Jimmy Savile report: BBC "highly unlikely" to face legal action predicts media lawyer
Following the release of a report detailing the investigations into the sexual abuse committed by Jimmy Savile, the BBC is unlikely to face any legal action, a media lawyer has predicted.
The giving Victims a Voice report, undertaken by the NSPCC and the Metropolitan police, has detailed nearly six decades' of abuse committed by Savile across the UK, with over 214 criminal offences recorded, including sexual assault committed at the BBC's Broadcasting House.
The majority of offences were against victims under the age of 18 at the time of the incident and includes the recording of the final regular edition of Top of the Pops in which he was invited back to close the show.
Speaking to The Drum, Keith Ashby, partner and head of dispute resolution at media law firm Sheridans, said that it was "highly unlikely" that any other individual from the BBC would be found guilty of a criminal offence in relation to the acts committed by Savile due to an absence of evidence of conspiracy to cover up the abuse.
Ashby continued by dismissing the possibility of any civil action being taken against the BBC by the victims also. He said: "The fact that the abuse may have taken place on BBC property or while Savile was employed by the BBC is insufficient. Savile was clearly acting outside the course of his employment and a victim would need to overcome the very high hurdle of demonstrating that the BBC was aware of Savile's activities and owed a duty to the victim to intervene. There is no suggestion in the report that this was the case.
"Also, in practical terms, there would clearly be very serious evidential difficulties for a victim who was abused such a long time ago. The authors of the report emphasise that, whilst most of the alleged victims have been interviewed, the information provided has not been corroborated and it is questionable whether that would now be possible given the passage of time," he concluded.
The report also found further incidents of abuse took place in Manchester, Savile's home city of Leeds, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, for which he was a fundraiser, and at Duncroft School.