The rolling stock on the Yewtree branch line hits the buffers again. Dave Lee Travis found not guilty on 12 of the 14 charges in respect of the 11 women – including a 15 year old girl (mustn’t forget the 15 year old girl, for she is the only reason the new moral guardians were ever interested, a chance to work the word paedophilia into their headlines, however inaccurately).
There will be an outcry, naturally; those who support this modern day witch-hunt will point to the jury asking for direction on the issue of whether if they ‘believed a witness’ did they have to bring in a guilty verdict.
The airwaves will be groaning exponentially with every moment as the #Ibelieveher sisters, and their token male counterparts wail in disbelief: Mark Williams-Thomas ‘surprised at the verdicts’ – you have to wonder just why a man who is ostensibly interested in child protection should have routinely sat in the Travis court room day after day, since this was a case essentially about adult behaviour – especially during the four days when the jury was out and it must have been monumentally boring for anyone whose entire life and career were not hanging in the balance. Maybe DLT was not the only person whose entire career was hanging in the balance.
Had a guilty verdict come in, there would have been just as much of an outcry by those who felt that, even assuming the allegations had any vestige of truth in them, that they didn’t amount to anything that should have been considered a criminal offence. Therein lies the rub. It is true that any pat on the bottom, if done with sexual intent can, in law, amount to an offence – whether it should do would have been the burning question in the event of a guilty verdict.
Those who disagree with this verdict on the grounds that they ‘believe’ the evidence of the women forget one vital thing. One of the essential qualities of a jury is that it distils the opposing voices that shriek on social media into just 12 randomly selected persons. It is the majority opinion of those 12 persons that count.
Nobody, not even a judge, can direct a jury to find a man guilty if they don’t want to. That is an aspect of the jury system that is often overlooked. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that an offence has been technically committed – they can register their opinion that charges should never have been laid by bringing in a ‘not guilty’ verdict. We can never know what their reasoning has been.
In past years they have brought in such ‘obstinate’ verdicts when, for instance, a penniless woman with seven children to feed, has been shown comprehensively to have stolen a loaf of bread.
Those who crow tonight that ‘the women have been proven to be liars’, are as wrong as those who would have been triumphant if a guilty verdict had been reached. Neither side will ever be party to the discussion in the jury room.
It is entirely possible that this verdict is an indictment of the Crown Prosecution Service trying to use the judicial system to further modern day feminism.
Which is something the CPS need to consider carefully before deciding whether to demand a retrial of Dave Lee Travis on the remaining two charges.