In November 1998 Newcastle City published a report of an inquiry into allegations of multiple abuse at a council-run nursery. The report, written by three social workers and a psychologist, led to front-page headlines in practically every national newspaper. Although Reed and Lillie had previously been acquitted in a criminal trial, the inquiry concluded that they were guilty not only of carrying out horrific acts of abuse themselves but also of supplying children to a paedophile ring whose members had raped and abused their young victims, and used them in the making of child pornography. But no one thought to question the report’s findings. This led to Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie suing Newcastle City Council and the local newspaper that carried to the story. This paper discusses some of the lessons to learnt from report itself and from the subsequent libel trial.
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