CPS warning over revenge attacks
LEAVE the law to us.That was the stark warning today from prosecutors to anyone thinking of taking the law into their own hands.As police and the courts battle against the rising tide of child pornography, they are today faced with a new fight against the very people they are trying to protect.
LEAVE the law to us.
That was the stark warning today from prosecutors to anyone thinking of taking the law into their own hands.
As police and the courts battle against the rising tide of child pornography, they are today faced with a new fight against the very people they are trying to protect.
Angry parents and residents who are taking the law into their own hands and assaulting or abusing known child perverts are making prosecutions harder and simply adding to the level of violence in society, the Crown Prosecution Service has said.
In a statement released following the sentencing of pervert teacher Anthony Dunne, crown prosecutor Robert Sadd has made a plea for the public to let them get on with their job without interference.
Anthony Dunne, 37, of Ferry Road, Felixstowe was yesterday sentenced to a three-year community rehabilitation order after admitting eight offences of making and editing indecent photos of children taken at Felixstowe Leisure Centre.
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The high profile case came to an end at Bury St Edmunds Crown Court but alongside the investigation into Dunne, the CPS also had to charge the man who discovered Dunne filming children on a beach after he assaulted Dunne following an earlier court hearing.
Nigel Leathers, the father of one of the children Dunne was found to be filming, lost his temper after a hearing and chased and threatened Dunne.
But Mr Sadd has said such responses must be stopped – and warned revenge attacks on suspected perverts can actually lead to them receiving lighter sentencing in the courts.
"Taking the law into your own hands simply contributes to the level of violence in society. It is thankfully still rare, we haven't had the same problems here as some other parts of the country.
"The other side of these reactions is that the defence can use it as mitigation in court. If people do this then we find ourselves in the ironic situation that they are making it harder to prosecute these people.
"Lawyers can suggest that judges take into account the effect that resentment has had – because this person has been attacked then that does go toward a lighter sentence."
Mr Sadd's comments come just a day after three men were jailed for life for beating to death a man who was rumoured to have sexually assaulted a young girl.
Sentencing the men, the judge in Nottingham told them there was no excuse for taking the law into their own hands.
While he said such revenge attacks were still rare, Mr Sadd added they can have devastating effects.
"We know that Anthony Dunne was guilty, but what if a person is innocent?
"There is a terrible true story from another part of the country where a woman was threatened and abused because she was paediatrician, and people didn't know what that meant.
"That is an extreme example but it shows what can happen when people take things into their own hands."
Even though revenge is not yet common, the number of cases of child porn is spiralling. In January this year, the children's charity NCH revealed that cases had increased by 1,500 per cent since 1988, with 549 people being charged or cautioned in 2002.
Mr Sadd blamed increased internet use for the surge in such cases, but said police were working harder than ever to bring child abusers to justice.
"I could understand public disquiet if we were not doing so much to deal with this, but there are considerable resources going into this problem.
"We are fighting this and getting on top it, but we need to be allowed to do that."
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