Michael Le Vell: The Fallout
As was inevitable, the print and online media contain several stories reporting on the outcome of Le Vell’s trial. I have blogged already about the questions his acquittal raises in relation to the decision-making of the Crown Prosecution Service and this theme is reflected in the output from national media chains.
The Daily Mail online has several different stories, one reporting on Le Vell’s reaction to the verdict, one querying why the prosecution was ever pursued and a third suggesting that the answer to that question lies in a change of approach in the post-Savile world since Operation Yew Tree. It has others – one can hardly accuse the Daily Mail of missing an angle!
To be fair to the Daily Mail, its blanket approach is ‘mirrored’ by other online media sources, such as the Daily Mirror (two of its stories can be seen here and here). Naturally, the ‘serious’ press covered the story in depth as well, as can be seen by these articles in the Guardian and Independent. The latter also has a short article focussing on the Crown Prosecution Service, but in reality, all of these stories in some way raise questions about the prosecution process.
The combination of these articles merely serves to demonstrate the potential consequences of a failed prosecution in this area, as I mentioned yesterday. Once the furore of this has died down, as it inevitably will, serious questions still remain. What led the CPS to change its collective mind and recommend prosecution, having initially refused to do so? Did the CPS change its position as a result of threatened action by the complainants family, as one of the media articles I have referred seems to claim? Did the Savile affair alter the thinking within the CPS?
More importantly, perhaps, given the CPS is funded by us all, how will the general public find out the answers to the above questions? Where will the scrutiny come from? For their needs to be scrutiny, if only for one main reason; the children and young people of this country deserve a justice system that promotes the disclosure of legitimate cases of abuse, discourages false allegations and secures the maximum likelihood of convictions for perpetrators. The internal decision-making of the CPS is central to those issues. Poorly-judged prosecutions that end in acquittal, if this can be categorised that way, do no service to anyone.
If this is causes you concern, as it does me, why not write to your MP with a query. You can easily find the necessary details on the web pages for Parliament. Perhaps you could write to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the official with overall responsibility for the CPS. Indeed, there are relatively new interim guidelines in this area that the DPP has posted a video about. He actually asks for public consultation, although he does not say when that is to end.
Whatever you choose to do, do something, or else you will lose a prime opportunity to make a difference.