The late Prime Minister, Ted Heath would have been arrested and questioned about a child rape. But why do the police arrest so many innocent men for rape, without credible evidence, when there is no realistic prospect of a conviction?
A former Prime Minister accused of child sex offences.
The police say there is a case to answer.
So why are the police on trial?
Hi, I’m Leon Hawthorne. Sex, crimes and a dead politician… who has friends in high places, attacking the police for dragging his name through the mud.
Sir Edward Heath, the former Conservative Prime Minister would have been arrested if he were alive today and questioned under caution for child sex abuse.
That’s according to Wiltshire Police, who spent £1 million investigating dozens of accusations. In the end, concluding there were seven credible claims, including the rape of an eleven year old boy.
But Heath’s friends say the police investigation was a disgrace. First, a senior officer held a press conference outside Heath’s family home, effectively convicting him in the court of public opinion; and inviting every publicity-seeking nutter to make a claim.
They say the Metropolitan Police previously investigated and dismissed the most serious accusation. A fact, the 109-page Wiltshire Police report failed to mention.
In short, the police have acted as judge, jury and executioner of a dead man’s reputation and it is they, the police, who should be probed by a senior judge.
Look. We will never know what happened, but there is a principle in English law that we are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The evidentiary bar required for police to make an arrest is ridiculously low. And that is part of a wider problem for anyone accused of a crime, especially one of rape, where the accusation alone can destroy a man’s reputation, career and family life.
Last year, there were 35,699 rapes of a woman, man or child reported to police in England and Wales.
Just one in ten of those cases, 3,716 were brought to trial. And of those, just one third (1,352) resulted in a conviction. Whereas, the conviction rate for all crimes is 85%.
In other words, the police arrest tens of thousands of men and the Crown Prosecution Service charges a few thousand of them… when there is little prospect of a conviction. In the eyes of the law, that means innocent men have their lives destroyed.
Believe me. I have not lost sight of the victims of rape, especially child rape. Those who are guilty deserve severe sentences. And of course, some people do get away with it. But how many innocent people must we destroy in order to convict one guilty man?
These are difficult cases to prove. The solution is not to recklessly believe every accusation, which is current police policy. Instead, police have to be neutral and rigorously formulate a credible case before they make an arrest?
The rules on arrest are defined by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. This sets a test of “necessity”, meaning it must be: “… necessary to arrest the person… to allow the prompt and effective investigation of the offence.”
As it’s highly unlikely a guilty man would actually confess to a rape, I cannot see how arresting anyone is necessary until the police have overwhelming evidence to charge him.
Nobody is obliged to speak to the police or provide an alibi or explanation for events surrounding a crime, so there needs to be a higher bar for arrest to protect innocent people being dragged through the mud.
I’m Leon Hawthorne. Thanks for watching.