The former LibDem MP John Hemming has said he was the victim of false sexual abuse allegations by a woman who claimed the existence of a Westminster paedophile ring. Police yesterday dropped their two-and-a-half year long investigation into Hemming, who has today chosen to identify himself. He has some damning words for the coverage by the controversial website Exaro, and says the Labour Party also tried to smear him. Hemming was never even arrested.
“I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever… There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped…
The police themselves have handled the allegations well. However, although it was obvious from the start that the allegations were nonsense, it has taken two years for this to be resolved. Identifying why that is will take time, but I believe that the system is too tolerant of false allegations. The current CPS guidelines on handling false allegations are in my view too tolerant of malicious allegations and need review. The unnecessary delay of around 2 years in resolving the issue I believe arises from procedures that are being used being flawed.
It has been in the public domain for 2 years that the complainant changed her allegations in early 2015 from those she had made publicly previously and that she had stated publicly that she had never met a politician…
It should be noted that the newspapers generally have handled the issue reasonably well. Exaro and Exaro’s funder have behaved dreadfully. Sky should recognise that not only was their broadcast of the original allegations in May 2015 a complete nonsense, but also had it been based upon truthful allegations that it would have undermined a criminal investigation. The attempts to drum up additional false complainants through the use of publicity highlights a difficulty with publicising cases whilst a police investigation is going on. There are people who will make false allegations merely because someone suggests that they are looking for such allegations.
Some members of the Labour Party, including my opponent in the last two General Elections, have invested considerable time in promoting these allegations. The promotion of the complainant as an expert in this subject area as a consequence of these allegations has caused additional difficulties for my family.
I am not myself aware of another situation where members and supporters of a political party have promoted such allegations in such a public manner – essentially arming the villagers with torches and pitchforks and setting off on a lynching. There were public attempts to prevent me from standing as a candidate because of allegations made maliciously by a Labour Party member backed by other members of the Labour Party. Many Labour members will find this unacceptable and it is an issue that needs consideration by the Labour leadership.
I have asked the police to investigate this attempt to pervert the course of justice and await their response. There are, of course, many procedural options that are open to me to obtain justice for my family. I will consider those over the near future.”
“The logical conclusion of this is that gossip about anyone with children will become a criminal offence subject to a potential penalty of 2 years’s imprisonment… the Supreme Court have not learnt from the lesson of King Canute that there are realities that it is not practical to resist. PJS and others should really study what happened in respect of Barbra Streisand when she tried to constrain freedom of speech.”