Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Herman spoke of his case at the annual British False Memory Society conference on Saturday, 9 April. He gave an overview of what had happened in his case – from his receipt of a letter from the Met Police requesting a meeting with him at a mutually convenient time – to his interview, arrest, trial, and final exoneration.
The charges were that he abused a girl whilst working as an equerry to Prince Philip in the early 1970s. The trial lasted a week and he was cleared by a jury in less than an hour.
He said,“I fought for my country, I’m very privileged to have worked for the royal family and I love my country.
“Justice has always been a major part of our national identity, we are known throughout the world for justice in Great Britain.
“I’m sorry to say that my experience of the Metropolitan Police has made me feel extremely sad because there is no justice. The police live and thrive off VIPs, there is this enormous tranche of VIP allegations. And they have made cock-up after cock-up after cock-up, which the Commissioner of the Metropolitan police has failed to take charge of. If someone can’t run their unit, or their ship, you sack him and put someone else in.
“And I firmly believe he should be sacked. You lack moral courage if you can’t put your hand up and say ‘I’m sorry, I made a cock-up.’
“I was on bail for 27 bloody months, 18 months without even being charged, during which time my family was going through absolute hell. At the time I was 79 years old. So I was going to take my knapsack on my shoulder and go abroad. It is just out of this world. And that was the reason they gave for arresting me.”
“I knew I was innocent, I’m a big boy, I’m a Royal Marine I’ll take them on. But with regards to the family and my four daughters, that was not funny.”
He said that his unblemished career in the Marines was a motivating force behind the Met arresting him.
He was, he claimed, the victim of a witch hunt. Those who are accused of sex abuse have their reputations damaged for life. He concluded that pre-charge bail ought to be restricted in scope – not going on for ridiculously extended periods of time – that the accused ought to be given anonymity until convicted, and that as a result of his own case Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner of the Met Police, ought to be sacked.