The answer is that Colin Port did.
It is one thing grandstanding to the tabloid readers and assorted bigots, quite another to face up to the wrath of three High Court judges.
Hours before Colin Port was due to appear before the Lord Justice Stanley Burnton, Justice Wilkie and Justice Calvert Smith – a trio to strike fear into the stoutest heart, without contemplating the fate accorded to even junior police officers in Her Majesty’s finest squalid shower block, Colin Port arranged to have the bulk of the computer material that he had loudly declared the British public would support him in not returning, delivered to its rightful owner, Jim Bates.
Round one to Jim Bates.
Despite returning the material, Colin Port did not escape ‘scot free’, because he was not awarded his costs on the basis of his behaviour since the original order was made. This behaviour included comments made to the tabloid press which implied that Mr Bates had the ‘child abuse’ images in his possession out of an implied personal interest rather than in his professional capacity. Their Lordships criticised Port for these comments:
“all of which were directed to bring Bates into disrepute as a result of suggestions that there was salacious material which he had on computers otherwise than for purely professional purposes”.
Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said Mr Bates had held all the material “in a professional capacity”.
Round Two to Jim Bates.
He added: “The conduct of the chief constable since the order was made has been of concern to us”.
Round Three to the General Public – no one is above the law.
I suspect Jim Bates will be consulting Carter-Ruck very shortly!