The Danger of Modern Witch Hunts

Jimmy Savile and Bryn Estyn – the Danger of Modern Witch Hunts

Barrister Mark Barlow and Solicitor Advocate Mark Newby have written an impressive article on the Jimmy Savile scandal and the recent epidemic of historic abuse accusations. They quote from Richard Webster’s well-known book The Secret of Bryn Estyn:

There can or at least there should be no doubt that child sexual abuse is one of the most serious problems of our age, and that it is more widespread than most people are prepared to accept. But onto this palpable and disturbing reality we too have projected a fantasy. According to this fantasy those who sexually abuse children are seen not simply as human beings who have committed criminal acts but as the ultimate incarnations of darkness, evil and cruelty. So powerful has this fantasy become and so urgent is our need to rid the world of anyone who might conceivably be a paedophile that the requirement for evidence has all but disappeared. It is for this reason that the innocent are almost as likely to be arraigned as the guilty.


The writers address the issues of assumptive guilt, compensation culture, and the potency of historic accusations.

We live in a society where the presumption of innocence no longer exists. Natural justice no longer applies for those accused of child sexual abuse and trial by media has ensured that those accused of such crimes, will never receive a fair trial. The fear of being falsely accused was once the nightmare of care workers, teachers, youth leaders and the clergy. That nightmare has now reached our celebrities and entertainers.

It may even reach out and touch those who govern over us. It must always be recalled that such allegations are easy to make and in a climate where the proper investigation process is flawed, difficult to refute. The dangers of miscarriages of justice occurring on the back of the Savile allegations is a real possibility and which, our legal system is not best served to prevent.


To read more please visit the Justice Gap website:

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