TheOpinionSite.org is saddened to report that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kier Starmer QC, appears to have sided with protection charities and women’s lobby groups over the issue of anonymity for suspects arrested but not charged.
Keir Starmer delivered a keynote speech recently in which he stated that he wanted cases that had not been pursued by the police to be revisited and reassessed. He has now, during the course of answering questions put to him by a senior select committee of the House of Commons, publicly given in to the hysteria over sexual assault that currently envelops Britain .
Regrettably, it would appear therefore that Mr Starmer is more interested in carrying favour with charities and campaign groups than with the interests of justice.
The DPP is due to leave his post in October and, if he follows the route of his predecessors, will probably end up as a High Court judge; something that based on his current view, should worry everyone.
His comments to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee put him at odds with the decision by the Association of Chief Police Officers to retain anonymity for those arrested until and unless they are charged.
ACPO have however made it clear that there will be circumstances in which it is necessary or desirable to name those that have been arrested. Ostensibly this is where it is necessary to do so in the public interest (whatever that means nowadays), for the detection and prevention of crime and for other exceptional reasons.
It is likely therefore that someone who is arrested on suspicion of armed robbery is unlikely to be named, whereas someone arrested for the most minor sexual offence probably will be in order that the media can indulge in their usual feeding frenzy whilst at the same time remaining friends with the police.
These double standards, that is applying one standard to one particular type of offence and applying different standards to other types of offence, do nothing for the interests of justice or for public confidence in the police or Crown Prosecution Service.
Starmer’s intervention in April, made in the wake of the Jimmy Savile enquiries, was not only unwelcome but was also most unwise.
It is well known that the DPP has been under pressure from the NSPCC and other campaigning groups eager to maintain the perception that every child is vulnerable and that all men are potential paedophiles, such groups eager to maintain the perception of public fear in order to maintain their own healthy bank balances.
Keir Starmer previously a leading human rights and defence barrister – is anxious to go out with a flourish after his five-year tenure and clearly has not thought through the effects of his words or, worse, if he has given them sufficient consideration, does not care about the unintended consequences that will inevitably result.
TheOpinionSite.org would also point out that Starmer is not alone in sucking up to the charities who increasingly seem to dictate government policy.
Almost unbelievably, the ambitious – and some would say vicious – Home Secretary, Theresa May unexpectedly wrote to ACPO informing them that suspects who are arrested should generally not been named publicly until and unless they are charged with an offence.
Only one day later however, the Prime Minister, David Cameron made a statement that effectively overruled the Home Secretary in which he said that as a general rule, anyone arrested should be named; an unbelievably stupid thing to say given that there are 1.2 million arrests in the UK every year and someone can be arrested for any number of reasons and de-arrested only 30 minutes later.
It would seem therefore, in the view of TheOpinionSite.org at least, that Mr Cameron is as anxious to pander to the charities and lobby groups as Mr Starmer, neither fact being conducive to maintaining public confidence in Britain’s so called criminal justice system.
The police however seem to be adamant in doing their own thing and sticking to their own rules, regardless.
ACPO has made it clear that having made a decision as to what guidance should be given to police forces with regard to naming those who have been arrested, chief constables intend to fully support such guidance and as a general rule, will not name those who have been arrested until and unless they are charged.
Those in favour of naming arrested suspects maintain that it is necessary to do so, particularly in alleged cases of sexual assault, in order that “other witnesses and those with further allegations” may be encouraged to come forward.
Those against naming suspects at the point of arrest however, make the important point that if someone is arrested, there should be sufficient information and evidence with which to charge them.
This is wholly different from arresting somebody on the weakest of suspicions in the vague hope that some kind of “fishing exercise” can be carried out or worse, that by plastering the suspect’s name all over the media, sufficient people will be encouraged to jump on what could be a very profitable bandwagon.
Even one member of the Justice Select Committee, Seema Malhotra was stupid enough to quote the recent case of Stuart Hall, the ex-BBC television presenter when the committee was questioning Mr Starmer earlier this week.
Malhotra claimed that it was only because Stuart Hall was named that other “victims” came forward.
To his credit, Starmer immediately corrected her and pointed out that this was not the case and that Hall had in fact been arrested at 10 o’clock in the morning and charged at 7.00 PM the same day, other witnesses coming forward long after the charge was made.
MPs are frequently seen to be uninformed as to the reality of life and frequently made to look stupid by incorrectly quoting what they regard as facts. However, to have a member of such an important select committee make such a glaringly public error in an attempt to shore up a weak argument is frankly appalling.
Given though that all female MPs seem to believe that all men should be locked up forever, perhaps miss Malhotra’s few is not so surprising.
Whatever one’s personal view may be regarding the naming of those who are arrested, it cannot possibly be right that reputations, jobs and families can be put at risk simply because the police either have insufficient evidence to charge the person they have arrested or the media are hungry for a story.
In the wake of Operation Yewtree, the ever more expensive and apparently ineffective Metropolitan Police enquiry into offences alleged to have been carried out by those associated with Jimmy Savile, only two people has so far been charged although 12 have been arrested and been hung out to dry by the media.
TheOpinionSite.org believes that Britain’s obsession with child abuse – and we know that this view will not be popular – has reached such a level of hysteria that the very fabric of the justice system is now at risk of becoming tainted by paedophile madness and political weakness.
If this is true, and of course there will be those who have a contrary opinion, the very nature of justice in Britain will be subject to catastrophic change as politicians, policeman and other associated authorities seek to play catch up in pandering to the over powerful and over wealthy lobby groups, charities and child protection organisations.
Nevertheless, the fact is that none of the historic allegations that Mr Starmer and others are so keen to pursue have or indeed ever will result in even a single child being protected from what may or may not have been appalling abuse.
The police and others should be concentrating on abuse that is taking place today, not on that which may or may not have taken place 30 or 60 years ago.
For every hour the police spend investigating an alleged offence from the past, they are failing to spend an hour protecting a child who may very well be being abused at this very moment.
This is the price that the charities and lobby groups, now apparently backed up by the Director of Public Prosecutions, have forced us all to pay.
The true danger to children appears to come not from dirty old men in soiled raincoats, lecherous teachers or perverted PE instructors but instead from the very organisations and agencies that allegedly protect children but in fact, are more interested in protecting themselves and their own collective existence.
The proof of the above opinion is easily seen in the fact that none of the charities or protection organisations, let alone the women’s lobby groups or indeed, the politicians want to investigate or even comment upon the fact that the majority of cases of sexual abuse of children, up to 85% according to the NSPCC, takes place within the home and is carried out by the parents, siblings or friends of the alleged victim.
Unsurprisingly, the media don’t want to go there either, for both the media and those organisations that purport to protect children know full well that their funding and their corporate incomes come from the very people that they would otherwise be investigating.
Given the damage that can be done to individual lives by naming people at the point of arrest, TheOpinionSite.org believes it would be entirely wrong to do so and that name should not be made public until and unless someone is charged with an offence.
To do otherwise risks creating another victim and of wrecking families, reputations and innocent lives; something perhaps that Mr Starmer and the Prime Minister should have thought about before making the incomparably stupid suggestions that they both have made during the course of the last week or so.
(For more on this, join our Members Forum by clicking HERE)