Discussions with experts on the wider overhaul are expected to take place over
the next two months before new draft prosecutors’ guidelines for England and
Wales are issued early in the summer ahead of a final consultation.
“What we need to ensure is that the investigation and prosecution is as
thorough as it should be in these cases, but fair to both sides,” Mr Starmer
He said the guidelines would also need to make clear precisely what detectives
investigating claims by more than one child against a suspect could disclose
to one alleged victim about what the other was saying.
It was disclosed earlier this year that in a series of claims involving
Savile, police had failed to tell victims that other young women had made
sexual abuse allegations.
The women said they would have been prepared to give evidence if they had
known about other victims. Mr Starmer has apologised over missed chances to
prosecute the late TV presenter.
Other reforms could include allowing experts to help determine whether cases
should go ahead so that such decisions are not “solely for the police and
prosecutors to determine”, he added.
There also needed to be more care about assessing the credibility of alleged
Investigators may be told they should also assess the account by the suspect
and the context of allegations and patterns of behaviour before walking away
from a case.
Mr Starmer said a “watershed moment” had been reached in how child sex abuse
cases were addressed.
“Many victims still don’t have confidence to come forward and confidence in
the criminal justice system.”
The Crown Prosecution Service had been “overcautious” in its approach to
allegations against Savile, Mr Starmer added.
Ten years ago police and prosecutors had been seen as “overenthusiastic” about
pursuing such cases but now the pendulum had swung the other way.
“I don’t think we can go on like this,” Mr Starmer said. “It needs to settle
in a place that is fair to innocent suspects but equally, fair to victims.”
The DPP is expected to set out the policy in a speech later, warning that the
number of victims of such abuse “may be considerably higher than previously
thought”, according to The Times.
He will say: “We cannot afford another Savile in five or ten years’ time.
“Events over the last 12 months raise fundamental questions about the way in
which we investigate and prosecute sexual offences, particularly involving
children, in England and Wales.”
Hundreds of dropped sex abuses to be reviewed amid prosecution overhaul – Telegraph.co.uk
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