A big question is whether or not the case of the four young women will ever get to court. There are hurdles. The first one being whether or not they get Legal Aid and if not will the solicitors take it on a no win no fee basis. This is potentially a long and time consuming case, and law firms are as restrained by finances and ‘risk’ as anyone other business. The strongest case can go wrong in Court.
These aren’t rich families so going private probably isn’t an option.
If these hurdles are overcome there is always the possibility that the Council will settle out of court. While there will be screams of outrage from the public it wouldn’t be hard to get a lawyer to say that the costs are so great that an out of court ‘no admitted responsibility’ settlement is in the best interests of the public purse. It’d keep the auditors happy and it could include a gagging clause.
A counter could be that such might act to protect individuals rather than the Council as a whole, and as such might be a misuse of public funds.
Another thing that mitigates against a settlement is how many more cases could come out later? Having settled once it would be hard to deny future claims.
However, it is interesting that Rodger the Dodger has already publicly apologised to the victims, maybe good PR, but something Lawyers would advise a client never to do. It is admitting being in the wrong.
Tactically he could well be laying the ground for a settlement.
Why? Well Akhtar’s role in the handover of one of girls gives us a good example of why.
Akhtar ‘ defence of his role can be paraphrased as ;
“I got a telephone call from the Police asking me for Ash’s mum’s telephone number and I gave it to them, that’s all I know ‘.
In UK criminal law he can kind of get away with that. I’m not a solicitor but on the basis that everyone is innocent until proven otherwise it would be difficult to prove 100% that this was untrue. The only person who could disprove it would be the Policeman who contacted him. But the chances of such testimony is highly unlikely, as they may well then be incriminating themselves.
So Asbo is innocent. However, in the exciting and evolving mystery there is a twist worthy of Agatha Christie.
If the four young women get their day in Civil Court then the rules of evidence change. Instead of having to prove beyond reasonable doubt, they only have to show that on the balance of probabilities, Akhtar was more likely than not to have done something more than just pass on the number.
“Is it likely that he only passed on the telephone number and did nothing more?”
Another reason why Roger and chums won’t want this coming to Court is because the girls will be able to name names without fear of civil action against them. So long as the Judge is convinced that they are not committing perjury.
The Council will not want this in Court