think that the overall level of sentence was correct and we think that the various sentences which were imposed individually properly reflected the degree of complicity and degree of wickedness of these various Applicants. Accordingly each of these applications for leave to appeal against sentence fails.

 2016 Cathy Fox Blog Index / Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation [2]

Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. These links are generally UK based.

  • 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.
  • Hwaairfan blog An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma  [J]
  • Survivors UK for victims and survivors of male rape or the sexual abuse of men [K]
  • Voicing CSA group [L] helps arrange survivors meetings in your area


[2] 2016 Cathy Fox Blog Index / Timeline of Court Appeals and Documentation https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/

About cathy fox blog on Child Abuse

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2 Responses to Fenwick, Chamberlain, O’Hanlon, Jones, Fisher, Hamer, Moody, Tilley, Alton and Brown. Court of Appeal 15 March 1978

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

  2. Pingback: Fenwick, Chamberlain, O’Hanlon, Jones, Fisher, Hamer, Moody, Tilley, Alton and Brown. Court of Appeal 15 March 1978 | cathy fox blog | fighting for the rights of childrens human rights

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