SHOULD TRIALS BE ABOLISHED IN SEXUAL ABUSE CASES?

One in Four thinks so.

One In Four said more must be done to make sure victims of abuse are protected in the criminal justice system so convictions of offenders can take place. 

Executive Director Maeve Lewis said: “We estimate that fewer than 5% of child sex offenders are ever prosecuted for their crimes. Where does One in Four get that estimate from? Is it plucked from the air? 5% certainly sounds more eye catching, emotive and self serving. What is a more interesting estimate is out of the sex abuse cases that do make it to trial how many end in convictions? Do the public know? How many convictions are obtained on the uncorroborated evidence of a complainant? Do the public even know that many people are convicted on uncorroborated evidence? One would think that convictions obtained where no actual proof of any crime committed is necessary would be considered a success for One in Four. And how many convictions are obtained relating to alleged offences that occurred 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years ago?

One in Four says that “most victims of sexual crimes are afraid to engage with the criminal justice system. They are afraid of not being believed”. Well, that’s not correct. After all, Stephen Kershaw, a client of One in Four, boasted on a radio interview that he was believed by the Detective Garda taking his statement, repeatedly.

One in Four also boasts that many of its ‘clients’ met a sensitive and professional response when making statements to the gardaí. This is a euphemism for saying that the gardaí assured the ‘clients’ that they were being believed. This practice is contrary to the publicly stated Garda Policy and Garda Code of Ethics.

This suggests the existence of an unwritten policy and practice within the gardaí, condoned at the top, to create a relationship of dependency between the garda taking the statement and the person making the statement. This is done by the garda assuring and regularly reassuring the statement maker that he/she is being believed. This is so even in cases where contradictory statements were made  previously. This leads to flawed investigations in that any fact which comes to light favouring the alleged perpetrator is suppressed or ignored.

It is noticeable that One in Four does not call for the video recording of interviews with ‘clients’ by the gardaí, as is done in the UK. Why not? Because it would expose the dubious interviewing practices of the gardaí.

And finally, One in Four say that “Defence barristers use cross-examination not only to challenge the complainant’s account but also their behaviour, character and history in an effort to undermine the reliability of their version of events”. Now almost all of its ‘clients’s are singing the same mantra which is that if they had known the ordeal they were facing they would never have made a complaint in the first place.

This shows the great brain-washing technique of One in Four.

This self appointed, unaccountable and publicly funded organisation has since its inception pissed and moaned in the media about how difficult it is to get convictions, due to the little rights accused persons still retain – the right to a fair trial in due course of law which includes the presumption of innocence until found guilty, the right to fair representation and to cross-examine a witness.

What One in Four really wants is no trials at all. What it obviously wants is that alleged perpetrators would ‘disappear’ following a knock on the door in the middle of the night.