Although ‘Nick’ has been charged, the justice system continues to fail the innocent
‘Nick’ alleged that he had been sexually abused by a number of VIPs including Ted Heath; Leon Brittan, Lord Bramall and Harvey Proctor. His real name has now been made public, he is Carl Beech.
His allegations lead to the £2.5 million pound heavily criticized investigation by the Met Police known as Operation Midland. The investigation lasted 18 months and found no evidence of wrongdoing. The reputations of these men were publicly trashed. Leon Brittan died in 2015 without knowing he had been cleared. Harvey Proctor lost his job and his home. Lord Bramall’s house was searched in the presence of his wife who was suffering from dementia. Lord Bramall has since received £100,000 from the Met Police as compensation. Harvey Proctor received an apology from the police but is suing them for £1 million. He has said “The police have destroyed my life. It will not be, cannot be, the same as it was before” (see The Independent).
“The police have destroyed my life. It will not be, cannot be, the same as it was before”
Carl Beech has been charged with 11 counts of seeking to pervert the course of justice and one of fraud (he sought compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority) and is due to go on trial next year.
“Credible and true”
Operation Midland was an expensive waste of police time which brought needless suffering to many. Yet it would be all too easy to blame this fiasco on Carl Beech alone. His bizarre allegations of sexual abuse and murder perpetrated by the elite establishment fell on ground that was already very fertile, thanks to the guidance to the police that they should always “believe the victim”. It was in such a climate that Det Supt Kenny McDonald made the now infamous statement that the allegations were “credible and true”, words that he must now be regretting deeply.
The College of Policing have since asked their own expert Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley to look at the policy of believing the victim. He made this recommendation in February 2018.
The College of Policing and NPCC should approach the Home Office to amend the crime recording counting rules to remove the words “The intention that victims are believed” to “The intention is that victims can be confident they will be listened to and their crime taken seriously”. If accepted the College of Policing APP and training materials should be reviewed to support this approach.
Despite this the College of Policing are making further consultations. FACT made a submission to the College supporting Rob Beckley’s recommendation. It seems that so far the College have not come to any decision.
There will always be people who make wrongful allegations, some are mentally disturbed, some are bad, some are simply mistaken. We rely on the justice system to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, the innocent victims of wrongful allegations of abuse are badly treated from the moment of their arrest when they are interviewed by a detective trained to believe their accuser. If they reach court they may be subject to disclosure failures. If they are wrongly convicted they may spend many years in prison trying to negotiate an appeal system that seems weighted against them. When they are eventually released they will be on a sex offenders register. What is needed now is for the Justice Select Committee at Westminster to have an inquiry into the treatment of the wrongly accused. It needs to do this soon, because those accused or convicted of an offence they didn’t commit are suffering right now.
Read more about why it is too easy for innocent people to be wrongly accused of sexual abuse by Dr Ros Burnett of Oxford University.