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Protect society from the likes of Bob Bate
10:15am Friday 29th June 2012 in Comment
THE depraved crimes of former Hazlemere councillor Bob Bate will horrify all right-minded people – and few will really argue with the three year jail term handed down to him last week.
Bate admitted to possessing thousands of indecent images of children, aged from six months to 16-years-old. He also confessed to distributing some of these pictures and to possessing extreme pornography involving animals. Even the judge at his sentencing was shocked by the nature of the images.
But whether you believe the sentence was too long or too short, there is no doubt Bate’s life and reputation are in ruins, and justice has been served in this respect. A line can now be drawn under the case as far as he is concerned.
However, what bothers us is the fact that he was not stopped from being a councillor and serving us, the unwitting public, after he was arrested on May 10 last year. Bate continued on Wycombe District Council and Hazlemere Parish Council until September 30, until he resigned on the grounds of ill health. It’s fair to say most people had no knowledge of his arrest until it was revealed in the Free Press last October.
Like most of you, we passionately believe in the principle of suspects being innocent before proven guilty. But we also believe in protecting society, and our children, from potential sexual offenders.
Once Bate was arrested for these type of allegations, there should have been a legal mechanism in place to automatically suspend him from public life. He could have been made to take a leave of absence with no stain on his character until the resolution of the case. The police and councils work as partner agencies so this mechanism could easily be enforced.
Yes, it might be seen as unfair to those who are wrongly accused, but this course of action is a lesser evil than leaving possible offenders free to mingle with and serve the unsuspecting general public.
There is no blame attached here to the police or the councils; the fault in this mater entirely lies with Bob Bate.
But his shocking behaviour, and the fact he was then left to serve us for a further 4.5 months after arrest, surely proves beyond doubt that tougher measures are needed to protect society from this type of evil.