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Roy Harper charged with historic sex crime.


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How does one get arrested on a 35-year-old sex crime, unless one admits to it?


Unfortunately in English law now (thanks to Mrs Thatcher) there is no requirement for any supporting or collaboratory evidence with respect to a sexual allegation. As a result nothing more is required that the word of the victim to convict you. The fact that you are accused means you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence, which is very hard to do when the accusation concerns events that are twenty or thirty years old. It is also quite common for the words of the charges to be so broadly written that it is impossible to put up a defense. For example, between 1973 and 1976 the accused did .... Unless you can prove exactly where you were every day of that period and that you could not be where they say the offense took place you have no defense. The main advice given by barristers to their clients in historic sex offense cases is to plead guilty and get a reduction in sentence on the guilty plea.

I am aware of one case where a man was accused of a sexual offense with an underage boy some twenty five years before his arrest. He was in prison at the time that the offense was alleged but the charges were set out with such a broad time frame that he was out of prison for a few months at each end and the prosecution argued that he could have committed the offense in that period and that the victim had been mistaken as to the actual dates.

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