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Anorak | Can Peter Connelley Save The Sun From Sharon Shoesmith And Natural Justice As Jason Owen Goes Free?

Can Peter Connelley Save The Sun From Sharon Shoesmith And Natural Justice As Jason Owen Goes Free?

by | 3rd, August 2011

BABY P’s KILLER will be free on Friday. Baby P continues to be the Sun’s shorthand for Peter Connelley, the toddler with the broken back and battered body allowed to die by Jason Owen, the child’s mother Tracey Connelley and her boyfriend Steven Barker. Peter died on 3 August 2007.

The Sun yells:

“Baby P Killer is free on Friday”

And that is true.

As the Mirror reports:

An Old Bailey judge ordered that Owen should be jailed indefinitely but the Court of Appeal cut his sentence to six years because he did not pose a “significant risk”.

Owen will most likely be given a new identity to protect him form attack (and media pressure) and banned from living with minors. The Mirror conjures up an unnamed source to tell readers:

“He thinks he is like those boys that killed Jamie Bulger [Jon Venables] and his life will be at risk if people know who he is. But I don’t reckon he and his girlfriend will be able to keep their mouths shut long enough to keep quiet about who they are.”
But the real story is buried in the Sun’s past pursuit of Sharon Shoesmith. It re-emerges in this line:

In a second blow to the child’s memory, judges yesterday gave bungling boss Sharon Shoesmith the go-ahead to claim £2.5million over her sacking.

The Sun seems to be equating the action of a man jailed for his appalling crimes and the works of the former head of Harringay social services whose dismissal by the former children’s secretary Ed Balls was “intrinsically unfair and unlawful“. The law ruled that he had been made a “scapegoat“. She was the victim of a media “witch hunt“.

The Sun is gathering in the wagons for another righteous campaign. The paper is mired in allegations that one of its past drives to protect the nation’s kids featured the paper hacking into the voice mail of Sara Payne, a woman whose daughter had been murdered by a pedophile. There is no proof that the paper did spy on Ms Payne but the allegation has been enough to make the Sun look opportunistic and self-serving. This is the Sun that stuck its logo on Baby P’s grave, branded murdered Bristol woman Joanna Yeates with its banner – and is sister paper to the now defunct News of The World that did spy on murdered’s child Milly Dowler’s nearest and dearest. Only this week the paper featured Sara Payne on its front page and helped praise upon her Sara’s Law, the cause to let anyone to know if a sex criminals lives in their area. The Sun backed the cause that spreads fear and offers a criminal no opportunity to move on. The paper is keen to show that it’s a force for good.

And what of that £2.5million pay out? Well, the Guardian says the figure goes up to £500,000.

The Mail sees that half a million and raises it:

Sharon Shoesmith is in line for £1million in compensation from the taxpayer because of her sacking over the scandal of Baby P, who died four years ago today.

The latest news on her appeal is:

The supreme court has rejected applications by the Department for Education and Haringey council to challenge a landmark ruling that Sharon Shoesmith was unfairly sacked following the death of Baby P.
The education department and the north London borough had sought permission to attempt to overturn the appeal court ruling, with the government arguing for the principle that ministers – and not the courts, through judicial review – should be responsible for their decisions.

A spokesman for the supreme court said the applications for leave to appeal had been refused.

The education department said it was “very disappointed to hear that permission for leave to appeal to the supreme court has not been granted. The government still believes it was right in principle for Sharon Shoesmith to be removed from her post as director of children’s services.

“We believe that the supreme court should have heard this case as we believe there are questions of constitutional importance involved, beyond the specific question about whether Ed Balls should have had a meeting with Shoesmith before she was removed from her post.

David Cameron was as opportunist as Balls – both vain politicians using their status as dads to burnish their caring credentials with a rolled up copy of the Sun’s Baby P crusade.

The law will decide what was right. And you will pay for that justice.

Shoesmith, who earned £133,000 a year as an employee of Haringey council, is now liable for pay and pension contributions dating back to her dismissal in December 2008. Some estimates put the compensation and legal costs in the two-year case at more than £1m – a sum that would be paid by the council and the government.

Ed Ballss’ legacy in the matter of Baby P is lamentable. He sucks up to the Sun’s campaign to sack social workers by dismissing Shoessmith in public; his actions makes it harder to recruit good social services staff; he costs an impoverished London borough a load of cash. Hows’ that for skills?

Says Balls:

“I am very surprised and concerned by the supreme court’s decision to refuse to hear this appeal. I fear that the appeal court judgment will now make it very difficult for ministers to act swiftly in the public interest to use their statutory powers when children are at risk, as I did in this case. This judgment creates a serious and worrying constitutional ambiguity, which now requires urgent action from the government to resolve.”

Nothing to do with looking proactive and tough in the teeth of one of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid campaigns, then, Ed?



Posted: 3rd, August 2011 | In: Key Posts, News Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink