11th November 1976

The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony

Ronald Mason, the Guernsey-based owner of four pornographic bookshops in London, testified in the five-week trial that had seen five members of the Obscene Publications Squad sent to jail. He was one of several Soho porn dealers from whom the police had been taking payments.

Witnesses estimated that the five policemen had been taking back-handers to the tune of £50,000 a year. All of the officers had denied the charges against them.

Mason’s testimony

According to the Daily Mirror of 11 November 1976, Mason claimed that he had “paid thousands of pounds in bribes to porn squad officers”.

One of his employees also told the jury that he had bought Christmas presents for porn squad members.

The previous day, the Daily Mirror had reported Mason’s claims that police had been selling the obscene publications they had confiscated back to dealers for between £300 and £500 a batch. He said he would be told to put on a CID tie before being taken to the basement where the confiscated goods were stored. He was then allowed to take his pick.

Flight to Guernsey

Ronald Mason had moved to Guernsey when the police were threatening to close down his pornography bookshops. As reported in The Guardian, he…

…had told the jury that while corruption in the squad was being investigated one of the defendants and another police officer had warned him to flee abroad to avoid being questioned. He had gone and had only come back to England when the police fetched him back to stand trial himself [for possessing obscene material]… he added that after he had gone to Guernsey the unnamed officer who had warned him to flee turned up ‘out of the blue’, tapped him on the shoulder and said ‘got you’.

He said he was only testifying now because two other witnesses had died in “mysterious circumstances”.

Other allegations made during the trial included that police had been charging new shop owners thousands of pounds to set up their businesses and that, in return for monthly payments of up to £1000 each, they would warn proprietors when a raid was about to take place. This would allow them to remove any hard-core pornography that might get them into trouble before the police arrived.

 

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Other events that occured in November


  • States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
  • The States of Guernsey hired its first full-time vet in 2011. The successful candidate, David Chamberlain, had already worked as a vet on Guernsey since 1987. After a successful career that included an invention and a buy-out he was appointed to the part-time role on 7 November. A varied career After studying at the Royal […]
  • Read more…