Calm Justice please

This is another one point blog.

We must have faith in due process in the arrest and prosecution of abusers. If the evidence is there and it passes the public interest test, the sooner the prosecution the better. No one is above the law. Sexual abuse, particularly of young victims, is abhorrent and far more damaging than has been recognized. At last it is a good time for them to come forward and be heard and be fully protected from unfair cross examination in court.

But somehow we need to bring the subject back under reasonable calm public scrutiny. There is an unpleasant element of hysteria poisoning the current debate. If there was a ring of VIP abusers, the best course may be specific charges. An alleged conspiracy may run into evidential problems.
If there was a cover up, perverting the course of Justice would fit the bill. What we do not want is whipped up scandal to justify the independence of the press.

What we do want is a root and branch careful examination of institutions where abuse has flourished unchecked. That may include many more schools and institutions, sadly including Parliament itself. So be it. Then act and only act on evidence. Gossip has never been evidence. Nor have sketchy half hints any value.

After that, the lesson of recent prosecutions is that we can trust juries to reach independent conclusions and where necessary, professional judges to make reasoned decisions. So will the British media now just let Justice take its course. I know of no reason why a sane prosecutor now may not act without any pressure to take balanced decisions. That is not complacency, but trust.

Nigel Pascoe QC


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