Yesterday, the jury at Michael Le Vell’s trial for child abuse found him not guilty on all counts. My first reaction was to first warn everyone that victim anonymity in sexual cases is for life, unless the victim themselves decide to waive that anonymity and secondly to suggest that the CPS had some very big and important questions to answer. Many of the stories in the MSM this morning are asking those very questions of the CPS.
For a very good timeline and overview of the role the CPS played in the Le Vell case please read this Daily Mail story.
But very briefly, Michael Le Vell was originally arrested in September 2011. By Dember 2011 the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial and no charges were brought against Le Vell at that time. The victim’s mother made a formal complaint in February 2012 and the victim made further allegations to the police in March 2012. However, it was not until after the Savile revelations hit the headlines that the CPS reviewed the case and came to the conclusion that there was sufficient evidence and Michael Le Vell was charged with 19 offences in February 2013.
I followed the trial in the MSM and it became increasingly clear even before the prosecution case had even been put that, in the absence of startling unreported evidence, there clearly was not sufficient evidence to convict Michael Le Vell.
So, why did the CPS change their opinion ?
Some, today, are suggesting that it was because of a ‘celebrity witch hunt’, the consequence of public hysteria and media hubris. This suggests that the CPS are susceptible to this kind of pressure and prone to kneejerk volte face.
I prefer to look at the consequences and ask, cui bono ? Who benefits ?
Michael Le Vell has clearly not benefited and nor has the victim. The alleged victim has had to give personal testimony in an open court and has not been believed. Other alleged victims in future cases have not benefited, the Le Vell case will be used in some circles to cast doubt on other cases.
Actually, the only group of people who will benefit from this CPS decision will be offenders who will all try and portray themselves as grievously maligned.
If we exclude the Nigel Evan’s case which does not involve minors, not one politician or member of the judiciary has been arrested for child abuse.
Now, if you wanted to make things easier for powerful paedophiles then sacrificing a few celebrities and throwing in a case like Le Vell’s which clearly had little chance of a conviction would be a good strategy to adopt following the public outcry which accompanied the Savile revelations.