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Jimmy Saville: To investigate or not to investigate ?

A topical subject in the press at the moment is the alleged abuse by the DJ and celebrity Jimmy Saville of young girls. There is no doubt that if the allegations are true, they are indeed appalling crimes, but one does wonder why the girls concerned did not make a complaint at the time; and if they did make a complaint at the time, why he was not prosecuted ?

It may well be that there was insufficient evidence to bring a successful prosecution, but if that is the case, it is wrong to make the allegations now when he can no longer defend himself. The appropriate time to have made the complaint was when it happened !

There is now talk of a BBC enquiry and a police investigation being conducted. To assess the merits of these investigations after his death, one only has to examine the philosophy of the criminal law. It is generally considered that the criminal law has three functions:-

  1. Protection of the public
  2. Punishment of the offender
  3. Rehabilitation of the offender.

“Do-gooders” argue that the first priority of the criminal law is rehabilitation of the offender. I don’t go along with that. Most people know what they are doing when they commit a criminal offence and therefore, in my opinion, the first function of the criminal law is punishment of the offender.

I belong to the “hang ‘em and flog ‘em brigade”, with a friend once describing me as “slightly right of Attila the Hun !”

But the point of my article this week is that since the alleged offender is now dead, he can neither be punished nor be rehabilitated; nor do the public need protecting for the same reason.

There seems little point in holding any investigation now, which would just be a waste of public money (whether it be the BBC or the police).

As I have said, the appropriate time to make the complaint was when it happened and it is too late after the offender has died.

It is no longer in the public interest and there is a big difference between what is in the public interest, and what is of interest to the public !



Stephen served his Articles at Wragge & Co, one of Birmingham's largest and most prestigious corporate law firms, where he was Articled to Sir Patrick Lawrence, the Firm’s Senior Partner.

Over his many years in practice, Stephen has gained considerable experience in a wide variety of disciplines. These have mostly been in the Company and Commercial field but have also included such diverse things as successfully defending a soldier in a Court Martial; obtaining a substantial settlement for a commercial agent in a dispute with his Principal, a blue chip company; and involvement in numerous multi-million pound acquisitions.

His meticulous attention to detail and thorough grasp of his field means clients can be assured that nothing is overlooked and their interests will be thoroughly protected.

Stephen is widely regarded by clients as one of the leading Company and Commercial Solicitors in the West Midlands.

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