When Police Are Falsely Accused

  By VennerRoad, 27th May 2017

Salim Ismail on his way to court.

False rape allegations are said to be extremely rare. Most police officers don’t believe this, with good reason.

Back in the Seventeenth Century, Lord Hale made a classic statement about rape: it was an easy charge to make, difficult to prove, and even more difficult to disprove. Since Susan Brownmiller published her hysterical polemic Against Our Will... in 1975, second and now third wave feminism has systematically attacked that sensible observation.

Time and time and time again the public is reminded that false allegations of rape are “extremely rare”, so women and girls must be believed uncritically. Every time a false accuser is prosecuted, we hear this same mantra coupled with the ludicrous claim that punishing this poor woman will have a “chilling effect” on those countless violated women out there who are already too afraid to come forward fearing they will not be believed.

In August 2011, a young woman claimed to have been raped in a Suffolk woodland. The offence was said to have been perpetrated in the early morning, but ten days later it was reported that there had been no rape, indeed no attack. If a man, or a woman for that matter, had wilfully reported a phantom burglary, that individual would almost certainly have been charged with making a false report. Strangely, Detective Inspector Stuart Sowerby didn’t see this case like that, and delivered a virtual sermon to the public through the East Anglian Daily Times:

“While this particular incident has turned out to be a false claim, we want to reassure members of the public that anyone reporting a rape or sexual assault in Suffolk will receive a full level of support from specially trained officers.

They will have access to specialist facilities at Suffolk’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre and the incident will be investigated by Suffolk’s Gemini Team – detectives dedicated to investigating serious sexual offences.

Suffolk Constabulary is committed to providing a high-quality service to victims of this type of crime where it can be even more difficult to come forward and report what has happened

Was Mr Sowerby deceiving himself, or was he simply parroting what he perceived to be the only acceptable narrative?

While some police officers have shown themselves more than willing to pursue the famous and even powerful politicians – alive and dead – for imaginary crimes, and while in some cases they carry out virtually no investigation, most of them are acutely aware of the fact that false allegations of sexual assault are easily made – by women, girls, and at times boys and men – for all manner of reasons and none. The same applies to false allegations of a non-sexual nature, but the former are particularly insidious because of the potential they have for destroying reputations, careers, livelihoods, and even lives.Not all false allegations are difficult to refute however, and due to the nature of their work, police officers are generally better protected than most.

In February 1996, a police officer in Palm Beach, Florida, stopped a female motorist, and after a brief conversation through the driver’s side window, he issued her a ticket. Aggrieved, this woman went to a police station where she reported this officer for indecently assaulting her. She maintained this lie even when told this encounter had been videoed. Eventually, after she was shown the video, she recanted, but guess what, it was still his fault. It is not known what action was taken against this woman, but as far as can be ascertained, there were no reports in the local much less the national press.

Despicable though that false allegation was, the one made by Victoria Patrick on the other side of the Atlantic eleven years later was vile beyond belief. She was on a train, drunk, and clearly incapable, so someone called the police. What usually happens in a situation like this is that the person concerned is arrested and allowed to sleep it off in a police cell overnight, and appears in court if not the following morning then at some point where usually a fine will be imposed. Rather than subject her to this humiliation and cost, these two Good Samaritans took Victoria Patrick home. And found themselves accused of rape.

A conviction for rape will almost always attract an immediate custodial sentence, and all manner of other devastating effects, especially on a professional person. But here, a conviction for crying wolf attracted only a suspended sentence.

North of the Border on Hogmonay 1998, another drunk woman falsely accused two police officers of rape, and again they were wearing their Good Samaritan hats, because she had been causing trouble at a party, and they could have arrested her. Instead, they took her home. Unlike Victoria Patrick, Catherine Steven was given a three month sentence, but was freed on appeal after only ten days. In April 1999, her prison sentence was quashed and replaced by a community order.

Nor are police officers immune from false allegations of historical sex crimes. On February 12, 2002, David Callaway was cleared of raping an 11 year old girl who at the time of his trial was 23 years old. She claimed he had attacked her at Stockton Lake, Missouri, but delayed reporting due to emotional distress. This is a reason often given for delayed reporting, the experience is said to be so traumatic that the victim cannot face up to it at once, and indeed it may taker her months or even years before with great courage she comes forward to point a wavering finger at her violator. Of course, if there was no rape, there was no delay, and although people can be traumatised by all manner of experiences, so-called rape trauma syndrome does not exist.

In England, serving police officer Salim Ismail was arrested at his West Yorkshire home in November 2012 on suspicion of historical sex offences (including rape) against a girl aged (approximately) thirteen years old more than a decade and a half earlier. (That’s him pictured above on his way to court – photograph by Surrey Advertiser). He stood trial at Guildford Crown Court, and was cleared of rape. The jury could not agree on the other charges, but thankfully a projected retrial did not go ahead.

In spite of the witch-hunt of Cliff Richard and other celebrities, and the ludicrous hunt for a mythical VIP paedophile ring that murdered young boys, the British police are still pursuing ageing celebrities for historical sex crimes. Recently, Jonathan King was charged with no fewer than 18 sex offences dating back to the 1970s and 80s. King would warrant little sympathy even if he were not a convicted paedophile, but in view of the deluge of false allegations against other celebrities, none of which has resulted in any of these shameless liars being charged, it is clear he is an easy target. As is every man in uniform or with a warrant card in his pocket who interacts with at times resentful members of the public. Police officers the world over would do well to bear that in mind anytime an historical allegation is made.

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