I sat there listening to the history of his abuse to the 5 other victims. He accepted he knew them, as there were photos to prove it. With me, no photos. I and my brothers are liars, crooks, conmen trying to get compensation. He repeatedly said he did not know us and did not know where we lived. I sat listening, getting angrier, hearing what he had done to the lads, going into detail of the abuse. I was gutted. I felt very angry and very guilty that if I had stood up when I was 11, these lads would not be here now.
Lies, lies and even more lies. That is what was being put forward by this priest, or should I say bastard. In the end, the prosecution sat down and Miss B, the defence, stood up. I can only say now, what I said then; I think she was on our side. She handed him over to the jury. He had no defence. His actions over the last 50 years were indefensible.
I could not believe my ears. We then spent a half day listening to the Judge doing his summing up. I sat there in the front row, less than 8 feet away from Robinson. I listened with disbelief that any human being could use, abuse and rape children. I found it very hard to hear what this man had done for 54 years. I was truly shocked. I just sat there shaking my head.
The Judge adjourned till tomorrow Thursday.
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The judge then adjourned for 10 minutes. Whilst he was out I looked at Robinson, sitting about 8 feet away from me. He had been staring at the Judge for 2 weeks never looking to his right, to where his victims were sitting. I decided, to wave at him. Robinson’s attention was broken and he looked straight at me. I raised my finger and pointed straight at his eyes and said out loud, “You fuckin’ bastard, you do remember me”. The police, my brothers and everyone else looked at me. I said what I had to say. Because according to Robinson I do not exist. He does not want to recognise me. And I was abused by this bastard.
The Judge returned, nothing was said to me. So we continued, but I must say, I had to say what I said. I would do it again.
Finally Robinson took the witness box, took an oath as a Catholic priest and started telling a pack of lies. He was bewildered, confused and gave many answers that frankly were for the birds. Letters were produced from the Bishop of Birmingham appealing for him to come home and face the music (at that time he was in LA). Cheques were given to him: one for £8,400, which he could not remember; £200 per week was paid to him for 9 years whilst on the run in LA; a copy of a letter sent by Robinson, asking the Vicar General in Birmingham to get his friends in high places to call off the investigation; his application for a renewed UK driver’s Licence, whilst he was on the run; he was testing the water to see if he would show up on the computers, he didn’t; and many other details. He brushed off all of it, as he is innocent. He travelled to UK in 1991 on his US passport, but was tipped off by persons unknown and, leaving his mother to die, fled the next day.
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After the lunch break court adjourned till 10am Monday. We went home. On Monday my two brothers went to court with me. But when we arrived LE took me up to the witness room as I had to go in the box again.
When I got there Miss B asked me if I had gone on the Internet? I said “Yes.” Had I spoken to any newspapers? I said “yes.” How long did I speak to the reporter? I replied about “45 minutes.” She again said that was it. I was dismissed.
The next person in the witness box was B. I sat listening to his evidence for about an hour and then went C. It was at this point that C told the court that he had worked at the butcher shop weekends. I didn’t know that. C confirmed that he had ridden the motorbike, not with Robinson, but alone. He confirmed that Robinson did work for the butchers and that he did have a motor bike. Then C was stood down.
The next in the box was MH. He confirmed my story of the events of April 09. It was quite a ruthless cross examination, but M just stood there and told the truth. After M was finished, the Prosecution case was finished. I think it was the Wednesday.
I cannot remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday morning that when the jury came into court the Judge asked them “if the juror who was in the pub across the road last night kindly stand up.” No one moved. And again the Judge asked the same question. Then one of the jurors stood up and the rest of the jury was sent out. It had been reported to the police, by RK, that this juror had said to him in the pub “don’t worry we will find him guilty”. This juror was sent home then. The Judge and the barristers for both sides agreed that 11 jurors would continue.
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Now, this was the part that I was really dreading, the Defence. Miss B stood up and introduced herself and then started laying into me for the bag of lies; the fact that I was a con man, a crook; Fr Robinson was the innocent party, I am the guilty one.
As I said, I had been warned by the police, by my Barristers, do not lose your temper. So again, I took a sip of water and replied to the jury that what I have said today is the truth. I was asked many, many questions; each time answering, with, a sip of water and a reply that was not hurried; telling the truth and, above all, keeping very calm.
I was asked if I had gone onto the Internet to find any facts or news, about this case etc. I said that I had and answered the questions. The Judge then asked Miss B “if she had been on the Internet?” When she replied “no,” he said it was about time she did, “I suggest you do it over the week end.” Then quite suddenly Miss B said that was all for the defence. I had kept my cool, and I did not even swear once. I was very relieved, somewhat of an anti climax.
The Judge thanked me for my evidence and suggested that I could go home or stay. I replied that I was going to stay till the end in the public area. As I had waited for 49 years to get there, I didn’t want to miss the outcome. I sat in the public seats, which were incidentally closed to the public, only families and friends of the victims. This I thought was wonderful, one of my worst fears, did not amount to anything.
A blonde lady in front of me grasped my hand. I don’t know who she was. A few minutes later court was adjourned for lunch. I walked out of the court room, where the blond lady hugged me and kissed me before walking away. I still don’t know who she is. I was approached by Mr H, and Miss R who shook my hand. Mr H told me that what I had just done was the bravest thing that they had ever seen in a court of law. Brave, no, I just told the truth and, most important of all, I kept very cool.
I would highly recommend to anyone in that position; raise the glass, it is reassuring to have something in your hand, and take a sip, to give you time to think.
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The door to the court opened. I took a deep breath and walked in, head held high. I was ushered to the witness box. Upon my arrival the Judge, asked me if I wished to stand or be seated. I looked straight at Robinson, who was sitting in the glass room. As he was seated I advised the Judge that I would stand. This is or, should I say, was my time. Now I am in the position of telling the world what happened.
I swore an oath as an Atheist and took a sip of water. I was instructed by the Judge to face the jury and the Judge. At this point I turned to the Judge and took this time to apologise for the language that I was about to use. He replied, “Mr Smith, say what you will. I’ve heard it all before. I will take no offence. All answers to be made in the direction of the jury.”
Mr H asked me my name, date of birth, etc. and then went on to ask me the history of my abuse. I stood tall, listened, took a sip of water and then answered all the questions one by one. I did not raise my voice, as the police had asked me to try not to lose my temper. This went on for 4 or 5 hours. I remember thinking to myself that Mr H did not mention Robinson once. And the other thing was, before each question was answered, I took another sip and a court lady kept coming to me to give me more water. I was worried that I was going to need to go for a pee. But my concentration overcame this.
Then Mr H, asked me if the man that abused me was in court. I raised my arm and pointed straight at Robinson. I looked at the Judge and said aloud, finger still pointing, “that man, Richard John James Robinson, is the man that abused me when I was 11 years old.” I was questioned, “Are you sure?” Finger still pointing , I said “My son is in this court today. It is on my son’s life that is the man that abused me when I was 11.”
Then I dropped my arm. Turning to the Judge, I apologised for pointing , as it is bad manners. He smiled. Then Mr H said “thank you” to me and sat down.
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I was phoned by LE and told to go to court on Friday, 15 October at 9am, where he would be waiting for me. As I was very ashamed, embarrassed and horrified of giving my testimony in front of my brothers, my son volunteered to come with me to give me support. So we went on the train, arriving at the court on time, where we met LE. He showed us upstairs to the room for people giving evidence in the trials. My son was allowed to go with me as his statement had been accepted by both sides prior to trial.
It is at this point that things get a bit comical. I was asked by LE to sit and read my statement so I would know exactly what I had written. Sounds easy, but having read ½ of the front page I was introduced to a lady from the CPS. I started reading again. Then one of the court officials came to me to say hello. Again I started reading. Then Miss R came to say hello; then Mr H came to introduce himself. It is at this point that I told my Barristers that I cannot read my statement, as I had not completed the first page. I told them if I don’t know what happened to me by now it’s a bad job.
I gave the statement back To LE. Everyone then disappeared and as I stood there in the room, a call came for me to go down to the court. I vividly remember standing outside the court door waiting my turn to go on stage. It seemed like it was a TV episode of a crime novel. In fact, I remember this experience must be like being on the stage, as much as being a priest was as much show business; costume, lights, action. At no point was I scared, worried or afraid of facing my demons. I don’t know why. I was not at all bothered about seeing Robinson. He can’t hurt me now. He did then, but not now.
I was ready let the fight begin.
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