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Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison
One man’s fight for justice.
In his own words
IF LIKE ME, YOU’VE NEVER BEEN IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW. NEVER BEEN ARRESTED OR HAD TO EXPERIENCE THE BRITISH JUSTICE SYSTEM FIRST HAND. IT‘S EASY TO BELIEVE WE HAVE THE BEST JUSTICE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD…
It’s a lie.
Today there are thousands of innocent people being held in Britain’s prisons, people who are completely innocent of the crimes they were convicted of. Everyday people, just like you, who believed you couldn’t be convicted of a crime unless it was actually proven you had done it.
Well guess what? It IS happening in Britain and on an industrial scale.
This is exactly what has happened to me and no matter how hard I shout… no one in authority seems to want to help me. Even the Barristers who’ve looked at my case have said… “You’re clearly innocent… but there’s nothing we can do as what the prosecution have done is perfectly legal… unethical… but legal!”
Even though professional Lawyers KNOW I’m “probably innocent”, I am serving a 14-year prison sentence and a lifetime on the sex offenders register. It sounds hard to believe doesn’t it? Well it isn‘t, and what I’m about to tell you is true.
This is my story, but it’s also the same story for many of the other men in prison with me, in many cases people have been convicted of crimes they couldn’t have committed. Some proved they weren’t even in the country, even when the judge allowed the prosecution to change the dates of the offences to try to implicate the defendant.
One man on my wing is the totally wrong race, a fact that was pointed out by the “victim”… from the witness box… only for the judge to tell the jury that she was “clearly confused because of the trauma of events”. I know… it sounds crazy doesn’t it, well believe me there is far worse, but for now, I’m only going to talk about my own story as this one I have the evidence to prove everything I’m telling you.
I can not tell you my name, nor can I share any specific details that might identify my accusers, but I can describe myself and tell you the basic details of how my trial was conducted. I can tell you how the prosecution and trial judge managed to completely hoodwink a jury of ordinary people into returning a guilty verdict. I will be as concise as I possibly can, however, if you doubt anything about what I’m going to tell you, then please look at www.failedjustice.uk which has a copy of my entire trial transcript. Although they can’t share it with just anyone, they can confirm all of the details I am sharing with you, I wish to be as transparent and honest, I have nothing to hide.
Well, where do I begin? I suppose the best way is to tell you who I am or rather, who I was. I don’t think I’m the same person anymore, but hopefully one day I can find that person again. I hope so because that person was someone who cared for people, who never judged someone else based on public opinion, who would give his last penny to someone who needed it more than him and tried to go through life doing no intentional harm to anyone else. To be honest…I had my faults, I wasn’t really ambitious, and I would always take the easier path in the hope of an easier life and always tried to avoid confrontation… I rarely get angry, in fact the last time I really got angry was when I was 16 years old and I lashed out at someone who had been trying to bully me all year at school. I punched him… and I’ve never really gotten over it even though the two of us became friends afterwards… the very fact that I’d knowingly hurt another person burned a brand of guilt into me that I’ve never forgotten. I also lost my confidence as I said I was bullied at school. It started when I was very young and left Northern Ireland with a thick accent and went to an English school in the Middle East. When you’re a small skinny six year old with an Irish accent at the height of the troubles, well you can imagine what relentless name calling and physical bullying is going to do to you it shattered my confidence. Then when you hit your teenage years with all its inherent skin issues and realise you don’t have the same feelings for girls that your peer group does… well that’s just great… now I’m going to get it in the neck for my sexuality as well.
I’ve never considered myself good looking… well if you’d seen the state of my skin during puberty, you wouldn’t have thought so either, add my sexuality into the mix and perhaps you’ll understand why I was shy, kept myself to myself and tried not to get noticed…the problem was, I didn’t take much notice of myself either… I didn’t notice that by the time I turned 18, my skin had recovered and I was no longer the pale skinny boy I had been.
By the time I turned 26 I had finally come to terms with my sexuality, discovered that there were people who actually DID find me attractive and I met my first boyfriend. He gave me so much more confidence in myself and I was finally happy.The only problem was I still didn’t have a decent job.
My partner pointed out a job working in a private boarding school for boys with extreme behavioural problems… I think he was actually taking the micky out of me… but more to spite him, I applied.
I had some experience of working with kids as I’d had a university work placement in an activity centre a couple of years earlier and that had been fun as it involved loads of physical exercise, the last thing I wanted was an office job, where I’d be sat at a desk all day.
After a fairly brief interview, I got the job. I did wonder if I should take it or not as I wasn’t sure I was cut out for working with kids with emotional problems, after all… I’d had enough of my own. Desperation won me over and I took the job. I was 28 years old… and going back to school! At first I absolutely hated it, the constant stress of having to keep “mad” kids under control was incredible but as you learned more from the training, which was pretty full on and included restraint and de-escalation training, something I absolutely hated having to do, and the job became easier. Although intense, there was the massive benefit of having school holidays
Who wouldn’t want to do a job where you had two weeks off at Christmas, two weeks at Easter and six in the summer, and a week in between each of them? It made the whole thing worthwhile!
The school didn’t keep many of us on after the six month probation period and I didn’t really want to be unemployed again but the intensity of the job wasn’t really for me, these really were kids with issues. However, the school recommended me to an agency that provided care staff to the local authority; I was taken on by them, It wasn’t ideal but it allowed me to continue to earn money.
One day I was asked to work in a children’s home as they had a boy with special needs who the staff at the home couldn’t cope with. I agreed to go… (I really need to learn to say no to people but I hate letting anyone down). After the first day, they asked me to go back, then again and again. Eventually they asked would I be interested in taking the boy on permanently, as a 1:1 support worker. It would be a three month contract with the possibility of rolling contracts after that if it proved successful. It WAS successful and eventually the boy was re- integrated back into his school and his family. I would pick him up from home and go to school with him, I worked in his class and if necessary took him out of school if his behaviour became too much. I would give him rewards for good behaviour such as days in the park, usually a skate park where I nearly killed myself on a pair of roller blades… Yes that was my level of dedication to the job!
When that placement ended, I was asked to take on another; this time I was to be employed directly by the local authority. Again I spent the day on 1:1 with a year 6 boy with complex issues… this time however my restraint training would be put to the test on an almost daily basis.
As the placement progressed, the boy’s behaviour improved and restraint incidences became less and less. It was decided to progress him to a private secondary school for year 7 onwards and I was asked to go with him as his support worker. As this was a private school, I was asked to work with the schools learning support team but ultimately I was still accountable to my supervisor at the local authority.
At first things seemed ok, however the school wasn’t used to this nature of special needs provision and had never had anyone who was not only trained in restraint and de-escalation techniques but who might, be called on to use them with very little warning.
They seemed uncomfortable with the fact I didn’t wear a shirt and tie and how as a youth worker, I was referred to by my first name rather than a formal title… they also couldn’t understand why I HAD to spend my time with the pupils even at break times. The fact was they were totally unprepared for what could happen if the boy I was responsible for lost control. I had to be nearby at all times to step in at a moment’s notice. The last thing I wanted to happen was for an incident to occur when I wasn’t around; they really had no comprehension of not only what my role was, but also what the consequences could be if I failed in my duty. They decided to do their own thing and I was asked to work with other pupils for some lessons and allow the boy I was responsible for to be alone. I had a feeling they realised they’d bitten off more than they could chew with him, and wanted a reason to say it wasn’t working. As it was, the very fact I was in the school was still working as when the boy became agitated, he could still seek me out and we would go off and do something different until he felt he could return. The school had beautiful grounds so we would go and find a place to sit and let him calm down.
The problem with my job was that the pay wasn’t great; I was already working in a local bar at weekends to try and make ends meet. The head of the learning support department offered me work as an after school tutor to help earn more money. The job was simply to help some pupils to organise their homework diaries and any additional problems they might have. To be honest, I was a Youth Worker, not a Teacher or learning support assistant but I agreed anyway as it would either work or it wouldn’t and I couldn’t turn down the money. Plus it made a nice change to spend time with kids who weren’t likely to stab me at a moment’s notice. The only problem was that it seemed to put one of the other LSA’s noses out of joint and things only got worse with her when my sexuality became public knowledge.
Now I’ve already said that I finally plucked up the courage to accept my sexuality when I was 26, well I was now 29, about to turn 30 and had a lot more confidence in myself. I had friends who I could be open with and now had a social life. Life was good and I felt part of the gay community. I was perhaps living a life I should have had when I was 18.
One night a group of my friends and I, having had probably more alcohol than a doctor would recommend by a significant margin, decided to enter the local heat of the “Mr Gay UK” competition, it was one of those silly “beauty” pageant things that no-one in their right mind should ever take seriously. I’d already decided that the best way to face my fears and lack of self-confidence was to do something that forced me to deal with it, so I went along with my friends. After having a good laugh on the stage, the results of the public vote were announced and low and behold, I’d only gone and won the bloody thing! I was now a regional entry to the national competition!!!
It turns out the organisers of the Mr Gay UK competition actually take it VERY seriously and I was asked to attend photo shoots and various Gay Pride publicity events up and down the country. I’m not going to lie and say I hated every minute of it… because I didn’t. The events we all had to attend were a lot of fun.
I suppose I was being naive to think that my gay life and my work life could remain separate, eventually one was going to intrude on the other and that’s exactly what happened. One of the girls at the school had found my page on the Mr Gay UK website and had quickly told all her friends. Pretty soon I was surrounded by kids from the school asking me all about it both girls and boys. The first thing that struck me was they weren’t criticising me or taking the micky… they were actually PROUD of me!
For me there was one huge issue to deal with. The boy I was working with had known me now for over a year and we had spent a lot of time together, built up a huge amount of trust, but up until that point, he had no idea I was gay and in a long term relationship, I didn’t want him to feel hurt or think that I had lied to him but decided to say nothing until he asked me about it, then I would tell him what he wanted to know, within reason.
Suddenly I seemed to be more popular than ever with the pupils… especially the girls, they started to seek me out for chats and shared their problems with me… whether I wanted it or not… and I was even asked to step in to help one of the girls who had fallen pregnant. Unfortunately before I could get in touch with my supervisor to ask advice, the school deputy head stepped in and what followed could only be described as an absolute disaster. For someone who was also the school councillor, she was very free and easy with people’s confidential information.., even to the point of outing a young gay lad who had told her his sexuality in what he’d assumed was complete confidence. Perhaps to make amends for what she had done, she asked if I would be willing to take a PSHE lesson with the year 11’s on the subject of sexuality. I had been told before that I would make a good teacher so I agreed; I was learning that it was good to challenge yourself.
It turned out that the boy who had confided his sexuality was in a sexual relationship with a much older man. Although his family were aware of it and had no issues, I thought the subject of my PSHE lesson should be on accepting different sexualities but also sexual abuse and how to spot it. I did a bit of research on the subject of signs of sexual abuse and put together a stack of index cards with different scenarios on them to see how the kids would deal with them. Apparently the lesson was a huge success and I was asked to take the year 10’s PSHE Lesson as well. Then a new problem presented itself, one I was totally unprepared for.
One of the younger boys, who were in the same class as the boy I was shadowing also had a tutor session with me, told me he thought he was gay. Not normally something that would have shocked me too much; l’d had experience in dealing with my own sexuality after all.
The problem I wasn’t prepared for was his age… he was only 11. I knew him well from the classes I attended as part of my role and had a good relationship with his family. I also tutored his older brother and had even done his mother a favour by Looking after him one evening during a family emergency. I thought the world of his whole family and was very fond of his mother who I regularly spoke to after our tutor sessions. I remember feeling a wave of panic, I know how hard it can be to face up to your sexuality but I don’t remember having to do it at 11… yes I knew something was wrong at that age but I don’t think I could have spoken to anyone about it .Maybe his finding out about me and the fact that I wasn’t a teacher but a youth worker, made me more available to talk openly about personal issues. I probably over stepped the mark by asking if he actually knew what being gay was and I remember trying to scare him a little but he was adamant.. He was gay!
Now I knew his older brother was a bit of a “lad” and a cocky character but I didn’t know how long I was going to be at the school, I wanted to make sure someone knew and was able to look after him. The last thing I wanted was for him to be bullied for it. I advised him that it might not be a good idea to go around telling anyone as he might just be confused, but as a safety measure, would he mind if we told his older brother… that way he could protect him from bullying or abuse. He agreed and when his brother joined us at a tutor session, I asked him to listen to what his little brother wanted to say.
Soon after this I left the school, and the boy I was supporting was asked to leave soon after that. I found myself unemployed for the first time in years
Having found myself unemployed again, I spoke to my supervisor who mentioned another local school was looking for residential care staff. As much as I would have liked to move on from working as a youth worker.. I needed a job and let’s be honest, the holidays are amazing! I told him to pass on my details and soon was asked to go for an interview.
There were around five of us at the interview including a woman who seemed a little too full of herself. She seemed to regard herself as the most qualified in the group and needless to say, I didn’t warm to her… and that’s unusual for me as I normally give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It was a few days later when I received the call from the Head teacher… he informed one that I hadn’t been successful in the interview… you can probably guess who DID get the job… however, he had noted my experience in dealing with troubled boys and would like to offer me a job doing pretty much the same thing as I had before. Not really what I wanted to do but it was better than being unemployed and my money was running out rapidly… I took the job. The first day at the new school was a training day; the school would start properly the next. I saw the woman from my interview and knew there and then… we were NOT going to get on
Part of my new role was going to be taking the boy out of school when his behaviour became too disruptive for the school environment. Often we would have to leave the school and I would take him to Southampton, where I would try and do other educational activities with him there. If he behaved himself, we would go to a shopping mall and have a drink at one of the coffee shops, it was something he seemed to really enjoy doing. We would talk about him and I would try to get to the bottom of his problems to see if we could find out how to improve his behaviour. What was unusual was that he ALWAYS behaved in my company unless he was back at the school where I noticed that a certain female colleague would often do things that she knew would wind him up… this obviously meant I had to try and negotiate with him on his behaviour again. She would then criticise me for not marking him down using the school disciplinary system. I tried to remind her that I was a youth worker not a teacher, so marking him down would not help build a positive relationship with him. I heard her moaning to the head of boarding about me regularly.
She seemed to resent me getting a position as well as her, especially one that had been created especially for me. She seemed to make it her mission to make me look bad or criticise me… even to the point of arguing my decisions in front of the boys. Things got so bad that it was decided I needed a different supervisor, I know there ulterior motives behind it as my new supervisor was to be the schools attached social worker, a woman with strong religious views about homosexuality and also a good friend of… yeah you guessed it the woman who was putting in all the criticisms. It began to feel like everything I did was getting back to the social worker, usually with a few embellishments to make it sound like I was acting inappropriately even things that were part of my job role: She was determined to see me disciplined or sacked for some reason or another.
As things went on, I was doing well with the boy I was supporting, he was improving rapidly and I even suggested he was weaned off the medication he was on as it was impeding his physical development. You can guess who argued against it but there were others who agreed with me and so we reduced his medication.., with no noticeable deterioration in his behaviour, in fact… His behaviour actually improved! Unfortunately as is typical with these cases, the minute he improved, even slightly, they withdrew his funding and he was returned to his family only for things to fall apart again soon after he left.
After my success with the last boy… the head asked me to stay and take on another one. This one was going to be a monumental challenge as no one else had ever managed to work well with him.
I think a certain female colleague had assumed I would be leaving after the first boy left… you can imagine her frustration when I was given a second. She now started to run me down IN FRONT of the boys! This boy really was completely out of control and involved a lot more time out of school than in it. The school set up an isolated study area for the two of us in one of the old disused boarding houses, one that also had a pool table and a small music store room. Things were fine but he seemed to be far too isolated from the other students so during break times I would try and encourage him to spend time with a couple of other students… There was one he liked, which was fortunate as he seemed one of the least disruptive in the school so might make a good peer model. When the boy wasn’t with me or if I needed a break, he loved to spend time with the schools laundry woman, a lovely woman, if a bit of a gossip, but she seemed to have the boy under her control… most of the time!
Although the other members of staff knew I was gay, the boys didn’t… and I would rather it stayed that way. My persona[ life was my own and although I hadn’t had any expressed homophobia in the last school, there had been a lot of sideways looks from one of the learning support assistants, she never said anything at the time but she would get her “day in court” 14 years later.
For some reason the laundry woman decided to discuss my sexuality with another member of staff … openly, in front of the boy I was supporting. I don’t know how he reacted to the news as I wasn’t there at the time but within the hour… all the boys in the school knew. Now if you’d told me that a school of around 50 boys, all with extreme behavioural issues and from pretty rough backgrounds would have absolutely no problems with having a gay man in their midst… I would have laughed at you, but that’s exactly what happened. Suddenly I had boys who looked like they would rather stab you than talk to you asking for advice on how to treat their girlfriends… How the hell was I supposed to know! Why did being gay suddenly seem to qualify me as a relationship councillor… or any other councillor for that matter but that’s exactly what happened… much to the disgust of certain members of staff, clearly that was not the reaction they had been expecting! The simple fact is… it wasn’t my sexuality that meant boys would seek me out for help… it was the fact that they knew they could trust me and that I would always listen to them before making any judgement. Often they would ask me to intervene in a problem they were having with another member of staff.
There was only one problem, and it was one that would prove to be my destruction… they were supposed to confide their problems in the school social worker… my supervisor, but she was someone they all HATED.
Suddenly my sexuality now became a major issue. I was constantly reprimanded by the social worker for things I was supposed to have done.
One day, one of the boys decided to disclose his sexuality to everyone and was adamant that he was gay. I spoke to him privately and asked him if he needed any help and support and he admitted that it might help.
I immediately reported his issues to the school social worker and recommended that he be allowed to attend an LGBTQ workshop run by the local council services, it is a professionally run group for young people who are gay, bisexual or questioning their sexuality. My supervisors suddenly became a monster unleashed
MY GOD! It was as if I’d questioned the existence of God himself. She immediately turned on me like a rabid dog. “How dare you push your sexuality onto one of the boys!” she snapped, “He’s got Asperger’s… he’s not gay! How dare you push your sexuality into the boys in the school” I was absolutely shocked by her reaction… I thought we had a duty of care for these children! I was disgusted that she would allow her religious bias to dictate her actions. It was absolutely blatant homophobia and was the first time I had seen it so openly expressed by anyone I worked for.
I sat in her office as she lectured me on issues around my sexuality and the risks it put me in… What risks?… It was as if she had connected being gay with being a paedophile, however I tried to understand, as her beliefs believed my sexuality to be a sin.
After that, I was not allowed to be alone with any of the boys and she even drew up a timetable where I had to go and work with different members of staff at different times, It would seem I was no longer trusted to do the job I had been doing for the last 5-6 years and I was made to feel dirty! I began to be criticised for things that other members of staff were clearly allowed to do without there being an issue,
It got to the point where I began to dread going into work. Our supervision sessions became more and more demoralising, I produced written reports that other staff were not required to do and tried to provide her with total transparency on everything I was doing.
Things came to a head when I was asked to attend a meeting between her and the mother of boy I was supporting. I joined her at her car and was introduced to the intern that would be working with her that day. On the drive to the boy’s home, the social worker started discussing the boy’s mother in a demeaning and derogatory way, which I was not happy with. I made a comment about her attitude to him and his family and this quickly escalated to an argument between us. I really couldn’t believe the way she was talking about the boy and his mother in front of a student social worker. I made my opinion perfectly clear. Soon after our argument in the car, she went to all my colleagues and told them she was undertaking my annual appraisal. She asked them if they had any issues with my performance as she wanted to give me some feedback. Naturally my colleagues offered what they thought was going to be constructive criticism to help me improve, they had no reason to think that what they said was about to be exaggerated and used as the basis for a series of formal complaints., but that’s exactly what happened.
I was called into her office and had a list of allegations read out to me… some of them were actually criticisms about me doing my actual job role but twisted to sound like serious misconduct. I was heartbroken that colleagues l respected could do that to me… but as it turned out, many didn’t, they couldn’t believe what she had done and approached me to apologise afterwards. They made it clear to me that they had no concerns about my work and had only been trying to help me progress further.
She took the “complaints” to the school head who didn’t argue with her and after a formal disciplinary hearing; he placed even more restrictions on my movements.
I tried to argue that some of her allegations weren’t even possible and if i was given the opportunity… I could PROVE it. He wasn’t interested in my side of the story… she was the school social worker after all. About a month after the disciplinary, she clearly wasn’t happy with the outcome and was adamant I was doing nothing to address her “concerns”, so she fabricated more complaints and added them to the original ones… then asked the head to deal with them again. Due to the number of complaints she had now lodged, (including all the original ones), the head had no choice but to send me home on “gardening leave” while the complaints were “investigated”. What shocked me was that one of the complaints was that “I had sent a particular boy a Christmas card…” I was actually sending EVERY boy a Christmas card, the head knew this because when he dragged me into the office, I still had the ones I hadn’t managed to give out in my hand and he saw them for himself. I was also surprised that he hadn’t realised that most of the complaints were the same ones he had already dealt with a month earlier!
While I was on “gardening leave”, I sank to a new level of depression. I couldn’t handle the abuse anymore and decided that if f was going to be happy again, I needed to find another job.
I managed to get a job in a factory. It wasn’t ideal but the money was a lot more than I had ever earned before. I was still on “leave” from the school but was called into a meeting with the head and it was suggested that I might want to “voluntarily” resign. I’d already found a new job so put up absolutely no argument… and resigned. It would appear that any hopes I might have had in progressing within a career in youth work or teaching were now at an end whether I liked it or not, she had made sure of that. But she wasn’t finished with me yet… soon after I had left the school… I began to get phone calls from concerned parents, (I always gave parents my mobile number when doing outreach work so that they could contact me if there were any problems, I believed that to be truly effective in rehabilitating young people, you had to work with the whole family).
The school social worker had called in the Police child protection team and seemed determined to prove I had sexually abused boys in my care… One of the parents said that the sort of question’s she was being asked were trying to prove I had done something wrong and she herself had been disgusted with the attitude of the school.
She said that boys were being interviewed to try to coax an allegation out of them and being specifically asked if I had “touched” them, in fact her exact words were “The school’s really out to get you!” It turned out that at least a quarter of the boys in the school had been interviewed as well as the staff and some parents. The boys were all talking about it… or so her son had informed her. She made it clear that I had her full support, her son had nothing but praise for me, and said the other boys all felt the same. I was shocked but not really surprised that the social worker would sink to this level.
A few months later, I was asked to attend a meeting at my police station with the child protection team where they told me the results of the investigation. They made some criticisms of my work practices, but they seemed to think I had been a teacher and not a youth worker, misinformation to make me look unprofessional and which would be used years later.
Their conclusion was that I had not done anything wrong and the investigation had been closed.
Not long after the Child Protection meeting, an ex-colleague from the school rang me to see how I was doing; she had been my advocate during the disciplinary hearings and supported me wholeheartedly. It was nice to hear from her and I happened to mention an incident I’d had with one of the boy’s mothers at a bowling alley in Southampton. The mother had become very aggressive in her conversation and said she “knew what had gone on up at the school.” I had been shocked that what I thought was confidential information being so freely available and remember relying with a shocked “Sorry!?” She told me I “would be” then told me not to “dare look at my son” and stormed off.
I was shaken by the incident at the time and asked my colleague about what was going on. She didn’t know anything but she did say that mother in question had suddenly become quite friendly with the school social worker, she thought that strange in itself as she had tried to take the school to court in the past after they had excluded her youngest son. After the call, I thought nothing more about it. It was the past now and there was nothing I could do about it and I certainly didn’t want to go through it all again in an employment tribunal.
A few weeks later… I was on my way to work when I received a panic call from my mother. The police had been banging on her door in the early hours looking for me. I rang back the police and asked what it was all about. I met them back at my mother’s house and they asked if I knew a particular boy… Lo and behold… it was the son of the mother who had suddenly become very friendly with the school social worker.
I was arrested and had my flat raided in front of my flatmates, and every piece of computer equipment was taken from my flat, even stuff in the communal areas. I was questioned thoroughly and told that one of the boys at the school had accused me of sexual assault’ I couldn’t believe it and tried desperately to work out why he would have made his allegations. I tried to help the police get to the
bottom of it by even offering information on parts of his behaviour at school that now suddenly made sense. There is something to be said for the benefits of hindsight. After a day in a grim police cell… I was released on bail pending further investigations.
I’d never been arrested in my life before so everything was a shock. I walked home feeling completely numb. And curled up in my bed, I don’t remember if I cried. I’d spent my career trying to help and protect abused children. How could they think I’d be the people abusing them?
It didn’t take long for the rumours about what I had been arrested for to reach the ears of the “gossip queens” on the gay scene. Soon all sorts of rumours began to circulate about me and people who had seen me with some of the boys I’d been doing outreach work with began to make up rumours of their own. Overnight, my name was destroyed and to this day, I still hear people talk about me on the gay scene. I endured years of people seeing me, pointing and whispering… sometimes it even went as far as people shouting abuse over a crowded bar. People who I had thought were friends begun to avoid me and people l had never met knew more about me than I did! Now the one thing about the gay community is that it’s very small and very tight knit. This was proven when one day when out for a drink a few towns over, someone pointed me out to his friend, he then came up to me and said he’d heard I’d “done time in prison for kiddie fiddling”, I was absolutely mortified. I had no idea who these people were; I’d never even met them before.
After answering police bail regularly for about 18 months, I was told I didn’t need to come back again.
I was never told the investigation had been formally closed with no further action… I didn’t find that out until in 2010.
I was asked to go to the old police station in 2010 and collect all my belongings that had been seized in the raid on my flat. To be honest, I didn’t want it back because of the memories from that day 4 years earlier but wasn’t given a choice; they were moving and wanted to clear out the evidence locker.
After I split up from my partner I decided to try for a new start somewhere else. I’d had enough of the rumours that always dogged me and what made things worse was that, the boy who’d accused me of sexually abusing him was now a regular on the gay scene and was still trying to claim that I’d abused him as a boy. Even some of my friends had asked me if what he was saying was true… and it wasn’t until he showed his true colours to them when he accused other people of abuse too.
In a way I felt vindicated when I was told this and felt finally people would realise the rumours WEREN’T true.
However one night, I was pulled aside by someone who asked if I knew his boyfriend. He told me his boyfriends name and I felt my heart sink. I did know his boyfriend; it was the boy who had come out to me when he was 11. He made some comments which I took to be rather inappropriate jokes about teachers and pupils, I was understandably very sensitive to people making jokes about child abuse.., especially with the rumours I’d had to put up with for years and was still having to deal with. I told him it would be nice to meet with them both and asked him to pass on my best wishes, and then left him on the phone to his boyfriend who was at another club at the time. I thought nothing more about it but sent a follow up message to him on Facebook to remind him of the offer to meet up again. I didn’t like the guy but it would have been nice to see how the boy I’d once tutored had been doing. I didn’t have to wait long to find out as soon enough, his photos were all over Instagram and my friends began sharing them. Some of them were very revealing! He was now promoting a strip group! and clearly very proud of his muscular physique. A far cry from the small shy boy who I had tried to encourage being more confident. I then thought nothing more of it.
Things were finally starting to get better, I was beginning to get back on my feet and rebuild my life, I had met someone and it was rapidly becoming a serious relationship. I really should have known things were too good to be true!
It was January 2014 and I was at work when I received a message that the police were looking for me. The only thing I could think about was that the police were following up on the information I’d given them and they had retrieved my stolen bike. On returning their call I was told to come to the station the next day.
When I arrived at the police station, an officer met me and took me to the custody suite and then informed me he was arresting me for serious sexual offences against the boy I’d tutored nearly 14 years earlier, the one who’d come out to me at 11 and the one now in a relationship with the guy who pulled me aside in the club.
All my memories of what had happened in 2oo6 came rushing back and my world collapsed all over again. The duty solicitor told me what had been alleged and naturally, I was horrified. She made it very clear I was to give a NO COMMENT interview and on no account was I to give the police any answers to questions.
She said it was too dangerous to give the police any information they could use against me later… even the truth could be twisted by them to make me look guilty.
I was not in a frame of mind to argue with her.
Nine months later, In September 2014, l was charged with 16 sexual offences against two men, both having been boys at the time. One of them was the one I had been arrested for in January, but the second was the case from back in 2005 even though it had been dropped. As you’ve probably guessed, these were “historical” offences and the dates they were quoting in the charges seemed so wide ranging as to make it seem I had spent my whole career abusing children. How can they say that “sometime between 2002 and 2005”? Surely that shows there is no evidence and they are just guessing! And how can you charge someone twice for each offence?
It turns out that because the law changed in 2003 they were going to charge me for each offence twice, once in case it had happened pre 2003 and once in case it happened after. Surely if evidence existed, it would have told you when it happened.
I can’t really describe to you the effect that being arrested for such crimes has on you, but even though I knew the accusations were false… and it would be impossible for there to be any evidence, at that moment, a part of my soul died, although I’d been told to give a “no comment” interview believe me… I wanted to shout about how ridiculous it all was, but the solicitor was adamant that the police would try to twist anything I said regardless of their being evidence or not. I can’t tell you much more than that as I had become numb and slightly detached from the real world for the rest of the day, the train journey home passed by in a haze of shock, I was still trying to absorb the horror of the accusations raid against me.
I had to rely on legal aid funded solicitors, and having never been through anything like this before, I completely trusted my solicitor and deferred to her judgement and professionalism, little did I know that legal aid funding wasn’t enough to pay for either of them! I had a couple of appointments to meet up with her to work on my case and, not knowing any better, didn’t question her actions. She asked me to dictate to her a response to the allegations and each time I discussed potential defence witnesses who would confirm or at least support everything I was saying. She told me that very often, cases such as this are dropped due to lack of evidence. I took reassurance from this as I knew there would be absolutely no evidence, this was confirmed by the fact that I’d been charged twice for each offence. I didn’t understand how this could be legal, but apparently it’s now quite common.
I always though you needed to base charges on evidence and if they couldn’t even decide on what YEAR things were supposed to have happened… clearly there was NO EVIDENCE! These days, the fact someone has made an allegation against you is classed as evidence itself.
As the months dragged on, the stress of what I was going through took its toll on me and I lost my job due to not being able to focus on my role. My employer had been very supportive as he’d been through something similar himself years earlier but even he had to draw a line. I sank into depression and if it hadn’t been for the love from my partner, I might not have made it through. Incidentally, even after what has happened and the hell he has had to walk through with me… my partner is still by my side, still my partner and still, hoping that one day soon, common sense will prevail and I’ll come home again.
A week before my trial, I received a letter from my solicitor, part of me thought it might be the letter confirming that due to the return of common sense and the fact there was no evidence, the case was going to be dropped… imagine my horror when the letter informed me that not only was the case NOT being dropped but that they had added ANOTHER 8 charges! How could they do that, it was hard enough to deal with 16 charges but now to be facing 24 was even more horrifying.
The CPS has had a year and a half to work on this… how come a week before the trial they now decide to add 8 more charges? Well I’ve since been told it’s now a common tactic by the CPS to try to make the defendant look even guiltier in front of a jury. To make matters even worse, a few days after, I received an email from my solicitor to inform me that the Barrister who’d been working on my case for the last year had pulled out. She was trying to get me a last minute replacement and found one with literally only hours to spare. I had a very rushed appointment with my solicitor to meet him, whereby he seemed to be more interested in getting me to accept a guilty plea… Let’s just say my faith and confidence in my defence was suddenly shaken. Too late to do anything about it now, my trial was in a couple of days!
The Barrister now had to perform the super human task of familiarising himself with a huge amount of paperwork, something which… as would prove apparent in the trial, he failed to do! It is hard to describe to you how terrified you feel on the day your trial starts, and I hope you never will! Courts are not nice places and it was certainly the last place I wanted to be right now but, at least it would get things over and bloody done with, it was a ridiculous case, one that shouldn’t have even gotten this far so the sooner it was over, the sooner I could try and rebuild my life again.
Well my optimism lasted all of 5 minutes when I was informed that my ever so hardworking and “reliable” solicitor had decided to go on holiday leaving me with one of her colleagues who had not seen my case before that day. She was clearly dismayed by the lack of work done on my case.
Not only have I got a Barrister who doesn’t know my case, but the one person who does… decide to go on holiday. I wonder if things would have been different if I was rich and paying privately?!
It is truly soul destroying when to have to stand up in front of a room full of not only strangers but also family and friends and listen as the charges against you are read out… and believe me, they were truly disgusting charges… with a LOT of emphasis on the “disgusting”… that was probably the intention of the prosecution… try to horrify and instil bias in the court and fury before the trial even begins. I really wanted to die right there and then.
The next step in the trial is for the two parties to list all their evidence and “witnesses”, the prosecution goes first, I’ll try and summarise it in list form below.
PROSECUTION CASE: Complainant 1, (the boy I’d tutored in 2001)
That was pretty much it for “complainant 1”
There was absolutely no evidence to show that any wrong doing or that malpractice had ever occurred, just someone saying something had happened, and a lot of others, who in 14 years had not been told, heard or noticed anything at all happening all now agreeing that this was fact..
Now to the second complainant, this followed a similar vein. This case was older as the allegations had first been made back in 2006 and after a thorough investigation by the police, had been dropped. The prosecuting Barrister informed the jury that the case had been dropped “by accident or in error” however did not go into any more detail, nor did he inform the jury that evidence had been returned in 2010 with “no further action”.
PROSECUTION CASE: Complainant 2 (the original case from 2006)
This seemed to be all the evidence that the prosecution was presenting in their case.
After I had listened to it all from the safety of the reinforced glass box I was held in.., as if I was already a dangerous criminal! I was a bit confused.
The whole prosecution case seemed to be about two people pointing nothing but fingers at me and then their immediate family backing them up.
There was actually NO EVIDENCE to support ANY of it and what’s more the statements given in court all sounded the same… even though the original statements I’d seen in the evidence bundle had all been slightly different.
When the prosecution finished listing their evidence and witnesses, their barrister sat down and the judge turned to the defence barrister. He was asked what evidence was being entered for the defence. His reply made by blood run ice cold:
He stated that the defence had absolutely no defence evidence or witnesses.
WHAM! I felt my heart thump in my chest.
I was in complete shock, how… after nearly 18 months and with at least 9 months since the charges were first announced could there be no evidence? What had happened to all the people I listed as possible defence witnesses? why was nothing being done about the various criminal records we’d obtained?
“Complainant 2” had numerous criminal convictions… including at least two for lying and dishonesty he had also been convicted in court of various other offences, but to the judge was faultless. Where were the statements from the staff members who had supported me during the 2005 disciplinary?
There was absolutely nothing prepared by the defence solicitor. When I confronted my defence Barrister about this in private afterwards… he informed me that it is not up to the defence to prove my innocence but for the prosecution to prove my guilt! I remember just looking at him in shock as none of the evidence listed by the prosecution could possibly prove guilt of any sort but yet they had brought charges, the court had accepted them and they seemed pretty dammed confident of success.
EXTRA BAD CHARACTER EVIDENCE
Later on in the trial, the prosecution made an application to enter additional “Bad Character” evidence. The “bad character” evidence presented by the prosecution was allowed by the Judge after he stated that I had personally selected all of the boys I worked with… and stated that it could show that I had “a predilection for young boys, or was grooming them’.
The way the Judge summed it up suggested that any male who chose to work with young boys, clearly had ulterior motives for doing so!
This was a complete misrepresentation as I not only had no choice on the young people I worked with but the prosecution neglected to inform anyone that I also worked with girls. All the following “bad character” evidence originated from 2003 -2005. Reports taken from disciplinary records held at one of the schools I worked at. It was implied that not only had I had multiple disciplinary incidents but had also had repeated warnings about my behaviour and had ignored them.
Absolutely none of the evidence related to any part of the allegations against me but worse than that… it was entirety untrue. This was part of a homophobic hate campaign originally carried out by a selection of small minded individuals who also worked at the school who may have been unhappy that I was paid more than they were for doing a role that they felt was similar, they also failed to understand what my role actually was and couldn’t understand why I was “allowed” to work differently.
The ringleader of this homophobic hate campaign was my direct supervisor; the schools attached social worker, an American woman whose strong religious views meant she would not accept my homosexuality as natural and accused me on multiple occasions of trying to force my sexuality onto the boys and encourage them to think they were gay too! Various allegations were gathered together about my work practices, none of which were true and were never actually proven but they eventually led to my suspension (standard procedure) and eventually to my resignation … due to the fact I could no longer handle the abuse I was receiving from a select group of colleagues.
To sum up just some of the bad character allegations they are as follows:
I tried to take a boy “I thought” was gay to a gay coffee shop in town. Part of my role in the school was outreach work where I took troubled boys out of the school environment to help deal with their bad behaviour, so taking boys to a park or cafe etc. was PART OF MY JOB ROLE. This “gay coffee shop” seemed to have been a big issue for the judge in the case and he repeatedly referred to the incident and criticised me for it on behalf of the prosecution.
The only issue with this is that there was no gay café coffee shop in town (a fact confirmed recently during enquiries to the POLICE lesbian and gay liaison officer at the some police station that conducted the investigation!)
So HOW could I have taken ANY boys to it? It also raises the spectre of blatant homophobia from the court as It suggests that being gay is deviant.
Think of it this way…
If I had taken an openly gay boy to a “straight” coffee shop… would there have been as much of an issue?
Remember that even if this “gay” coffee shop had existed… it‘s a coffee shop, not a night club, it would serve coffee… not selling alcohol or displaying “adult” material!
The most suspicious issue regarding this evidence is the fact that the school social worker had “quoted” me talking about the “Gay coffee shop”, as did the school Head Teacher and one of his Deputy Heads. All three of them claimed i talked about it during separate disciplinary meetings…
HOW! It doesn’t actually exist, and never has, how could I have spoken about it even once, let alone three times? Had they fabricated their statements?
– They claim I installed MSN messenger on the boarding house computers in order to “groom” boys!
This again was a complete load of rubbish as MSN messenger was already pre- installed on the version of windows the school used, what i had done however was activated the “chat log” function to safeguard the boys and ensure the school had a record of any conversations that might be inappropriate (for child protection measures).
Other members of staff, as well as me used to use MSN Messenger as a tool to allow the boys to talk to us about their problems and allow them to keep in touch with home. It was also helping them to hone their keyboard skills without them feeling they were in a classroom, (remember, these were boys who had already been excluded from all previous schools because of their disruptive behaviour). This was NOT mentioned anywhere in the evidence, nor was the fact that even after l had left the school and MSN had been deleted from the house computers… It re-appeared again soon after… clearly, I wasn’t the one who was installing it!
Had this evidence been investigated objectively, it would have been seen for what it was… an attempt, and a very successful one, to force a man out of his job simply because of his sexuality.
– There were various other incidents mentioned that again had no relevance to the case, were absolutely pathetic and clearly only brought up to try and discredit me. In one case the school head mentioned that he’d seen me at the summer barbeque having fun on the water slide with the boys… he said he thought it was inappropriate but decided not to say anything at the time. What was NOT mentioned was that it had actually been the house stat? who had encouraged me to take part with the boys as it was an annual event where the other members of staff had taken part in previous years. Other incidents mentioned were completely untrue and had been part of the homophobic “witch hunt” at the school.
However, there was one way I could have fought back against what was essentially a simple act of character assassination.
Early on in the case, I had mentioned to my solicitor that during the disciplinary that all the bad character had been taken from, I’d had a colleague present who acted as my advocate. She had been present during everything and could be a witness to prove the “bad character” was homophobic in nature. I was very surprised when it turned out the solicitor hadn’t even bothered to contact her… or any of the other witnesses I suggested. My friends decided to try and get in touch with her instead from outside the courtroom… while the trial was going on. They eventually managed to find her on Facebook and asked her if she would be willing to be a witness. She replied that: she had already provided statements and had been very supportive of me, but had been told that she wasn’t allowed to be a witness as she still worked at the school. That was strange as there were no statements from her in the evidence.
The important fact you have to remember is that all the above “Bad Character” statements were read to the court by the prosecuting Barrister, so there was no way to cross examine so called witnesses or check the credibility of their character or motives when they are not available in person. Had the full story been presented, the jury might have seen how biased and untrue the evidence was.
Once I had finally resigned from the school, the school social worker instigated a very public Police child protection investigation in an obvious attempt to “dig something up”. As I found out much later… boys were specifically asked if I had “touched them”, there were at least a dozen boys interviewed which was effectively a QUARTER of the school. From what I was told later, all the boys
came to my defence and told them it was ridiculous. In the end, the investigation cleared me of any wrong doing… However, this was a school that dealt with boys with emotional and behavioural problems… so making the investigation as public as possible left me open to someone making a malicious allegation in order to gain attention.
The existence of this report was initially denied by the police and prosecution but was eventually handed over … after all the relevant bad character evidence had been given to the jury and was too late to be effective to the defence. If I had remembered it existed earlier, I could have asked for it long before the trial…
The police knew about it and had not disclosed it.
Now it’s very easy to imagine to compare real life to TV courtroom drama’s and imagine that’s how the courts are run. I will admit, I did have that idea in my head as well. I assumed I would be sat with my legal team, and they would be challenging the prosecution’s case very vocally and making sure the jury heard the full story. Regrettably this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I was locked in a glass booth at the back of the courtroom and made to sit as close to the public gallery as was possible. The “victims” families seemed to sit as close to me as possible and continuously stared at me. The jury on the other hand was as far away from me as they could be so no doubt they didn’t see the tears in my eyes when the disgusting allegations were read out. Believe me, I was utterly humiliated and shocked at the accusations laid against me… what decent human being wouldn’t be. The other problem was the fact that there was no way I could speak to my defence team without disrupting the courtroom,
I would have had to bang on the bulletproof glass… that would have made me look like a dangerous animal.
Perhaps that’s the intention. To make you look as bad as possible before any evidence has even been presented. There is now a wealth of Psychological evidence to support the fact that the prosecution have been given an unfair advantage by the courts in order to unduly influence Juries and negate defence evidence before it is even presented.
As the trial began and all the allegations and “evidence” was read out, it was time to present the prosecution case. The various “witnesses” for complainant 1 were shown to the stand and gave their evidence, the first one was the complainants “Ex” boyfriend… someone who I knew of socially more by reputation than by acquaintance and knew full well that he and complainant 1 were still advertising for sexual “threesomes” on a gay app called “Grindr”.
He claimed to be a self-employed worker… even though he actually works for the complainant’s father.
This witness was well known in the gay scene as being a “bit of a thug” a fact that was also supported by his criminal record where he had at least two convictions for ABH, (we were not allowed to mention his criminal record). Suddenly in place of the “thug” was someone who obviously trying very hard to make the court think he was soft and sensitive. Gone was his usual sneer, to be replaced by an uncharacteristic outpouring of emotion and tears. If I hadn’t been the one in the dock, I would have found it quite funny. At one point he was caught out by the defence barrister when he was asked to explain his Facebook friends list and the fact that the second complainant appeared to be listed as a “friend”. He denied he knew him and insisted that he added lots of people to Facebook and had no idea who he was. Now it might be because my barrister had only just picked up the case but he didn’t seem to be aware that we had the evidence to show how the second complainant had already admitted to his friendship with him, saying how he’d met him at the hairdressers he worked in and that they had chatted and become friends. Unfortunately, as I mentioned my barrister couldn’t raise the fact that this witness had a violent past and previous convictions… so was probably not the upstanding individual the prosecution was trying to make him out to be.
Anyway the next witnesses were presented… all simply repeating what they had been told as if it was proven truth and by lunch I was feeling utterly broken. After lunch we would be watching the video recorded interviews. Apparently, it was assumed that I’d seen them when in fact I didn’t know I was supposed to.
When the video of Complainant 1 was shown, it was strange to see a man who I hadn’t really seen since he was a small 11 year old boy talking about me, and it was horrifying listening to what he was accusing me of… but then something gave me hope. He was asked to describe me in what can only be described as “very intimate” detail… which he did… completely wrong! His description was so far off the mark that it was obvious to me that he had never seen me in what can only be described as a “state of arousal”, needless to say, it was humiliating, (in more ways than one!).
He described particular sexual acts that would have been totally impossible, (if there had been any gay members of the jury, they would have known this). He actually described what would have been incredibly painful as “feeling nice” and “it made me happy”!
The descriptions he gave would be easy to disprove and surely we could get a medical expert to describe what would actually have happened if the acts he was describing took place, let’s just say no one would have been able to describe them as “feeling nice” and “making me happy!” Those are his exact words and even if he‘d been an adult, he couldn‘t have been able to describe them like that, the pain would have been incredible and unforgettable and likely the damage would have been extensive. To add even more incredulity to his story… he then said we had walked out to meet his mum immediately afterwards!
She was a good mum who (if something had happened) would have noticed something was wrong IMMEDIATELY!
After the video had been shown, I spoke to my barrister and informed him what I‘d seen, he seemed a little shocked that I’d not seen the video’s but from what I had described, there was an opportunity to obtain evidence which we believed could not only cast doubt on his allegations but actually prove the acts COULD NOT have happened.
When court resumed, my barrister asked the judge if we could have a temporary adjournment in order to obtain medical evidence. We also felt it was necessary to prove my “actual size” to the jury to prove the complainant’s description was completely wrong.
At first the Judge argued the point and seemed reluctant to accede to our request but after my barrister argued that I hadn’t seen the videos before, to which the judge seemed to blame me… even though my solicitor hadn’t mentioned I needed to see them, he made a comment on how valid the evidence would be. (Later on in the case, he again gave his opinion on the relevance and validity of medical evidence and quoted the “Cleveland Enquiry findings”).
At first the judge seemed to relent and offered us a 48hr adjournment… The Judge asked the prosecution barrister how he felt about this to which the prosecutor immediately began to argue against it. Very quickly… he had reduced the time the judge was allowing us to around 2hrs! He argued that he had a witness already travelling down from Scotland especially to give evidence. He gave the impression that she was making great efforts to be there… and that there were severe time limits on her availability…what he didn’t tell anyone was that she actually only lived a few miles from the court and was having to return home a day early from visiting family. In reality, she would have benefitted from the adjournment.
The Judge was also clearly fooled by the prosecutor as after this witness gave her evidence… the judge thanked her for travelling down and wished her a safe journey back to Scotland… to which she replied “I was only in Scotland visiting family… I live here In Southampton!”
The prosecution barrister didn’t lie to the court… but he knowingly allowed the Judge to believe something that wasn’t true.
The Judge only gave us the morning to get the evidence we needed, suggesting we simply make a doctor’s appointment. He even suggested that I might want to invest my own money in obtaining the evidence… I would have done if I’d had any!
The frustration was that this evidence was critical to my case and although my replacement solicitor tried her best to find a medical expert to help, it was too short notice. She was shocked that my defence solicitor had not done anything towards obtaining defence evidence. What I still don’t understand to this day is this…
If the complainant gave the POLICE such a detailed description of my personal details FACTS that could have been verified… Why didn’t they come and ask me to verify them. I suppose it might have damaged their chances of a case if he’d been proved to have been lying!
After spending the morning rushing around trying to find someone to help, it proved a fruitless search as no one wanted to be involved in a court case on such short notice… again, why did my defence solicitors not do anything to prepare a case… and why wasn’t she even here to help rather than being on holiday… shows how much she thought of my case… or perhaps legal aid doesn’t buy you that level of service?! I was feeling pretty broken.
The stand in solicitor had some success, or so we thought in getting the Officer in charge of the case to arrange for someone from forensics to help obtain factual evidence. This would show that the complainant’s description of me was completely wrong. Of course at the time, the Police officer was surrounded by a full legal team so blatant refusal would not have looked good for him… he would put a stop to it later when there were no witnesses!
When I attended the police station after a failed first attempt, he met me at reception and took me through to a side corridor.
He told me he was not willing to help and l would have to go elsewhere…
So much for the police being impartial!
When complainant 1 took to the stand to be cross examined, he was asked about his video recorded interview… what I didn’t understand and still don’t was why the video interview now being treated as if it was proven evidence that the offences had ACTUALLY taken place… they hadn’t… it was still just a video of allegations Unfortunately I seemed to be the only person who realised that, The prosecution questioned him with what seemed to be pre prepared and rehearsed questions with him giving equally well rehearsed answers… they had obviously spent quite a bit of time together going through what he would say, Things didn’t start to crumble until my barrister started to cross examine him.
My barrister questioned him once again on the physical description he gave on video of my private area, although I couldn’t see it, he now gave an indication of various dimensions with his hands and again stated the sizes, Yet again this was completely wrong but the jury still didn’t know this as the police had refuse to help obtain verified measurements and we were still to find a way to prove them.
Suddenly the complainant couldn’t remember things that he claimed happened in his interview… and began to change his story. He even forgot how many times he’d claimed things had happened or even what they were!
Suddenly things that had happened to him “loads of times”… became a couple of times and then eventually “well I know it happened once… maybe twice”. His story actually changed so much that there was now a problem with the charges… a couple of them no longer applied! One of them… a multiple charge count, which supposedly happened over the course of a year. (Even though I‘d only worked at the school for about six months), no longer applied at all, in fact now… even the complainant wasn’t sure if it actually happened! It sounded to me as if the police and the prosecution had written a charge list and simply made him stick to a script to ensure they could get a conviction.
Now I always thought that if a charge was disproven or no longer relevant, it would damage the case… possibly even leading to the case collapsing… after all, surely it would cast serious doubt on the credibility of ANY of them being true…
The prosecution simply changed the charges to fit the claimant’s NEW story of events, and even added a new one. BECAUSE THEY COULD!
How can they do this… surely the point of a court case is to allow the accused a fair trial and the ability to argue the case, if they simply change the charges every time the defendant manages to prove their case… how the hell can they even pretend the case has been fair?
Unfortunately that is now the level the British justice system has sunk to, if the police and prosecution can’t get a conviction by playing fair and honouring human rights… they‘ll happily ignore them.
It was now clear that the only person in the courtroom who was representing the defence case was the defence barrister… even the Judge seemed to be acting as a second prosecutor… he asked me as many questions as my defence team and seemed to be trying to make me look as guilty as possible with the manner of his questions. I remembered looking at my barrister wondering when he would intervene and stop the judge bullying me, but he didn’t, in fact he appeared to be scared of the judge. It was as if there was a relationship between the judge and the prosecution barrister… a fact which was later confirmed when the judge apologised for the prosecution barristers absence, he raved about how good he was and that if he was needed on another case… it must be serious!
The whole tone of the judge’s conversation with the jury seemed to be to raise the prosecution barrister’s reputation and gave him more credibility than my own defence barrister.
So much for judges being impartial!
By now my trust in British justice had been well and truly shattered and things didn’t get any better as the second complainants case was presented… in fact they actually got even worse!
The video recorded interview with complainant 2 was shown to the court. The video was originally recorded in 2006, when the complainant was almost 17 years old. Nine years had passed. In the video the complainant was dressed like a small boy in sportswear; he was acting like a small boy as well that it was easy to forget he was almost 17 and already had an extensive criminal record; clearly he knew how to play the system. He was asked about the allegations and he gave a basic account of what he’s claiming happened to him, and then he was asked about two further occasions.
Then the interviewer asked him to go back to the first allegation… suddenly he began to weave the things from the other allegations into each other and began to layer up his story, it was as if he was telling them what he thought they WANTED to hear and not something that had really happened. He was also treated like he was a young child and naturally his behaviour changed to act that way… it was almost as if he’d been tutored before the interview on how to look as vulnerable as possible.
Unlike the jury, I knew him better and knew what he was really like and how manipulative he was. In his interview he described a sexual act and even gave a demonstration of how it had happened… unfortunately his demonstration made it perfectly obvious that the sexual act would have actually been physically impossible… surely that would have been obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense!
I’ve since realised with the benefit of hindsight that it wouldn’t really matter what he had claimed happened, nothing I could have said or tried to prove would have swayed the jury… they had already decided on my guilt and there was nothing I could do about it.
When it came time for complainant 2 to take the stand…
I had high hopes that my defence barrister would be able to pull apart his crazy tale. I told him that I suspected he would tell you anything he thought you wanted to hear regardless of whether it was true or not… he craved attention. The minute my barrister began to cross examine the complainant, the judge seemed to change.
It was as if the judge had convinced himself there was a 12 year old boy on the stand and not a 27 year old with a 10 page criminal record (again… something we weren’t allowed to mention, even though two of those convictions had been for lying and dishonesty. It was ironic however that when his criminal record did get mentioned, it was at sentencing where I WAS BLAMED for his criminal behaviour, even though his first convictions were years before I ever met him. He even tried to blame me for his drug problems… even though he was notorious for being a drug dealer! As far as the Judge was concerned… he was positively angelic… Surely the Judge WOULD have been aware of his previous convictions?!
Now I’m in NO WAY saying that just because someone has previous convictions should it mean they shouldn’t be believed… but neither should they be allowed to manipulate the court with behaviour clearly meant to sway the emotions and opinions of a Judge and jury when they were clearly adept at doing so.
Almost from the minute my barrister began to question the complainant, the Judge began to criticise the defence barrister for his tone of questioning… claiming the complainant couldn’t understand him… he actually understood him perfectly well, he was just being obstructive.
Seeing the judge was on his side, he immediately began to act childishly, acting as if he didn’t understand what he was being asked and skilfully managing to avoid answering his questions. When he knew he would have to answer, he looked at the Judge and pretended NOT to understand… even the most basic of question, and the Judge intervened. The Judge was now openly criticising the defence barrister, he quoted regulations at him, telling him to treat the “witness” as if he was a child. He’d just made my barrister into the bad guy in front of the jury. He’d turned him into a “bully”.
It was getting more and more frustrating as i could see what my accuser was doing… i had known him since he was about 13 and he was a regular in the local gay nightclub, he had also been in relationships with a few of friends of mine. If I’d been allowed to call them as witnesses to his character, he would have been painted in a very different light indeed and probably would have faced criminal charges himself!
I mentioned earlier that id told my barrister that he would tell you whatever he thought people wanted to hear, so my barrister began to ask him questions about one of the events he‘d mentioned. He specifically mentioned that I HAD NEVER asked him to do anything to me… he was very clear about that in his original interview. My barrister asked him to describe what had happened and as he was telling the story, he began to embellish it with details he had NOT mentioned before… this time around, he was describing how I had asked him to perform sexual acts on myself (I’m not going into details here but they are recorded on the court transcript). As I said… in his original interview, he was very
clear that he had NEVER performed any sexual act on me… it had all been done to him. As he was talking you saw the penny drop, and he realised he’d been caught out in a lie, suddenly he burst into tears.
The Judge immediately intervened and my barrister was asked to stop his cross examination and sit down. The dock security was told to remove me from the courtroom… it was all very dramatic and no doubt exactly as it was supposed to be. I‘m not sure what happened during the time l was out of the room but after a while… the tears turned into a loud wailing which seemed to grow louder.. (I suspect the jury had been taken out and he wanted to make sure they could still hear him). Even the court security made a comment about how ridiculous he sounded. Now considering that we already had the whole drama of his having to appear behind a curtain so that he didn’t have to see me, I found it strange how he’d been perfectly happy to have a cigarette outside the court… standing virtually next to me throwing dirty looks, and then the next wailing …
As you can imagine, not only was I becoming frustrated at how the judge could have fallen for his tactics but was getting angry at how my barrister was now told to restrict his questions, the judge had effectively stopped what would have been a very successful cross-examination.
There was one prosecution witnesses who’d been due to appear, this would have been important to the defence as part of her testimony seemed to agree with mine… however she mysteriously got a doctor’s note so she didn’t have to appear (Witness A) this meant her statement would be read out to the court and the defence would now have no way to cross examine her and ask her to confirm what I had said. Which was incredibly convenient for the prosecution. Also even more frustratingly the child protection report they claimed to know nothing about was now handed over to the defence. At this point it was too late as the prosecution had already used the evidence it cleared me of as if it had been proven fact.
The defence case…
Now that the prosecution case had finished, it was time for the defence case. Unfortunately we hadn’t managed to find anyone willing to provide the medical evidence we needed to prove that Complainant 1 allegations would have been impossible and with the police refusing to help us provide evidence on some rather intimate personal details, I had been forced to provide them myself. The police officer in the case and the prosecution barrister reluctantly agreed that the evidence I provided was acceptable and it should have conclusively proved that Complainant 1’s description was a complete fantasy. I even suggested that my barrister provided the jury with scaled models to drive the point home but he decided not to… I’ve since been told that decision was probably the wrong one. After a brief introduction of the defence case… the Judge decided to adjourn for the weekend. Now suddenly there was a photographer outside the court and I realised the rest of my world was about to come crashing down around me.
The local paper decided to publish the case so far in its weekend edition of the local paper, and let’s just say, it was front page news, and if I’d read it I would have found myself guilty.
The story was utter nonsense and with facts and accusations taken totally out of context in order to make a “titillating” print, not surprising really as the court reporter was sitting with the mothers of my accusers. I hoped to god none of the jury wouldn’t see those front page headlines, but little chance of that though if we’re being realistic!
After an emotional roller coaster of a week and an equally sleepless weekend… to then find out the “emotionally traumatised victim“ had been happily chatting up celebrities in London gay clubs, was a bit of a kick in the teeth. My life was currently falling apart due to false allegations. I wanted to die… and my accusers were hob-knobbing with celebrities… and posting their selfies to “fans” on Instagram!
Monday, morning of a new week, it was time for the defence to present its case. To be honest, I had felt a glimmer of hope during the previous week when some of the witness stories seemed to have fallen apart… but watching as they simply changed the charges to fit the new stories had knocked my confidence. I thought the whole point of cross examination was to pull apart the allegations and prove them to be false.
I didn’t think the prosecution was allowed to just change the charges as they went along… that’s like allowing someone to change their bets as the horses are running! This was not the behaviour of a civilised county’s justice system.
I was called to the stand to finally have my say. To be honest, if it wasn’t for the fact I have a full copy of my court transcript, I wouldn’t really have believed what was happening. I was asked to “in my own words” give my account of what had happened. I tried to start by explaining who I was as a person and how l ended up in child care. I felt it was important that the jury knew this as so far… I was being portrayed as a predatory monster who was actively seeking out vulnerable young boys. Even my job role was been twisted to make it sound like I was abusing my position.
I was constantly being referred to by the prosecution as having been a teacher… I WAS NOT a teacher, I was an outreach youth worker and “mentor” who specialised in boys with extreme behaviour: This was clearly INTENTIONAL because a teacher would look strange doing the things I was employed to do as part of my contract as a teacher, there would be clear boundaries that you wouldn’t cross as it wouldn’t be professional, but as an outreach youth worker and “mentor”, my job was based on being able to build a relationship with young people… suddenly this ability to build a positive relationship was being portrayed as “grooming”. I was actually being condemned for doing my job properly.
As I began to explain my past career and motivations to the jury, the judge interrupted by telling me I should just “stick to the facts”. These were the facts, as I needed to explain to the jury my real motivations for working in childcare and not the ones the prosecution was telling them. However the judge was having none of it. I thought he was only there to advise on points of law. He wanted to be a part of the cross examination and this became a lot more obvious later on as he pretty much took over my cross examination for a while… although mainly when my defence was trying to defend me.
The judge barely interrupted the prosecution barrister other than to confirm his interpretation of things. This trial was now looking decidedly one sided. It seemed that every time I was winning a point, the judge was determined to either negate my comment or at lease to try and limit its significance. At one point… when I mentioned that one of the mothers had phoned me to say the “school was out to get me”.
The judge stopped me and stated firmly that “I will not allow hearsay in my courtroom”… Hang on a bloody minute… isn’t that the whole prosecution case?! And the fact was…it wasn’t really hearsay as that mother was quoted in the child protection report the police actually had in front of them, (yes the one they claimed to not know about)!
The judges questioning began to get more and more pressured… It was supposed to be my defence barrister whom was cross examining me… not the judge. I remember looking at him so see if he was actually going to speak up to stop the judge but he just sat there. Not only did he seem to be scared of the judge but it was obvious he didn’t know anything about the evidence to be able to ask questions. The judge continued to run my cross examination. I tried to be as honest as my memory of the time allowed; l even added details that I hadn’t spotted at the time but now only made sense with hindsight. I was now in danger of incriminating myself with my honesty… but I will not lie.
If the jury can’t spot the truth, then there was no real hope anyway, at least I will have told everything I know.
Unfortunately, the problem with trying to recall events from so long ago is that memories can become corrupted. Something innocent can be remembered differently after a period of time and additional details added or important ones lost. i know some of my memories of that time were so vague but the judges incessant questioning seemed to demand answers so I tried to reconstruct those lost memories to give him an answer… It turns out that this was exactly what the prosecution wanted as they now had time periods in which to twist events and turn innocent acts into more malicious ones. What is interesting is that when the prosecution barrister began his cross examination… the judge hardly interfered at all.
The prosecuting barrister kept insisting on calling me a “teacher” when referring to me. I tried to correct him on multiple occasions but he ignored it. It was obvious he wanted the jury to see me as one in order to make my activities as an outreach worker look more unprofessional.
Like l said earlier, there is a huge difference in what a teacher can do compared to an outreach worker.
He even tried to make my transporting boys in my car look unprofessional and implied l was doing something unusual and suspicious. The jury weren’t told that part of my outreach duties involved transporting boys to activities, home or to therapy sessions and that other members of staff also used to ferry boys around… including the female head of boarding… and there were never any issues raised before. If I‘d have known this was going to be such a big issue… l could have asked for my mileage claim forms from the school archives, all of which MUST be signed off by the Head! So his claim that I took boys out without permission was complete and utter rubbish!
After a while it began to feel like I was in the middle of a judge and prosecutor “tag team” with my defence barrister looking more and more impotent on his seat… he didn’t raise his voice once… even when the judge told me to “just tell the truth” as if he was trying to imply I had been lying. I felt utterly helpless. I’ve since read some of the trial transcript and there are pages where the only names entered on the pages are the judges and mine. I thought he wasn’t supposed to interfere with the case unless it was a matter of law. It was starting to look to me like the law didn’t seem to matter anymore. There was no way this had been a fair trial… there was no evidence that anything had actually happened, it was simply my word against theirs and my word was worth nothing… in fact my evidence… the only FACTUAL evidence entered in the whole case seemed to be worth nothing as well.
You might remember that complainant 1 had made a very detailed physical description of my private area… Well after a lot of effort, (let’s just say that a stress of the court case had affected me in ways I didn’t expect), we managed to obtain evidence that the prosecution agreed to and the police couldn’t argue against. My barrister finally was able to tell the jury the actual TRUE and VERIFIED details of my private areas… let’s just say they were vastly different from complainant 1‘s description A description that was supposed based on his being “up close and personal” many times. I would have thought it was obvious that he’d never seen me in a state of undress at all… EVER!
It was utterly humiliating having to share such details with not only total strangers… but also close friends and family… but they were the only facts in the case and should have proven complainant 1 was lying.
My hope was short lived, as no sooner had my barrister told the jury the details of my size, than the judge immediately interrupted and told the jury to “bear in mind… they are recent measurements!” I was shocked… was the judge trying to say to the jury that my size had changed between the ages of 30-44!?
When the defence case… for what it was worth… had finished. The judge began the summing up. The prosecution presented theirs, which was as I’d expected a dramatic retelling of all the prosecution evidence as well as points they had scored during cross examination… even though they were complete and utter lies that had the courts standard of evidence been higher, would have required evidence to corroborate. The prosecution seemed to have the freedom to say whatever they wanted. The defence summing up was a fairly megre counter defence, but did at least contain the one and only piece of factually verified evidence in the entire case, that of my private statistics. Then it came to the judge to sum up the case…
He began by summing up the prosecution case, laboured on a few points and even seemed to make up some new ones all on his own. He took great issue with my taking boys to a gay coffee shop and also gave some of the prosecution case far more emphasis than even the prosecution had given it. There were points where he seemed to get utterly lost and he confessed to the jury that he couldn’t even read his own notes… so he made up what he thought they said… even though it was utter rubbish. I remember thinking that if he couldn’t even read his own notes… maybe he should have asked for the transcript so he could base things on that. The effect was that the judge gave the prosecution case a lot more credibility than even the prosecution did.
When it came time to sum up the defence case, he made the main points we had been arguing… however, for every defence argument he referred to, he then gave the prosecutions argument again as if to counter attack.
This went on for almost every point; it was as if the judge was using his summing up to be a prosecutor all over again! The only factual piece of evidence in the entire case… he didn’t even refer to at all.
When the summing up was complete, the judge gave each member of the jury a copy of some of the main points. I don’t know what his document said but I know my barrister had been surprised by it and made some comment to the judge that he didn’t realise the document was to be given to the jury to take away. The judge made a sarcastic reply; something about what did he think it was for. My barrister wasn’t happy as he hadn’t prepared for that to happen, what’s more, he hadn’t actually checked it in great detail for factual errors.
The judge now spoke to the jury and tried to explain the “paired” charges to them. He explained that the jury first had to decide when they felt events had happened therefore which law and relevant charge applied and then to decide if I was guilty or not guilty of the offences. To be honest I didn’t really understand it.
If they couldn’t even decide which year offences were supposed to have taken place… then clearly there was no evidence to support ANY of the charges. Now I also thought a jury was only there to decide on a verdict… not to become lawyers themselves and decide which laws applied! With these rather confusing instructions, the jury was sent out to try to reach a unanimous verdict.
After a while it became apparent the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict so the judge decided he would accept a majority one instead. The jury were sent out again. By the end of the day, they still hadn’t reached a verdict so court was adjourned for the day. The next day however was pretty much the same until late in the day when the judge decided to accept the outcome of the verdicts that had been decided. I was made to stand while the first of the verdicts was read out!
It is almost impossible to describe to someone who hasn’t been there exactly how it feels to have your entire life hanging by a thread. Standing in the glass cage waiting for the first verdict feels the worst nightmare you’ve ever experience made real… where the emotions are very much flooding your body and no amount of pinching will ever wake you up.
You pray that the jury has seen sense, and part of you tries to imagine what you will do when this is all over and you’re found “not guilty”. But unfortunately, as anyone who‘s ever had the misfortune to be tried for sexual offences knows, the likelihood is, the verdicts will be guilty simply because that’s the nature of sexual offence trials where the conviction rate is almost double that of ordinary trials… even though, they are the only trials where a case can be brought entirely on hearsay. So it was in my case, the verdict for the first and one of the most serious charges…. “GUILTY”. It felt like a hammer blow to my stomach. Even the officer who stood in the dock with me seemed shocked. I couldn’t understand it… the actual act I had just been found guilty of wasn’t even physically possible in the way he described. Then matters only got worse. You remember the multiple charges that had to be changed because he couldn’t even remember if it had happened or not… they found me guilty for that too. It would seem that if even the complainant had doubts on whether something happened was not enough for a jury… they decided they knew better than him and decided it had…now remember this is an act that couldn’t even happened once… let alone multiple times.
Whatever happened to being “Proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt”? Clearly that doesn’t apply anymore despite the fact that it’s written in black and white in the human rights act… it’s part of article 6 if you’re interested.
Although I was found “not guilty” of some of the other offences… it didn’t really matter, the damage was done and I pretty much withdrew from the world at that point. I hadn’t committed ANY of the offences I was charged with so being found guilty of even one of them destroyed me.
As not all the verdicts had been reached, the Judge adjourned the court for the weekend. I went home again and began to look at everything I was about to lose.
My partner and I had managed to build ourselves a comfortable home and we’d had so much hope for the future, we were engaged to be married and had planned to do so once the case was finally over and I’d been cleared of any wrong doing. Suddenly our plans were all shattered and we didn’t know what to do. He hugged me and promised he would never leave me.
On Monday, I walked into the courtroom, no longer really caring what the rest of the verdicts were going to be. The jury went to the deliberation room once again. This time the verdicts were decided relatively quickly and we were called back to the courtroom.
The rest of the verdicts were pretty much as expected, I was again found “guilty” by majority of 10 to 2 even on offences that again should have been physically impossible. It didn‘t really matter to me anymore, I had already lost my life and whatever future I might have once had.
The verdicts now complete, the judge summed them all up again and informed me that l would be receiving a lengthy custodial sentence. He negotiated a sentencing hearing with the two barristers and a date was set six weeks later.
The judge said he was letting me go home until that date and that I should use the opportunity to put my affairs in order. I left the court feeling numb and broken. I remember waiting for my partner’s mother to finish talking to the court usher… who actually looked like she’d been crying.
The usher came over to me as soon as l was let out of the glass cage and told me that she was “so sorry for what had happened” It turned out, the court staff had all been as shocked by the verdict as I had.
My partners mother asked her if this was all because of my being gay… to which she looked her in the eye and gave a subtle but very clear nod to say yes. She had been in charge of the jury room and had heard some of their conversations.
The thing that made me most angry about things was the attitude of my defence barrister, he didn‘t seem bothered by the verdict at all, like it was all in a day’s work. His only response was to say “well that was unfortunate”, his blasé attitude towards the case was part of the reason why the judge and prosecution walked all over him. Now he didn’t seem too bothered about the fact I was going to be spending many good years rotting in a dilapidated prison… for things I simply hadn‘t done.
After the first few days getting over the initial shock of the verdicts. I sent an email to my original solicitor, she had returned from her holiday partway through the case… not that anyone had actually noticed as she seemed to have better things to do with her time. | asked her to help and advise me on how to appeal. She replied that she would discuss any appeal options at the sentencing hearing… in six weeks.
What I didn’t know at the time was that you actually only get 28 days from the date of the verdicts in which to appeal. Something she must have known but didn’t bother to tell me. Like I said, I had no legal training and assumed she did!
As you might be able to imagine, the six weeks of freedom I had left felt like I had a terminal illness. The days tended to blur into each other and I tried to spend as much time with my fiancé as possible. I had no idea how he was going to cope without me as he‘d built so much of his life around me. I didn’t really deserve the amount of love he gave me as with everything I was going through, I’d forgotten he was going through it with me. He was my strength and I never appreciated how much he held me together. One day I hope to repay his love the way I always should have done.
I said goodbye to my friends… it really did feel like I was dying and to be honest, if I’d been given the choice of either having a terminal illness, or being convicted of sexual offences against children… I would have chosen the terminal illness every time at least that had some dignity! Soon the six weeks was over and I spent my last night knowing it would be my last night in my house, with my fiance for what would feel like a lifetime. In the morning, I packed what I thought I would be allowed to take to prison with me and waited for my partner’s family to come and pick us up. I took a last look at our beautiful home and closed the door. The cat as usual wanted to come with us which made me smile. l didn’t know how my family were going to, cope but part of me still held out hope that an obvious error would be corrected quickly and I‘d be coming home again soon.
As I walked up the steps to the courtroom, I stopped, had a last cigarette and then walked towards my impending imprisonment. I thought about how many friends, one of them even a police officer, who had told me I should run away… leave the country. I still had my passport and driving licence after all. But I refused. I have run away from problems before and it’s never done any good. I was not going to run from this. I would stay and fight to prove my innocence. Britain had the best justice system in the world… it would see the obvious miscarriage and rectify it. I know I had far too much faith in a system that is now fundamentally broken.
The Barrister and my solicitor met me inside the court and informed me that they could find no grounds for any appeal. They hadn’t made any attempt to try to find any of the evidence that was “missing”. They told me that one of the men had made a victim impact statement and asked if I wanted to read it. Well l don’t know WHO wrote the victim statement but it certainly WASN‘T the “victim”. The impact statement was the biggest load of rubbish I‘d ever read. He was trying to blame me for all the ills of his life… His difficulties with maintaining relationships… I dare say that might have been something to do with the fact that he had beaten up at least two of his boyfriends… I know that, as they came to me for help! He tried to blame me for his drug and alcohol abuse… even though his ex-told me that he was regularly taking drugs from his own mother!
As for the alcohol abuse… he didn’t drink any more than a normal 27 year old. The real kick though came when he tried to blame me for his extensive criminal behaviour… even though his criminal record started years before he ever met me. Suddenly the penny dropped, He’s been using the fact he was “abused as a child” in order to make excuses for his behaviour.
It had clearly worked as he‘d been convicted of offences that would normally carry a custodial sentence but only received suspended sentences or community service… If he hadn’t maintained his claim of abuse or if I’d been found “not guilty” he would have lost that excuse. Why couldn’t anyone see what was right in front of them?!
When I was called into court, I said goodbye to my fiance’ and family, there were tears obviously but I tried to stay strong for them. I was once again locked into the glass cage… this time however; I knew I would be leaving by the back door.
The Judge began by reflecting on the case… this time however he seemed to revel in making things sound as disgusting as possible… he even tried to blame me for turning the men gay! I felt like an utter monster even though I knew I hadn’t done any of the things he was referring too with even more dramatic flair than the prosecution had used in the courtroom… he seemed to be enjoying himself. He began to read out the victim impact statement… however he regularly stopped to dramatically declare to the court that there were parts “too harrowing to read“. He made the “victim” sound like he’d have been a perfect angel if I hadn’t corrupted him and blamed all his problems on me. I suppose now that the trial was over, he had full artistic licence to destroy my character even more.
The reporter for the local paper loved it… the old one had now retired and the new one hadn’t actually been in the trial but as she was sitting next to the families of the two “victims”… she was receiving an ACCURATE summing up of the case! I was a little surprised when the judge announced that there was a second victim impact statement… I though, and so did my legal team, that there was only one, the other man hadn’t done one… but no, suddenly one had appeared and it was equally dramatic and yet again, clearly not the work of the “victim”. This time it stated how his life had been ruined, how he hated going out anywhere in case he bumped into me… if that’s the case then I’d like them to explain why he had decided to have a night out clubbing in the town he knew I’d moved to. Like I said, the gay scene is very small and he knew full well where l was as we shared hundreds of mutual friends on Facebook. Apparently he also felt self-conscious and had difficulty in social situations… really?!… Then explain how he has tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and even posts naked pictures on his account! It was pretty damn obvious that this “last minute” impact statement was written by the prosecuting barrister and not the “victim” at all! It bore absolutely no resemblance to the so called “victim” at all. Remember, this is a man with whom I shared hundreds of mutual friends, so his current activities were bound to crop up on my news feed. I happened to know that while he was sat there watching me get sentenced for crimes I hadn’t committed, he was making plans for attending Brighton pride the next day where he would be taking part in the parade in nothing but a pair of skimpy shorts and advertising a male strip troupe… He wasn’t even feeling guilty for what he’d done.
The summing up and impact statements all done, the judge left the court for a few minutes to decide on sentencing. When he returned he began to read out my sentences.
I received 10 years for each of the two most serious counts, (remember it was the second of those two counts that the claimant himself wasn‘t actually sure had happened!) and between 3 and 4 years for some of the others. On the second claimant, I received an average of 4 years each for various offences… even though I suspect that in the confusion; l was convicted twice for some things that are supposed to have happened… still that’s what happens when you’re allowed to charge someone for crimes without the need for evidence.
The sentences for claimant 1 would run concurrently… but consecutively to those for claimant 2…
So a total of 14 years!
The judge stated that I was to serve up to half in prison and half on licence but was to remain on the sex offender’s register for the REST OF MY LIFE.
Once the judge had finished… I was taken out of the back door and handcuff placed on my wrists, it was the first time I’d ever had to wear them. The cold steel around my wrists reminded me that my life was now pretty much over unless I could prove my innocence… ironic really since at no time in the case had anyone actually PROVED my guilt, they hadn’t even proved a crime had ever taken place.
I was escorted by two security guards to the cells under the court and my belongings were listed, I was placed in a cell but the door was left open and a very sympathetic female officer sat with me until it was time to board the transport to Winchester prison. I won‘t even go into what happened there as I’d rather not remember it again, but let’s just say the prisoners were given a copy of the local paper where I was front page news and blades were slipped under my cell door for days with people banging it and telling me to kill myself. It is an experience that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
I’ve now been in prison for three years and every night without fail, I run things through my head. I ask myself what ever happened to the country I used to believe in and feel proud of… and what the hell ever happened to common sense and a people who used to believe in fair justice.
Apparently it is up to the prosecution to PROVE guilt. Well that was clearly not the case as throughout my trial, they didn’t manage to prove anything. The entire case was built on two people making an accusation and then immediate family members repeating what they had been told. Hearsay by its very definition can never prove guilt as it is not proof on anything other than an allegation…and if an accusation alone can be used to convict then what hope do we ever have of fair justice?
What we have today are the equivalent of witch trials, where people can be convicted of crimes based on someone’s word alone.
Whatever happened to the police being impartial? Again clearly they are only interested in obtaining convictions… even if it means withholding or supressing evidence or point blank lying. Where were all the other witness statements that would obviously have been taken… why was every single statement in the bundle only supportive to the prosecution.
You remember I mentioned that my friends had tried to contact the work colleague who supported me during the disciplinary… the one who said she had made a statement but was told she wasn‘t allowed to be involved as she still worked at the school? Well as it turned out… the officer in the case, when questioned by the CPS about this, stated that “he’d overheard her name mentioned by the defence team and had phoned her FROM THE COURT, he said there had NEVER been a statement from her… even though he’d spoken to her during a recent visit to the school to look at some records, and was it him to told her she wasn‘t allowed to be involved. Her still working at the school was clearly not really a problem as all the other “witnesses” who‘s statements were read out… all still worked at the school. You have to wonder how many other statements that MIGHT have supported the defence also never appeared in the evidence.
Some might argue that she had simply lied about her statement but why? Clearly she would have been an obvious candidate to give a statement… as would a few other people such as the other deputy head, but then he was supportive of me so perhaps his statement was a little too inconvenient to obtaining a prosecution.
Of the two people… who was the most likely to lie about a missing statement. The witness who really had nothing to lose by providing a statement… or the police officer in charge of the case, in whose interest it was to obtain a conviction? After the recent revelations about the police doing exactly this,..I’ll let you make up your own mind
The other thing to bear in mind… claimant 1 made a very detailed description of an intimate area that the police could have easily tried to verify… it would have been utterly humiliating but would have been in the interest of fair justice… Why didn’t they. The acts he described would have actually been quite painful and traumatising with the possibility of permanent damage… surely verifying certain facts would have indicated their likelihood, and his utter nonsense description of them “feeling nice” and “making him feel happy“… any male rape victim will tell you that neither of those descriptions could ever be applied to the acts he was describing… even if they’d been a willing participant. There is a long list of things that should have been done if this was ever intended to be a fair trial, but it wasn‘t. It was an utter farce and one that I’ve come to learn is now all too common in the British justice system.
I have so many questions that I wish I could ask the jury but the biggest one is –
Did you find me “GUILTY” simply because you were too scared to find me “NOT GUILTY”?
It is becoming clearer every day, that the British justice system is fundamentally broken. Too many innocent people are filling our already overcrowded and rotting prisons. Too many families torn apart in a misguided attempt to give justice to perceived victims of abuse… We are offering huge amounts of compensation pay-outs to encourage people to make an allegation, which unfortunately is also a huge incentive to lie.
If someone is a genuine victim of sexual abuse, they will be motivated by a desire to see justice done, not to receive thousands in compensation.
I am not sure the public actually realise the impact being convicted for a sex offence has. Being placed on the sex offenders register is effectively a life sentence and was ruled illegal by the European Court of Human rights a couple of years ago. Britain however makes a habit of ignoring Human Rights.
If, as a nation, we’re going to give someone a freedom and rights restricting whole of life sentence… we should be absolutely sure they were proven guilty in the first place. The SOR effectively takes away an individual’s right to fair justice, right to freedom and human dignity.
As a reluctant concession to human rights, the government agreed that anyone on it could apply to have their name removed after 10 years if the police agreed! If the POLICE agreed? So now the police have been given the powers of Judge, jury and executioner? There are now children on the SOR for god’s sake for nothing more than playing “Kiss chase” in the playground! We don’t even need SOR as everything on it is duplicated by the Disclosure and Barring Service and national police records. It seems to be purely a means of punishing someone for the rest of their life and restricting the quality of life.
If we really do have the right to be innocent until proven guilty then how can people be lawfully proven guilty on nothing but hearsay? Why are we the only nation in the world prepared to destroy life and take away freedom simply because someone claims another has committed an offence.
As I said at the very beginning of this piece I have a copy of my entire trial transcript to prove that what I’ve written here is true. If we truly see ourselves as a fair and democratic nation, if we truly believe in human rights and the right to a fair trial… then we must take action NOW, before thousands of other innocent people and their families are torn apart.
The problem with a society that would willingly give up their human rights is that once they have lost them… they cannot get them back. We have allowed people accused of sexual offences to be convicted in exactly the same manner as the people accused of witchcraft in the 1600’s. If the government and ministry of justice can now get away with that… what is to stop them going further. Perhaps one day, you will be able to convict someone of a burglary simply because someone saw them “walking” down the same street as the house that had been burgled… what would make it worse would be if the home owner didn’t even have to prove they’d been burgled at all! One day… Britain will look back at what it has done and hold its head in shame for allowing this to happen.
The author of this piece is now 3 years into a 14 year sentence for crimes he maintains he didn‘t commit. Crimes that the prosecution have NEVER actually proved occurred. There is very little hope of appeal unless the two complainants write a full written confession stating they lied. And even a few recent cases have proved that this is still not enough. The appeals court has raised the evidential bar for appeals to an almost unobtainable level.
Some might say it‘s deliberate.
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