So often, what you are not told in court cases proves more interesting than what you are told.
Down in deepest Ceredigion, where the Teifi and the Dulas merge in a damp and noisy embrace, sits Lampeter. It has long been a refuge for those, who, how shall we say, wish to live an alternative lifestyle. It is cheap, and they are used to people smelling of goats rather than Chanel No 5. Just as well, since there are rather a lot of ladies who live with other ladies and prefer mating goats and wearing elderly second hand Peruvian sweaters. Inevitably, there is not a lot of money around.
There it was that Ms ‘X’ chose to rear her son. As her son grew into a fine young 15 year old – but still a child, he became aware of two things. Other people ate MacDonalds, and Chicken Nuggets, and Kebabs and everything; and there was a new wave of understanding for victims of child abuse. ‘They will be believed’. It was a turning point in his life.
So it was that he reported his Mother to Social Services. ‘Why, she feeds me nothing but oats and carrots’, he said. ‘Nooo’, cried Social Services, ‘that is horrific’. ‘And she makes me sleep on the floor’.
We can presume from the ensuing court case, that neither Social Services nor the Police ever set foot in the house to check what food might be in the cupboards, or whether there were indeed beds available. Why should they? Every allegation must be taken seriously these days, a ‘child’ has spoken.
And so they arranged for kindly foster parents to care for the boy, at taxpayer expense. They hired lawyers and wrote reports, and eventually turned up at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court in January where the angry Mum declined to enter a plea for herself, and so they played fair and entered a ‘not-guilty’ plea. The magistrates at Aberystwyth decided that this was far too serious a case for them to hear, and so they sent the case for trial at Swansea Crown Court.
Crown Court meant that Barrister had to be hired for both sides, and this was duly arranged. Six months later, after more reports, and case conferences, the great day arrived. Mum turned up in the regulation Lampeter sweater – and no shoes.
The boy turned up, along with the regulation social workers and ‘victim support’ and all the paraphernalia required to ensure that a child felt free to speak in the intimidating atmosphere of the mighty judicial system, and was invited to tell the court of the horrors of being fed carrots and oats. Was it just the once? Every Day? Were they broke that week?
What was interesting is that the Crown had no other evidence to put forward. Not a social services report on the house, nor a report on the Mother. No investigation. Nothing. Just the ‘child’s allegation’.
So they had no choice other than to tell the woman she was free to leave the court. We will never know whether a genuine child abuser walked barefoot from court that day – because such is the strength of the ‘You will be believed’ mantra, we don’t investigate any longer. We just believe them.
As far as I know, the boy with the pristine colon and exceptional eyesight returned to his foster parents for a slap up supper…