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

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet 7th
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th