Eminently sensible

Rape conviction statistics will not improve “until women stop getting drunk”, a retiring judge has said, as she is criticised by women’s rights campaigners for her “potentially very harmful” remarks.

Judge Mary Jane Mowat, 66, who worked at Oxford Crown Court until earlier this month, said it was difficult to secure convictions when women could not be sure what had happened because they had drunk too much.

She said juries were faced with an impossible task when a case came down to one person’s word against another.

The retired judge told an Oxford newspaper: “I will be pilloried for saying so, but the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk.

“It is inevitable that it is one person’s word against another, and the burden of proof is that you have to be sure before you convict.

“I’m not saying it is right to rape a drunken woman and I’m not saying for a moment that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman.

“But juries are in a position where they’ve got a woman who says: ‘I was absolutely off my head, I can’t really remember what I was doing, I can’t remember what I said, I can’t remember if I consented or not but I know I wouldn’t have done’.

“When a jury is faced with something like that, how are they supposed to react?”

Pity she’s retiring really.

The comments come three years after Mrs Mowat was condemned for telling a teacher convicted of child pornography offences that she would not criticise him for being attracted to children.

Well, quite. No one’s to blame for their sexual urges: only for what they might do about them.

18 comments on “Eminently sensible

  1. “She said juries were faced with an impossible task when a case came down to one person’s word against another.”

    They don’t seem to have found it so impossible with all these historic child abuse trials, do they?

  2. When drink drivers start being excused because they were pissed out of their mind at the time and wouldn’t have driven drunk if they were sober, these cases might become credible.

  3. Surely a jury should have a remarkably easy task indeed when it comes down to nothing more than one person’s word against another? “Not guilty”, I would have thought. What am I missing here?

    @JuliaM, the difference in the Yewtree cases was that it was rather a lot of different persons’ words against one person’s word.

  4. BiG
    Presumption of innocence.
    How do these cases, of one person’s word against another, ever reach court for the judge to remark on them?
    If the CPS has been suborned by the wimmin I think we should be told.

  5. It would be interesting to see how many cases like this occur in countries where women don’t get blind drunk as a matter of course (i.e. most of them).

  6. Yes, whats the rape convicion rate in Saudi Arabia? New Zealand? France? Germany? Ukraine? India? Pakistan?

  7. You guys do know that if someone is that drunk, they are considered legally incapable of giving consent, right? So having sex with them is rape. Something that juries (and apparently some judges) seem to have trouble grasping – no doubt fond memories of going out on the pull and getting someone pissed enough to go home with them….

  8. @ Chris Blackburn

    Ignoring whether one agrees that the law should be so defined, aren’t we still dealing with one person’s word against another:

    “I think I was too drunk legally to give consent”

    “No, she really didn’t seem that drunk at all.”

  9. @PF

    It *might* end up still being that way. But it certainly opens up the possible witness pool and opens the way for blood tests taken the day after to be relevant.
    Frankly it’s the whole victim blaming culture that needs to change. Dressed provocatively, drunk, sexually active – none of these things mean you are asking to be, or deserve to be attacked. None of these things give others permission to attack you.

  10. None of these things give others permission to attack you.

    So far as I can tell, no-one is saying they do. If they are, that is clearly reprehensible.

    But it seems to me that these discussions are never about whether what happens is right, nor permissible, nor even lawful, but a very narrow question indeed: whether it is possible to procure a conviction in a case where the complainant alleges “rape with highly intoxicated victim” while adhering to our usual standards of criminal justice?

  11. Is there a level of drunkenness at which you can give consent and fail to remember having done so the next day?

    In other words, if you are drunk and give consent can you withdraw that consent later on the basis that you wouldn’t have given consent when sober?

    Have we really gone from the 60’s to a place where drunk people having sex is criminalised in a mere 50 years?

    Mind you, maybe in another 50 years being drunk (not to mention having sex) will be a crime in the Sharia Caliphate of Britanni.

  12. “You guys do know that if someone is that drunk, they are considered legally incapable of giving consent, right? So having sex with them is rape”

    So how drunk is drunk? We consider that a few drinks is enough to impair our judgement to drive, is that the bar here too? How are we to assess a persons level of intoxication hours, days, months later?Is it a strict liability offence – does sex with an intoxicated person equal rape, whether or not they have any problem about it afterwards? It should be strict liability really otherwise person A sleeps with person B with X level of intoxication and its fine because person B doesn’t complain afterwards, but if person C sleeps with B with identical X intoxication and person B complains they were too drunk to consent, then person C gets banged up. Also if I get blind drunk and end up having sex with a real munter I’d never look twice at sober, have I been raped? Or is this one of those rules that apply to men only, women get a free pass again?

  13. In other words, if you are drunk and give consent can you withdraw that consent later on the basis that you wouldn’t have given consent when sober?

    Have we really gone from the 60′s to a place where drunk people having sex is criminalised in a mere 50 years?

    Consent may not be withdrawn retrospectively. Consent is defined as “if he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”. Capacity is the age and understanding to make that choice. If you are drunk you might not have the capacity to make that choice and if that is the case you cannot consent in the legal sense. On the other hand you may be drunk but retain the capacity to make that choice, therefore you can consent in the legal sense.

    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/rape_and_sexual_offences/consent/

    The problem is how Phillip Walker puts it: “is it possible to procure a conviction in a case where the complainant alleges “rape with highly intoxicated victim” while adhering to our usual standards of criminal justice?”

    While things remain imperfect about this aspect of the criminal justice system they have been improving for years. It is not difficult to imagine that we might have a good standard of criminal justice where nevertheless many complaints of sexual offences would not secure conviction because of the circumstances.

  14. @ukliberty,

    So actually having sex with your wife while she is drunk is not merely rape it is statutory rape because of lack of capacity. Even if you give her the time of her life and she comes back for more when sober.

  15. Bloke in Germany, sorry but I don’t understand your point. Also, I don’t recognise the offence of “statutory rape”, I don’t think it exists in any UK jurisdictions.

  16. “Statutory” in this sense means an absolute offence. For example*, in the case of sex with a girl below the age of consent (16) but 13 or older in the UK, the offence is mitigable if the defendant can argue “well, she said she was 17 and she looked it and she was up for it” but below 13 none of those factors can be used in a defence, even if they are all true.

    * AFAIK, IANAL, YMMV

  17. BiG: A bit late to the discussion but:

    “@JuliaM, the difference in the Yewtree cases was that it was rather a lot of different persons’ words against one person’s word.”

    The number of accusers is largely irrelevant in sleb cases. If you lived in a small town and were accused of rape by 300 women in that one small town–that would be somewhat more credible. Cos there are very unlikely to be that many female nutters and psychopathic gold-diggers( 2 out of every 100 humans is believed to be a psychopath) in one small area.

    In the case of the slebs–do the math. Some shrinks have suggested that 5% of the female population suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. If only 1% of 1% of the 35 million women in the UK ( one woman in 10000) are batshit crazy enough to make a false allegation against a sleb because they want attention–that is 3500 women. I don’t know if the BPD figure is true or not–but in my limited experience I reckon that considerably more than 1 woman in 10000 has been at the batshit.
    Don’t forget also that for 20+ years the priming cry of paedo,paedo,paedo has got louder and louder.At the same time the celebrity cult has also grown at an obsessional pace. Millions of unintelligent women watch soaps daily with paedo storylines and read weekly moron mags from the checkout ( “My Grandad raped me in my Wedding Dress!”–what was the old bastard doing in your wedding dress?). With national trawls it will not have been difficult for the CPS gang to assemble a nice little cast of accusers. The lawdogs problems have been how to turn zero actual evidence –beyond accusations– into convictions. They have had to bring their top female con-artists in to secure said convictions on the basis of emotion minus fact.

    The accusers were dug up by nationwide trawls. Were you a sleb BiG and the cops publicised your supposed evil and asked for more victims, you would soon be facing a line up of women J’accusers filled with females you had never heard of or set eyes on. Throw in a couple of bitter ex-GFs or mistresses and you would be on your way.

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