Written report to police on Cardinal O’Brien abuse not treated as formal complaint
Lothian and Borders police have said this morning that the complaint sent to them by English based lawyer Nick Freeman into alleged sexual abuse by Cardinal Keith O’Brien does not constitute a formal complaint.
Speaking to BBC Scotland’s Call Kaye programme, the force said that the complaint, made via email and hard copy, did not constitute a formal complaint because it did not come from a witness or the victim
“There has been no formal letter of complaint sent to Lothian and Borders police about Cardinal O’Brien,” the police
“Mr Freeman’s letter doesn’t constitute a formal letter of complaint because he was neither the victim or the witness of a crime.”
Freeman said he felt compelled to make a formal complaint in order to trigger a full criminal investigation.
“I was shocked to hear there is to be an internal investigation only. This will be heard behind closed doors and the full findings would not be published,” he told the Daily Mail.
“This isn’t justice. Justice needs to be seen to be done and the Catholic Church has a moral and legal obligation to co-operate fully with any criminal investigation.”
Speaking on the programme, the Editor of The Firm
Steven Raeburn, said that this contrasted with the proactive approach of the Metropolitan Police Operation Yewtree into the actings of Jimmy Savile and others.
“The circumstances are similar where you have a culture where things are suppressed and hidden, and environment that somehow protects potential abuse. Yewtree immediately recognised that you have to go digging and have to be proactive,” he told BBC Scotland.
“They have launched into this pulled out 200 potential victims and 400 lines of enquiry. None of these arose from victims or witnesses calling the police. It was the other way round.”
Criminal defence solicitor Aamer Anwar said via Twitter that the idea of a police investigation into the affair was “a non starter” as no priest had come forward to claim any crime had been committed against them. He said that the conduct alleged in the public domain had been described as “inappropriate” rather than criminal, and if a victim did not complain to the police, there was little that could be done.