On 18th November Charles Napier, a former teacher at a West Sussex School, appeared at Southwark Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to 28 counts of indecent assault and one count of indecency on a child.
The offences took place between 1969 and 1972 and relate to 21 boys under the age of 16, who were all pupils at the school where Napier taught.
Charles Napier was first arrested in June 2013 as part of Operation Cayacos but was not formally charged with the offences until August 2014 following a lengthy criminal investigation. After entering his pleas of guilty he was remanded in custody and will appear at Southwark Crown Court on 23 December to be sentenced.
He is also yet to enter pleas in relation to a further 2 charges of indecent assault involving two other young boys. This case represents another example of significant abuse concerning a school.
News of Napier’s admissions of guilt are likely to bring a sense of relief to his victims as they will not be required to give their evidence at trial before a Judge and jury.
This case is an illustration to others who have been abused that it is never too late for the Police to investigate crimes and their perpetrators brought to justice. We hope that this case will give other victims of sexual abuse the confidence to come forward and report what has happened to them, irrespective of how long ago it took place.
Unlike the criminal justice system, claims under civil law have a limitation period. This means that there is a time limit for lodging a claim.
Anyone wishing to bring an abuse claim for personal injury compensation is required to commence court proceedings within 3 years of the date of the incident or the date of knowledge or if the incident occurred prior to the complainant has reached the age of majority then the time limit is 3 years from this date i.e. 21st birthday.
The court does however have discretion to dis-apply the 3 year limitation period dependant on the individual circumstances of the case. In doing so the courts recognise the particular difficulties those people affected by abuse may have, and that it can take many years for them to speak out.
There are a number of factors the court will consider when deciding whether it is appropriate to exercise their discretion and each case will depend on its individual facts.
Slater and Gordon UK has a specialist team of Abuse Claims Lawyers with many years experience in bringing civil claims in relation to physical or sexual abuse. We are very experienced in dealing with sexual abuse cases and are familiar with dealing with the law surrounding limitation.
We understand how difficult it can be for individuals to talk about events from their past and so will communicate via whatever medium an individual feels most at ease, whether it be via telephone, email or face to face and of course in the strictest of confidence.
Slater and Gordon’s team of Abuse Claims Lawyers are currently pursuing civil claims against a number of fee-paying and non fee-paying schools including St Pauls School in London, Ashdown House and Oldfield Primary School.
If you have been the victim of abuse, either at a school or elsewhere, please call our Abuse Claims Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online for free confidential legal advice. Any communication will be dealt with in strict confidence.
Jessica Standley is a Personal Injury Solicitor specialising in compensation claims for physical and sexual abuse at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Merseyside, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Derby & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire & in Hull, Yorkshire.