Top barrister sparks social media row with telly-copper over Janner ‘trial of facts’

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The hack that dug up the dirt on Jimmy Savile has described some of Pump Court man’s Twitter followers as “pro paedophile”


There is probably no word in the English language that currently triggers a witch-hunt faster than this little gem: paedophile.

And now a leading lawyer is discovering just how keen certain elements of the great British public are to assemble some branches and fire up the kindling.

Matthew Scott (pictured above left) — a top criminal barrister at Pump Court Chambers in the Temple and the author of Barrister Blogger — has found himself in the crosshairs of kiddie-fiddler-catcher-in-chief Mark Williams-Thomas (pictured above right).

Scott’s offence? To suggest in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that the Director of Public Prosecutions was right in her original decision that prosecuting former MP Lord Greville Janner would not be in the public interest, and indeed would be pointless.

DPP Alison Saunders overturned that ruling after it had been referred for independent review to fellow barrister David Perry of 6 KBW College Hill. There will now be an initial hearing to see whether a “trial of the facts” should proceed.

But Scott’s suggestion that Saunders’ first view was right — that prosecuting a defendant who does not have the mental capacity to plead let alone to mount a defence — is tantamount to high treason in a world where even uttering the word paedophile is a bit suspect.

Williams-Thomas — an ex-rozzer-turned-broadcast-journalist, who was instrumental the investigations into Jimmy Savile — was today cutting Scott no slack.

When Legal Cheek’s own crusty defender of free speech, Judge John Hack, asked Williams-Thomas whether in his view all Scott’s 3,500-plus Twitter followers could be classed as “the paedophile’s friend”, he was somewhat vague.

And that opaqueness certainly didn’t mollify many on the social media site. For example, renowned legal profession blogger Carl Gardner had a germane query.

While this contribution summed up the general mood.

A senior lawyer practising at the independent bar, Scott is undoubtedly made of stern fibre with a backbone that can take the pressure from William-Thomas and others.

Whether that can be said of Saunders — who is effectively a senior civil servant and subject to intense pressure from the popular press — is debatable.

Lord Janner and his family have consistently denied all allegations of child abuse made against him.



Yes that’s right…because one is a civil servant, one must have no backbone. Apparently.


Satin Cut

I’m guessing that backbones for all civil servants and civil self-servants are outsourced.


Satin Cut

I wonder which is cheaper for the public purse. A trial? A public inquiry? Some sort of published report? In my view, and from what I’ve read, ultimately, the complainants want to have their voices heard so does it really matter which one it is given that the proposed accused cannot be fairly tried or properly take part?



MWT was ‘instrumental’ in bringing to our screens several liars, one of whom didn’t get off scott free (excuse the unintended pun) because her claims involved folk who could and did, fight back. Unlike the dead philanthropist who built a hospital wing and gave 90% of his income to charity. Thank goodness for lawyers like Matthew Smith and Barbara Hewson for daring to challenge injustices when they see them.



Apologies, that should have been Matthew Scott, not Smith !!


Moor Larkin

Not sure that your headline shouldn’t be reading: “Telly-Copper sparks social media row with top barrister over Janner ‘trial of facts’ ”

An important distinction in terms of public perception I think, and who stands to benefit from any “social media row” anyway? Certainly not a top barrister …. whereas a “telly-cop” lives off the ether of Daytime Anaesthesia TV, like any self-deluding self-publicist.


Not Amused

See … This is why I’m not on Twitter.


ace frehly

But we all wish you were



MWT is an idiot. He does only understand copper law and to be honest only really goes with popular views to boost his profile.



Why did he leave the police?



Copper ‘turned’ whatever – normally a massive pain … It’s in the DNA



Funny how the barrister looks like a stressed out barrister and the copper looks like a smug copper
‘Twas ever thus



Remember that it was Mr Williams-Thomas who visited Oscar Pistorius during his trial and used the media to declare him innocent!


darren laverty

Looks like the deniers are out in force wherever they find child abuse being yapped about. Like shit to flies.


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