Recent years have seen numerous high profile arrests for historical sexual abuse of high profile public figures. Operation Yewtree (Jimmy Savile and others) appears to have been superseded (certainly in relation to column inches) by Operation Midland an investigation into a Westminster sex ring operating in the 70s and 80s in which names such as Edward Heath and Leon Brittan were identifed.
But what is different about Harvey Proctor?
For years we have seen high profile figures refuse to comment on allegations, other than bland denials, no doubt acting on legal advice. They do not want to either prejudice any trial, or be tried in the court of public opinion i.e. social media. The only words out of Cliff Richard’s mouth in the last 18 months was when he sang at Cilla Black’s funeral. That was front page news.
The Police on the other hand use the media and public opinion to bring additional shame on those they investigate. Who can forget that when Harry Redknapp’s house was raided by the Police, the first people on the scene (even before the Police) were a BBC News crew. They also use the publicity in the hope that further witnesses will step forward.
Those that are acquitted blame the unfairness of the system, accuse the Police of a witch hunt, call for the accused to lose their anonymity and then thank their legal team!
Harvey Proctor is rewriting the rules
His house was raided on the 4th March 2015. He received a phone call from a journalist whilst the Police were still present. Within hours the national media had the story.
Harvey Proctor was interviewed in April on suspicion of murder, torture and sexual activity with children seemingly based on the evidence of one witness called Nick, who of course remains anonymous. He was again interviewed this week with no conclusion in sight and according to Proctor with no further evidence.
So rather than disappear into the background, what did Harvey Proctor do? He called a news conference.
He set out in detail every single horrific allegation made against him and set out his defence. He implored anyone who could support Nick’s claims to come forward (obviously hoping no one will), accused the Metropolitan Police of a homosexual witch hunt, demanded the resignation of Senior officers and concluded by inviting the Police to charge him or prosecute Nick. Put up or shut up.
Now everybody knows about Harvey Proctor. He is using the media to fight back and he is the first to do this. For that he is to be congratulated.
However like any good poker player will tell you, you must be a world class bluffer or absolutely sure of his hand. I hope for Harvey Proctor’s sake it is the latter.
Written by Max Saffman. Max is a Higher Court Advocate and has extensive experience of defending allegations of serious crime and sexual offences.