John Pinnington, who was sacked from his job, based on a historical allegation, lost his appeal on the 31st July 2008,
John Pinnington, a teacher from Oxford, was accused of rape 7 years ago, but had worked as a teacher since the incident – as there was not evidence to support the claim. However, when he applied for a transfer he had to undergo “enhanced CRB vetting”. This additional vetting produced the old allegation, as a result he was sacked form his existing job.
There was no direct evidence against John Pinnington, only the allegation that he had committed an offence, much of the evidence would be described as “weak”, and there had not been any allegation since or before.
The solicitors representing John Pinnington said the case showed that the threshold for evidence, for getting somebody sacked falls “below reasonable suspicion”. They also added that “All that was required was that the allegations could not, on the untested material in possession of the police, be dismissed as necessarily untrue.”
Its not so much a case of innocent until proven guilty, but guilty until proven innocent.
With the ever increasing databases errors on virtually all of the systems PNC, Fingerprints, CRB, more CRB and even the DNA database, the chances of there being erroneous information is more and more likely. Further more once an allegation is made a person is now effectively tarred for life.
Lord Justice Richards, presiding over the case at the High Court, made several interesting/scary if not contradictory statements about the case.
He agreed that the accusations against Mr Pinnington had ’serious weaknesses’ and ‘could not be substantiated’, and then went on to say that future employers should be should be aware of the accusations “even if it only might be true“.
However, despite the the Judge’s own ruling allowing the most weak and biased information being provided to the employer the Judge then contradicted himself by stating that he was he was “troubled” that Mr Pinnington’s employer “apparently operated a blanket policy” of dismissing/not employing anyone with such allegations.
In short, the Judge believed the employers should have the information, but not act on it.