Age limit on dating
The sentence is often small as the sentence has to reflect the law in force at the time but the payout to the ‘victim’ is often in the tens of thousands of pounds.Even David Cameron and his predecessors have admitted that up to 10% of those in jail for what would be very serious offences could very well be innocent. They are quick to tell us that, “No system is perfect.” Only this last week, local councils have been complaining that so called ‘victims’ of abuse from many years ago have started various legal actions for what supposedly happened to them in their past, often 20, 30 or even 40 years ago when they were in care.Because there is no Statute of Limitations the police investigate as if the alleged offence was committed yesterday, the whole ‘child protection’ machine rolls into action and the defendant – if one dare use the term – can do nothing because the only evidence is ‘here-say’ and uncorroborated but, thanks to a ruling by naive Law Lords years ago, can not only be admitted into court but often provides the backbone of the prosecution case.The accused then has to (rather than the prosecution having to prove that he is guilty) as indeed does any defendant nowadays charged with child abuse.The difference is that there very often is no evidence on either side – yet juries still almost always convict in historic cases as they are fearful of doing otherwise.The point is though that Britain has and this is seen by many to be totally unjust.It is also true that one very rarely hears about ‘historic’ violent crimes.This is precisely why so many countries have a Statute of Limitations.
Any hint of reform in this are brings howls of pain and anguish from the NSPCC, Childline and all the other financially interested parties.
Yes, The Opinion has made this point before but equally, nothing is ever done about the injustice of the situation or about the fact that many innocent men have been locked up for years.
Furthermore, the injustice of this situation is compounded by the fact that in such ‘historic’ cases of alleged rape or abuse, unless there is DNA, photographic or indisputable forensic evidence, there is very often nothing, other than the word of the alleged victim, on which to base a judgement of innocence or guilt.
Given that where alleged child victims are concerned, juries convict in 95% of all cases, there is little hope of mounting any kind of effective defence when the period of time since any alleged offence being committed is so long.
The limitation periods for other countries for this type of offence vary and they are often on a ‘sliding scale’ to take account of the age of the alleged victim or have exclusion or inclusion clauses built in.
The average limitation period across the EU is about 12 years from the date of the alleged offence with a maximum of 20 years if the alleged victim was under age at the time or if violence was supposedly involved.