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Wrong decision

Rape victims’ sexual history will be barred from being used as evidence in court trials under plans by the Law Commission to protect complainants from juries’ prejudices.

Juries‘ prejudices are what juries are there for. That’s the whole point. Is this, in the eys of the average bod in the street, a crime?

Of course the English legal system hates to even think about jury nullification but that is indeed the root of the idea in the first place.

“Thde defendant claims that Ms X consented to a knee trembler. Can anyone imagine such a thing from one so young and fragant?”

“Yes, there’s a line of 15 blokes here who had knee tremblers on the previous 15 Friday nights with Ms X”?

“But we cannot use Ms X’s previous sexual conduct now, can we?”

24 thoughts on “Wrong decision”

  1. Lock all 16 of ’em up. Justice be knee-trembled, we’ve got to get those conviction rates up.

  2. New rules modelled on Canada

    Why do we want to be like a shitty, migrant-infested country that murders the disabled and steals your bank accounts as revenge for peaceful protests?

    Oh wait…

  3. Addolff, no not for the accused’s but we are talking about the victim and the possibility, when this falls into he said she said, that she (or he) is telling porkies. Previous behaviour is an indicator and she should not get defendants’ rights when her freedom is not in jeopardy.

    I don’t like a different set of rules for a particular crime because of conviction rates.

  4. Here in Queensland we’re similarly enlightened. The rule that the name of someone accused of rape cannot be publicised until they go to trial will be abandoned.

    After all, accusations are always true.

  5. @Addolff: ’Is a jury allowed to know about the accused burglars 15 previous for burglary?’

    There’s usually very little doubt that a burglary has happened (apart from with insurance fraud, etc)…

  6. Thanks Rhoda, I did do a quick google before I posted but was not really any the wiser…….

  7. rhoda klapp,

    This is rather the problem when you get into the date rape scenario and why I’m uncomfortable with most cases being prosecuted. Yeah, I’m a fucking monster, and no, it’s not fair but the justice system is supposed to be about Beyond Reasonable Doubt.

    I mean, I think society was more responsibility-driven even 30 years ago. The state starts promising that it can protect you and people start believing that, and demanding it holds up its side of the bargain, even when it’s impossible. I think people used to understand that you went home with a fella for a bit of horizontal jogging, so don’t go home with a fella if you don’t want that. And it doesn’t excuse a man doing it when a woman changes her mind, but it does reduce your chances.

    It’s the thing with having a libertarian mindset. I don’t trust the government to deliver. I assume that it will fail to find my robbers, or to not look after my parents in hospitals, then say sorry and do nothing to improve things. I then plan accordingly. People who complain about their iPhone getting pinched while living in some diversity-enriched London shithole and the police doing nothing are swallowing the state’s Kool Aid. You have to live in a nice rural town, or buy a droid, because droids are kryptonite to robbers.

  8. When dealing with the accusations of white working class girls aged 14 or less the constabulary have allegedly chosen on more than one occasion to believe that they are willingly engaging in prostitution and that the 15 “Asian” men from Rotherham are the real victims.

  9. So what happens when the defence lawyer tells the jury that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary they should presume that the alleged victim is a slut. You know presumption of innocence and all that.

  10. Rhoda – but we are talking about the victim

    We are talking about people who identify as victims.

    Even the Torygraph is using misleading language – they’re not (currently) legally “rape victims” until a court establishes that they were raped.

    Mental fat women who make up crazy stories about being “raped” by Premiership footballers, Alex Salmond or the male cast of Coronation Street are being described as “victims”, because they say they are.

    The accused is rarely afforded the same presumption of truthfulness by our press. In Salmond’s case, the Scottish Government was simultaneously prosecuting him for “rape”, and feeding the media anti-Salmond talking points during his trial.

  11. PS – after the Salmond trial, where he was completely vindicated against all charges , the Scottish Government got one of its tame, Scottish Government funded, Third Sector rape “charities” to continue to attack Salmond in the press.

    And now they’re abolishing jury trials.

    Devolution was a great idea, wasn’t it?

  12. @Steve

    A person who has been raped is a rape victim. This is even if no legal proceedings occur, or even if the victim themselves is unaware (e.g. the rape occurred while they were unconscious).

  13. True. But rape is one of those few crimes where it can be difficult to work out whether the crime actually occurred. Plenty of people do have sex, after all (usually but not always with one other not plenty of people but you get the drift) and rape is that normal actiity without consent. It’s the calculation, observation, of the lack of consent that creates the crime, not the action itself (the action, in English law, being penile insertion). Thus the difficulty – first it’s necessary to work out whether a rape actually occurred.

  14. The action is non-consensual sex. The crime is rape. A crime has only occured if a criminal court finds that a crime has occured.

  15. @Charles

    But the rights are given to accusers whether they’re genuine victims or not. It is rape accusers who are having their sexual history declared verboten.

  16. Charles – yeah ah know but we shouldn’t call people “victims” of rape before or during a trial for the alleged rape in question. For obvious reasons?

    PS – back to the Salmond case, because that seems to be the new template.

    Alex Salmond’s accusers are not only still legally protected by anonymity, they’re apparently allowed to use that court-ordered anonymity to criticise Alex Salmond via “Rape Crisis Scotland”, a Scottish Government funded organisation. We know this, because “Rape Crisis Scotland” took it upon itself (?) to issue post-trial press releases quoting some of the anonyladies. Unlike Craig Murray, none of them have been arrested, charged or imprisoned.

    Remember: Alex Salmond was found not guilty on all charges.

    Does any of this sound right to you blokes? It sounds like the kind of thing you used to only hear about in funny African countries where the ruler dresses like late-stage Michael Jackson.

  17. Well Steve. I certainly don’t agree with the accusers being anonymous and the accused being subjected to public criticism.

    If they wish to continue their criticism, their anonymity should be withdrawn.

  18. Addolff said:
    “Is a jury allowed to know about the accused burglars 15 previous for burglary?”

    There are times when evidence of the defendant’s “bad character” can be brought. Character evidence can be brought for both defendants and (as we’re discussing here) prosecution witnesses, but in both cases its use is restricted and controlled.

    However the presumption of innocence means that bad character evidence is more likely to be allowed if it relates to a prosecution witness rather than the defendant.

    Interestingly if the defendant attacks a witness’s character (for example by saying or bringing evidence that the accuser in a rape trial is a ‘slut’), then the prosecution is allowed to bring evidence as to his character (including previous convictions). So don’t fling mud if there is any that might be flung back at you.

  19. Why not seal rape cases?
    Anonymity for accused and accuser.
    After the trial, if found guilty, release the criminals name unless they plan to appeal.
    If found not guilty, release the accuser’s name, so the rest of us poor blokes know who to avoid.


  20. Chernyy, that’s so simple, obvious and fair that there’s no chance at all that it’ll come in.

    I’m reminded of the case of Rebecca Kate Dickinson. Valentine Baker was found guilty of ‘indecent & common assault’ and booted out of the army.

    But the case received huge publicity, so everyone knew. Whether this was the reason no bloke ever married her, I of course can’t say. She may well just have thought, ‘Eeeuuuw. Never again!!!’

  21. @Chernyy, that seems to assume that a ‘not guilty’ verdict. That’s not fair or right. Juries might think a man is probably a rapist, and it is good that they are willing to still say Not Guilty*. A lack of evidence leads to an acquittal not a proof of the lady lying.

    * Predumablu the Scottish Salmond case is different.

  22. @Kylen Johansen

    Why lying? Why not Mistaken? Forgot?

    Whatever the reason, by the time it gets to court the woman is saying “He stuck it in me without my say so, guv” and the man is saying “She were well up for it, guv!”.
    Only one of these positions can be correct.

    If it can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the man isn’t telling the truth, then we have to assume the woman is mistaken or lying.

    it seems reasonable for men to be aware that this person might be willing to ruin your entire life by dragging you through the courts for whatever reason.

  23. @Kyle Johansen – “But the rights are given to accusers whether they’re genuine victims or not”

    Since the rights apply before the case is decided, the only way to grant them to victims is to grant them to accusers. And even after the decision, in the absence of an infallible court, you can never narrow down the beneficiaries of rights to victims alone.

    @Chernyy Drakon – “Why not seal rape cases?”

    Justice must not only be done: it must be seen to be done.

    And more practically, just as publicity of an accused person is used to prompt other victims of the same perpetrator to come forward, publicity can also prompt witnesses in favour of the accused to come forward.

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