There’s something to be said for a statute of limitations

Two members of 1960s pop group The Tremeloes, aged 70 and 72, are accused of sexually assaulting a fan, 15, after a concert in Chester in 1968

Anyone think we can have a fair trial, with no physical evidence, on something that occurred or did not occur 47 years ago? He, he says versus she says?

And if we can’t have a fair trial should we be having one at all?

This is one of those things the American cousins have got right, in principle at least if not entirely in every operation detail. After a certain period of time, varying by place and by crime, it won’t be possible to try someone fairly: thus there can be no charges.

44 comments on “There’s something to be said for a statute of limitations

  1. This is one of those things the American cousins have got right, in principle at least if not entirely in every operation detail.

    The statute of limitations is a feature of the common law. I don’t think the Americans thought it up on their own. I think it was part of their English heritage.

    What Britain is noted for is not applying it to most sex crimes. But then the US does not apply it to most “heinious” crimes whatever they are.

    This is just the latest absurdity. So someone put a hand where it was not supposed to go. Back in 1968. As if anyone could remember. They wouldn’t be treated this way if they had murdered her.

  2. “…after attending a pop concert in the city, sometime between April 1 and April 30, 1968.”

    She can narrow it down to a month…?!?

  3. put me on a jury for that, and I’ll explain the concept of nullification to my fellow jurors.

    Really, what’s the public interest for this trial? It’s like locking up junior Auschwitz bureaucrats in their 80s. What’s the deterrent effect of locking people up when they’ve stopped working, stopped breeding and are spending most of their day in a comfy chair watching Countdown and will probably go into a prison and do the same?

  4. “. They wouldn’t be treated this way if they had murdered her.”

    Someone clearly is a legal expert. Tell us, how would they be treated if they had murdered her?

  5. If they had murdered her and there were no witnesses and no physical evidence, it would be thrown out.

  6. But having groped a likely horny and willing girl within months to days of the AOC long ago enough for said girl to now have grandchildren is a crime far worse than murder. Worse than witchcraft, even.

  7. It is just more Yewtree inspired femmi-shite.

    No doubt a BRITISH COURT under a BRITISH JUDGE will dispense its usual God-like equity without the slightest taint of demented witch-hunt bullshit.

    No doubt.

  8. Ironman – “Tell us, how would they be treated if they had murdered her?”

    They would be having fawning books written about them and their innocence by idiotic Social Justice Warriors like you and Ludo Kennedy as well as editorials in the Guardian.

    How is Mumia these days?

  9. When someone said this witch hunt was actually worse than Stalin’s Show Trials I think they were not far off the money. However, you have to realise the police have their own self-interest at stake as well – why spend time and resources fruitlessly following real crimes like burglary and assault when you can shell out on pursue septuagenarian and octogenarian ‘celebrities’ for crimes allegedly committed more than four decades ago? You might even get your picture on the telly so it has to be a winner?

  10. So, more insanity then from another therapy victim. What more can be said that hasn’t already been said? Not a significant crime, with no possibility of good evidence or a fair trial, to be judged not by the standards of the time but the standards of today, which violates every principle of justice.

    And so on.

  11. What a society – we handed out letters to IRA terrorists promising them immunity from prosecution if evidence of a past murder from 1998 turned up, but God help you if you allegedly patted a girl on the arse in 1968.

    WE ARE COMING FOR YOU, YOU BASTARD!

    What others said: the combination of political ‘relevance’, publicity and easy targets (elderly non violent pop stars) makes these cases catnip for the cops.

  12. By the way Tim, the reason for statutes of limitations is not just that a fair trial becomes more difficult but also that

    (a) It is not reasonable for somebody to face trial decades after an offence unless that offence is very serious, such as murder

    (b) More importantly- and very visible in this example- because the standards of a society change over time, and thus the person cannot be tried under the same conditions under which they committed the offence; even if the law is the same or similar on the statute book, the interpretation will be greatly different. Just being gay at all was “gross indecency” fifty years ago, for instance.

    If this trial were to occur under the same social conditions as at the time of the alleged offence, it would require a defence lawyer tearing the girl to shreds for being a groupie whose behaviour was an incitement. Whether you consider that right or wrong is not the point, it is that that is the conditions under which all parties would have considered their actions at the time.

  13. “If this trial were to occur under the same social conditions as at the time of the alleged offence, it would require a defence lawyer tearing the girl to shreds for being a groupie whose behaviour was an incitement. ”

    Quite a brave lawyer then, one with a private income who doesn’t mind having the windows of his house smashed in by SJW ‘activists’ “expressing their anger”.

  14. If this trial were to occur under the same social conditions as at the time of the alleged offence, it would require a defence lawyer tearing the girl to shreds for being a groupie whose behaviour was an incitement.

    It would certainly hinge on the moral character of a girl who was underage yet allowed out to a concert without supervision, and questions asked as to WTF the parents were doing.

  15. Tim, not so much about the going to the concert, as to why she didn’t just watch the band then go home, but instead was in their company after the gig.

  16. I note the totally irrelevant fact that she has just got to pensionable age and perhaps realised that the state pension doesn’t go very far these days.

  17. Mad. Worth bearing in mind that any man who had entirely consensual sexual relations with a woman at any point in the past is also equally open to arrest. Once the idea gets around that you can get back on the bloke who dumped you thirty years ago by claiming he raped you there’ll be an avalanche of such claims.

    @abacab – good work, the bloke’s a wrong un.

  18. @ Alex
    You need to put quotation marks around “there”.
    I can remember quite a lot of stuff from the ’60s.

  19. There is a *lot* to be said for a statute of limitations, primarily the difficulty of having a fair trial after so many years have elapsed during which potential witnesses have died or forgotten the events. One of The Tremeloes is dead and cannot testify for the defence.
    It also means that we only have to keep receipts for seven years – my office is bad enough as it is, if I had to keep receiptys for ever the Fire brigade would be after me, not just my wife.

  20. “If you can remember what you were doing in the sixties, you weren’t there.”

    Ponders…..Nah. Mind’s a blank. Must have been good though. I’ve got the scars.

  21. Tim – there’s something to be said for plain common sense. If we can no longer expect that from our prosecutors and (ha! ha!) judiciary, English justice is pretty much finished whether or not we have a statute of limitations. America has a problem with zealous publicity-hungry prosecutors. Our chaps and chapesses used to be more sober.

    In whose interests was it to publicly raid septuagenarian Cliff Richard’s house over one allegation – apparently entirely uncorroborated – that he fondled a boy 30 years ago?

    Absolute garbage and shite from the authorities, and it made me feel ashamed to be British.

  22. @ bis
    “Must have been good though. I’ve got the scars.”
    Rose-tinted spectacles! If you cannot remember, how do you know? My most visible scars are both from the ’50s: one was from playing soccer before aluminium studs became standard, I got the other doing homework.

  23. My “most visible scars” are actually a couple of chipped teeth from the 50s/60s.. Cause: either rugby, or maybe running down a hill and colliding with a tree. Quite similar activities, really.

  24. I have a scar over my eye from the late 1960s, when my sister hit me accidentally with a spade on Clacton beach. Maybe now that we’re both getting old, I should sue her. Or my remaining parent, for inadequate Safeguarding.

  25. Rob – “Quite a brave lawyer then, one with a private income who doesn’t mind having the windows of his house smashed in by SJW ‘activists’ “expressing their anger”.”

    Naah. The SJWs are not that consistent. They do not mind that Hilary got a client off for rape by trashing the 12 year old victim. Don’t mind in the slightest.

  26. Also highlights why anonymity should exist in both sides of a criminal sex case until after the verdict. The current system is unfair and also illogical as knowing the person charged can often allow people to identify the person making the accusation and the person charged can be blamed for that as well even if they don’t name them directly.

  27. @ dearieme
    I wasn’t counting the chipped tooth – visible, but I don’t think of it as a scar: came from eating pheasant at a posh lunch when the cook had failed to remove the lead shot.

  28. Absolute garbage and shite from the authorities, and it made me feel ashamed to be British.

    Which presumably is the point…to make you feel ashamed for being British? This is why New Labour decided we needed to have millions of immigrants forced upon us, to rub our noses in it, be more “multi-culti” and fundamentally dilute the locals who they see as “Too white, too male, too working class and too racist”

  29. To be serious for a moment: I’d prefer not to have a Statute of Limitations. Some sorts of crime, however ancient, may be soluble in the forensics lab. But I would like to see a cool, competent, judicious police force and prosecution service that has the sense to dismiss unprovable minor allegations from the year dot. Fat chance.

  30. Then don’t have a statute of limitations.

    Instead apply the basic principles of justice and say “No evidence and no witnesses = no trial”.

    This would get rid of the “He Said / She Said” bullshit of the current era.

    Yes – some of the guilty would go free, but far more of the innocent would also.

  31. @ dearieme
    There were always exceptions to the statute of limitations – one is for lawyers stealing from clients: it appears that the lawyer writing the law had a poor opinioon of other lawyers. So the Staute was not a general “Get out of Jail Free” card before the SJWs started on about “groping a girl is worse than murdering an old man, so should have worse penalties even if she volunteered”.

  32. @IanB
    I’ve a feeling collecting scars over the eye was pretty well expected at Clacton, in the 60’s. But not generally by a spade. That was more Brixton.

  33. @Steve “In whose interests was it to publicly raid septuagenarian Cliff Richard’s house over one allegation – apparently entirely uncorroborated – that he fondled a boy 30 years ago?”

    Similar Fact Law, changed in the late 1990s, to allow what is basically legalised mudslinging – trials allowing a large number of different allegations to be used to prop each other up – “no smoke without fire”.

    Since this became the case, the Police have set out to create such allegations, which is easy enough to do – there is a reason many of these complainants seem disturbed – and they do this via publicity, it is basically advertising for complaints. Hence all the publicity for the Cliff Richard raid.

    In the world of residential care/education, where this has been going on for 20 years or more, the Police will work alongside compensation solicitors, and push claimants in their direction.

  34. Steve,

    “Absolute garbage and shite from the authorities, and it made me feel ashamed to be British.”

    I’ve got a mate who has just been through a case after a lad reported that he abused him about 15 years ago. I read the accusation and I am not joking here: some of the things he accused him of were literally physically impossible, as in, to do one thing he would have needed 15ft long arms. He spent months working on his defence, and was in court for just over an hour where his lawyer tore into the prosecution lawyer who pretty much had nothing, followed by the judge tearing the prosecution a new asshole, that this case should never have come to court.

    And he’s pretty broken by the experience.

    If I thought the prosecutions against the likes of Rolf Harris were dodgy before, I’m certain of it now. It’s a witch hunt. Get accused of rape and the CPS aren’t sifting through the evidence to remove laughably bad cases. You will go to court.

  35. This is what you get when you mix toxic Feminist theory (courtesy of La Mackinnon- rape exists not in the world of objective facts, but in the mind of the accuser) and therapy culture.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.