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Legal Perversity

Let me first set the scene. This event occurred in a pub in Leeds called “The Packhorse”. It was the boozer that a certain Professor Tolkien and his student poetry and drinking gang used to frequent. I can’t claim this interchange was as cultured or erudite as the good professor’s evenings there but by the end it included at least as much Anglo-Saxon…

The press that day had been harumphing around the low-rate of conviction for rape, engaging in ritual hand-wringing and why-oh-whying with a side order of something-must-be-done.

So, I’m in the Packhorse with the math postgrad gang and this comes up or is rather brought-up by the resident lesbian-feminist (and Unix guru but that doesn’t come into this story really – I’m only including it to demonstrate that the woman was not without merits – she wasn’t a bad shag either but that is another story). Anyway, this woman held forth on the rape issue and argued that the law needed to be changed so an accused rapist was considered guilty until proven otherwise. Because, you see, a rape-trial is such a horrendous ordeal for a woman that it’s almost like being raped again. And that therefore no woman would make it up.

Well, I marshalled the leetle grey cells and argued against this. Well, firstly she made a spurious argument. If it never happened or was consensual then what precisely is the woman in the witness box reliving? Secondly, that is a truly sexist argument because it is based upon the assumption that women can’t lie. Thirdly I noted the case of a chap I knew vaguely as an undergrad who was remanded in custody in Lincoln Nick because he was accused of rape. It was all a fabrication. Everyone who knew him knew that because he’d been stalked by this bird for weeks. What had happened is she’d flung herself at him in a final attempt. He’d told her he wasn’t interested and she’d gone off in a huff and made the whole thing-up. It was hurled out by the judge when the CPS had to ‘fess up that not only was there no physical evidence of sexual assault but no evidence of sex of any form and that in fact the only evidence they had was her statement which was riddled with inconsistencies.

I agreed at this point with the radical lesbian that no woman in her right mind would invent a rape story for giggles but then not every woman is in their right minds. Moreover such wolf crying tactics naturally makes juries (and this case was so pony it was never seen by a jury) sceptical about genuine cases. At this point I had the gang behind me. Of course as well, such tales inflate the reported rapes vs convicted rapist stats. But what the heck, I was clearly winning the debate.

The lad in question had to re-do the year of his medical degree. His accuser was sectioned.

The radical lesbian countered that this was very rare. That was difficult to argue with because by their very nature made-up accusations of rape are I’m sure a ticklish beast to get accurate stats on. Accurate statistics on lying is almost an oxymoron.

The argument was slipping away from me again. I think I know why. Rape is rightly considered an extremely severe crime so there is an argument that everything possible ought to be done to ensure a conviction. OK, but that pre-supposes guilt and by the same “serious crime” token that means we should be very careful about wrongful conviction because the penalties for rape are and should be serious. To my mind that means that the case has to be proved conclusively. Which of course brings us back to the beginning. I said, and I still support, better coppering (which means training, forensics, resources and the like) in cases of suspected sexual assault. I don’t believe though that we ought to invert a key principle of English law as an easy route to more convictions to be trumpeted by the Justice Sec.

Because more convictions of criminals is a good thing but more convictions of the accused is not necessarily the same thing. By this point people other than the lesbian feminist were beginning to lose interest and concentrating on the darts so my final killer point was lost on them.

It was this: if we set this dangerous precedent then do you not think that successive Home Secs (as was) would not seek to apply the same “guilty until proven innocent” doctrine to other crimes that have a lower than target conviction rate? The few who were still listening to me didn’t get that. I was told, “Oh, no! This is just for rape cases”. No it isn’t. Once the precedent has been set any minister who wants to assuage Daily Mail readers worried that a rape in their street will lower house prices will use that precedent to increase conviction rate for every bloody thing under the sun. The argument of inverting the presumption of innocence that was initially brought up was silly and wrong but this was worse. This was naive.

Writing this now a thought does occur which perhaps didn’t at the time. Does not presuming guilt for various crimes lead to slip-shod detective work. I mean if the suspect is presumed guilty then the cops can afford to relax a bit. Is that not a dangerous precedent for justice as well?

This discussion happened in 1999. Since then I feel ever more that I was on the side of the angels in it. Except for one thing I did not see. I didn’t see that perverting the justice system was not needed to criminalize people. New Labour did with PCSO, bin-snooping, GATSOs, CCTV and all the extra powers granted to fine or confiscate the property or detain people granted so many organisation which are not the police or the criminal justice system. No. I didn’t see that coming.

Inspired by this at AROOO which seems to imply that all males are responsible for a particularly horrible gang-rape in California. Well, I’m not. I have never been to California and was in Europe at the time. That I regard as a killer alibi.

15 Comments

  1. [...] here:  Legal Perversity Related Posts:House Prices Still Lower than 2007Climate Check on the EconomyIs It Time To Get On [...]

  2. Neil Craig says:

    On the telly a couple of weeks ago was a programme made by following a police rape unit around. Theri main case was clearly fraudulent from the moment they interviewed the people in the next hotel room who had complained about the noise but had doubt as to the level of consent. Nonetheless thay plodded on. One WPC interviewed said, with a nasty smirk, that it was up to the man to prove innocence “that’s the law”. In due course we were told that the CPS had considered charging here with wasting police time but decided not to bother. Attempting to pervert the course of justice obviously was not considered.

    Since such frauds damage the chance of prosecuting real rapes one would, in theory, expect feminists to be keener than anybody else to see them heavily prosecuted. I think that that would improve the proportion of successful convictions & certain it would improve justice.

  3. RAB says:

    Interesting topic to choose for a Halloween Night, but I shall try and get the good ladies at AROOO on their broomsticks with a bit of controversy…

    Radical Feminists believe in two fundamentally wrong things it seems.
    One, they believe all men are rapists, so by extension, any woman who has had sex with a man has been raped.
    Two, women would not lie about being raped, therefore they should be believed automatically and the evil man locked up forthwith.

    Bollocks, very few men are rapists, just as very few are murderers, and women are just as likely to lie and do evil deeds as the next man as it were.
    Hence the several female Nursery workers who are inside for kiddy fiddling (Ah but it was vile evil men wot dun made them do it. Doh!).

    Rape, by it’s very nature is a crime not often committed infront of an audience, so the evidence usually comes down to one persons word against another, and the medical evidence and DNA traces etc.

    In my opinion there should be levels of rape, like they are levels of murder and manslaughter.
    A rape by someone who pounces on the victim out of the blue, out of evil and perverted violent mysogynist intent, should be the top of the scale.
    But when we come to “date rape” well we are on slippery slopes.
    I think we may have all had unsatisfactory sexual experiences after a night out and a lot of drink, but crying rape afterwards has to be looked at very carefully and differently to what otherwise is an unprovoked assault by a total stranger.

    I was going to go on but a few folks have just come through the door, so we will be partying for the rest of the evening.

    This is no way as coherent as I wanted it to be, but a five year old Merliot needs my attention….

    Oh and I believe that witholding the victims name when the case is coming to trial, as is done in all rape cases, is not right.
    Justice must be done, but must be seen to be done.
    If you want to charge a man with rape, a crime if found guilty will destroy the rest of his life, then I want to know who you are as much as I will know who he is.

    Who knows, the accuser may have made false accusations over many years and got away with it, because of this annonominity clause that feminists have inserted into the Law.

  4. Sunfish says:

    At least here, there are gradations and variations. The use of force or drugs to overcome a woman’s reluctance, multiple assailants, etc. are all factors.

    Speaking as a sometimes-investigator (not frequently and not recently, thank God), I hate consent cases. What I mean is, from an investigative/prosecutorial perspective, there are two kinds of rapes:

    “Identity” cases are cases where there is no reasonable doubt that a given rape occurred. What’s in dispute or needs to be figured out is the identity of the rapist. And we can typically drown them in evidence: it’s virtually impossible for a man and a woman to have sex (consensual or otherwise) with no transfer of evidence. Plus the circumstantial evidence showing that the actor may have been in a given place, touched the victim’s doorknob, been seen in the hallway outside of her apartment.

    “Consent” cases are where it’s not disputed that a given man and a given woman had whatever sexual contact. But he says that it was consensual and she says it wasn’t. And I hate those. Because the issue of consent has to be established by circumstantial evidence (which isn’t so bad, by itself, but there may not be much of it) and whether or not you have a criminal case to pursue depends heavily upon relative credibility of defendant and suspect.

    And AROOO are all cheating on Mickey. (And they probably think that I go around destroying evidence to let rapists go free. F’em.)

  5. JuliaM says:

    “Since such frauds damage the chance of prosecuting real rapes one would, in theory, expect feminists to be keener than anybody else to see them heavily prosecuted.”

    That’s because one assumes that the goal of feminists is equality and justice. It’s not. Not all of them. And certainly not the bunch at AROOO…

  6. Simon Jester says:

    I left a comment on the thread on AROOO which consisted, in whole, of the following:
    “Vanessa George.

    Angela Allen.

    Rose West.”

    Guess what it says now?

    Ethics, anyone?

  7. Nick M says:

    Simon,
    I am amazed it wasn’t moderated to total oblivion.

    Hows about Countess Elizabeth of Hungary who bathed in the blood of female virgins (because she was worth it) and got into triple figures before it was noted that the price of domestic servants had gone through the roof around town.

    Julia,
    The real deal here is that well, you’re a woman. I read your blog daily and you are clearly someone not to be messed with. Indeed I read a number of blogs written by women who are clearly not to be messed with. And yet the AROOO take on the likes of Ambush Predator would be via some sort of incredible mental gymnastics you are pets of the patrriachy. Or that you are not “real women”. Being a real woman of course means buying their nonsense wholesale. Which means we arrive at a delicious paradox. What proportion of the women in the English speaking world do you imagine can tick the “radical”, “lesbian”, “feminist”, “seperatist” (and in the case of Margaret of AROOO we must add “of colour”) boxes? We therefore have feminists campaigning not for the rights of women but the rights of very, very few women. I mean it comes to a pretty pass when we go from the likes of the Pankhursts campaigning for voting rights for all women to Margaret arguing that a staggeringly small proportion of the population are right and everyone else is wrong or being conned.

    I think it’s all an elaborate hoax or they are totally barking. I wish them well in their plan to set-up a seperatist commune somewhere. I can’t imagine it lasting too long. I have an A-level in biology you see.

    NB. Yes I have heard about them (Johns Hopkins was it?) creating artifical sperm and ova from embryionic stem cells. Perhaps that can be generalized but my understanding is that you need an embryo in the first place and apart from feckless sink-estate teens we all know where they come from. Anyway, a lot of this whiz-bang fertility medicine is very iffy in terms of success rate. Dolly the sheep was like take 200 or something.

    Or they could set-up next to the radical masculinist gayers (and they seem really to dislike them too) and celebrate the vernal equinox by the Ceremony of the Wanking and then the Procession of the Gilded Turkey Baster to the bed-chamber of the Hive Queen.

    Or they could be really, really radical and book a few weeks holiday in a place called “reality”.

  8. JuliaM says:

    “And yet the AROOO take on the likes of Ambush Predator would be via some sort of incredible mental gymnastics you are pets of the patrriachy.”

    Of course. Their chosen phrase, I believe from dipping my toes once in that sewer, is ‘women who want to grasp a cookie’ by which I presume they mean women who want to do other women down simply to suck up to men.

    Because women who don’t think the way they do, well, there has to be a reason for that, hasn’t there? And it couldn’t possibly be that they themselves are wrong, could it?

  9. NickM says:

    Exactly Julia,
    Women are either victims, some sort of pampered pooch or (and I bet they’d stoop to this) successful because they had adopted male standards and were therefore in a sense not politically women anymore. I bet they’d make precisely that argument about a certain other Margaret.

    It’s like this. As I see it in my own phallocentric manner all the big battles for female eqaulity have been fought and won but there are still sad hold-outs still fighting the fight. What they fail to grasp is that genuine feminism was to enable women to get on with their lives and not to degenerate into ever more obscurantist and falacious arguments.

    AROOO are like the Sealed Knot – eternally re-fighting battles from long-ago except the SK know it’s reinactment. It’s kinda pathetic. It’s like me visiting Normandy not by the usual routes but storming ashore Gold Beach with a tin hat and a Lee-Enfield much to the bemusement of the lokes.

    They just don’t get it and that is why they are interesting.

  10. Fred Z says:

    “I have never been to California and was in Europe at the time. That I regard as a killer alibi.”

    Prove it, you lying male rapist.

    Will someone explain to me why rape is considered such a serious crime? Because the weepy, wimpy ladies say it is? I thought the feminists were tough and strong and the equal of men. Rape of a female, viewed in the abstract, is usually much less serious physically than being struck in the head by an assailant, or even being kicked in the nuts.

    Why is a date rape where there no physical consequences for the woman, none, zero, zip, de nada, treated much more seriously than a man hit in the mouth with a bottle in a pub who then loses teeth, has multiple facial cuts, eye damage or worse?

    Sorry ladies, it’s because you’re not equal, never will be, are smaller and weaker, physically and mentally, need protection, and always will.

  11. RAB says:

    Well said Fred.
    If I hadn’t been so pleasurably interupted last night, I was going to say something similar.

    Historically of course, and in all cultures, Rape was considered so serious because it was interfering with another blokes property rights, be he husband or father, not out of concern for the damage done to the victim.

  12. NickM says:

    We have now opened a right can of worms lads!

    RAB is right historically. Yes, it is the idea that soiled goods are now unsaleable that made rape such a big issue.

    But not now.

    I regard rape as a very serious crime. I also regard glassing someone as a very serious crime. I dunno Fred. But when I say “rape” I mean it and I don’t mean the should be seperate issue of waking up the next morning and thinking “I shouldn’t have done that!” Rape or any other crime cannot be be done retroactively unless you own a sonic screwdriver.

    Keep the debate up folks. I’m interested. I’ll add one thing though.

    I have no time for the feminazi crowd who parrot the line about rape being the very worst thing that can happen to a woman. Clearly it’s deeply traumatic but bigging-up that trauma for political ends (or call me cynical) to help your counselling business is not really helping any victim.

    Having said that. If anyone rapes anyone I care about it’s two spoons, a rusty agricultural tool and a future career in a Bee Gees tribute act.

  13. The BBC’s More Or Less program (almost worth the licence fee on its own) looked in to the numbers that are used in discussing rape. Its a few months ago so I might have the detail wrong but IIRC they found that coviciton rates for reported rapes were being compared against conviction rates of crimes that went to trial.

    When they compared apples and apples ie conviction rates at trial and conviction rates reported cases they found no evidence that that rapes case convictions were lower in eaither case. Indeed, I also seem to remember that if anything rape case convictions were slightly higher and they put this down to more effort going in to rape cases.

  14. NickM says:

    GS, is that the R4 show about stats. That is rather good.

  15. alison says:

    It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Particularly for not seeing any justice. Surviving it is something I credit myself with hugely, alongside a few other traumas in life. I feel proud of myself for not being steeped in hatred and anger and gradually being able to walk around without one eye fixed suspiciously on every strange man around me. People tell you not to let it take over your life. Show me someone who isn’t fixated on something that happened in their lives to a greater or lesser extent or shaped to a degree by what they have lived through. You do the best you can.

    It’s all a bit of a free for all of opinion meted out between people like you lot and these weird lesbian feminazis you stumble across. Its treated broadly with contempt on both sides I tend to find. The opinions expressed are as repugnant on either side as you can find on almost any issue. What’s unusual to me now is that with opinions that are thrashed out on the net you stumble into these conversations and walk away thinking . WTF? Just how tough you have to become to get on in life and hear it discussed over and over and over like some political football game devoid of any sensitivity. And almost always with the hint of a view that rape is a myth by some degree, feminists are making it up, that men are lied about more than they commit any offense against a woman or man’s person, and that it is no big deal. I get tougher and more immune with every conversation I stumble across. Im pretty sure I have never read a piece by a man discussing this, first, in a compassionate way that leads him to question how they might reduce the instances of rape – but Im expected to muster up sympathy and outrage instantly for the ones who find themselves at the end of a false charge. I admit I find that tough these days.

    Im often impressed with the way, no matter what you might think of feminism, which is one aspect of female thinking, that women can thrash moral and social issues out with a variety of opinion. That they can take all manner of approaches to rape – to the don’t give a shit ..to feminists are evil for even wanting rape centres …to the extreme – that women deserved it either partly or in full. I’ve also seen plenty of women wade into the debate in defense of men. But Im pretty certain that at least a half a dozen times in her life a woman will question the men around her and her safety in relation to them. Which is horrible really. You largely don’t consider that someone you know might be untrustworthy. I doubt that men look at women in social set ups with that degree of suspicion do they? If false claims are now as endemic as the media would have us believe, maybe they should.

    And im fairly certain it was my father, not a gaggle of feminists, who drummed it into me from an early age that men are not to be trusted, to take care, call a taxi, be aware, don’t be alone, don’t get too easily taken in by some pillock…If men were even remotely honest about that they would know that at some point they have been concerned for a wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter in respect of other men. So its not just feminists who call into question this issue and people are being disingenius to think otherwise.

    Where it becomes increasingly difficult now for me is seeing a 24 year old woman raped by a student at uni who storms around like he is untouchable, refusing to deal with the issue to such an extent that she has retreated from job hunting and her social life. I get angry with her refusal to take the matter to the police but she is well aware of what awaits when she does. So like many people who don’t report crimes for any number of reasons (as our judicial system is that crap and so our crime stats suck), and particularly given this crime’s deeply personal nature, she keeps that one to herself. Except that its not quite the same as having a bike stolen or a purse nicked.

    Perhaps if the debate was a little less hostile with men it would invite a better discussion with a little mutual respect and understanding for how these crimes can be reduced. As much as bashing feminist arguments goes there is still a lot of sympathy, concern and resolve from them to provide some recourse for women in very genuine cases. Who else will? I was loathe to fall back on what they provided but I had little or no choice and Im genuinely grateful for their making me feel less alone and more able to cope and then get on with life. Men tend to want to beat the living shit out of someone in their frustration and resolve to fix instantly. It didn’t help that that punchbag wound up being me in my situation. It doesn’t help that in leaving that merry set up immediately I wanted to protect my father from the truth to save him the hurt and anguish of not being around to protect me on both scores, the way that fathers want to be.

    My first thoughts were not how do I survive this. But how do I protect the key male figure in my life from hurting.

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