The Following media release has been issued by Chris Saltrese, a solicitor specialising in defending allegations of sexual abuse .
CHRIS SALTRESE RESPONSE TO THE DPP’S PROPOSALS TO REVIEW SEXUAL OFFENCE PROSECUTIONS
“Case building’ risks case manufacture in historic child abuse” warns defence solicitor.
Responding to the DPPs proposals to increase prosecutions for alleged child sexual abuse, specialist solicitor Chris Saltrese says:
“This is another panic attack in the criminal justice system which is already overloaded with dubious allegations, unfair trials and wrongful convictions in relation to historic sexual abuse allegations.”
“The fact is that the majority of historic cases rest solely on the retrospective oral testimony of claims makers and their associates.
” Trial by retrospective narrative alone is inherently dangerous and risks widespread injustice.
“’Case building’ has been CPS policy for a number of years and in practice may be indistinguishable from case manufacture to fit potentially prejudicial rules of evidence in court introduced through the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
“The Savile report by the Met is a flawed and unresearched document that takes no account of the explosion of social networking and the media in drumming up false allegations or the lure of compensation claims
“The truth is that it is now much easier to obtain large compensation payouts for sexual allegations in the civil courts against institutions and corporate bodies.
“This development in the civil courts has gone cap in hand with the proliferation of retrospective allegations against people where public bodies may become liable.
“As these will generally follow a criminal trial, no account is taken of this potential motive during the police investigation or prosecution.”
“As has happened with the trawling cases, large numbers of civil claims may be piggybacked on a small number of convictions with out-of-court settlements precluding the testing of evidence.
“Neither the courts nor governments have addressed the flaws exposed the 2003 Home Affairs committee report on police trawling. The developments of the law in the civil courts to ease claims have followed.
“Meanwhile the prejudice imported into the criminal courts through the Criminal Justice Act 2003 in hearsay and similar fact evidence, which is linked to the practise of ‘case building’, has been ignored.
“While genuine cases of sexual abuse may slip through the net, as is inevitable with any crime, targetting the innocent through case maufacture is not the solution, and can only lead to further miscarriages of justice.”
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Chris Saltrese is a solicitor specialising in defending sexual abuse allegations including historic trawling cases and gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the Conduct of Police Investigations into Children’s Homes in 2003.