False accusers

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Criminal Law Act 1967

Due to my research and investigations certain peoples stories keep heading my way. This may be due to common factors to my own experiences but it may also be related to other injustices that people have felt need to be highlighted.

One common thread I have found is that false accusers are repeatedly ‘let off the hook’. Nothing is ever heard about them again and there certainly doesn’t appear to be any recompense for their malicious and dangerous behaviours. Unless of course, they are a persistent offender who, by this stage, had ruined far more lives than a simple prison sentence may address.

See no evil…

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression False accusers

In my case, the police and the CPS seem almost too keen to sweep my whole story under the carpet. It makes me wonder why when I have evidence such as statements and messages and so on.

Time and again I have found that the police are no longer policing but acting as judge, jury and executioner (of which they are not entitled to do) and the CPS just trot along like little lap dogs to the police’s whims based on targets set by the (ironically) CPS.

Is it a little-known clause?

Late one morning I was searching my local library seeking information about police powers. Interestingly enough, I came across a clause of which doesn’t appear to be used very often but it does appear to be well known.

I discovered a small section that made my eyes open wide and re-read what it was saying a number of times.

Section 5(2)

The said legislation is the Criminal Act 1967. Within these pages I came across section 5. I want to draw particular attention to subsection 2 of the said document. It states…

Penalties for concealing offences or giving false information.

(1)Where a person has committed [a relevant offence], any other person who, knowing or believing that the offence or some[other relevant offence] has been committed, and that he has information which might be of material assistance in securing the prosecution or conviction of an offender for it, accepts or agrees to accept for not disclosing that information any consideration other than the making good of loss or injury caused by the offence, or the making of reasonable compensation for that loss or injury, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for not more that two years.

(2)Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months or to a fine of not more than [level 4 on the standard scale] or to both.

So, let me break this down…

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression False accusers

Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police

Section 5(2) creates the offence commonly known as “wasting police time”, committed by giving false information to the police “tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry”. The maximum sentence is six months imprisonment.

By knowingly making a false statement to the police it should be considered as wasting police time. So, to put this another way, a person has to willing know and act upon a false allegation to attempt to obtain a wrongful arrest (otherwise it’s not wasting police time) of an innocent person or persons.

So, a prison sentence can be imposed at the discretion of the police force involved but it also transpires that the police may decide to issue a fixed penalty notice to offenders as per the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. If a fixed penalty notice is issued, the offender will need to pay a fine of £90, but they will avoid a criminal conviction. So, let me get this clear, by paying £90 they avoid a prison sentence and a criminal record. How on earth is this balancing the books of an expensive legal process or a deterrent to not do it again?

6 month window

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression False accusers

Wasting police time (contrary to Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967) is a ‘summary only’ offence. That means that there’s a 6 month time limit (from the date that a false report was made to the police) for proceeding to start and the matter can only be dealt with in a Magistrates Court (not a Crown Court). After the 6 month period is up no proceedings can be commenced against an (alleged) offender.

As I see this, 6 months is a useful time period but not for the victims. It can take a lot longer than 6 months to prove your innocents (look at the amount of time recent cases have taken before they have been thrown out – Liam Allen was two years). So you need to prove your innocents within 6 months before you can start proceedings against the malicious instigator. It just can’t happen and so the window for justice closes.

Okay, it can be argued that a record will be held on police computer systems, but the offence will not necessarily impact job prospects and any future criminal cases. Yet if you have been falsely accused the smoke may never actually settle and the public (and private) finger pointing may take years to stop.

Perverting the course of justice

Another aspect to consider is the crime of ‘perverting the course of justice’.

If an offender makes a false statement and serious consequences occur because of it, for example, a prison sentence served by an innocent person, the police may charge the offender with perverting the course of justice.

I would like to focus on the words ‘the police may…’ I doubt this would ever happen as the police do not attempt to prosecute under section 5(2) of the Criminal Act 1967 following an acquittal.

Tort Law

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression False accusers

With my limited legal knowledge it appears that a “Malicious prosecution” is a tort which is actionable through the civil courts and not by the police. Hence, this is why the police don’t appear to do anything about it. However, I have never known a police officer inform a victim of their rights to this law.  Under the terms of civil law the victim would have to show that there was manifestly no reason and that there was malice in the decision to launch the initial prosecution, a mere finding of not being found guilty in court would not be sufficient.

As this is often a case of ‘he said she said’ and in the absence of good third party evidence, it can be very difficult to prove the word of one party against the other. Where a court finds in favour of a complaint of “malicious prosecution”, the remedy is financial damages and not incarceration.

So…?

Keith's Story - Male Victim of Domestic Abuse & Depression False accusers

Now I really hope that someone will inform me otherwise but as I see it if a person maliciously wastes police time very little will come of it. If anything at all. Although there is clear wording within section 5(2) of the Criminal Act the police do not appear to work on it unless there is a grander reason than one person being wronged. Yet, who are these people to judge or misjudge the damage caused?

I am very uncomfortable in the knowledge that the best remedy is under civil law as in my view, a criminal offence has taken part. Furthermore, an urgent review of the 6 month window needs to be considered. Otherwise, this legal principle and precedent further affords protection to the instigator of false (and in my eyes, illegal) allegations.

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