Sunday, March 8, 2009

'Now I know how distressing it is to be victimized in this way': Harrod's owner joins call for anonymity of the presumed innocent

Comment: In case you missed this news item last month, it speaks for itself. Wrongful allegations of sexual assault cut across every socio-economic class and race. Almost all of the survivors have just one thing in common: they are male.

Harrods chief Mohamed Al Fayed won't face sexual assault charges

Feb 17, 2009

LONDON — Harrods department store owner Mohamed Al Fayed will not face charges over an allegation he sexually assaulted a teenage girl, British prosecutors said Tuesday.

They said police conducted a thorough investigation, including taking statements from a number of people, but there wasn't a solid case to be made against Al Fayed.

"Having reviewed those statements and other material submitted to us we concluded that, in the light of the conflicting evidence and the absence of sufficiently reliable accounts of crucial events, there was no realistic prospect of conviction," prosecutor Rene Barclay said.

Al Fayed had previously denied kissing a 15-year-old girl at his exclusive London store last May.
"The investigation has reached an obvious and proper conclusion," he said Tuesday.

But he criticized police and the British media.

"It cannot be right that an accused person is publicly named before proceedings are brought," Al Fayed said. "Now I know how distressing it is to be victimized in this way. I intend to fight to ensure that others on the receiving end of false allegations are properly protected."

Al Fayed also is known for his son Dodi Fayed's ill-fated romance with Diana, Princess of Wales. The couple died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.