Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 700-719)



  700. If you have got only two people that is really what you are relying on.
  (Mr Tinnuche) That is the jury system then.

  701. Yes, indeed.
  (Mr Grange) I was merely going to say, sir, you either believe in the jury system or you do not. On the evidence you have presented to the jury under our accusatorial system, you have prosecuting counsel playing fair, defence counsel not necessarily playing fair and then the jury makes its mind up, that is the system we have.

  702. I understand that. This argument obviously applies in many areas but when you are talking about events 20 or 30 years ago it is a very dangerous road, is it not?
  (Mr Grange) Indeed, much more complicated.

  703. There is one question I want to put to those of you who have experience of dealing with these kinds of cases. Have you ever participated in a deal of the sort—again, I have had one or two letters along these lines—where it is put to the suspect that if he pleads guilty to, say, physical abuse you will drop the sexual abuse, or something alone those lines?
  (Mr Holland) Never.
  (Mr Tinnuche) That is not a matter for us.

  704. I appreciate that, it is for negotiation between two sets of lawyers.
  (Mr Tinnuche) That process will happen at court invariably between defence and prosecuting barristers.

  705. Do you know of such cases?
  (Mr Tinnuche) No.
  (Mr Langdon) Not in my experience, no, but I would not be privy to a discussion of that nature in any event.

  706. But you would notice the outcome if it was a case you had investigated?
  (Mr Langdon) Yes.

  707. You do not know of any?
  (Mr Langdon) I do not know of any but at the same time I do know of outcomes whereby pleas of guilty to indictments have been entered and some not guilty pleas are entered on the same indictments and it is decided that they will accept those pleas. The rationale behind that is determined by the people charged with the conduct of the investigation.
  (Mr Holland) I would have expected as an SIO to be informed if deals were being offered.

  708. Yes, you would be, and you are not aware of any in your experience?
  (Mr Holland) The prosecution may decide to proceed with x number of allegations and not others.

  709. I understand that but you would know.
  (Mr Holland) Yes. If somebody was charged with physical rather than sexual, yes.
  (Mr Grange) We would know about that. I read in this morning's Times that the Government intends to bring in statutory acceptance of plea bargaining anyway.

  710. That is something we will have to go over with the Government.
  (Mr Grange) I read you intended to, sir.

Mr Cameron

  711. In the cases where you subsequently discovered that a false accusation had been made because it did not stack up, in any of your forces have you then prosecuted anyone for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice or making false accusations or whatever the charge would be?
  (Mr Grange) There have been three prosecutions to my knowledge, sir.

  712. You do not know which force areas they were?
  (Mr Grange) No, we can find out.[2]


1.  Devon and Cornwall Police have prosecuted an individual for making a false allegation (claimed to be a victim but never went to the school in question). A sentence of six months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, was imposed.

2.  South Wales Police have investigated two people for making false allegations. With regard to the first individual the Crown Prosecution Service advised that no further action should be taken and the second case is in the process of being proceeded with (by way of summons I believe).

  713. That might be useful. If a false accusation has been made someone else's life has effectively been ruined.
  (Mr Grange) I would make the point we are talking here about malicious false allegations, not wrong allegations.

  714. Not honestly mistaken ones.
  (Mr Grange) I know of three prosecutions.

  715. Do the ACPO guidelines address this point?
  (Mr Grange) Yes. We caution our staff to be aware of the potential for false allegations. The investigating officers make that point when they bring their officers in. Each force now goes through an induction process for their officers when they come into this and all the dangers are laid out before them. Every force now has a copy of the Investigating Officer's Handbook and this is laid out on paper for them, aides-meĞmoire, "consider this before you do anything".

  716. Let us say you have done a dip sample and you find some people who are subsequently in prison for whatever reason and they are being asked about individuals, would it be made clear to them that it is against the law to make false accusations and malicious accusations?
  (Mr Grange) When they make a statement the first thing they do is give their name, address, place of birth and sign a declaration on the top which states quite clearly that if you make a statement knowing anything in it to be false or malicious you render yourself liable to prosecution.

Mr Prosser

  717. Is it right that in all of those three prosecutions for false allegations each of them received suspended sentences?
  (Mr Grange) I do not know, sir. I can find out.[3]



  Chairman: You will let us know that.

David Winnick

  718. I wonder if I can ask some questions about compensation for victims. The allegation which has been put to us by some witnesses is that those who claim that sexual and physical abuse, particularly sexual abuse, occurred are motivated first and foremost by compensation. In the paper we have received it says that the police will not raise the issue of compensation when witnesses are being asked questions. Is that the position in practice?
  (Mr Tinnuche) Yes.

  719. The Victim's Charter does say, does it not, that victims should be informed of their right to apply for compensation under the criminal injuries compensation scheme?
  (Mr Tinnuche) Yes, there is a certain conflict there which is unique to child abuse investigations. If you have been the subject of assault or the subject of rape or any other crime there would be no problem whatsoever in the investigating officer referring to that person both the Victim's Charter and saying what means of redress he or she may be able to take. It is certainly not good practice and would not happen on child abuse investigations simply because the accusations are made that some of these allegations are motivated by compensation. At the end of the day if somebody has been sexually abused is he or she not entitled to some form of redress?


2   Note by witness: The details for those that have been investigated for making false claims during historic abuse investigations are as follows: Back

3   Ibid. Back

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