Monday, 4 November 2019

No Rehabilitation for the Innocent

Danny Kay is a man entitled to be very, very angry. I think any one of us, in his position, would be absolutely furious. I know my blood would be boiling, because I’m fuming after just having read his story.

Mr Kay – like far too many people – is the victim of a wrongful conviction. He was charged with raping a woman with whom he had had a brief sexual relationship. He was duly convicted in 2013 and sentenced to four and a half years in prison, plus the obligatory lifetime registration as a sex offender. He served over two years in prison, seemingly forever branded a convicted rapist. Although he always maintained his innocence, his life has been permanently blighted.

Facebook messages
However, he didn’t give up the fight to clear his name and, with the assistance of his sister-in-law, he was able to produce evidence in the form of electronic communications between himself and his accuser that undermined her claims that she had been raped. In fact, it was established that she had ‘edited’ records of her contact with him, in order to provide a totally misleading account of their messages, after they had had, what he always maintained, entirely consensual sex. In short, this calculated dishonesty on her part suggested strongly that she was lying about being a victim of sexual assault, perhaps for reasons of revenge or jealousy, after Mr Kay had failed to stay in touch with her following their brief fling.

Of course, the detectives who dealt with the allegations against Mr Kay, prior to his being charged, could have found this vital evidence in a matter of minutes, because that is how long it took his sister-in-law to unearth the unedited messages via his Facebook account. But the police officers didn’t bother doing any investigation into his accuser’s very serious allegations, in order to verify whether or not she was telling the truth - they just presumed she was. I doubt anybody who has had an experience of these so-called police investigations will be surprised by this. At the time of Mr. Kay's trial, the jury did not see the full, unedited exchange of messages nor did it hear that the complainant had deliberately manipulated the evidence by deleting key sections that undermined her accusations.

Court of Appeal
Based on the compelling new evidence uncovered by his sister-in-law, Mr Kay’s case went to the Court of Appeal where, in December 2017, his conviction was quashed. He emerged from court as a man without the stain on his character of being a rapist. Yet – as he himself has pointed out – “it’s always going to smear my name… there’s always going to be people out there who have the doubt.”

How very true that statement is.

Innocence in sexual allegation cases, whether established by a jury’s verdict or via the Court of Appeal, means, in reality, next to nothing these days. Anyone accused of even the most preposterous sexual allegation is effectively branded forever. You and your biometric details will be on the police database for as long as you, as an unfortunate falsely accused, are alive (and even beyond) and discredited allegations will be disclosed to potential employers or voluntary organisations during any vetting and barring checks, thus smearing you and your previously good name again and again. To exacerbate matters, the noxious lies and smears of your anonymous accuser(s) will remain online forever, easily uncovered via Google, no matter how utterly false and baseless such allegations might be.

In reality, there is no prospect of any ‘rehabilitation’ for the falsely accused in our society. It’s the fact someone is the target of a sexual allegation that matters far more than the legal outcome. As Mr Kay has so rightly pointed out, the stench of your accuser’s vile lies will hang around you forever, regardless of any jury verdict or judgement in the Court of Appeal. As so many others have discovered, even if you have never been arrested or charged, the damage done to reputations, careers and to families is usually irreparable.

And Mr Kay’s ordeal was far from over. Following the quashing of his rape conviction, he claimed compensation from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for the more than two years of his life that had effectively been ‘stolen’ from him by his anonymous-in-perpetuity, deceitful accuser - who, needless to note, has faced absolutely no legal action whatsoever. As is so often the case, the person making the allegation was aided and abetted by the police officers who systematically believed her and then utterly failed in their duty to investigate her allegations without fear or favour. Last week, the Ministry turned down Mr Kay’s claim on the following grounds:

The Secretary of State for Justice has concluded that the conviction was not reversed as a result of a new or newly discovered fact that shows beyond reasonable doubt that you did not commit the offence.
Convicted: Carl Beech

In recent years, this kind of sophistry has become the standard response of MoJ bureaucrats to any compensation claim following the quashing of a wrongful conviction, especially when the original accusation involved sexual assault. Victims of miscarriages of justice – such as Victor Nealon, who served 17 years in prison for a rape that DNA evidence later proved he did not commit – have not just been kicked out of the prison gate penniless, but have even faced demands that they pay MoJ legal costs for having had the temerity to pursue their compensation claims. Absolutely sickening, especially in an era where millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash is routinely handed out by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to a gallimaufry of liars, fakers, hoaxers, fraudsters and fantasists, such as the criminals Carl Beech, Jemma Beale and the rest of their repulsive ilk.

If we accept the fact that we are supposedly living in a fair, just society, then surely the denial of appropriate redress to victims of miscarriages of justice must end. Not only does the current practice reek of injustice towards those who have been railroaded into prison by an unholy alliance between partisan police officers and prosecutors, but it makes it almost impossible for the wrongly convicted ever to clear their names. After all, if the MoJ doesn't consider that they deserve recompense for their lost years in jail, why should members of the public believe their protestations of innocence? This is simply a case of justice being denied and responsibility for mistakes being shrugged off by politicians and bureaucrats.

Victor Nealon: free but life ruined
Following my own experience of our so-called ‘justice’ system, I have often reflected on the significant resources that are devoted by various charities and other organisations to support the rehabilitation of convicted criminals (many of whom subsequently go on to re-offend, regardless of whatever assistance is offered), yet absolutely nothing is provided for those who are innocent, who have been falsely accused or wrongly convicted. Many emerge from the courtroom or from the prison gate homeless, jobless, financially ruined and effectively unemployable, forever manacled to their anonymous accuser’s lies.

Where are the charities, think-tanks and social enterprises queuing up to help those blameless folk whose lives have been utterly devastated by cruel and calculating liars, fantasists and fraudsters? Why should the innocent – like Mr Kay, Mr Nealon and many others – face an unrelenting battle to re-establish themselves back into society?
No support from VS

And where is the voice of the Victims’ Commissioner in all this? Or usually vocal organisations such as Victim Support? I’ve heard nothing beyond a deafening silence.

It strongly suggests that anyone who has had his or her life trashed by an allegation of sexual assault by an unscrupulous, devious opportunist is 'the wrong kind of victim' of what is a very serious crime. And, unlike actual criminals, such innocents will never be offered any support or be helped in any sort of rehabilitation programme.

What a cruel society we can be when dealing with unfashionable minority groups, such as the falsely accused.


  1. Excellent post Mr Warr - and completely and utterly true down to the last word. The falsely accused and wrongfully convicted are not given anywhere near the recompense they deserve. I truly hope Mr Kay will continue in his attempts to get compensation from the MoJ - or perhaps there's no money left in the pot having given it to every false accuser in the country who is hell bent on completely ruining someone's else's life through revenge, jealousy or greed???? Its about time this government started listening to people who have been dealt a wrongful conviction and stopped rewarding liars, cheats and false accusers!!!!

  2. Excellent read and highlights so many issues In our justice system. We have a underlying major issue that society thinks we have a perfect justice system.

    We are not equipped to deal with wrongful convictions or accusations.

    Sooner we realise that the system isnt perfect and mistakes do happen we can learn from this and improve the system and less mistakes will be made.

    We as a society should want to look after all our victims and rehabilitate offenders in equal measures.