Mark Pearson speaks publicly of his ordeal with ITV.
Without any supporting evidence a blogger has accused an actress of making a false sexual assault allegation, mirroring the prosecution’s argument in the case itself, which was also made without evidence.
I’ll start with the caveat that someone who knowingly and maliciously makes a false sexual assault or rape allegation is obviously a terrible human being that at the very least deserves to be publicly named and shamed, and quite reasonably should be charged and locked away much like the person they accused could have been (and sometimes is).
All we’re officially told in this case is that the accuser is an ageing actress. The court heard an impossible claim that in the middle of rush hour at Waterloo Station, a man called Mark Pearson managed to penetrate her with three fingers for several seconds as they crossed paths. CCTV reveals that Pearson was holding a newspaper and clutching a rucksack, and passed her in 1 second tops. He’s not guilty of the crime described.
So in effect the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) allowed a man to be tried in court for a crime, with absolutely zero supporting evidence. There was no witnesses or medical evidence either.
However in response, US blogger Dean Esmay has done a very similar thing. He’s named and shamed somebody as the accuser with nothing more than a claim of “sources” – an unsubstantiated allegation. (I won’t directly link to his blog for legal reasons.)
Now in principal I am not opposed to protecting sources, that’s a big part of an investigative journalist’s job, however to be so absolute in his claim Esmay must also have seen supporting evidence himself. Such evidence might include better quality (and verifiable) CCTV putting her in the vicinity, a recorded confession that she made it up, or some other tangible proof. He has not suggested this exists, and anything less than that (such as the hearsay from somebody involved in the case) is not strong enough. We don’t know if the source is telling the truth and we don’t know that Esmay is telling the truth about having a source.
Furthermore if tangible proof does exist then there is no reason why it couldn’t have been carefully leaked anonymously. Instead Esmay wants us to have faith that he’s made the right call. Something many redditors have asked for, when naming numerous other culprits.
Of course Esmay could be absolutely correct in what he says and may eventually be vindicated, but throwing a name out there as a “disgusting false rape accuser” with no explanation other than “I have sources” is pretty careless. He could have held on to the info for a more appropriate time, worked on releasing evidence, and stuck to cold hard facts instead of emotion.
Unsurprisingly people have accepted what he says at face value, just like people accept false claims of rape and sexual assault at face value. There is some clear hypocrisy there.
Meanwhile what a lot of people are overlooking is that the police and CPS share a portion of the blame – arguably a very large portion.
Collusion In A Fantasy
In the UK investigators gather evidence and the CPS decide whether it is good enough for charges to be filed and the case to be brought to court. In this case there was no evidence against Mark Pearson, so both have a lot to answer for. In fact the defence has shown that the prosecution used edited CCTV footage that slowed down the speed at which the pair crossed paths, making it seem more likely that the crime could have occurred from a timing standpoint. That’s downright appalling!
What’s interesting is that it’s not clear how Pearson became the prime suspect. The actress failed to pick him out of a video identity parade. So did she accuse him directly or did the police take her statement and force it on to him?
She wasn’t the one collecting the CCTV, she didn’t identity him, she wasn’t the one who decided to go to trial, and she wasn’t the one who tampered with the evidence. Whatever did or didn’t happen that day snowballed in to a fantasy that the police and prosecution encouraged. Therefore naming and shaming the woman (even accurately) should probably come with some considerations. It’s even possible something may have still happened that day under different circumstances than alleged at trial.
Mark Pearson on the other hand certainly shouldn’t have been named. If there is going to be protection in cases like this it should go both ways, unless there is a conviction.