There is a need to ensure that innocent until proven guilty is applied to all court proceedings. Under current legislation and practice too many people, later to be found innocent are convicted by public opinion as soon as they are arrested or even questioned. The police allow names of those being questioned to become publicly available well before enough proof to convict is available. This is particularly true for allegations of a sexual or abusive nature such as those accused of rape, sexual assault, child abuse or domestic abuse. Some of these accusations, later proven to be false, are mistakes, some are malicious and some for financial gain. It is difficult to separate truth from error at the early stages of a case.
False allegations like these could have a direct impact on a man’s ability to care for his children, it could wreck his marriage, lose his job and result in his suicide. All too often false allegations can lead to rumours and before a man knows it, he is also fighting for his reputation to clear his name.
Sadly, Caroline Flack’s suicide was the direct result of there being no Court Anonymity and would have been alive today if there had been anonymity. We will never know whether she was guilty or not.
Presumption of Innocence
The presumption of innocence is the legal principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. In many countries, presumption of innocence is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, and it is an international human right under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11. Under the presumption of innocence, the legal burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which must present compelling evidence to the trier of fact (a judge or a jury). The prosecution must in most cases prove that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted.
Prominent people smeared by false allegations
The following were smeared as guilty by the Court of Public Opinion with their faces and names prominently featured. In the case of Cliff Richard, the police even tipped off the media turning their raid on his home into a circus.
No thought was given to innocent until proven guilty and any thoughts of Human Rights lay in the gutter.
The article on #MeToo is very well balanced showing the necessity of taking action against predatory men but the arising problems when it got out of control are also outlined including the suicide of a Welsh Labour Councillor who was sacked but was never told who his accusers were and what he was supposed to have done.
- The downside of #MeToo
- Innocent commuter accused of sexual assault:
- Sarah Phillimore on The Big Question
This is clear evidence that any woman, anywhere can make a claim of sex abuse against any man, remain anonymous and walk free from court leaving a man saying “I feel I have undergone a form of mental torture sanctioned by the state.” Feminists like Julie Bindel disagree. She seems to believes that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male. In fact, she once said being falsely accused wasn’t so bad. ‘A fair number of celebrities have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer term,’ she incredulously wrote in The Guardian. ‘To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisation.’
Rape and Sexual Assault trials
Rape itself is an abhorrent crime and any woman or man suffering from it will be scarred for life. Every effort must be made to ensure that the correct procedures are applied to ensure that a safe conclusion is reached.
As we will see there were a series of collapsed rape trials in whilst Alison Pearson was Head of the CPS. She along with sloppy police work resulted in 27 rape trials collapsing due to withheld evidence and the CPS desire for a conviction at any cost. This has resulted in the public’s lack of confidence in the judiciary and the police and cannot be tolerated any longer. The effect on men of being falsely accused is appalling as they are pilloried in the media, can lose their wife, family, job and are ostracised in public. Some even commit suicide.
- Harriet Harman’s ‘unreliable statistics on rape scare off victims’
- MPs criticise DPP Alison Saunders over collapse of rape trials
- Hundreds may have been wrongly convicted for rape — CPS must review old cases
- CPS – requires a complete overhaul to ensure that all trials are treated in an even-handed way and without prejudice to either party. Candidates need to be selected on that basis. We do not want any more Alison Pearson leaders who has brought the whole judicial system into disrepute.
- All judges,police departments should receive up to date training on how to conduct rape trials using the procedures outlined below to ensure that both accuser and defendant are given a fair hearing. This is to ensure that there are no more collapses of rape trials due to shabby practices which does not help women any more than men.
- Innocent till proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt is a basic human right
- Anonymity for both accuser and defendant. This is essential in order to ensure that juries are under no public/media pressure to deliver the wrong judgement either way. Anonymity for both parties was the case from 1976 to 1988 (see article).The effect on men of being falsely accused is life destroying
- Telephones of both the accuser and the defendant must continue to be removed under strict conditions of privacy and only information pertinent to the case to be used.(see article)
- Men must prove that the woman consented – this has not become Law, nor should it ever be as it be impossible to prove. (see article )
- Jury system – this must always be used. Some Women’s Groups and Lawyers are pressing for the removal of juries and replacement by a sole judge and a committee of two women. This would end up with a rubber stamped result every time and would be extremely unreliable. (see article)
- False Allegations – a result of unproven would not be a false allegation and both parties would be free to leave untainted. If a proven false allegation with clear evidence was made, the guilty party should be automatically be prosecuted and receive a custodial sentence. The accused should receive adequate financial compensation. (see article on false allegations)
- Innocent private school teacher criticises honour for ex-CPS chief Alison Saunders after she ‘put him through two-year rape case ordeal’
- ‘I lost everything’: Victim criticises CPS over evidence failures
- My son is 12 – how can he be a rapist? Nightmare ordeal of boy’s ‘sleepover sex’
- The woman who accused a stranger she found on Facebook of rape – and how it ruined her victim’s life
- Sometimes it’s right for the police to examine complainants’ phones. It’s called investigation.
Child Abuse Trials – Comment and Proposal
The system in the UK is an utter shambles and disgrace. Apart from the false allegations in the case of Sir Cliff Richard, Harvey Proctor etc we have experienced the covering up of real child abuse on a serial scale including Cyril Smith who abused boys in the 80’s ; the scandal of the extent of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham which finally emerged with the publication of a report by Professor Alexis Jay in August 2014. She found at least 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and groomed in the town over a 16-year period and that a number of perpetrators were adult men of Pakistani heritage. Council and police officials had failed to act, the report added.
Next up was the Rochdale Abuse Scandal in 2018 when thousands of young women and girls were sexually abused and raped – Sajid Javid, promised the review as home secretary in July 2018, pledging that there would be “no no-go areas of inquiry”. “I will not let cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem and doing something about it,” he said at the time. A Home Office Report is being withheld for reasons that it is not in the Public Interest and officials need a “safe space” in which to review the problem and come up with answers.
In summary it is now 2020 and no moves have been made since the 80’s with the Cyril Smith’s abuse of boys covered up by the Establishment, the Rotherham sexual exploitation of 1400 children and now the Rochdale abuse of women and girls with cultural and political sensitivities getting in the way of a solution.
All of this is on the other side of the coin of false allegations but the problem is the same. Prejudice by the Establishment is preventing justice being done. MWWT proposes that both men’s and women’s groups are involved in the solutions because the CPS, Judiciary, Local Services are too tied up with gender and racial politics which is to the detriment of the victims.