The effect of changes in the UK which erodes the core of good justice – ‘innocent until proven guilty’

WHY IT IS TOO EASY TO BE FALSELY ACCUSED

AND CONVICTED OF ABUSE WHEN FACTUALLY INNOCENT

 

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A Briefing Paper by F.A.C.T.

(Falsely Accused Teachers, Carers and other Professionals)  

www.factuk.org

Earlier developments

  • Erosion of ‘similar fact evidence’

Two House of Lords judgments in 1991 and 1995 removed the safeguards put in place by DPP v Boardman(1975) to guard against similar facts based on collusion or contamination.  

http://www.richardwebster.net/similarfactevidence.html

 

  • Dispensing of the need for corroboration 

Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 dispenses with the requirement for corroboration in order to convict.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/33

Section 32 abrogated the requirement for the judge to give the jury a warning about convicting the accused on the uncorroborated evidence in cases where the offence charged is sexual, and the evidence is given by the alleged victim.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/32

  • Police and compensation solicitor advertisements calling ‘victims’ to come forward

Police trawling methods, and no-win, no-fee solicitors taking class actions against institutions

http://www.richardwebster.net/trawlingnetstheinnocent.html

http://www.richardwebster.net/thecompensationfactor.html

http://ow.ly/rFG1S

 

Recent developments

 

  • Victims’ Code

 The Victims Code was introduced in 2005, but in the latest edition (October 2013) a victim-centred response to crime is very evident. People reporting that they are victims of a sexual  offence or human trafficking will automatically be considered to be vulnerable, which means they are entitled to special measures (such as screening in court, and support through the Victim Contact Scheme).

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/254459/code-of-practice-victims-of-crime.pdf

  • New CPS guidelines for Prosecuting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse, October 2013

 The CPS new guidelines are intended to change the way victims of child sexual abuse are perceived and to support the CPS objectives of achieving more prosecutions and convictions for child abuse and rape. Prosecutors are directed to avoid ‘myths such as, for example, were an allegation really true it would have been reported at the time’ and to assume that ‘the jury will faithfully apply directions from the judge, such as the fact that they can still convict even where it is one person’s word against another’s without any supporting evidence.’ The Guidelines also specify that ‘prosecutors should guard against looking for ‘corroboration’ of the victim’s account or using the lack of ‘corroboration’ as a reason not to proceed with a case.’ (para.55)

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/child_sexual_abuse/

  • Victims’ Right to Review 

 In July 2012 it was announced that ‘victims’ will be able to challenge decisions by the CPS Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) not to bring charges against alleged perpetrators,

http://www.cps.gov.uk/victims_witnesses/victims_right_to_review/

  • Attorney General’s power to refer cases for sentencing review

More referrals are being made to the AG, and more use being made by the AG to refer cases to the Court of Appeal for tougher sentences if the sentences are considered unduly lenient (ULS)

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/attorney-generals-office/about

  • Two new orders being introduced to restrict activities of suspects

 These are amendments to the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, building on amendments introduced by Nicola Blackwood MP, following her Childhood Lost petition using social media.

1. Sexual Harm Prevention Orders can be applied to anyone convicted or cautioned for a sexual or violent offence, including where offences are committed overseas. They will replace Sexual Offences Prevention Orders and Foreign Travel Orders; and can be made by a court on conviction, or if the police or National Crime Agency (NCA) apply to a magistrates’ court. The order lasts a minimum of five years and has no maximum duration.

2. Sexual Risk Orders can be applied to any individual who poses a risk of sexual harm in the UK or abroad, even if they have never been convicted. They will replace the Risk of Sexual Harm Order. The Sexual Risk Order can be made if the police or NCA apply to a magistrates’ court regarding a person who poses a risk of sexual harm. It lasts a minimum of two years and has no maximum duration.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/anti-social-behaviour-crime-and-police-bill

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‘Myths and Facts for Schools’ about touch, abuse, and panic: is the tide turning at last?

About time this was brought out into the open. So much damage is being done to our society and a lot of the so called ‘child protection’ organisations are responsible.

ESRC Moral Panic Seminar Series, 2012 - 2014

Having devoted much of the last decade or so to researching and writing about the way that adult anxieties about child abuse (and misjudged ways of seeking to prevent it), have done little to protect children, while having a number of seriously damaging consequences, it was good to have a significant straw in the wind drawn to my attention by a reporter from a national newspaper.

In a variety of contexts, including schools and nurseries, sports coaching and physical education (PE) and music education, there is no doubt that risk-averse policy and practice has had a damaging effect on the experiences of children and young people, and on their relationships with adults. These arrangements, actively promoted by some organisations with an interest in fostering disproportionate anxiety and a rigid approach to ‘safeguarding’, speak more of moral panic and bureaucratic control than of careful consideration informed by professional and practical wisdom…

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The role of donors in enhancing quality and accountability in humanitarian aid

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by Corinna Kreidler , ECHO

The fact that the international humanitarian system is not delivering the quality of aid it is supposed to pushes all of us to look at what has to change. This article focuses on what donors can do to improve the quality of humanitarian aid. Donors have various roles within the accountability chain. First, there is accountability to donors: recipient agencies are accountable to donors for how the funding received is spent. This gives donors the leverage to insist that quality aid is delivered with the funds provided. Second, there is accountability through donors: the collective pressure donors can apply to other stakeholders, such as national governments and UN agencies. Finally there is accountability by donors: initiatives that look at quality and accountability within donor organisations themselves.

Donors are a key link in the accountability chain, and stakeholders expect donor representatives to ensure that action is taken when the humanitarian system does not perform well. However, most donor agencies are part of their government’s foreign ministries, so they can only put pressure on recipient governments if this is in line with their own government’s foreign policy priorities. Hence, it is important to take a closer look at what donors can and cannot influence – and what tools they have at their disposal to enhance the accountability and quality of humanitarian aid. This article uses the example of DG ECHO, the European Commission’s Department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, currently the largest humanitarian donor in the world, accounting for some 40% of total humanitarian spending in 2010.

ECHO/Malini Morzaria

Read more…

 

 

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Corruption in the NGO world: what it is and how to tackle it

Images_of_money (via flickr)

by Jérôme Larché , Grotius International

 

Corruption is a sensitive issue in the NGO world. Humanitarian actors need to understand what corruption is, recognise the forms it can take in humanitarian response, determine its true scale and better understand the conditions which lead to it. They also need to identify what mechanisms need to be put in place or strengthened to guard against corruption, even in the most difficult contexts. Mitigating against corruption is necessary if NGOs are to achieve both operational efficiency and accountability to their stakeholders. However, it is also important to recognise that adopting a proactive and transparent approach to dealing with corruption may involve short-term risks to an NGO’s reputation.

What is corruption?

Transparency International (TI) defines corruption as ‘the abuse of power or position for private gain’.[1] This covers ‘active corruption’, such as bribery, and ‘passive corruption’, or allowing oneself to be bribed, as well as misappropriation. The exact scale of the problem in the humanitarian aid sector is by its nature very difficult to determine, but is assumed to be at much lower levels than corruption in the private commercial sector.

Another model of corruption takes into account the sources from which these risks emanate.[2] ‘Contextual’ corruption is linked to the environment surrounding the intervention (corrupt regimes, governments, police forces). ‘Systemic’ corruption refers to the humanitarian system, with its multiple, interacting and interdependent actors. ‘Intra-organisational’ corruption is linked to the constraints inherent within each NGO (human resources, active prevention strategies against corruption risks, verification procedures). This more operational model can help in prioritising and identifying NGOs’ scope of action in light of these risks. Thus, while NGOs have little hope of eradicating contextual corruption, they can and should take steps to prevent or address corruption within their own organisations.

A number of factors which can lead to corruption in humanitarian operations have also been identified.[3] These include lack of planning (or even the impossibility of planning), the number of humanitarian actors present and the financial resources at stake. The way in which the international humanitarian system has developed in recent years, including the exponential growth in the number of NGOs and the development of the humanitarian ‘industry’, has also been a contributing factor. Finally, we should not forget that corruption exists in developed countries, as well as developing ones.

Corruption and humanitarian aid: new dilemmas?

The number of NGOs has grown exponentially over the last 20 years, as has the scale of resources available. In 2010, it was estimated that humanitarian spending reached just shy of $17 billion.[4] Some NGOs have become transnational, with very large budgets. One American NGO, World Vision International, has a budget topping $2.6bn.

NGOs are often reluctant to talk about corruption for fear that it will lead to bad publicity and, consequently, a loss of funding. Working across borders to reach people in need can also give rise to allegations of corruption. The degree of confidentiality necessary to negotiate with those who control access can sometimes make transparency difficult to achieve. Moving clandestinely across borders to access affected populations, as NGOs have done over the years in many conflict situations, can also raise questions about the legitimacy and legality of such action. During the Afghan war in the 1980s, for instance, the Soviet-allied government in Kabul did not want humanitarian actors in Afghanistan, particularly in areas controlled by resistance factions. In this context, humanitarian NGOs had no choice but to cross the Pakistan–Afghanistan border illegally (without permission), through Peshawar and the North West Frontier Province. When humanitarian personnel were captured and held hostage by Soviet or Afghan forces, NGOs argued that the illegality of their actions did not decrease their legitimacy.

Read on……

 

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Exploring the issues of the effect the media & publicity has on investigations

I’m looking forward to attending this important seminar in central London. These are very important issues, I’m pleased to see they are being openly discussed.

 

Crime and the Media: Social Science Perspectives

 

Trial by MediaFalse Appeals by Apparent Victims of CrimeCitizen Journalism and Wrongful Convictions and many other issues emerge from the way that newspapers and television programmes feed on crimes and the lives of criminals.

  • How really useful are public appeals for help with police investigations?  
  • How does media coverage of sensational crimes influence policy making?  
  • Are documentary makers aware or concerned of the implications of their presentation of crimes? 

These and many other issues are explored in this innovative day seminar which brings together academics and practitioners to discuss some of the implications of the ways the mass media fill their pages and schedules with offenders and offending. 

Programme

(all speakers confirmed unless otherwise indicated; talk titles indicative only)

Morning

Chair: Professor Shirley PearceChair of the College of Policing

Afternoon

Chair: Professor Laurie TaylorSociologist and Broadcaster

  • Professor Roger Graef, LSE and filmmaker: the documentary maker’s point of view (agreed in principle)
  • Professor Chris Greer and Professor Eugene McLaughlin, City University London: trial by media and scandal
  • Panel Discussion
 
Kindly sponsored by: 
              

 

           Routledge Logo               British Society of Criminology Logo

 

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Open your eyes – this is not fiction!

Review from Amazon:

I read this book straight through, couldn’t put it down.
It is very well constructed and written – but OMG! the horror these people were put through for baseless accusations, false evidence and prosecutors determined to get a conviction regardless of truth and justice. These cases mainly started in the 1980’s when accusations of child sex abuse was at fever pitch in America. The accusations and “evidence” were ludicrous and ilogical and the accounts document the immoral tactics used to get allegations out of the mouths of young children who initially insisted nothing bad had happened but were then manipulated and their words twisted into what the investigators wanted to get. The people’s lives were destroyed, they were convicted and sent to prison for crimes that had not even occurred let alone by them. Most have since been released but as at the time the book was written – published 2003 – one man was still in prison after 16 years.
It seems there were “experts” and various professionals, lawyers who would make a lot of money out of constructing cases – it was big business by the sound of it – regardless of the truth and the welfare of the children they were getting this false information out of – they manipulated them until they believed dreadful things had happened to them. and the convicted people were considered unrehabilitated and unfit for parole because they maintained their innocence instead of “taking responsibility” and confessing. These examples are disgraceful miscarriages of justice, I cannot find any words that adequately reflect how disgusting the prosecutor’s behaviours were – and in the Land of the Free as well! The country that believes itself to be the best democracy in the world and that it has the right to take moral outrage at what happens in other countries.

Available from Amazon.

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We have gone too far!

Stopped by police and branded a paedophile… for hiking with my son: WILL SELF reveals moment an innocent ramble became a nightmarish tale of modern Britain

By WILL SELF

No 11-year-old child should have to see his parent treated like a criminal for no reason whatsoever. And no Englishman enjoying a ramble with his son should face examination by police at the roadside on suspicion of being a sexual predator.

Astonishingly – and I find it difficult, some days after the event, to comprehend that I am writing this now – this is what has just  happened to my son and me.

From the quintessence of a blamelessly British pursuit to an invitation to step inside a squad car, complete with WPC specially selected in case my boy had to be taken into protective custody, all following a ‘tip-off’ from a high-vis jacketed private security guard; can there be a more disturbing parable of the Britain we have become? Let me set out events for you to decide yourself.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2396222/Branded-paedophile-hiking-son-WILL-SELF-reveals-nightmare.html#ixzz2cUpUpaVd 
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