The police use this similar allegation ‘evidence’ to sway the jury into thinking the accused is a pretty unseemly human being or to use the vernacular, ‘a dirty old man’. They know that if they can muster even a ragbag of fantasists and liars to support the original allegation, they have a much better chance of persuading twelve members of a jury to convict the accused, thereby ensuring the often vast amount of taxpayers’ money that has already been spent in the so-called investigation is never going to be a source of subsequent embarrassment. This is why investigative teams are hell bent on securing convictions at all costs once a suspect has been arrested. And, of course, successful prosecutions will certainly not damage any CPS lawyers' or police careers.
There is no place for this crude practice of police trawling in any fair, just democracy.
In my case, they used the services of a Newbury businessman, a man seemingly obsessed with the entire ghastly topic of child abuse, who proclaimed on his website, within hours of the official announcement of the postponement of my trial in April 2014, that he had been asked by the investigating force to advertise on his website the fact the police were still eager for others to come forward to make complaints against me. He also stated that he would be ready to receive allegations to pass on.
How utterly crude is this and some might well argue how utterly corrupt. I can only speculate how this sort of online trawling is permitted in any decent, lawful society and what the self-appointed ‘agent’ acting on behalf of the police gains in involving himself in such a case. It is difficult to fathom. Is he simply an obsessive injustice collector (specialist subject: child abuse) or is there a much more sinister reason?
One of the major concerns about these unofficial trawling activities is that of cross-contamination of evidence. In some cases there is blatant collusion between individuals who are now claiming as adults that they were sexually abused years earlier when they were children. Those planning to make complaints may have got together face-to-face or else may have communicated with each other online or by phone. Is it possible to ascertain the extent of the sharing of bogus stories between subsequent complainants in order to ‘get things straight’ before they even approach the police? Others read about the original complaints against the defendant online or in the press and exploit the information to their advantage, often financial.
It isn’t difficult to understand why someone who is short of a few bob, or a prisoner who earns a miserable £10 a week, might be inspired to spin a profitable yarn to an obliging lawyer in the hope of getting a generous tax-free payout. And since the risk nowadays of being prosecuted for lying to the police, or for perjury in court, is absolutely minimal, any fantastic pack of old lies will do. There is nothing to lose and perhaps a lot to gain.
So why would police officers ally themselves to individuals who are so shamelessly and openly touting for compensation business? Might it be because detectives who work in this field are only too aware that the potential prospect of an undeserved financial payout of thousands of pounds can be a powerful motivating factor for some insidious individuals who come forward to make bogus complaints?
And I have recently discovered that the activities of this Berkshire-based ‘injustice collector’ are far from being unique. In certain instances, some self-proclaimed ‘activists’ have particularly dubious backgrounds of their own, including those who are themselves convicted criminals. Some have stood in the dock convicted of fraud, others of a range of drug offences; even some who have records for the vile and violent abuse of women and/or children, including members of their own family.
The time is long overdue for a major reform of our justice system. It has become far too easy – indeed, virtually risk free – for fraudsters, fantasists, revenge seekers and attention-seeking liars (as well as their enablers) to make false allegations, especially of a sexual kind against innocent victims. But this will doubtlessly continue until police officers investigate all allegations impartially and dispassionately, refraining from usurping the role of the jury in deciding whether the particular allegations being made are “credible and true.”
|Alison Saunder, DPP|
We, the British public, deserve better from our police forces in these ‘investigations’ and there is a need for real consequences for fraudsters and perjurers who seek to destroy the lives of innocent people and their families. Making false allegations of any kind is never a victimless crime and where police or judges suspect that a complainant is lying, prosecution should always be seriously considered (to be honest, I’m not holding my breath on that). Otherwise, our legal system will never address the current crisis, in which innocent victims of miscarriages of justice continue to be sent to prison, their lives destroyed, while those of us who were falsely accused and then acquitted will forever live under the shadow of monstrous lies.