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Re-introduce anonymity for defendants in sexual abuse cases

Reintroduce anonymity for defendants in sex abuse or rape cases

Reintroduce anonymity for defendants in sex abuse or rape cases or expect miscarriages of justice.

After yet another high-profile case is lost by the CPS, this time in the trial of William Roache, it is time to reintroduce anonymity for defendants accused of sexual abuse or rape.

At the very mention of the subject, women’s groups, child protection “experts”, the (some would say rather unreliable) NSPCC and other so-called ‘charities’ all inevitably and immediately scream, “No! No! No!”, well aware that if such anonymity were in fact granted to defendants, many of these organisations and individuals would soon become redundant.

TheOpinionSite.org has for some years now been making the point that for the term ‘justice’ to mean anything of value, both sides in the adversarial arena must have ‘equality of arms’; indeed, such a principle is at the very heart of the British Criminal Justice System and has been since Magna Carta in 1215 and the Bill of Rights in 1689.

To be clear, this fundamental principal does not mean ‘limited equality of arms’.

For example, if the Crown Prosecution Service engage a QC to present their case, the Defence will also be entitled to a QC, even at public expense if necessary.

If expert witnesses are called by one side, the other may also do so.

So, if the accuser in the case – for there is no ‘victim’ until something has been proven – is entitled to anonymity, how can the defendant possibly be denied the same protection?

After all, both sides must be equal.

Let us, for the purposes of this article at least, ignore the views of the seemingly fanatical prosecutor for the North West, Nazir Afzal and the undoubtedly biased, former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), now ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer.

In our view, the opinions of neither man can be trusted as Afzal has openly stated that bringing more sex abuse cases to court is “a growing industry” and Starmer now works for the Labour Party as some kind of “victims’ rights advisor”, whatever that is.

No doubt Mr Starmer is lining himself up to be the next head of the NSPCC and Mr Afzal thinks that one day he might become DPP; so let us forget about both of them despite the fact that they have both been defensively vocal recently.

Anonymity for Defendants

Accusing someone of sexual assault, child abuse or rape is the perfect blunt instrument, particularly as everyone who makes such an accusation in today’s Britain is now automatically a ‘brave victim’ whether they are telling the truth or not.

As a result of a consistent drive by MPs to erode the rights of defendants, the accuser now hides behind an impenetrable screen of anonymity whilst the accused has his name plastered all over the media and his life is completely ruined; whether he is eventually proved guilty or not.

For precisely the reasons outlined above, anonymity was in fact granted to rape defendants under the 1976 Sexual Offences Act, but was removed in 1988 following political pressure from women’s groups and other campaigners and charities.

The argument put forward by charities and women’s campaigners as to why defendants in rape and sexual assault cases should not have the same anonymity as accusers is that if defendants had anonymity, other “brave victims” would not come forward, especially in historic cases.

Their argument goes on that despite all these people have, apparently without exception, had their lives ‘destroyed’,  they still don’t want to tell anyone about what happened…

…unless of course others do so as well – always safe in the knowledge that they can make whatever allegations they like because no one will ever know who they are, regardless of the outcome of any trial.

Naturally, the CPS and police make the same argument as both organisations know full well that the more accusers there are, regardless of the standard of evidence, the greater the chances of conviction.

This is one reason why the police are always appealing from the steps of the court for anyone who feels they are a “victim” to come forward.

In fact, the CPS and police go one step further and state that anyone who does in fact come forward “will be believed” – even before the facts of any accusation have been investigated.

By definition therefore, in the view of the CPS and police, the accused is automatically assumed to be guilty.

To most juries (and policemen for that matter), if enough people say the same or similar things, then ‘it must be true’.

In the report by the police and the NSPCC on Jimmy Savile, there is no real evidence at all; just a long list of accusations – many of which have an uncanny resemblance to those accounts already published in the tabloids and other media.

The man in charge, Cmdr Peter Spindler – who mysteriously quit when the criticism started – also said, “If so many people are saying the same thing, it must be true.”

The view of the CPS and police therefore is only too clear: the accused is always guilty.

The charities and women’s groups deny any possibility that people may make false accusations or be out to make money from compensation or press coverage.

According to these organisations and like-minded individuals, women never lie.

TheOpinionSite.org would point out that in the Roache trial, the judge had to order the acquittal of Mr Roache on one count because the woman’s evidence kept changing and at one point she even admitted that she ‘had no memory of the offence taking place’, contrary to her statement to the police.

She has not however been prosecuted for Perjury or Perverting the Course of Justice.

The fact that the trial has cost Mr Roache hundreds of thousands of pounds that he cannot reclaim, cost the tax payer nearly half a million pounds, dragged an 81 year old man through the courts and possibly done his health irreparable harm does not worry these accusers.

However, given that most of the accusers in the Roache case only came forward after the publicity following Mr Roache’s arrest and charge for rape (of which he was found to be not guilty), it is quite probable that had he been given the anonymity enjoyed by his accusers, most of these discredited women would not have tried their luck in the first place.

The CPS argue that they will only bring a case if “there is a real prospect of conviction.”; not usually a difficult thing to achieve in these cases if, as they do, most jury members have children and if all the alleged victims in the case are (or were) children at the time of the alleged offences.

This defensive argument from the CPS ignores however the fact that the test for the jury is completely different.

Juries are only supposed to convict if they are “sure beyond reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty of the offence(s).

Both these tests however ignore the most fallible element of all in a criminal trial: the emotions of the jurors.

TheOpinionSite.org believes that today’s, feminist-fearing MPs will never support the idea of anonymity for defendants.

Weak MPs generally argue that one should not distinguish between sexual offences and other types of offence – even though they have been doing that for the last 20 years for purely political gain.

There is not a single MP currently in the House of Commons who has ever voted against even a single measure brought in against sex offenders; even though similar measures have not (and will not) be introduced for armed robbers, those convicted of appalling violence, murderers or convicted drug-dealers.

Therefore, the distinction between types of offence already exists and was created by the MPs themselves, largely in response to the campaigning of women’s groups and the child protection industry.

In the case of another acquitted Coronation street actor, Andrew Lancel who was accused of abusing an underage boy, the trial judge, Clement Goldstone QC, speaking to the defendant’s barrister, Andrew Menary QC, said:

“The defendant was acquitted on the evidence, and rightly so, but it is important that the complainant who is clearly scarred by an experience, should understand that the jury verdicts do not necessarily involve rejection of his account of a sexual encounter or encounters with the defendant.

“It is a statement that the prosecution have failed to make the jury sure that abuse of the type alleged occurred during the period covered by the indictment and in particular before the complainant’s 16th birthday, now more than 18 years ago.”

Whilst this may bring some satisfaction to the accuser – even if he was lying – it does not mitigate the fact that Lancel was subjected to a process of media trial and accusation; something that accusers in sex abuse cases never have to endure.

TheOpinionSite.org dares to suggest – no doubt to howls of anguish from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo – that if accusers did not have the shield of anonymity that they currently enjoy, they would have to produce real evidence to support their allegations AND bring the complaint forward in a reasonable time.

The obvious answer to this conflict of interests therefore is to give neither side anonymity – although as a result, the number of “brave victims” coming forward is likely to diminish and a number of child protection ‘experts’ and charities, women’s groups and child protection training companies will likely go out of business.

So would a few lawyers.

The other way of solving the problem is to do what every other civilized government in the Western world – even the US and some parts of Australia – have already done:

The British government should introduce a Statute of Limitations on sexual abuse allegations, be that limitation 10 or even as long as 30 years.

Whilst TheOpinionSite.org concedes that children often find it difficult to make complaints of abuse and inappropriate behaviour at the time it allegedly occurs, they have no excuse whatsoever for not making that complaint within say ten years of their 18th birthday when they are adults.

This is the case in France and many other EU states and countries elsewhere.

It is a system that works well and which gives redress to those who have genuine complaints, limits the attraction of compensation (which is graduated by the length of time it takes for the individual to come forward) and – most importantly of all – protects individuals from being convicted on the basis of memories from long ago which may or may not be accurate.

This has to be more satisfactory than the CPS and the police bringing cases based on the number of people making accusations and the assistance of a totally biased media that simply wants to sell newspapers or advertising.

Whether it be the equalising of anonymity for both defendant and accuser or the introduction of a Statute of Limitations, the British government must introduce one or the other; even if that is unpopular with certain sections of society.

Not to do so will leave the British justice system as it is now; completely discredited, laughably ineffective and utterly untrustworthy.

(Express your view on this in our FORUM)

13 Responses to Re-introduce anonymity for defendants in sexual abuse cases

  1. faolan
    November 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

    The media had a field day with us, both local and national, so the jury were already biased before the trial was barely under way, we were pointed at in the supermarket and street. Yet our Alleged “victims” could get on with.Their lives, without any embarassment. Anonymity should cut both ways, We thought we were supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”, wrong!. The media creates monsters, and the Jury were already biased because of it.

  2. suu Jordan
    October 30, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    My partner was recently accused and subsequently convicted for allegations of historic sexual abuse and rape that apparently took place 25 years ago. The ‘victim’, funnily enough, decided to start her campaign against my partner 3 weeks after the BBC broadcast the first allegation against Jimmy Savile. I’m getting sick to death with these children’s charities and child protection agencies: the whole country is being swept along on a tide of self-righteousness and mass hysteria. These historic sex abuse cases are akin to medieval witch hunts. It has got to stop.

  3. Norma. Ovens
    May 28, 2014 at 11:03 am

    I agree there should be anonymity for both parties. However, I hope your lives are never touched by the fallout of child abuse. Can you not understand how difficult it is to resurrect a past that has been suppressed in order to function within the family/society? It is not an easy thing to accuse a father, son,uncle of sexual abuse.often a trigger is needed,eg the birth of a child and the fear that the same abuse will happen to that son/daughter. My sister admitted to the family her husband had abused my daughter and niece. Yet she stood in court and denied this.so these girls have more misery piled on them. Our family is now fractured beyond repair. There may well be some that hope to gain financially, but believe me, the majority just want justice.

  4. sussie
    March 10, 2014 at 11:27 am

    although we are still going on about the fact that the government are still allowing the police and the courts to bring and sentence innocent men for sex offences then stop it stand up be counted or let them keep getting away with it my fiancé is doing 14yrs at her majesties pleasure for crimes he did not do and I can prove it and as just one women I will do what ever I have to do to bring this to the public eye and I will keep going writing to whomever I have to so do the same its easy to have a voice behind your front door. it takes more guts to be seen and heard.

  5. Uaruman
    February 10, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    You can espouse as many words on this subject as you want. This is the only, and I mean the only country in Western Europe, without a Statute of Limitations in these matters. Without that this nonsense, and the money making machine that feeds it, will continue onwards in its destructive cycle.

    Enough said?

    • Raymond Peytors - theopinionsite.org
      February 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Editors Note: – Despite the fact that I and others have been suggesting a Statute of Limitations in the UK for years now, no British government has the courage to go there, no matter how sensible such a statute would be.

      On a technical point, Britain is so far behind the rest of the world that even the very concept of a Statute of Limitations does not exist in British law as it stands. There are a few “time limitations” in relating to civil claims (which are usually ignored in cases resulting from a conviction involving sexual offenses)but very little else. – Editor

  6. pete
    February 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Bravo, Mr Peytors, for expressing so eloquently what increasing numbers of ordinary people are already beginning to feel yet hardly dare express for fear of politically correct reprisals.

    Cops and prosecutors are fond of broadcasting these days that people who allege they were sexually abused decades ago should come forward now as they will be believed. Such complainants are routinely called “victims” and the truth of their assertions – and therefore the guilt of those they accuse – is already presumed. This is called “victims’ rights.”

    The idea that it’s somehow progressive or radical to erode defendants’ rights in favour of those of complainants is of very recent pedigree, although it’s been seen as the nasty authoritarian brutishness it really is for very much longer. Those of us who cherish liberty and the rule of law as unqualified human goods have a duty to ask: if this is radical progressivism, what kind of progress toward what kind of destination are we aiming for? In what sense is it radical?

    Hitler and Mussolini were radicals, although I doubt if many today would consider them progressive. And yet they did make progress – toward terror, toward the crushing of free thought, toward coerced conformity with dominant beliefs and toward the mass destruction of those who failed or refused to comply.

    That our mainstream politicians have abandoned any commitment to truly emancipatory causes is evident in their shared attempt to camouflage their ideological bankruptcy by inventing biopolitical monsters like “sex offenders”: unable to secure anything but the most feeble and transient interest from an alienated and uninspired electorate (who they insult by describing as apathetic, which is precisely the sane response to what’s on offer), they trade instead in the politics of fear. And they think we’re all too dim to see what they’re up to.

    The collapse of that rotten monstrosity, the Soviet Union, resulted in premature triumphalism amongst Western politicians. The ‘end of ideology’ was proclaimed; we would now all live in the Utopia of liberal democracy and its counterpart, globalising capitalism, which now had no iron curtains or Soviet-funded guerrillas to oppose its interests. What western liberals failed to notice, however, was the valuable ideological function the Soviet Union had played as a lightning conductor for domestic discontent: now playing entirely within the rule book designed to further the interests of global capitalism, which sets severe limits on how parliaments may distribute wealth and alleviate inequality and child poverty, western parliamentary politicians were suddenly confronted with a dangerous absence. When the Soviet Union capsized, they lost a gigantic ideological buffer: they could frighten people into conformity with mainstream politics by playing the Soviet nuclear threat card, the Reds under the Bed card, the “Evil Empire threatening our way of life” card.

    They purchased a fictitious and underserved illusion of moral “freedom loving” superiority, in other words, because they portrayed themselves as fighting Absolute Evil. When the USSR vanished, that illusory fight disappeared with it. What could it be replaced with? How could politicians deflect ever-simmering home-grown discontent that life was not improving for the many if they no longer had a huge geographical landmass to focus their concocted and manipulated fears onto?

    It is no accident that paedo-hysteria and sex offender monstering took off with a vengeance after 1991 when the “Evil Empire” imploded and disappeared. The establishment’s obsession with paedophilia gathered enormous momentum thereafter, even though it had been simmering as a useful source of panic for at least fifteen years before that.

    When it began portraying children as victims of perverted men, the highly punitive agenda of “radical” feminism was increasingly embraced by the the architects of the UK’s ever-more punitive state (not to mention US-style religious fascists), developments which should have alerted these self-styled “radicals” to the kind of “radicalism” they stood for. Namely, radical vindictiveness, radical paranoia, radical punishment, radical divisiveness between men and women and between the generations, and a radical embrace of the most coercive and punitive organs of the state – the police and criminal justice system – to further their censorious and inherently unappeasable agenda. Paranoia, the stock-in-trade of savagely militant victim feminists, can never be assuaged; it can only be sanely refused and defeated.

    An earlier emancipatory and anti-Statist feminist movement , which valorised female sexual agency and freedom, was radically betrayed, replaced instead by a generation of prosperous, pampered young women who were desperate to see themselves as “victims of oppression” to gain right-on credentials. Their earlier message that men were sexual oppressors of women didn’t catch on amongst real women, who knew how to put men who stepped out of line in their place and never saw themselves as helpless, feeble victims in the first place; but when they hit upon the idea of casting men as abusers of children – viewed by victim fems as honorary women – their paranoia began to infect ordinary people. Most people, rightly, consider cruelty to children as abhorrent. The failed “men are rapists” message was slyly twisted into “men are child abusers”, and the rest is history.

    When New Labour was confected on the decaying corpse of Old Labour, it was never intended by its architects to be an emancipatory movement; it was, from its inception, intended to be seen by the owners of big money as an efficient manager of the capitalist economy, and it borrowed pseudo-egalitarian phrases from its dead predecessor to curry favour among disillusioned voters who were at that time sick of the Tories.

    We now know what all that Blair blather about “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” really meant. It didn’t mean opening up innovative new educational opportunities for the many who had been failed by the UK’s educational system, it didn’t mean retrofitting sink housing estates to become decent and pleasant places to live, it didn’t mean helping to create new employment opportunities for people on the margins of society (who account for most of the “crime”). It just meant “Tough on criminals.” It meant “Lock’em all up”. It meant “Let’s be even nastier than the law’n’order headbangers amongst the Tories so we can keep their votes onside.” After all, why should reactionaries vote for a right-wing party when they can get the nastiest hard-line punishments for the poor and powerless from a fake Leftist one?

    Paedo-panics have been a godsend to our ideologically moribund rulers, chiefly because slaying imaginary bogeymen is at least a form of distracting, if ugly, entertainment for the discontented masses. If Marx saw religion as the opiate of the people, the mainstream media’s obsession with paedo-hunting functions as today’s, eagerly and slavishly adopted by mainstream politicians in their desperate attempts to secure a degree of popularity.

    If our rulers were so caring toward children and young people, if they really wanted to shield them from preventable harm, why is the age of criminal responsibility so low in the UK (10 years of age) and why do we incarcerate more children in custodial hell-holes than other European countries?

    Justice MUST be open if it is to remain uncorrupted; the presumption of innocence must ALWAYS be at its heart if we are to prevent the mighty (the limitlessly resourced Crown Prosecution Service) from locking up the powerless – the accused individual – at whim, or at the whim of over-powerful and under-accountable lobbyists demanding new and punitive laws. Lobbyists, we shouldn’t forget, who no one voted for.

    These terrible women have been prepared to send an elderly man to prison for the rest of his life; thankfully, the jury chose to weigh up the evidence rather than be swayed by the vicious victimological sentiments of the prosecution and its recruited claimants.

    If defendants are to have no anonymity before conviction, neither should complainants. They SHOULD be named, so that others can “bravely come forward” and say “She made malicious allegations about me, too – be careful about how much weight you give to her testimony.”

    Contrary to the howls of execration predictably coming from the fanatical adherents of victims’ rights advocacy, there is no bravery in claiming victimhood as defined by the dominant ideology of vindictive victimology. There is bravery, however, in boldly rebutting and refusing the dominant narrative of our rulers and their victim-fem advisers, as Mr Peytors has done in his excellent article.

  7. Norman Scarth
    February 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    The BIG mistake, going against centuries-old principle of law & justice, was to give anonymity to accusers in rape cases!
    For years we have been told that women can do anything a man can do, AND do it better!
    They can do anything a policeman can do (truncheons, boots, tazers, guns etc.), can serve on the frontline in war, pilot nuclear bombers, crew nuclear submarines & aircraft carriers: In fact, they are at least as good at killing people as any man.
    Yet, when it comes to standing behind an accusation they have made – an accusation which can end in life imprisonment for the accused – it’s ‘I’m only a weak & feeble woman – swoon, swoon, pass the smelling salts!’
    I am NOT a misogynist, but do believe in equality – for all.
    Norman Scarth.

    • Norman Scarth
      February 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      CORRECTION: It WASN’T a ‘mistake’. For several decades now, the manipulators of thought (the mass murderers & war criminals of THE BLAIR REGIME being the main culprits) have twisted morality inside out, back to front & upside down.
      It says, “Email addresses will not be published”. If interested enough, mine is againstcorruption@hotmail.co.uk
      PS: The self-proclaimed ‘Heir to Blair’ is doing his little best to follow in the footsteps of his ‘Hero’.

  8. Hoof Hearted
    February 9, 2014 at 10:06 am

    The way I see it is that there should be no anonymity unless the person, either defendant or accuser, is under 18.

    The argument is that the defendant is not offered anonymity to allow others to come forward. Well what if the accuser is a serial liar or fantasist? Shouldn’t they be named to allow others who may have information on them to come forward?

    For example, others may come forward to say ‘she accused me as well, she’s a nutter’, or words to that effect. Justice should be open.

  9. mike
    February 8, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    It gets worse for Roache. Last night it was reported they are investigating him for more offences. Seems they are determined to get him one way or the other.

    • Hoof Hearted
      February 9, 2014 at 10:23 am

      It amazes me that this has been leaked. Then again, why should it amaze me? This smacks of Nazi Afzal… sorry I mean Nazir Afzal throwing a strop and refusing to accept he’s wrong.

  10. Betrayed
    February 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I agree. Everyone or no one should have anonymity. This affects ordinary people as well, not just celebrities.

    Better still is the idea of a statute of limitations. If someone cannot bring a complaint by the time the are 28 years old, they don’t deserve to.

    This country belongs to adult men too; not just power-seeking women and spoiled children.

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