Cliff Richard has waited 636 days to hear any substantive news regarding the allegations made against him. Almost two years. He now has to wait many months to hear whether the crown prosecution service think it is ‘in the public interest’ to air those allegations in court – should they decide to do so, it will be anything up to 18 months before a trial date is set for crown court.
For the best part of five years, this elderly man has endured a torrent of world-wide publicity linking his name with child abuse, dating back to the days when the now discredited Chris Fay first publicised his list of names and pseudonyms of alleged visitors to the gay ‘brothel’ – Elm Guest House.
The ‘acne-boys’, those Witherspoon backroom exponents of ‘the truth’ as they, and they alone know it, went into full-on inquisitorial mode. ‘Cliff Richard was emphatically the ‘Kitty’ referred to in that list’, the only reason the media were blocking this information was a combination of ‘super-injunctions and D-notices’, not to mention the involvement of MI5, chemtrails, and anything you care to mention connected to the Pope.
Cliff very wisely made the decision that anything he said or did during this period would merely fan the flames – and lead to more accusations of ‘cover-up’. He restricted himself to a dignified statement:
I have no idea where these absurd and untrue allegations come from. The police have not disclosed details to me. I have never, in my life, assaulted anyone and I remain confident that the truth will prevail. I have cooperated fully with the police, and will, of course, continue to do so.
Beyond stating that the allegations are completely false, it would not be appropriate for me to say anything further until the investigation has concluded, which I hope will be very soon. In the meantime, I would, again, like to thank everyone for supporting me through this unbelievably difficult period.
That was February 2015, after the widely publicised raid on one of his homes. In November, journalists claiming to have inside information said the file was ready to be handed to the CPS ‘in two weeks’. 17 months later he is still waiting. There has been much comment that this version of ‘reality TV’ is the fault of the police, and in particular the South Yorkshire police. South Yorkshire police made their publication of information terms and conditions very clear at the time.
The one thing they cannot avoid doing, and rightly so, is advising the putative complainant of the details of the ongoing investigation. At this point, they lose control of the information. Where that complainant is being ‘advised and supported’ by one of the media ghouls, such as the dyslexic Mark Williams-Thomas, who cannot even spell the name of the investigation he is so closely involved with:
You have a direct link to a media hungry for gossip and scandal.
We have the ridiculous situation of the police so keen to protect victim’s identities that they pixellate the image of rustled sheep; whereas the lay advisors of anyone making an allegation conduct their own trial by media.
This in turn is forming a secondary judicial system which is not bound by the rules of fair trial, nor the presumption of innocence, nor is most of it even worth suing over the libellous and scurrilous ‘truths’ they claim to possess.
Whatever the outcome of the crown prosecution’s deliberations – Cliff Richard has already been tried in the public imagination. Yet it will be the best part of four stressful years before the prosecution have finished outlining the gory details of his sexual life to a slavering media; four years before the media up sticks, clutching the juiciest bits of the prosecution evidence, and depart without bothering to listen to the witnesses who we haven’t heard from yet – those who were present at the well attended Billy Graham rally where it is alleged that he ‘groped’ a boy. Their evidence of ‘nothing happened’, ‘he was never alone’ and ‘I was by his side all the time’, won’t be considered newsworthy – whatever a jury may make of it.
Should such a case come to court and dismissed – and Sir Cliff has not even been charged as yet – indeed, should he never be charged, there will be loud shouts of ‘cover up’ from the acne-boys.
Can we possibly say that should a boy have been groped in public – justice is in any way served, or ‘closure’ obtained, by denigrating a six decade long career and forever tagging it with the ‘child abuse toxin’ on the basis of one young man’s word, supported by a media ghoul who earns his living by fomenting child abuse panic?
Would it not be possible to legislate so that information passed to a putative complainant in such a case comes under the heading of ‘privileged’ and subject to contempt of court proceedings? I don’t argue with the good intentions of keeping a possible ‘victim’ informed about an ongoing investigation – but it seems quite wrong that this information can then be freely passed around the alternative media where it is treated as ‘the gospel truth’.
The ‘media ghouls’ and ‘truth fiddlers’ have been allowed to run wild for long enough – time to see them on the back hoof with strict penalties for revealing details of ongoing investigations.