There has been a lot of discussion over the last few days / weeks regarding Mr Saville and I had told myself that I wouldn’t be “joining the bandwagon” however given the level of nonsense that is doing the rounds I have decided to break my own rule.
I’m not going to comment on what did or did not occur, only the ‘delusion’ (in my opinion) that is being created about what can be done about it. The offences occurred in the 60s to 80s, which is a fact that is not in contention. But a small fact about those periods that people seem to be forgetting is that the sexual harassment and child protection acts all came into force until the late 80s/ early nineties. Even then it was only really enforced and ‘promoted’ on the same levels of today from the mid 90s. Bearing that in mind, can someone explain to me (legally) how you can back date a breach of a law that didn’t exist at the time the alleged crime occurred?
Take this scenario; on Monday the 1st a man kills a woman. At that time there is no law to stop him from doing so however the fact that he has killed another is unacceptable to the wider community. Therefore, the society degrees a new murder law on the friday 5th and charge the man of murder for his ‘crime’ on the 1st. This is a simplified analogy of the Saville argument but the principle is the same. Under the law you cannot back date breaches of that law as the law didn’t exist for you to break.
This poses serious problems for those that have their claims legitimized as there is no “win” scenario here for them. If the BBC confirms that it knew about it and didn’t do anything about it (because it wasn’t legally obliged to at the time) and the government or courts then allow for damage claims to be allowed you are going to see a lot more claims be submitted for any and all “sexual harassment” claims that occurred during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Given that most of those organisations probably don’t exist anymore the government is likely to try to foot the bill. So in a time of austerity the tax payer will then be expected to foot the bill for claims on breaches of laws that didn’t exist at the time of the event. Surely that can’t be right? How is this “avenging” what Mr Saville did?
Please don’t get me wrong. The truth about what occured should be exposed and I have no doubt that ‘moral’ wrong doing has occured here however the promises that are being made about “justice”, criminal sanctions and making the BBC etc pay for this are hollow and will only lead to more let down and heartache. Not only for those that have been confirmed as victims but also society as a whole.
As usual I am more than happy to be proven wrong however I suspect I may be bang on the money…