From the moment a spate of fresh care home enquiries started , beginning with North Wales there was always a danger that there would be the risk of false allegations and people being wrongfully prosecuted . There is no clearer example of this than David Alan Challinor who thankfully had his nightmare brought to an end on the Second day of his Trial when the Judge halted proceedings .
The case against Mr Challinor was based on an identification by the Complainant who could not identify his assailant by First Name or Surname . He described that person as someone called Tiny but then also said he was called Haystacks .
The difficulty was that Haystacks according to other material available to the Court was someone else . Further the Complainant himself in evidence seemed to suggest Haystacks could have been one of 3 different persons and then in re-examination by the Crown went back and suggested it was Tiny . The net result , after the Court listened very carefully on tape to what he had said in evidence , was the Judge concluded that the identification was seriously in question . It was His Honours view that it would be wrong to allow the case to proceed as there would be a risk of injustice . The Crown indicated that they would not appeal the Judges ruling .
The Court didn't have to go on as a result to determine the other issues that arose in this case which the defence say raised serious question marks over the reliability of the account given including past evidence supplied to the Waterhosue Inquiry . But its right to record here that it was our Clients case that this was on all grounds a false allegation .
Whether the Crown should have done more to address the identification issues is not a matter which can be answered today but clearly serious concerns do arise over this case . Of course this is only one case and the Courts must determine yet a series of other cases which will be brought . Inevitably there will be different outcomes in all of these cases and we should not pre-judge the outcome based on this case or any earlier case .
However this result is nonetheless an important marker that no-one should assume that simply because a case is prosecuted that this necessarily means that the person accused is guilty of anything . The inevitable danger of weakening the threshold for prosecuting such cases leads to the danger of false allegations or cases which are simply evidentially unsound . The Crown are under pressure to prosecute them where previously weaker cases may have not proceeded .
It will be some years before we can examine in the round the outcome of these cases , one thing is for sure in the meantime it will be difficult for those who have been acquitted to pick up the pieces of their lives .