Corruption of Justice

What has happened to the system of criminal justice in the United Kingdom? In a thought-provoking assessment, Lord Macdonald, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, argues that, in the contemporary moral panic about historic sex allegations, ‘some police officers have become detached from the principles of impartiality and objectivity.’ ‘The job of the police’, he argues, ‘should be to investigate real crimes, not to fuel the reporting of fictional ones.’


Partly in response to well-deserved criticism over their previous failings, the authorities now seem eager to believe almost any accusation of abuse, no matter how lurid or fantastic.

Previous indifference has been replaced by a bone-headed stampede to take all complaints at face value, as past contempt for the rights of victims has given way to a new disdain for the rights of the accused.

In this frankly disturbing climate, long-standing British traditions of justice have been cast aside. The presumption of innocence before conviction is mislaid and any sense that the court should stand above the public pillory is regarded as quaint and historic.

But an understandable modern concern for victims’ rights must not morph into a medieval contempt for the accused.

It is the job of the police to conduct impartial, objective investigations, not to indulge narcissists and fantasists. Justice simply cannot survive a process in which the police hand over the right to determine the truth to accusers, simply on the basis that they claim to be the victims of crime.

This highly dangerous, legally illiterate approach has turned too much of our judicial system into a plaything for attention-seekers.

This has become all too clear from the news this week that the police are on the brink of abandoning their inquiry into the notorious Westminster abuse scandal, which centred on allegations that VIPs, including several leading politicians, had organised sadistic sex parties in the 1970s in central London locations such as the luxury apartment block of Dolphin Square.

There were even claims from some of the alleged victims, headed by a man known as ‘Nick’, that these public figures had committed ritual murder. Reputations have been trashed and lives ruined. Yet, now, detectives admit that, after a long investigation, the allegations are ‘unsubstantiated’.

But it is deeply worrying that the police ever took this case so seriously and allowed it drag on this long.

For much of the material was plainly absurd, belonging in a teen horror movie or a very bad Dennis Wheatley novel.

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