Support and solidarity for the jailed victim of rape


10:20 am - November 13th 2010

by Guest    


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contribution by Louise Whittle

I wrote a post before about a rape victim jailed for 8 months for retracting her original allegations. She appealed yesterday. She lost.

An application was heard by Judge John Rogers QC, in chambers, but permission to appeal was turned down. It is now expected to go before the Court of Appeal in London.

Following the failed appeal bid, the woman’s solicitor Phil Sherrard said: “He’s (Judge Rogers) considered the grounds to appeal and considered that his decision last week was the correct one.

“We will be in contact with the Court of Appeal to try and get the matter dealt with as expeditiously as possible.”


The ConDems have ditched the reactionary proposal of extending anonymity to men accused of men.

Yet miscarriages of justice continue against the victims of rape, this woman has been punished by imprisonment while the charges against the husband have been dropped. Where’s the justice? CPS and the police have failed this woman, shame on them.

Like I said in previous post it is an uphill struggle for victims of rape to obtain justice as it is stacked against them.

Many just don’t report it for various reasons, I didn’t 22 years ago. How many more will be put off reporting after seeing the outcome of this case? I am so angry.

* * * * * * * *

Letters of support for the Powys rape victim can be sent to Geraint Jones & Co, Bronwydd House, The Bank, Newtown, Powys, SY16 2AU

Earlier statement by Rape Crisis

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) are outraged that yet again a woman is being punished and criminalised for choosing not to pursue her case through the criminal justice system (CJS). This flies in the face of any progress that has been made in the last few years around how the CJS responds to women who have been raped.

We are shocked that this woman has received a custodial sentence and by the length of it. It highlights a complete lack of understanding of the complexity and reality of women’s experience of violence in their lives. The act of making a false retraction is not an offence in its own right and we are calling for her immediate release and for an investigation into how this shocking situation has arisen.

* * * * * * * *

Cath Elliott finds that the force involved in this case, Dyfed-Powys Police, was the same that recently dismissed the concerns of mother Jane Jones as having a ‘tendency to over-react’.

Jane had contacted the police on 102 occasions to raise concerns about her daughter’s safety while in her ex-husband’s care. That was before he stabbed and killed her daughter Sasha Jones.

* * * * * * * *

Sunny adds: We are trying to find out when the next appeal hearing will take place. We have to find ways of supporting this woman and sending out a message to the police force.

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Reader comments


I don’t think you should call someone ‘a victim of rape’ if the case has not been concluded. I know lots of women are raped and prosecutions are not achieved, and this is absolutely shocking that a woman should be jailed for retracting her charges.

But it seems in rape cases people don’t use the cautionary language reserved for other legal cases. eg ‘alleged rape’ ‘the accused’ ‘the prosecution’ the ‘defendent’.

Part of the problem is how feminist/supporters of women take sides before cases are even heard.

What this woman is mainly is a victim of a horrendous justice system.

Dyfed-Powys police was also described as being inept in its failure to investigate an historic rape claim, in a report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission back in October.

“A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found the force did not follow up the allegation in 2005 despite the suspect being a known sex offender.

The IPCC said its response was “so inept it borders on the unbelievable”.

Deputy Chief Constable Jackie Roberts apologised to the unnamed woman for the “unacceptable” response.

The original claims were made when the young woman reported the rape to Dyfed-Powys Police in April 2005 alleging that she was raped 10 years earlier as a child.

The IPCC investigation found evidence to suggest a temporary detective constable, an acting detective sergeant, a detective sergeant and a detective inspector failed to ensure the rape investigation was progressed.

The claims only resurfaced during a trial for a different case centring on a rape allegation in 2009 when she appeared as a witness.

Statements made by the officers then led to the young woman facing hostile questioning and having her credibility questioned when she appeared in court.

All four of the officers have since attended misconduct meetings.

The report concluded they did not provide the quality of service a rape victim should expect of a police force and said it was a “tragedy” the case was not better investigated.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11597027

Dyfed Powys also has one of the lowest conviction rates in the country for rape, with only 3% of reported rapes ending in a conviction in 2006.

I know it might seem like I keep banging on about this particular force, but seriously, there’s a clear pattern emerging of failure and incompetence on their part when it comes to dealing with cases of rape and other forms of violence perpetrated against women. I think it’s time the IPCC and others stopped looking at all these cases in isolation, and actually delved a bit deeper into what the fuck is going on there.

Oh, and fingers crossed we should have a date for the appeal by early next week.

@1

I am not part of the court system. Just expressing my own opinion is not going to be putting anyone in prison. It’s important that women do feel believed regarding rape. It’s also vital to mention that the allegations of rape were retracted after she was put under enormous pressure by her husband and family. Doesn’t seem like the police nor CPS were interested in investigating those allegations!

The accused should be allowed the same anonymity as the accuser. Seems fair. There are a lot of women who make false accusations of rape for one reason or another. Even against folk where no interaction took place. It also makes folk suspicious of women over the longer term and damages the potential of new relationships forming due to fear of false accusation. This is another reason for the rise of individualism apart from the economic reasons.

QuietRiotGirl

That isn’t quite accurate though is it – If someone stole something from me I would be a vicitim of theft whether I ever reported that theft, whether it was brought to court and whether it resulted in a conviction. The difference I suppose is that my being a victim of theft isn’t an allegation that a certain person did it.

I do agree with you that care needs to be taken because without a conviction the accused is ‘the alleged rapist’ not ‘the rapist’. But like theft that may or may not have any impact at all on whether the victim was raped or not, in a case involving a force and stranger I don’t think people have any problem thinking ‘this person was raped, was it the defendant or not?’ So maybe the problem isn’t the use of language really which tends to be the same as for other crimes, but in the nature of rape cases and the difficulty of proving rape took place when eye-wittness testimony is so untrusted?

Before the trolls arrive (and because it’s a little unclear in the OP): this woman did not lie about being raped; she was raped, began to press charges, and then dropped them by lying and saying the rape (witnessed by her child) didn’t happen when it did. She has been sent to jail for lying about really *being* raped. Why did she drop the charges? Because the rapist is her husband and father of her children, and you can imagine what kind of a difficult situation this was for the woman in question. For the police and CPS to convict, and the judge to issue a prison term, is utterly appalling.

Anna, read the news report of the story. This is not about some random stranger (rape very rarely is, as attackers are almost always known to the victim) and there’s no doubt that the rapist in question is a rapist. That’s the whole reason *why* the woman has gone to jail.

“I think it’s time the IPCC and others stopped looking at all these cases in isolation, and actually delved a bit deeper into what the fuck is going on there.”

Spot- on Cath!

@4

“The accused should be allowed the same anonymity as the accuser”.

Why make sexual offences difference when it comes to the accused? If someone is accused of, say, robbery and they are charged with the offence their name ends up in the public domain. For anyone with a job that involves any kind of trust or responsibility a conviction or even an allegation of dishonesty or violence is likely lead to a set of career choices. Most importantly though it surrenders to the (vague) idea that somehow men accused of sexual offences are entitled to some sort of special protection that other defendants are not.

The assumption that women lie exposes further institutionalised misogyny within the police and the judiciary as it has been found they (legal system) overestimate the scale of false accusations of rape, along with subjective assumptions made about the victim.

Anonymity for the accused will only further undermine and alienate rape victims.

@Paul

I know – I wasn’t really talking about this story which is shocking. Just responding to QuietRiotGirl’s point about ‘victim of rape’ and the different standards we have for different crimes.

I really don’t understand the reasoning behind this case at all – seems like they’ve tried to make an example when they could have just let it slide 🙁

@6

Paul, this post was just a short up-date about the woman losing her appeal, sorry if it seems a little unclear about the details, there are links etc. (I wrote originally a fuller blog post on the case few days before).

Just to be absolutely clear: the woman currently in prison *is* a victim of rape, and her husband *is* a rapist. Her conviction shows that the court believed that both these facts were established beyond reasonable doubt.

(given this, the fact that her husband *isn’t* in jail is the most bizarre thing about this case – if one court has found beyond reasonable doubt that he is a rapist, you might have thought that this would lead the CPS to actually fucking try him. Then again, they are incompetent idiots who’d rather try people for tweeting about airports.)

I do, actually, see the reason to try this case: it’s the same reason why we charge gangland types who change their testimony when leaned on by gangland bosses. Once someone makes a criminal accusation about someone else to the authorities, they are – rightly – *only* relevant as a witness, and need to be treated in exactly the same way as any other witness. The case is the crown, representing everyone in society, versus the defendant, for breaking the laws that are necessary to have our society. That’s how it is and how it should be. Meanwhile, redress between an attacker and a victim is pursued separately through the civil courts. So while it’s harsh, a witness who lies to the police *needs* to face the consequences of doing so, or the whole damn thing falls apart.

The issue here *isn’t* the core one of her conviction – that one’s fair enough. It’s:
1) sending her to jail, rather than binding her over to keep the piece, is crazy-harsh.
2) failing to prosecute the attacker given that a court has established his guilt is both insanely inept and adds insult to injury.
3) stupid rules that deny her support as a victim because she’s guilty of a related but separate crime need to be abolished.

Aagh. “peace”. Keeping a piece would get her another 5 years…

Paul (#7); you *assume* that the original story was true and the retraction was false, but that doesn’t make it so.

Not saying I agree with the prison sentence, but it is certainly insidious to publically accuse somebody of rape and then retract it before the court can decide. It taints him with no opportunity for clearing his name.

This is absolutely insane. Who do we write to in protest? Home Sec? Inspector Plod? The CPS?

No, Jason.

The husband in question dragged the woman out of her house by her hair, rippped off her clothes, and raped her. The couple’s eldest child was a witness. Nobody is disputing that she was raped. What she has been charged with is lying (i.e. committing perjury) by saying that she wasn’t raped when she *was*.

But feel free to stay inside the comfortable bubble.

John B; yes, quite. The real bastard here is Judge John Rogers QC who handed down an 8 month prison sentence to a rape victim who is the primary carer to 4 children. He did not need to do that, as a suspended sentence would have been more than adequate to meet the letter of the law and its unfortunate consequences in this case.

Louise @10: I wasn’t having a pop at you…i was just pre-empting, because LibCon plays host to some particularly idiotic trolls who are likely to come along and start howling about the injustice of a man falsely accussed of rape…when of course that is not a feature of the case we are talking about.

I’m sure they’ll arrive in time, but I thought it was at least worth trying to head them off.

#15; complete this well-known phrase – “people are innocent until proven…”

Rape is a terrible crime, but that doesn’t mean you can pronounce people guilty of it without benefit of a court, no matter what evidence you have or think you have.

@13

The police said that it had dropped the charges of rape against the woman’s husband.

@14
Firstly, think it’s important to write to the woman to show solidarity. Also we need to get this out to the media so as many people will know about this miscarriage of justice.

@18

So what was this woman arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to 8 months in prison for then?

So not only has this guy got away with raping his wife; not only has he got away with then pressurising her into making a false statement to the police; he also gets to stay at home with her kids while she’s carted off to jail for *allowing herself to be pressurised by him*?

For fuck’s sake… this makes about as much sense as simply jailing her for allowing herself to be raped!

@21, just for record-set-straight-ery, there’s no evidence from the original stories that he’s getting to see his kids, and I’d be very surprised if he was being allowed anywhere near them. Wider point: yes.

S Pill (#20); I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at.

Are you trying to get me to defend her sentence? I’m not going to, it was stupid and wrong.

Are you saying that her being sentenced on the basis of a false retraction requires the court to have decided *beyond reasonable doubt* that the rape happened? I’m not a lawyer, but that doesn’t seem likely to be correct.

@23

If the retration was false then logic dictates that the original accusation was true.

To clarify: if the police and the CPS believed the retraction to be false then logic dictates that the police and the CPS believed the orginal accusation to be true. For this “man” (I use the word very loosely) to get away with rape while his victim is locked away for 8 months is disgusting – particularly so when the police have basically admitted that a rape did happen.

Jason

“Are you saying that her being sentenced on the basis of a false retraction requires the court to have decided *beyond reasonable doubt* that the rape happened? I’m not a lawyer, but that doesn’t seem likely to be correct.”

I’m not a lawyer either, but I am a tutor on a course involving basic logic. And I don’t see any way to escape the inference that if it’s been established beyond reasonable doubt that this woman’s claim that her husband did not rape her was false, then it’s been established beyond reasonable doubt that the contrary claim that her husband did rape her is true.

S Pill and GO; I think what’s been established beyond reasonable doubt is that she perverted the course of justice, then the judge sentenced her based on a *belief* that it was the retraction that was false.

There’s nothing contradictory, only differing levels of proof.

#25; is the view that “he must have done it, the police said so” not a strange one for these parts?

Sunny – can you possibly add into the OP the address to write letters of solidarity to the woman jailed?

Geraint Jones & Co, Bronwydd House, The Bank, Newtown, Powys, SY16 2AU

@28

No, the point I was making was an elementory logic one. If the police believe that this woman lied when retracting her statement about being raped, it follows – as night follows day – that they believe that she was raped. It’s really not that complicated.
The fact that they haven’t pursued a case against this rapist (no, I won’t use the word “alleged” – sue me) is an absolute travesty of justice.

This is a difficult case and on my own reading of it I don’t feel that criticism levelled at Dyfed-Powys police, in respect of their handling of this case, is necessarily fair or justified, regardless of their previous form.

If you look at the sequence of events then its clear that the police sought to proceed with the case, even after the complainant’s first attempt to withdraw her co-operation.

This is somewhat unusual.

More often than not, in rape cases, the case is dead in the water no soon as the complainant backs out.This is because it’s often the case that the complainant’s testimony is the only substantive evidence that the police have to show that an offence has even been committed.

In this case, both the reports and the actions of the police, in seeking to pursue the investigation after the complainant had indicated her desire to back out suggest that the police had enough corroborating evidence to show that an offence had been committed even in the face of complainant’s decision to withdraw her co-operation from the investigation. The complainant’s initial complaint/statement plus physical and/or witness evidence that she’d been subjected to a violent assault was deemed sufficient to keep the ball rolling on the investigation.

That, unfortunately, changed when she subsequently changed her story and withdrew her originally allegation of rape and, in the process, she also unwittingly committed the offence for which she was subsequently charged and convicted.

Recognising that an offence had been committed, the police had no option but to charge her with perverting the course of justice. Like it or, the police cannot disregard their legal duty to prefer charges if they have clear evidence than an offence has been committed.

Thus far, there is nothing in the case for which the police can be legitimately subjected to criticism – its what happens next that should be questioned.

At this point, the rape charge is a goner because the complainant changed her story.

The police could, and should, have investigated her claim to have been subjected to ’emotional blackmail’ with a view to preferring a charge of perverting the course of justice against the husband and his sister.

Whether any such investigation took place is unclear, but as the primary evidence for those offences relied on statements given by a woman who had already changed her story on much more serious allegation, it would, unfortunately, be difficult to make such a charge stick.

As far the complaint goes, it would fall to the CPS and not the police to decide whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution for perverting the course of justice and whether such a prosecution would be in the public interest.

Speaking personally, I feel that the CPS’s apparent judgement on the public interest question is rather questionable and would very much like to see them give an explanation of the reasoning given that the outcome of the case – a criminal conviction and custodial sentence – seems grossly disproportion to the offence once one take the full circumstances in which it occurred into account.

Sending out ‘a message’ to the police, in this case, seems a rather worthless exercise given that:

a) it was the complainant’s own actions that not only prevented the police and CPS from proceeding with the rape charge against her husband but, in all likelihood, made it impossible to charge the husband with perverting the course of justice, and

b) it was the CPS who made the decision to proceed with a prosecution for perverting the course of justice, not the police, and a judge who handed down a disproportionately sever sentence.

By all means protest, just try and hit the right targets rather than shooting the messenger, the police.

Mr S Pill,

To clarify: if the police and the CPS believed the retraction to be false then logic dictates that the police and the CPS believed the orginal accusation to be true.

If I understand correctly, the accusation is treated discretely – she committed the crime by changing her evidence – therefore it has no bearing on whether the rape occurred or not.

I fail to see the public interest in charging her, by the way, let alone sending her to jail.

Unity – the CPS have released a statement and their reasons are purely financial:

“We are acutely aware of the difficulties faced by victims in
reporting rape and work hard to support complainants in giving their
best evidence at trial. This case was extremely unusual in that the
complainant actively worked to derail the trial, by first telling police
she had made up her original evidence, and then changing her story again and saying it had been true.

It was impossible to proceed with the case against her husband in these circumstances, and it was felt that the difficult decision to charge the complainant with perverting the course of justice was justified, particularly as substantial resources were used to investigate and prosecute the alleged rape and to provide support to the complainant.”

Unity & Mr S Pill –

From a blog written by a police officer:

‘The implicit assumption within Judge John Rogers’ eight month jail sentence for the woman is that she WAS a genuine victim of rape and was therefore a dirty liar for retracting her allegations.’

http://pcbloggs.blogspot.com/2010/11/back-to-front-justice.html

I think that is an important point.

To clarify: if the police and the CPS believed the retraction to be false then logic dictates that the police and the CPS believed the orginal accusation to be true.

Thankfully, we still live in a country where its what the police and CPS can prove in court and not what they believe that determines guilt or innocence.

A much fairer reflection of the situation would be to suggest that, prior to the full retraction of the allegation, the police and CPS had sufficient evidence to demonstrate than an offence had been committed and case in which they were confident they could secure a conviction, even if the complainant proved uncooperative in all other respects but for not retracting her statement on making the original complaint.

Jason

“I think what’s been established beyond reasonable doubt is that she perverted the course of justice, then the judge sentenced her based on a *belief* that it was the retraction that was false.

There’s nothing contradictory, only differing levels of proof.”

I can’t make any sense of this. How could the court have established beyond reasonable doubt that this woman had perverted the course of justice without establishing beyond reasonable doubt that what she told the police wasn’t true?

I just don’t see how there can be ‘differing levels of proof’ involved here; the fact that it’s false that this woman’s husband did not rape her is *the very same fact* as the fact that her husband raped her. The latter has therefore necessarily been established to the same ‘level of proof’ as the former; and that level was sufficient for this woman to be convicted and sentenced.

This case was extremely unusual in that the complainant actively worked to derail the trial, by first telling police she had made up her original evidence, and then changing her story again and saying it had been true.

That’s interesting because it contradicts media reports which indicated that, in the first instance, she sought to back out of the case while still sticking to her original allegations and, only later, changed her story completely.

‘The implicit assumption within Judge John Rogers’ eight month jail sentence for the woman is that she WAS a genuine victim of rape and was therefore a dirty liar for retracting her allegations.’

All of which, I’m afraid, is only relevant to the prosecution for perverting the course of justice and not to the prospects of securing a rape conviction against the husband.

34
I was under the impression that the CPS could take action, even if the victim withdrew from making a complaint. And it’s clear that they believed that the woman had been raped.
This story sends out so many negative signals to women in violent relationships,

I just don’t see how there can be ‘differing levels of proof’ involved here; the fact that it’s false that this woman’s husband did not rape her is *the very same fact* as the fact that her husband raped her.

But not, in reality, the fact upon which the guilty verdict was based, this being the fact that the woman changed her story in order to obstruct the course of the prosecution of her husband.

To make this case stick, the prosecution were not required to demonstrate the truth, or falsity, of her original allegation, only that the two different accounts given to the police were mutually incompatible to the extent that one of them could not possibly be true.

The underlying here is extremely straightforward even if it seems counter-intuitive in the context of a court case.

Unity –

“To make this case stick, the prosecution were not required to demonstrate the truth, or falsity, of her original allegation, only that the two different accounts given to the police were mutually incompatible to the extent that one of them could not possibly be true.”

But as I understand it, the woman wasn’t convicted and sentenced on the basis that she must *either* have lied about being raped *or* about not being raped. She was convicted and sentenced on the basis that she had lied about not being raped. (As I understand it, the court could not have ‘hedged its bets’ on this question, since the sentencing guidelines would be different in each case.)

She was convicted and sentenced on the basis that she had lied about not being raped.

I can see where you’re getting confused.

The conviction rests on the fact of the lie and effect it had on the prosecution of the rape case. The nature of the lie is, so far as securing the conviction is concerned, immaterial and has no bearing on the verdict.

The jury has, therefore, only to determine whether of not she lied, not which of the two alternative accounts in untrue.

Its only when we comes to sentencing that the nature of the lie become relevant as either a mitigating or aggravating factor in the offence and it is for judge, and the judge alone, to decide which of the two accounts he believes to be untruthful and adjust the sentence accordingly.

Conviction and sentencing are two discreet processes, not two components of a single process.

GO (#36); She either made a false allegation, or made a false retraction. Both are perverting the course of justice, so she’s guilty* in either case.

The judge chose in his sentencing to give her the lesser scale of punishment, presumably based on his belief that the offence probably did happen. That’s different from establishing it beyond reasonable doubt.

* Although, to repeat, I don’t believe it was right to punish her

Truly the wheels of justice know no bounds when it comes to leaps and twists of logic. I’d apologise for the mixed metaphor but this thread is confusing enough.

Turns out the judge involved has form when it comes to misogyny: http://toomuchtosayformyself.com/2010/11/13/big-john/
disgusting. he should be sacked and probably jailed himself for making our justice system look nasty and vindictive.

Backtracking up the comments a bit to Louise in #8, on “anonymity for the accused”. I’m not sure I agree with it either, but…

Sexual offences *are* different to some extent, because the most common assumption is the opposite of what you suggest. I think people are more likely to believe that somebody cleared of rape has “escaped justice”, than somebody cleared of other crimes.

If you met somebody and, without knowing any details, learned that they had been charged with assault at some point in the past but not convicted – would you assume they were guilty? How about if the alleged crime was rape?

what I mean partly is that this woman is being reduced to the status of ‘rape victim’ which I think dehumanises her. Obviously we don’t know her name. but not having read the press all I have heard is she is a ‘rape victim’. ‘Rape victim’ is a label that sticks and I don’t like to use it. I expect it is the case that her husband raped and beat her and was psychologically violent as well. But she is more than these acts against her. Now she is in prison it is more significant to me that she is a woman who has been unfairly jailed for retracting charges of rape against her own husband. Just calling her a ‘rape victim’ really sounds objectifying and grim to me.

11 John B there is an argument that in rape cases there should not be a CPS prosecution where the ‘victim’ is a witness and the crime is against the state, but that it should be dealt with in civilian/county courts where the crime is against the person. I suffered domestic violence and stalking and was involved in both a criminal case and a county court injunction case. I found the county court an ordeal but I preferred it to being treated as a bystander in an assault on my own self. we can’t have it all ways. we can’t demonise men who rape/commit domestic violence, and then expect the criminal courts to deal with these cases in a sensitive/person-centred manner.

@Unity:

“Recognising that an offence had been committed, the police had no option but to charge her with perverting the course of justice. Like it or, the police cannot disregard their legal duty to prefer charges if they have clear evidence than an offence has been committed.”

Rubbish. RUBBISH.

The police decide not to proceed with criminal charges, when they could possibly get a technical conviction, all the time. It was perfectly open to them to decide not to proceed in this case.

As for the CPS, their rigid guidelines, and the meaning of “public interest” which they adopt, made their decision to proceed almost inevitable. There is a presumption that any case where there is a good chance of conviction is in the public interest. This needs to be looked at urgently. The police, though, have more discretion. They don’t have to robotically follow the rules, and very often don’t.

Unity – could the judge have used his discretion to have cast down a non-custodial sentence? There isn’t a mandatory sentence for this offence is there?

@34

‘This story sends out so many negative signals to women in violent relationships’

Yes, and as such is in no way in the public interest. Or in the interests of the woman concerned.

@8. “Why make sexual offences difference when it comes to the accused? If someone is accused of, say, robbery”

You know why, and it doesn’t help your position to feign ignorance. Sexual offences come with a unique stigma. Sex offenders are seen as a threat to the public in a way that other criminals are not. That’s why we have a sex offenders register, but not a “robbery offenders register”. The problem is that this stigma can negatively affect the lives of those who are accused but are not found guilty. As with all crimes, false rape accusations are made. You claim that the extent of this has been overestimated. Maybe so, but that’s not the point: false accusations are made and lives are damaged because of them.

So why not extend the protection of anonymity, given how damaging a false rape accusation can be? It would be understandable not to do so if anonymity in some way made it more difficult to prove rape accusations, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t hinder the ability to prove rape in any way whatsoever. The only thing is does is protect the innocent. Opposition to this policy is indicative of a deep seated misandry, as though the lives of innocent men need to be in the hands of women in order to achieve some sadistic form of empowerment. Unfortunately, this attitude has prevailed.

I’m not sure that 8 months is necessarily a disproportionate sentence for perjury either. Judges hate it as it strikes at the very basis of the law itself. Archer got 4 years for perjury in a civil matter, normally seen as less serious than a criminal prosecution.

@51

Well seeing as the judge involved has let off a paedophile and two convicted wife-beaters it’s nice to see where his priorities lie.

@Unity –

‘That, unfortunately, changed when she subsequently changed her story and withdrew her originally allegation of rape and, in the process, she also unwittingly committed the offence for which she was subsequently charged and convicted.’

As I understand it, she hasn’t been sentenced for retracting the rape allegation though. She had been sentenced because of the ‘false retractraction’.

The judge said:
“I now have to deal with you because you made a false retraction.”

“If you had to be dealt with for making a false allegation of rape you would be looking at a sentence of two years.

“The position has now changed but there are two aggravating features.

“One you have caused a substantial amount of wastage for the CPS and police, and two you have had to admit that retraction was false, perverting the course of justice, and for that the imposition of a prison sentence is inevitable.”
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-11707903

I will say to start with that I totally disagree with the sentence given to this woman. However my interpretation of the material available is more along the lines of the judge saying “We can’t now be sure if you were lying at the start, or lying when you retracted the complaint. Therefore you will be given the benefit of the doubt sentenced on the basis of the lesser of the two.” If there is clear evidence that the man is guilty I have not seen it, nor any transcript of the trial, for example. I have seen this asserted as a fact but not really backed up by much.

That said, the sentence is ridiculous as it is clearly only appropriate if she did make the false allegation, and that has not been proved.

Unity (41) & Jason (42)

OK, that sort of makes sense. I didn’t think the legal system worked like that – it all seems a bit like trying and convicting someone for either dealing cocaine, or possessing cocaine for his personal use, and then leaving it to the judge to decide which it was and pass sentence accordingly – but if that’s the case, that’s the case.

56. Daniel Factor

Opposition to annoymity for defendents in rape trials is based on the following beliefs…

.All men accused (not convicted) of rape are guilty

.The idea of innocent until proven guilty in rape trials is the branding of women as “liars”.

@47 – you want to set aside the whole tradition of English law for one particular crime; go ahead and campaign for it. I’m certainly in favour of rape and DV victims pursuing their attackers through the civil courts, but the system where criminal prosecution is carried out by the state because crimes are against the state is the best one I’ve seen in action anywhere.

@52 – just for the benefit of people who didn’t follow the link, the judge gave a suspended sentence to someone who owned some banned pictures (not someone who’d actually been in any way involved in the abuse of a child, which your post might be taken to imply). In isolation, that would make him a sane and reasonable judge. It’s only when combined with jailing this woman and giving suspended sentences to the wife-beaters that his record becomes problematic.

58. Chaise Guevara

@56

You’re being unfair on those opposed to anomynity for rape suspects there. There are other reasons. But I agree there is a subset who act as if due process in rape trials is evidence of some bizarre kind of sexism,

59. Daniel Factor

No I am not being unfair. I believe that’s what the underlying reason for opposing such a law is.

Those who oppose giving rape trial defendents annoymity say that it would mean branding rape victims and women who report as liars. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about properly preserving innocent until proven guilty.
I find it annoying that many liberals uphold that basic human right to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty for other crimes (especially terrorism) but when it comes to rape they run a mile believing that to think that men accused of rape are innocent in a court of law until proved otherwise it’s “misogynist” or “anti women”,
The question always on my mind is does wanting men accused of rape to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty conflict with wanting women to be protected from sexual assault. In my view it does not.

60. Chaise Guevara

@59

This is true of some people who hold that belief. I feel that what might be called the unreasonable branch of feminism has too tight a hold on the liberal perspective on this issue, among others.

However, as I say, there are other reasons. I certainly don’t think that a mere accusation of rape proves guilt, because I’m not an idiot, and I can see the argument for keeping the names of people accused of any crime out of the paper. But the counter-argument is that keeping suspects anonymous means it’s harder to build a case against the ones who are guilty, as it doesn’t encourage witnesses, other victims and so to come forward.

I have strong sympathies with your core belief here. I just don’t think you’re helping yourself by labelling every single person who disagrees with you a bigot. Once debates reach the point where everyone think everyone on the other side is a monster (abortion debate, anyone?) it’s impossible to move forward, because it becomes a battle rather than a discussion.

This is so much more a societal issue then one to do with the court system, like soo much else in this world.

You can’t help someone who doesn’t help themselves. Put the resource time to send letters and say she is sent out early, where will she go? Her mums? Her mum wasn’t capable of getting her to leave her husband nor not have 4 kids by him-gee how selfless of her to have children that have to grow up seeing their mum raped and beaten to a pulp!

Has she been given training in jail? Will she be given support or psychiatric help when she leaves so she doesn’t find another man to beat her up?

The societal problem with people who live within these worlds where they are 2nd generation of people on benefits is that they have no concept where this money that they have gotten since they were born comes from, nor has an understanding that all these public services come from taxes or the government, so you can imagine she had no clue that retracting her statement would cost money and she will get done for this.

I see this all the time near where I leave with people on state benefits. Whether I see a bunch of women gossiping over how her block punched her or the other day I saw someone slag off the labour party and sang they we grateful the Tories came into power, it happens ALL the time because of lack of education or understanding.

What’s worse is that the Left haven’t learnt anything from past mistakes about how the system works. They respond in a manner that makes them feel good about themselves but does not actually and practically help the person.

If we want to help this woman, the first thing we have to do is educate her about the world, responsibility of having children in an abusive relationship and the system.

Then hopefully history won’t repeat itself.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  5. Jasmin

    RT @libcon: Support and solidarity for the jailed victim of rape http://bit.ly/cUyr56

  6. CathElliott

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  7. mmelindor

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  12. Rebecca

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  13. Joey Abbiss-Stubbs

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  14. Ellie Mae

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    RT @libcon: Support and solidarity for the jailed victim of rape http://bit.ly/cUyr56

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    Support and solidarity for the jailed victim of rape | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/FrwRt9S via @libcon

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