Day to Day Updates from FASO HQ

Here you can view, read, and hear all our updates, latest news, and more.


Posted 01/08/2020 by Margaret

How amazing that after the Henrique report into the Met’s handling of the allegations against Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini, which was followed by the senior police officer’s investigation into the validity of the Henriques report.  A change in the re-training of police officers was made.

All in the name of equality and fairness

Now that not many accused are being sent to court and found guilty, or cases dropped – there is an outcry that the accused are ‘getting away with it’

How many of these numbers are actually those falsely accused?  Strangely there are no figures to identify that fact, nor whispers that may be the case.

False allegations are buried by both media, government, police/CPS, the victim’s commissioner, and the women’s lobby – whilst there Is no counter lobby for those being falsely accused (which includes women, children and others) because if they try to raise their heads above the parapet, they are again vilified as society views them as ‘no smoke without fire’

Also, Women’s group argue that that having the complainant’s phones/computers examined in a police investigation is an abuse of privacy against their human rights.  However, if the accused person is to be entitled to any defence at all then this is often necessary.  People accused of offences will invariably have their phones/computer examined and their privacy compromised.  The Liam Allan case demonstrates how important it is for the police to check the veracity of the complaint in this way in order to avoid miscarriages of justice.

Police should be doing a thorough investigation into who is telling the truth – and looking at digital input will help to show this.

Those accused have never had the right in stopping the police taking all their digital phones and computers etc – and the police have been doing so for the past 20 years, ever since I have been supporting in this field.

What is equality here. There is supposed to be one law for all

Unfortunately, the law is weighted on the side of those who shout the loudest and get the most media cover, in order to brow beat the police/CPS, government who tend to give way to those creating such an outcry.

It is about time those falsely accused and their supporters got together, and started shouting with their evidence of the wrong being done against them, despite the pressures of being falsely accused a second time, as they have the temerity (will be said) to tell the truth and shout out against the false accuser.

The falsely accused is the modern form of the witch hunt which ceased in the 1750’s – you are dammed if you stand up for your truth, and forever after targeted, when found not guilty or there is no evidence against you.

Justice needs to be that JUSTICE – not for those that can shout the loudest.

In order to achieve justice, we need to find a balance for a failing system and work together to recognise those failings and redress the diversity of these issues, by discussion and debate. 

Both those genuine victims and the falsely accused need to be brought together in discussion and debate so all innocent individuals are supported fully.

Margaret Gardener


20 Years supporting the falsely accused

See my talk to the men’s psychology group below – on what actually happens on the front line, to those going through false allegations. FASO You tube talk on one side of FASO support Psychological impact of false accusations of sexual abuse
Psychological impact of false accusatio…

Another special arrangement for women – who claim rape.

Posted 01/08/2020 by FASO

Anyone accused of sex offences automatically have their social media and phones taken. – without a request to release them. The same police law should apply to all who are accused and accuser of sex offences. Again two different rules.

Margaret FASO CEO

Police Chiefs to Replace Disclosure Consent Forms

Controversial consent forms giving police access to phones and other devices in criminal cases are to be replaced, after they were criticised by the Information Commissioner’s Office. In 2019 the National Police Chiefs Council and Crown Prosecution Service announced they were introducing standardised consent forms for allowing access to phones and other devices. However, the Centre for Women’s Justice said the forms were unlawful, discriminatory and led to excessive and intrusive disclosure requests. The centre brought a legal challenge on behalf of two women, which was put on hold pending the ICO’s investigation report on mobile phone data extraction by police forces.The ICO’s report, published last month, said the NPCC-circulated digital consent forms did not make clear what the underpinning lawful basis for an extraction was and that the forms should not be used as currently drafted. Today, the NPCC confirmed that the forms will be replaced with an interim version from 13 August. The College of Policing will produce guidance on investigative practice when mobile phone investigation is needed. Assistant chief constable Tim De Meyer, NPCC lead for disclosure, said: ‘Police and prosecutors have a duty to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry in every investigation, and to disclose any material that undermines the case for the prosecution or assists the case for the accused. This is a fundamental principle of our criminal justice system, which ensures that trials are fair.
Read more: Law Gazette, 

Council of Europe: New Guidance to Prison Services on Humane Treatment of Inmates

Posted 01/08/2020 by FASO

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted a Recommendation which updates the 2006 European Prison Rules. The rules, which contain the key legal standards and principles related to prison management, staff and treatment of detainees and are a global reference in this field, guide the 47 Council of Europe member states in their legislation, policies and practices.
The revision concerns the rules on the record keeping of information about inmates and the management of their files, the treatment of women prisoners, foreign nationals, as well as the use of special high security or safety measures such as the separation of prisoners from other inmates, solitary confinement, instruments of restraint, the need to ensure adequate levels in prison staff, inspection and independent monitoring.
The recommendation regulates in greater detail solitary confinement (i.e. being locked up for more than 22 hours a day without meaningful human contact). Decisions on this measure should always be used as a last resort and take into account the state of health of the prisoner. Due to the very negative effect such a measure may have on one’s physical and mental health, it should be imposed for a strictly specified period of time, which should be as short as possible.
The revised rules establish that states should set in their national legislation the maximum period for which solitary confinement may be imposed. Furthermore, inmates concerned should be visited daily by the prison director or an authorised member of the prison staff, as well as by the medical practitioner.
Read a lot more: 

Psychological impact of false accusations of sexual abuse

Posted 10/07/2020 by FASO

Margaret Gardener, Director of False Allegations Support Organisation (FASO), gives at talk on the psychological aspects of false allegations of sexual abuse. The talk focuses on the psychological / emotional impact on the person falsely accused, rather than the accuser. This event took place on 28th Feb 2019 at University College London (UCL).

Written by the late Simon War a fighter and member of FACT
MArgaret’s talk for the mens psychology group follows the same theme FASO Utube talk on one side of FASO  support Psychological impact of false accusations of sexual abuse

Hundreds respond to pre-charge bail review

By Monidipa Fouzder6 July 2020

Justice minister Alex Chalk said more than 1,000 responses have been submitted to a Home Office consultation on pre-charge bail laws, which closed in May following a coronavirus-related extension. Chalk was responding to a written parliamentary question from shadow legal aid minister Karl Turner about the consultation.

Pre-charge bail allows police to release a suspect from custody, usually subject to conditions, while officers continue their investigation or await a charging decision. Unlike bail, there are no time limits for release under investigation (RUI). Police figures
Police figures confirm 193,000 suspects…

 show that since a 28-day time limit for police bail was introduced in 2017, the number of suspects on bail has dropped dramatically. By contrast, the number of suspects released under investigation – including lengthy spells for some – has risen sharply.

The Home Office decided to review pre-charge bail amid concern that it is not always being used where appropriate to protect victims, investigations are taking longer to conclude and that this has had adverse impacts on the courts. 

Turner asked what assessment has been made of the effect of the 2017 reforms on criminal defence solicitors.

Chalk said that police must apply to a magistrate to extend pre-charge bail beyond three months. The Legal Aid Agency amended the 2017 standard crime contract to ensure legal aid was available for defendants in these new court proceedings. Legal aid contracts were also amended to allow providers to submit a payment claim within one month of being notified of an RUI. The claim can be reopened at a later date if the police investigation continues and further work is done.

Chalk said: ‘This amendment was in response to concern from defence practitioner bodies that any delays in investigations could delay the point at which they can apply for payment for work done on legal aid cases.’

The ECHR Criminal justice system failing disabled people

Posted 23/06/2020 by FASO

The ECHR  Criminal justice system failing disabled people   Published: 11 Jun 2020,order%20to%20ensure%20a%20fair

Equality watchdog says criminal justice system is failing and leaving disabled citizens “bewildered”.

FASO have highlighted this deficiency in their report the Welsh government. Making justice work in Wales dated 4.6.20 (similar is posted to England) para c and d are the pertinent paragraphs.

Para  2. Police – Using the term victim pre supposes this person is not guilty when only the court can decide that.  It brings greater stigma to the accused especially in sex cases and exacerbates the media to make up lurid suppositions.

a.            Amending the pre-bail/ under investigations to a determined date for ceasing investigations. This will then create and not exacerbate mental health issues as at present. 

b.            Stop advising accusers of date/time of accused’s interviews – homes are ransacked and often all goods and chattels removed, sold or locks changed. Appropriate applied consequences to police personal, if this happens.

c.             Statistics are needed as to the reasons why cases have been opened, progressed and reasons for dropping the case.

d.            All arrested or asked in for voluntary interviews to have, pre interview, a mental health ‘triage’ by qualified practitioner – paid for by Health service. e.            Given the prison service are using the lie detector test for those coming out of prison – this should happen at the question time for both accuser and accused. Equality of arms.

Corona Virus and Prisons

Posted 20/03/2020 by FASO


In these unprecedented times, I put out an urgent request for you to email your MP/ministers with the following message, in an attempt to stop or minimise the possible dire consequences to part of the prison population. Margaret FASO 19.3.20

(See elsewhere for the FASO response to the elderly health care in prison consultation)

Dear MP /Minister

In the current COVID-19 crisis it is imperative that prisoners are not excluded from the nationwide emphasis on reducing risk for vulnerable people who have been identified as the most likely to suffer serious symptoms or die from the virus. In particular, those most vulnerable have been identified to be the over 70s and those with underlying health conditions. Accordingly, we request that appropriate Cat B/C/D elderly and vulnerable prisoners who meet these criteria are released to their families or other suitable environments where their health can be more suitably protected and/or treated.

The vast majority of vulnerable and especially elderly prisoners are of no realistic danger to society yet their continued incarceration during the current pandemic, often in overcrowded conditions which could cause rapid transmission of the virus, is extremely dangerous for their health and those around them such as prison staff.

Please raise this matter urgently with the relevant Ministers.

Thank you”


1 Courts during coronavirus pandemic: Robert Buckland statement

Please see below for a selection of key paragraphs from the statement (link above):

“I recognise the impact that this will have on those witnesses and victims who will have to wait longer to see justice delivered in their cases. We will also make arrangements to extend custody time limits for defendants held on remand in these cases.”

“Crown Court trials will be able to continue despite this restriction. Those cases that have a trial date delayed will be heard at the earliest available opportunity.”

“Our Crown and Magistrates courts provide a vital public service and until instructed otherwise, we expect all lawyers, magistrates, jurors, witnesses, defendants and court staff to continue to attend court as required, so the interests of justice can be served.”

2 Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from the Lord Chief Justice

17 March 2020 |News|COVID-19

Please see below for a selection of key paragraphs from the statement (link above):

“Given the rapidly evolving situation, there is an urgent need to increase the use of telephone and video technology immediately to hold remote hearings where possible. Emergency legislation is being drafted which is likely to contain clauses that expand the powers in criminal courts to use technology in a wider range of hearings. The Civil Procedure Rules and Family Procedure Rules provide for considerable flexibility.”

“Our immediate aim is to maintain a service to the public, ensure as many hearings in all jurisdictions can proceed and continue to deal with all urgent matters.”


3. A paragraph from the statement by Minster of State Lucy Frazer QC MP regarding prison preparedness for the current pandemic (link above):

“We understand that prisoners and their loved ones might be concerned about the situation. But we can assure them that we will continue to operate normal regimes, with the minimum disruption, for as long as we can. This will include visits to prisoners but, in line with Public Health advice for the general public, we urge any friend or family member not to come to a prison for visit if they have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 – a fever or new, persistent cough. We are also looking into ways to keep prisoners in close contact with their families in all eventualities, and will share further information as and when necessary.”

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and prisons

The above link contains information under the following headings:

  1. Coronavirus in prisons: confirmed cases
  2. Prisons and coronavirus: the latest situation
  3. Visiting prisons during the coronavirus outbreak
  4. Other ways to get in touch with prisoners during the coronavirus outbreak
  5. How we will update you about the impact of coronavirus on prisons
  6. If you have urgent concerns about someone in prison during the coronavirus outbreak

Please see below for a key paragraph:

“We understand that visitors and prisoners may have particular concerns about visits during this period. If you are planning a visit, it is essential that you read this guidance and stay at home if it applies to you. “


4. Coroner virus bill – Temporary legislation above

Serious Crime Victims Wait Longer for Justice After Court Days Cut

Posted 20/03/2020 by FASO

Victims of serious crime now wait almost a year-and-a-half for the suspects to go on trial while judges sit “idle” after the government cut their sitting days – despite Guardian analysis finding almost half of all crown courtrooms in England and Wales are empty each day. Government statistics show that the average crown court case takes 525 days to go from offence to completion, up 34% from 392 days in 2010. The delay begins with the police, who have had their numbers cut by 20,600 since 2010. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics show that overwhelmed forces now take an average of 331 days from the date of the offence to charge someone with a crime that will see them tried at a crown court, up from 205 days in 2010.

The suspects then wait longer for their cases to be tried in court because the government has been reducing the number of sitting days for crown court judges as part of cost-cutting measures at the MoJ. Allocations fell from 97,400 in 2018-19 to 82,300 in 2019-20, according to the senior presiding judge, Lady Justice Macur. Judges are still paid the same annual salary but find themselves idle behind the scenes, unable to hear the mountain of cases piling up. The Guardian analysed the listings for all crown courts in England and Wales on one day in December and found that of the 729 available courtrooms showing on the government’s Xhibit system, which relays hearing information, 350 were not sitting.

Read more: Guardian,