Hig­gins case may lead to law change

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By Jeremy Wil­son

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

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