Justice has to be protected after Soham

9th January 2004 at 00:00
Events in Soham last summer were tragic but they were also extraordinary and exceptional. Using these events to call for changes in the laws for vetting those who work with children is seriously misguided (TES, December 19). It is crucial that allegations which do not result in criminal convictions are not included in police records.

Removing the distinction between an unproven allegation and a criminal conviction would be a serious threat to people's basic rights. False allegations are made and rumours started all the time but the notion of 'innocent until proven guilty' and the distinction between an unsubstantiated allegation and a criminal conviction are part of the foundations which underpin a civilised system of justice.

These were exceptional events, and while condemning Huntley, we must remember that his horrific actions were a one-off. Knee-jerk reactions and calls to increase the vetting procedures will only undermine the principles of universal justice.

Jenny Payne

1 Brett Manor

Brett Road

Hackney, London E8

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