Like many of you I am sure, I was troubled by the court case featuring two ten year old boys being accused of raping an eight year old girl. Without going into the details of the case I am astonished that it was held at the Old Bailey. Any system which allows that to happen needs to be reformed. I hope the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, will be speaking to the CPS about their role in the case. They seemed to display a real 'jobsworth' attitude, saying that if there was evidence a crime had been committed, they had a duty to act. Well, of course they did, but they also had a duty to use common sense. Could an eight year old girl really be expected to be a reliable witness? Were two ten year old boys biologically capable of doing what was alleged?
The fact of the matter is that the majority of 8-10 year olds will have indulged in some innocent pre-sexual horseplay of the 'you show me yours and I'll show you mine variety'. I know I did. And no doubt in some cases it maybe goes a little bit too far. Is that a reason for the participants to end up at the Old Bailey? I think not.
The other troubling aspect of this case was the quote from the eight year old girl, who told her mother: "They did sex with me". Doesn't this demonstrate what politicians across the spectrum have long talked about - that children are becoming 'sexualised' at a far too young age and our society is encouraging this. I'm not harking back to a halcyon golden age which never existed, but I wouldn't have had a clue what sex meant at the age of eight. Nowadays every eight year old is familiar with the word without necessarily understanding it.
Whatever one's view is on the details of this case I hope we can all agree that it is surely wrong for children of this age to be asked to appear at the Old Bailey.