Monthly Archives: December 2011

32. “We Knew He Was Guilty”

For the 6 days that I was in court I had often looked at a man in a green suit sitting at the back of the court taking notes.  I do not know who this man was, but after sitting, looking, many times our eyes made contact, we both looked at each other.  I often wondered what he was doing, what he was thinking?  He would then go back to making notes.  Each time that Robinson had been stood down,the barristers and this man would go out of the door together with the prisoner.

I always considered that I, or should I say “we,” were on the good side.  So that would make him part of the bad side.  We stood in the public area outside the court room, he was talking on the phone.  As I was walking past him he put away his phone and this is what happened.  He put his hand out to me and I shook it.

He looked me in the eyes and said, “We always knew you were all telling the truth, we knew from day one.  We knew he was guilty.”  As we were still holding hands, I looked him in the eyes and said “thank you, that means more to me than anything that went on in that court.”

Having said thank you, the police called me over, as they were going to the pub to celebrate.  I agreed and my brothers also needed a drink.  As Sky News was doing a live broadcast at the front of the building, the police took us out the back of the court.  As we were walking about a ¼ mile to the pub I phoned J on my mobile phone, whereupon she said she was watching the live broadcast, live on TV back in Ireland.  We got to the pub, it was about, 1.30 pm and the pub was busy.  LM got the drinks in and I was standing talking to Mr. B, the man who led the investigation.  I was taking my chance to thank him personally for his fantastic staff, without whom, this case would have been dead in the water.  We had a drink with the Officers, GS and his brother P were there.  We were all  having a laugh and a joke, talking about Robinson’s 32nd fight, the one that he lost, when in walks the man in the green suit.

He went to the bar and the police bought him a drink, which I found most strange.  I suddenly had this urge to talk more to the man.  I went up to him and said hello.  I then went on to say the following, “thank you for your words outside the court, they mean so much to me, it helps me realize that what we had achieved was fantastic, getting that monster off the streets.”  He said “I am telling you, we knew that you were all telling the truth from day one.  We knew he was guilty.  He should have pleaded guilty, but he would not do it.  He wants to die an innocent man.”

He then asked me, and I quote, “do you really know what you are up against?”   I replied, “the church.”  He said, “I was once sent to Los Angeles for three days to get Diocesan employment records. They would not talk to me.  Then I was sent to the Vatican, again for three days, to get the information from their records.  They would not talk to me.  If they won’t talk to me, who will they talk to?”  Once again, I thanked him for his honesty, shook his hand and went back to my brothers.

Having had my one drink, I again thanked all present.  Then my brothers and I walked out, back to the station.  We boarded the train, and home we went.  I parted with B and C, a couple of stops before I got to mine.  I hugged and kissed them both, and thanked them for their support.

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31. THANK YOU ALL

As soon as the Judge left the court, I shook G’s hand.  I then stood up and walked forward to Mr H, who is a small built, athletic kind of man.  I put my arms around him and picked him up off the ground.  I think I kissed him, whilst trying to say thank you, whilst crying.  I put him down and went to Miss R.  I again picked up this little Lady, I kissed her, again trying to express my, gratitude, my thanks, my appreciation.  It is my belief that such small words, thank you, they are so small, but I do not and will not ever find other words to express my appreciation better than these.

I walked out of the courtroom, at which point I kissed all the female officers of the police.  I think there were 4.  I hugged HM, I hugged LM.  The emotion was flowing, I was running on pure adrenalin.  I forgot, I kissed my brothers.  They had stood by me through thick and thin, a life time apart, but together when I needed them.

Thank you all.


30. The Score

The Honourable Patrick Thomas QC started his sentencing speech.  He looked straight at Robinson and said, “you are the most wicked, evil man I have ever had brought before me.”  He went on to tell the court of his findings,“it is not my job here today, but I recommend that there should  be a Public Enquiry into the handling of this priest by The Birmingham Diocese and, in particular, the Catholic Church.”  He spent, I would say, 10 minutes elaborating on the handling of this case not only by the Church, but also the Police.  The failing in 1985 by the Police, when the church got the investigation dropped.

Judge Thomas sentenced Robinson to jail for 21 years and stipulated that he cannot be put forward for parole for 14 years.  Having heard this, I was shocked; such a long time.  He then told the Prison Staff to take him away.  I looked at Robinson for the last time.  Yes he hurt me and the other lads, but I felt sorry.  I took my share of the guilt for putting an old man in prison for such a long time.  But that soon disappeared as the Judge said, “he has never shown any kind of remorse.”

Yes he got what he deserved.  21 years for raping children.  21 years for a lifetime of offences, stretching back over 51 years.  His door opened, he went out, the door closed, and that was that.

Judge Thomas thanked the jury for what he described as a truly horrendous case and then I think he relieved them of jury service for life.  He turned to G and I and thanked us for being so brave to come forward to face our Demons.  He thanked the other victims, who were scared to come to court to hear the conclusion.  He thanked the police, the CPS and the Court Staff.  Upon this the court arose and the Judge walked out of our lives.  But I will never forget that man.

From the moment I first met Patrick Thomas I was put at ease and treated with compassion.  But I had just witnessed the other side of a genuine human being, his controlled anger.  He had, in fact, turned on Robinson.  He left no stone unturned, telling the prisoner of his wicked life, of rape, and betrayal of all he had been ordained to do.


29. The Verdict

My brothers and I sat outside the courtroom, still waiting.  The jury had been out for 5 hours, over two days.  Today was Friday 22 October 2010.  We were sitting there seemingly waiting, in a state of nervousness, anticipation and dread.

Miss R appeared, and said, “The barristers for both sides have been summoned to the Judge’s chambers for tea.”  I enquired what this meant and I was told that, “it always happens when the jury have reached their verdict.  Soon we will be in court.”  It was 12 noon.  At 12.30 we were ushered into the courtroom.  I sat next to GS, less than 8 feet away from where Robinson would be seated.

A door opened and in came Robinson.  He sat down, having never taken his eyes away from the Judge’s chair.  This was it, Robinson, the former professional boxer, winner of 31 professional fights.  I can now recall thinking, will he be winning his 32nd fight?  The outcome of this fight would be felt by all the victims, their families, the Police and, more importantly, Robinson.  After all, it was given in evidence that he never lost a professional fight.  Would the now grown up lads end his distinguished career record?  We all hoped and prayed we would.

The Judge entered and we all stood up.  I looked at Robinson and I saw an old man, having aged many years over the last few hours.  He looked vulnerable, scared and somewhat “not quite with us” as we all sat down.  The Judge asked the foreman of the jury, “have you reached a verdict?”  The foreman responded “yes.”

The Judge then went on to ask the most important question of the trial:  “On charge No 1, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty?

G and I looked at the foreman.

“Guilty.”

I grasped G’s hand and the Judge asked the foreman for the answers to the other 20 charges.

On each charge James Robinson was found guilty.

I still cannot believe the atmosphere.  There was no sound at all in court, no talking, no rejoicing, no nothing.  Then at the end of the charges the Judge adjourned the court for ten minutes.  The court stood up and the Judge walked out.  I looked at the clock.  It was 12.45 pm.  We all remained seated, not wanting to leave our seats.  Robinson too remained seated.  I watched him, there was a tear in his eyes.  The tear didn’t run down his face, that would have shown weakness.  But his eyes were far from dry.  I thought to myself, now he feels the threat, the pain, and the fact that everything happening is out of his control.

I thought, welcome to how we felt, as young lads, the difference is, you deserve the feeling, we did not.

At five to one, the court arose, and the Judge walked back in, taking his place, Lord of all he surveyed.  He spoke to the barristers for both sides and then, having reviewed some notes, looked up at Robinson.  It was now.  Now was the time that Robinson’s professional career would take a nose dive.  He had lost his 32nd fight, the most important fight of his career.  In fact, the most important fight of his life.  The grown up little lads had won, now it was time for the Official Referee to announce the score.