Thursday, March 22, 2007

Evidence Trawls Yield 'Evidence'.

Boris Johnson is onto something when he raises the question of whether men are put off teaching careers by the possibility of being the victim of bogus paedophile accusations. It may sound ridiculous but it is a genuine problem because of the way allegations are investigated which makes teachers extremely vulnerable to false accusations. Because teachers deal with so many children in their careers they are far more likely than most people to come into contact with emotionally unstable children who may at some point in their lives make an accusation. This may occur decades after the supposed incident when exonorating and corroborationg evidence is non existant.

This is bad enough but so far what I have described is not something which can really be avoided, but the way the police investigate the charges can be incredibly irresponsible and often amounts to trawling for evidence. The most notorious method is writing to all people who were in contact with the accused as children asking if they were abused by the suspect. Unsurprisingly if you cast the net wide enough you will find some people willing to make false allegations in the hope of a criminal compensation award at a later date. This is the method which was used in the attempt to ensnare the football manager Dave Jones on utterly bogus charges.

The problem faced by care home staff is even worse than that faced by teachers, since their former charges are disproportionatley likely to be people with emotional problems in the first place. Operation Rose by Northumbria Police investigated over 200 men and women in this manner and unsurpringly have managed to convict half a dozen care home staff, but can anyone have confidence in the guilt of those six?

See FACT for more information.

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