Wrongly Accused of Historic Sex Abuse? Critics Say Police Were Too Quick to Believe Allegations
Following the accusations made against Jimmy Savile, Operation Hydrant was set up to investigate claims of historic sex crimes. Of the 7,396 cases on the police database, only 29% ended in conviction. However, those who were wrongly accused of crimes are still facing the repercussions of the allegations. With such a massive influx of cases as a direct result of the Savile scandal and Operation Hydrant, some now believe that police and prosecutors were too quick to believe allegations without proper investigation.
Carl Beech has recently been sentenced to 18 years in prison for perverting the course of justice, following allegations of historic sex abuse against several prominent public figures. However, his claims were once described as ‘credible and true’ by police officers. His actions resulted in a £2m investigation, which ended without a single arrest being made. In a controversial move, Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, called for a change in approach towards automatically believing victims.
In a false allegation case recently highlighted by the BBC, Simon Warr, a former boarding school teacher was accused by a former pupil of touching him inappropriately during PE lessons 30 years previously. He said:
“Four police officers swept past me, pushing me on to the cabinets, and the fifth one read me my rights,”
“I said to the police, ‘I don’t teach PE, I don’t teach 12-year-olds games’,” he says, “but they just wouldn’t listen.”
Mr Warr’s details were broadcast on the BBC on the evening of his arrest. The automatic right to anonymity before conviction was removed in 1988
“They had no intention of getting to the bottom of what happened. It certainly turns the whole edict of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ on its head.”
Dr Ros Burnett from Oxford University said:
“The trouble with removing all those barriers and making it easier for genuine victims is that you also make it easier for people who, for one reason or another, are accusing the wrong people,” she says.
“The possibility of false allegations has almost been airbrushed away. And so there is a sort of complete neglect of the presumption of innocence.”
If you have been falsely accused of historic sex abuse, we understand the devastating effect this may have on your life. There is no time to delay; we can help protect your reputation and your liberty. Contact our specialist historic sex abuse solicitors today.
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