Sunday, April 19, 2015

Now journalists in the dock are trusted more than CPS prosecutors

The mood music here is frankly unnerving, Schubert and Stockhausen mixed. On the one hand, Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, decides that Lord Janner is too lost in dementia to be brought to trial. His alleged victims, a legion of young boys assembled over decades, vigorously disagree. So, with unusual vehemence, do the Leicestershire police, which have been investigating the former Labour MP for years. So does the designated CPS lead lawyer in a case that will now never be held. For the DPP – her call, her decision – has made her ruling.

On the other hand, Ms Saunders’s rulings can seem flawed and frail. Her CPS has pursued journalists from the Sun and Mirror over past payments (for stories) to public officials. Four more saw not guilty verdicts recorded last week. Another nine were told they have no case to answer. Alison Saunders has been relying on a wizened segment of common law – misconduct in public office – to make her charges stick. The law itself, on appeal, has ruled her wrong. It is a fiasco and one, naturally, that journalists celebrate.

But now the mood music begins to grate, for there’s a curious symmetry to register. One curse of the paedophile scandal – from Savile to Cyril Smith to the great and bad doings in Dolphin Square – is the festering suspicion of establishment cover-ups. People high up the decision-making chain knew something foul was happening, but averted their eyes. The victims were kids without power; the perpetrators had power to spare.  (more...)

Stories that were lost:

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