Higgins case may lead to law change
A campaign to include child sexual abuse among those “serious crimes” for which suspects can be retried has gathered momentum.
The Daily Telegraph revealed on Monday the extent to which Bob Higgins, the paedophile former Southampton coach, is now alleged to have abused young footballers even after the authorities were first alerted to concerns in 1989.
Ninety-five people have come forward, but the original six Southampton players who gave statements could not be part of the trial that resulted in Higgins’ conviction in May for indecently assaulting 23 boys between 1971 and 1996. This is because of the “double jeopardy” rule that prevents a suspect being tried twice for the same crime. Higgins was found not guilty of one count of indecent assault in 1992 and the Crown Prosecution Service did not give evidence in the other cases and a not-guilty verdict was recorded. Dean Radford, who came forward to allege abuse by Higgins in 1989, has launched a petition to include child sex abuse among “serious crimes” that could be retried.
The Ministry of Justice has agreed to review the “double jeopardy” offences and victims commissioner Dame Vera Baird has written to Robert Buckland QC, the new Justice Secretary, outlining how the approach towards child abuse complaints has changed.
Jailed: Bob Higgins was convicted, but was also found not guilty for some cases