Quite a lot, if it’s your good name that we’re talking about.
Not so much, I suspect, if it’s the name of someone you’ve never met, and are never likely to meet; some wealthy git, who’s had life easy – I don’t know, let’s hit on Max Clifford – no one likes him, deserves everything he gets, right? Besides which, didn’t the papers say he was a nonce? Why on earth should you care about his good name, eh? In fact, why even bother to read this article? It’s obviously written by someone with an ‘agenda’, ‘cos she hasn’t started by saying that Clifford was arrested by the ‘Savile Police’. Well, that’s as good as guilty isn’t it?
On the other hand, you might stick around for a paragraph or two, just to reinforce your prejudices – so read on MacDuff….
Now, I’m not suggesting for one moment that those of you on your second marriage might ever p*ss off that sullen step-daughter so badly that she decides to allege you grabbed her left breast on your way past on the stairs, nor that those giggling schoolgirls who asked for a fag whilst you were installing double glazing in the gym might get their own back for your callous refusal by claiming you put your hand up their skirt – you’re not like these rich celebrities arrested by the Savile Police, are you – for a start you’re not a nonce! You’re just an ordinary bloke going about your business. None of this has got anything to do with you!
Except it has.
Because now that we have established that a simple allegation from a couple of those schoolgirls is enough to see you arrested and named and shamed in your local newspaper, and since you are not a nonce and it’s all a bloody joke innit, you might be quite interested in clearing your good name. I mean, you’ll want to go back to work when it’s all over, you won’t want the neighbours out front chanting ‘paedo, paedo‘ will you?
Then you might get a shock. Not in terms of ‘proving you didn’t do it’, ‘cos you know you didn’t, you’ve got mates who were there at the time who’ll give evidence, you’ll get a decent brief, and he’ll sort it out – on legal aid of course, ‘cos it’s a criminal matter and you’re just an ordinary working bloke yeah? Not some sort of celebrity with pots of money.
Not so fast, Sunshine!
You’ll want some sort of barrister who’s used to these sort of cases, won’t you. Not the sort of guy who goes round county courts getting people thrown out of their houses ‘cos they haven’t paid their mortgage, but the sort of guy who’s had long experience of what they call ‘historic abuse cases’, step-daughters who decided to ‘get even’ with you seven years later.
You do have around a quarter of a million pounds sitting around in the bank don’t you? No, I’m not being silly – this is why I told you to read on MacDuff….
After the 2nd of December, which is all of 23 days away now, those experienced barrister used to complicated cases won’t be taking them on Legal Aid any longer – not even if the case has already started and they’ve been preparing it for months will they go on working after that date…..
The Government has decided to cut their fees by 30%, which you might even have thought was a good thing at the time – ‘smarmy gits, they get paid far too much anyway’, you said.
So unless you have that quarter million to pay them, (and you can’t just make up the 30% difference, it’s like the NHS, you are either private or public funded) which is about average for fees on a complicated case, they won’t be working for you. You will be going to court with an inexperienced young barrister who was prepared to take that fee cut, or the alcoholic misfit on his third chambers who’ll take any case for the money – and if that’s fine by you, well, OK then.
That does mean that you won’t have a decent solicitor either though, because no good solicitor is going to take on clients that can only afford cut rate barristers to defend them – that way lies bankruptcy.
You could sell your house, if you have one – but where are you going to live then – you don’t get the money back when you are found innocent.
My advice would be make absolutely sure you never, ever, upset the step-daughter; give those schoolgirls everything they ask for; if you run a kebab shop – hand out free kebabs to any and every female – you literally cannot afford to upset any of them any longer, not unless you are a rich celebrity.
Because if you are just an ordinary man, and you want to clear your name because you’re not a ‘nonce’ – then I don’t see how you are going to be able to. This is no idle threat – I’m getting reports of case papers being returned to clients as we speak….