Niall McCrae: The Inquisition takes a tragic turn

A senior manager wants to speak to me, urgently. A student (I am not told who) has made an allegation of a sexual nature against me (I am not told what). After initial surprise, I realise that my life will be shaken abruptly: everything I am doing at work, and in my happy family home, will be turned upside down. The manager informs me that I am suspended, pending investigation. She assures me that there is no supposition of guilt, but says I mustn’t log on to my university account or contact anyone in faculty. Later, a trusted colleague tells me of messages circulating on the students’ Facebook forum, casting aspersions. The university declares that it takes allegations of sexual misconduct ‘extremely seriously’. And then I wake from the nightmare . . . all is well.

I’m not one of the growing number of alleged culprits of sexual misdemeanour, but I could be – as could any man in any workplace. Because, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the modern equivalent of witchcraft is lurking in every corner. In the current hysteria of denunciation and extra-judicial punishment, a man who is accused will readily feel the Kafkaesque absurdity of being guilty until proven innocent. The militant feminists have won: they have subverted justice to impose a doctrine of pathologised masculinity, and now they are using this to destroy our institutional stability.

So, has the Inquisition claimed its first victim? Four days after being sacked from his position and then suspended from the Welsh Labour Party over complaints of sexual harassment, Welsh Assembly minister Carl Sargeant was found dead, having apparently taken his own life. It is reported that he was not told what the allegations were. In a statement yesterday, his family said he had not been afforded ‘common courtesy, decency or natural justice’ and that he was left in the dark over claims of ‘unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping’ levelled at him; he had been ‘unable to properly defend himself’. This was despite requests and warnings regarding his mental welfare, they added.

The MeToo campaigners have gone quiet for now. It is to be hoped that these normally vociferous misandrists will not draw a harsher conclusion than the ducking of the alleged witch, who was deemed innocent only if she drowned.

Sir Alastair Graham, former chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life, has urged a legal review of this tragedy, pointing out Sargeant was given no opportunity to defend himself before suspension, and that due process was not followed.
To be disciplined without charge could indeed be straight out of Kafka’s The Trial.

On the same day as Sargeant’s death, there was newspaper coverage of a woman taking out a private prosecution for rape. Emily Hunt lambasted the Crown Prosecution Service, arguing that it has ‘an abysmal record when it comes to rape’. She might be right, to some extent, but the fact is also that many innocent men have been on the receiving end of a government policy designed to reap more convictions. The push for more convictions is leading to more prosecutions, as can been from the substantial rise in the number of rape arrests and trials.

And this inevitably means more innocent men are pursued (as we often see with ridiculous cases brought before a jury). Ms Hunt stated that ‘research shows the overwhelming majority of women who say they have been raped are telling the truth’. How on earth can this be known? An ‘overwhelming majority’ is not supported by the outcome of rape trials, although feminists will argue that cleared men were given the benefit of doubt. If it includes allegations that the CPS rejects for prosecution, that is a reckless presumption. Dozens of women per year are charged with perverting the course of justice by falsely claiming to have been raped. But as with rape allegations, the CPS will proceed only with a case that has a likelihood of conviction. To be honest, we don’t know how many rapes occur, or how many claims are false. The reality of sex crime is often murky: two parties acting in private, with two sides of a story. Truth is not necessarily found by starting from the premise that the woman is a victim.



Undoubtedly a large number of women have been abused and their perpetrators are never brought to justice. But there is a troubling tendency for trial by WhatsApp and Twitter, with instant judgment by online hordes who know little about the man in the line of fire. It is to be hoped that Carl Sargeant’s death, whatever the details to emerge in coming days, proves a watershed moment in this corrosive guilty-until-proved-innocent ‘witch-hunt’ culture.

Though we fret so much about mental health these days, little concern is shown for the mental distress (to the point of suicide) of those who suffer the meting out of a mob justice that should shame civilised society. I am no legal expert, but with three decades of experience in mental health, I would recommend the following actions:

1. When someone is accused of sexual harassment in the workplace, the employer has a duty of care. A mental health crisis is not an unlikely event as the suspended worker is denied contact and removed from his productive role, while he may become a social pariah and his domestic relationships may fray. Provision of occupational health services is not part of the disciplinary process.

2. Automatic suspension for allegations should cease. It implies guilt, and such action is often more for the defence of the employer than a proportionate response.

3. Anonymity for anyone accused of sex crime. The government must not let feminist politicians maintain this fundamental imbalance. There may be justifiable exceptions, but exposing the accused in a concerted effort to harvest further allegations is ethically dubious – each case should be decided on merit.

4. CPS head Alison Saunders, if she is serious about pursuing crime on social media, should warn that spreading false or unsubstantiated allegations will lead to prosecution. Confronting unjustified and harmful naming and shaming should not be left to private libel action.

Lessons must be learned by the media too. When a Polish man was killed in a fight in Hertfordshire, this was escalated by the BBC and Guardian to a maelstrom of Brexit racism, but a more obvious case of a fatality caused by social frenzy has been sidelined. Some commentators need to ask themselves whether their sensationalising of damaging (but often spurious) allegations contributed to a father killing himself. And men need to stand up and be counted. Otherwise, their behaviour will be judged and governed by the Kate Maltby Code of Conduct.

Niall McCrae

  • paul parmenter

    Don’t believe for one moment this is anything new, or that Carl Sargeant is the first man to take his own life in the face of an accusation that in itself was certain to ruin him, regardless of guilt or innocence.

    I recall a case many years ago of an elderly male teacher in a primary school, who was of the “old fashioned” philosophy; if a child was upset or crying, he would take the child on his knee and gently talk to him/her. For many years he was greatly liked in the manner of everyone’s favourite uncle. But then the world changed and left him behind. Do I need to say anything more? Once the concept of male-as-evil-predator took over the public narrative, the man was accused of an indecent assault; and, by extension, that all his previous behaviour towards children had been abusive. His name and face were splashed over the local press. He could not live with the shame, so he drove his car to a remote wood, rigged up a hosepipe to the exhaust, and gassed himself.

    I am not claiming that the witch hunt that led to this individual tragedy had anything to do with the steady exodus of male teachers from primary education which started to happen at about the same time and has never been reversed; the two events might have been entirely unconnected. Make your own mind up.

    But this unfortunate was just one among many. You will not have heard of him, or most of the others, because he was not in the public eye, or a celebrity, or someone with deep pockets ready to be raided. Just an ordinary guy whose life did not matter outside of those who knew him. So if the famous are now being dragged into the firing line, imagine how many other anonymous individuals have already been destroyed without trial or the chance of defence.

    Can this be stopped? Yes, it is possible. But only if we, the great British public, refuse to apply punishment, ostracism, suspicion or hostility against anyone who is accused; until they are proven guilty. Or is that simply beyond our capabilities?

    • martianonlooker

      Excellent post.
      Wasn’t their a case whereby a 17 year old was falsely accused?
      ” You will not have heard of him, or most of the others”, is very true. Such ‘accounting’ allows feminists such as Grrrpower aka Feminist Solutions aka Girlpower to spout the drivel that false accusations are vanishingly rare.
      As for that 17 year old….he committed suicide and about a year later, so did his mother.

    • Uusikaupunki

      A few years ago in a nearby (very poor working-class) town a well-respected GP was accused by a woman of inappropriate behviour in his surgery. Fair enough. What I found disturbing was, the police put what was a kind of advertisement in the local paper encouraging women to come forward with similar stories. The doctor commited suicide within weeks of the allegations. At the same time rumours began circulating that the woman accuser was a drug addict who had “got back” at the doctor for not giving in to illegally supplying her drugs.

    • Damaris Tighe

      Excellent post. You also mention the exodus of male teachers from primary education. This in itself has consequences as more and more children are exposed to only female authority figures at home (single mothers) and at school. This must be especially harmful for boys who lack male role models. Also, an excessively feminised environment at school without male balance leads to a downgrading of masculine virtues of testosterone-filled competitiveness and an upgrading of feminine emphasis on co-operative relationships. So we have sports days without competition and without prizes, and classrooms where furniture is arranged in circles rather than facing the teacher.

    • suemary

      It’s not just men Paul, our local primary school forbids FEMALE playground and classroom assistants to give any physical comfort even to Reception children who can be only 4 years old. My neighbour put her arm around a crying 5 year old on the playground and was severely reprimanded. My 4 year old wet himself and no one would touch him or help him. There are no men in the school.

      • Busy Mum

        One of my daughters is working in a nursery. A child got a splinter during the course of outside play and staff tried and failed to contact the parents to come in and remove it, or give permission for staff to do so. The child had to remain in discomfort for the day. My daughter was quite distressed about this when she got home and said that surely this was child abuse.

        • suemary

          It is abuse. It is also stupid behaviour brought about by the current hysteria. Heads need to exercise their own judgement and stop trying to second guess a Twitter storm

          • Busy Mum

            I still help out in the primary school; we are told that all the policies are primarily about protecting ourselves from accusations, rather than the children.

          • suemary

            That does not surprise me. Children are not at the heart of anything it is political correctness and back covering whoever we are talking about… hospital staff, police, social services or teachers.

        • martianonlooker

          Several decades ago, I was having a tea break in the janitor’s office of
          a primary school when two little girls appeared at the door. They asked
          where the janitor was and I asked why they wanted him.
          It seemed
          that their teacher had sent one along for a tiny pin-pr!ck of blood on
          her knee (thank goodness I had 20/20 vision) and had sent her classmate
          along to assist the ‘wounded’ individual.
          So began an episode of pure
          theatre. I opened the first aid box; opened an alcohol wipe; wiped her
          knee and stuck an elastoplast on it. I then inquired of her companion if
          she had any ailments/injuries. She replied that her thumb felt stiff. I
          held said thumb, peered at it, had her wiggle it and pronounced she
          needed some cream on it. Obtained said cream from first aid box, rubbed
          it onto her thumb before slapping an elastoplast on it.
          Last I saw of the pair was the two of them skipping off down the corridor.

          Cannot believe disqus censored this post and I made the alteration of pin*****

          • Busy Mum

            You held her thumb? Shocking behaviour!

          • martianonlooker

            You would make a lousy rad feminist SJW screaming munter. I have a JHB knee touching moment with a minor, involving alcohol and you focus on a thumb.

          • Coniston

            Use of elastoplasts was banned long ago (at least in certain authorities). Apparently some children are allergic to them.

          • Phil R

            Lifetime of hurt and distress

            However after numerous therapy sessions holding thumb becomes in the imagination holding hands and onwards into the fantasy world we go

        • Different from my days at school. I remember a boy breaking his arm during morning break, and a teacher took him to the hospital which happened to be next door. He was back at school by lunchtime and did the normal afternoon lessons.
          Few of us had phones in the late forties, his parents only knew what had happened when he got home.

          • Busy Mum

            They are scared stiff to even hand out paracetamol (one of my sons endured a migraine for a whole afternoon simply because they couldn’t get hold of me) but if a child wants contraception or an abortion, no problem. And the parents won’t find out at the end of the day, either.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        Thirty-odd years ago I used to collect my six-year-old daughter from school. She and I would skip hand in hand down the school drive. Soon after the first time she always had a friend who also wanted to hold my hand and skip down the drive.
        My daughter loves telling her friends about those times and it is a treasured memory for me. But could any father risk doing the same today?

        • suemary

          No, I very much doubt that would be OK. You’re right though, it should be.

    • Two-steps-forward

      I recall a well liked youth worker being suspended after an accusation of inappropriate behaviour with a young girl. The two ten year old accusers fabricated such a web of lies I was convinced they had been tutored by an adult. I might add that I was present at the time of this alleged inappropriate behaviour and witnessed nothing whatsoever of any concern.(I worked as a volunteer at the time) The youth worker took early retirement due to illness caused by the stress of the situation. The club subsequently closed having lost its most dedicated worker, thus depriving youngsters of a safe, happy and enjoyable after school club.

  • Dead at the hands of political correctness.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Of which he was one of its desciples, certainly he worshipped at its altar, the Labour party.

  • Colonel Mustard

    CPS head Alison Saunders is NOT responsible for “pursuing crime” and is leading beyond her authority in doing so. Only the police are responsible for pursuing crime and, inherent in that, ordinary citizens also have a duty. Saunders is responsible for prosecuting crime as detected and reported by the police and should have no role in directing them as to their enforcement of law.

    The morphing of the CPS into a sort of police governing and policy directing body is dangerous to liberty and justice and the government need to put a stop to it. They should start by sacking Saunders who is far to close in her power grabbing behaviour to her less than impartial and leftist political activist predecessor Starmer, now a Labour party MP in Corbyn’s gang.

    • Groan

      The CPS does “direct” in the sense that the Police pick up on the sorts of cases that the CPS will pursue. Police officers like anyone else don’t like doing work that goes nowhere, so if they find certain sorts of cases never get taken to court they won’t prioritise and vice versa. Thus in reality what the CPS judges to be appropriate crimes to prosecute are the ones Police will tend to focus on.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Evidently you have missed Saunders public pronouncements and directives on police enforcement priorities.

        • Ex Realfish

          Here’s one such pronouncement, this time on ‘Hate crime’. Note that Saunders’ in her guidance has introduced the Harman doctrine common in most employment policies which has made the workplace a minefield; ‘if the ‘victim’ feels they have been offended against…they have been’.

          Two other things, The definition of ‘hostility’ which has now entered our criminal law, courtesy of this awful woman is utterly laughable; and in formulating this guidance the CPS took cognisance of the views of ‘Tell Mama’, a controversial activist group, widely criticised and derided for their misuse of statistics.

          CPS: The police and the CPS have agreed the following definition for identifying and flagging hate crimes:

          “Any criminal offence which is PERCEIVED by the victim OR any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice, based on a person’s disability or perceived disability; race or perceived race; or religion or perceived religion; or sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation or a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”

          There is no legal definition of hostility so we use the everyday understanding of the word which includes ill-will, spite, contempt, prejudice, UNFRIENDLINESS, antagonism, resentment and dislike.

    • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      The inevitable retort to your contention is that “the Crown” often tenders offers of leniency to, and receives offers of co-operation from, offenders, on condition of their being willing to give evidence against others, and often enough, the evidence provided is serendipitous and was something the prosecutors hadn’t expected to get. To SOME extent, the CPS “investigates,” in the sense that corroboration of such proffered evidence is necessary, as the mere testimony of a turncoat is usually not sufficient.

  • martianonlooker

    An excellent article highlighting our somewhat fractured society. We seem to have reached the stage in our civilization which would equate with ‘Nero fiddling while Rome burns’, in that Twitter trivia alters our perspective. Priorities such as a balanced justice system seems to be a casualty of these altered perspectives.
    The case of Mark Pearson exemplifies our biased justice system for which the CPS perpetrators such as Saunders should have been sacked.
    Your statement “The militant feminists have won” is all too true. So, how do we stop them winning and re-establish a system of governance that isn’t held up to ridicule?
    The scrapping of Harman’s Equality Act would be a start.
    The de-funding of community groups whereby their tax-payer funded pressure groups demonize others in society e.g. The Fawcett society, Women’s Aid political activities (think of the likes of their Nottingham centre instructing the police on wolf-whistling ‘crimes’).
    Abolish all female MP short lists.
    Bar lesbian feminists from any public sector job, in much the same way that BNP members were barred as not being inclusive enough.
    Sack Saunders of the CPS.

  • Steve_Crowther

    It was telling that on yesterday’s BBC news the hounding to death of a Parliamentarian rated lower on the headline-news scale than the perfectly legal use of an offshore tax haven created by the government. I hope the allegations against Carl Sargeant are now full investigated and, if found unproven, followed by a prosecution.

    • Flaketime

      “if found unproven, followed by a prosecution.”

      A prosecution for what exactly?

      Let me give you a real life example of why what you say is unrealistic.

      Two people return to a house from a night out and engage in sex. One of them later alleges rape the other denies it claiming consensual relations.

      How are you going to prove this given there are no witnesses and no supporting evidence?

      This allegation would therefore be unproven, are you suggesting the party making the allegation should be prosecuted?

      The only time you can bring such an action is if there is sufficient evidence to show the claimant knowingly made a false and malicious claim, and in this instance there are multiple complainants so it is highly unlikely.

      • AJ

        In the case you describe no prosecution should be possible of either party but in practice if the accuser is a woman and seems plasuible then the man would be prosecuted but unless absolutely overwhelming evidence of a deliberately false accusation is found the women will not be prosceuted. Sometimed even when absoluet evidence of a false and malicous accusation are found the woman is not prosecuted which is why Alexander Economou needed to bring a private prosecution.

        There is a deep bias against men when accuse dof any sexual transgression by a woman. The current hysteria about nothing much at westminster shows that.

  • Flaketime

    It’s difficult to have much sympathy with Carl Sargeant, as it is such a case of biter bitten.

    How many times have his Fascist thugs made accusation after accusation – all of them false of various isms and phobias, none of which actually exist but cause such enormous damage to peoples lives.

    Of course you never get to hear about the poor ordinary sod accused of the meaningless word ‘waycism’ and no evidence is needed – indeed now only a ‘perception’ by the self declared victim is required for an imaginary crime to have been occasioned.

    Watching yesterday Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov talk about de-moralisation, and destabilisation from over 30 years ago was a chilling prediction of what is happening now.

    Readers here would do well to acquaint themselves with his interviews, as he explains the reasons for everything which is going wrong with our society. The problem lies in our Universities and will take at least a couple of decades to rectify from the date we finally begin.

    Until then it will be business as usual I’m afraid.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      The revolution consumes its own.
      As during the Terror in the French Revolution so it is now to be hoped that more and more of the participants go, either privately or in a tumbril.

    • Andrew Tettenborn

      He may or may not have been guilty. The fact remains: his treatment by Carwyn Jones’s mob was unforgivable.

      • Flaketime

        His treatment was no different to anyone elses meted out by the Fascist thugs, the only difference is that he is one of them and so now they’re realising the consequence of their behaviour.
        The problem is that although they might change how they deal with their own, they categorically will not change the way they deal with the ordinary people.

        That really is the unforgivable part.

  • Debs

    The rest of us who are merely women and not militant feminists need to step up to the plate and call them out however its a bit difficult when the BBC and most media are manning the feminist barricades.
    If they are prepared to accept suicide for the cause then we truly are lost.

    • Muttley

      I am totally with you on that, even though we will be diagnosed with “internalised mysogyny.”

      But I also think that men really need to stop describing themselves as “feminists” and going along with all this damaging misandry. Feminism has reached such a frenzy that it now needs some adults in the room to call a halt.

      • EUman remains

        It’s reported that Carl Sargeant (RiP) called himself a feminist. Is there something about left-wing politics going on here, apart from the broader hysteria? Supporting women’s rights and equality seems neither to protect the politician, nor does it necessarily regulate their behaviour. Look at the many leftist celebrities accused of rape in the past – Paul Weller, Mick Hucknall, etc.

        • hedgemagnet

          “It’s reported that Carl Sargeant (RiP) called himself a feminist”. I imagine he either did, or felt he had to, for the sake of his career.

        • There, it’s not so clear, but in the US, the left is engaged in a civil war, not least between the trans lobby and the radical feminists, but in truth, “of all against all, red in tooth and claw”. Mostly we’ve decided to keep our heads down. It is very good for popcorn stocks, since it’s one of those where the best outcome is that both sides lose.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      One obvious action is to stop paying the TV tax which sustains the evil Aljabeeba.

      • Spot on, don’t watch.don’t listen and DON’T PAY..you know it makes sense.

    • Burkeian

      Very sadly the feminista have long overwhelmed the best of womankind – who had they been properly marshalled, and been prepared to speak out against the increasingly crazed feminista agenda , would have been a real force for good . As it is justice is subverted at its source, millions of unborn babes ( some born too ) ,have been slaughtered, many of them illegally, to satisfy the freedom without responsibility of the feminista. Quotas of women are loaded up in all sorts of employment ( very obviously in parliament, the media and the law ) by inadequtes, whose almost sole claim is the ferocity of their feminist belief.
      This site ,almost alone , seems to have the courage of its convictions and one female voice on the radio. Parliament and the Churches are cowed to a degraded degree. The almighty BBC, recruited almost entirely from the Guardian, can preach what it pleases and deny a platform, of any thing like an equal strength, to those who detest its indoctrination and the danger it poses to true democracy. It breaks the law daily by its lack of balance and grossly skewed reporting of the news in which both the legal authorities and Parliament are complicit.
      The only possible remedy I can see is firstly the evisceration of the BBC together with the self- empowerment of ‘the best of wonankind ‘.

  • Gloria Hole

    Common Purpose Alison Saunders won’t change anything, if anything she is getting worse. She has recently told prosecutors to focus on the behaviour of men leading up to alleged rapes, rather than just the incident itself – including looking at social media history and previous relationships. So much for presumption of innocence.

    The woman is a lunatic marxist who needs to be fired. Sadly, our current crop of government ministers are complicit in this left wing agenda by the likes of Saunders and other social justice warriors.

    • Flaketime

      Freedom of Information Unit, Crown Prosecution Service

      We answered that Alison Saunders was a graduate of Common Purpose, and
      gave the details of Leeds University in 1982. In fact, Alison was a
      graduate of Leeds University in 1982 but is not a graduate of Common
      Purpose, nor has she undertaken any training with Common Purpose. I
      apologise for the misunderstanding.

      • Gloria Hole

        Take the first 2 words out – everything else remains.

  • Colkitto03

    Anonymity must be applied to all going forward.
    I work for a large major UK firm. Internal grievance and disaplinery process in this company guarantees anonymity for accusers and accused, and it strictly enforced.
    No-one can make anonymous claims. You have to be brave and stick your head above the parapet.
    That is natural justice.

    • Way it should be. Inconceivable that their is any justice without that.

      • Paul Robson

        I was amazed by some of the drivel on the Tory list – things like “called handsy”. If no-one is actually prepared to stand up and say “Mr Smith groped me” or whatever, then it should be binned.

  • noix

    Time for a revival of The Crucible, written in response to the communist hysteria generated by Macarthy and Nixon.

    • Busy Mum

      But, considering how communist the West has become, maybe McCarthy had a point?

      • Groan

        Yes in one way he had both a success in rooting out Communists and that very success fuelled the adoption of Cultural Marxism as it became obvious that there was very little prospect of a proletarian revolution. Cultural Marxism is built on the idea that the proletariat will fail to fulfil its historic mission to overthrow capitalism because the combination of rapidly rising prosperity (the long post war boom in the US) and traditions (motherhood and apple pie) distracts them from their true interests. Hence the “vanguard” has to get bourgeois capitalism to collapse by assaulting prosperity and traditions (the latter being an easier sell in terms of “freedom)

  • Simon Platt

    I know it’s easy for me to say, not having had the experience, but people who are falsely accused, as described in several earlier comments in this thread, should fight back. Victims of routine suspensions, like this chap Sargeant, should fight back.

    • What you’re missing here is the eggshell effect. This is in evidence in the terrible instance of Carl Sergeant – the normally robust individual might be able fight a false allegation, despite the entire system being set up to favour the complainant (with or without any evidence to back up any claim). But the already beleaguered, those already at a low point, might find this form of kangaroo justice the final straw and take the matter into their own hands to end their own torment. This might be more so the case if they were totally innocent.

      There must be a better and more transparent form of justice which does not punish until sufficient evidence to prove guilt is revealed.

      • Yes, at least enough for a legitimate prosecution. That, of course is the weakness of the Grand Jury, which we retained even after you dropped it. Why you did, I don’t know, but I wonder if it wasn’t something like this. But at least, it was officially secret until it issued charges.

  • forgotten_man

    ‘the CPS will proceed only with a case that has a likelihood of conviction.’

    not entirely true.

    The apparently irrelevant trafficking (based on the abundant evidence and complete absence of any outcry.) of young white girls by followers of a certain faith has plenty of evidence , as highlighted by the Yeovil case, but no will to do so.

    Apparently ‘Not in the public interest’ or of relevance to the ‘feminists’ if the victims are white, lower economic class and underage.

    • Little Black Censored

      And at the same time as neglecting the trafficking of young girls, the police will string out a case against a teacher or clergyman for years even if there is very little evidence, actively trying to find more “victims” and build up a prosecution, while the accused is mentioned in the news, suspended from duties, kept under surveillance, and tempted to take an overdose. Diocesan management will hang clergy out to dry.

      • Two-steps-forward

        I’ve often wondered how this squares with finding an impartial jury. Surely the media negate any accused being afforded anything of a fair trial? Where is the line drawn?

  • FormerGuardianReader

    Cast your minds back to the start of the century. The News Of The World ran a series of articles in which it published the names and photographs of convicted paedophiles. Some of that information was already in the public domain because the criminal justice systems in the UK are largely open and it may have been in the public interest to publish some of that information because some of those convicted paedophiles may have been subject to release conditions requiring them to stay away from children or from certain areas which they were breaching. One chief constable described the campaign as “irresponsible journalism” and senior police officers asked for the campaign to be stopped because it was damaging active police investigations into paedophiles.

    Now we have a series of articles and reports in various media outlets accusing celebrities and politicians of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. Little, if any, of that information was in the public domain because those allegations were not reported to the police and the accused were not tried in a court of law and some of the people claiming to be victims signed non-disclosure agreements and received payments from the people they accused.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of people have been arrested, tried and convicted for posting offensive messages online, paedophiles have been raping children with impunity for years because the offences were reported to the police and other authorities but they failed to investigate them properly and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority has refused to pay compensation to hundreds of victims of paedophiles because it decided that when they were children they consented to their abuse.

    So lynch mobs are bad unless the members of the mob are middle class, the correct place to make accusations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse is in the media and on the Internet and victim blaming is wrong unless the victims were children. Is that how things work now?

    • Busy Mum

      Research the police whistle blower DC Jonathan Wedger and it is easy to see why the authorities want to keep ‘police investigations into paedophiles’ very quiet.

      • hedgemagnet

        I’ve just read the transcript. Holy sh*t.

        • TheRightToArmBears

          Have you a link to that, please?

        • Busy Mum

          Exactly. I found the involvement of NSPCC/Childline/Barnardo’s, mentioned towards the end, just as alarming as the police activity.

          • TheRightToArmBears

            Didn’t Barnado’s supply the inmates of the Elms Guest House in Putney, frequented by Sir Cyril Smith, the Washing Machine Salesman and many other prominent political personages?

          • Busy Mum

            I don’t know – but the report shows that not a single conviction has ever taken place as a result of Childline. i.e. people are manning a telephone, listening to children who have been told in school that this is where to go for help, in the full knowledge that absolutely nothing will be done to help them.

            I refused to have anything to do with our school’s recent NSPCC fundraising week.

          • Simon Platt

            I, too, prefer good causes.

      • gladtoberetired

        ‘Operation Circus’, early 1980s Met. investigation into ‘rent boys’ centred around Piccadilly Circus in London. Hundreds of arrests, many men convicted of under-age sex, buggery, and much else, spawned off-shoot investigations into paedophiles – not a well-known term or topic at that time – it was to my certain knowledge suddenly closed down when ‘certain names’ began to appear. The squad was disbanded and the files seized; by whom, we were never told.

        • Busy Mum

          Sounds very similar to Wedger’s experience.

    • Niall McCrae

      Met Police head Cressida D**k, within hours of Carl Sergeant’s death, declared that she’d be ‘delighted’ to investigate Damian Green.

      ‘Delighted’ to persecute a senior government minister who has not even been accused of crime.

      This self-serving establishment is rotten to the core.

      • martianonlooker

        As I suggested earlier; lesbian feminists should be barred from all public sector positions.

  • Groan

    One of the very true observations is that this is a Parliamentary “sex scandal” with remarkably little actual sex. In effect it is a “sexism” scandal rooting out quite minor ( often rather “historic”) lapses of manners or sense which could be seen as “sexist” . In a neat manoeuvre the sexism has been conflated with sex (usually in a link to “rape culture” ) thus making draconian punishment appear somehow appropriate. In a sense the grievance and disciplinary processes used are quite commensurate with the actual infractions, what is “Crucible” like is the treatment of these minor things as reason to “burn” the culprits and the “trial by mob”. We have seen this in the US where Universities have used procedures to deal with boisterousness in students to “investigate” and punish all manner of crimes from making women “uncomfortable” to actual “crimes”.
    In Parliament almost all of this actually came up in 2014 and was dealt with by setting up “codes” and some assistance for MPs employees. It occasioned relatively little reporting at the time. .
    I can’t help think that this time the first “shots” (at the now forgotten Sheffield Hallam MP) were more to do with the internal battles in Labour as the Momentum/Corbyn/New Lab. etc. plays out. The following looked like an own goal by May giving the green light to similar score settling and manoeuvring in her own Party which of course is lapped up by the Beeb and the salacious press.
    The really “clever” bit is that all the news trumpets “sex” yet the actual allegations are pretty trivial. Certainly a world away in every sense from the Hollywood “Casting Couch” .

  • Aethelflaed

    “Ms Hunt stated that ‘research shows the overwhelming majority of women who say they have been raped are telling the truth”.

    Unless they are white, working-class, girls who are gang raped by certain types of people who live in our society !! Until the Feminists scream as loudly about this as they do about ‘hands on knees’ of hardbitten women journalists, they are simply misandrists. Let us start calling them what they are.

    • D. Marsh

      What is her method for deducing this with certainty? I am sure a career with any police rape investigation unit calls. Of those that were raped, in how many cases was abandonment of clear thought (excess alcohol), of personal safety (engaging with strangers late at night when so deprived of faculties) and much else a contributing factor? This is not so-called ‘victim shaming’, put a woman behind a wheel of a who is drunk and we are quite happy to ‘shame’ her because she has behaved irresponsibly. There are predators at large – people, not just women, need to realise this.

  • Both my daughters managed to handle unwanted sexual approaches without making complaints. My elder daughter slapped a male at work round the face when he went to far, and that was the end of the matter. My younger daughter, at a company dinner had a man sitting next to her who kept putting his hand on her knee. As he didn’t take the hint when she removed it the first time without saying anything, the next time she told him to stop in a voice loud enough for the surrounding guests to hear. Why don’t women take the more direct approach these days and then let bygones be bygones?

    • Nockian

      Because ‘virtue’. Women have wanted to act like men, to have the same perceived freedoms and advantages of men, but with none of the disadvantages. Men once acted chivalrous, but now that is considered demeaning and patriarchal. Women once understood the position they held and respected their soft power. Now men don’t know how to behave with women who are apparently ‘just their work mates’ and hence have total gender equality.

      It’s unfortunate that there are a small handful of men who can’t keep their hands to themselves and equally unfortunate that there are a large group of women who have had to endure the demands and gender equality policies of the feminazi.

      Women should not have to put up with leacherous men chancing their luck, but they will have to endure it, because that is the result of gender equality idealism.

      • If someone (male or female) had tried to do something to me that didn’t meet my approval, I’d have taken direct action. Why can’t women do the same? They are not equal if they feel that they must go and complain to a third party.

        • Nockian

          The point is that in the present moral system some woman want their cake and eat it. They are not for standing up for themselves, which, in a more moral society they would not need to do so. They want all the freedoms and none of the costs.

          It really started in the hippy era when emotion trumped reason. Hence ‘free’ love, or sex without consequences, it was pure hedonism. Do what you want, act however you feel as long as it feels good do it. Women thought this was liberating ! That there would be no costs, but there are, and today we see it. Single mothers, increased teenage pregnancy disguised by the morning after pill, men who see women as the ‘free love’ creatures of hippy music festivals like Woodstock.

          • Feminists fought for equality and now they’ve largely got it a large number of women aren’t happy with the outcome. Meanwhile the feminists want more than equality which I don’t think would have that much support were it not for the internet and modern communications.

          • Nockian

            They don’t want equality, they want inequality. They want a playing field tilted in their direction. That’s the hypocrisy of the left. As Orwell rightly said ‘everyone equal, but some more equal than others’.

            It’s the age old trick of convincing a man to give up his property by making him feel guilty for having it. Guilt is the tool used by all those too lazy to earn for themselves. They see no benefit in gaining the self esteem of productive effort, or of rational thought. They seek not to produce, but to get others to produce for them. They use men instead of materials, cunning instead of reasoning and they evade the moral failure of lacking self esteem by courting prestige.

    • I see nothing wrong with reporting behavior which violates known, written rules, that’s just common sense. Is it best to just handle it, yes, but most with this sort of problem are serial offenders, and if nobody reports it, it continues. But that means an official written and signed report for the appropriate authorities to act on – not whingeing on Twitter.

    • Dougie

      Stabbing the offending hand with your fork is the recommended ploy when dining.

  • Trojan

    Looking forward to Sergeant’s accusers coming forward and facing inquiry. The feminists have scored but outside of the left bubble there are millions of men.

  • Nockian

    This happens because the left-in the guise of feminists, black lives matter activist or the most perverted form of environmentalism are tribalists. They believe that race and gender matter. They are racists in the full sense of the meaning.

    That means, at some point, if things continue as they are, we can expect segregation and apertheid. The only difference between the far right and far left is on which side the club will be wielded and who will receive the bashing. Today it is aged, white, male hetrosexuals that receive the thud of the club, but really it’s about anyone who disagrees with their ideology which is that the individual actor is a threat-that freedom is a threat and hence human life itself is a threat. We see that idea bloom in environmentalism which wants men to give up fire and hence their opportunity for survival.

  • mariaveintiuno

    Feminists and PC men now consider sexual harassment in Westmonster, or places of proper work, to be a career busting crime. But like racism, homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia and other “offences” it is indefinably comparative and inconsistent in degree not that this prevents the feminists from making it into a meal ….

    Yet the feminists effectively ignore the pimping, torture and rape of white, non-Muslim school girls by Islamic gangs in our towns and cities regarding this (to quote the mayor of London) as being part of life.

    Not forgetting the traffic in kidnapped girls … a more profitable trade than drugs.

    Every 50kgs of human flesh is potentially more profitable than the same weight in marijuana simply because the drug is a one off sale/profit whereas the exploitation of a girl continues to provide a return on capital for several years … and as importing drugs and illegal immigrant sex slaves into Britain is a comparatively simple task for the celebrants of the Prophet and his messenger Muhammad, they are increasingly choosing to invest in the later.

    Little or no comment from the feminists …

  • Timmy

    Now that the feminist have tasted blood there wI’ll be no stopping them

  • Firstly, we need to get back to Blackstone’s formulation: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. And that was intended for actual legal proceedings, not the witch hunt of trial by Twitter, which is considerably worse, yes worse, than the inquisition. The inquisition did coerce testimony, sometimes, ranging to often, but its goal was always repentance. What’s that about the Catholics? No, I’m a Lutheran but I can read history rather than polemics.

    That said, the rules used by employers are formulated by lawyers whose only concern is exposure to risk of the employer, I suspect it is another case, to an extent, anyway, of Britain importing the worst of the US. It needs to end, or eventually we will all be agreeing with Shakespeare.

    And even where we are dealing with employment, there is no excuse for the lack of confrontation of one’s accusers. We’ve known since Alfred was king (indeed long before) that an anonymous accusation has no weight. If you are not willing to give your word as to the veracity of the accusation you are making, it has no validity, no matter how scrupulous, or mundane. It doesn’t even rise to the level of bullying. Libel, perhaps.

    • Niall McCrae

      Well said.

    • A. Nonymous.

      That’s fine in theory, but we must also ask: ‘IS it better…?’ – look at the havoc the ten guilty have wreaked and may go on to wreak – I mean, what if numbered in that ten were Shipman, Sutcliffe, Bundy…?

      I am a former policeman, detective, I know the system is imperfect, but at least innocent people convicted on what must at the time be reasonably convincing evidence have a system of appeal, of oversight, to which they can resort.

      Twitter and social media are a abomination in my view, as is much of the
      Internet, and, on balance, we would be well rid of them, they serve no urgent, useful purpose that I can fathom.

      This current episode at Westminster comes as no surprise to those of us who worked there; SOME MPs and civil servants abuse their position of power over junior-placed women, though I can almost guarantee that most incidents will have alcohol at their root; MOST do not.

      I am also sufficiently well-versed with the culture there – and in many other areas of life – to know that not all women are as innocent as they would wish to appear; some women are very clever at manipulation, going just so far as to remain within ‘plausable deniability’ if their scheme comes undone.

      Some of the men accused there, and elsewhere, from what I have read, are not ‘innocent’ of deed, just, perhaps, not guilty of a substantial crime, other than one against morals, propriety, and so on. Such deeds do need to be addressed, such men do need called to account.

      No woman should have to suffer sexual harassment, or be touched-up, and no man a maliscious or flippant allegation, but, unless science has found a way to re-wire humans, it will always be with us, the trick is to have systems, effective systems, in place, and one of the best is parents teaching their children the rights and wrongs of things. Perhaps removing, or severely limiting access to, the bars at Westminster might help.

      I declare a personal interest in this; I was accused of rape by a mentally-unbalanced but high functioning woman. I was vindicated after the year-long investigation when she confessed it never happened and was malicious, painful though it was, the system eventually worked for me;

      It did not, has not, left me unscarred these many years later, so I am at the front of the queue when it comes to exercising caution when people are accused of sexual offences, in particular where the circumstances are not clear-cut, but appear to the baying mob that they are. What might have prevented my experience is if this woman, who had previously accused three other men of the same vile crime and been uncovered for doing so, had been taken out of circulation after her first crime – THAT was the failing.

      • Fair enough. Note that I did not say that all cases should not be fully investigated, while doing the least harm possible to the accused. In truth, if I remember that was the original justification for the Grand Jury, it is a secret proceeding, by law, and so should not harm the possible defendant, that it has evolved to indicting a ham sandwich is another issue., having mostly to do with no defense present.

        Powerful people will abuse those with less power and alchohol makes it more likely. Nothing is ever going to stop it completely, but we need systems to keep it becoming more common than a bare minimum. And some of those with less power also abuse that fact.

        But the bottom line remains, if the crime cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the suspect must go free, that doesn’t mean that the police should forget, new evidence may arise, and for that matter they may discern a pattern, but to explicitly punish without proof is one of the marks of the end of the rule of law, and cannot be tolerated.

        • A. Nonymous

          I accept that ‘archaic’ framing of language and semantics are in play here, however:

          “But the bottom line remains, if the crime cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the suspect must go free”. With respect, that is not what “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” implies, as it does not have the former’s qualification, at least, not to my modern mind. The former, much as I hate it to happen, I fully endorse, otherwise the criminal would have to be ‘fitted up’ to ensure a 100% conviction rate – not entirely unknown in the past.

          ‘Innocents’ DO suffer – what is a person presumed innocent under law,
          who IS innocent, yet is tried and subjected to a stressful ordeal if not
          suffering throughout the experience? In fact, I have yet to meet anyone – innocent accused, victim, witness – involved in a criminal trial who was not affected by it in a adverse manner; it can be a brutal and soul-less experience.

          “…to explicitly punish without proof is one of the marks of the end of the rule of law, and cannot be tolerated.”. Yes, we agree. The current accused ARE being punished – whether they are guilty, or not – through ‘trial by social media/media, without a shred of evidence being provided, just allegations – and you know my thoughts on that. No-one should be named until a allegation is proved to have substance, absolutely no-one. The exception may be made in the case of a murderer/rapist, serial or otherwise, whom police have very good reason, but not necessarily evidential, to believe is a imminent threat to the public.

          • Lot’s of semantics involved and the language has changed to an extent, but the basics remain.

            I

    • DAWWolds

      We need to get back to the very basic principle that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

      • Greenlander

        Presumed innocent, yet the police insist on you signing bail sometimes with conditions conditions, or if you don’t sign they put you in prison while you are still presumed innocent. I remember a time when you were released pending the arrival of a summons. There again Summons Servers cost money. That’s what justice is about now a days.

        • A. Nonymous

          “I remember a time when you were released pending the arrival of a summons” That was when, then?

          I policed in the Met. from ’80 onwards; things may have changed from 2010 but POLICE (as opposed to court) bail – which is what I assume you are referring to from the context of your comments – in my time (and for a long time before) was actually a right and the process automatic UNLESS, police feared, with good reason, absconding; or seriousness of crime – though suspected murderers DO get bail; identity in doubt; address not confirmed; skipped bail on a previous occasion, and something else I can’t immediately recall; this did not indicate guilt, but was procedural based on pertinent factors. To put it into context, would you be happy if your assailant was released, without checks, from the station having given a false name, a fake address? Would you be happy if, having given his real name, address checked, it is learned he also has been previously convicted of assaults through intimidation of witnesses and victims during the hours of darkness – would it not seem reasonable to restrict his movements during those hours?

          Summons were only served if appropriate, and that rarely included someone who had been directly arrested by a constable – shoplifting, for example, was usually a ‘given into custody’ by a store detective or other. drin/drive cases with the advent of new technology at the station on breath sample alone usually meant the driver was in court the next day, so was often kept in for safety reasons – still intoxicated, obviously; blood samples were another matter, and a drive may be bailed to court.

          Now, it was a little different in some County Constabularies/Forces, there, summonsing was used more frequently if certain conditions were met – perhaps it is to that which your experience relates.

          ‘Presumption of innocence’ does not mean one is actually innocent – one may actually be guilty or innocent – it means in the eyes of the law you are presumed so to ensure fairness and objective application of procedure.

          The process begins under the presumption you are, that’s why I get narked – DAWWolds – when people say, ‘but it is innocent until proven guilty’; that word ‘presumption’ makes the whole thing different from that concept you espouse.

          One does not have to prove one’s innocence, per se, even if one is guilty, it is the job of the prosecuting counsel to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one is guilty and until then ‘presumption’ of innocence applies.

          This ‘presumption’, while it affects the status of the accused, is apart from some of the procedures used in bringing a case to the point where a charge is laid against a person – that is a investigative and administrative process that is not affected nor influenced by ‘presumption’ – hence why police bail conditions may be deemed necessary.

  • bobworth

    “damaging (but often spurious) allegations”

    “but often spurious”

    An assertion for which there is no evidence. Which is why the writer doesn’t even attempt to offer any.

    Intellectually dishonest.

    • Niall McCrae

      Did you miss the allegations against Damian Green and Michael Fallon?

      In other news: the Guardian has resumed the Inquisition today, showing due sensitivity to the family of Carl Sargeant. I particularly like this line:

      ‘Almost every day, there is a man’s sneering, hovering head sitting on top of a few hundred words of what is really no less than the sort of existential hysteria of an animal whose cosy ecosystem has been disturbed.’
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/09/sexual-harassment-campaign-against-men-frenzied-commentators-fear

      • bobworth

        Did you miss your own use of the word “often”?

        There is no evidence whatsoever to assert that allegations are OFTEN spurious.

        As someone who claims to be an academic you should understand the importance of language. Of not making sloppily-worded assertions without having a shred of evidence to back them up.

        Such allegations are “often” true. Don’t you agree?

      • Royinsouthwest

        Although it is an opinion piece the Guardian is not allowing any comments to be made on it. I suppose that is because even the Guardian’s editors realise that the only reply needed to demolish the “journalist’s” argument is “Carl Sergeant.”

      • 3aple

        Thank you for your link, but I shall not use it. I sahll not give that lying hypcoritical rag the benefit of the ‘clicks’ to claim to its advertisers that I’ve seen their ads., despite my adblocker.

        .

    • If it is not proven, it is spurious. Their is no requirement to prove innocence.

      • bobworth

        There’s a requirement to back up loaded terms such as “often”.

        Or would you be happy to agree that such allegations are often true?

        • If there is not a sworn or affirmed official complain, it is spurious. Full stop, And even some of those are fraudulent. Often, no I will not, as it implies a frequency, may be, I would agree with.

  • SimonToo

    Automatic suspension is incomprehensible on its own merits. It is a direct implication of the substantial guilt of the accused.

    Although the complainant currently has anonymity, I remain uncomfortable about extending it to the accused.as well – two wrongs do not make a right.

    • Greenlander

      Presumed innocent until proven guilty but suspended from work (on full pay) and banned from the workplace in case you interfere in an internal investigation or cause further upset to the complainant??
      You are right. I say suspend both so the gossips don’t know who complained about whom.

      • Royinsouthwest

        That wouldn’t work in complaints about sexual harassment, except where both were homosexual or lesbian. Where a man and a woman were involved the vast majority of people would assume that the woman made the complaint.

      • SimonToo

        Automatic suspension is particularly obnoxious in public service jobs where enforced idleness is being paid for out of public funds. It not only dumps on the person accused but it also claws away at the public purse.

  • Andy

    Most of this would be solved by abolishing anonymity. If you accuse you must do so in the light of common day, not hiding behind a curtain. If the Government insist that curtain of anonymity remains then if a case comes to court and someone is found Not Guilty then he (it is so often men) has a right to prosecute the accuser for slander and her anonymity is lifted.

  • ratcatcher11

    The BBC and Guardian are both ardent supporters of the Fascist regime in Brussels, of course they will come out against Brexit and tell any lie if it will support their cause.

  • Ian Athersmith

    Excellent piece – I’m sending it to everyone I know.

  • HappyCheese

    “CPS head Alison Saunders, if she is serious about pursuing crime on social media, should warn that spreading false or unsubstantiated allegations will lead to prosecution. Confronting unjustified and harmful naming and shaming should not be left to private libel action.”

    The CPS head Alison Saunders needs to be sacked, and hopefully prosecuted for her leading role in spreading anti-male hatred whilst neglecting female crimes of the (let’s keep a straight face here given some of the acts which have resulted in prosecution) same ‘seriousness’. The CPS itself needs to be purged from top to bottom to rid it of feminist ideologies with an axe to grind against men, especially straight and white ones.

    After that we can start on the media and the educational institutions.

    Look on the bright side, if we ever do manage to do this, women are under-represented in prison in comparison to men, and we have an opportunity to boost their numbers and achieve equality.

  • Hibernating Dormouse

    Excellent article.