Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wouldn't it be nice to name false accusers?

I was unable to find the news story on this item, but the one thing that is right on the money is Mark Bonokoski's comment at the end of the piece:

"It would be nice, of course, to name his false accusers here, but a publication ban prohibits it."

And he is correct. False accusers should lose all anonymity, and the presumed innocent accused (falsely or not), deserve anonymity until such time as a conviction is obtained. Fairness and justice demand it.

Brian MacDonald Lechie innocent of rape.

Back in August of last year, following a press release by the OPP, the story was told here of how a counsellor at the Crisis Intervention Centre in Bancroft was charged with two separate counts of sexual assault — reportedly involving two clients who had come to him for guidance and counselling.

Brian MacDonald Lechie was his name, then 62, and from Belleville.

One of the big criticism of the media, and it is a good one, is that it often does stories on such sensational charges being laid but, like hit-and-run artists, rarely follows up when a person is acquitted.

Well, Brian MacDonald Lechie was acquitted, back on Feb. 12 — right here in Bancroft court — and acquitted not because of a technicality, but acquitted because Judge Stephen Hunter said his accusers had no credibility.

They were, as he put it, “not credible.”In other words, Brian Lechie was innocent.

Being a rape crisis counsellor is no easy task, and to think one would re-victimize a woman who came to him for counselling is a weighty accusation.

But it didn't happen and, according to Lechie's Toronto lawyer, Jenny Stephenson, who I talked to, it cost her client big time — financially (he was suspended from his job, and then faced legal costs), personally, and professionally.

His name, after all, was now mud.

It would be nice, of course, to name his false accusers here, but a publication ban prohibits it.

For that, they should thank their lucky stars.