Is Something Going Terribly Wrong With British Justice?

DJ Paul Gambaccini recently gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee after spending a year on police bail ‘when the case against him was groundless.’Left to foot a legal bill of £200,000, Mr Gambaccini protested that ‘he does not want to see others suffer in the way he has, spending months or even years on bail, knowing nothing about the progress of the investigation that could change their lives forever, but over which they have no control.’

During the 12 long months that broadcaster Paul Gambaccini stood accused of sexual offences against two teenage boys, the emotion he felt most often was one of extreme anger.

Anger that his reputation had been besmirched by allegations he knew to be baseless. Anger that he had been banned from contact with his young nieces, nephews and godchildren. Anger at the £200,000 he saw draining from his bank account as work dried up and he fought to clear his name.

But most of all his anger was directed at the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for dragging out his suffering month after month, despite what he describes as the ‘completely fictitious’ case against him.

Paul Gambaccini describes his experience of Operation Yewtree and the unorthodox bailing procedures associated with it. He continues:

‘I was also told my accuser had been expelled from school for making a false sexual allegation and, now that the police were asking people to accuse celebrities of sex crimes, he had returned to that kind of behaviour.’

Why would he do such a thing? ‘A man in the street is known to the people he has met in his life,’ he said. ‘A celebrity is known to the people he has met in his life and millions of others.

‘A few have fantasies. Some have grudges. Who knows? The point is that when you open a website and a phone line, as the police did, for the dedicated purpose of accusing celebrities, you are going to get some people who are responding to the offer of money and attention.

‘Now, when you say “money”, what are you talking about? The Government posted the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2012 on the web in late 2012.

‘It is a tariff of at least 200 injuries with specified sums for what you get if you accuse people. All you have to do is say: “Well, gee, £22,000 for this if I accuse Paul.” And there is the disturbing line: “Conviction is not required for payment.”

‘Now, I do not know if my accuser got money. I do not know if he went in it for money. He may just be a distressed individual.’

…. Unsurprisingly, Paul Gambaccini says he has lost his faith in the British justice system (though at least he is back on BBC Radio).

‘My unqualified love for Great Britain has been qualified.’

Calling for MPs to help push the cause of bail reform, he added: ‘No one must ever suffer what I underwent — an indefinite period of arrest without charge.

To read more of this revealing interview please visit

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