OUR SICK SOCIETY

Sexual abuse continues to dominate the media as never before, it’s easy meat for editors and presenters, as those accused of sexual abuse in one shape or another are hounded day and night until something more salacious comes along, and the risks of a libel action are remote, given the difficulties of disproving the allegations.  Fair comment, the most popular defence for the media, embraces many evils, and by the time that ‘fair comment’ has been adjudged unfair, the damage has been done and we’ve all moved on.

The most prominent revelations of sexual abuse emanated from a deviant calling himself Nick, better known as Sick, who made a number of lurid sexual allegations against the high and mighty in Society that had no basis in truth or in fact.  But for years the media dragged us along this moral sewer created by Sick as if he were the Delphic Oracle, because it was prurient and made good press.  The names are well enough known by intense media speculation not to merit repetition, but it has now been intimated that Sick’s revelations are wholly without foundation, and there is talk of putting him on trial.  Watch this space!

This decision has been made in the face of various comments from Plod, and in case we lose sight of the fact that Plod, as before, have been monumentally incompetent, I remind myself of what they said. Operation Midland was launched on the back of some of Sick’s earliest revelations, and the lead detective, Detective Superintendent Kenny McDonald, described Sick’s claims as “credible and true”. According to Matthew Parris for The Times, one does wonder what the expression “detective” in Mr McDonald’s job description is meant to signify. We struggle with his definition of “credible” and “true” rather as the little boy confronting the emperor must have struggled with the word “clothes”.

It gets worse. There were then “credible” and “true”  allegations aimed at Sir Edward Heath, the former prime minister in case you’ve forgotten,  again with the mark of Sick upon them.  There was not a shred of evidence to support these allegations. This farce peaked in 2015 when Wiltshire police organised a televised press conference outside Sir Edward’s old home in Salisbury, appealing to his “victims” to come forward. Chief Constable Mike Veale was reported as saying later that he was “120 per cent” certain of Heath’s guilt, though he denied making the remark. What sort of a police officer was this incompetent jackass, who went on to be appointed Chief Constable of Cleveland?  Lucky Cleveland!  Just what they need.

But it doesn’t stop with Sick.  We are now assailed by a raft of allegations about aid workers having sex with local girls, some of whom, we are told, may have been underage, but there is no evidence to support it.  But our trusty newshounds are  on the case, sniffing in every nook and cranny to find a “credible” and “true”  witness to bolster the hype.

We live in a society where children are swapping pictures of their genitals with their classmates, and where most teenage girls lose their virginity before their sixteenth birthday.  It may be illegal, but who gives a fuck if you’ll pardon the expression.  After all, it’s what bicycle sheds were made for.

We are mired in dual standards.  It seems as if every starlet climbing the greasy pole to fame and fortune has been sexually exploited by some bloke in the business, promising fame and fortune for a quick shag.  I deplore the judgmental claptrap being peddled by the media, damaging and in some cases destroying hard-won reputations by truly talented artistes and not just girls with big tits. I name Kevin Stacey for one, and there are others who will suffer because of their sexual proclivities.

Time to grow up,  get a life, and take a long hard look at the sick society we have created for ourselves, and worse still, for our children.

It might be too late.

 

MARITAL SHAKE UP

The law, as ever on the front foot when serving the best interests of its users, is proposing to take a giant leap into the unknown and revisit the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  It is only a proposal, and we have witnessed many false dawns in the ensuing 45 years, so don’t hold your breath.

The proposal, which has the backing of a number of legal luminaries, including myself, seeks to remove ‘fault’ from the divorce equation.  On any view, it is somewhat of an anomaly.  One of the divorcing parties must petition for divorce to get the ball rolling, and she [it usually is] must choose one of the five recognised reasons for uncoupling.  They are adultery, desertion, 2 years separation with consent, 5 years separation (no consent required) and unreasonable behaviour, and in that regard, how long is a piece of string?  According to my father, too short to be of any use, and too long to throw away.

The problem about choosing one of these grounds is that one size is meant to fit all, which may not always be the case, and anyway, and this is the point being made, it introduces a confrontational element into the divorce proceedings which is not necessary and may aggravate the already fraught situation and, more importantly, upset the kids.

If fault is removed, or so the thinking goes, this should enable the parties to uncouple amicably.  They are already obliged to agree to mediation in case there is a chance, no matter how small, of rowing back.  However, in my experience, once love flies out the window, so does reason, and all those nit picking irritations which have built up over the years through gritted teeth are brought to the surface and worried over like a dog with a bone. The two front runners are squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and breaking wind in bed.

It may make no difference, but it’s worth a try.

SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN

I promised myself that I would not write about Poppi Worthington.  It is so upsetting, it is difficult to remain objective and concentrate on the facts without being swamped by a sea of utter revulsion.

It is a strange and perverse world surrounding the Clown Prosecution Service and those minions who claim decision making status until it goes tits up, at which time they know nothing and are probably on annual leave.  I refer to the endless decisions where the CPS will charge anybody with rape or a serious sexual offence at the drop of  a pair of knickers and on the uncorroborated say-so of a mendacious complainant, but when it comes to the serious sexual offence perpetrated on the helpless Poppi by her father, they do nothing.  Absolutely nothing!

On the 12th December 2012, when Poppi was 13 months old, she died following anal penetration by her father Paul Worthington whilst in his bed and whilst her mother was snoring for England downstairs.  These curious sleeping arrangements were never satisfactorily explained.

Poppi had had the ‘benefit’ of two inquests, the first bordering on farce, and the second, recently concluded, more thorough and far reaching.  The coroner concluded that Poppi had been sexually assaulted, but was unable to conclude that this assault was the cause of her death.  The father, anxious to assist as an innocent party in search of the truth, refused to answer a total of 252 questions put to him, as was his right, but monumentally unhelpful.

The inquest was told that an investigation by Cumbria Police was so botched vital evidence was lost and Jerry Graham, Chief Constable of the force, apologised for “deficiencies” in its handling of the case.

He said: “It is clear the initial investigation into Poppi’s death launched in 2012 has done little to assist the coroner in coming to a conclusion on how Poppi died. I greatly regret this.” Well there’s a load off!

Lead detective on the inquiry Detective Inspector Amanda Sadler was subjected to a disciplinary hearing last year where gross incompetency was proven and she was demoted in rank.

She has since retired along with her boss, former Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester. No further action was taken against either, and good news, their pensions remain intact.

In 2015, the Independent Police Complaints Commission concluded both Mrs Sadler and Mr Forrester had cases to answer for gross misconduct.

And the final word goes to the Clown Prosecution Service: their spokesman said there were “no plans” to review charging decisions in relation to the case but “we would of course consider any referral from the coroner”.

We can all rest easy in our beds, which is more than we can say for Poppi.

WHY US?

I was amused and bemused in equal measure by the photograph of Tatiana Akhmedova, a Russian, so no surprises there, with her solicitor Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, formerly known as Fifi Charkham, otherwise known as the old slapper. Whatever else, Fifi is a character, how else can you account for her outfit on the steps of the Court of Appeal?  She is sporting a Tyrolean hat which no self-respecting Tyrolean would be seen dead in, and a top to toe black plastic outfit which squeaks like a scalded cat every time she moves.  I suspect she was elevated to the peerage for services to black bin liners.  No offence Fifi, but you look ridiculous.

That said, back to the plot.  Tatania is the wife of yet another oiligarch who has made her home here in Merry Olde England, quite why is not satisfactorily explained.  Without wishing to sound unwelcoming, why here, and why us?  What’s wrong with Uzbekistan?  Indeed, what’s right with Uzbekistan? How long have you got? We are awash with oiligarchs, these oileaginous Russians of dubious antecedents who rose to great wealth from humble origins, buying up great swathes of the Motherland’s natural resources with money they never thought they had.

Tatania’s husband is Farkhad, to be pronounced carefully, which presumably means something east of the Urals, and of course is a close friend of Vladimir Putin, the Tsar of all the Russias. He is also a close friend of yet another domiciled oiligarch Roman Thingamajig, who is also a close friend of Putin.  With friends like these, who needs enemies? Anyway, Farkhad started out in life selling sable furs, and it wasn’t long before he was collecting all the oiligarch trinkets so beloved of the vacuous super rich, such as homes here and there, and of course the mandatory super yacht and helicopter. How so I hear you ask, and I doubt if you’ll get a straight answer.

I don’t want to sound envious of oiligarchs and their shed-loads of money, and far be it from me to suggest any of it is ill-gotten gains, but they leave me cold.  Give me the likes of Bill Gates, until recently the richest man in the world before being pushed off his perch by Mr. Amazon, and their transparent acquisition of huge wealth.  Beyond that, and certainly the case with Bill Gates, it’s the use of his huge wealth to fund the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. It works to save lives and improve global health, and is working with Rotary International to eliminate polio.

Tatania has been awarded £453 million by the Court of Appeal as her share of Farkhad’s wealth, and good luck if she can get even a fraction of it.  But I find it astonishing and somewhat unsettling to have these disputes decided by the English courts when the protagonists have only very  tenuous links to our rule of law.  Putin is all things to all men, best to leave these decisions to his wisdom and sense of fair play.

PS.  Since the publication of my blog, the Government has brought in Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO) directed at Russian Oiligarchs, which allow the authorities (us) to recover property in the absence of a plausible explanation. So the likes of Farkhad will need to explain how he was able to generate a fortune in excess of £1 billion as a salesman of sable fur, when in this present climate you can hardly give it away.

David Osborne is the author of several humorous books on the law, and his latest, entitled Order in Court, is now available in all reputable bookstores and on Amazon.

TIME TO GO

She lacks judgment, she commands very little respect amongst her peers, she frequently calls the wrong shots, and when she does, she offers no apology, only lame excuses.

No, I am not referring to the beleaguered Theresa May, but to Alison Saunders, the equally beleaguered Director of Public Prosecutions and the star comic act in the Clown Prosecution Service. Indeed, if it were not so serious, it would be laughable.

Within a few short weeks, dozens of revelations about the failure of the prosecution to disclose important evidence to the defence which even an idiot would know might undermine their case have come to light, and in some egregious cases, too late to repair the damage. I refer in particular to the case of Christina Bosoanca, who was wrongly charged with human trafficking offences and held in custody awaiting trial for 14 months.  She even had a baby in prison.  The designated judge described the failure of the CPS and the police to make full disclosure as “incompetence or negligence,” an understatement if ever there was.

And so it goes on.  And what is Alison Saunders’ answer to this appalling state of affairs?  She has ordered a review of every rape and serious sexual assault case.  With the Clown Prosecution Service reviewing itself, it’s like leaving the lunatics in charge of the asylum, and with public confidence in the Service at an all time low, it is doubtful in the extreme if the results of the review will bring this shambles to a satisfactory conclusion.

Ms. Saunders does not tell us how many cases will be reviewed, because she doesn’t know, but as a starter, last year a total of 3671 people were charged with rape, and who can say how many were charged with other serious  sexual offences. She can’t.

And it doesn’t end there. What about those convicted and whose convictions may be unreliable because of the failure to disclose?  As I understand it, there are no plans to reopen old cases, because, when asked, Ms. Saunders was to tell us that as far as she knew, and that wasn’t very far, nobody had been wrongly convicted.  Again, I ask rhetorically, how does she know?  Up until a few days ago, she was denying any crisis, it was business as usual, and negligence, or worse still, incompetence, were trademarks of the Service and nothing to get excited about.

In part these potential miscarriages of justice will persist until the CPS mindset changes fundamentally.  I refer to their approach to rape and serious sexual allegations, which is to instinctively believe the complainant, regardless of any other evidence to the contrary  and the absence of any independent corroboration.

Finally, the sentencing regime needs to be revisited, as sentences routinely passed are excessive, and do not fit the crime, but that’s another matter.

David Osborne is the author of several humorous books on the law.  His latest, entitled Order in Court, is now available in all reputable bookstores and on Amazon.