The criminal justice system is not just broken, it’s turning into a farce. The Yewtree witch-hunt against elderly celebrities is completely out of control
Dave Lee Travis and the police
Yewtree: ‘The mountains laboured and brought forth a mouse“. As yet there is no sign of an end to the institutionalised witch-hunt of elderly celebs by Operation Yewtree and other related inquiries.
Dave Lee Travis was prosecuted on 14 counts. He was acquitted on 12 and the jury couldn’t make up its mind about the remainder. Simple reasoning should have convinced the CPS to throw in the towel at that juncture. Instead they forced a retrial on the remaining two counts.
They got a result on one, a fifteen second squeeze of the breast of an adult woman nearly 20 years ago. DLT got 3-months suspended, a pretty good indication of what the trial judge thought of the prosecution.
Did the CPS then quit while it was ahead? Not likely! It is now appealing on the grounds of undue leniency. That seems more like vindictiveness than justice.
Writing in The Independent Rosie Millard said “one has to ask whether the Operation Yewtree fervour, fuelled no doubt by the frustration that one of Britain’s sickest and most evil perverts died before he could come to justice, has simply gone a bit crazy. If we started jailing every man who has ever squeezed a breast, there would be no time for any other sort of case in our courts, and our prisons would be the size of a small city.”[
DLT had something of a reputation for being – shall we say – a bit tactile. But nothing more serious. A couple of years ago, Camilla Long did an interview with him in the Sunday Times. It was a fairly light-hearted piece about how he pursued her throughout the interview. Lo and behold, a short time ago another piece by this lady appeared in the News Review about how shocked and disgusted she had been at DLT’s groping efforts.
Oh, c’mon. She is not a shy teenager. She is a Grub Street toughie. If she had been offended by DLT she could have (a) ended the interview; (b) belted him.
After all this activity, costing millions and huge amounts of police time involving 14 police forces, so far the CPS has achieved 3 custodial sentences. Stuart Hall pleaded guilty, possibly on a promise of leniency.
The prosecution appealed and got the jail-time greatly increased, maybe a death sentence for a man in his mid-80s. Max Clifford got an 8-stretch (compared with the 6 years recently handed down to a thug who, in an unprovoked attack, struck and killed an innocent man in the street). Rolf Harris got 5 years and 9 months.
Plus one suicide.
After repeat arrests and masses of adverse publicity, ‘no further action’ is proposed in the cases of Freddie Starr, Wilfred De’ath, Jim Davidson, DJ Mike Osman, Jimmy Tarbuck and two ‘unnamed’ i.e. not celebs so not worth the bother?
William Roache and Michael le Vell were found not guilty. Charges against Le Vell had been dropped in 2011, before Savile, but were revived afterwards as the bandwagon rolled on.
Gary Glitter was arrested 2 years ago. The last news on this case was that he is bailed until November. Paul Gambaccini has been on bail for almost a year. Whatever happened to Magna Carta – ‘to none will we deny or delay right or justice’.
Which brings us to Cliff Richard.
Grandstanding by the South Yorkshire police, perhaps to divert attention from the Rotherham child abuse scandal (which has not merited another Yewtree) ensured maximum publicity. They even provided a map so that the BBC helicopter went to the correct house. It backfired. Minor and largely forgotten celebs are one thing; going for a national icon is quite another.
We have heard nothing lately. Too hot to handle?
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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