I\’m sorry but how is this rape?

The 35-year-old was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to rape and two counts of sexual assault.

If it is rape well done. But is it rape?

Masquerading as a Russian woman called Marina, he struck up a friendship with the junior officer worker who is in her 20s.

The pair first chatted in October 2011 and after several online discussions, “Marina” confided that she needed help in exposing her cheating husband.

“Marina” asked his victim if she would come to his house while she was at work and sleep with her so-called philandering husband in order to catch him out.

She also asked her to film the encounter and then send him the tape.

Despite being engaged herself, the woman obliged, visiting Ritchie’s two-bedroomed home in Borrowash, Derbyshire, where he had lived with his wife, Susan, 40, before they separated.

However, she liked Ritchie and enjoyed his company and the pair subsequently embarked on a relationship and continued to see each other on a regular basis.

Sure, the whole story seems to have been a pack of lies but where\’s the rape? At least the way this is written she seemed to consent.

Or have we now reached the stage that consent must be \”fully informed consent\”….that lying a woman into bed is now rape?

Det Con Claudia Musson, the officer in charge of the case, warned chat room users that it was easy to be lulled into a false sense of security.

\”Ritchie preyed on a vulnerable young woman and deceived her at every turn,” she said.

\”She was left deeply traumatised by what he did but she showed great courage in coming forward and speaking to police.

\”Although seven years is a pleasing sentence, it doesn\’t compensate for what he did.

\”I just hope his victim can now try to move on with her life in the knowledge that he has been jailed.

\”I would urge people to be careful when talking to people online.

\”When forming relationships via the internet, you can easily be lulled into a false sense of security, which in turn can leave you very vulnerable.\”

All of that is absolutely true. But I\’m unconvinced that it amounts to rape.

Someone please tell me, what am I missing?

Perhaps there\’s some part of this story that we\’re not being told. But the way I\’m reading what we are being told I just don\’t see it.

For example, it would appear that telling some bird that you\’re a travelling, single, secret agent to get her into bed, something to which she agrees to as a result of the story, would amount to rape if instead you were in fact a married travelling scandium salesman.

And is that where the law is actually at these days? Deception in seduction is now rape?

57 comments on “I\’m sorry but how is this rape?

  1. Sexual puritanism has now reached such an amazing height that an elderly and well-known man can be charged with offences of (1) french kissing a girl/woman (2) fondling the breast of a woman (3) molesting not otherwise specified a girl, all ~30 years ago.

    OK, maybe those things are offences, still offences that most people would deal with by delivering a well-timed slap than dragging it through the courts. They are more illustrative of the desperate need for a statute of limitations in the UK.

    But it still goes to show that basically it’s rape if the offended party decides after the event that she made the wrong decision.

  2. ‘Spinning an increasingly complex web of lies, “ Marina” later claimed that she was back from Russia and warned the victim that if she did not consent to various sexual acts with Ritchie, the original recording would be sent to her family and work colleagues.’

    That looks like blackmail, and therefore rape, to me.

  3. Blackmail, certainly, but I’m not sure that blackmail fails within s75 of the SOA03, making it sufficient to invalidate consent.

    Violence or fear of violence against you or another person.
    Unlawfully detained.
    Asleep or unconscious
    Unable to signal consent through physical disability.
    Mickied.

    So unless blackmail falls into violence or unlawful detention (IANAL), it doesn’t seem to strictly be s1 Rape. Morally, yes, little ‘r’ rape – he forced her in to subsequent occasions through the blackmail.

  4. Yeah, I think it is just the getting her into bed under false pretences bit.

    The fact that she was willing to sleep with him just to catch him out should also be rape by that logic. But women don’t rape men, or something.

    Still, rape or not, I think there is definitely something creepy about his methods. But that is another matter.

  5. Hang on, sorry, might fall within s74 “agrees by choice”. The blackmail could be held to have forced that choice therefore technically legally Rape as well as morally rape.

  6. But women don’t rape men, or something.

    They can’t, ’cause they don’t have penises. An actual part-of-you penis is essential for it to be s1 Rape rather than s2 “Assault by Penetration”. Still rape but not Rape.

  7. He pleaded guilty. That’s the key point, I think. It’s interesting to speculate how a jury would have viewed the facts had it gone to trial.

  8. He pleaded guilty. That’s the key point, I think.

    Not quite. Surely the job of the CPS is to get the right charge for what is clearly appallingly immoral sexual abuse? Therefore there is a degree of interest in whether s1 Rape was an appropriate charge for the conduct (there doesn’t appear to have been a shortage of evidence.)

    I think it turns on a fine analysis of the meaning of s74 SOA03 in the context of a nasty blackmail.

    It would have been interesting to hear barristers’ arguments from both sides. But, in the circumstances, probably to the overall moral good that the victim was spared the trial (my academic interest in the nuances of sex offence law not weighing heavily compared to her having to relive the events in a confrontational setting. Especially given elements of her acquiescence.)

    But I’m not sad, in the slightest, that he’s banged up for not-as-long-as-it-seems and with life (I think) on the Offenders’ Register.

  9. Looking through the report of the case, if one presumes the situation as believed by the victim was in fact true then:
    1)By having sex with Ritchie for the purposes of ‘exposing his cheating’ , implying such exposure would be used to his detriment.
    2)Filming the encounter, the film intended to be used to his detriment & thus without his consent.
    Need the learned Mr Lud’s confirmation, but looks pretty clear intent to commit deception & possibly blackmail. Which is, of course, a classic con. Entice the mark to commit a criminal offence, so obtaining leverage. It’s hard to see why her having been fed a line of porkies removes the criminal intent.

  10. Section 76 covers it – consent is not valid if “the defendant intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature or purpose of the relevant act”.

    You can tell lies about yourself to seduce a partner (you cad), but not about the purpose of the act.

  11. PaulB
    But that cuts both ways, doesn’t it? As far as she’s concerned, she deceived Ritchie as to the nature & purpose of the act.

  12. bis: I don’t know whether her attempted deception would be deemed sufficient to invalidate consent, but it doesn’t matter, because she didn’t actually deceive him.

  13. PaulB, but attempting a criminal offence is itself an offence (at common law even if not specified in the statute).

  14. “intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature … of the relevant act”

    Does that mean saying it’ll be good when you know you’re crap at it is now criminal?

  15. He should have been charged with blackmail not rape.

    This section 76–as quoted anyway–is garbage. Decieved about the nature of the act?–if he said “C Sex is sex–how was the woman decieved about that?. That having sex for

  16. He may be guilty of blackmail but it is pretty pathetic blackmail–she could have just told him to piss off and he would have been unable to proceed without exposing his own antics. Ok the woman didn’t know that and might have feared her family finding out but if she is that casual about sex that she is willing to shag someone just to expose the bloke as a cheating husband, it would seem likely her family/friends already realise she is not a nun.

    This section 76–as quoted anyway–is garbage. Decieved about the nature of the act?. Sex is sex–how was the woman decieved about that?. That having sex to decieve a married man is ok but sex set up by the same bloke isn’t?.To the degree it is the same as being forced to have sex against her will?. Now consent is not enough?–now there has to be a post-mortem about her reasons for consenting?.

    As for the defendant-this idiot has fried himself. If he had let it go to trial the CPS would prob have run away. Now he has set precidents that all sorts of man-haters will have field day with.He deserves his sentence –but not for the crimes he is accused of.

  17. the defendant intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature or purpose of the relevant act

    “I want to have sex with you because I love you, and afterwards we will get married.”

    I fear he is not alone in this regard.

  18. If person A convinced person B to sleep with them by pretending to be person C, in a situation where it was clear to all concerned that B would willingly sleep with C but not A, then this would be generally accepted as rape. The horror of rape is not just the actual sexual act, which may even have been pleasurable in this case. There’s a great deal of trauma, which is likely to be just as potent in this case as in any rape at knife-point.

    Given that, should the existence or otherwise of person C actually affect the legal or moral nature of the act? I’d argue that, since person C could quite easily be miles away and never have met either of the two parties, it would not.

  19. Archbold 2013 @ 20-15

    “Conclusive presumptions about consent
    76.—(1) If in proceedings for an offence to which this section applies [includes rape - EL] it is proved that the defendant did the relevant act and that any of the circumstances specied in subsection (2) existed, it is to be conclusively
    presumed—
    (a) that the complainant did not consent to the relevant act, and
    (b) that the defendant did not believe that the complainant consented to the relevant act.
    (2) The circumstances are that—
    (a) the defendant intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature or purpose of the relevant
    act;
    (b) the defendant intentionally induced the complainant to consent to the relevant act by impersonating
    a person known personally to the complainant.
    As to the application of this section, see the note to section 75, ante.
    In R. v. Jheeta [2007] 2 Cr.App.R. 34, CA, it was held that the ambit of the presumptions in section 76 is limited to the “relevant act” involved in the offence alleged (e.g., on a charge of rape, penetration of the complainant by the defendant with his penis (see s.77, post)); therefore, the conclusive presumption stemming from the defendant having intentionally deceived the complainant
    as to the nature or purpose of the relevant act (s.76(2)(a)) will rarely arise, and will not arise merely because the complainant was deceived by disingenuous blandishments; examples of deceptions as to the nature of the act which would fall within section 76(2)(a) were R. v. Flattery [1877] 2 Q.B.D. 410, and R. v. Williams [1923] 1 K.B. 340, CCA (what was being done was some form of medical procedure); and examples of deceptions as to the purpose of the act were R. v. Tabassum [2000] 2 Cr.App.R. 328, CA (women submitting to breast examinations by non-medically qualifed person
    pretending to be qualifed and to be conducting breast cancer survey), and R. v. Green, unreported, May 20, 2002, CA ([2002] EWCA Crim. 1501) (bogus experiment whereby complainants were asked to masturbate to assess their potential for impotence); but an example falling outside section 76(2)(a) would be R. v. Linekar [1995] 2 Cr.App.R. 49, CA (deception as to an intention to pay for intercourse). As to Tabassum, it should be noted that it is possible to read the judgment of
    the court in Jheeta, ante (at [26]), as not being categorical about the situation in that case being
    within section 76(2)(a). In R. v. Devonald, 72 J.C.L. 280, CA ([2008] EWCA Crim. 527), a teenage boy had been tricked into masturbating in front of a webcam by the applicant who had been pretending, over the internet, to be a 20-year-old girl, and whose purpose had been to teach the boy a lesson for some supposed slight upon the applicant’s daughter and to embarrass him. On a prosecution for causing
    the boy to engage in sexual activity without consent, it was held that it had been open to the jury to conclude that he had been deceived as to the purpose of the act of masturbation within section 76; he was deceived into believing that he was indulging in a sexual act with, and for the gratification of, a girl with whom he was having an online relationship and that is why he agreed to do what he did; whilst the “nature” of the act was undoubtedly sexual, its “purpose” encompassed rather more than the specic purpose of sexual gratification by the defendant in the act of masturbation. For the suggestion that the court went too far, see the commentary of Jonathan Rogers (in the Journal of
    Criminal Law) and Smith and Hogan, Criminal Law (13th ed., 2011, by David Ormerod, at
    pp.733, 734).”

    On my reading of these cases there is relatively ancient authority (e.g. Williams 1923, see above) for the proposition that what occurred in the case mentioned by Tim is indeed rape by virtue of consent being absent. The 2000 case of Tabassum is also instructive.

    Some good arguments raised in this thread, though, as to the nature and quality of the unnamed female’s behaviour, btw.

    One note of caution: in my experience, news reports of courtroom proceedings are invariably so inaccurate that, at best, their authors might as well not have bothered.

  20. There’s some misreading of s.75 and s.76 going on. They don’t define consent, they define circumstances under which the burden of proof of consent changes.

    Blackmailing someone successfully into having sex with you is obviously rape – it’s coercion every bit as clear as holding a knife to someone’s throat. Successful blackmail does not have to involve truth; in this context, the only thing necessary is that the threat was genuinely believed.

    I suspect the Telegraph’s report is badly written, I note the final paragraph:

    “Ritchie was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and obey a sexual offences prevention order which prohibits him from possessing any software to delete internet history.”

    Any software to delete internet history? That’s basically a prohibition on owning any software at all.

  21. He should have been charged with blackmail not rape.

    No he shouldn’t. Blackmail in UK law has to involve an attempt to make a gain or cause a loss of money or property.

  22. Comment 17, which you are complaining about was sent unfinished because I pressed the send button too soon.

  23. “For example, it would appear that telling some bird that you’re a travelling, single, secret agent to get her into bed, something to which she agrees to as a result of the story, would amount to rape…”

    That should prove interesting for undercover cops!

    In fact, weren’t the feminist whackjobs recently outraged at the actions of one who had relationships with a bunch of hippies while keeping tabs on some environut protest?

  24. Seems to me, Dave, that sections 75 and 76 go some way to defining consent, with the case law further assisting. But you’re on the right track regarding the burden of proof: s.75 places an evidential burden on an accused to displace a presumption; s.76 creates a presumption that cannot be displaced by an accused.

  25. Dave: Blackmail is an offer of silence in exchange for some benefit the blackmailer wants. The woman in this case clearly had a choice to say yes or no.Her fear,that her family and friends might find out her somewhat dubious criteria for agreeing to have sex, is frankly pathetic as a reason for someone getting 7 years in jail.Offering to tell others what is the undeniable truth is not violence or coercion. The blackmailer is not withholding evidence of a crime (as he would have if, say, she was a murderer), the info he holds, though embarassing, is still quite acceptable in the public domain–tabloids spill such secrets all the time. To say that the woman in question chose to have sex rather than suffer private–not even public–embarassment and that this equals rape is just wrong. She had a choice to give her consent or not and she gave it. She knew the choices and made hers.

  26. Edward>

    “Seems to me, Dave, that sections 75 and 76 go some way to defining consent”

    Not at all. They do not define ‘consent’ at all. They define where the burden of proof of consent lies in certain circumstances, and nothing more.

  27. Well, clearly this is more ideological feminism driven claptrap and in a just society there would be no justification for involving the police or courts etc, but really when one lives under an oppressive and lunatic regime there comes a point when making the same points yet again becomes redundant.

    They seem to both be pretty unpleasant people, and contrary to the feminist dogma that sex is the most important thing in the world- hence bad sex as defined by them always causes massive trauma- the woman seems to have considered the act casually enough that she would sleep with a man she neither knew nor cared for as part of a revenge plot.

    As JamesV said at #1, this is due to the apogee of sexual puritanism, driven by the most sexually puritan group in society, the gender feminists and their hysterical phallophobia.

  28. Dave, taking the example of s.76(2)(a), consent is presumed not to exist where, among other things, “the defendant intentionally deceived the complainant as to the nature or purpose of the relevant act”.

    Thus, under s.76(2)(a), consent is defined, in part, by whether a deliberate deception operates on the mind of the complainant. On the other hand, under s.76(2)(a), consent by definition exists if there is no deliberate deception operating on the mind of the complainant.

    Consent is also partially defined by s.74. As I say, all of this has been elaborated upon by authority.

    Perhaps somewhat unusually the Act has no overall Interpretation section, but s.79 provides definitions for words used in some of the sections immediately preceding it, but it does not mention consent.

  29. Edward>

    “On the other hand, under s.76(2)(a), consent by definition exists if there is no deliberate deception operating on the mind of the complainant.”

    No. Not at all. A presumption of consent is not what you seem to have inferred there. A presumption is ‘unless proven otherwise’.

    Mr Ecks>

    You can’t just imagine what the law might be and proceed on that basis. In fact, blackmail is defined as:

    “A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces”

    ‘Menacing’ does not have to mean true, or even realistic, if the victim genuinely believed a threat of harm to exist.

    “Offering to tell others what is the undeniable truth is not violence or coercion. ”

    No, it’s blackmail. The victim in this case did nothing illegal, and in any case the problem was the threat, not the release of information.

    Using blackmail to get something is, of course, a form of coercion.

  30. Section 76 is a conclusive or definitive presumption, Dave. It cannot be rebutted.

    Section 75 can, on the other hand, be rebutted.

    Rebuttal is a matter of evidence, not statutory interpretation.

  31. Dave

    I don’t give a monkey’s about “the law”.What is moral here?. Telling/witholding the truth about a (non criminal) series of events is not a crime. He makes her an offer of his silence in exchange for what he wants. She then has a choice between minor embarasment or more sex with the bloke–when she has already willingly had sex with him. She choses sex and a bunch of CPS lawdogs claim this equals rape and he gets seven years and this in a shithole of a country where yobs batter people and don’t even see the inside of a jail.

  32. Using blackmail to get something is, of course, a form of coercion.

    Lots of things are coercion. Coercion is an essential part of human social interaction. “You won’t get any sex unless you do X, Y and Z” is coercion. “If you don’t agree to do X I’ll make you miserable with passive aggressive behaviour” is coercion. “Unless you feed me I’ll scream in my cot all night” is coercion.

    From a position of principle, it’s hard to see why blackmail in most forms is a crime, unless the threat itself is of a criminal nature. Most blackmail victims are only blackmail-able because they’ve done something others would disapprove of, like a puritanical preacher indulging in meth-fuelled orgies with gay prostitutes. Should a threat to expose a person’s true moral character to public view be a crime? If it is, why isn’t the actual exposure a crime (e.g. the press revealing you indulge in meth-fuelled orgies with gay prostitutes).

    It’s an interesting question from a liberal perspective. If you don’t want to be embarrassed, don’t do embarrassing things. If you do, people might use them against you. Why get the law involved?

    And, why was not this woman’s original agreement to participate in “Marina’s” plot itself seen as agreeing to participate in blackmail?

  33. Just to add-

    We must remember that a person who is successfully blackmailed has chosen what they consider to be a lesser harm (e.g. paying the money, or sex with the blackmailer) than the harm they would suffer from exposure. Thus, we can see that the Press do more harm to the victim than the blackmailer. And yet the blackmail is the crime.

    One might say, to discourage the immorality of profiting from blackmail. And yet, the Press profit from the kiss’n’tell exposure, and the profits from gutter pressery far exceed the profits from blackmail.

    I sometimes wonder if the real reason blackmail is the crime is that in a moralist society like ours, moralists object to moral transgressors being able to get away with their transgressions by paying hush money, thus avoiding their exposure to the hysteria of public condemnation.

  34. Ian, “If you don’t want to be embarrassed, don’t do embarrassing things”.

    Given my penchant for having sex with strangers wearing nothing but a pair of wellies and a chef’s hat, I’m glad I use a nom de plume…

  35. It’s also worth observing that, without the State imposed anonymity for victims of not-rape, it would have been impossible to report the not-rape without exposing her own behaviour to public condemnation, the very thing she agreed to the not-rape to avoid. So, another pro-female gender bias in the legal system then.

  36. “You said you were Jamie Oliver, you lying bastard!”

    Funny you should point that out, I was at school with him.

  37. Ian B,

    Lots of things are coercion. Coercion is an essential part of human social interaction. “You won’t get any sex unless you do X, Y and Z” is coercion.

    No, it’s an offer, negotiation or deal.

    Should a threat to expose a person’s true moral character to public view be a crime?

    If it’s a threat unless they meet some demand. The demand is an essential element of blackmail.

    If it is, why isn’t the actual exposure a crime (e.g. the press revealing you indulge in meth-fuelled orgies with gay prostitutes).

    The press don’t (well, some do, see the Mosley case) threaten, they just print, and they don’t demand money or something in exchange for not printing.

    If you don’t want to be embarrassed, don’t do embarrassing things.

    Don’t act on homosexual desires. Don’t be a transvestite. Don’t get treated for a mental health problem.

    You seem to lack empathy.

  38. Ian B>

    So, if I can sum up, you’re saying ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ – which, of course, is a statement well-known to be fascist bollocks.

  39. As Walter Block points out the “blackmailer” is more moral than the press or the gossip–with the bmail there is at least an option for the unfortunate “victim” to keep hidden what they want hidden.

    Blackmail is also an offer of trade. You can speak of “demands” and “menances” but that is semantics. A demand is something the demander is determined that you will comply with–as when the scum of the state issue their edicts and back them up with threats of violence. You can say that the bmailer merely prefers that you meet his terms–if you don’t then he does not attack or coerce you, beyond simply passing on the truth–and it must be the truth as made up blackmail is far less effective unless it is in the realms of public hysteria, such as pedophillia or general sex crime. If the blackmailer falsely accuses you of being a murderer then there will, in general, be a logical attempt to find other evidence for and against you.

  40. UK Liberty, “The press don’t (well, some do, see the Mosley case) threaten, they just print…”

    I seem to remember the Sun newspaper in its outing of Stephen Gately came pretty close to blackmailing him first. If memory serves, he was told to cooperate with the story or they’d run it on their own terms.

    Personally, I think that’s qualitatively a different story from the disclosures about Mosley’s sex parties. I mean, outing someone? Seriously? There’s so much to dislike about it, I hardly know where to begin.

    But Ian raises a reasonable question about blackmail, although ultimately I don’t think I can agree with his conclusion because threatening to reveal something in whatever sense ‘disreputable’ unless money is handed over seems to me to be extortion. A grossly over-used word, extortion. But that’s what it is: obtaining money, not through voluntary exchange of adequate consideration but through threats. Nor, I think, can it be suggested that there is an exchange of adequate consideration – the money in return for silence, because if the blackmailer takes the money, then returns with the same threat, by which time the object of his threats has run out of money, whereupon the blackmailer reveals all, his victim can scarcely sue on their ‘contract’.

  41. Blackmail is also an offer of trade. You can speak of “demands” and “menances” but that is semantics.

    The “menaces” are essential to it being blackmail, not merely semantics: A person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces.

    The moral relativism here is a bit weird.

  42. Edward,

    I seem to remember the Sun newspaper in its outing of Stephen Gately came pretty close to blackmailing him first. If memory serves, he was told to cooperate with the story or they’d run it on their own terms.

    Personally, I think that’s qualitatively a different story from the disclosures about Mosley’s sex parties.

    I was alluding to Neville Thurlbeck contacting the women to demand exclusive interviews or else their identities would be revealed. Read from para 79 http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2008/1777.html

    Thinking about it, this kind of thing is possibly more frequent than I suggested earlier.

  43. Ah, I see.

    I seem to recall that that buffoon Galloway won his libel action against the Telegraph not on the basis that its claim to have found evidence of him receiving money from Saddam was unfounded but instead on the basis that it published before he was given a proper right of reply.

    In fact, this report seems to bear that out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4061165.stm

    Which I suppose rather paints the newspapers into a corner.

    The judge in both the Mosley and Galloway cases seems, incidentally, to have been the same person.

    I’ve long thought it a shame that the veracity of the documents found and published by the Telegraph has not been properly evaluated, although wikipedia concludes with an interesting coda on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Galloway#Daily_Telegraph_libel_case

  44. Mr Ecks:

    I pressed the send button too soon.

    It was ever thus.

    A few days ago you promised to apologise once you’d confirmed that you’d got your facts wrong. How’s that coming along?

  45. I think the problem here is that we have an example of the confusion between “being an ass” and “committing a crime”. A lot of well-meaning people tend to be lured into the fallacy that the first of those is the second of those. Which plays into the hands of the malign authoritarians in our society (in the case of the rapey rapey hysteria, those ghastly feminist trouts, of course).

    Both of the people in this case seem to have acted badly; that does not make either of their behaviours criminal. Some could argue that cheating on your fiance ought to be a crime too. It’s so easy to say “shouldn’t be allowed”, isn’t it?

    I think one further point to note here is that the femi-trouts are coming out with the usual emotive garbage about the poor laydee’s psychological distress and trauma and how maybe there is a glimmer that one day she can get over it, and all that codswallop; the general narrative being that anything however mildly rape-like, from a pinched botty upwards, causes permanent mental ruin.

    But we can actually discern from a blackmail how seriously the “victim” considers the payment in their own mind. They consider it to be less serious than the revelation of their secret. Thus, we know from this that the poor laydee thought that continuing to have sex with “Marina” was less traumatic than having her fiance find out she’d cheated on him. So, not very serious at all then. Get over it, love.

    Note that in all this, nobody seems to have considered the trauma to said fiance about his beloved going off to fuck somebody else behind his back. Ah, but he’s a bloke, so he can just deal with that like a man, righty?

  46. PaulB:

    Sent an email–when I get a reply,and I will write again until I do, if the circs are what you say (and for that to be true the orig source must have got it wrong) I will apologise for not looking carefully enough into my facts.
    Thats more than anybody would get from an upmarket troll like you.

  47. Ian, if you threatened to expose me for being Jamie Oliver unless I handed over a wodge of cash, and I handed over a wodge of cash to prevent said exposure then, sure, I care less about the cash than I do about the exposure. I kept my identity secret in return for a sum of money; paid for something I prize, in other words. Thus far, I’m with you. But what if you then expose me anyway? I can scarcely sue you for breach of contract, can I? And that, I think, exposes the fallacy that blackmail, extortion, what you will, is an ordinary voluntary transaction like buying a bag of crisps, if it’s not already exposed by the fact that I wouldn’t buy a bag of crisps in the first place for fear of humiliation if I don’t.

    Like I said above, extortion is a grossly over-used word. But in its proper sense, the sense which I’ve described, it seems to me properly to be criminal.

    Your satellite points, about the Long March of the Proggies, are as usual well made. I’d be interested to know whether the woman’s boyfriend has ever found out about his beloved’s misadventures.

  48. that does not make either of their behaviours criminal.

    Actually, you are missing the point, unusually. The general question is “is the behaviour criminal under the current law” – and this turns on fine or not so fine points of interpretation of phrases and words from s74 – 76 of the current law (well, in E&W, doesn’t apply here).

    That’s what makes their behaviours criminal or not – the breach (or lack of) of the criminal law.

    We can also consider whether any of these behaviours should or should not be criminalised. But that is a very, very different question.

  49. I should add that I regard criminal behaviour, properly construed, as that which mischievously causes, or is intended to cause, harm.

  50. SE-

    I was using “criminal” in an “ought” sense. The actual state of the law is frequently the rear end of a donkey, so in a discussion like this, we’re discussing what ought to be, not what is. For instance, even if homosexuality were criminalised, I would say it is not a criminal act. In an “ought” sense. Just as, say, groping a dolly bird’s bum in 1975 isn’t a crime even if the 3000 police and NSPCC officials attached to Operation Barmcake say it is, and can get a court to say it is.

    Edward Lud-

    I’m not arguing that blackmail is a voluntary transaction. But numerous acceptable things are not voluntary transactions, such as having to sit all the way through Titanic because if you don’t you won’t get any nookie for two weeks.

    I basically think this sordid tale is not worthy of court time. At the very least, the sentence is utterly ludicrous.

  51. I think either this story, or perhaps the entire United Kingdom, is a hoax.

    Think about it. For the first encounter, the deceived woman has to sidle up to the bloke, who she’s never met, and offer to bed him. What motivates her to do that? Why does she expect him to take her up on her offer? How does she recognize him? Where does she do the sidling? The pub? Supermarket? What’s her plan if the bloke doesn’t fancy her? How does she negotiate STD protection?

    One can see the logic of subsequent events. But that the first step does not compute.

  52. “At the very least, the sentence is utterly ludicrous”.

    Yes, a point I’d meant myself to make earlier when remarking on the press coverage.

  53. I’m not arguing that blackmail is a voluntary transaction. But numerous acceptable things are not voluntary transactions, such as having to sit all the way through Titanic because if you don’t you won’t get any nookie for two weeks.

    But we are arguing it is not of a kind with “do this or else I will send copies of this sextape to your family and friends and colleagues.”

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