Beyond Reasonable Doubt - By George A Jensen, from Inside Time (March 2007)
George A Jensen, Chairman of the North Wales branch of FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers) highlights the highly emotional and contentious issue of child abuse.
” AN article in the December issue of Inside Time by solicitor Peter Garsden caught my eye. I am not in the compensation culture class, I am on the other side of the fence in that I am concerned to assist the unfortunate men who, having given many years of patient care to those less fortunate than themselves, now find themselves rewarded by long terms of imprisonment for offences that in the vast majority of instances were almost certainly never committed.
Let me state quite categorically that I have absolutely no time whatsoever for those who have actually abused children, and in my opinion they deserve lengthy sentences. Unfortunately the reality is quite different. Many of the allegations are, and can be proven to be, untrue, yet have still caused men to be convicted and imprisoned.
The proud boast of the British legal system that one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ no longer applies. It has been prostituted by the need to obtain convictions however they are achieved. Some examples of the corruption of the judicial system in cases of historic abuse are legendary. Cheshire Crown Court in the Guardian (May 9th 1998) … “You are entitled to compensation even if the person against whom you complained is found not guilty”- surely an open invitation to make false allegations? The Government assures me that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) carry out ‘robust reviews’ of evidence the police place before them. Let me give you a couple of examples of the ‘evidence’ that was subjected to robust reviews – taken from actual court cases.
Mr Justice Curtis, Cardiff Crown Court, referring to one of the complainants, stated: “He is, make very serious allegations, with persuasive skills, which can be and have been shown to be fundamentally untrue”.
Or the case where a complainant claimed to have been abused in a public toilet – ten years before local authority records show the date of its construction.
The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) reported the Government has noted that: ‘Failure to disclose evidence inconvenient to the prosecution case was a factor in many, if not most, proven miscarriages of justice’. Disclosure is the making available to both parties in a trial that evidence and material which is important to the satisfactory conduct of that trial.
Peter Garsden explains how it is that what the police call disclosure is the result of memories too painful to recall without some form of stimuli. I fully concur with his analysis, but would give a somewhat different explanation of the stimulation experienced. It is the ‘stimulation’ of money, not compensation, for the term compensation infers that it is in recompense for some unacceptable happening; the simple explanation is greed.
The HASC reported in 2002 that they were ‘concerned that there had been many instances where a miscarriage of justice had occurred’. The number of instances where the conviction of men accused of historic abuse of children in residential homes has been quashed serves to emphasise that such concern was properly founded.
The heading above the article by Mr Garsden is ‘Abused by the legal system’. That is absolutely correct, with the caveat that he identifies the wrong victim of the judicial abuse. The real victims are those men who have given sometimes a quarter of a century of service to help those unfortunate young people that society did not want to know about. They have been vilified, in many cases their families destroyed, their children mocked at school, not for any wrongdoing on their part, but because of the greed of the so-called victims.