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