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New hope for child abuse accused



SEVEN Welsh carers and teachers serving a total of more than 80 years in jail for child abuse believe they are closer to proving their innocence.Lawyers acting for the men believe they have taken a major step forward in persuading miscarriage of justice investigators there may be questions over a number of convictions.The move could have far-reaching consequences for controversial police ‘trawling’ inquiries into allegations of abuse at children’s homes and approved schools stretching back to the 1960s.There has long been concern about police trawling, in which detectives contact former residents of children’s homes from the 1960s and 1970s to ask if they were abused. Critics believe the inquiries ‘encourage’ false allegations and that some alleged victims of abuse have made claims in the hope of compensation.And the Home Affairs Select Committee, which considered trawling in 2002, concluded the investigating technique, in general, had produced a “new genre of miscarriage of justice”.The inquiries have sparked large campaigns to prove the innocence of those accused, such as former headmaster and social services inspector Derek Brushett, who is a third of his way through a 12-year jail sentence.Brushett’s solicitor Chris Saltrese said: “I think the informed observer now realises there is something seriously wrong with these cases,” he stated.”I believe trawling inquiries have created an issue which is right up there with the cot death cases.”

IC Wales