The FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers) Spring Conference took place in Birmingham on 12 May 2018. Detailed coverage of the conference is available in the organisation’s latest newsletter, a copy of which is linked below for reading or downloading.
The BFMS Director of Communications, Dr Kevin Felstead, gave a speech at the conference, addressing many of the issues that affect those falsely accused. It can be read in full in the latest edition of FACTion.
Some of the points he raised were as follows:
- After the Jimmy Savile case, there is now a moral panic in the country about child abuse.
- It appears that the justice system is broken, as the idea that the defendant is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ has been rejected in favour of the preposition ‘guilty until proven innocent’.
- No corroborative evidence is need anymore in cases of alleged sexual abuse. The standard position of the police and the legal system – certainly in practical terms – is that the accuser is a ‘victim’ who must be believed.
- Sentencing for these crimes has become incredibly harsh. Many individuals found guilty on the flimsiest of evidence (or even no evidence) are receiving worse sentences than murderers.
- There is a major problem with the non-disclosure or late disclosure of evidence, which may be vital in proving whether someone is innocent or guilty.
- Though every case he has personally looked at involved mental health, the issue of mental health is not recognised in the legal system. An accuser may believe their claims whilst simply being delusional. Legal counsel and judges are unaware of it.
- The environment for those accused of sexual abuse has barely changed in recent years from the witch hunts of over 350 years ago. Society has not progressed in these matters. The same febrile atmosphere exists now as it did then.
- The legal system is being wrecked by funding cuts from the government. Some solicitors are probably working for less than the minimum wage.
- The accused is disadvantaged at every single point in the investigative and legal process.
- Nevertheless, the BFMS has been instrumental in using its expertise to help some individuals prove their innocence.
- What can be done? There are a number of critical steps any accused individual can take to defend themselves.
- One should assume nothing, believe nobody, and check everything.
To read or download a copy of the latest edition of FACTion please click on the link below. To save it to your computer, right click the document and choose ‘save as’ to save to a location on your computer.