Rupert Butler's advice praised in House of Commons debate

10 January 2017

On 13th December MPs debated Sir Richard Henriques’ critical report, published in October, into the failings of the Met Police during Operation Midland, which investigated claims of sexual abuse by the former Home Secretary, the late Lord Brittan; the former Chief of the Defence Staff and distinguished WWII veteran, Field Marshal The Lord Bramall; and, Harvey Proctor, the former MP, who was implicated in the murders of three children.

In response to an intervention by Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con) that the Met Police actions undermined the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, Sir Gerald Howarth (Con) quoted with approval:

“As Rupert Butler, counsel of 3 Hare Court, put it to Sir Richard:

‘The assumption is one of guilt until the police have evidence to the contrary. This involves an artificial and imposed suspension of forensic analysis which creates three incremental and unacceptable consequences. Firstly, there is no investigation that challenges the Complainant; secondly, therefore, the suspect is disbelieved; and, thirdly, and consequently, the burden of proof is shifted onto the suspect.’”

Rupert’s views were also endorsed in the Chamber by Richard Arkless (SNP), who commented that he trusted advice given by 3 Hare Court whom he used to instruct when he was a Solicitor.

Rupert’s involvement in the debate follows his successful representation pro bono of David Bryant in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division throughout 2016, along with Peter Knox QC and Rachael Earle, who served almost three years in prison for an alleged historic sexual assault before his conviction was quashed because his accuser was discovered to be a “chronic liar”.

Since then Rupert has been instructed, as direct access counsel with conduct of the litigation, to represent the estate of the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC, which faces multiple civil claims for compensation, and is seeking Core Participant status in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse chaired by Dame Alexis jay, which is investigating the late Lord Jenner as the only individual to be named a separate strand.