More on false positives

Quite amazing this:

The new system will exhibit a far worse defect than liability to error, however. It will cement the rule that allows accusations on the CRB (and therefore held on the new database) to be retained and passed on regardless of whether there is any evidence to support them.

In August, the High Court handed down its decision on the case of Michael Pinnington, who worked with mentally disabled children. He had been fired from his job and refused any further employment in his chosen field because the CRB revealed that there were accusations that he had sexually abused mentally disabled youngsters. Those accusations had not resulted in his being charged, let alone tried. The police quickly reached the conclusion that there was no prospect that a jury would convict on the evidence. The accusations had been made by an intermediary interpreting what the disabled children had said. The method of interpretation used has been condemned by the American Psychiatric Association as "not a scientifically valid technique". The English Courts reject it as "dangerous".

Lord Justice Richards, who wrote the judgment, recognised that there was no significant evidence that the accusations against Mr Pinnington were true. But, he ruled, the test for whether accusations should be passed on by the CRB is not whether they are true or even plausible. The test is simply whether they might be true. Since the accusations against Mr Pinnington might be true, the CRB was entitled to pass them on. Which meant Mr Pinnington had to accept that he would never work with children again.

Accusations, based on no evidence, acccusations, even if investigated and rejected, will mean you fail the CRB check.

Accusations which can never be wiped from your reord.

This is reminiscent of the STASI. Who in buggery is actually directing this sort of nonsense?

11 thoughts on “More on false positives”

  1. To be fair to the judge, he is not agreeing with it, in fact he sympathises with Pinnington. What he is saying, accurately, is that the law as it stands is that it “might be true”.

  2. Who? Hatchet-faced arrogant Labour women who mistake their visceral hatred of men for a maternal instinct (see Haringay Council for examples).

  3. Surely this is easily broken. All that needs to be done is to raise allegations that “might be true” about eacch and every person who works with children (headmasters, social workers especially senior ones etc.) The authorities will either have to ingnore such records- the most likely course- thus leaving us with an expensive but otherwise harmless system, or will have to change the law. Unless they propose that children supervise themselves.

  4. Pat, you could start with the Minister for Children, eh? The other thought that occurs is, how on earth could the Roman Catholic church function if all you need do is invent a smear about a priest? Given events of the past couple of decades, it very well “might be true”, however bogus it is.

  5. “Who in buggery is actually directing this sort of nonsense?”

    Perhaps not quite the very best choice of words in the circumstances…

    And Pat, what makes you think senior social workers actually come into contact with children? Come on, man, this is the British State we are talking about.

  6. Any politician who contrives to set up a jurisdiction in which allegations alone result in state sanctioned retribution, deserves to have groundless allegations made against them.

    Fire at will.

  7. If such accusations cannot be proven they are defamatory and libellous, certainly the former and he should take action. If these are held as anonymous accusations then he should go after the CRB.

  8. I’m with Monty,

    J’accuse Gordon Brown.

    My grounds for this baseless accusation?

    Well he’s always being photographed surrounded by young children. He looks odd. Erm .. that’s about it really.

    With any luck that should screw the bugger’s chances of ever getting a regular job.

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