A very important decision has been taken by the Crown Prosecution Service to reinstate charges against John Stingemore,the former deputy manager, of Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond.
Stingemore and Father Tony McSweeney,already face a trial next February on a series of child sex abuse charges and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them.
The full story by my colleague Mark Conrad is on the Exaro website.but in essence it involved the CPS reviewing the charges after a complaint from Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, who revealed the scale of the scandal against Sir Cyril Smith, and planned action by Tom Watson MP to help the witness involved.
Exaro revealed last December that the CPS had withdrawn four charges based on accusations by one witness, but had made a serious mistake about the evidence gathered by the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit under Operation Fernbridge. It led to an adverse view of the witness’s credibility.
While it would be wrong to reveal the full details of the circumstances of the case in order not to prejudice the trial, the decision is important for two reasons.
First it shows that survivors accounts should not be brushed aside and second it suggests that the pressure the police and the CPS are under to handle so many child sexual abuse cases at the moment that they may not have had the time to examine all the details.
If it was not for active MPs like Simon and Tom who are prepared to take up cases like this, we would still be facing the danger of further cover ups and evidence not being tested by the courts.
The last thing we want is anything else not properly investigated when people have waited so long for justice.