Music teacher’s abuse conviction is overturned

The Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of a former music teacher, Sir Peter Newson-Smith, for alleged assaults on a ten year-old boy at Clayesmore Preparatory School in Dorset three decades ago. It ruled the alleged victim had misled the court over his intentions to sue for damages.

Sir Peter has spent six months in jail. The case was an isolated one, unconnected to any other abuse investigation in the UK. It attracted tabloid attention due to the alleged perpetrator’s aristocratic background.



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  • True or not, the accusation itself is enough to ensure he’ll never work again. So much for journalistic responsibility.

  • He was not accused, or convicted, by journalists. Reporting such a conviction is actually important if it means a convicted child molester is removed from society. If this accusation is false, and not merely overturned on a technicality, the blame lies with the accuser and the court that could not identify a liar. There is no law prohibiting an accuser from acting in civil as well as criminal court; if this accuser lied about it, I assume the Court of Appeal has decided that all his testimony is therefore suspect. It’s possible, though hardly certain.

    • Sadly, the victim was not invited to the appeal. Had this been the case this child molester would still be in prison.

  • The appeal and subsequent release of this predator serves as nothing short of a disgraceful and colossal travesty of justice. When a jury of twelve people return a unanimous guilty verdict on both counts of sexual abuse toward a child after considering all of the evidence put to them, how can the verdict and conviction be unsafe?

    There is little to no point in conducting any trial when the outcome can so easily be overturned. Why would anyone consider facing their daemons head-on and stand before such an intimidating and monumental criminal justice system when the apparent frivolity of the appeals division can overturn and thus negate the entire process?

    The perceived inferences that this type of case draws parallels with those of an exaggerated personal injury compensation claim for say a ‘whiplash’ injury following a road accident are ridiculous. I would categorically maintain that an abused person making this allegation would be in pursuit of justice and not financial gain.

  • The false accuser should now be prosecuted for perverting the cause of justice. Too many innocent people are being interrogated by the police, dragged through the courts and even imprisoned only to be found innocent later.

    And the burden of proof for conviction is…. No proof at all.

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