Council crackdown on public disorder continues

Screenshot 2022-09-20 at 10.12.56

It is well rehearsed elsewhere on this Neil Wilby Media website that Full Council meetings during the current municipal year in Oldham Metropolitan Borough have been turbulent renewals.

Two of those meetings, in June and July, were marred by scenes of serious disorder both in the public galleries and in the council chamber – and resulted in the council taking civil action against the perpetrators and in one case the local police force was also involved (read more here).

The September meeting was, very largely, a more calm gathering with noticeably reduced numbers in the public gallery. Reported as being down from 89 in June to just 11. Part of that fall in numbers being as a result of exclusions enforced against 12 protesters who had, by then, received Anti Social Behaviour Injunction warnings,

Neil Wilby Media ‘s Live Blog (read more here) recorded that during Opposition Business and a debate over a motion seeking a public inquiry into failings over historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the borough this short contribution was made by the Council Leader in response to its proposer, Cllr Brian Hobin of the Failsworth Independent Party.

“Cllr Chadderton says: ‘I’m not the judge and jury. I’ve been open about the failings of the council and the police. It’s a complex issue and the response of victims does vary in terms of their suffering and the impact on their lives. ‘What happened to the girls should never, ever happen again’.”

It was interrupted by what can, objectively, be termed a sustained tirade of abuse from the public gallery directed at Amanda Chadderton.

That interruption was reported elsewhere as a ‘wail of anguish from a CSE survivor’ by a well known Facebook conspiracy theorist closely associated with the protesters, whom self-style as The Rabble (or Raja’s Rabble).

Two days ago, Raja Miah repeated both of those claims on his frequently banned Recusant Nine page but added the news, gleaned from a message to another CSE activist, who styles under the pseudonym, ‘Jonaya English’, that the person responsible for the outburst, which could not, on any independent view, be classified as a ‘wail of anguish’, had claimed she was going to be arrested by Greater Manchester Police over the incident in the 7th September council meeting.

Jonaya, however, asserts that the subject female is a relative of a CSE survivor and not, as Miah claims, a victim or survivor herself. She also names the police officer who has contacted the alleged public order offender as Oldham neighbourhood police officer, Sergeant Zahid Iqbal.

The author of this article, Neil Wilby, has never met or interacted with Sgt Iqbal but is aware of him via an unreported case in which he was the lead officer dealing with the out-turn from a conviction of a fellow police officer of child sex offences and its consequences and effect on that officer’s family.

None of their identities are revealed here, for very obvious reasons, but it is fair to say, having been privy to a number of emails and messages regarding the case, that Sgt Iqbal handled a difficult situation with credit. In a police force, still in Home Office ‘Special Measures’, where many routinely do not.

In that light, the characterisation by Miah that he is some sort of ogre, protecting child sex offenders, or the sly inference that he was selected for the job because of his skin colour, would be more than unfair. Indeed, it is very arguably defamatory.

It also appears to the eye of this journalist and court reporter, and as such one more familiar with the criminal justice system than either Jonaya or Miah, that the message from Sgt Iqbal to the alleged offender, taken at its face, is an invitation to attend a voluntary interview at the local police station. It is the usual police practice that if such an invitation is declined – as seems to be the case here – then an arrest will follow. Not least in this case, because the incident in which the alleged offence occurred was filmed and widely broadcast on the council’s own YouTube channel.

A clip of the incident is not reproduced here in order to allow the investigation to proceed unhindered and to inhibit any more hyperbole than is already present.

The press offices of both Oldham Council and GMP have been contacted but are unlikely to yield anything further at this stage as there are live criminal proceedings in train.

Page last updated Tuesday 20th September, 2022 at 0830hrs

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Picture credits: Facebook

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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