Oh aye?

Meanwhile, more than a dozen of Jimmy Savile’s alleged abuse victims have launched claims for damages against the BBC, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.

How can any of these be proved?

18 thoughts on “Oh aye?”

  1. On “the balance of probabilities”, clearly, like all civil cases. As we manage to successfully prosecute historical child sexual abuse charges (where the perpetrator is alive and pleads not guilty) to the criminal standard, I don’t think this is exploring uncharted legal waters.

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    It is not the BBC’s money. It is our’s. They will probably pay out without much of a fight. After all, in this climate of hysterical Jimmy-hatred what else can they do?

    The LRB had an interesting article on predatory figures at the BBC interested in young boys. So I am willing to bet this has reached its peak and will begin to subside. After all, a witch hunt in the BBC for men interested in boys is a very different matter.

  3. SMFS: “The LRB had an interesting article on predatory figures at the BBC interested in young boys. So I am willing to bet this has reached its peak and will begin to subside.”

    Prediction: It’ll stop when it begins to look like it might affect a politician or two.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    JuliaM – “Prediction: It’ll stop when it begins to look like it might affect a politician or two.”

    Like Profumo? Nothing could keep this going like the odd Tory MP involvement. God knows what the media would do if it involved Boris.

    What will kill it will be an association with homophobia. If people think there is even a trace of a chance of this leading to criticism of Gay people, it will die. Not that there is a link between peadophilia and homosexuality, but a lot of ordinary people think there is and hence Right Thinking refuse to even talk about it.

    http://cdn.lrb.co.uk/v34/n21/andrew-ohagan/light-entertainment

  5. It will depend on whether or not the BBC owed a duty of care and/or whether Jimmy Saville was an “employee” for which whose actions the BBC are vicariously liable. As we are talking about children there is also the question of whether or not there was adequate supervision provided by the BBC whilst in thier care.

    I reckon any decent plaintiff lawyer will come up with half a dozen causes of action, plead them all and of course you only need to prove one of them. Plus it is probably in the interests of the BBC to settle early to save legal costs and minimise the publicity.

  6. It’s not at all clear than any compensation claims against the BBC will fly, even if plaintiff can convince a court that, on balance of probabilities, they were abused by Savile.

    What the lawyers pitching these cases seems to be relying on a rulings involving the Catholic Church and, in one case, a teacher at boarding school, in which the court found that the employer was vicariously liable for the abuse carried out by an employee.

    The standard defence to a claim based on vicarious liability is usually that the employee’s action were not authorised by the employer (obviously in abuse cases) and not connected to the employee’s duties. In cases involving priests and teachers that defence has been unsuccessful because they hold a position of trust as part of their job, so courts have accepted a breach of that trust as creating the connection necessary to justify a claim of vicarious liability.

    Whether or not Savile could be argued to have been in a position of trust while working as a DJ or TV presenter is very much more open to question, so the vicarious liability argument could fail on that point, leaving plaintiffs with the job of proving negligence as their only route to compo.

    It will likely be much more of problem for the hospitals where he worked as volunteer, but then that may well turn into a legal wrangle over the extent to which an employer can held liable for the actions of someone who isn’t actually an employee.

    As ever, I strongly suspect that the only sure fire winners in any of this will be lawyers.

  7. But Unity’s gaming this as if the BBC is sitting at the table playing with it’s own money. Doesn’t actually work like that. The BBC isn’t a single entity. What you have is the portion of the BBC who run the organisation & their interests but which can call on the financial resources of the entirety. They’ll play the cards in the way best suits them, knowing they’re pretty well immune from the cost. The money involved would just be taken from some other part of the Corporation. Farming Today, say.
    If they decide it’s in their interests to prevent a weak defence & cough up couple hundred million as the price of their safety, why should that bother them? Plenty more where that comes from.

  8. Julia-

    This is far beyond the power of MPs. Politicians don’t run things these days, they do not drive events, they respond to them. There is far more power in a 3rd sector/media driven panic than in the Parliament. That’s why I wrote that post back in the day at Cats, about how we’re in a similar “who runs the country?” situation to the one Grocer Ted faced in the 70s, except this time it’s not the Unions, it’s the pressure groups, charidees and NGOs.

    Another point here is that although this is civil litigation (the MO imported from that vile legalist stew, the USA), evidentiary standards in criminal cases of alleged historic rape/abuse/goosed on Top Of The Pops are, thanks to the Feminist hegemony, appallingly low. Anyone who faces them is in a “guilty until proven innocent” situation.

    I read a while back an appalling case (only reported in a local paper, these persecutions are now so commonplace) of a man who had been sent to jail for an alleged sexual assault in 1966, when he was fourteen years old. There can clearly have been no evidence in such a case, from that distant past. The law is tragically off the rails.

    Anyway, I think it’s about time that we had an official SI unit of “closure”. I suggest the “kilopound”.

  9. I read a while back an appalling case (only reported in a local paper, these persecutions are now so commonplace) of a man who had been sent to jail for an alleged sexual assault in 1966, when he was fourteen years old.

    What was his name?

  10. expect a slew of cases from people claiming compensation for the fact that not only did he abuse them but also he missold them payment protection insurance……

  11. So Much for Subtlety

    ukliberty – “What was his name?”

    I don’t know who he was but there is this guy:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-14474714

    Police sergeant Paul Greig jailed for raping two girls

    A police sergeant found guilty of raping two young girls 36 years ago when he was babysitting them has been jailed for eight years.

    Paul Greig of Armadale, 51, had denied raping the sisters at a house in West Lothian between 1974 and 1975. He was 13 and 14 years old at the time.

    The Lothian and Borders officer had also denied indecent behaviour with the girls over the same period.

    He was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh.

    One of his victims was aged between eight and nine and the other between six and seven at the time.
    ….

    The British Court system is f**ked up. There is simply no way that this testimony could have been credible. Even if it was true, today I strongly doubt he would get such a sentence as a 14 year old boy.

    But look on the bright side. At least we have not jailed a man for raping his wife in the 1960s. When marital rape was not a crime. And at least it has not been appealed all the way up the system – and failed. As has happened in Australia.

  12. At least we have not jailed a man for raping his wife in the 1960s. When marital rape was not a crime. And at least it has not been appealed all the way up the system – and failed. As has happened in Australia.

    Nor have the Australians. The accused man died before he came to trial. And his challenge to the legality of the prosecution failed because the courts held that marital rape had been a crime at least since 1935.

  13. So Much For Subtlety

    PaulB – “Nor have the Australians. The accused man died before he came to trial. And his challenge to the legality of the prosecution failed because the courts held that marital rape had been a crime at least since 1935.”

    Well he was 81. Not a lot of surprises there. You are, however, glossing over the Courts’ reasoning. His lawyer pointed out that it was a long established principle of British law that a man could not rape his wife. The Prosecution argued that the local equivalent of the Married Women’s Property Act, even though it did not mention marital rape, ended that. The Courts upheld that idiotic decision all the way to the High Court.

    So they did not hold that marital rape was a crime. They held that Hale’s logic – that the person of a wife becomes extinct on marriage – no longer applied. Marital rape did not become a crime until recently. Even in Australia. A highly creative bit of legal smoke and mirrors.

  14. SMFS: you’re saying that the court held that rape in marriage was a crime, but marital rape wasn’t?

    In any case, why is this a problem for you? If parliament inadvertently passed a law making murder legal, and subsequently passed a law making it illegal again with retrospective effect, would that be an injustice to anyone who’d committed murder in the interim?

  15. PaulB:

    Just a bit of nitpickery here. Parliament could not “decriminalize” murder, which, by definition is a specific act of criminal homicide.

    It’s true they could decriminalize certain acts of homicide but then such acts would no longer be “murder.”

    There is such a thing, though, as “murdering the language” and it does seem to me as something to which you’re inclined–whether intentionally or not, I do not know.

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