When I was at Biteback I published four books by people who had been victims of withchunts in the field of child sex abuse allegations by the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service - Paul Gambaccini, Harvey Proctor, Simon Warr and Jeremy Clifford. Today the Daily Mail reveals that Paul Gambaccini has had a five figure payout from the CPS. Details HERE.
Good. About time, and it’s fully justified. I know the agonies Paul went through, as does anyone who’s read his brilliant book on the saga.
Paul’s was the bestselling of the above four books, but none of them managed to trouble the bestseller charts. I think I know why. First of all, sexual abuse is a bit of a yucky subject, but second of all, I think a lot of people feel a bit guilty because they imagined there was no smoke without fire. And when they found there wasn’t even a wisp of smoke, they lost interest or just looked away with a slight feeling of guilt.
Paul has managed to rebuild his life, but the pain of that experience will live with him forever.
Simon Warr, a brilliant teacher, was put through the mill but completely spurious allegations from a former pupil, which were so obviously those of a fantasist as to be laughable. Yet the police were determined to get a conviction. It went to court and Simon was found not guilty. He too has rebuilt his life. I don’t know whether he has received any form of financial compensation for what he was put through, but if not, then he certainly deserves to.
Jeremy Clifford was a wedding photographer. Police found ten images of semi naked children on his computer. The saga went on for years with him protesting his innocence all along. The case was only dropped when it turned out that at the very moment his credit card was used to download the images, he was actually at the altar getting married to his wife. On such vagaries does justice depend. His wife Faith stuck by him throughout, but in the end the pressures were too much and the marriage failed.
I can’t say too much about Harvey Proctor because his accuser, “Nick”, is facing various charges of perverting the court of justice at the moment. But if anyone deserves a massive compensation payout it is Harvey. It is truly awful what he went through, with very little sympathy from the public. He lost his job and has found it very difficult to get back on an even keel. He has described his circumstances as “destitute” and relied on a crowd funding campaign which I launched to even afford a basic living.
The Met paid out a six figure sum to Lord Bramall, who faced similar trumped up allegations to Harvey Proctor. I hope that Harvey Proctor receives a similar sum and very soon.
Much of these sorry tales can be laid at the feet of both Sir Bernard Hogan Howe and Alison Saunders, the outgoing head of the CPS. They both have a lot to answer for, but will be able to retire on their six figure annual pensions. Lucky them.
Alison Saunders is trying to plead for sympathy because of all the criticism she has attracted. It is entirely self inflicted. Public servants have a very difficult job to do, but her policies and lack of judgment have led to too many innocent people facing absolute agonies.
She is the worst Director of Public Prosecutions in living memory.
Thank God she’s gone.
People have often asked me why I published these books? It’s very simple. I believe that these stories had to be told. I believed all of them to be innocent and thought the conduct of the Police and the CPS was beyond reprehensible. I remember saying to Jeremy Clifford and his wife that even if their book only sold 5 copies, I believed it was worth publishing because their story had to be told. If the Police could fit them up, they could do it to any one of us. And I still believe that.