Justice for abuse survivors

Posted by Malcolm Johnson on

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BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

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This week has seen the BBC report on two cases involving child abusers who left the UK and who were arrested upon their return after initial unsuccessful attempts to extradite them.

The two cases bear similarities in that the abusers tried to stay away from justice within the UK.  As a Solicitor who has supported and acted on behalf of abuse victims, I was therefore pleased to see that in both cases the accused will have to face up to the crimes they committed under UK Law.

In 2014, BL Claims Solicitors helped secure compensation for a man who alleged historic abuse by Father Soper. Laurence Soper was a Roman Catholic priest employed as a teacher by St Benedict's School in Ealing. He was accused of offences against children over a period from 1971 to 1983. He was arrested in 2010 and bailed, but failed to return to a London police station in March 2011. It is thought that he went abroad to Europe. A European Arrest Warrant was issued for him in 2012 and he eventually was detained in Kosovo in May of this year. Recently it was reported that there were difficulties getting an extradition order, but now Mr Soper has returned to the UK. He is due to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on the 19th September.

The second case involves former BBC DJ Chris Denning, and the news that he has pleaded guilty to 21 child sex offences committed between 1969 and 1986. He is currently serving a 13-year jail term for sexual assaults against 24 victims aged nine to 16 from the 1960s to 1980s. Denning was arrested in the Czech Republic in 1997 and eventually jailed in 2000 by a Prague court for four and a half years for having sexual contact with minors. The UK tried and failed to have Denning extradited from the Czech Republic, but in 2005 he was arrested at Heathrow, having arrived from Austria. In January 2006, a British court sentenced him to four years after he admitted five charges of indecent assault on boys under 16 during the 70s and 80s. Denning was then extradited to Slovakia, where he was given a five-year sentence in 2008 for making indecent images of children.

Under the present 2012 CICA Scheme, a claim in relation to abuse by both men is certainly feasible, but the Scheme has draconian limitation provisions, which need careful reading and delay can be fatal to a claim. At BL Claims Solicitors, we have highly trained experts who have experience dealing with complex historic and sensitive abuse cases, our solicitors help to bring abusers to justice. You can find out more about how we help abuse survivors receive the support they need here.

Civil claims are also a possibility against both Soper and Denning direct. It is sometimes wrongly assumed that such men have no assets, but experience shows that they may own houses or businesses, or very possibly later in life inherit large sums from a relative. Problems begin, of course, when a number of Claimants make claims against the same set of assets. This is what happened in the Jimmy Saville case, which was the subject of some major litigation.

In any abuse case, the most important thing is that the victims feel supported and listened to and through bravely bringing a claim to light are able to get justice. I am therefore pleased to see that in the above cases that the abusers have had to face the Courts and are culpable for their crimes.

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk

About the Author

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Malcolm is an Senior Associate in our London office, with nearly twenty years' experience.

Malcolm Johnson
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