THE SHE-WOLF THAT CRIED

Compared to the far more discreet coverage sexual assault cases once received within mainstream media – with the sole exception being those served-up as sensationalist scraps in the shock-horror Sunday tabloids – the change in recent years, one that has both facilitated and supported the confessional strain of daytime television, has undoubtedly been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has enabled women who previously would have suffered in silence to open up about their grim experiences and to achieve long-overdue justice as a consequence; on the other, it has gifted publicity-seeking narcissists with an opportunity to spin extremely damaging yarns that, in a culture whereby every woman is now believed and every man is disbelieved, has the proven potential to ruin lives and forever brand the innocent as guilty.

Because the lopsided coverage within the media has been dictated and exploited by the extreme wing of the women’s movement and its spokeswomen in a position of power (such as the loathsome Vera Baird), an undisputed narrative has been established. In this narrative, all men are rabid sex-maniacs and all women are wilting Victorian wallflowers forever at the mercy of these marauding molesters. A dangerous climate has been fostered and encouraged that was bound to give rise to the inevitable serial liar; and it comes as a considerable relief that one such despicable character has finally received her just desserts at last.

25-year-old Jemma Beale accused no less than fifteen men of raping or sexually assaulting her over a period of three years – and every time she made her utterly false allegations she was believed on each occasion without dispute because the police forces in this country have been instructed to accept an accuser’s word as gospel at the expense of evidence. Beale said she was seriously sexually assaulted by six different men and raped by a further nine. Her lies resulted in the wrongful conviction of one man and led to another fleeing the country, but a couple of days ago at Southwark Crown Court – ironically the venue for numerous high-profile trials re ‘historical sex crimes’ – Beale was found guilty of four counts of perjury and four counts of perverting the cause of justice.

Beale claims to be a lesbian – a good career move from the perspective of her allegations – and first made herself known to the police when she accused Mahad Cassim of raping her when he gave her a lift home. Cassim was found guilty in 2010 and sentenced to seven years; during his trial, Beale said ‘I feel that any sentence he receives will never reflect the life sentence that he gave me’, a statement straight out of the approved Victims’ Handbook; for her pains, Beale received compensation payments upwards of £11,000. However, an ex-girlfriend of Beale cast doubt upon Beale’s claims in 2013, provoking the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command (bit of a mouthful) to launch an investigation into the multiple allegations Beale had made.

Beale had also alleged she’d been gang-raped by a group of men in a car-park, an allegation that was undergoing a separate investigation at the time the SOECA decided to look into the Cassim case. It soon became evident – albeit belatedly – that Beale’s accusations bore a remarkable similarity to one another and boasted virtually identical discrepancies that should have been obvious before Mahad Cassim was even tried; but in the current climate, it’s no great surprise they weren’t. Mercifully, Cassim’s conviction was quashed on appeal in 2015. By then, Beale herself had already been arrested as suspicions grew around the accuracy of her allegations.

At Southwark Crown Court two days ago, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith referenced Beale’s ‘attention seeking’ and it comes as something of a surreal relief to hear a police officer openly discussing the lies of a false allegator. The copper in charge of the investigation into Beale’s bullshit, Detective Sergeant Kevin Lynott, said ‘Beale is responsible for fabricating a series of extremely serious allegations…her manipulation of the criminal justice system has caused police to direct serious amounts of resource into investigating her bogus complaints as well as her own offending. She has also significantly impacted on the NHS as a result of her complaints and used up many other limited resources that are relied upon by genuine survivors. Not only that, but then she went on to give false testimony at court, which resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of a completely innocent man.’

Lynott added ‘Beale has been exposed as a serial liar and I can only think that she was motivated partly by financial reward, but mainly the attention and control over her partners and family at the time she made the allegations. The impact on those she falsely accused had been devastating. However, hopefully the outcome now fully exonerates all the men she accused of such heinous crimes.’

Jemma Beale is hardly unique, but the verdict of her trial is certainly that; it has brought to the attention of both the judiciary and the wider public the dangers of introducing a system that predetermines the guilt or innocence of both accused and accuser and has offered financial and moral incentives for Victims whilst condemning the targeted to years behind bars, whether or not they did the deed. One can only hope her case sets a precedent, but I suspect the law has been distorted to such an extent that any cases in a similar vein will be few and far between in the future. Too many parties have a vested interest in the opposite outcome to make them commonplace.

© The Editor