Child abuse allegations are “easy to make“ and might be
motivated by claims for compensation, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord
Woolf, has warned.
Lord Woolf said he was expressing concerns passed on to him by
investigators at the Criminal Case Review Commission – the
body which looks into miscarriages of justice – over a number
of paedophile convictions.
The allegations involved “very old offences” from former
residents of children’s homes, he said. Many of the
recollections “may not be accurate”, he added, especially when they
were “tempted” by awards from the Criminal Injuries Compensation
Lord Woolf went on to say in an interview with The
Independent newspaper that allegations were easy to make as
abuses are committed in private, and in many cases involved one
person’s word against another’s.
He also called for judicial discretion in ensuring juries did
not hear overtly prejudicial evidence, adding: “With paedophiles it
can be very difficult. The natural reaction is one that we have got
to protect the children and juries will be affected by this. It may
be that in some respects, in relation to some sexual offences, the
balance has gone the wrong way already.”