Just as with false rape allegations, many in our society unfortunately take the stance that there's "no smoke without fire" and ultimately the false allegations tend to stick, regardless of how ridiculous, unfounded or malicious they happen to be. Therefore, as with false rape allegations, the victims of these crimes at at serious risk of attack, can lose their jobs, and ultimately face financial and psychological ruin. Further still, as we're talking about the awful crime of alleged sexual abuse of children here, the stigma and potential dangers for victims are about as severe as you can get.
Te latest victim of such a crime is Luck Chatfield, who was falsely labelled a paedophile by his neighbour, Sally Pepper, after committing the heinous offence of complaining about her loud music (she has numerous complaints about anti-social behaviour against here so it's unlikely that his action was unjustified). As a result of the false and malicious allegations he's been abused in the street, had items thrown at his house, installed a panic alarm and been forced out of his job! In total Chatfield has lost £1,500 in earnings, yet has two disabled children and a disabled wife to provide for. The stress of the situation must be intolerable.
So what's appropriate punishment for putting this man's life in real danger and causing him and his family so much hardship and distress? Maybe four years in jail? (actually make that two seeing as she gets female sentencing discount). Surely he's at least entitled to reimbursement of the lost monies too? Thirdly, wouldn't it be reasonable to place the perpetrator almost certainly needs to be on a false accusers register or maybe the sex offenders register as this is effectively a sexual offence? People need to be warned about such incredibly dangerous people so they can avoid them as much as possible.
Unfortunately none of the above occurred. Not even a token jail sentence, not a penny reimbursed, and no system to warn others of the dangers. The only consequence for the perpetrator was an £80 fixed penalty notice. That's right, we value this man's career, safety and general well-being as the same price of a train ticket. False paedophilia allegations are no more serious than dropping a cigarette butt, writing a graffiti tag, dog fouling, failing to pay your road tax on time, or fly posting. Further still, the Home Office rather ironically cite "playing loud music" as their example of a crime likely to result in the £80 fixed penalty notice.
In other words, her alleged offence of playing loud music is no different to that of attempting to ruin a man's life by spreading false allegations that he enjoys raping young children. Neither offence is any different to the other!
So, what's the perpetrator's view on all this? Is Ms Pepper at least full of remorse and regret? Does she realise just how much damage she's caused to this man life and that of his vulnerable family? Has the punishment acted at least as a deterrent? Well, perhaps not according to the BBC who state "she say she did not regret what she did".
I wonder why?