33. Liberated

Having arrived home, and gone over with J what went on in court (I believe the Military call it a debrief) life slowly got back to its ebb and flow.  I got back into work and all seemed well.  I went to visit a friend of mine, the legal advisor.  I went for morning coffee, free legal advice and another session of debriefing.  I have to say, as one who has never been offered or taken counselling, I can wholeheartedly, from my experience, advise anyone to talk; if not to a counselor, talk to a friend.  I know, take it from me; it does help.  I know this from my own experience.  Oh yes, I also walked out of the legal advisor’s house with three weeks work, decorating the whole of the interior of his Georgian farmhouse.  Is that lucky or what?  It was very instructive to him as well as me, telling my side of the legal story, telling of my experiences with the Law.

I also, as matter of urgency, put in a claim for my expenses for the trial.  I was paid for my ferry ticket, diesel and for the two days in the witness box.  I was assured by the Police that my expenses for my original interview of August 09, as well as the three weeks waiting time at the court, would be paid, when the church paid my compensation.

I took the time to write after a few weeks, when what had happened to me had finally sunk in.  When I had had time to think about what had gone on.  I wrote to the West Midlands Police, The CPS, The Crown Court Staff and the Judge, each one in turn.  I thanked them for their patience, consideration, compassion and their Professionalism.  I would stand by all four.  I was very proud to be associated with them, they did a magnificent job.  Those are the feelings of all the victims and the witnesses.  I told the police to phone me if at any time they have a victim of child sexual abuse and they would like someone who has been there, who knows what they are going through, to talk with them.  I would advise them to go forward, but I would not persuade them.  I know it is up to you, not anyone else.  I did it, I am proud I did it.  I would do it again.

On a personal level I would use the word “liberated.”  That’s how it made me feel.

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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.


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.


28. He Had No Defence

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.


27. He Knew Who I Was

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.