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Posthumous Execution – A modern slant on an ancient tradition

“You asked a question two days ago that I will now answer for you. You are quite right, Mademoiselle. You cannot libel the dead.”Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile

Since ancient times, it has been seen as a symbolic but rather futile gesture to seek final retribution upon your enemies by digging up their rotten corpse and undertaking the ritual steps of execution albeit with rather less effect than usual as the offending enemy has already escaped and is now thumbing his nose from the safety of the Halls of Mandos or your own particular incarnation of Mozart’s “Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis…” (“When the accused are confounded, and doomed to flames of woe…”)

The list of those historical characters who have faced the ignominy of posthumous execution is short but particularly noble, with many whom we now classify as defenders of liberty such as Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester and the regicides of Charles the First, including Oliver Cromwell himself.

Execution of Cromwell, Bradshaw and Ireton in 1661

Cromwell, Bradshaw and Ireton – The twice slain regicides

In the long view, such personalities, judged by ancient history as traitors and renegades, have often been reformed by modern historians with either a generally benevolent aspect (as with Simon de Montfort) or at least as the lesser of two evils (as with Oliver Cromwell versus Charles I), their most heinous crime having been to die before their accusers could serve judgment upon them.

With the fall of the Ancien Régime in 1789 and the ascendancy of (allegedly) rational jurisprudence it has been recognized that punishing the corpses of the dead serves no purpose in law and their denunciation of such practices as “medieval” has allowed the modern legal establishment to differentiate themselves from the barbarism of the past.

Justice, feudal style

Justice, feudal style

It is with a certain amount of despair then that I see the infection of the culture of victimhood which has long been a feature of trial-by-media gradually take over the prosecutorial system to such an extent that we now have what can only be described as a modern-day witch-hunt being conducted by the Metropolitan Police Service (aka “The Met”) in the form of Operation Yewtree, in complicity with the Crown Prosecution Service (aka  “The CPS”)

Kafka - fragments by netia jones

At least Kafka knew fact from fiction

Although the stated intention of this investigation is not to disinter the corpse of Jimmy Savile and hang it from a sour oak tree, every aspect and nuance of the investigation is immersed in the implication that he is guilty and has only escaped justice through the shrouded veil with Death (and presumably his horse Binky) named as accomplice, before, during and after the fact.

DEATH - The Grim Reaper

Wanted – for aiding and abetting a fugitive

I’m old enough to know that you should have the courtesy of letting the body go cold in the grave before commencing a tango on the tomb, but more fundamentally that the dead can’t speak in their defence against those who would perjure themselves, aided and abetted by no-win, no-fee solicitors, in the hope of a lottery win in compensation from the publicly funded coffers of the BBC or the dregs of Savile’s estate.

Saville has faced no trial by a jury of his peers presided over by a judge in good standing to face his accusers and defend himself. This trial-by-implication and verdict-by-gossip is an offense to law and justice in this country and serves only to bring the Met further into disrepute.

Anna Racoon has blogged well, volubly and at length on this particular subject, but I thought I would nail my colours to the mast and state my own personal distaste at this spectacle.

Sejanus himself would have been proud!


  1. Lynne says:

    With you 110%. Charging people with these offences on someone’s say-so and without any shred of evidence (unless they cough to it like Hall did), is the top of a very slippery slope. If there is evidence of police negligence when an offence was actually reported at the time and nothing done then fair enough. There may be something in the accusation. But for accusers to come out of the woodwork decades later with no original complaint made then WTF? Where’s the evidence with which to convict?

    This is 21st century Britain, not 17th Century Salem.

    Peoples lives are being destroyed over what could be malicious accusation. What the flying fornication happened to the rule of sub judice?

  2. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    I am inclined to agree with one caveat. You can listen to the allegations and see if there are consistencies amounting to a pattern, and see if the behaviour was a breach of the existing laws of the day. I understand this is what did for Hall.

    If there are repeated features and the accusers are unknown to each other, it lends the allegations credibility.

  3. John Galt says:

    Being still in the land of the living, Stuart Hall is able to face his accusers and defend himself if he chose to do so. He was free to plead innocence or guilt and when presented with the evidence of the prosecution has, with the advice of legal counsel, pleaded guilty.

    As far as the judicial process goes he’s had a fair crack at the whip.

    Regarding the other historic charges of sex abuse, some of these are more than 40-years old, for example the charges against Coronation Street actor Bill Roache stem from 1965 and 1968 respectively.

    How can he be expected to defend himself against accusations from nearly 50-years ago?

    There is no statute of limitations regarding these criminal matters and unlike a murder, there is no forensic evidence from the crime itself nor police files from a contemporaneous police investigation, there is just the word of the claimant against the defendant.

    As Lynne quite rightly points out, these are the characteristics of Salem, Joseph McCarthy and the show trials of Stalinist-era Soviet Union. These cases have all of the hallmarks of a miscarriage of justice in the making.

  4. RAB says:

    I may have mentioned once or thrice that I worked for the Crown Court for 12 years. So I have seen many Rape trials “Live” as it were. As a member of the Court staff, I had read the Depositions (witness statements, other evidence) and seen the Anticedents of the accused before the trial even started. We were able to see evidence that may have been withheld from the Jury for legal reasons even. So not un-naturally we came to our own qualified opinion on the strength or weakness of the Prosecution case.

    Rape is one of the most notoriously difficult prosecutions to win, because even in circumstances that are only weeks or months old, with witnesses memories fresh, and forensic evidence to hand, it very often comes down to… She said, he said, and conviction or aquittal down merely to the slickness of the Prosecution or Defence “Theatre and Presentation”, that sways a Jury subjectively.

    So imagine how difficult it is to try to defend yourself against charges that were alleged to have occured 20… 30… 40 years ago. “Where you on the night of 16th June 1972?” Are you fuckin kidding me!! No idea! And for some of the accused in Operation Yewtree, they have no hope whatsoever of mounting a defence.

    Take Jim Davidson for instance. I live in Bristol and Jim was a bit of a fixture in these parts back in the 80′s. He’d married Alison Holloway, a local network news presenter, and as usual things wern’t going very well. So he was pissed out of his mind most of the time. I was in Renato’s (a late night Theatrical and musicians after gig hangout) one night back then, when Jim came in as he often did, rat-arsed, and ordered a pizza. Well he passed out before it arrived at his table. Not wanting to waste it, Mamma Renato (it’s an old family establishment) distributed it amongst us needy, but charged Davidson for it. When he woke up he paid up like a lamb and didn’t even know that he hadn’t eaten it. What fuckin chance has he defending himself from a Rape charge from that period?

    Savilegate police allege that Jimmy commited 30+ and counting rapes. Let’s take a deep breath and a long hard look here. That puts him as the most prolific serial rapist in the history of the world! Yet not one of those alleged rapes were reported at the time. Not one!

    So what has changed? Well the Gravy train is leaving the station and everyone (and his/her Uncle) is clambering onboard. There is a whiff of free money out there, and everyone wants some, even those who only saw him across a crowded studio, and many that the magnificent Anna Raccoon has nailed as never having met him at all. The No Win No Fee Gouls are gathering shedloads of “victims” with a view to a big payday for all (but mainly for them).

    Now I have no idea of the truth or otherwise of these allegations against Savile or the raft of other celebs who have been roped into this, but I want to see clear evidence that can be tested rather than allegations that can never possibly be proved or defended against (especially if you are dead).

  5. Mr Ecks says:

    Not only Anna Racoon but also the blog! is exposing the oceans of crap from Saville’s accusers.
    On the face of it Saville should be bang to rights on these accusations. Many of the supposed offences are “he said (or would say if he was alive to do so)/she said” situations, where she must now be believed unless he can prove otherwise. However, many of Saville’s accusers seem to be none to bright or too fond of doing their homework and have made all kinds of factual mistakes. A particular favourite is claiming to have been assaulted during the taping of shows at the BBC Television Centre when the shows in question were in fact were not taped at the Television centre but at other locations.
    The “Death of the Life of Jimmy Saville” blog produced a particularly amusing refutation of the police’s latest crap about Saville being an “untouchable” icon at the BBC in the 60/70′s and being such a valuable asset that the management there covered up and were complicit in looking the other way while he committed his alleged crimes–a sort of J Edgar Hoover of the UK entertainment world. The blog produced copies of the BBC typewritten documents from that era. Far from helping Saville, or Saville being an all-powerful figure, the BBC management treated him with snobbish contempt, even going so far as to attempt to amend the terms of his “long-term contract”(1 whole year) unilaterally to his detriment. Go read the piece and all the others on the blog. It is an education in itself. An education in how corrupt and full of hate-filled leftist bullshit our society now is.

  6. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    JG –

    Excellent post. And I agree completely, apart from one point not germane to your thesis:
    in no way could Cromwell be considered a “defender of liberty”. In fact, the man was the most authoritarian tyrant that England has ever endured.

  7. John Galt says:

    I’ve defended Cromwell with faint praise as the lesser of two evils on the basis that Charles I was an absolutist tyrant that would have brought foreign roman catholic armies to bare against the army and people of this country had Cromwell and the new model not stopped him. Even during his captivity, Charles I continued to plot and scheme with the legions of papacy to bring down parliament and in consequence restore both absolute monarchy and roman catholicism.

    Cromwell was a fierce defender of genuine democracy in England, but his dismissal of the Rump parliament in 1653 was an abrogation of all that he had previously fought for.

    It was only in prevention of another civil war that Cromwell assumed dictatorship under the guise of the protectorate, but he only did this after his attempts to purge corruption and restore a functioning parliament had failed.

    If Cromwell was truly the authoritarian tyrant you suggest then he would have accepted the crown which he refused time and again.

    Cromwell’s actions in Ireland though were genocide, especially the massacre at Drogheda. For that the warty old bastard can rot in hell for all eternity.

    In effect, the royalist revolution started under Charles I was only really resolved by the Hanoverian succession, whereby parliament defined the rules of succession & terms of monarchy then went shopping for a king to fit.

  8. Roue le Jour says:

    Of course he said/she said is a bastard, that’s why chaperones. It’s almost as if those poor, unenlightened people from past times knew what they were doing, isn’t it?

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