I recently said to somebody that I believe I have learnt more after leaving school than whilst I was there. I can now equally say that I have learnt more about the ‘system’ after having the shit kicked out of me by it.
For all of you who have been following my blogs you will now know that I am highly critical of the police and the legal system when it comes to the status and protection of male domestic abuse victims. I suppose I can also suggest that it also fails our sister victims too.
I have had to deal with the police, social services and recently the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and to date the following has resulted;
- Social services – I have been successful in obtaining the sacking of one social worker and have also gained two separate letters of apology from two county councils.
- The police – As expected they failed to address their own failings and saw fit to blame the CPS. As a result I have raised my complaint higher now naming a specific inspector citing professional misconduct and failure to follow the principles of their own code of practice (of which I obtained from the CPS).
- The Crown Prosecution Service – Following my complaint to them about the unequal processing of the law I received a very informative letter highlighting how the make a decision based on the same code of practice that the police adopt. However, they also wished to pass the buck and took it upon themselves to blame the police. This of course is now an ongoing complaint. I have taken the liberty to use their own principles to identify their own failings.
So how does this fit with the title of this blog?
Well, for all you regular news followers you may be aware of the recent case of Liam Allen (22). For my American and other nation followers of whom may not be aware of this case, I wish to furnish you with the details.
Liam Allan, 22, was on bail for almost two years and spent three days at Croydon Crown Court in the dock before his trial was.
It is fair to admit that my case pales in comparison to Liam Allan’s case on the level of potential outcome and seriousness of the case. However, it took a judge to identify the institutional failure of a system that was created to protect the public
Mr Allen was wrongly charged with rape and ‘dragged through hell’ for two years due to a police blunder.
Liam Allan’s trial was eventually thrown out of court after lawyers discovered his alleged victim texted him suggesting she wanted to have more sex after the alleged attack.
How does the police action make any form of sense?
It transpires that the texts related to this case had been held by police and should have been made available to both the defence and the prosecution teams almost two years ago but were not due to (and I quote here directly from the judge) ‘sheer incompetence.’
Mr Allan’s lawyer further stated that ‘[Mr Allen] should never have been charged and was needlessly put through two years of turmoil.’
Food for thought – Not fit for purpose
Mr Allen, after his acquittal publicly stated a number of key factors but a key quote was certainly food for thought;
‘It’s made me realise that something needs to change. There are things that go on behind closed doors that you can’t even imagine and that a lot of people are probably going through the same sort of thing.’
In essence, I am sure we can all agree on the fact that the present system is not fit for purpose when it can fail at so many levels.
The prosecutor (yes that’s right, the lawyer who was employed to attempt to prove Mr Allen’s guilt) stated that; ‘Sheer incompetence’ by police meant that texts about his alleged victim’s fantasies of violent and casual sex were kept secret.
The prosecutor also highlighted the fact that ‘the defence quickly saw the information (held on a police file) [that] blew the prosecution out of the water. If they had not been seen this boy faced 12 years in prison and on the sex offenders’ register for life with little chance of appeal. This was a massive massive miscarriage of justice, which thank heavens was avoided’.
The police attempted to defend this approach by claiming that the ‘sexual messages sent by the woman to Liam Allan and her friends were ‘too personal’ to share’ (!!!!???)
So what is this telling us? It is telling people like you and I that the police cherry pick their evidence to support a positive outcome for themselves (not in the true spirit of public interest is it?)
CPS – Can’t Process Shit
The CPS is also being asked to explain why it did not demand full disclosure of evidence including phone records before the trial started.
The texts revealed the woman asked Mr Allan for casual sex and fantasised about rough and violent intercourse and even being raped despite telling police she didn’t like being intimate with men.
It eventually took Judge Peter Gower to stop the trial. Judge Gower was also quick to note that [having this] hanging over his head for years… could have had his life totally trashed. That was awfully wrong’.
It is, therefore, clear to state that Liam Allen had been betrayed by the system. And it still stands in this country (contrary to false belief) that people are treated as ‘guilty until they can prove they are innocent’.
Chief prosecutor Alison Saunders had made a high profile push to bring more sex attack cases to court and asked her lawyers to trawl through a man’s relationship history to boost conviction. As a result, the number of rapes reported to police has gone from around 13,000 in 2002 to 45,000 last year but in 2014 it emerged a quarter of sex offences – including rape – were never recorded as crimes.
Britain’s top prosecutor Alison Saunders was recently accused of inflating rape conviction figures and having little idea of how rape trials work.
Ms Saunders has repeatedly come under fire over the CPS handling of sex allegations because innocent men have had their lives destroyed on the basis of spurious claims later rejected in court.
In August this year (2017) she said that men accused of rape will have more of their relationship history put under the microscope during trials in a bid to increase convictions rates.
As a result Ms Saunders was warned that the hugely inflated figures in a report on violence against women were ‘misleading’.
Death throws – a public concern
This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak’.
I am sure that every person reading this blog would agree that any form of sex crime is abhorrent. Yet if we are now aware that the police and CPS are getting it so wrong a jury will automatically have ‘reasonable doubt’ before the trial begins. This is a concern that as a result of this the real criminals will assume acquittal based on the fact that the evidence out before them may not be honest enough to secure any form of truth.
(Mis)Handling of vital evidence
So, let us analyse this event more closely. Police officers failed to hand over evidence proving Liam Allan’s innocence.
This evidence included a computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages – including ones sent to Mr Allan by the woman pestering him for sex both before and after the accusation of rape
The woman had told police she didn’t enjoy sex and the lead detective has been accused of failing to review her texts.
Mr Allan’s lawyers were denied access to the woman’s telephone records after police insisted there was nothing of interest for the defence or prosecution.
Meanwhile, when Jerry Hayes took over the case on the day before the trial started – he demanded police hand over the phone records.
A computer disk containing copies of 40,000 messages were taken from the handset, revealing that the woman had continuously pestered the undergraduate for ‘casual sex’.
She also told her friends that she enjoyed sex with him and even spoke about her fantasies of having violent sex and being raped by him.
As a result of the collapse of the trial the judge called for an inquiry at the ‘very highest level’ of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and a review of disclosure of evidence by the Metropolitan Police.
As we are now aware, Judge Peter Gower found him not guilty and set him free. But within the judge’s summing up he further stated that;
‘There is something that has gone wrong and it is a matter that the CPS, in my judgment, should be considering at the very highest level.
‘Otherwise there is a risk not only of this happening again but that the trial process will not detect what has gone wrong and there will be a very serious miscarriage of justice. He [Mr Allan] leaves the courtroom an innocent man without a stain on his character’.
Cost v Value of truth
The judge further heard that documents were not always sent to defence lawyers in order to keep costs at a minimum. What!!! So, money comes before the damage to innocent people’s lives? It is now clear that this is the case – and now undoubtedly seems to have been the case for perhaps generations.
Code of Practice
A spokesman for the CPS said: ‘A charge can only be brought if a prosecutor is satisfied that both stages of the Full Code test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors are met, that is, that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is required in the public interest.
‘All prosecutions are kept under continuous review and prosecutors are required to take account of any change in circumstances as the case develops.
As my regular blog followers will have already noted I have raised the fact that they don’t follow their own Code of Practice at any level. http://www.keithsstory.co.uk/code/
Rightly or wrongly, I would like to think that it is better for a real criminal being found not guilty and set free, rather than an innocent person being punished for a crime that never actually happened.
As stated any potential jury members in the future will not hold an automatic response of ‘reasonable doubt’ both before, during and after the court case has been heard.
Furthermore, this has galvanised any public mistrust of both the police and the CPS.
I am sure that at some point the police will be told to say;
“Anything you say or do will be written down in pencil and rubbed out at a later date to suit our own purpose”
Is not the rule of law the principle behind a civilised society? Yet the law and all of those set to operate and work within it, is now seen as uncivilised.