Matthew Steeples suggests that the way in which allegations of sexual offences are investigated in Britain needs to change
On Friday, a friend of mine answered bail in relation to a false allegation of sexual assault at a dinner in January. Today, this person was thankfully told that the matter is now closed due to there being utterly no evidence of it ever having happened but what is appalling is that the police went as far as they did.
On the evening in question, the woman concerned attended a party and then, without invitation, gatecrashed a dinner that I had organised afterwards. I did not actually meet her at the time but she subsequently told police that she had been a victim of a sexual assault in full view of her fellow diners that night. That this woman did not shout out or react in a way that was noticed by any other guest at the time is telling but what is more important is that those she named as having seen this nonsensical episode subsequently categorically stated they’d witnessed absolutely nothing untoward happen.
In the ensuing days the police made contact with the venue and hours were wasted viewing CCTV footage. No evidence resulted and that frankly should have been that. It sadly wasn’t.
My friend, who is not primarily based in Britain, was then arrested when he flew back into Heathrow on a subsequent occasion in full view of an entire planeload of fellow passengers. Though he was held for a number of hours, questioned, finger printed and bailed, his innocence is now completely without question.
The resources thrown into investigating this false allegation were not commensurate with what was presented to the police and this appalling incident provides yet more proof that the way in which the police handle such cases presently is wrong. That a powerful alleged paedophile like Lord Janner is able to get away without prosecution despite compelling evidence simply because of his connections yet an innocent, ordinary man is dragged through months of worry is nothing other than appalling. Something has to change; it truly must.
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