Join Date: May 2006
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"Two days of having to give evidence in the witness box — something she had never wanted to do – and being given an understandably tough time by Brewer’s barrister, brought to the surface, in her own words, why witnesses in sex abuse trials are so reluctant to come to court.
The coping strategies she had used over the years to dissociate the grown up, loving mother-of-four from the girl that endured a hellish early life were useless when faced with the humiliation she felt she would cause her husband and four children.
Why she chose to apparently take her own life within a week of giving evidence remains a mystery, but her death raises serious questions about the pressure placed on reluctant witnesses to give evidence, and undoubtedly Mrs Andrade felt under great pressure over the court case.
Mrs Andrade, 48, had not reported Michael Brewer’s crimes to the police, and said she had never wanted the case to come to court..."
"For more than three decades, Frances Andrade had coped with the memories of the horrendous abuse she had suffered at the hands of the teacher she trusted and looked up to. "
"...“It’s been a difficult year and Frances has felt pummelled from all sides, having to give statements to the police, with her husband being ill. I don’t think she really had the strength inside her to cope with it all.”
Judge Martin Rutland said that Mrs Andrade was “clearly undergoing a cathartic experience, whatever the source”, while giving evidence.
He said that Miss Blackwell had acted professionally, something even Mrs Andrade had admitted, telling the barrister: “You are hugely insulting, but it’s your job.”
However, on January 24 it was disclosed in court, but not to the jury, that Mrs Andrade had died. A day earlier, the jury, on direction from the judge, recorded not guilty verdicts on five counts of indecent assault against Brewer due to insufficient evidence on how old Mrs Andrade was at the time. Brewer was eventually convicted on five other charges of indecent assault against Mrs Andrade..."
Among many other points, expect to be "hugely insulted" if you are a victim who in this instance did not want to go to court. It is apparently "the barrister's job".
She said that she did it "To help others" obviously under coercion by the police.
Why was she not given equal rights? This definitely highlights the need for change in the system.
I've heard about this story in passing through the news - very sad
I haven't read too much about it, though I note in your post above it seems to say that she didn't want the case to go to court originally. I presume another victim came forward and agreed to take him to court? I imagine she felt alot of pressure to be a corroborating witness or whatever the correct legal term is. If she was put under alot of pressure to give her testimony and then questioned so harshly by the barrister, thats got to be a tough position for her to have been put in but if he may have been acquitted or not found guilty without her testimony then I can understand that.
It can be hard to realise peoples mental states though, people can be in a bad way and not necessarily show it. Perhaps she could have given a pre-recorded statement via video camera or provided a written statement or something like that? but of course that would eliminate the chance to question the witness...it sounds like their intimating thats what may have caused such upset though (understandably so).
Anyway, the few women mentioned in the CPS report re JS all decided to drop the charges and he was, obviously, never taken to court.