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?”
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.