When I spoke to the head of Scotland Yard’s war crimes unit, Chief Supt Eddie Bathgate, shortly after he retired, he admitted: “Svikeris was a powerful case, and I would cheerfully have put him on the charge sheet. The interviews with him were videotaped and you could see he was guilty. One of my last remarks to the CPS was, ‘you are not going to be able NOT to prosecute Svikeris’.”
And the CPS said 'Challenge ACCEPTED!'.
But ultimately, the CPS did not believe they could establish his guilt in court beyond reasonable doubt.
And if it's not a sure thing, they won't bet...
And to make sure they don't have to, they rig the wheel!
In researching a book on this process, I and my co-author, Robert Sherwood discovered the CPS had insisted on a set of criteria that inevitably restricted the number of cases to reach court.
These included the insistence that a suspect had to have been in a command position – a criterion nowhere to be found in the War Crimes Act. To be considered a strong case, the victims had to have been Jews, notwithstanding the many thousands of non-Jews murdered by the police auxiliaries. And without credible eyewitnesses prepared to testify in open court that they had seen the defendant kill, after half a century, even the most compelling cases – like those of Gecas and Svikeris – failed to pass the threshold.
Isn't it about time the CPS was overhauled? Or scrapped, root and branch, and replaced by an organisation worth the name?