Letters from The Northern Echo


RAY Mallon has constantly asserted that he has been "cleared" of any criminal wrongdoing. He is patently under a misapprehension. To be cleared of any criminal charge, one must first be placed before either a magisterial or judicial court. Mr Mallon has never been placed before either. It is therefore misleading for him to claim that he has been cleared of any criminal charges.

What is true is that the Crown Prosecution Service felt that it had insufficient irrefutable evidence to mount a successful prosecution, based largely upon the reliability of witnesses. However, the police disciplinary system, like most tribunals, does not require such onerous burdens of proof.

After his plea of guilty to 14 charges, it seems that Mr Mallon can only revert to conspiracy theory and accuse three chief constables of duplicity in a desperate attempt to salvage his own credibility. With his tactics, he could indeed be called a politician, but it is to be hoped that his perverse logic does not extend to local government.

To reinforce lessons previously learned, it is time for the Police Complaints Authority to distance such inquiries from serving police officers. - David Blackie (a retired police officer), Barnard Castle.

FOR a long time I have watched the Mallon case unfold, always feeling sure that most were trumped-up charges. At all times, I admired the stance of Mr Mallon, and his principles amazed me. But where are his principles now? By admitting the charges, he has proved himself guilty of a catalogue of serious offences and, in my opinion, he is not fit to represent the Cleveland people as a figurehead. - Bernard McCormick, Newton Aycliffe.


THE resignation of spin doctor Jo Moore (Echo, Feb 16), while joyous in itself, emphasises further that this administration is rotten to the core. No one will ever forget that it was this callous, calculating party hack who, while watching the despicable terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, immediately circulated an e-mail suggesting that it would be a good day to bury bad news.

Even more sickening and revealing was the way she was defended by both Stephen Byers and Tony Blair. The fact she retained her job speaks volumes for a government devoid of principle and sensitivity.

The BBC's PM programme described Ms Moore as "Labour through and through". As she has also proved to be rotten through and through, I hope readers make the connection.

Resigning alongside Ms Moore was Martin Sixsmith, who came to the Department of Transport via the BBC. Given that the BBC is the propaganda ministry for New Labour, how soon before Jo Moore makes the reverse journey? - Dave Pascoe, Hartlepool.

TWO events illustrate the blatant double standards operating in our society.

Jo Moore is at last thrown to the jackals, who have been yelping non-stop for her blood for five months.

And Michael Barrymore, after repeatedly violating public decency, is back at peak viewing time on our TV screens.

I am surely not alone in being sickened by the vindictive brutality of Jo Moore's treatment and by the very sight of Michael Barrymore. - Tony Kelly, Crook.

Darlington DOGS

I WAS astounded to read that Darlington Council is hailing as a success its dog fouling scheme (Echo, Jan 25).

Over the past four years, more than 100 people have been fined £25 for failing to clean up after their pets.

I do not intend to criticise the dog wardens, who are doing a difficult job and who are not supported by the public. But, what does stretch credibility is the statement by a spokeswoman for Darlington Council that 99 per cent of dog walkers clean up after their pets. This lady should take a stroll around the streets of Darlington and keep her eyes open. Otherwise she will put her foot in it - again. - R Elliott, Darlington.

DARLINGTON Council says an estimated 99 per cent of dog walkers (Echo, Jan 25) now clean up after their pets in a safe and hygienic manner.

If this is true, Brankin Road, Claremont Road, Geneva Road, Geneva Drive and Neasham Road area is plagued with the remaining one per cent.

I am not knocking the council for not keeping these paths clean. It has enough problems. It is the so-called pet lovers who are responsible. If they are caught, they should be given a lesson they won't forget and be publicly identified. - Name and address supplied.


AT LONG last the hysteria of Pop Idol has climaxed. It's nice to know that both finalists are sure of success.

For once in the world of pop music, Will and Gareth seem to be genuine friends. There were no signs of back stabbing from the loser.

The impromptu duet they sang at their hotel was as good as any of the well-rehearsed performances. Perhaps they should record the song. No doubt it would be a hit. - EA Moralee, Billingham.


IT SEEMS incredible that Northumbrian Water should allow strychnine anywhere near public drinking water, but it is being used in tiny amounts to poison moles below Burnhope reservoir under licence from Defra (Echo, Jan 16). How does the company plan to kill moles in the land above, from which water runs into the reservoir? - R Friends, Weardale.


LAFARGE is closing down the Weardale cement works. It is profitable and there are many years of basic material to keep it open, but the French refuse to allow another company to take it over.

Instead, Lafarge is opening a dock in Seaham to import foreign cement.

So why do the councils not play the same game as the French? Refuse permission for the new dock - but grant it to whichever company wants to buy the Weardale works? - E Reynolds, Wheatley Hill.