Sunday, 23 June 2019

Innovation of Justice Conference Speech

Innovation of Justice Conference Speech
Saturday 22nd June 2019

I’d like to say a few introductory words about the issue of accountability. We’ve recently been hearing about police making use of unaccountable individuals – be they self-described ‘journalists’ or even private individuals – to trawl for further allegations against people already under investigation after having being accused of sexual misconduct. Why do police officers seem to believe that it’s acceptable practice to go trawling at all, let alone by proxy? And who is ultimately held accountable when liars, fantasists, fraudsters and revenge-seekers crawl out of the woodwork to peddle falsehood in the hope of getting undeserved compensation payouts? The answer, ladies and gentlemen, will not surprise you. It is NO ONE. No accountability at all. And I know that from personal experience.

During the 672 days of living hell – the 22 months I was compelled to endure police bail during 2013/14, after an historical allegation of sexual assault, made by someone I'd never met but who just happened to be a pupil in a separate part of the school where I began my teaching career, I'll refer to him as 'A' – the police made use of this inordinate amount of bail time (great for them, of course) by desperately trawling, both they themselves and by using a Berkshire businessman who had nothing to do with the case under scrutiny, for other former pupils of mine to come forward to make further complaints, in order to bolster what was palpably a weak case. Indeed, the case was so wafer-thin, it couldn't withstand even light scrutiny.

Good job for the complainant, 'A', that the police had no intention whatsoever of making even cursory checking of actual provable facts. They weren't interested in pursuing their so-called investigation without fear or favour, as I had foolishly presumed they are duty-bound to do - silly, deluded me. From the start, in line with latest police procedure following the Savile embarrassment, as instructed from the top of the CPS, by DPP Keir Starmer, (my blood does run cold when I see him sitting on the opposition bench in the House of Commons) - this complainant, ‘A’, some pathetic, lying chancer, was automatically believed by the police officers he had approached to spew forth his dim-witted, nonsensical allegation. Have you ever heard anything so ludicrous as the edict 'Automatically believe all complainants’, sorry Mr. Starmer, ‘victims',? Such an edict doesn't even reach the level of puerility, it's infantile.

But the police had a problem - they couldn't charge me on the basis of ‘A’'s allegation on its own; they had to find at least one other former pupil to make a similar complaint. So they set out on their 672-day trawling mission.

Trawling is the method used by the police to search, and in some cases advertise, for fresh complainants, under the premise that the more complainants who come forward, the more the likelihood of a conviction. Moreover, allegations made as a result of trawling are treated as though they were made spontaneously, unprompted, by unrelated individuals, and are ultimately presented to juries as such. But, of course, there is an enormous difference between spontaneous complaints and those which have been manufactured through collusion, often via social media or extracted by the state via suggestion and, in some cases, coercion. When the police fish for complaints, particularly among people who are naturally dishonest, or among opportunists, or among those who are angry about their lot in life, or are financially, as my adoptive mother used to term it, 'in queer street', of course there is a danger false accusations will be the result.

Trawling operations are the most dangerous development in the history of police investigations. They have been allowed to become more and more widespread to the point of standard practice. Indeed, in historical abuse investigations, they play as important a role as DNA and CCTV do in day-to-day contemporary criminal investigations. One thing is for sure, trawling is a sure method of destroying the presumption of innocence. What is more, because of the particular characteristics of trawling operations, potential witnesses might well be pressurised into making exaggerated or even false statements. In a moment I'll explain how this affected me first hand, back in 2014.

Thus, in the absence of any 'quality' evidence, the police set about harvesting 'quantity' evidence. If someone says something which cannot be demonstrably proven either way - and this is why historical allegations are preferred by the unscrupulous opportunists - the police attitude is, let’s get enough people to say similar things that can't be proven either way and we'll be able to convince the jury that, in the courtroom cage, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is sitting a dirty old man.

Police trawling operations are dangerous in any circumstances. They become even more dangerous when the people whom they visit in order to extract supporting allegations have themselves a record of dishonesty. In my case, the police soon managed to secure a statement from a close friend of ‘A’, I'll call this person 'B' and, ignoring the sizeable risk of confabulation between the two, subsequently presented ‘B’'s allegations to me as though his and ‘A’'s were made quite independently, quite spontaneously and unprompted. To quote the leading police investigator: “Here we have two people making a similar allegation. This seems to point to the truth being told, doesn't it? What have you got to say about that?”

I had a lot to say about it. Unsurprisingly, when I asked for access to ‘A’'s and ‘B’'s recent online activity – text messages, emails etc – I was informed it had all been ‘lost.’ Well, there's a surprise.

And exactly how did the police go about trawling for further allegations which they hoped would be made against me? Well, I later discovered, when they visited former pupils of mine, they left them in no doubt from the outset that all they were after were further complaints. The introductory statement went along the lines of : 'Simon Warr has been accused of multiple counts (2 is a multiple of 1, I suppose) of child abuse.' They made it abundantly clear from the off that they were uninterested in anything positive the interviewee might have to say about me, only words of condemnation. It was standard practice, I later learned, that when former pupils stated I was kind, helpful and generous with my time, this was dismissed as 'grooming' by the interviewing officer. You couldn't make this stuff up it's so perverted. One former pupil of mine, who was interviewed, subsequently emailed the officer in charge of the investigation, thus:

'”I'm not surprised you didn't want a statement from me as I didn't come up with any dirt that you could use in your case… I will find out from Simon what these 'multiple' claims are, but, in the meantime, it's pretty clear you're not interested in actually investigating whether these allegations are indeed true, you are just searching for any old scrap to assassinate his character. Very worrying, and in the light of current high profile cases falling down, you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, if only for the disgusting waste of public money.” I had no knowledge of any of this at the time, as this former pupil hadn't spoken to me in years. But he had reacted in a quite natural way. He had no axe to grind, he just felt something sinister was afoot. At last we were witnessing something unprompted and spontaneous.

Another former pupil visited by the police wrote in a statement:

“I was approached by the police earlier this year, who visited my home and took a statement. They were not impartial. They made it clear that Mr. Warr was guilty of abusing children and that he would be convicted without question.”

The ethics of police trawling were considered at some length back in 2013 by the Home Affairs Select Committee and it was emphasised: 'Any initial approach by the police to former pupils of boarding and care establishments should - so far as possible - go no further than a general invitation to provide information to the investigative team.' Well, I can safely state the investigative officers who seemed determined to hang me out to dry had missed this particular piece of police policy.

What the police are after during these trawling operations is evidence, I use the word lightly, which is cut from the same cloth. They search for similar ALLEGATION evidence and present it later as similar FACT evidence. Of course, similar allegation evidence is not evidence at all.

It is usual practice, of course, to try different alleged offences separately, in order to protect innocent defendants against the presumption of guilt, but an historical input is allowed if it has a bearing on the present case. The law has long held it that, in certain circumstances, if an allegation is sufficiently similar to a previously proven crime, details of that crime can be introduced in a subsequent trial under the rules governing similar FACT evidence. That's to say, if a person has been convicted in his life for drowning his wife in the bath and his second wife is subsequently found drowned in the family bath, the fact he has done it before can be brought into evidence, suggesting a propensity in the defendant's behaviour.

Thus, if a suspect can be directly linked to two women having been drowned in two separate baths, then this FACT can be introduced into a trial as 'similar fact evidence'.  FACT 1 - we have two dead bodies, both drowned in the bath. FACT 2 - the suspect can be directly linked to both women at the time of their death. But trawling distorts this by introducing into a prosecution case 'similar ALLEGATION evidence', which, as stated earlier, is obviously not evidence at all. Yet these allegations – all unproven – are used by the police and the CPS to strengthen each other. Testimony of one ALLEGED crime is used as corroboration of another.

The police use the allegations they have taken such pains to harvest to sway the jury into believing that the suspect, sitting on his own in that cage, is a dirty, creepy pervert because more than one person is alleging he has the same propensity. In the case of ‘A’ and ‘B’ and their outrageous lies against me, it was clear to anyone with an I.Q. above the day’s temperature that the striking similarity between the two complainants' testimonies pointed more to the likelihood of collusion between the two than to any pattern of behaviour on my part.

These two close friends, buoyed by the vast amount of compensation money they'd already got their greedy, grasping claws on, after having accused another teacher at the same school a couple of years before they accused me, had decided to set up a charity for children abused at school. All very laudable, of course, until they were asked to hand over £5,000 in order to register the charity. No surprise they didn't feel as strongly about helping abused children as soon as they discovered it entailed handing over a tranche of the tens of thousands of pounds they'd already received in compensation. Soon after, unsurprisingly, they abandoned their charity idea.

So, here they were, two friends had been setting up a charity for children abused at school and, a little while later, were now claiming they had suffered likewise at my hands. They stood in a court of law, both alleging I had inspected them inappropriately in a school changing room, back in the early 1980s, after a P.E. lesson. When my barrister asked them both had they ever discussed me having touched them up before talking to the police, separately they claimed they had never discussed this abuse; both claimed they hadn't even mentioned my name to each other. The police may have believed this nonsense but the jury certainly didn't.

No collusion between the two! Never a conversation about me, despite spending time together setting up an abuse charity! Their complaints about me never shared, all entirely coincidental and spontaneous! Only police officers determined to have their suspect convicted would have entertained such a preposterous gallimaufry of lies.

It can, of course, be argued that if a number of spontaneous, similar allegations are made by independent witnesses, then a case to answer should be the result. However, recent history has taught us that many of these allegations of historical abuse are rarely spontaneous, unprompted or independent. So, in the case of punctilious exactness upon which any good legal system is based, this has been, to all intents and purposes, abandoned.

Trawling is being used (or misused) by all police forces in the UK as a means of convicting suspected child abusers. Surely the police must be wary of the fact that there are some adult complainants who, living dreary, unproductive lives, and who suddenly have an opportunity to get their hands on more money than they could ever have imagined, that they just might be prepared to give the police what they so obviously want and make false allegations, regardless of the consequences for the innocent person they are accusing.

Are we really to go along with the creed of the former DPP, Alison Saunders, who rejected the notion that people invent abuse stories? Why would they, she asked? Well, I can think of a number of reasons why, as I'm sure all of you can, too. Quite honestly, if people who are by nature dishonest, or struggling financially, are interviewed and given the opportunity to, even put under pressure to, claim to have been abused in the past, it would be surprising if he or she did not allege some sort of historical abuse. Yet, still these trawling operations continue with the ostensible full backing of the Ministry of Justice and our judicial system.

It seems reasonable to suggest that in cases of historical abuse emanating from any type of boarding establishment, be it a school or a care home, facilitated so readily, of course, by the massive expansion of social media, it makes it highly likely that there has almost certainly been confabulation between complainants in numerous cases which have reached courts.

During the so-called investigation into the allegations made against me, another factor played a significant part: the police team used a private individual, who had nothing to do with the case, to act as their agent, playing the role of some sort of amateur sleuth. This self-appointed agent, who voluntarily lent his services to the police, advertised on his public Facebook page for fresh complainants to step forward. I'll give you an example: When my trial at Ipswich Crown Court was postponed from May the 12th to October the 13th 2014, (in order for the police to have more time to trawl), on the very day of the postponement the agent posted on his Facebook page:

“I am informed (by the police, of course) that the trial of teacher Simon Warr will now begin on the 13th of October 2014. I am further informed that the police in Suffolk are still open for statements. An email address for a named officer can be provided or you can communicate via me.”

In other words, the police are devoid of any persuasive evidence and, thanks to the postponement of the trial, they are now continuing to appeal for more witnesses to come forward, to strengthen a hitherto pathetic, gossamer-thin case.

It was no more than a desperate clarion call for more ex-pupils to come forward to give the police team some breathing space.

And this passes for balanced, fair police procedure.

I wondered how such advertising for complainants in this way could possibly be legal - a police force trawling in this crude manner via a third party.

I would submit that trawling is not a form of investigation; it is a technique for ensuring that prosecutions can be brought in relation to long-delayed allegations and for maximising their chances of success. And when the police search for further complainants to come forward and they refer to them as 'potential victims', it is clear that any pretence at a balanced investigation has already been jettisoned.

Trawling, or 'dip sampling' as it is sometimes termed, clearly has the danger of 'self-reproducing'. It is a mushrooming technique, each person interviewed treated as a means of propagating the names and addresses of more potential so-called victims. In this way, the police are able potentially to collect an almost limitless number of allegations against a suspect. Even if some of the complainants are subsequently proven to be fantasists, opportunists, liars, it's of no matter, as long as the police have secured even a small number of feasible complaints, these will suffice to have the suspect put behind bars and for the investigating officers to congratulate themselves on a job well done; a success in terms of career prospects, of course; and no need to worry anymore about the waste of vast amounts of public money or any comeback with regard to a flawed investigation - the incident room team will have had their backs well and truly covered.

And it's not just the police who advertise for complainants of historical sex abuse. The 'no win, no fee' solicitors are also more than eager to participate in lucrative alleged historical abuse cases. During my research into the whole business of compensation for those who claim sexual abuse, I came across, within a few minutes, a myriad firms advertising for customers:-

Abused as a child? We represent victims.
Child abuse - you deserve justice
Thinking about claiming? We deliver.
Child abuse survivor? Contact us......

… and on and on and on....

The possibility of gaining financial compensation from these 'Personal Injury' firms may well prove irresistible to some. And, if you have a legal system that doesn't insist that allegations require actual proof – real evidence – and you couple that with generous handouts, more money than many of the prospective complainants have ever dreamed about, then it's inevitable that the temptation to make a false claim will be too hard to resist.

In the case of the motor industry, we call these P.I. firms 'ambulance chasers' and, as a result of a cornucopia of scandals surrounding the largely bogus 'whiplash' claims, the authorities have finally curbed the entire industry. PI lawyers suddenly realised they are on much safer ground dealing with alleged child abuse (preferably historical because no actual proof is required) and, because of the sensitivity surrounding this topic, no government officials are likely to interfere.

The result is the PI lawyers work under the pretence that they are 'riding white chargers', in defence of abused individuals, all of whom have a right to substantial compensation for their appalling suffering (omitting to mention, of course, that their own firm will receive as much, if not more, in the way of financial return from any allegations, proven or not). The lawyers certainly don't advertise the fact that their fees are often in excess of the damages being awarded to the claimant. The self-appointed agent who assisted the police in my case even posted on his public page the name and contact details of a firm of solicitors touting for business. Doesn't the whole tawdry picture make you squirm?

Further to this paying out of vast quantities of money to victims of even comparatively minor abuse, not to mention to those lying, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) guarantee lifelong anonymity to those receiving compensation and this includes payments even to those who make allegations of abuse which are not tested in, or rejected, in a court of law. Some are even paid money BEFORE a trial. All a complainant needs is a police crime reference number and the path is open.

The whole process has become so brazen that, a few weeks ago, when I was attending the trial of a FACT member at Portsmouth Crown Court, a trial of alleged historical abuse, also present in the courtroom was a representative of a well known PI firm. When the judge learned this, the man was sent from the court and the complainant was called back to the stand to explain. It was revealed that the complainant had attended this well-known solicitors' firm's offices just two days after making his allegation of historical abuse to the police. He explained to the judge that the solicitor was present at the trial to make notes, in order to save time afterwards.

It's almost jaw-dropping in its disrespect of the just, fair process of law.

The English legal system is based supposedly on the assumption that a person accused is innocent until proven guilty. But in cases of alleged sexual abuse, particularly historical allegations, where actual evidence either way is unlikely to be forthcoming, this burden has been palpably reversed. I had to prove my innocence that what ‘A’ and ‘B’ alleged couldn't possibly have happened and the jury recognised that what spewed from their slavering lips was no more than disgusting lies. They have, nevertheless, both walked away with anonymity and impunity.

I suppose I was fortunate: both men (I use the word lightly) were too dim to concoct even a vaguely plausible account. But I recognise that 90 percent of men, in particular, who are accused of historical sex abuse against children, ARE convicted. Jurors are naturally programmed to protect children and, if there is even a scintilla of a suggestion that the accused may be guilty, this will often suffice. If the police have done their trawling job efficiently (generous funds are certainly available for them) then the person in the glass cage has little, if any, chance of acquittal. The number of innocent people in our jails convicted without a shred of factual evidence doesn't bear thinking about.

So, what about the future...?

1. The police cannot, must not, side with either a complainant or an accused person when undertaking an investigation. It is not the police's duty to believe or disbelieve either party, it is their job to investigate without fear or favour, with perfect balance, just like those scales of justice which perch on the roof of the Old Bailey.

The dangers of biased investigations, which have been so apparent over recent years, mean that when the investigative officers realise they have been well and truly duped by some lying chancer whom they've supported from the off, then they're not in a position to react and to arrest that person for perverting the course of justice or for perjury in a court of law. It's plain common sense.

My accusers lied and lied again; they both perjured themselves at Ipswich Crown Court. When it was all over and I asked the lead investigative officer whether I was going to, at the very least, receive an apology from the accusers, her immediate answer was: “That's not going to happen.” Of course it wasn't, because she and her team had offered the liars succour throughout the entire appalling process. They had believed the unbelievable and had imagined the unimaginable. And neither the police, nor the fraudsters, have faced any consequences whatsoever. No accountability.

2. Police trawling has to cease forthwith and there should be an immediate ban on either the police, or any of their agents, advertising for fresh complainants. These trawls can lead to criminal trials that are no more than cruel charades, the outcomes of which are determined not by factual evidence but as a result of devious, opaque confabulation behind the scenes, a certain amount of guesswork and, in so many cases, overwhelming prejudice.

Evidence suggests that there are scores of innocent people in prison, or with life-inhibiting criminal records, on account of police and/or complainant subterfuge. Do we really want to continue to convict innocent people on the basis of contaminated so-called evidence? How can we expect twelve members of the public to come to a correct conclusion when they are faced by so much intrigue, so much fraudulence, all served up as impeccable authenticity?

3. And, finally, when are we going to get it through our thick skulls that as long as we continue handing out vast quantities of cash to complainants, we're going to have to deal with an endless conveyor belt of fraudulent opportunists prepared to send innocent citizens to jail, just so they can get their greedy hands on public money to which they have absolutely no right.

Thank you for listening.

Monday, 3 June 2019

The Case For Anonymity

Last Thursday, as I watched singer-songwriter and founding member of the pop combo JLS, Oritsé Williams, walking from Wolverhampton Crown Court, having just been cleared by a unanimous jury of having raped a woman in a hotel bedroom in December 2016, I had a good idea of how he was feeling. Relief would be his principal emotion; relief that he wasn't going to spend years of his comparatively young life behind bars, confined in a prison within a prison – a special area reserved for that most hated category of the prison population: sex offenders. But the relief will probably not last for long because Mr. Williams, an innocent man, will then have to adjust to a life inextricably linked with the story of how he was once accused of rape.

Oritsé Williams
The fact that he was cleared of this heinous accusation will help him somewhat but even this 'not guilty' verdict is still likely to cause him unjust pain for the rest of his life. Just being accused of a sex offence is catastrophic for any person so targeted. Recognising the inevitable serious damage caused, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976 extended anonymity to suspects in such cases prior to a conviction. However, since that protection was repealed in 1988, the law has allowed an accused person's name to be made public – with a few limited exceptions – and the living experience of hundreds of innocent people has been made tortuous, while the law-makers don't seem to give a damn.

Sex offences are viewed throughout our society here in the UK as a crimen exceptum and they carry a particular stigma. I, myself, was accused by a pair of lying opportunists in 2012 of having 'touched them inappropriately' in the school shower room, when I was a teacher at the school where they were pupils, back in the early 1980s. Their lies were seen for what they were by a unanimous jury in a matter of minutes, but only after I had spent 672 days on bail in the full ghastly glare of publicity. There was not a scintilla of truth in what they had claimed but, nevertheless, those preposterous claims, apart from destroying a highly successful teaching career, will be linked to me for the rest of my life due to the indelible online footprint. While I live with references to these false allegations for evermore, my perfidious accusers can continue their own lives with both anonymity and impunity. Is this fair?

It is almost impossible to convey the deep feelings of humiliation and depression an accused person feels when he or she reads reports in the press, or comments by the untutored mob circulating on the net, about what he or she was alleged to have done, even many years ago. There used to be a saying that 'today's newspaper stories are tomorrow's fish-and-chip wrapping paper'. Since the birth of the internet, this is no longer the case. Two hundred years ago, criminals would have been branded on their foreheads. Nowadays, the internet does the branding just as effectively but the difference is, as Mr. Williams will find, you don't even need to be guilty of a crime to be seared for life. For the baying mob on the Net and nervous prospective employers, an accusation is enough to damage seriously an accused person's life even after an acquittal. Once Pandora's box has been opened, no one and nothing can re-close the lid.

Work that would have been coming Mr. Williams' way will be diverted elsewhere; comments will be made behind his back that 'there's no smoke without fire' and there will be the predictable vile comments issuing from the keyboards of those malicious trolls on the net, who will enthusiastically offer their opinions as to why he should have been found guilty and locked up at the very least. Whenever anyone 'googles' Mr. Williams' name, instead of immediately finding references to all the splendid songs he wrote and performed for our immense pleasure, at the top of the search engine findings there will be multiple references to the fact 'Oritse Williams has appeared in a court of law, charged with raping a young woman'. He'll never escape his connection with this alleged crime and his descendants will have to bat off comments even after he has joined the choir invisible.

In short, although an innocent man, Mr. Williams, talented musician and performer, is inextricably linked to the repellent topic of rape for the rest of his life.

In the eyes of the public, there are few more heinous crimes than sexual assault, which makes it imperative that anyone accused of such a crime should remain anonymous until he or she is found guilty in a court of law. The argument against this is some people believe that, by concealing the identity of the accused, it will make it harder for the complainant to secure justice, as he or she might be a lone voice in a court of law, while other victims of the same defendant remain unaware that he or she is on trial.

I would argue that - if the evidence is strong enough - a jury will convict even on a single charge and, once the offender is found guilty, his or her name will be widely reported. Then, if there other victims, they can step forward if that is their wish. Besides which, even if an accused person is granted anonymity until a court verdict, those who live locally to him or her are likely to hear about the complaint by word of mouth as soon as the person is arrested.

The questions are as follows: i) are we prepared to continue to ruin innocent people's lives in order to give support to complainants, on the chance there might be others who have suffered at the hands of the accused? ii) are these innocent, unconvicted people just collateral damage in our desire to make it as easy as possible to have real culprits brought to justice? Besides which, there are obvious dangers in the common police practice of trawling, and advertising, for fresh complainants to step forward, particularly in a country which hands out enormous amounts of money in compensation to those claiming abuse.

Sir Cliff Richard
I'm calling for a statutory ban on identifying sexual offence suspects until they are found guilty in a court of law. We bang on about human rights and the rights to privacy in this country ad nauseam, yet we seem to pay little respect to so many innocent people who are having their lives turned upside down, in the full glare of publicity, by false sexual allegations.

The unjust, abhorrent police practice of the 'fly paper' technique has to stop. I refer to the common m.o. of the police of arresting someone, leaking the person's identity to the press, endlessly re-bailing him or her, all in a bid to secure more complainants (where there's no 'quality' evidence, the police endeavour to make up for it in 'quantity' so-called evidence). The damage to the accused is both cruel and irreparable.

If a judge feels a suspect could well be responsible for multiple offences, then, on a case by case basis, that judge can make a decision to have the accused person's identity disclosed, as sometimes happens with children who have been accused of a heinous crime.

Few MPs take an interest in the unedifying topic of false sexual allegations and anonymity for the person accused, as it's unlikely to secure for them many votes. Far better to keep to campaigning about issues such as the inordinate number of pot holes in our roads: much safer ground (if you'll excuse the pun). Nevertheless, publication of an innocent person's name in relation to a sexual allegation is catastrophic for the person concerned, as poor Mr. Oritsé Williams knows all too well. It's an issue which needs to be attended to before even more innocent people have their lives utterly ruined through no fault of their own.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Telephones, Trauma, Trials and Truth

One step forward… two steps back: this seems to be the way in which our criminal justice system usually operates.

Innocent: Liam Allan
From late 2017 into early 2018, the mass media was buzzing over the shortcomings of prosecution disclosure in rape and other sexual offences trials. There was much hand-wringing and outrage over cases like that of student Liam Allen who – but for the grace of an honourable barrister, Jerry Hayes, acting on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – might well have been convicted wrongly of an allegation of rape that never was. In fact, evidence recovered from Mr. Allen's accuser’s mobile phone completely undermined her false accusations and revealed that he himself had been the real victim, of harassment. Understandably, there were widespread demands for major improvements with regard to the disclosure of evidence to the defence, in the interest of fair trials and justice.

Fast forward to 2019 and even a very modest proposal by the new Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Max Hill, and the College of Policing, seeking to achieve a uniform approach by police forces wishing to access the mobile phones and other digital data of complainants, has managed to provoke loud wails of outrage from vocal campaigners. Some have asserted that the very act of police requesting such access will discourage complainants who have alleged rape, or other forms of sexual assault, from coming forward. The shrillest responses are even likening these requests to assist the police with their inquiries as being akin to a ‘digital strip search.’ Nothing like a wildly emotive catchphrase to whip up an online feeding frenzy, eh?

The hot-air fuelled miasma is being stoked eagerly by certain sections of the national press, whose journalists are peddling outright lies via their sensationalist headlines. The Guardian – rarely a byword for impartiality on these matters at the best of times – wins first prize for claiming that rape victims’ phones would be 'seized' by police. Notice the emotive verb 'seize'. Aside from being untrue – the new system simply allows police to request access – The Guardian felt it necessary to add fuel to the flames of ‘woke outrage' by also repeatedly using the term ‘victim’, long before anyone has even been charged or convicted. After many complaints online, the editors backed down and amended the incendiary headline to read ‘complainants’. However, the bogus claim about phone ‘seizures’ still remains online.

Baroness Newlove
Others who should know better, including outgoing Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove and various ‘victim’ support groups, along with privacy campaigners – such as Big Brother Watch – have weighed into the debate (albeit with very different motives). It seems that everyone is entitled to an impassioned view - other than victims of false sexual allegations, of course. As usual, this category of victim is completely ignored and disregarded because such people are 'the wrong sort of victims' of crime in modern day Britain.

While the proposal for police investigators to request access to complainants’ phones applies to any type of criminal case, it is entirely predictable that the only protests achieving national media coverage concern sexual allegations. I’ve not come across people who claim that they’ve experienced online fraud, car theft, GBH, robbery or burglary now demanding that their mobile phones be sacrosanct during police inquiries. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of genuine victims of crime would be only too happy to assist the police with their investigations – including handing over mobile phones – if it meant there might be a better chance of PC Plod collaring the vile little toe-rags who injured or robbed them. Far better, surely, than just being issued with a crime reference number and a shrug of the shoulders, as is often standard practice.

Police downloading data
However, those alleging sexual assault seem to have an army of vocal campaigners willing to twist or misrepresent these latest modest proposals, in order to present them as ‘digital strip searches.’ I presume the reference to ‘digital’ has been chosen for reasons that are all too clear.

The overwhelming message being broadcast loudly by these single issue groups is that anyone – particularly a female – who makes an allegation of rape or sexual assault MUST be telling the truth on every occasion. Their account of events, no matter how bizarre or unconvincing, MUST be believed and NEVER challenged. Police should NEVER seek to investigate the ‘victim’ (i.e. the complainant) and NEVER dare to make a request to download anything from their mobile phones or social media accounts. To do so, no matter how politely phrased, must be seen as an act of vile, patriarchal aggression.

There has even been criticism of the latest plans on the grounds that such searches of mobile phones and social media accounts could lead to the evidence being used to prosecute the complainant for a range of unrelated crimes. This is certainly not the purpose behind this latest proposal. It is churlish in the extreme to state that the police will use their new powers to search through online activity to seek evidence for a separate prosecution. Unless, of course, the complainant is guilty of serious criminal activity, in which case it is right and just and proper that the police carry out their professional obligations without fear or favour.

Rape fraudster: Jemma Beale
It’s well worth recalling the fact that serial rape faker Jemma Beale, recently convicted and jailed for a well-deserved ten years after making a series of false rape allegations against nine different men, plus further accusations of sexual assaults against others, was brought to justice – in part – because digital evidence extracted by police from her mobile phone and social media exposed her as a sadistic fraudster and liar. Beale ‘gloried’ in her crimes and remains to this day utterly unrepentant. Yet, had detectives not checked her phone and gathered this damning evidence, it is entirely possible that more of her innocent victims would now be rotting in jail, while she waltzed away with many tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money, courtesy of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

One thing that my own experience with compensation-grubbing liars and fraudsters has taught me is that many of these crooks are usually not very clever or sophisticated. They think nothing of allowing their masks to slip in text messages and posts in closed online chat rooms. Whole criminal conspiracies and compensation scams can be exposed if police both have access to these fraudsters' electronic communication devices AND disclose relevant evidence of such fraud to the defence.

A ransacked bedroom
It is also important to note that, while there are no proposals for police to ‘seize’ complainants’ phones and other electronic devices, I can state from first hand experience it is now entirely routine practice for anyone who has simply been accused of a sexual offence (without a smidgen of actual evidence) to have his or her home raided by a squad of police officers, often in the early hours of the morning. Once the suspect has been dragged out of bed and arrested, his or her house will be ransacked from top to bottom. Every personal item will be bagged up for subsequent scrutiny: every diary, every personal letter, every family photo album will be seized and piled into police evidence bags. Cherished books will be pulled from bookcases and thrown onto the floor. All electronic devices – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, cameras – will similarly be taken, to be closely and thoroughly scrutinised for potential evidence. And all this equally applies to the devices of family members living at the same address. Goodness only knows the effects of it all on any child who happens to live in the home.

This is not a ‘digital strip search’ as much as a literal one. Every vestige of dignity and privacy is systematically stripped away from a suspect and his or her family. Every aspect of the accused person’s life will be exposed and examined, from bank accounts to every personal piece of correspondence. And remember, this happens long before anyone has been charged, let alone tried in a court of law. A single complaint of an alleged sexual assault opens the floodgates to this devastating process.

House for sale
In the course of my current research, I’ve spoken to victims of malicious sexual accusations who say that they will never find happiness in their own home again. Some have felt compelled to move house, so unbearable is the trauma of the initial police search, carried out in the customary ruthless manner. Imagine experiencing a burglary, while you are present, with the full weight of the law behind those who are busy ripping your home apart.

Having been through that dehumanising and humiliating process myself, I find it deeply offensive that vocal campaigners feel it appropriate to describe a request from police officers for access to a complainant’s mobile phone as a ‘violation of privacy’ or a ‘digital strip search’. I experienced both during the twenty-two months I was kept on bail before I was acquitted in a matter of minutes by a unanimous jury, who delayed returning to court immediately out of respect for the judicial process. The two evil, compensation-grubbing fraudsters whose lies subjected me to all of this have walked away unscathed, with their anonymity protected, free to lie again should the fancy take them. And, of course, none of their electronic communication was ever looked at during the so-called investigation. Perhaps, if it had have been, I wouldn’t have lost my cherished teaching career.

The latest proposals regarding complainants’ communication devices might not prevent the victims of false allegations from experiencing the trauma of a police investigation, but where evidence is revealed of blatant lies, or even a conspiracy to defraud or pervert the course of justice, then this might prevent unnecessary and unjustified prosecutions being launched at enormous human and financial cost. Furthermore, as in the case of serial liar Jemma Beale, such evidence could prove vital in bringing other criminals to justice. I, for one, think this is a price well worth paying.

Friday, 29 March 2019

The Hard Lessons of Jemma Beale

In August 2017, Jemma Beale (27) was convicted and given a ten year prison sentence (of which she will serve half in jail and the remainder on licence), following a trial during which jurors heard that she was a ‘serial liar’, who had falsely accused nine men of raping her on separate occasions, while a further six had supposedly sexually assaulted her. All these bogus allegations were confined to a three-year period, while she was an adult.

Jemma Beale
As a direct result of her lies, an innocent man was convicted of rape and jailed for seven years. Before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal, he had already served over two years in prison, being treated, unsurprisingly, as the lowest of the low: he was a convicted rapist and sex offender. Since his release, he has described graphically for the media how his life has been utterly ruined.

Beale had been supported throughout that case as a victim of sexual violence, whose account must be believed. No doubt there were professionals on hand to give her support, in addition to a police victim liaison officer. In due course she applied for – and received – compensation amounting to £11,000 via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Meanwhile, an innocent man, whom she had falsely accused, was rotting in a stinking prison cell, his reputation and happiness destroyed, his life as he'd known it effectively over.

And no doubt that would have been the end of the matter had Beale not felt emboldened by her ‘success’. After all, the police had got the result they wanted – the conviction of a dangerous sex offender – and she had pocketed a sum of tax-free money, courtesy of the taxpayer, to spend on whatever she fancied. It’s worth remembering that for some people a lump sum of that size can seem genuinely life changing, especially if they aren’t in regular employment or are living on state benefits.

English prison cell
Jemma Beale, however, was greedy. She was not only hungry for more compensation payments, but she also had a deeply sadistic streak in her nature that led her to revel in the suffering of men she chose as her victims. Psychiatrists and psychologists will no doubt debate whether or not her claims of childhood abuse contributed to her perverted, warped nature, as well as her supposed ‘vulnerability’ as an adult. Whatever the root cause, she set out deliberately to make a series of utterly baseless accusations against other men. Some, she asserted, had raped her. Others subjected her to vile sexual assaults. In every case, her allegations were nothing more than calculated lies.

It was the astonishing volume of these complaints that proved to be Beale’s ultimate undoing. Even police officers who specialise in sexual offences, and who had been indoctrinated during the era of the ‘you will be believed’ policy, imposed from above by former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sir Keir Starmer and propagated assiduously by his hapless successor Alison Saunders, realised that they had a serial liar and attention-seeker on their hands. Systematically, the whole investigation, which now involved fourteen targets, unravelled and the first innocent victim who'd been jailed saw his rape conviction quashed and he was released from prison (although never from the horrors which he has had to endure). Even so, he must be accounted among the luckiest of the plethora of innocent people rotting in jail, simply because victims of wrongful convictions, especially in cases of sexual offences' prosecutions, are so rarely able to get their appeals as far as the Court of Appeal, let alone being able to clear their names.

Moreover, in the vast majority of such cases, the overarching policy among police and CPS prosecutors is to let sleeping dogs lie. Prosecuting the makers of malicious false sexual allegations is not considered to be ‘in the public interest’. Some excuse almost always seems be found to avoid taking any action, often with an assertion that the liar, fantasist, revenge seeker, fraudster or perjurer suffers from ‘poor mental health’. It is not surprising to me that the police are nearly always reluctant to prosecute liars who have duped them into believing they have been abuse victims because it is these very liars to whom the police have proffered undiluted support and encouragement throughout the so-called investigation process. I know from first hand experience.

In the specific case of Jemma Beale, however, the CPS did make a decision to charge her and she stood trial and was duly convicted by a jury, despite her stubborn refusal to accept that she had done anything wrong. There was no acceptance of responsibility, nor evidence of any compassion or concern for her many victims.

Importantly, jurors heard and read evidence extracted from her electronic communications, which included text messages, one of which graphically revealed how she was ‘glorying’ in the suffering of an innocent man she had falsely accused of rape. This fact alone makes it clear why police and prosecutors MUST have access to complainants’ communication devices and online accounts. Without the vital evidence of those damning messages, a serial fraudster like Jemma Beale could well have pulled the wool over jurors’ eyes and walked out of court free to wreak havoc on further victims.

Court of Appeal
As was her legal right, Beale appealed her conviction and sentence, asserting that ten years was ‘unduly harsh’. That appeal was heard this week and the judges of the Court of Appeal rightly rejected her applications. She was properly convicted and her sentence was confirmed. She will remain where she belongs: behind bars for several more years to come and, after her release, will remain under supervision by probation officers until August 2027.

Nevertheless, there has been a concerted effort by Beale’s family and others, including journalists, to paint her in a very different light. Articles have been written decrying her conviction and sentencing. She has been portrayed as a vulnerable ‘victim’ and many column inches have been filled denouncing her prison sentence as ‘cruel and unnecessary’. What is noticeably lacking in these protests is any genuine concern for the men whose lives, careers, mental health and relationships Beale has deliberately wrecked.

It gets worse. I recently stumbled across a very professionally produced website, endorsed by members of her family, that continues to proclaim her innocence. This, I suppose, is understandable. Relatives often find it difficult to accept that a loved one could have committed vile crimes. What I found particularly grotesque, however, is that this website names and smears Beale’s innocent victims, thus adding to the damage she has already inflicted upon them. If the family of a convicted rapist dared to set up a similar website, naming the victims, I don’t doubt for one second that they would be the focus of police attention and would face arrest and possible prosecution. Yet this pro-Beale website continues to peddle her vile lies, despite her conviction and the recent dismissal of her appeal. Will these smears stay online now? Only time will tell.

Jemma Beale on her phone
Although Jemma Beale’s case has been reported widely in the media, there has so far been no informed analysis of the lessons that need to be urgently learned. I would suggest that the first issue is just how dangerous the ‘you WILL be believed’ dogma actually is. Simply accepting as truth any sexual accusation made by any complainant who walks in the door of a police station defies logic to the point of being ludicrous. It certainly flies in the face of established investigative practice of investigating 'without fear or favour' and clearly produces wrongful prosecutions and miscarriages of justice.

Beale’s claims should have been thoroughly and impartially investigated from the start. Had this been done, it seems unlikely that her first victim would have lost over two years of his life rotting in a prison cell. These cases have real, human victims. He was failed utterly by the police and the CPS.

The second lesson is the vital importance of police having access to both the complainant's and the defendant's communication devices and online accounts, especially when there is little or no other evidence that an offence has actually taken place. Without such investigation, vital evidence – such as Jemma Beale’s messages expressing her sadistic joy in her vile crimes – would have been lost. Recent calls to block or restrict police investigations on the grounds that it might ‘discourage’ genuine victims of sexual assault are disingenuous. The only people who are likely to want to keep their communications hidden from police view are liars, fraudsters, fantasists and those bent on revenge.

Mobile phones
The third lesson that needs to be emphasised is that when police and prosecutors fail to conduct proper impartial investigations into sexual offences, it empowers fraudsters, liars and fantasists, like Jemma Beale, effectively encouraging them to try it on again and again. During my research into false allegations, I have found such cases, including that of one woman who falsely accused no fewer than seven men – all work colleagues – of rape or sexual assault, while she was working for different firms. In most cases, because the allegations were always set in an office context, each firm’s insurer opted to settle her claims quietly, out of court, without realising that she had done it all before. Her anonymity proved very convenient, as well as profitable. She made hundreds of thousands of pounds over the years.

In my own case, the two greedy liars who made false allegations against me had previously been awarded compensation for their claims against another teacher at the same school. Emboldened by their ‘success’ the first time round, they decided to return to the institutional insurer’s 'honey-pot' a second time. They failed when a unanimous jury saw through their tissue of lies in a matter of minutes. However, I am of the firm opinion that, had those lies been believed and I had been convicted, the malicious duo would have pocketed thousands more pounds in undeserved compensation and would then have started plotting to accuse falsely yet another innocent victim.

The fourth lesson is that we need some form of mechanism designed to claw back compensation payments that have been made to individuals – like Jemma Beale – who have been exposed and convicted of perverting the course of justice, perjury or fraud, whether against the CICA or institutional insurers. It is simply outrageous that she has pocketed £11,000 of taxpayers’ money without facing the prospect of having to pay back her ill-gotten gains that were obtained by fraud. Other types of criminals, including insurance fraudsters, robbers, drug dealers and embezzlers are regularly slapped with Proceeds of Crime Orders (POCAs), which strip them of their assets and recover monies and property that have been accumulated through criminal activities. Why not the likes of Beale?

The fifth lesson is, whenever a conviction has been quashed in circumstances which make it clear an accuser or prosecution witness has lied on oath, or that trials have collapsed for similar reasons, the CPS should always consider prosecuting, whether the false accuser admits to an offence or not. Of course, there may well be cases where a prosecution genuinely wouldn’t be appropriate, but, as Beale’s case demonstrates, liars, fantasists and fraudsters can and do inflict appalling damage on their immediate victims and their families, as well as on society as a whole. A failure to acknowledge this undermines our justice system and brings the police and CPS into disrepute. I am still beset with daily outrage that the two scheming liars who dragged me into Ipswich Crown Court, in 2014, have walked away with both anonymity and impunity. How can this be fair and just?

I would also suggest that, where a false accuser has been convicted of making sexual allegations against innocent victims, the courts should impose lifelong orders, giving these wronged individuals retrospective anonymity. Such an order could require the online media to remove or redact the innocent parties published names and give them the same rights as genuine victims of sexual offences. Of course, they would retain the right to waive their own anonymity, if they wished to do so. That would put a stop to websites – such as that being maintained by Jemma Beale’s family – continuing to name and smear her many victims online.

By any measure, Jemma Beale is an unrepentant criminal, as was noted by the judges at her unsuccessful appeal. She has caused immense harm to many innocent people and continues to refuse to take any responsibility for her vile crimes. In view of these facts, surely it would be appropriate for her (and others like her) to be included on a national register of serious offenders, who should be obliged to notify the police of their details and movements for the rest of their lives? Otherwise, there will be nothing to prevent her reinventing herself, once she has completed her prison sentence and licence period, and causing misery and havoc once again. That must not be allowed to happen.

Monday, 25 March 2019

The 3 Cs: Contamination, Collusion, Concoction

I was alerted to this topic during the two years (2013/14) I was under suspicion of having inappropriately touched a child in a school changing room back in the early 1980s. The allegation had absolutely no truth in it whatsoever but I was disturbed to learn that, during the so-called investigation, somebody, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the case, had appointed himself a sort of police helper and was actively touting for other complainants to come forward via postings on the internet.

In April 2014, he posted the following: 'Simon Warr's trial has been postponed until October 2014. The police have asked me to inform you all that they are still open for statements. You can DM me.' etc etc.

This seemed to be a clarion call for more former pupils to come forward. I decided to do some research into this sordid practice.

Allegations of institutional historical sexual and physical abuse have become an industry here in the UK, due to the prospect of generous compensation payments. Although the sums paid to alleged victims of sexual abuse are limited under the government’s 'Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority' (CICA), personal injury solicitors have realised that most institutions – particularly boarding schools and local authority children’s homes – have public liability insurance that offers far richer pickings for claimants. Individual claims can easily top £100,000 and many insurers prefer to settle these claims out of court, rather than incur the heavy costs of official legal proceedings and the risk of the associated negative publicity.

What I found particularly concerning is the role being played by private individuals in actively trawling online for, usually, historical allegations – true or fabricated – that can ultimately be used to claim compensation. In some cases the alleged target(s) may be deceased, but many others are still living and, in these cases, complaints can be passed onto the local police. In a few very troubling instances, the police themselves appear to be supporting these trawling operations by sharing intelligence with the private citizens who administer the web pages.

While bringing genuine sex offenders to justice is a laudable aim, there are serious problems when private, unaccountable individuals start to play a key role in identifying potential complainants, meeting them face to face privately, without witnesses or any official oversight, taking initial statements of ‘evidence’ and then coaching them prior to passing their details on to firms of personal injury solicitors and then to the local police force.

This practice raises three major concerns about the integrity of any evidence that may emerge via these ‘trawling’ operations – the 3 Cs:

Contamination – where the individuals involved in trawling ‘implant’ (or even fabricate) memories of abuse, or make suggestions to often vulnerable or disturbed adults; or to those adults who are down on their financial luck.
Collusion – by networking between complainants, either acting as 'a go-between' for information, or sharing unofficial statements made by other complainants from the same institution, thereby adding unmerited credibility to their allegations.
Concoction – where completely fictitious, malicious allegations against innocent people are created and developed, before being presented to the police as spontaneous claims of sexual abuse.

Even when historical allegations of abuse may be grounded in fact, the processes of contamination and collusion – if proven – may well result in a complainant's evidence being treated as unreliable. In such cases, the intervention of online trawlers has the very real potential to do enormous harm to prosecutions. The end result may be that the guilty go free, due to the meddling of unqualified and irresponsible ‘enthusiasts’.

Moreover, there is also the inescapable fact that those who orchestrate such online trawling activities have no professional training or duty of care to anyone. Implanting or encouraging false memories can have devastating consequences, not only to an innocent target but also in cases where damaged or vulnerable people are effectively being manipulated to suit the trawler's own objectives. It isn’t unknown for this type of obsessive to publish personal details of those alleging sexual abuse, even against the wishes of the person who has disclosed highly sensitive information to him or her. In such cases, the clear goal of the online trawler is self-aggrandisement and the cultivation of a ‘saviour/hero’ figure. Any damage to those who have unwisely shared their real or fantasy experiences with such individuals is dismissed as collateral damage. In some cases, irreparable harm can be caused to families, including young children, due to irresponsible behaviour of this kind.

Of course, there are some who set themselves up as trawlers who may well have much darker motives. There are doubtless a number of individuals who find stories of sexual molestation – real or imaginary – stimulating and exciting. These voyeurs – for that is what they are in reality – enjoy listening to every salacious detail of what they are being told. Yet they would deny vehemently any such suggestion from puzzled observers, who might enquire why they are so fascinated by the sexual degradation and abuse of children. It would not be unfair to describe such obsessive characters as aural scopophiliacs… deriving their sexual pleasure from listening to other’s accounts of sexual abuse. Many of these perverts are very accomplished at hiding in plain sight.

Since private individuals – whether they be vigilantes or sexual abuse obsessives – who engage in these trawling operations are not bound by legal safeguards and rules which are designed to protect suspects from the contamination of evidence or collusion between accusers, any police investigation that has been launched as a result of information emerging from this type of trawling may well be compromised from the very beginning, especially if the role played by the trawler is actively concealed by detectives from the defence and the jury in criminal trials. There is a very real risk of miscarriages of justice and innocent people being wrongly convicted, due to the manipulation and even creation of bogus ‘evidence’, especially when prosecutors often rely on similar fact evidence to convince juries of a defendant’s guilt.

So we really do need to ask: how many wrongful convictions may have occurred as a direct result of this online trawling? All defence teams should be alert to possible contamination of evidence and active collusion between former pupils, as well as the concoction of completely false abuse claims by unscrupulous, malicious, mendacious adults, who are seeking substantial compensation payouts for historical institutional sexual abuse that may never have taken place outside of their own fetid, disturbed imaginations. Just like the two who accused me back in 2012.

Friday, 25 January 2019

A Modest Proposal: Polygraph

I was interested to read this week the fact that domestic abuse defendants could face mandatory lie-detector tests when released from prison, as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill. Starting back in August 2014 similar testing is already being used for some high-risk sex offenders who are subject to probation supervision after their release (read article here).

The polygraph (or lie-detector) machine has been around since the early 1920s and was invented by an American police officer, John Larson. The instrument measures a person's blood pressure, pulse and breathing rates as he or she answers a series of questions. The technology is widely used across the world by law enforcement agencies, as well as intelligence services (primarily on their own agents) in the hunt for spies and moles.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases over the decades of people beating the technology. Psychopaths and sociopaths, for example, who usually have much lower anxiety levels than the average person, seem more able to defeat the machine. Hence, here in the UK, quite rightly, we do not rely on any polygraph data in our courts of law. Such results are deemed inadmissible as evidence.

This stated, I do think there is a role these machines can play in the pursuit of justice outside the courtroom. I refer particularly to claims of 'historical’ sex abuse and in the police’s initial decision whether or not to pursue a complainant’s allegations with a full-scale investigation.

Since 2012, UK police forces have been pretty much swamped by adults coming forward to claim that they were abused as children. Many of the allegations go back over thirty years or even longer. A few accusations have even dated back to the 1950s. The very nature of these claims means that there cannot be a shred of actual evidence of whether or not the complainant is telling the truth.

Accordingly, the m.o. of the police, in an era of the ludicrous mantra 'you will be believed’, is nearly always to arrest and charge the accused and let a jury decide who they think (or just guess) is telling the truth: accuser or accused. I know from experience that once the police raid and ransack an accused person’s home, confiscating his or her most intimate possessions, reading every email/text message, letter and diary that the target has either sent, received or written, scrutinising every personal photograph and video, they will do everything in their power, backed by the full force of the state, to railroad that target into court.

Nothing but a full and frank confession by the accuser that he or she has been telling a pack of lies from the start will stop the investigating officers from doing all in their immense power to have the accused person found guilty in a court of law. The result is a plethora of innocent people are having their reputations ruined, their lives effectively destroyed, just because these agents of the state know they have the full backing of the overwhelming majority in our society and seemingly unlimited resources at their disposal.

Both personally, as well as through my current research into false allegations, I have come to know of so many innocent people who have committed suicide soon after they have been arrested and have had their name plastered all over the local, in some cases national, press. Politicians have little, if any, interest in any of this, of course, because speaking up for innocent people accused of historical abuse will not curry favour with the electorate and the vast majority of MPs care only about popularity and securing as many votes as possible in the next election. Ensuring the repair of pot holes in the local roads is a far more rewarding cause, given the constant pursuit of popularity by the average parliamentarian.

For many in society, it has been the case until recently (as more and more cases come to light about vital evidence being concealed by the CPS and the police, the general public are beginning to become rather more sceptical) that if a person has been accused of child abuse, he or she deserves everything that he or she gets. With innocent people's reputations destroyed, there are even some innocent targets who end up spending time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Our prisons are stuffed full of people serving time without a shred of actual evidence having been presented at trial beyond the word of the accuser and, if police trawling has been effective, others who have either been in cahoots all along with the original complainant or who have read about the accused person's arrest and, prompted by the thought of a hefty pay-out in the event of a guilty verdict, throw their proverbial hat into the ring. After all, what have they got to lose?

Which brings me back to the polygraph test. Would it not be prudent to make use of such technology whenever a person first comes into a police station to allege historical abuse, which, by its nature, as I have already explained, cannot produce any evidence as to whom is telling the truth, the accuser or the accused. Both parties could be required by law to undertake such a test to help the police decide whether they are going to invade an accused person’s life, at the start of an investigation, appreciating the devastation that this always causes to that person, who may well be innocent. The result of a polygraph test would not be used as definitive proof as to whether the accuser or the accused was telling the truth but, if both tests indicated the accuser was telling lies and the accused the truth, it might just influence the police to put that raid on hold until, or if, some other indicator came to light as how to proceed.

Of course, a positive indication that an accused person is lying about their innocence might also persuade them to enter an early guilty plea, so my proposal isn't just one-sided. Genuine victims of sexual abuse might be spared long drawn out police investigations, as well as having to give evidence, if a polygraph test supports an abuser's guilt and encourages them to admit their crimes.

Above all, this guessing game which can destroy those who are not guilty of any crime – or even kill – must stop. Are we prepared to allow the destruction of innocent people’s reputations and careers when it could be avoided by the use, very early in an historical sex investigation, of one of Mr. Larson’s instruments? I would gladly have volunteered to take such a test in late 2012, as it might have saved me 672 days of torment on bail, not to mention my successful teaching career – which was ended despite a unanimous jury acquitting me in a matter of minutes. I daresay my false accuser, in the same circumstances, would have thought twice about spewing forth his totally groundless, filthy lies told in pursuit of hoped-for compensation.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Some Fraudsters Go Unpunished

There was an excoriating article, penned by journalist Beth Hale, in Saturday's 'Mail', entitled: 'The £670,000 Grenfell Ghouls', about the (so far) 14 despicable chancers who have lied about being in the Tower when the deadly fire took place (link). The word used to describe these crooks was 'despicable' but I daresay any reader will find their behaviour so repellent, so contrary to human decency, that he or she may come up with a stronger adjective more compatible with the heinous crime.

All of these convicted fraudsters have claimed tens and thousands of pounds in compensation, from money which was raised to offer some succour to the real victims of Grenfell in their desperate hours of need. The amounts handed out to the imposters run upwards from Mohammed Gamoota's £6,264 to the incredible sum of £103,475,60, which was claimed by the repugnant specimen of humanity, Sharife Elouahabi. By the end of Ms Hale's article, I was quietly spitting feathers, as the saying goes.

Then it occurred to me all that these selfish, greedy, shameful cheats/liars/fraudsters had in their minds when they claimed to have been directly affected by the fire was pecuniary gain… their actions, however greedy, mean and shabby, didn't directly lead to the complete ruin of another human being's reputation and career. These were crimes of acquisition, rather than malicious destruction.

Then I thought of the two malignant liars who told the police I had acted inappropriately in a school shower room after I taught them P.E. in the early 1980s (a subject in which I have never taken a class in my entire career). It was subsequently proven that their allegations had absolutely no truth in them whatsoever. Yet they peddled these lies to the police because they saw it as a chance to get their filthy, grubby hands on yet more compensation money after they had successfully pressed a previous claim against another teacher. Because such claims are made against the school’s institutional insurers, we're talking about tens of thousands of pounds. I presume these appalling scammers were hoping for a similar payment the second time around.

The difference between the Grenfell fraudsters and the two cheating liars who accused me is the latter knew their false claims would inevitably lead to my personal destruction and public humiliation. And they couldn't have cared less. They must have been aware that another teacher from the same school had been accused just months before they made up their lies against me and he had committed suicide. Still they were prepared to make up a pack of lies for their own iniquitous ends. It was utterly sadistic.

And what repercussions have these two justice perverters faced since the truth has emerged? Nothing. Rien. Nichts. Niente.

While the police quite correctly pursue all those bogus Grenfell degenerates and bring them to deserved justice - involving prison sentences and their names being splashed across the national press in the process - the two malignant fraudsters who dragged me into a court of law have faced no consequences for what is unarguably a much worse crime, particularly in terms of the human cost of their wicked lies. Not only have they not been punished, but the state has allowed them to carry on with their lives with anonymity. Some may argue that, at least, I have the comfort of knowing they are living out the rest of their lives with utter shame about lying but, of course, any people who have it in them to make a false allegation of sexual abuse have a different moral code from the vast majority of the human race. Such people are pure evil. And, since my two accusers are hiding behind the anonymity granted to them by law, who knows whether they might strike again by targeting another innocent victim?

I am just one of many in a similar position: since 2014, I have met so many who have suffered a similar fate to my own. The only ones who have found justice are those whose accusers have finally admitted to having lied. But these cases are so rare. Meanwhile, we all throw up our hands in horror when reading about chancers like the 'Grenfell Ghouls', as they are brought to justice to pay for their sins in the full humiliating glare of national publicity, while even worse monsters carry on with their lives without so much as a slap on the wrist.