New Zealand wants to do fucking what?

Fundamental pillars of the criminal justice system may be eroded whichever party wins the election this year, as both National’s and Labour’s proposals would look into changing the right to silence or the presumption of innocence in rape cases.

Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions.

National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused’s refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused.

Auckland University law professor Warren Brookbanks said both policies challenged two fundamental principles: the right to silence, and the presumption of innocence, which are both protected in the Bill of Rights Act.

Reverse the burden of proof? What?

83 comments on “New Zealand wants to do fucking what?

  1. “Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims”

    But justice isn’t “for victims”, justice is absolute. Accused need justice just as much, if not more than, accusers.

  2. Labour’s justice spokesman Andrew Little did not think the party’s proposal would lead to more innocent people being convicted.

    “I don’t see why. You’re assuming that there is a propensity to lay false complaints. There is no evidence pointing to that.”

    In the real world, false allegations of rape are made all the time, and if you’re a successful man, you’re a bigger target. Thankfully the total lack of evidence leads to many of them being withdrawn before a prosecution is made.

    There’s a not insubstantial minority of women for whom the fake pregnancy or crying rape are just weapons for control or revenge against men who jilt them.

    Because women are more emotionally intelligent than men, they can be very convincing even to the point of convincing themselves.

    It would be a shame if one of Andrew Little’s former sexual partners suddenly “remembered” that he raped her. A crying shame. But a teachable moment.

  3. And when the political class has agreed on something, electoral choice is revealed as the sham that it is.

  4. Great, if you want to completely screw someone just screw him, accuse him of raping you and let him try to prove that it was consensual.

  5. Tricky area of the law.

    But I do worry about demands that “more men must be convicted of rape”. Why bother with a trial? Why not round up a few hundred men at random on the streets and put them in prison for rape. After all, can any of us PROVE that we’ve never raped someone?

  6. Guilty ’til proven innocent eh? As someone involved in tax, this is not an unfamiliar concept.

    First they came for the tax ‘dodgers’…

  7. Mjoellnir

    Why bother with the screwing bit? Just accuse him. Much tidier and cleaner.

    Woman: He raped me.
    Man: no I didn’t.
    Judge: Guilty.

    Progressive.

  8. How can you prove something did not happen if it never happened?

    The political establishment in NZ seems to be passing the Event Horizon of Marxist politics. Innocent until proven guilty unless you are male. I’m sure such a Progressive state will have many, many detailed laws regarding sex discrimination yet these will somehow not apply.

    Fortunately this country is on the other side of the world but how long before this lunacy reaches these shores? Can you see Dave’s shambolic mob fighting off Ed’s Harpy-led loonies? Or more likely that they’ll be in the vanguard? Leaving a single party, UKIP, opposing it which will mean that supporting universal innocence in the eyes of the Law an Official Lunatic Opinion.

    Scary times.

  9. Juries (over here) can already draw an adverse inference from silence.

    The other thing is mad and they will never introduce it. But it’s interesting, in a macabre way, even to see it being floated.

  10. Interested-

    As we saw from the Rolf trial, we’re already informally much of the way there by evolution of in court practise.

    Rob-

    The countries of the Anglosphere (and increasingly non anglo countries under its influence) are competing to see who can Progressivise the fastest. All sliding down the same slippery slope under the influence of deliberate Feminist stragegy assisted by useful idiots on the reactionary Right.

  11. Rob – well, only a swivel-eyed little Englander lunatic would suggest that women are ever capable of lying.

    Feminism has led us to this dismal place. Equality, eh?

  12. Much as I dislike to agree with Interested I don’t think it will pass either. It would require a much higher level of panic/hysteria to get such basically unjust crap through–a paedo-sexual 9/11 so to speak. And it is hard to keep compounding panic upon panic. Even if the next “politics” phase of the Yewtree caper manage to double the Saville level of hysteria it would still be hard to successfully moot such obvious bare-faced injustice.

    However, every bit of anti-male propaganda that is floated does have an effect and gradualism has been one of the key to the “success” of evil throughout history. Even just suggesting such anti-male ideas–no matter how scornfully rejected at first–puts them on the table. The future is unknown –but the past shows that things once dismissed as unthinkable can become all too horribly real.

  13. “I don’t see why. You’re assuming that there is a propensity to lay false complaints. There is no evidence pointing to that.”

    I think we should legalise punching left-wing politicians.

    If he objects………….

    “I don’t see why you’re objecting. You’re assuming that there is a propensity for members of the public to punch left-wing politicians. There is no evidence pointing to that.”

  14. I think people have this the wrong way up. If rape is prosecuted like that, it will become no more significant to be convicted of rape than to be given a parking ticket. It’s actually a despicable plan to effectively legalise rape.

  15. Dave,

    If you’re given a parking ticket, they have to be able to prove that you parked unlawfully.

  16. How stupid can these people be?

    If it’s guilty until proven innocent, then surely the accused will be better off murdering the accuser? At least with murder it’s still innocent until proven guilty, isn’t it?

    Idiots, just absolute f***ing idiots…..

  17. I’ve never really thought about case law before, but how does the EU treat rape cases?

    Is it the standard Napoleonic, in which case aren’t alleged rapists required to prove their innocence?

    Or is it more compicated than that?

  18. Treble9man – Eh, maybe, in some of the minority of cases that involve violent random stranger rape.

    I think a more common unintended consequence will be the rise of digital surveillance though.

    In Russia, dashboard cameras are common due to the amount of insurance fraud. So if all heterosexual sex becomes a minefield of criminal liability, I’d expect a lot of men to start putting discreet webcams in their bedrooms, or using their smartphones to record audio, and saving all their texts and emails in case some bird later decides she was raped.

    In fact, savvy men are already doing some of the above, and it saved this man from having his life ruined by a vindictive psycho who cried “rape”:

    http://uncrunched.com/2013/04/11/jennifer-allen-false-defamatory/

    http://uncrunched.com/2014/06/24/fifteen-months-later/

    Which is pretty fucking sad that it’s come to this, but there you go.

  19. “explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused’s refusal to give evidence in a negative light”: what sort of naif wouldn’t view it that way?

  20. Since the politicians’ premise is that the conviction rate is wrong, they can presumably determine a more reasonable conviction rate. Were they to do so, the legal system could adapt quite elegantly by merely changing the obligation on a juror from an all or nothing verdict of guilty or not guilty to an estimated percentage probability of guilt. The court could then average the verdicts and compare the result with a moving threshold set in order to keep the conviction rate on target.

  21. Juries (over here) can already draw an adverse inference from silence.

    Not from mere silence but “if you later rely on something in court” (I have the words wrong but am in a bar so can’t bother being exact.)

    Although the E&W position is a degradation of the absolute right to silence all it is actually stopping is the “ambush alibi”. If you had an obvious alibi (which might not have withstood detailed investigation or, even, existed at the point of questioning) you used to be able to keep silent at interview, introduce it at trial and the jury weren’t entitled to take any account of the fact that you didn’t tell the cops when questioned that you were at your Granny’s funeral when the jeweller’s was done over by somebody your height and build with your exact MO.

    The above proposals are very different – albeit in degree rather than principle.

  22. SE: ‘it may harm your defence if you fail to mention sometime you later rely on in court’ BUT… that is prefaced by ‘you do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so’…

  23. Steve>

    “In fact, savvy men are already doing some of the above, and it saved this man from having his life ruined by a vindictive psycho who cried “rape”:”

    What are you on about? She was actually mentally ill, so the psycho tag is in bad taste, and no-one believed her for a minute except Gawker.com, the National Enquirer of the internet. Meanwhile, the chap in question hadn’t done any of the things you mention.

  24. “Mentally Ill ” is the main label that seems to be affixed to women. Whereas ” liar” and “criminal” are the labels that gets affixed to men. We should note the case of the UK female who made 8 separate totally false accusations against 8 different men before the CPS morons decided enough was enough. It came to court and the Judge was full of sympathy for her mental condition so she escaped jail. The 8 blokes who had their names dragged thro the shite by the media and the “no smoke without fire” morons out there had to manage without a place in the beak’s tender heart. The female was not the record holder for false accusations tho’–that now stands at 11 I believe.

    Which is way BluLabour should have kept their word about anonymity for the accused until/if convicted.

  25. JuliaM – honestly, at this point I don’t think that would even surprise me.

    Dave – Not sure if you read the full story, it was pretty long, but the reason he was able to deliver such an immediate and comprehensive legal smackdown on his psycho stalker was because he kept the digital records of his communication with her from over a year prior to her accusation.

    Otherwise it would have been more of a he-said-she-said situation, and his reputation would have been dragged through the mud for an extended period of time even if he was able to subsequently prove she was lying. And note, since he is a high profile entrepreneur, he did indeed have to prove his innocence in the court of public opinion, or else he’d have been ostracised – at best.

    When you are falsely accused of something as vile as rape, the accusation itself and the damage it does to you and your family constitutes a severe punishment even before police and prosecutors get involved.

    She was actually mentally ill, so the psycho tag is in bad taste

    Well, the psycho tag is descriptive. I’m not an alienist, but seems to me it’s fair to call a psycho a psycho. And me mentioning her cuckoo-bananas-headcaseness is not gratuitous, it’s relevant – most false accusations of rape come from mentally ill or emotionally damaged women.

    Unfortunately there are plenty of them out there. Thankfully not anywhere near the majority of women – but a large enough minority that men should be wary.

    no-one believed her for a minute except Gawker.com

    Nobody believed her… except one of the biggest and most influential blogs in the world, read by millions of people daily. Right.

  26. @john miller

    “Is it the standard Napoleonic, in which case aren’t alleged rapists required to prove their innocence?”

    That’s not really how continental law works.*
    It’s just not an adversarial system. If one’s accused of a crime a judge orders an investigation. One’s neither innocent nor guilty but subject to the investigation. As is the accuser, any witnesses etc.

    *Yeah, OK. We know. But Anglo-Saxon Law’s nothing to write home about, these days, either.
    I’d feel a lot safer in a continental system if they’re pulling these stunts in A-S Law. At least you get the theory of an investigation. A lot of stuff now seems to be about whether it’s possible to get a conviction. Evidence is superfluous..

  27. New Zealand wants to do no such thing!

    Some nut jobs in political parties want too, that’s an entirely different thing. The rainbows are destroying the Labour party, so quite frankly its not much to worry about, just look at it’s leader apologizing for being a man…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11287736

    However the National’s flirting with the idea is much more of a concern.

    NZ does fall prey to the ultra-feminists from time to time, just look at the recent Malaysian diplomat case for a very recent example, however it usually is at the more sane end of the spectrum.

  28. A little over reacting. The NZ Labour Party is proposing reversing the onus of proof of consent, but they’re polling at 23-25% so unlikely (but not impossible with MMP voting) that they will occupy the treasury benches. The National (read Conservative in UK terms) proposal is not a policy plank as such but a discussion point at this stage. It is intended to follow the UK practice as mentioned above.

    The reversal of the onus of proof is indeed frightening, proving beyond reasonable doubt that there was consent is almost certainly impossible in most cases. And what about married couples, consent is required there as well, and just think how easy getting a good divorce settlement will be. Could be tricky though, men certainly could allege no consent as well and then the women involved would gave to prove she had unequivocal evidence of consent. However one feels that the intent of the law would undoubtedly be that only men would have to prove consent, women would be entitled to assume it.

  29. “Well darling before we go any further could you please sign here…here… and (flips page…here) Full name and date of birth too thanks.”

    “Oh, and I hope you don’t mind me filming this, it is just for my protection”

    “Condoms? Damn, I thought I was prepared but I forgot to bring any” 🙁

  30. “Could be tricky though, men certainly could allege no consent as well…”

    Now, why is it that I immediately suspect that one ain’t gonna fly..?

  31. “Could be tricky though, men certainly could allege no consent as well…”

    Now, why is it that I immediately suspect that one ain’t gonna fly..?

    Because you have to have a penis to rape (UK law at least). Women can commit sexual assault, but they’re not talking about reversing the burden of proof for that particular crime?

  32. @bnis and others, also don’t lump all continental law together. German criminal hearings are adversarial. The judges are even banned from doing their own investigating, they’re bound by the statements made by the prosecution and defence, and the law, and precedent in their or relevant higher courts, and that’s it.

    The idea that you’re innocent until proven guilty in “Napoleonic” (code for funny forriner) law isn’t even worthy of a swivel-eyed loon.

  33. @IanB “As we saw from the Rolf trial, we’re already informally much of the way there by evolution of in court practise.”

    What we ‘saw from the Rolf trial’ was a jury which heard all the evidence decide on his guilt. You were not on the jury, you did not hear all the evidence, and you therefore have no sensible standing to criticise their decision, any more than does the Daily Mail, Laurie Penny or Fathers 4 Justice.

    I understand you have various bees in a number of bonnets, but at least try to argue from a position which is not demonstrably ridiculous.

  34. “I’d expect a lot of men to start putting discreet webcams in their bedrooms, or using their smartphones to record audio”

    Unless that recording is done with consent(!) does it not fall foul of the Sexual Offences Act?

  35. I recall Harriet Harpy putting forward the suggestion that if someone was drunk it must be presumed that they could NOT give consent and so having sex with someone who was drunk would be rape.

    This presented the possibility of a legally baffling case of two drunk people having sex and being accused of raping each other.

  36. Unless that recording is done with consent(!) does it not fall foul of the Sexual Offences Act?

    Not SOA03. There’s nothing in there about recording except for kiddie porn. There is also some stuff about showing porn to kiddies but this also doesn’t apply.

    two drunk people having sex and being accused of raping each other.

    Only if they were both blokes. You have to have a penis to be a rapist under UK law.

  37. In Russia, dashboard cameras are common due to the amount of insurance fraud.

    That, plus corrupt policemen and mates/relatives of officials who could break the law with impunity and get a judgement in their favour even if it was their fault. Apparently the dashboard cameras have eradicated the practice of policemen falsely accusing motorists of running red lights.

  38. I’d feel a lot safer in a continental system if they’re pulling these stunts in A-S Law. At least you get the theory of an investigation.

    Aye, there’s stuff the UK police get involved in – related to wounded feelings and “harassment”, etc. – that the French police would laugh out the door.

  39. What we ‘saw from the Rolf trial’ was a jury which heard all the evidence decide on his guilt.

    Yeah, but we saw the same with Barry George in the Jill Dando murder trial. Most observers – who also weren’t on the jury – couldn’t believe the case went to trial on the evidence presented, let alone got a conviction. Sure enough: verdict overturned, hefty compo payout.

  40. CHF – it is if it’s for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification.

    Unless people take to carrying sexual consent forms around with them and have a travelling notary on speed dial, we can expect some degree of Richard Nixon-like paranoia among the bloke half of the public, if feminists get their crazy way and effectively make all heterosexual sex prima facie evidence of rape.

    And this is the feminist endgame, even if useful idiots like Andrew Little don’t have the wit to see it.

    In most Western countries, the incidence of rape has been falling for years. We simply don’t have a “rape culture” as is claimed. The meme that rape is a massive and growing problem originated with radical feminists who believe heterosexual intercourse itself is “rape”.

  41. @Steve Yes. It was section 67 on Voyeurism I was remembering, and that involves a test as you say, as to whether the recording was made “for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification”. The test is essentially subjective. There have been both successful and unsuccessful prosecutions of people filming themselves with others in their own bedrooms, with the discrepancy usual for things subject to (highly) subjective tests. I think there’s a good chance under the current CPS scheme that if you used a recording to get yourself off a more serious charge, they’d use this one.

  42. The problem is, consent forms are useless, since sexual consent is ongoing. That I agreed to have sex with you doesn’t obligate me to continue if I want to stop.

    The only safe thing to do would be HD recordings (in a well lit room, probably from more than one angle) of every act of intercourse. And covering every area of the property you may happen to visit (yes, I consented to sex in the bedroom. Then he assaulted me without consent in the kitchen).

    This seems to be the kind of he-said she-said problem the much derided ancient Jewish Law requirement that the victim “cry out” was attempting in a primitive manner to address.

  43. As long ago as the 1950s Ayn Rand (whatever her failings) correctly pointed out the aim of the femmi division of the “New Left” was the poisoning and destruction of relationships between men and women. As a part of destroying society held together by man/woman and family relationships. As Erin Pizzey points out that by the 60s Radfem hatred had grown so intense that would no longer offer any exemption to their hatred even to leftist males. They have been busy since and their propaganda has done huge damage to society both men and women-not-filled -with -hatred (the vast majority of women).
    Instead of discussing consent forms–we need to be discussing how to destroy Radical Feminism without becoming consumed by hatred ourselves.

  44. @Tim N

    “Yeah, but we saw the same with Barry George in the Jill Dando murder trial. Most observers – who also weren’t on the jury – couldn’t believe the case went to trial on the evidence presented, let alone got a conviction. Sure enough: verdict overturned, hefty compo payout.”

    Firstly, the fact that Barry George keeps arising, along with the Guildford Four and – I’m sure for the next 20 years – Rolf Harris does say something about jury trials ie there are a number of high profile fuck ups but not many or else we wouldn’t keep using the same examples.

    Secondly, so what if some people thought it was mad he was charged, and turned out to be correct? In any and every case you can find some people who think it’s wrong to charge. In the Barry George case, it’s not widely regarded as a case of jury error anyway. His appeal was allowed because of evidence not put before the original jury.

    Thirdly, so fucking what in the wider sense? It surely behoves you and IanB and anyone else who is outraged by the Rolf Harris verdict firstly to have heard all of the evidence and watched all of the proceedings, secondly to say exactly why you think the jury erred, and thirdly to suggest an alternative system that would make no errors.

    Otherwise you’re arguing like Mail columnists and CIF commenters.

  45. Interested,

    I specifically didn’t say that the jury erred. What I was saying was that in sex crimes, there has been a drift towards guilty until proven innocent in court procedure. I said nothing about the jury at all. This is a general trend and I merely meant Rolf was an example of it.

    In practise, we have a situation where the accused, isolated like a dangerous predator in a glass cage, has to prove himself innocent of emotive testimony delivered in ludicrous theatricality from behind screens and curtains, relating to distant events for which there is no actual evidence whatsoever. In a non-emotive situation this would be rightly seen as a ludicrous distortion of fair trial. If I tried to have you convicted of stealing my lawnmower fifty years ago on the basis of nothing but testimony, with no evidence that either you had the lawnmower, or even that the lawnmower existed, or that we were even neighbours, a conviction would be impossible.

    This is nothing to do with judging the jury; it’s about how the process has been deliberately altered by fanatics with an agenda.

  46. As to an “alternative system”, my daring suggestion would be that we go back to using the same system for sex crimes as we use for every other crime. Like we used to, until about a couple of decades ago when this lunacy descended on us.

  47. @IanB the trouble with your argument is that you have to be criticising the jury. They heard the evidence, decided he was guilty – you didn’t.

    Were they affected by the ceremonials in a way you would not have been? If so, how do you know? And how is that not a criticism?

    In most historic sex abuse cases – and in most rapes – it doesn’t get to the jury, and when it does they acquit, for exactly the reasons you suggest.

    For your argument re the Harris case to make sense, you’d have to be demonstrating that he was subject to some unfair treatment – the celebrity penalty, let’s call it – that wouldn’t have applied in other cases.

    I suggest that is not the case; his lawyers were very expensive and will have been looking at anything and everything to get him off.

    Put another way, Rolf wouldn’t be done for a lawnmower theft either, because no one thinks lawnmower theft is as serious as fingering seven year old girls. At least, I don’t think anyone does?

    You are in danger of discarding baby and bath water. Because you quite rightly abhor feminist lunatics you also think it is impossible for a man to get a fair trial on serious but old offences. This is not true.

  48. For your argument re the Harris case to make sense, you’d have to be demonstrating that he was subject to some unfair treatment – the celebrity penalty, let’s call it – that wouldn’t have applied in other cases.

    Not at all. I am saying that the procedures and conventions that have recently come to be in sex crime trials (and not in other forms of criminal trial) are fundamentally unsound, and Rolf is just a famous example.

    Put another way, Rolf wouldn’t be done for a lawnmower theft either, because no one thinks lawnmower theft is as serious as fingering seven year old girls. At least, I don’t think anyone does?

    This is fundamentally unsound thinking. There is no reason to compromise principles of justice because the crime is considered “more serious”. If anything, the seriousness of the crime should make us more keen to get it right. A £100 fine in a magistrate’s court is a bit annoying. The total life ruin of a sex crime conviction should make us eager to apply the highest standards to prevent miscarriages of justice.

    Regarding anonymity, nobody should have it. It is a recent innovation, designed to increase the perceived severity of the charges into a different qualititative sphere to other crimes.

    you also think it is impossible for a man to get a fair trial on serious but old offences. This is not true.

    It might be possible if there were some other good evidence. There rarely is beyond testimony. There was not even any evidence of when Rolf’s affair started. There was zero evidence of the incident with the 7 year old; not even any record of the public performance where it supposedly occurred. We are in a situation where, if a conviction can be gained on nothing but testimony, any man in the country could be found guilty simply on the word of a woman. This is far beyond any reasonable definition of a fair trial.

  49. Firstly, the fact that Barry George keeps arising, along with the Guildford Four and – I’m sure for the next 20 years – Rolf Harris does say something about jury trials ie there are a number of high profile fuck ups but not many or else we wouldn’t keep using the same examples.

    For me, what it shows is that juries are susceptible to returning guilty verdicts in cases where there is immense pressure – either societal and/or from the police/CPS – in highly emotive cases where the evidence is far from robust. The problem lies not with the jury but with the behaviour of the police/CPS and elements of society which are, respectively, applying the pressure and inflaming the emotions.

    Secondly, so what if some people thought it was mad he was charged, and turned out to be correct?

    It eroded trust in the justice system. Some of us consider this to be important.

    It surely behoves you and IanB and anyone else who is outraged by the Rolf Harris verdict firstly to have heard all of the evidence and watched all of the proceedings, secondly to say exactly why you think the jury erred

    No it doesn’t. I merely queried your implication that juries infallibly return a just verdict by pointing out that in the case of Barry George, they sent an innocent man to prison who was glaringly obviously fitted up by the police.

  50. Interested,

    the trouble with your argument is that you have to be criticising the jury. They heard the evidence, decided he was guilty – you didn’t.

    No, we didn’t hear all the evidence, but we did hear someone claiming she was attacked at an event in a particular year that was out by 3 years, and at the wrong park in Cambridge. Maybe she’s honest and can’t remember too well, but that’s still reasonable doubt in my book. And if I’ve got reasonable doubt, there’s nothing else you need to tell me.

    The problem is, if a jury hears 12 charges from different possible victims where they’re having to work out who’s the liar (and nothing else), hearing 12 victims against 1 defendant has a similar effect to hearing 12 witnesses to the same crime. It leads the jury to assume that Rolf is capable of it. It’s unjust and cases like this should never be tried together but as separate cases.

  51. A short list from Wiki: Miscarriages of Justice UK

    George Thatcher
    Andrew Evans
    Steven Downing
    The Birmingham Six
    The Maguire Seven
    Stefan Kiszko
    John Joseph Doyle
    Paul Blackburn
    The Bridgewater Four
    Peter Fell
    Sean Hodgson
    Winston Silcott
    Kenny Richey
    The Cardiff Newsagent Three
    Michelle and Lisa Taylor
    The Cardiff Three
    Sally Clark
    The Gurnos Three
    Donna Anthony
    Angela Cannings
    David Carrington Jones
    Suzanne Holdsworth
    Barri White and Keith Hyatt
    Eddie Gilfoyle
    Terry Pinfold and Harry Mackenny

    It is extremely difficult to get a case re-opened and requires new evidence–hardly likely if there was no evidence beyond unsupported testimony in the first place.

  52. In the case of the” Cardiff Three” 9 retired and 3 serving police officers were put on trial for conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice. The trial collapsed and the Judge let them off on the grounds that there had been so much bad publicity that they would never get a fair trial. Contrast their treatment with that of the Yewtree suspects, after 2 decades of ever-growing media paedo-hysteria –topped off with the Saville frenzy.

  53. Tim N,

    > Yeah, but we saw the same with Barry George in the Jill Dando murder trial. Most observers – who also weren’t on the jury – couldn’t believe the case went to trial on the evidence presented, let alone got a conviction. Sure enough: verdict overturned, hefty compo payout.

    Actually, no: no compensation for Mr George, on the grounds that he is “not innocent enough”.

    In cases of miscarriages of justice being overturned on appeal, it is standard practice for the Home Office to issue to the released innocent victim a bill for room and board, on the grounds that they were not entitled to their lovely prison bed and food so should pay for them. As a result, a big chunk of the compensation payment goes straight back to the bastard government. So, by refusing to give Mr George a compensation payment, they are utterly utterly screwing him.

    (I would be more than happy, by the way, to hear that that appalling practice has ceased, but for some reason journalists have never shown much interest in it, so it’s difficult to know. Last time I saw it actually make the news, Blunkett defended it to the hilt.)

    Interested,

    > In the Barry George case, it’s not widely regarded as a case of jury error anyway. His appeal was allowed because of evidence not put before the original jury.

    The verdict was overturned mainly because of evidence that was put before the original jury but shouldn’t have been. The reason that bit of hair-splitting matters is that there’s no suggestion whatsoever that Mr George was convicted because there was some important bit of evidence that no-one knew about at the time but which came to light later, as often happens in appeals. No, he was just fitted up because Jill Dando was popular.

    That evidence against Barry George in full:

    He lived in the same area of London (population 8 billion) as Ms Dando.

    He was seen in that area (where he lived) on the day of the crime.

    Some fibres were found outside Ms Dando’s house that matched his cheap mass-produced trousers (i.e. there was some dust on the ground in London).

    There was a single particle of arguable gunshot residue (arguable because forensics would usually discount a single particle, which could just be pollution) on his contaminated coat (contaminated by the police, who failed to observe proper chain-of-evidence prodecures because they were having fun modelling the coat in order to show off to the media).

    He was obsessed with Princess Diana.

    Jill Dando looked quite a bit like Princess Diana.

    Jill was really dreamy.

    And, sure, everyone knows he’s a bit of a nutter.

  54. It’s unjust and cases like this should never be tried together but as separate cases.

    Indeed. And the very reason that when a serial tealeaf goes on trial for his umpteenth burglary, the jury aren’t told of prior convictions.

  55. Let’s not forget Plod’s exemplary handling of the Rachel Nickell case, and Colin Stagg’s conviction by our fine national press.

  56. Interested,

    The presumption of guilt is plain for all to see in the Rolf case. Because there are in fact two Rolf cases: one for sexual assault and one for viewing child pornography. He was found guilty of the former, at which point the CPS simply declared him also guilty of the latter, for which they had decided not to try him, and released all the details to the media.

  57. Ian B,

    > Regarding anonymity, nobody should have it. It is a recent innovation, designed to increase the perceived severity of the charges into a different qualititative sphere to other crimes.

    No, it was designed because having been raped was considered extremely shameful, so much so that victims wouldn’t come forward if their identity was going to be made public. I think society has changed considerably for the better since then (at least in that regard) and having been raped is no longer the sort of thing that will see you shunned in polite society or treated as an easy strumpet or soiled goods or both by large numbers of men, so the anonymity is no longer necessary. That’s no reason to come up with conspiracy theories about why it was introduced in the first place.

  58. Interested,

    > Firstly, the fact that Barry George keeps arising, along with the Guildford Four and – I’m sure for the next 20 years – Rolf Harris does say something about jury trials ie there are a number of high profile fuck ups but not many or else we wouldn’t keep using the same examples.

    This is a basic statistical error. The claim being made is that, when there’s public pressure for a quick conviction due to a high-profile victim (Jill Dando) or a particularly heinous event (the Birmingham pub bombing) or a particularly distressing series of events (Savile) or just some hysteria, then the chances of a miscarriage of justice increase dramatically. You can’t prove that claim wrong by comparing the frequency of miscarriages of justice to the general background level of normal court cases that most people don’t care about. What you need to compare it to is the frequency of high-profile victims, particularly heinous events, particularly distressing series of events, and public hysteria.

  59. *I* have defended the board charge to hte hilt. So here is that explanation.

    There never is actually a bill put to the now released innocent. However, when calculating compo an allowance is actually made for it.

    Why? The compo is damages for a tort. All damages for a tort, always, are to put the plaintiff back in the position he would have been in if the tort did not take place. As best you can of course. You can’t give a missing leg back to a footballer or anyone else4. But a footballer would get more compo for a drunk driver slicing their leg off than you or I would. For he would have been making £4 million a year with a leg while our earnings capacity wouldn’t have changed much.

    So that’s the basic principle. To try to put things as they would have been without the accident, attack, false charges and imprisonment. Great, tot up their likely earnings if they weren’t in jail (and yes, a doctor would get doctor’s salary, a banker bankers’ and so on), add a bit more for loss of freedom and then? Then you say, well, what would they have spent if they’d been on the outside? Stuff that they’ve not had to spend on the inside. They’ve not been able to spend on holidays, true, but we’ve not exactly been providing those inside so don’t include them. But bed and food? We have been providing those. We are not going to charge him for them. We are though going to reduce that compo lump sum by the amount that he didn’t have to spend on it on the outside.

    Yes, I know it’s all a bit odd but this really is how it works. Absolutely standard Common Law method of working out damages in a tort case. How much to get them back to where they would be if the damage hadn’t happened?

  60. Squander-

    We keep being told that being raped is “shameful”. But not only is this ludicrous, I am 48 years old and can never remember a time when it was treated with anything other than sympathy. If there ever was “rape shame” it was a very long time ago, and honestly from media portrayals at least I simply don’t think there ever was.

    So I think this is pure dishonesty. What women might well have been ashamed of is other aspects of their sexual behaviour coming out in court. Which is a valid concern but not the same as being raped itself being shameful. That is, the shameful thing was being revealed as a “slag”, not as a rape victim.

    Which by the by makes one wonder why the Feminist movement- for all their empty rhetoric about “slut shaming”- do everything they can to shame girls back into “modest” behaviour. There’s nobody a feminist hates more than a girl who gets her tits out for the lads.

  61. Tim Worstall-

    On the same principle, how many pence does it cost to put somebody whose bottom was touched back to where they were before their bottom was touched?

  62. Tim,

    That sounds sort-of reasonablish (although surely it would be fair also to compare the quality of goods on the outside with those on the inside, not to treat tham as equal in value: the idea that giving someone a shitty steel bed with an itchy blanket is a way of saving them the money they might have spent on a memory-foam mattress is patently absurd). However, the particular case where it made the news and Blunkett defended it was Paddy Hill’s, where his family lost their house while he was in prison. So the state were clawing back money for the housing they had provided when their unjust punishment had also led to their victim losing his house. People are not all single; they have families, for whom they provide. Sure, Hill wasn’t paying rent or mortgage so didn’t need earnings for himself: but his rent or mortgage was also paying for his dependents to be housed. To say that making them homeless is a way of saving him money is, frankly, fucking ridiculous.

    Also, it took the state 12 years to get around to compensating him, during which time they paid him advances to live on, which they then claimed back with interest, even though the advances totalled far less than the compensation.

    Seriously, in the context of the Home Office’s general behaviour towards victims of miscarriage of justice, does anyone think the bill for room & board is anything other than a way to punish the bastards who have the temerity to have their verdicts overturned?

  63. I think it is worse than that Squander. The police/CPS said Rolf had 80000 sexual images. Ok lets say that is true.

    They claim that 33 of them were of underage girls. 33 out of 80,000–doesn’t sound like a fanatical kiddie fiddler to me–even if the CPS were telling the truth.
    Moreover Rolf’s lawyers said that birth certs could be provided –possibly they were US porn where s2557 certs have to be on file for all adult performers(thanks to IanB for that info). That is much more likely the reason for no prosecution –the “not in the public interest” line is the nearest they can get away with to saying he is a child porn freak –without actually having to prove it. If they have 33 child porn images why not prosecute?–it would remove all doubt of any interest in children and bolster their evidence-free conviction. They didn’t prosecute because it wouldn’t fly is my belief. But they could use it as an extra smear.

  64. Tim: The wrongly convicted have spent years separated from their loved ones living in a nasty shithole cheek by jowl with scum on both sides of the divide–. “add a bit more for loss of freedom” doesn’t cover it.

  65. Ecks-

    Being a daring soul, I had a look at the named websites he’d visited (bit of an error on their part, telling us that, we normally have to speculate) and it was TGPs linking to standard porn galleries with 2257s.

    (A TGP is a term coined in the early days of the porny internet, it means “Thumbnail Gallery Post” and is just a bunch of links to galleries with thumbnails. Anyone looking for porn is going to visit them).

    Basically Sasha Wass and friends were trading on some of the TGPs being in the barely legal niche so having dubious sounding names to the naive like “Little Nieces”.

    This of course is why they want to change the law to “anyone who looks underage to Plod” so there is no defence based on actual reality. No doubt when juries are convicting people for looking at pictures of Bella Baby (born 1989, I spotted some of her galleries on that TGP) in pigtails, apologists will say that that is all fine and proper too.

  66. Seriously, in the context of the Home Office’s general behaviour towards victims of miscarriage of justice, does anyone think the bill for room & board is anything other than a way to punish the bastards who have the temerity to have their verdicts overturned?

    Indeed. Tim makes himself look unnecessarily mean spirited by defending it, frankly.

  67. “So that’s the basic principle. To try to put things as they would have been without the accident, attack, false charges and imprisonment. ”

    Indeed I remember when government expense claims forms included a box where you deducted the amount you’d saved (ie, not spent yourself in the usual way) by being away on behalf of HM.

    I think that’s fine, provided we put everything else back too, which surely is relevant to the original topic: the presumption of innocence, “beyond reasonable doubt”, no double jeopardy, any accuser who is (now) of age facing the accused, and the return to prosecution barristers who have no personal stake in it (as opposed to the career CPS ones, who act and speak like American DAs crusading for re-election). Also the abolition of those invidious victim impact statements that are never subject to examination before they influence sentencing (“We have heard how the theft of the lawnmower damaged Ian.B for life, and encouraged the grass to grow under his feet, preventing him from becoming the Ian.B he was meant to be”).

  68. And give them back the years they spent inside. Oh wait, we can’t.

    Yes, charging victims of miscarriages of justice for food and lodging is a dick move.

  69. Your headline is misleading. This concept is a policy of the NZ Labour Party, which is not going to win any election soon.

    NZ’s current, and likely next government, does not entertain the concept.

    It appears part of an attempt to attract votes from people of certain ideologies they think dislike our current government, but will fail because while sufficient New Zealanders may very well dislike our current government not many (by current polls only 25%) like the Labour party.

  70. The problem is, if a jury hears 12 charges from different possible victims where they’re having to work out who’s the liar (and nothing else), hearing 12 victims against 1 defendant has a similar effect to hearing 12 witnesses to the same crime. It leads the jury to assume that Rolf is capable of it. It’s unjust and cases like this should never be tried together but as separate cases.

    Why is it unjust? The concept of “beyond reasonable doubt” allows for some small (and unspecified) possibility of error. A jury should convict even if they think there’s a tiny chance, one in a million say, that the defendant is innocent. So four independent counts, none of which would secure a conviction on its own, might well justify a conviction if taken together.

    It is of course open to the defence to argue that the counts are not genuinely independent, if some of the complainants have been attracted by publicity surrounding the case, and open to the jury to give such an argument any weight or none.

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