Stories from 1996:

Losing the battle against child abuse

Published August 1996. One comment... »

The Belgian Minister of Justice looked weak and depressed as he sat before the world’s press this week and tried to explain how his police officers had failed to detect Marcel Dutroux, the 39-year-old builder who has confessed to the serial rape and abduction of young girls.

Police suppress evidence of Yardie’s murders

Published April 1996.

A secret police operation to procure a new supergrass has blown up in Scotland Yard’s face leaving officers to fend off allegations of hypocrisy and the suppression of evidence of serious crime including murder, and opening the door to the release of dangerous gunmen from British prisons.

Travelling in Victoria, Australia

Published March 1996.

It is early morning on the Murray river up on the northern border of the state of Victoria. Every so often, a gang of bright white cockatoos comes crashing out of the tree tops, screaming abuse at each other on their way across the water, but otherwise the river and the forest are deeply silent as Bill Vickers pushes his boat upstream.

The frustrated dreams of ordinary people

Published March 1996.

It was a dark day in Lewes Crown Court, and the man in the dock looked guilty. He was a shabbly little guy, probably in his early 50s, with a balding head and a black leather jacket and he was accused of making threats to kill. While he sat frowning to himself, his own barrister started hanging him out to dry, telling the jury that he understood that they were bound to dislike his client whose behaviour, he said, had been disgraceful and ungentlemanly, that of ‘a predatory male obsessed by getting what he wanted’.

The Australian Thatcher

Published March 1996.

Imagine for a moment that a newly-elected right-wing government announced that in order to attract lucrative business to London, they had decided to stage an international Grand Prix motor race in the capital and that without consultation they had chosen as its site the previously peaceful, almost rural surroundings of Hampstead Heath.

The stolen children

Published March 1996.

When Archie Roach was a small child in the early 1950s, he lived in a place called Framlingham, a short row of tin shacks and little brick houses which stood on a dusty, dry plateau near the edge of a gorge about 300 miles west of Melbourne. Once, his family had lived by a riverbank, where they could hunt and catch fresh fish, but the white people had come and ordered all of them – Archie and his six brothers and sisters and their parents – to move into this bleak place. They said it was for their own good, so they could teach them how to read and write and pray.

How the monarchy became a bad joke in Australia

Published February 1996.

The Guardian, February 1996 A town like Elizabeth – Australia’s love affair with the British royal family is over. And so is its affinity with Great Britain, the mother country no longer wanted or even respected. On the eve of the election that could herald a republic within five years, Nick Davies visits a community […]

Women who are jailed for being poor

Published February 1996.

It was early morning when they came to get her. She had just stumbled out of bed, heading for the kitchen, turning on the TV, calling out to the kids to make sure they were OK – Marie was only three but she had had a bad chest since she was born, and now the baby had picked up this stomach bug that wouldn’t go away – and then the door bell rang.

MI5 acquires new powers

Published January 1996.

Late on December 20, the day Parliament rose for its Christmas recess, the Government published a bill. It was extremely short; its text took up barely a page. Yet it has profound constitutional implications. It also contains the seeds of a potentially significant threat to civil liberties.

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