HAAP , like us, have become conscious of the homophobia that runs through these cases at almost every stage - from police to jury. These cases mostly but not entirely involve the accusation that “x” years ago YOU (the accused) messed with me sexually when I was under-age. The “messing about” in all the cases in which we've been involved in, would be by our understanding of things, very minor – that's assuming it happened at all. Same has been the experience of HAAP. They confirmed our own findings and assessment of the situation. And that once an accusation's made it is difficult to halt a terrible process.
The accusation IS made maliciously – a malicious allegation by a younger person often with an eye to seizing some revenge: often for “a friendship” broken off by the accused (amazingly often for unreturned love from the accused to the accuser) and compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. These cases totally ruin “good” people.
Well HAAP reckon they now have over 200 cases like this where they and their solicitor/ barrister members are actively trying to pursue an appeal. This not easy. But they are cases where in their eyes and ears there should be grounds for appeal. But this is difficult. Appealing is difficult.
So there are 200 people in all probability innocent but locked up. The majority of them are gays – because when these allegations are made it is more likely they'll be proceeded to a prosecution if they're gay – male gay – though the CPS will never admit that, and what we know, we witness is that if a prosecution involves a male gay it's much more like to result in a conviction – it is more likely if the case is gay the prosecution will secure a conviction.
And if the prosecution involves a male gay and an under-age person, even if the events alleged happened years ago, the sentence will be much harsher on a homosexual. And because the person convicted and sent to prison continues to deny the offences happened, or happened when they did, or amounted to what was alleged – because they are “in denial” they can't or don't easily get parole.
They have lost job, home, and friends. Their lives are ruined. It's quite horrible.
Interestingly HAAP told us they are now getting some government funding for their legal appeal work. We mischievously maybe do wonder (and this is just Allan and Ray) if at some level in the Home Office/ Higher Judiciary there is now some dawning glimmer of realisations that these injustices are happening on a fairly regular level.
Sadly - like us HAAP see little immediate prospect of any law change through Parliament - the climate of opinion in these cases at public, media, jury, probation, NSPCC and the specialist police levels, and their advisers – it's all very fixed. We're stuck with it – unless / until we can build up a body of cases that all sure show something's wrong: or - and this is a new thought came from our Doncaster visit - get the judges to change the rules/interpret the rules in a more judicious way.
It seems today the ancient British legal concept that once every jury was told – that it can only convict if convinced beyond all reasonable doubt – that concept's gone out the window.
In these cases – in most courts. And an older gay on one of these charges will get it in the neck just for being gay. While everyone denies that is the case it is the case in our eyes and experience, and HAAP confirmed our worst fears.