David Steel

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Deskdiary | 07:42 Wed 26th Feb 2020 | News
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David Steel knew about Cyril Smith's child abuse, yet did not report it to the police.

Is there a criminal case to answer here?


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Unfortunately not, it would seem. Surely, if there were grounds for a criminal case, it would already have been initiated given that his inaction has been known for some time.
It seems so, but i bet they don't. How can anyone sit back and be told that a colleague was at the centre of an abuse scandal, and do nothing at all, shame on him.
This first came to light quite some time ago. Whether there is a criminal case to answer I really don't know - but there ought to be. Absolutely shameful.
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According to LBC this morning, Steel has admitted that Smith confessed to him about the child abuse, but because it was in the past he did nothing.

If somebody confessed a murder to me, and I did nothing, surely I would have a case to answer, wouldn't I?
you would DD, can't understand Steel's inaction at all.
Just more of the back scratching old pals act with a healthy dose of 'I know better than you what to do about stuff' from a conceited trougher.

With any luck he'll be shunned by decent folk but given the company he keeps it's doubtful he'll have to look far for a bridge partner
//If somebody confessed a murder to me, and I did nothing, surely I would have a case to answer, wouldn't I?//

What charge do you have in mind?
not reporting a crime is not a crime.
This is not news. It was publicised some time ago that David Steel was aware of reports about Cyril Smith. That's not quite the same as knowing he was abusing. Which isn't the same as proving he was abusing. This has been covered before in TV documentaries.
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I have literally no idea NJ.
The short answer is, there is none, dd. People in the UK have no obligation to report alleged crimes and do not commit an offence if they fail to do so.
They may also feel that reporting would be futile if history is anything to go by.

Just wondering, do police officers have a responsibility to report crimes?
Cyril Smith had already been investigated by the police, who had taken no action.
David Steel knew of this.
He recommended Smith for a knighthood years later despite knowing this.
Those appear to be the basic facts.
Do it doesn’t appear to be the case that Steel was covering up anything that was not known, other than turning a blind eye when it came to the knighthood recommendation.
If David Steel knew that Cyril Smith had been investigated by the police, and no action was taken as a result of that investigation, why should David Steel not recommend him for a knighthood?
Well, because there was a good chance that Smith might have continued his “activities” in the meantime.
I don’t know for sure, but the reason the police took no action was not I think because they were sure there was no case to answer.
Nonetheless I have sympathy for Steel. It’s the police who need to look at themselves.
And plainly have.
Did Smith actually confess to Steel?
because there was a good chance that Smith might have continued his activities in the meantime

as you say, that's a matter for the police. Steel was a party leader, not a criminal investigator. If the police had investigated and cleared Smith, Steel was surely entitled to regard him as just another innocent man.
With the benefit of hindsight - which will be used to crucify him for a short time, and then he'll be forgotten - Lord Steele may well have behaved differently, and that is something he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

There is unlikely to be any further police action because, as advised, he has not broken any statute laws, merely moral ones, for which he cannot be prosecuted, excepted in the court of public opinion.
There’s certainly no criminal case for Lord Steel to answer: that’s ridiculous.
I doubt if he’ll beat himself up over it too much: he certainly shouldn’t. In hindsight he made an error of judgment, but lots of people do that.

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