Don’t hon­our CPS boss, says MP’s aide cleared of rape

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Steve Bird

A FIVE-FIG­URE pay­out from the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice to the broad­caster Paul Gam­bac­cini over un­founded sex­ual as­sault claims should be the “fi­nal nail in the cof­fin” for any prospect of the for­mer head of the ser­vice re­ceiv­ing an hon­our, a man wrongly ac­cused of rape has in­sisted.

Sa­muel Arm­strong, 25, a Con­ser­va­tive MP’s for­mer chief of staff who was cleared of rape, said the pay­ment to the BBC DJ should scup­per the chances of Ali­son Saun­ders re­ceiv­ing an au­to­matic dame­hood.

Ms Saun­ders stepped down as head of the CPS last week, just be­fore it emerged that the or­gan­i­sa­tion had made the pay­ment to Mr Gam­bac­cini, a for­mer BBC Ra­dio 1 pre­sen­ter.

Mr Gam­bac­cini, 69, was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2013 over a claim that he sex­u­ally as­saulted two teenage boys in the 1970s and 1980s. The ar­rest was part of Op­er­a­tion Yewtree, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion set up in the wake of the rev­e­la­tions about pae­dophile Jimmy Sav­ile.

Mr Gam­bac­cini spent a year on bail be­fore the case was dropped in what he la­belled a “com­pletely fic­ti­tious” af­fair.

He has rounded on Ms Saun­ders, claim­ing she had had an “en­tirely neg­a­tive” im­pact on his life. Now Mr Arm­strong, who was cleared unan­i­mously of rape last year fol­low­ing a case he claimed should never have brought, said: “This lat­est set­tle­ment is a damn­ing in­dict­ment on Saun­ders’ botched reign at the CPS. The ad­mis­sion should act as the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin for her hopes of a dame­hood.

“Saun­ders’ one-woman cru­sade to shift the scales of jus­tice in sex cases not only ru­ined the lives of dozens of young men but of Paul Gam­bac­cini as well. For Saun­ders to re­ceive a gong af­ter this mo­ment would be an in­sult too far to the lives ru­ined un­der her watch.”

In an ear­lier state­ment, the CPS re­jected the sugges­tion that it “sought con­vic­tions at any cost”, adding that the con­vic­tion rate had re­mained steady over the last five years.

Mr Arm­strong be­lieves the CPS and po­lice should re­view the way they de­clare an in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded, amid con­cerns that say­ing it has been dropped due to “in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence” leaves a ques­tion mark hang­ing over a for­mer sus­pect. “In­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence is one of the most mis­lead­ing terms in mod­ern ju­rispru­dence,” he said. “When a false claim is dis­proved it is ex­actly that – false.”

The CPS said prose­cu­tors must as­sess whether there is enough ev­i­dence for a prospect of a con­vic­tion.

“This lan­guage is not in­dica­tive of the qual­ity or amount of ev­i­dence prose­cu­tors have con­sid­ered, just whether the stan­dard has been met,” it said.

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