Sunday, February 12, 2012

Justice 3

Sex offenders are never a popular group or a popular cause. That invariably some people convicted of sex offences are actually innocent is not a thought that troubles the common consciousness. Just as well, if you need a good night’s sleep.
Imagine, if you can, standing in the dock. Two women, or men, stand in the witness box and claim that you sexually assaulted them twenty years ago. That is the totality of the evidence against you. Do you feel confident about your innocence being vindicated?
Don't be. There was a sensible evidentiary rule that used to lead to the judge in such cases giving the jury warning to the effect that accusations uncorroborated by any other evidence must be treated with special caution. That rule has been abolished. The fact that such an old accusation is impossible to defend yourself against is not an issue that troubles anyone's mind.
And don't imagine that you have any right to challenge your accusers. In sex cases, that right has been swept away on the basis that an abuser questioning a victim is only adding to the trauma. Of course, that is to assume that the accused is actually guilty from the beginning, a conceptual insult to the presumption of innocence that no one has bothered to question.
You may wonder why a number, say three, people would all stand together and accuse a man of a crime that they know he did not commit? If you had ever been involved in a police trawl you would know.
I spent a couple of years in care before being upgraded to prisoner status. And a lot of police forces expend an awful lot of time and money trawling around children's homes looking for abuse. Bear in mind that these investigations are not prompted by any accusations, they are sheer speculative trawls on the part of the police.
Which is how I once came to be facing two detectives, oozing sympathy and asking if I had been abused whilst in care or knew anyone who had. That's two definite No's. And that is where the extremely clever tactics involved in these trawls begin to be deployed.
It was suggested, they say, that a Mr X had been an abuser. And they had a number of other prisoners who had been in care at the time now making accusations.

I had to pause. If other people are saying this guy was a nonce then maybe he was? And it is at that precise point that the police hint about future prospects - a conviction against this man would open the door to a certain claim of negligence against his employers. Lots of moolah.
To a prisoner with no money and no prospects, the idea of lying to help convict a man they believe is a nonce is not a complex moral issue. Just sign here...Which is what I did. Firmly convinced that Mr X was guilty, I would have had no qualms about pointing the finger myself to add my snout to the compensation trough.
That was until I met his accusers. They were quite open with me, happily admitting that they knew he wasn't guilty but they wanted the money. The police had played the same game with them all - claiming that others were pointing the finger at Mr X and then dangling the idea of compensation.
Mr X, a real man, was sent to prison to serve over ten years. For a crime he did not commit. When I realised the situation I wrote to his solicitors and told them what I knew about the falsity of the claims against him, and my aborted part.
This was a low point for me, being manipulated by the police. I will forever be available to Mr X to call upon to proclaim his certain innocence.
This, folks, is how you can end up in the dock with a group of people accusing you of a crime they know that you did not commit. Still feel confident about our criminal justice system?


  1. Ben, your academic speciality is criminology. It sure ain't law. Many of the points you raise in this 'Justice' series, come across as biased, blinkered and generally unqualified by any degree of nuance at all.

    You're rather cartoonishly extrapolating outwards from your small experience of wrongful accusations, to condemn much more than that.

    One hopes your readership can apply a bit of extra knowledge, and just plain common sense, to your very black and white posts.

    I am sure that they can and will.

    1. Sometimes things (like the dreadful example above) need putting in black and white, to help remove the rose tint from the man on the streets obscured vision.

    2. Anonomouse...hope you or yours are never put in that position...its not just historic abuse claims, the number of women recently who have been imprisoned for falsly accusing someone of rape is testerment to the one cause of so many false payouts from taxpayers money to anyone who makes an allegation, often regardless of the outcome and can run into many thopusands of pounds..allegation of rape normally around 12,000. If unscrupulous enough the person remains anonomous and can move around the country making same accusations. This does not just apply to rape but any allegation of sexual offence there is no necessity for corrobarative evidence its enough that someone makes the claim.
      To finish can you remember where or what you were doing at a specific time last month, let alone 30 years ago?

  2. Anon@06:49 Whilst I accept that the points I have been making in these recent posts are rather monochrome, I find that highlighting some issues in a simplistic manner highlights the issues precisely. It cuts through the verbiage. And, for the record, I read international human rights law at Masters level. So there :)

  3. The comment from Anonymous doesn't actually make any grammatical sense.

    It sounds a lot like the sort of nasty backlash we get on our regional paper whenever we take on the family law establishment.

    Luckily we can trace the IPs when we get a critical anon to check where it's from.

    You may not be surprised to hear we started finding - using tracers and the electoral roll - that it was only the officials in the system we were attacking that were objecting – in what they believed was the anonymity they so abuse within their own secret legal system.

    I think it's very revealing that most of them are completely illiterate. They employ words rather like a pre-dictionary era Gentleman at a formal dinner, quoting gibberish learned from a ‘Compendium of hard words’.

    It’s a lot worse though now: daft old patriarchs spouted nonsense as a dinner party trick just to boost their egos. These people are spouting political propaganda. They don’t have any arguments in defence of their system, so they try and confuse the public by inventing a newspeak by the use of which no-one will be able to attack their position because as soon as they start discussing the field, normal literary forms of free expression are challenged and riddling nonsense-speak takes over.

    I mean, nothing can be “unqualified by any degree of nuance at all.”

    You also can’t really extrapolate outwards – or inwards, as far as I’m aware.

    Speaking as someone who’s spent years covering modern courts, I can assure everyone reading this that false allegations and convictions are rife, especially in sex cases, which have been robbed of all legal credibility and are increasingly show trials, thanks to anti-intellectual radical feminist legislation.

    Ben’s spot on. No-one wants to go there because no-one wants to be seen to stand up for a ‘nonce’. It’s the easiest and most emotive target imaginable.

    It’s to the eternal disgrace of the tabloid press – mainly thanks to that damn fool Rebekah Brooks – that they turned witchfinder general at the height of one of the greatest ongoing violations of civil rights and common justice in British History, when they should have been fighting it tooth and nail. If the mass media instilled in people the idea not that there was a nonce on every corner, but that we had a Government and legislature moving to acquire the power to accuse YOU of the most unlikely, revolting and embarrassing sex acts and convict you without evidence – we might have a proper justice system operating today.

    1. That's not true

      You cannot trace an IP in that way and claiming you can when I and anyone else with a modicum of knowledge of how the internet works can tell you're lying is helping nobody, least of all Ben, let me take you through the problems with your claim:

      An IP address is the address of a particular computer or router at a particular time, most ISPs issue what are known as Dynamic IP addresses, that means these addresses are allocated as requested and deallocated when not being used, so the same address can be used by entirely different people on any given day.

      Some IPs are in fact static and point to the same router/computer all the time, so in order to give you the benefit of the doubt we'll assume the ones you're referring to are in fact static, you have your IP address, you perhaps use the whois tool to see who the IP belongs to, so far so good, however in virtually all cases you'll find whois will only tell you the /internet service provider/ the IP address has been assigned to, the only way to find out a customer name/address from an IP address is by serving the internet service provider with a court order forcing them to reveal it (and those things are not exactly thrown around like confetti, you need to be a law enforcement agency with evidence of a crime before they'll even think about granting one)

      Bearing this in mind, there is no way you could have done any sort of lookup with the electoral roll and an IP address that would yield any information and you are just trying to blind people with science, throw a few technical words and hope nobody notices you're talking bollocks.

      I noticed.

      Stop it.

    2. The same tactics used by Hitler target a section of population irrespective of right or wrong they are all tarred with same brush, keep the fervour going and it detracts the public from the real issues that affect them.

  4. I'm sure the rule that you could not challenge your accuser was thrown out a few months ago. It really got almost no attention in the press. I will do some digging later (have some things to do right now) to try and find the case.

  5. This is a realistic blog but Ben has not mentioned the distress and anxiety cuased to not only the alleged perpetrator but also his family when a false accusation is made. I know first hand that it is impossible to get over the trauma caused by false accusation - life is ruined. What Ben describes about police trawling and promises of 'compensation' as Ben has described - and the horrors of court and prison resulting from the false allegations. Even when, or if, someone is subsequently proved innocent it does not take away the misery and distress caused.

  6. What a terrible situation you were in Ben, and vulnerable to the tricks and destructive games of the police. Its understandable of course that you feel awful about helping to convict an innocent man, and for sure there must be many other similar examples too.

    We live under such a corrupt regime, worse than in other countries, better than in some. Still its the corruption we experience here that we could do something about, by highlighting it as Ben has done for a start.

    I have also experienced trickery and deceit from police, although my experience of it was in context of political opposition to the government and their attacks on our livelihoods; I won't go into it, but the police were trying to get names of people from me and trying to intimidate me from taking part in lawful demonstrations.

  7. Conversley, i wonder how many sex offenders are mingeling around out here, and never get any type of conviction. I was mildly sexualy abused as a child, by a headmaster. He laboured the point that he was a catholic and i would be in big trouble for telling tails. And as punishment he would stop me doing my favorite sport. As a child i belived him. It has had an effect on my life, but i really don't wanna rake it up all again now, i just hope karma caught up with him. I dare say he is either dead or very old in a nursing home now and i just wanna forget it and get on with my life. All i can say was he was middle class and used to go to church every week. I wonder how more like him around?

  8. Re: Hideki
    You're the one talking bollocks. We're no tecchies, true, but we traced a made-up email to a server housed in the head office (Newsquest) of a rival newspaper (ask the Falmouth Packet about their reporter who was only spared the sack by an irate managing idiot because we dropped it when they fessed up), and the other was Follet Stock solicitors - otherwise known as the shit-sucking scum of the earth. It's true you can't always trace an IP but we get the IP alongside the email when the comment is submitted and can go straight from there if we think a comment is from a troll, or whatever you want to call Mr Burns in a false moustache telling the Springfield people's committee the whole windfall should go to the nuclear power station. Nobody supports the rotten legal system of this country except those who profit by it. No-one.

  9. I was a pupil at a special boarding school from 1989-93, and there was an awful lot of public violence and a bit of boy-on-boy sexual harassment (I heard that there were more serious sexual assaults and one man was later jailed for sexually assaulting a boy there; the assaults happened long before I was there and the conviction was long after). The school was a sink for boys no other school would touch, and the same was true of the teachers, at least two of whom I remember peddling out-of-date "knowledge". The care staff had no training and several were out of the army; one told us that he had been sacked from another school, but that was no bar to getting a job at my school. Similar trash to those filmed abusing mentally disabled adults at Winterbourne View recently.

    I can well understand why pupils are ready to accuse teachers and "care" staff of sexually abusing them: the reason is that many of them had physically assaulted pupils, or facilitated bullying by other pupils/residents, and understandably the old boys want to see them punished. Sexual abuse has fewer defences than assault or cruelty: they can't claim reasonable chastisement or say that this is how things were done then, or that they didn't know any better. I wouldn't perjure myself to do that, but I'd not speak up in defence of some of the riff-raff staff if it happened to them.

    It's not always about money: some of the accusers are real victims of abuse - just not sexual abuse. On the other hand, it should not be nearly so easy to prosecute years-old cases of abuse as there is less likely to be any physical evidence and there is a lot of ulterior motives for doing so. I also find that feminists are too eager to sweep away protections for men accused of sexual assault, and that they became too powerful under the Blair/Brown government.

  10. Excellent points well made Ben. I run an online support group for those protesting their innocence of sexual offences. Yes we do sometimes get the guilty trying to hide among the innocent. I also work for one of the top solicitors specialising in false allegations and review trial paperwork for appeals against conviction and do some pre-trial work.

    Often it is what the jury did NOT see that might have brought about a not guilty verdict rather than the guilty verdict that has put an innocent person into prison.

    The only evidence required in these cases is the word of the complainant and what he or she told her friends/relatives. Sometimes those friends/relatives believe the stories they've been told and others are part of a larger conspiracy for money.

    A false allegation sparks of a police investigation and more often than not sparks off SS input - costing thousands of pounds from the taxpayers pocket.

    If the falsely caused person is charged, this then sparks off court appearances which costs the tax payer thousands of pounds.

    If the falsely accused person is convicted he is then sent to prison for a number of years - some never leave as they cannot undertake offence related courses to satisfy probation they are safe to be set free. It costs the tax payer around £40K a year to keep a person in prison. When they are innocent this is a completely unnecessary waste of tax payers money.

    The falsely accused person tries to appeal the conviction - and rightly so - more thousands of pounds courtesy of the tax payer if they cannot afford to pay privately.

    The liars and their cohorts are then rewarded for lying by the CICA and can be paid out thousands of pounds - all courtesy of the tax payer. A conviction is not at all necessary for the liar(s) to get their payout. Their victim does not even have to be charged - as CICA pay out on the balance of probability. So if there was a window of opportunity (let's say the victim of false allegations is a step dad who lived in the house at the time of the alleged abuse) the liar can still get paid out.

    This is all out of the tax payers pocket. Billions of pounds per year are spent on these false cases: from police investigation; to magistrates court; to trial; to prison; to appeal; probation has to be paid;

    Once out of prison (if they are allowed to leave) they find it almost impossible to find work - so they they live on Benefits - all courtesy of the tax payer.

    If the falsely accused person was the main bread winner, the family often end up on Benefits.

    All of the above comes out of tax payers pockets.

    No evidence is needed apart from the accusing words from the complainant's mouth. No DNA. No forensic. Nothing. Some of these adult or teenage liars claim they were anally and or vaginally raped on a regular basis from the age of 4 - they have no injuries at all. Had it happened they would have needed surgery at the time. Of course no such records exist because it never happened in the first place.

    Yes there are real victims of sexual abuse. False accusers not only do the genuine victims a huge insulting disservice with their lies, they can cause doubt when they make their genuine complaints.

    Tax payers should be up in arms about this. This is what you are paying for.

  11. I was a victim of a false allegation, as are many other completely innocent and decent men and women across the country on a daily basis.
    What Ben speaks of is born out of government desire to up sexual crime related conviction statistics. The government looks better if Joe Public believe that they are locking up more perverts so the government instructs the police (and even gives them TARGETS and BONUSES for doing so) to get people convicted of this at all costs. What does it matter if the person is innocent? It looks good in black and white. Another 'dangerous sex offender' off the streets.
    This might sound hysterical or paranoid but what other alleged offence can be convicted on the word of one person alone.
    The person who accused me had a VERY clear motive of revenge. I had pissed her off over something mundane...I worked in education and she thought 'I know how to get him back!'
    While working in education, I was present for many assemblies where police actually informed teenage girls that they will ALWAYS be believed and they may be entitled to compensation. No wonder, many get the idea into their heads.
    Now Mr Clegg is taking that a step further and instructing teenage girls to report any boy who pressures them into sex (ie at a party) Good idea, IF it actually happened. But how may teen girls are going to have drunken sex, regret it and save their embarrassment by reporting the boy for rape?
    It is sickeningly common and it needs to be made public. Like the poster above me says, this is not only damaging to those falsely accused, but also to the cause of REAL VICTIMS, with the tax payer picking up the astronomical costs to boot!

    Put yourself in the position of a man who has dared to fall out with someone. He is then accused of rape (often of a child, easily the most horrendous thing to be accused of). On no evidence whatsoever (the 'victim' has refused a medical check you see and her statement is blurry because it either happened so long ago or she is so 'traumatised' that she can't speak of it)you are arrested, you are dragged into a police station, the social services get involved with your own kids, the police try to convince your wife to split from you, you are chucked in a cell, you are unfairly questioned for hours, you are charged on her word alone, dragged through court unable to prove that something didn't happen 20 odd years ago (how can you!?) and sentenced to years inside because the jury is terrified of letting a nonce go free. If that person refuses to admit they are a sex offender and take the course (because they're not) they may never get out. They are forced to stew in a VP unit, with the thought of never seeing their family again.
    Sometimes, the accuser even retracts their statement and the person is STILL CONVICTED.
    There is even a SHOPPING LIST made available to complainants telling them how much money each offence is worth (hmmm, I'll take an assault by penetration, two counts of rape...ooh, anal rape is quite high, I'll have me one of those...)
    It just takes a Google search to find is laid out like a menu.

    This is concealed and hidden from the public but it happens all of the time. It needs to stop. For the sake of the falsely accused, for the sake of the tax payer, for the sake of real victims and for the sake of justice.

    1. Earlier today, while giving a prisoner's wife a lift to a visit, we struck up a conversation about compensation. I was informed that women don't make false allegation for money, why would they, because it is just as easy to say you were mugged, beaten or were a victim of a robbery!

      I was aghast: Yes compensation is paid out to all victims of crime, but the HUGE difference is simple, unless there is EVIDENCE of being mugged, beaten or of a robbery, you wouldn't be believed!

      An allegation of sexual assault requires NO evidence, NO witness's, and simply put, is the easiest money making scheme available to anyone with so little self-respect and certainly no moral fibre. All it requires is a little acting and a Jury that can't decide who's lying, until they look at the facts. Fact 1 - The Police arrested the defendant., Fact 2 - He/she was questioned and there was enough evidence to charge., Fact 3 - The CPS took the case all the way to trial., Fact 4 - If the defendant was innocent then Fact 1-3 would not have happened., Fact 5 - Our Justice System wouldn't waste all this money on a case that wasn't water tight, would they?

      Then to the verdict; still not sure, oh well, can't say the poor victim is lying that's not PC, he looks guilty behind that glass with that guard., Fact 5 -I don't want to get this wrong and hear later that this defendant has abused again:

      Verdict - GUILTY

      So next time someone tells you it doesn't happen, believe me, I'm living through it as are many other Mother's Wive's, Brother's Father's etc.

      Tomorrow it could be YOU, or your SON when he ditches the old girlfriend for another prettier/thinner model, because now the Government are advertising for more 'victims' to bolster those conviction rates and then will you open your eyes to the fact that INNOCENT people are being locked up and labelled sex offenders everyday, while all you do is pay the complete ignorance?

  12. I have been an innocent target of this Ponzi scheme, I have been robbed of my life because of it. Ponzi scheme you ask?? Well easily explained.

    Police need customers to make complaints to fill their complaint targets. Solicitors and Barristers need work. Police need results to fill their charge target sheets.

    Provide an Innocent Victim to Police. Work provided to Solicitors and Police staff, plus a tick on the target sheet.

    Police take time with investigation, use specialists to question witnesses (paid and work for Police).

    Interject at least one if not more Bail responses from the individual here (all chargeable)

    Individual charged (more Police time)

    Case goes to Magistrates to be bumped Upstairs. May take more than one appearance so generates more funds for Counsel.

    Case is listed in Crown, Victim appears to say Hi, I am here. Another date set.

    Case management is dealt with, err well IF all the documentation is there - another moneyspinner as Peter can forget to send Paul documentation ;)

    Then it is heard in full Court, pricetag unknown.

    All for ONE BASIC LIE

  13. If only defence solicitors and barristers got paid well for these cases when undertaking publicly funded work....the poster above may be right when it comes to Crown sols/barristers but certainly not when it comes to defence.

    Criminal defence solicitors get paid by the case not buy the hour. So a solicitor can only do so many hours per case. Publicly funded defence barristers get paid under £50 a day I believe which is not anything like as much as some people might believe.

    1. Thanks Anon, I appreciate your comments.

      You have just provided the ammunition to shoot down in flames the argument for Equal Counsel.

      Our Justice system is based on several basic tenets. Right to Equal Counsel. Innocent until proven guilty. Right to a fair and proper trial.

      It would appear that our system founders when the State has unlimited funding and an individual is restricted to a set amount.

      Maybe it is time to limit prosecution funding to be in accordance with defence funding so that there are no anomalies?

      If forensics are required, both sides have the same pot to dip in to, providers would have to cut their coat according to their cloth instead of providing the Emperor's New Clothes.

    2. That will only happen in an ideal world. This Government and others before it are intent on increasing rape convictions to meet the targets they themselves have set. To do this they have to make it as difficult as possible to defend those cases. Unless a defendant has £40K+ to pay privately then they take pot luck with legally aided solicitors.

      Some legally aided solicitors and barristers will still do the very best they can with the limited resources. Some will do as little as possible.

      Some privately funded solicitors will earn every single penny with the work they do, the arguments they use, their insistence on full disclosure and the hours they put in. Other privately funded solicitors and barristers (and some private enquiry agents who claim to be passionate about this sort of work) will do as little as possible as they are not passionate about their work or real justice and only seek to line their own pockets.

      It is imperative to select a solicitor and barrister who have years of experience in defending these matters once the suspect has been charged - if the suspect is innocent.

      If the suspect is guilty they should in an ideal world admit guilt at the earliest opportunity and get credit for their early guilty plea at sentencing. Unfortunately all too often some guilty will attempt to hide among the innocent.

      There are support / self-help groups out there who provide FREE support and advice from their own experiences.

  14. And isn't that just another nail in the coffin for any poor innocent suspect? Take the blinkers off. If Defence were actually paid a proper fee then the conviction rates would no doubt go down. Not what the Goernment wants, not what the Police and CPS want. This was a polictical move to cut legal aid, because let's face it, putting nonces away is a vote winner!

    Yes, it's one crime that can see far too many innocent people being thrown into prison for a crime that never happened, but if there was NO evidence to convict them (but they are convicted) then there is even less chance that they will ever prove what the Government, Police and CPS all know, because the Appeal route is not about Innocence or Guilt, it is about the safety of the conviction and if you haven't got anything to appeal with then the Justice System has got you and you become yet another prisoner 'in denial'.

    1. You are absolutely right.

      If defence sols/barristers were paid properly and were given every assistance to defend their innocent client (I do not refer to those who are guilty seeking to hide among the innocent)then it is more than likely there would be a huge reduction in convictions for this type of offence. However, this is not what this Government (and others before it) want.

      It is the convictions of the innocents in these matters that are plastered all over the media/newspapers/TV/Radio and online that cause the mass hysteria that has been abounding for the last two decades or so. People see these stories, believe them (because he's been accused and of course 'nobody tell lies about this sort of thing') then the suspect is charged, 'so there must be something in it', then they are tried and found guilty because helpful evidence has not been allowed before the jury - 'so therefore he has done it , lock him up and throw away the key'.

      The way these cases are handled ensure that as many as possible result in convictions in order to feed the public hunger for 'justice' for victims that do not exist. It's a vicious circle.

      The Government removes certain necessary defences that used to be available (corroboration for one) removes specific necessary directions from the judge (relating to corroboration for instance)and as a consequence more innocent people are sent down. The public reads about these cases online and in papers, they see it on TV and hear it on the radio. This creates the mass hysteria which has been whipped up by the huge numbers of convictions - created by the Government removing the right to a proper defence.

      And on and on it goes........

    2. And just to feed the baying public even more fodder, soaps and dramas on TV are packed with rape/sexual abuse storylines that go on for weeks with plenty of publicity weeks beforehand to ensure maximum viewing......

      I would like to see soaps and dramas with ongoing themes of false allegations from start to finish, where the viewer knows the suspect is completely innocent, they see him being interviewed by rude police officers, they see him charged, sent to trial, are shown the unfairnesses that arise at trial, the conviction, the family disintegration, the imprisonment, the bullying in prison, the emotional and financial effect on the family all the way through this, SS intervention because the wife (or whoever) protests innocence of the inmate, an failed appeal, a failed attempt at CCRC, release from prison, bullying tactics from probation, more SS intervention,the inability to find work..........while in the background the liar gets his or her payout from the tax payer's pocket and spends it on holidays for her mates who gave dishonest evidence, and the rest spent on booze and drugs.....

      But that will never happen will it? After each rape storyline, up pops a message offering contact details of organisations for rape victims - never messages with contact details of support groups offering free support for those who have been falsely accused and their families.

      There is no balance.


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