Chris Langham bail reveals rotten police system

I've noticed the last two days that people have been reviewing the post I put up in December about Chris Langham being arrested on child porn charges.

The reason, as I discovered yesterday afternoon, was that he has had his bail extended. Again. Since being arrested in November, the comedian has had his bail extended no less than three times. Despite being plastered all over the media as a potential child porn user, he still hasn't had any charge put against him.

This was exactly what I feared would happen and it strikes me that it is increasingly likely that Mr Langham is just the latest public figure to be forced to endure a personal hell because someone in the police wants to make a few bob selling information to the media.

Our child porn clampdown in this country is getting completely out of control. Only last week, the government announced an entire arm dedicated solely to tracking down child porn on the Internet, with its own budget. The whole subject is so taboo that it seems it is impossible to ask some pretty basic questions about what is being done in the name of cleaning up the Net.

The police's own figures reveal that only a third of the people it charges with online child porn are convicted. But these are people charged – how many people have the police arrested and not charged?

We know of three because they had the misfortune to be famous: Massive Attack Robert del Naja, actor Matthew Kelly and now comedian Chris Langham. The first two, having been completely cleared of any and all wrongdoing, subsequently told how the experience had been the most difficult of their lives. And yet still it continues. How many ordinary people are having their lives turned inside out in our fanatical zeal and our failure to hold the police to account, despite the unpalatable nature of the subject?

The police have had Mr Langham's computer since November. It is now nearly May and yet they have still to charge him with anything.

I was once hired by a national newspaper to go through hard drives bought on eBay to see if any confidential material was still on them. If you know what you're doing, it is *incredibly* easy to find files, deleted files, even deleted files written over several times. And from experience I know you can tell if there is *potentially* something of interest there within an hour. From there, it would take a day or so to search all the crevises of the disk.

Although if I had to search a few hundred drives, I can think immediately of a system you could build to speed this up ten-fold – simply automate dragging recoverable files into a drive, then separate all image files and review them at speed. The only exception would be people that have encrypted their hard drives, but then very, very few people do, and an encrypted drive would presumably push it to the front of the queue for analysis.

These simple facts present us with a number of options. The police could be delaying the news that they won't charge Langham to reduce its impact and their embarrassment. Or they have impounded so many hard drives that they have a four-month backlog. Or Mr Langham's hard drive has been categorised as “low-risk” in an initial audit and so no one has actually got around to searching it because other more high-risk drives (for any crime, not just child porn) have come in and been given priority.

None of these options is comforting. It should be the case that if someone is accused of child pornography – something that will have far-reaching and distrubing impact into someone's life – that their disk drive is prioritised, no matter what.

I very strongly suspect Chris Langham will become yet another victim of a faulty system. What is especially sad in this case is that he wasn't able to pick up not one but two highly deserved comedy awards for In the Thick of It and Help because of it. He has had what should have been one of the greatest moments of his life stolen from him.

It should be the role of the media in society to tackle the tough issues, but I don't see that happening, even when the evidence that something is going awry is there for all to see.

I may give Mr Langham's agent a call and offer to do a piece pulling apart this whole horrible situation when, as now seems inevitable, the police finally admit they put him through hell for nothing at all.

  1. Another short sighted person, not looking at the whole picture.

  2. I support your article and wonder if you could tell me how to contact Chris’ agent? Please do reply to my personal e-mail if you can help.

  3. Kieren,,,,,,helllooooooo,,,,,,where are youuuuuu????

  4. I’m just reading others’ comments. Do I *have* to get involved because it’s my blog? Don’t know. Don’t see why.


  5. it would seem that if something in your blog is of personal gratification to you an immediate response is posted and you do *have* to get involved , but curiously you seem to have lost interest with this one….

  6. your last comment Pam says it all really…………
    you “know that chris Langham is not a paeophile” poor deluded woman, but dont worry your in good company here…

  7. and still no kieren

  8. Another soft soaping BLIND person not even seeing the picture

  9. Hi Kieren , I’m wondering as I’m sure others are , what your thoughts are now regarding chris Langham and the circumstances surrounding his case. Also what were your thoughts on his sky tv interview where he defended himself and denied once more being a paeophile, do you still support him?
    I would also be intereseted to know what your thoughts were about Tim Walkers case and if you did get the full story.
    kind regards

  10. Okay, lets dispense with some of the academics histrionics for once. Fact is, Chris Langham (by his own admission) looked at pics of underage individuals in a sexual context.
    That’s all he did. He didn’t go out and abuse anyone, he looked at pictures (albeit distasteful ones).

    Despite the assurances of some very dodgy research and statistics, there is in fact no correlation between the suggestion that someone who looks at crap is going to go out and actually do it.

    So Chris is guilty of a human character trait older than the desire to mate; curiosity. Lets be real, this hysteria isn’t about the ‘poor children’, but about control. Control in that some people believe it’s right and proper to control and micromanage every aspect of everyone else’s lives. Up to and beyond controlling even human curiosity.
    What next? The need to pee?
    Take it from me, it wont be long before those fulltime campaigners will have us all putting our hands up before we’re allowed bathroom breaks before too long.

    Chris Langham has always had – and will continue to have – my support. He is no less of a person for having screwed up and his only screw up was not realising that curiosity like everything else these days, is a privilege that belongs to someone else.

  11. its very simple
    looking at and downloading indecent images of children and child porn is illegal
    chris langham is guilty and has never taken responsibility for this fact
    his reasons are superfluous to the facts
    and bely a man desperate to get people to condone his actions
    another simple fact, buying this material is directly responsible for the industry creating this material
    so looking at and buying child porn makes you an abuser
    an accomplice to a crime on your behalf for your twisted pleasure
    chris langham is an intelligent man, an alcoholic with many years experience of the therapeutic process, a man capable of self enquiry, a man capable of seeking help
    yet he did not seek help
    he indulged
    he labeled it research
    we all know you don’t need to look at child porn to fill out a comedy character
    you don’t even need to look at child porn to write a book about paedophiles
    you can read mountains of material about abused children, the abusers etc…
    i’m totally disheartened that the emphasis of this crisis is not seen
    child porn and the systematic abuse of children for money exists and people are so removed from humanity to seek it out
    what solutions can there be for this sad sad situation
    i don’t give a flying f*** about chris langham he is old enough and wise enough, and has made enough money in his privileged life to get on
    what about these children
    i seriously object to his presence on TV again, i feel if he wants to write a book then people can choose if they want to go out and buy it, they don’t need to have him on TV… he doesn’t deserve that privilege..
    he committed a crime, a terrible crime – a senseless crime one for which he is not truly sorry, that he has not accepted responsibility for and one that he clearly does not have any remorse..
    a truly remorseful man would accept responsibility, admit his crime, and then instead of demanding attention for him, would devote himself to the task of cleaning up the situation…
    it will be a sad situation if he were to benefit from this affair in any way…
    oh and if he was abused, which i seriously doubt, there is no way he would want to look at images of abuse.. and why has no one mentioned that he was abused as a boy, but he’s got child porn of girls.. ? if it were a cathartic thing why not look at child porn of young boys?
    he is lyiing
    he is bad at lying
    if this can’t bring him to his knees and to a great transformation, then he will surely grow into a greater monster, and time will reveal he will commit again… he wants to be found out… we have a responsibility to not buy into his lies and mirror this back to him for his own growth..
    but it would appear this is not what is happening.. media tv etc.. supporters..

  12. From what I can gather, Langham didn’t pay to access the images. Blaming him for any abuse depicted in the images would require demonstration of the mechanism by which he incited their creation. If someone pays to access images of recent child abuse, this could be argued. If someone belongs to a ‘paedophile ring’ in which members incite each other to commit abuse, record and distribute it, there again is a mechanism could be demonstrated. In Langham’s case, I see no reason why he should bear responsibility for the abuse depicted. His actions could be shown, in any way, to contribute to the cause.
    As far as I can see, the only harm Langham did was to invade the privacy of the children depicted in the images. Unpleasant enough, but not hugely harmful as far as I can see. He is extremely unlikely to meet any of those children and they will probably never be aware that he viewed those images. Had he distributed them, that invasion would have been more serious, but I don’t believe any such charge was brought against him.

    Another, more general, point to raise is that, according to the Copine report, 85-90% of indecent images of children on the internet are at least 10-15 years old. This seems to be completely at odds with the ‘accepted truth’ that the production of child pornography has increased eponentially since the arrival of the internet. The poster above talks of an ‘industry’ being fuelled, but is there any evidence of such an ‘industry’?
    I understand that myriad organisations have claimed that there’s a child porn industry worth $20billion a year. I find this impossible to believe. There are about a billion people with internet access… they would each need to spend $20 a year. I don’t know how many people per year pay for such images, but I would assume it’s a couple of million at most, meaning that each of them would have to spend tens of thousands of pounds per year on child pornography. Absurd, yet this figure continues to be bandied around as an accepted truth.
    What we really need is for good journalists to look into all of this to find out the truth of the matter. Unfortunately, were they to do so, they would be guilty of a variety of crimes and would be locked up. As it is, we are stuck with accounts that just don’t add up.
    Someone needs to ask questions about what evidence there is for such claims, and why normal legal process doesn’t apply in cases like Langham’s as well as unpicking the incredibly woolly logic behind the crusade against those who download child porn and behind sentencing applied in our courts. It seems insane that someone can be sentenced to years behind bars and lifetime monitoring by the police for looking at a picture. Even worse is the fact that people who aren’t even guilty of looking at a picture can suffer the same fate, as has happened with many of those caught up in Operation Ore.
    I find it deeply disturbing that logic, evidence and due process (which should surely be the cornerstones of any legal system) all seem to be abandoned in any case with a whiff of terrorism or paedophilia. The general public have always been a potential mob of pitchfork-weilding witchhunters but it seems that, in any case involving terrorism or child porn, the legal system and the media become equally unhinged and unreasonable. The way it’s escalating, with thousands of pages of new legislation being churned out each year, I dread to think what kind of world we’ll be living in a few years down the line. Presumably thousands of people who enjoy a little bondage will be on the sex offenders’ register once the government passes the planned laws against porn with violent/bondage content. No doubt they will then be denied access to their children and will find it impossible to get a job. When I was at college, the first jurisprudence lecture law students would attend was on the Spanner case – brought against a group of sado-masochists who enjoyed things like having their scrotum nailed to a table. The thrust of the lecture was that a lawyer must get over his/her moral squeamishness about something most people find abhorrent and deal with the logic. Harm must be demonstrated, it’s not enough to lock people up because you find – in the Spanner case – homosexual sado-masochism distasteful. It’s sad that the principle seems to have been lost.

  13. I’m closing this comment thread now. Thank you everyone for your comments and an interesting discussion.


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