Submitted by Ingrid Karmark (CA 39)
Aim: to rectify injustice suffered by victims of false allegations of sexual abuse.
Points to consider/implement:
1. Police trawling methods are hugely to blame for the proliferation of false accusations being made. In some cases, the police actively seek "victims" although not a single complaint was initiated. In other cases, a single person makes a complaint as an adult, and the police go trawling in the school/home where they hope to find corroboration of the allegations. It does not enter the minds of the police that they might actually be assisting in forming a tissue of false accusations by the people whom they are interviewing. Instead of interviewing "victims" the police are gathering statements from people who wish to settle scores with the person being accused and many are aware of the inducement of compensation for spouting their lies in Court. Any teacher who has worked in underprivileged schools knows that they will not be universally popular. Making false statements to the police is the ultimate sick practical joke. Ending trawling would help prevent this.
The police should be suspicious when allegations are made decades after the alleged incidents. What might appear to be bottled up events can easily be a malicious and psychotic mind which now has the police as an audience to spin lies and wreak revenge using state institutions to inflict damage on an innocent man and his family.
There are ways in which the police can be assisted in dealing with allegations in an impartial manner.
Remedy: change police investigative methods, because they are currently unreliable
All interviews with witnesses must be taped. All witness statements must be taken by properly trained and independent statement takers. Witness statements are currently drafted by police, not the accusers themselves. The police keep approaching witnesses and revising statements to eliminate glaring inconsistencies, instead of viewing these inconsistencies as pointers to false evidence. The end-product is no better than doctored evidence, and frequently it is just that. This is how the police achieve Similar Fact Evidence (SFE). The police excise the inconsistencies in their final drafts, ie they leave out dissimilar statements to make the statements match in toto. Equally, the police must be compelled to take full statements favourable to the accused person. Currently, they only take full statements that are adverse to the accused. This is clearly partisan, since it dispenses with evidential balance.
Police ask interviewees leading questions which produce tainted answers. This is the easiest way for the police to elicit "corroborating" evidence. Questioning techniques must be non-leading.
Police explain about compensation eligibility for "victims" which means that those with an animus towards the accused and/or opportunists readily make up allegations.
Police are so successful in this "evidence" gathering that the accused finds himself on multiple charges by many accusers. This is called corroboration by volume.
2. The CPS and the Courts, including the jury are deluded into thinking that "X number of people making those allegations against that accused man cannot be wrong."
The only defence an innocent man can say to these charges is that it never occurred.
The prosecution has only to put the question: "The Crown says that it happened." And argues that if the opportunity were there and many accusers make adverse statements saying that the allegations happened, then the accusers must be right.
The CPS must not be allowed to use specimen charges on indictments. It is impossible for the Defence to refute undated, allegations (which is why the Prosecution favours them).
Far from being independent, the CPS is acting in a partisan manner with the police and securing convictions at any cost, which is not what the CPS was set up to do. Emotionality is ruling the minds of those in the prosecution process. Law is the science of reason, not emotion. Yet even lawyers are falling for the "Poor little angels" act and not entertaining the grim reality that the criminal justice system is being manipulated by opportunist adults who can "stuff" someone they dislike by sending them to prison on long sentences and ruin their families and livelihood as well as take the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for a ride. The CPS must be monitored on the decisions it makes with regard to staging prosecutions. The CPS knows what an outcry there would be if the public really knew that millions of pounds have been wasted on "turkey" trials, and millions more spent to contain hundreds of innocent people in prison. Unlike the buried mistakes of incompetent surgeons, these wrongfully convicted men are buried alive in barbed-wire protected compounds.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
3. There should be immediate action to pass a statute of limitation on allegations of sexual abuse.
The statute should apply retrospectively to those who are currently serving sentences who wish to appeal against wrongful conviction.
Complaints should be made by the age of 21 years of age, so that in adulthood they can make complaints if they could not as children.
Every other European state has a criminal statute of limitations. The UK should harmonise its laws in keeping with the Treaty of Rome and the Human Rights Act.
A limitation act prevents the trial of cases made unsafe by age of evidence and contamination of witness statements by police and witnesses.
Special appeals procedures (via Criminal Cases Review) need to be created to fast-track appeals against conviction of historic cases of child abuse. Ordinary appeal courts are ignoring evidence which points to a convicted man's innocence. Delay in queuing for appeals is keeping innocent men in prison. Wrongful imprisonment is a human rights issue. The UK has the highest proportion of people incarcerated for allegations of child abuse in the Western world. Until recently, the USA used to imprison accused people for life on historic allegations.
The USA finally realised that they were prosecuting false allegations, caused by mass hysteria fuelled by the popular press. Subsequently it released many people.
4. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board should be made fully aware that it is being abused by opportunists and act accordingly. Dispensing with compensation as the result of conviction will eliminate opportunism as a motive for making allegations.
5. Similar Fact Evidence should not form the basis for trying a case. As stated earlier, the police's methodology actually causes fabrication of SFE through its leading questioning techniques and drafting and redrafting of statements to get the evidence to appear to be authentic and matching. In no other criminal case could a person be tried and convicted for corroboration alone. Yet people are serving long sentences on the mere say-so of one or several witnesses. This is clearly an abuse of process.
6. Amnesty. Any remedies that the Government applies should include retrospective effect, ie, an amnesty for those currently in prison on false accusations as well as those whose cases are at trial/pretrial stages.
I am the wife of a falsely accused man currently in prison. Please honour justice.