LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM, Mar 15, 2013 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- One of the country's leading criminal defence solicitors' firms, DPP Law, slams proposals from the CPS to overhaul the way in which alleged sex offenders in England and Wales are investigated, claiming it will result in a smear campaign.
The nationally based practice sternly opposes the recommendations made today by the Director of Public Prosecution, Kier Starmer, who claimed that there is currently an "overcautious" approach with victims rather than suspects in most, if not all, child sex abuse cases.
The crackdown on the investigation process comes at the back end of the Jimmy Savile scandal, alongside the increased coverage and exposure of recent gang-led grooming incidents.
Severe knee-jerk legislation if introduced, could potentially leave many a lives blighted by the unnecessary stigma of grave crimes says Paul Lewis, Partner and Criminal Defence Expert at DPP Law.
"Experience shows us that when allegations of this nature are made and unsubstantiated, lasting damage can occur to an individual's reputation.
"Current and prospectus job opportunities for instance, may be affected due to the nature of the allegation.
"The starting point, in all complaints that are made of this nature, is to assume the accusation is true - of course very many are but there are also those that are not. Take for instance the case of Elizabeth Jones, 22, who last week was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment for attempting to pervert the course of justice, after filing 11 false rape accusation claims, the first of which was issued in 2004 when she was just 14 years of age."
Mr Lewis explains that the plans to be drawn up by the new College of Policing will not only include a replacement of the current 19 sets of guidelines on the investigation process but will also propose the implementation of a review panel, which would effectively assess cases that have previously been dropped before they reach prosecution. The latter potentially causing significant disruption to acquitted individuals.
"If cases are reopened subsequent to review panel decisions, additional stress and trauma may unnecessarily be brought upon a suspect who, at some point must be entitled to know that the decision not to prosecute them is final."