One law for the famous . . .
A WEEK AGO Nadine Milroy-Sloan, the trainee teacher who falsely accused Neil and Christine Hamilton of raping her, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. She had told friends she wanted to sue the former MP so she could go shopping at Harrods and Versace. She is currently waiting to be sentenced and is expected to receive a substantial term in prison.
week, however, news leaked out of the expectations currently entertained
by another person who made a demonstrably false allegation of rape. In
1997, while at home in North Wales, Brian Roberts happened to see a
television programme about Bryn Estyn, the Wrexham care home wrongly
alleged to be at the centre of a paedophile ring.
This programme, which dealt
with the setting up of the North Wales Tribunal, mentioned the conviction
of Peter Howarth, the deputy head of Bryn Estyn, for sexually abusing
adolescents in his care. (It did not mention that Howarth, now dead,
always protested his innocence, or that some of his former colleagues
still believe he was wrongly convicted.)
One answer is that Neil and Christine Hamilton, like John Leslie and Matthew Kelly, are celebrities. Nobody with a sense of justice will begrudge for one moment the feelings of relief which must have been experienced by the Hamiltons at their recent vindication. But nobody with a sense of fairness should fail to register that, when it comes to perverting the course of justice, there appears to be one law for the famous and another for the ordinary citizen.
Last week, after the Hamiltons’ accuser had been convicted and John Leslie heard that he would face no charges, Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin warned that those wrongly accused faced ‘inadequate safeguards’ and demanded a review. Letwin is undoubtedly right. But, so far as I am aware, he has had nothing at all to say about the huge number of false sexual allegations which have been made against care workers over the last ten years – of which Brian Roberts’s complaint is but one.
……………………………………………………………………© Richard Webster, 2003