Interesting: with thanks to Padraig McCarthy

There’s an interesting article about a book review by Adrian Hardiman, in the Irish Times today on page 8.

It’s at

His review is in the Dublin Review of Books at

His review is of Love, Paul Gambaccini, by Paul Gambaccini, who recounts his experiences at the rough end of Operation Yewtree in UK, an investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse.

There are many things in Hardiman’s review which kept ringing bells in relation to the Murphy Report. some samples:

… detective stories from Wilkie Collins to Stieg Larsson have created an expectation of simple justice, scientific resolution and finality. But life’s not like that, or not any more.

Every person is presumed to be innocent, so if an investigation or trial simply fails to resolve the issue beyond reasonable doubt the suspect or defendant is entitled to the benefit of the presumption. But this can be a hard thing for some people to accept.

… has given rise, even in a thoroughly civilised country like Great Britain, to a climate of opinion in which some people, and some institutions, postpone or forsake the idea of bringing an accused person to trial, which carries the possibility of an acquittal, preferring instead to use the powers of the criminal law to subject such people to public shaming so intense that it can destroy their lives. This provides all the stigma of a conviction with none of the risks of a trial. A disproportionate number of the victims of this process are elderly white males.

He was never convicted of, or even charged with, any offence, but he was sentenced by the police/media coalition to what an English academic criminologist reviewer of this book has called “social death”. The effect on his professional activities amounted to “economic calamity”. He was “shunned” (this word is used like a technical term) by various individuals who had previously courted him. He was ostentatiously abandoned by various organisations to which he had devoted time and money …

… he is not entitled to identify the two complainants or give any detail of what they said which might identify them …

“The paedophile label is so toxic that it leads to a form of social death” (Professor Eugene McLaughlin).

These echo some of Adrian Hardiman’s remarks which Fergal Sweeney quoted in his review on procedural fairness.

Hardiman concludes his review of the book by quoting WE Henley’s poem “Invictus”, which gave comfort to Gambaccini:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

What is really interesting about this review by Adrian Hardiman is that what he says could also apply as a critique of the Murphy Report, where people were publicly shamed without anything being proved in a court of law. The Murphy Report was done by Yvonne Murphy, who happens to be married to Hardiman!!