Saturday, 16 August 2014

Petition - a small update

Up to date petition is here - the petition - newly created on so that more people can sign, it isn't restricted to UK people, and (as far as I know) each signature will generate an e-mail to MoJ.
Please get signing & sharing.
Obviously I am not relying purely on a petition to highlight and to try to change this, I have also contacted various UK media a few times, however unfortunately they too seem disinterested in this as a story. There have been a couple of smaller regional papers who I have spoken to who have been interested in taking this up, however only if there were "local victims of this injustice in their area". Back to the drawing board then.
There are 17 MPs in "Sarah's" county, and they have all been e-mailed together with CPS.
Not one has replied.
Not surprisingly, the CPS could not assist me either. Their reply (at least I got one out of the 18 sent), partly reproduced below, passed the onus squarely onto MoJ, (which does make sense I suppose).
"It may assist if I explain the role of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  The CPS is responsible for reviewing and, where appropriate, prosecuting most criminal cases in England and Wales following an investigation by the police. 
I note that your query relates to the SOA 1956 and the sentencing guidelines.  These fall within the remit of the Ministry of Justice, who would be best placed to answer your concerns"
So MoJ, what of them? Obviously I have contacted them as well. Amongst the questions I have asked them are these below:

1) When these guidelines were drawn up, how was this timescale thought up?
2) Who in particular decided that this should be added as a clause to the sentencing guidelines?
3) Who benefits from this 12 month timescale (certainly not any victim of this crime)
4) How can this be taken forward for "Sarah" and any future victims so that they can get justice and closure to their abuse?
Their response to me has answered none of these questions, and has in a nutshell said "tough shit, nothing we are going to do". Part of their response is detailed below:
"I regret I am unable to comment on individual cases such as the one you highlighted in your e-mail. However, I can confirm that we have no plans to retrospectively amend the criminal law enabling a prosecution to be brought in a case that pre-dates the commencement of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for the offence of intercourse with a girl between the age of thirteen and sixteen (under section 6 of the Sexual Offences Act 1956) where the allegation was made more than twelve months after the offence charged. 
The general legal position in English law is that a person can only be guilty of a criminal offence according to the law as it was at the time when the offence was committed.  Article 7(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights also prohibits the retroactive application of criminal offences so as to penalise conduct which was not criminal conduct at the time when the act or omission occurred. This prohibits not only the creation of retroactive offences by legislation but also the retroactive application of offences through development of the common law." 
So there we have it. Not going to give up on this, for "Sarah", for any other victims who are in the same situation, or for any more cases which come up in the future, however the options I have to challenge this are dwindling away. There must be something that can be done? I will need to have a rethink on what to do next, and keep sharing the petition & "Sarah's" story & hope to get somewhere near to the required amount of signatures.
Hopefully readers in the UK and CI's that have read my previous post have already signed this. If not, the link is HERE
Thank you very much.


  1. My name is Colin J Smart See me on Twitter. Unfortunately you have been provided with an accurate statement of the position as I understand it. This is were the proposed People's Tribunal could prove of importace because its aim, as yet to eb determined could be to provide all victims of physical and sexual violence as well as situations were children young people or vulnerable adults were exploited with the opportunity to air in the form of a written record, some published anonymously some given the opportunity to testify of their experience and the subsequent impact on their lives as well as the failure of the justice system

    1. Hi Colin & thanks for the comment. I sincerely hope that the People's Tribunal is forthcoming, and as well as giving all victims a voice and a chance of justice, I hope that loopholes like this can also be aired and sorted - it is very much needed.

  2. richard - i have signed the petition though i have reservations about using a government site.
    as im sure do many others.
    good luck with all you are doing - i am supportive and please think about using other petition sites.

  3. Hi Ray and thank you for signing. The only reason I started the petition on this site (am not a fan of petitions normally), is that this was the one I found that could have an impact. After 10,000 sigs (if I get that far), I get an official response from MoJ on the petition, and after 100,000 it is eligible for debate in House of Commons. Fingers crossed