There have now been a number of celebrity trials involving rape, sexual abuse and sex assaults, involving accusations about events many years ago. Following acquittals, there has been a raft of criticism that charges had been preceded with, and such matters put before the Courts. This is a disingenuous denigration of the process of our criminal law.
If the England & Wales Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after review of police evidence against an accused, consider that there is a case to answer, a realistic chance of conviction, and it is in the public interest, then the charged go to trial and a jury is left to decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty of a criminal offence. It is the role of the jury in each case to determine if the evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, warrants a conviction. The appropriate authorities always follow this legal course of action, and have done so in the cases referred to.
The one person who has been found guilty of such public charges is the deceased Jimmy Savile – but he is the one in particular who has not been subjected to our criminal law process, nor ever been dealt with by the Courts. Savile has been found guilty of major crimes committed over many decades, by the media and by committee. It begs the question as to whether Savile would have been found guilty if he had been tried when alive in a criminal Court? If evidence of his alleged vile behaviour is ever heard in a Court of Law, it will only be in a civil action when different rules on proof applies – so we will never know the answer to the question unfortunately.
[Worldwide, victims of crime must be confident that any criminal system will hold attackers to account, however historic the events. When the accused are acquitted, it leaves the accusers devastated, but that is a price that has to be paid in a transparent justice system].