THE PRESUMPTION OF GUILT

‘It was one of those immensely rare and exceptional cases where the decision to prosecute and thereafter to continue the prosecution was an unnecessary or improper act.’ So spoke His Honour Judge Martin Edmunds in his official verdict of a case he tried in which a jury cleared a deputy headmaster of raping a 14-year-old female pupil; he came to his conclusion in a written costs ruling that was published in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday. It’s hard to read the passage quoted without wondering where Judge Edmunds has been lately. ‘Immensely rare and exceptional’? Really? With an estimated half of cases brought before Crown Courts in England and Wales today being ‘sex cases’, the case His Honour commented upon seems a microcosm of everything that is wrong with the legal system and the insidious organisation spearheading its abuse known as the Crown Prosecution Service.

If just one case was to be selected as representative of the corruption of the Law and the way in which it is enacted today, the sad story of Kato Harris appears to have it all. And at the dark heart of this sorry saga that left the career and reputation of an innocent man in tatters are (yet again) the toxic twins responsible for a growing trail of injustice and misery that has served to obliterate any lingering shreds of faith in this country’s upholders of fair play – the CPS and the Metropolitan Police Force.

The 35-year-old deputy head of the fee-paying St George’s School in Ascot, Kato Harris was regarded as an inspirational teacher and a popular one; however, his rapid rise through the ranks ground to a horrific halt when a girl he’d never even taught at his previous school accused him of raping her on three separate occasions. Adhering to the ‘she who must be believed’ edict issued to all police forces where sexual offence accusations are concerned, the boys in blue demonstrated their noted subtlety by turning up at Mr Harris’ school and bundling him away in full view of bemused pupils.

What followed over the next year-and-a-half was a nightmarish ordeal for Kato Harris familiar to hundreds of men in this country who have been at the mercy of a legal system that has overturned the ‘innocent till proven guilty’ foundation stone upon which English Law was built. Never imagining he’d actually be charged, the moment he was, Mr Harris’ world collapsed. Suspended from work, barred from his local church and cricket team, publicly named and shamed whilst his accuser enjoyed the luxury of anonymity, Kato Harris became an overnight outcast in the community he had been a prominent member of.

According to a teacher at her school, Mr Harris’ accuser (whose parents used to fly her to New York for weekly therapy) was engaged in a competition with a friend as to who could concoct the most audacious story, and it would seem the name of Kato Harris was plucked out of thin air with the nonchalance of a retired footballer extracting balls from the bag during the draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup. What gave her story clout, despite the inaccuracies in her flimsy evidence, were the deep pockets of her parents, who hired Sue Akers, ex-Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard and now working as a private detective. She was recruited via a legal firm known as Mishcon de Reya, along with her partner-in-crime Alison Levitt, who just happened to be a former legal adviser to the CPS.

Sue Akers played her part in the CPS’s decision to prosecute by renewing old contacts at the Met, supplying Scotland Yard detectives with a list of tasks that could secure a conviction. Working in tandem with Levitt, she recommended they contact all of Mr Harris’ former pupils and that they seize his computer for incriminating evidence (none was found); the relentless pressure from Akers and Levitt even annoyed senior detectives working on the case who were well aware of the gaping holes in the accuser’s tall tale; but they carried on lobbying.

When bombarding the CPS and Met with emails, Alison Levitt tellingly stooped to one including a statement from personality-free Labour MP Keir Starmer, her former mentor, who highlighted Levitt’s ‘findings’ in the DPP report into Jimmy Savile. If ever proof were needed to underline Ms Levitt’s chilling agenda, this email had it in spades. Yet, still the case went to trial.

Kato Harris was cleared of the charges by a jury in the space of fifteen minutes. Despite this, St George’s School declined to resume his employment there. He is currently unemployed and is understandably reluctant to return to teaching in any capacity; why would any man even enter the profession anymore? Judge Edmunds ruled that the CPS decision to prosecute was an ‘improper act’ and that they should now pay Mr Harris’ legal fees, though they have offered a paltry amount so far. The Met, meanwhile, claim that an independent review of their actions by the Greater Manchester Police said no evidence was found that the accuser’s representatives ‘were inappropriately given any physical access to information concerning the investigation’.

An innocent man on the scrapheap, branded for life and unwilling to re-enter the profession he was apparently extremely good at; a narcissistic fantasist endorsed by wealthy parents and a despicable law firm; legal reforms that encourage such malicious vendettas; the CPS and the Met once more joining forces on an immoral crusade to appease victims lobbyists without a care for those trampled underfoot – none of these factors are unique in 2017.

Kato Harris may not feel it, but he is a lucky man. He’s not behind bars for something he didn’t do. In the current climate, that in itself is a triumph. The easiest way to ruin anyone today is to simply point the finger and shout ‘Paedo!’ Job done.

© The Editor

https://www.epubli.co.uk/shop/buch/48495#beschreibung

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6 thoughts on “THE PRESUMPTION OF GUILT

  1. “He’s not behind bars for something he didn’t do. In the current climate, that in itself is a triumph. The easiest way to ruin anyone today is to simply point the finger and shout ‘Paedo!’ Job done.”

    I have not read up on the specifics of this case, but it strikes me that this cuts both ways. What I am trying to say is that in the relatively recent past, if a pupil made an accusation against a teacher, it would have been treated with responses along the lines of “he’s causing trouble again!” , “that boy/girl was always difficult”, “he is acting up and telling lies to get attention”, etc.

    I suppose what I am trying to suggest is that the pendulum swings. In my view, currently, it has swung too far in the ‘always believe the accuser’ direction. But in the relatively recent past, it was massively overly favourable to the child abuser in a position of power.

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      1. Is repeating the old tropes about the past situation being ‘favourable to the child abuser’, and ‘from one extreme to the other’ not falling into the trap of accepting that there were indeed huge humbers of child abusers who got away with it and, by implication, that there are likely to be huge numbers of potential child abusers out there now, and they would all still be at it if we hadn’t changed our attitudes?

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  2. @tdf & victoria, I think you’ve both noted the exaggerated claims made about historical sexual abuse. Yet, as far as I’m aware, the only serious evidence we have, for many abusers getting away with it in the past, is the impressive number of ‘successful’ prosecutions for HSA.

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    1. To me, it’s the perception that there are thousands or even millions of abusers out there now, whereas previously the perception was that they certainly existed, but their numbers were relatively small. I personally feel the previous perception was probably closer to the reality. The awareness of ‘them’, as reflected in public information films of the 70s, was perhaps more measured in the past.

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      1. “….I personally feel the previous perception was probably closer to the reality.”

        So do I. Very much so. Had abuse been as prevalent when my sister and I were children as it is felt to be now, our parents would never have allowed us the freedom we enjoyed to roam the streets and the commons on our own.

        Liked by 1 person

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