Friday, October 26, 2012

Natural Justice


I'm in that uncomfortable minority again. This time it feels very uncomfortable and very unpopular.

After the restoration of Charles II, the powers that be (despite the King's opposition – to his great credit) decided to dig up the bodies of the regicides and do nasty things to them – like hanging what was left of them from London Bridge until they rotted away. Perhaps it made Parliament feel better as most of them were implicated in the “crime” - just not as deeply as Cromwell, Harrison and Ireton.

Charles went on to be the “Merry Monarch” and lay the seeds for the Glorious Revolution.

We are, it seems, back to square one. Sir Jimmy Savile is tried, convicted, hung, drawn and quartered.

Where to start?

I used to do an investigative unit in English based on the assassination of President Kennedy. Even today, a large number of Americans believe that Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill Kennedy, or, if he did, he was part of some larger conspiracy, There is no real evidence for this, but still people believe it.


First and most importantly Oswald was never charged with the crime. Neither was he ever tried in a court of law. Why? He was killed by Jack Ruby before anyone had the chance. So, since no-one was tried and convicted, people think they are free to believe what they want.

Jimmy Savile is kind of in the same boat. He's dead. He was never accused, tried or convicted of any crime. Therefore, like Oswald, he can't defend himself. Nor, can we hear his side of the story. (Incidentally, Oswald famously said he didn't kill anyone!) The downside seems to be that everyone who feels like it is free to accuse Savile of almost anything and the Prime Minister seems content to join in.

Whatever, I ask, happened to the rule of law?

Pardon me, but I thought that you were innocent until proven guilty? It now appears that Savile had, allegedly, been abusing youngsters since the 1970's. No-one investigated or brought charges. Three people allege that they told the police of abuse three years ago and were not believed. (Or, and it is just possible, the police did not believe that they were credible accusers). Either way, no charges were ever brought against Savile in his life time.

So, now we are to judge and convict him in absence?

This is not right. Nor can any trial ever take place as he is not able to confront his accusers. That is a fundamental right under the law.

Now we hear that over 300 people have come forward to accuse Savile of abusing them. How many made complaints to the police and were willing and able to go to court and testify? Precisely none.

Ah, but surely there is no smoke without fire! Maybe, but wasn't it Goebbles who made telling a lie often enough and people will believe it into an art form? I think it was.

Other celebrities have now been implicated. Fine, if they are still alive, like Freddie Starr, then get them into court and test the evidence.

If Savile and others are serial offenders then they deserve no sympathy or slack. But, make sure that the baby is not disposed with the bath water in the process.

Otherwise, when they come for you there may be no-one left to protest.


I'm for the rule of law – no matter how inconvenient it is sometimes.