Our campaign to change the double jeopardy law continues
Since I launched our campaign to change the double jeopardy in July 2019, I have been tirelessly campaigning to ensure that change takes place.
Bob Higgins was a youth coach at Southampton football club when he allegedly sexually abused 6 boys. These boys disclosed their abuse when they were still children and it resulted in a criminal case against Higgins. This resulted in Higgins being acquitted of said charges.
Andy Woodward publicly disclosed his childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Barry Bennell at Crewe Alexandra in November 2016 and this resulted in over 100 men alleging sexual abuse by Bob Higgins. As a result, the police/CPS pressed charges against 24 people for sexual abuse by Bob Higgins and after a hung jury in July 2018, Higgins was finally found guilty in May/June 2019 of:
- 45 charges
- Sentenced to 24 years in prison
- Abuse took place over a 25 year period being between 1971 to 1996
Even though 2 of the 6 had given evidence at three different criminal trials, no charges were ever pressed for them at the latter two trials due to the principle of double jeopardy. The current law means that my clients will never be able to obtain criminal justice due to this law as their offences are not considered “serious or severe” enough to be an exception to the double jeopardy law.
As a specialist solicitor that represents survivors of childhood abuse, my view is that all forms of physical sexual abuse is serious, severe and the impact is often life-long. These men deserve a chance at justice and closure, and I hope you will help us to change the law too.
To date, we have received extensive media support via The Telegraph, BBC, Mirror, TalkSport and others.
We have also received support from the Victim Commissioner Vera Baird QC, the Labour MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Sarah Champion, along with club ambassador of Southampton Football club, Matt Le Tissier and ex-Everton/Wales goalkeeper and social campaigner Neville Southall. The stance of the current Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland QC MP, is that they are considering our proposed changes.
What you can do
You can sign the petition here and you can contact your local MP to ask them to support the petition. We need your continued support to help change the law so please help sign and share the petition.
Dino Nocivelli is a partner in the Abuse team at Bolt Burdon Kemp. If you feel you may have a claim or are enquiring on behalf of a loved one, contact Dino free of charge and in confidence on 020 7288 4887 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, complete this form and one of the solicitors in the Abuse team will contact you. Find out more about the Abuse Team.