Paul Gambaccini warns of false allegation crisis as he calls for anonymity
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his name was tarnished by the publicity and claimed there was a “false allegation crisis”.”Everyone thought it was going to be a three-month wonder … but it turns out it’s dragged out and it’s dragged out, and what makes it worse is that its publicised, your name is revealed,” he said.Critics of the Falsely Accused Individuals for Reform (Fair) pressure group’s proposals say it could prevent genuine victims speaking out. “The harm that those who are accused and acquitted feel is, we believe, a result not of the fact of being named but of terrible media representation of sexual violence cases, accompanied by a collective failure to uphold the presumption of innocence (which as we say above also harms abuse survivors).” Paul Gambaccini today warned of a “false allegation crisis” as he launches a petition to give anonymity to people suspected of sexual offences.The BBC radio presenter and Sir Cliff Richard, who both had cases against them dropped, are fronting a campaign calling for suspects to remain nameless until they are charged.The pair have launched a petition and are hoping to win a debate in Parliament. The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) has urged for the campaign to be dropped, claiming it to be “misdirected”.Radio presenter Gambaccini was accused of sexually assaulting two boys when he was arrested in October 2013 as part of Operation Yewtree, which was set up in the wake of revelations about paedophile Jimmy Savile.He spent a year on bail before the case was dropped. Gambaccini accepted that publicity surrounding suspects can encourage accusers to come forward, as was the case with black cab rapist John Worboys.”This is not a competition, who has been hurt the most,” he said.”There are actually two crises – one is a sex abuse crisis and the other is a false allegation crisis. And anyone who has been wronged, no matter what way, empathise with other people who have been wronged.”If there is a strong case, as there was, for example, in the taxi driver case … that will come to charge and at that moment other people can come forward.”The petition, which needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in the Commons, calls only for anonymity until sexual offence suspects are charged.It is also being championed by Sir Cliff, who won damages from the BBC after the broadcaster covered the 2014 police raid on the pop star’s Berkshire home.Sir Cliff was never arrested and did not face charges.The campaign has already attracted criticism from leading women’s groups who voiced fears justice for victims could be jeopardised by anonymising suspects.EVAW co-directors Sarah Green and Rachel Krys said: “We believe that your call for defendant anonymity is a classic example of where the cause of a problem is misattributed. Sir Cliff Richard is also championing the campaign after a case against him was droppedCredit:John Nguyen Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.