To worry about the Judges attitude in Levelle Verdict.

(306 Posts)
daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:24:01

I believe I need to state that this man has been found not guilty of all charges etc. I am an abuse victim who is taking a case to court. AIBU as apparently the Judge stated to the Jury prior to deciding that the sic "manner and appearance of the alleged victim and how she appears to you is vital". I don't think that's right.hmm hmm

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 15:29:02

Can you link the full statement?

What did he say, if anything, about the manner/appearance/etc of the then accused?

Judges statements usually go on for some time, and one sentence may not be a true representation. That's why I'd be interested to know more of what he said. For the credibility of each person is vital and the statement should over both. Did it?

hatsybatsy Tue 10-Sep-13 15:29:31

I didn't think the verdict was out yet?

I think in this case as it was just one persons word against another (ie no pohysical or corroborated evidence) then all the jury really have to go on is how Le Vell and his accuser appear to them? How she appears/seems to them is one thing - if the jury were specifically directed to consider her physical appearance then that would be wrong.

Youhaventseenme Tue 10-Sep-13 15:30:54

NOT GUILTY

usuallyright Tue 10-Sep-13 15:32:01

I'm not surprised. I thought he was innocent.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 15:32:23

He has been found not guilty on all counts.

I'm not surprised. I thought he was innocent. 'Not guilty', not 'innocent'. There is a difference.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 15:35:46

If you find someone not guilty then they are innocent as brititish law doesn't have a verdict of not proven.

usuallyright Tue 10-Sep-13 15:36:26

Exactly cantspel.

Footface Tue 10-Sep-13 15:36:57

I thought the Judge said in his summing up that the jury should look to find him guilty. So I was surprised when he was found innocent

usuallyright Tue 10-Sep-13 15:37:45

I hope he has the full support of Coronation Street . He's going to need a lot of support to get through. Mud sticks and he will always have this dark cloud hanging over him.

xkittyx Tue 10-Sep-13 15:38:00

Scottish law in fact does have a Not Proven verdict.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:38:28

Hello OP's. Verdict on news a few minutes ago. I agree he has been proven Innocent and am not questioning the verdict as such. I am more concerned that the Jury should not be directed to take demeanour , appearance etc into account. Lots of people come across strangely under pressure.

Nancy66 Tue 10-Sep-13 15:38:54

From what I have read, the judge told the jury that their evaluation of the alleged victim was critical due to the lack of physical evidence.

I see nothing wrong in that.

Platinumstart Tue 10-Sep-13 15:41:01

In general and making no judgment on this case I can assure you as a defence lawyer that a not guilty verdict in no way equates to innocence.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 15:41:42

considering the jury had been out less than half a day i would think that the verdict wasn't hard for them to reach and therefore there was not a lot of evidence to convict on.

pensandpaperclips Tue 10-Sep-13 15:41:45

What will happen to the alleged victim then? Will she be prosecuted for wasting so much time & money?

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 15:43:03

so if he is innocent will his accuser now be prosecuted for falsely accusing him of rape?

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 15:43:25

X post

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:44:02

See what you're saying Nancy66, but as someone that's about to sit in the court and give evidence frankly it's terrifying. I worry tbh from the point of view of a "real" victim. I do not come across well under stress.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 15:44:05

Not guilty may equal innocent in law. It doesn't necessarily equal innocent. No comment on this specific case but rape and sexual assault cases have very low conviction rates. That doesn't mean those rapes and assaults didn't happen.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:45:15

My thoughts exactly opsad

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 15:47:02

Is that a serious question Becool?

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:47:06

And you're right, if it was a false allegation she should be charged. Surely that would make it a less likely occurrence. The police told me false allegations were actually very rare.

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 15:47:51

"If you find someone not guilty then they are innocent as brititish law doesn't have a verdict of not proven."

Whatever verdicts may exist, because a court finds you not guilty in no way at all means you are innocent. It could simply mean there was not sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

If you did the act, a verdict of "not guilty" doesn't mean you didn't do it!!!

xkittyx Tue 10-Sep-13 15:47:52

If the police and prosecution service thought there was enough ofa case for a potential conviction then of course they won't now prosecute her.
Sex crimes have a very low conviction rate.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 10-Sep-13 15:49:02

Sadly this is the only fair outcome with a single victim and no verifiable evidence. We can't send someone to jail on the word of one person, whatever they are accused of. This is why convictions only usually happen with multiple victims or physical evidence.

I would however be most upset should their be any suggestion that the victim did the wrong thing in reporting him. She spoke up about a past wrong, and we need people to feel they can do that, even if we can't always find guilty when we would hope to be able to do so.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 15:49:05

there was a lot which couldn't be reported so that the victim / complainant was not identifiable. What was not reported may well be of great significance, and given the speed with which the jury have acquitted on all charges, the judge's direction to the jury in relation to the girl is quite possibly of a great significance that we should never be aware of.

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 15:51:22

'What will happen to the alleged victim then? Will she be prosecuted for wasting so much time & money?'

I'm not referring to this case but are you saying that if someone makes an accusation that leads to a court case which they then lose this automatically means they are lying and should be prosecuted?

Innocent people never go to prison, guilty people never walk free?

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:51:24

Fair point Leopoldina.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 15:53:31

All I see ahead is an inevitable NG in that case. Why am I bothering? People will just think I'm a liar, I just want to stop it happening to anyone else if I can.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 15:55:56

'We can't send someone to jail on the word of one person, whatever they are accused of.'

People like you are the reason the conviction rates for rape and sexual assault are so low.

StuntGirl Tue 10-Sep-13 15:55:58

I found a lot of the language used in this case uncomfortable and distasteful. Very sad for all involved, only those two really know what happened.

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 15:57:27

"Sadly this is the only fair outcome with a single victim and no verifiable evidence."

Which is one HUGE reason why rape is so prevalent in our society.
It's truly sickening.

noddyholder Tue 10-Sep-13 15:59:01

Why would she make it up about him?

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 15:59:30

reading between the lines of the age of the complainant and LeVell's personal circumstances, combined with the language used by his counsel in summing up, there seems to (me) to be a fairly obvious story behind this.
While the conviction rates in sex crimes are depressingly low, it is equally appalling that someone who is wrongfully accused and does not have the benefit of anonymity that the accuser has will for the rest of their life be eyed with suspicion. I don't know what the solution is, and the adversarial method of cross examination is simultaneously necessary and horrific for the victims / complainants.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 10-Sep-13 16:01:06

"Sadly this is the only fair outcome with a single victim and no verifiable evidence."

this is often very true

but we have not heard all the evidence of this case, there may be other reasons we have not heard of why he was not found guilty

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 16:01:07

Havant yes it was a serious, but sarcastic question. (Should have used sarcastic font.)

The alleged victim's testimony can't have been believed by the jury. I wonder then if they actually believe she was making it up?

Sirzy Tue 10-Sep-13 16:02:51

She spoke up about a past wrong

That is assuming there is a past wrong.

And this is part of the problem with such cases shit sticks and irrespective of the fact he has been found not guilty he is forever going to be remember for this.

Only 2 people know what if anything did happen. The courts have found him not guilty though yet people are still assuming he is actually guilty.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:03:10

from what I've read, the complainant only remembered the abuse after many years had elapsed, and after taking some kind of therapy / course. Suggests false memory syndrome?

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 16:03:15

People do strange things hence you have trials and juries.

This case does make me feel uncomfortable as i do ask myself why someone would make it up but then i also wonder how a mum wouldn't notice her 6 year old had been raped and why there was no medical evidence at all. Surely you cannot rape a 6 year old without doing major damage to them?

either way i am very glad i was not on the jury.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:04:54

Why would she make it up about him

Why do people make up lies about anything? Sadly they do.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:06:20

quite, cantspel - like that terrible story yesterday of the Yemeni 8 yr old child bride who died from her wedding night injuries. (equally I don't think that the UK legal definition of rape means that it's necessarily an actual cock that has to do the raping, it can be insertion of other smaller things)

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:06:24

Well, we'll never know why the Jury reached the verdict (it's an offence to disclose their deliberations) and I suspect, given the need in this case to restrict reporting to protect identities, there will be much that the public never knows.

I suppose it all comes down to whether there is trust in a Jury system and whether both sides had competent representation at the trial.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 10-Sep-13 16:08:59

I have to wonder if there was someone behind the accuser pushing this. I have actually wondered this all the way through.

Nancy66 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:09:34

I can't see how the jury could have reached any other verdict in this particular case.

When you do jury service it is drummed into you how utterly convinced you must be to find somebody guilty.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:10:01

grin at sarcastic font.

I don't know the details of the case. The problem generally is that juries start off from the position of not wanting to believe that this kind of thing happens. Who wants to think about normal looking people, men who could be their next door neighbour or the person they sit near at work, would do something like this? Who wants to think that the danger is less the stranger in the dark alley and more the friend's cousin you met at her housewarming party who offers to drop you home as it's on his way and you'd have to wait ages for a taxi on a Friday night? Add on attitudes like Minesapintoftea's and the conviction rate makes sense.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:11:30

so if he is innocent will his accuser now be prosecuted for falsely accusing him of rape?

It doesn't mean she falsely accused him. It means the jury found him not guilty.

noddyholder Tue 10-Sep-13 16:11:38

I found it unusual that MLV took the opportunity to discredit the supposed victim and refer to her as an attention seeker etc in such a serious case. I also think if it was made up she was 'encouraged' in some way

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:12:15

you see I'd say the opposite; when it's a six year old girl in question who is still only a teenager, jury sympathy (& public sympathy as we can see from the general response on this thread) is going to be with the child.
What onesleep said.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:12:49

I'm not assuming he's guilty, I'm just not so naive as to assume a verdict of innocence in a court is the same as actual innocence.

comingalongnicely Tue 10-Sep-13 16:13:16

I thought the media cover of this was shocking & tantamount to whipping up a mob. I hope Corro take him back on soon. His life will have been hell for the past god knows how long and, looking at some of the "still guilty" comments on here, will be for the forseeable future.

This is why I don't think names should be publicised until after the guilty verdict....

FingerPicker Tue 10-Sep-13 16:14:02

Lots of people on here still assuming Le Vell is guilty despite the verdict sad

My best friend was falsely accused and it completely ruined his life. He died just after the accuser admitted it was all lies.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 16:14:02

I am more concerned that the Jury should not be directed to take demeanour , appearance etc into account. Lots of people come across strangely under pressure.

Yes I am sure they do - but we all look towards the demeanor of a person when we are considering whether or not they are telling the truth. Body language can be a very good indicator of guilt or innocence and I imagine it is unlikely that a person of her tender years would be capable of completely fooling people by adapting her body language so expertly in such a serious and pressurised environment as a court of law.

When there is nothing to go on but his word against hers I don't see what else the jury could do but consider the demeanor of both the defendant and the alleged victim. By 'appearance' I am sure the judge meant body language, not actual appearance. I would hope so anyway - if she went in there looking anything other than virginal then she was very badly advised.

FingerPicker Tue 10-Sep-13 16:14:48

What comingalong said.

FingerPicker Tue 10-Sep-13 16:14:50

What comingalong said.

We do have 'not proven' in British law, just not in English law.

They have not found him innocent but not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury could well have believed the alleged victim but not thought that it was not possible to say, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she wasn't lying or having false memories.

Honestly, not talking about this case because I don't want MN to get sued, I think it is entirely possible that most of the people that are found not guilty of rape and sexual assault are guilty. It is just when you set the bar at 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and it is one persons word against another, you won't get convictions in a lot of cases.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 16:17:07

This is were the law is unfair as it protects the identity of the accuser whilst the accused is thrown to the dogs.

Either way no one will forget he has been tried for child rape so even if he is truly 100% innocent there will always be doubt in some peoples minds. His life is destroyed either way.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 10-Sep-13 16:17:30

There are no winners here.

Either a young girl has just seen her abuser walk free from court or an innocent man is going to have the mud of accused rapist sticking to him for the rest of his life.

It is not nice at all.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 10-Sep-13 16:18:02

OK: I'd like to clarify: this is why I haven't gone to the police about something that happened to me. I know "normal people" commit crimes including rape, and that such crimes should be taken to the police and brought before a jury.

But for all crimes we need evidence to convict beyond reasonable doubt, and where those aren't there then the accused is found not guilty.

It would be better if we could determine who is telling the truth absolutely and I would like to see him behind bars, but I don't want to live under a system where people end up in jail for years from a single witness.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Tue 10-Sep-13 16:18:23

This is a difficult case for me to comment on because I was sexually abused as a child but only told my mother about it as a teenager. Had the matter ended up in court, I very much doubt that a conviction could have been secured because there was zero physical evidence anymore and by that point I had a history of mental illness, so my credibility would have been under question. It wouldn't have made the perpetrator any less guilty but I cannot for the life of me see how a jury would have found him so.

For the sake of the whole "I believe you" campaign, I really need to say that I don't think the girl who accused LeVell was lying. I know that flies in the face of innocent until proven guilty, especially as he has actually been found Not Guilty but... ohhh I don't know. Either way, lives have been ruined by the whole ordeal.

thebody Tue 10-Sep-13 16:18:57

if I was found not guilty by a jury I would expect Taff to be a declaration of innocence to the world.

anything else, unless other evidence comes to light later, would be very very unfair.

she's still very young. I wonder if any other adult will be re interviewed.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:09

Gives ITV a right headache in terms of taking him back on the programme precisely because sh*t sticks like this.

From what was reported (which is a drop in the ocean against what was put to the jury, & let's not forget someone has already been prosecuted for identifying the victim), seems to me to be the correct verdict in this case.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:30

Havant yes it was a serious, but sarcastic question. (Should have used sarcastic font.)

becool I didn't realise. Sorry. It's just that I hear that call to prosecute complainants all the time and I always bite.

I make no judgement on him, or what the jury had to decide, btw, because I don't know.

But someone can believe they were raped, and the man can believe it was with consent, and both could be telling the truth.

Usually that's confined to adults, though.

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:42

ITV have no option but to take him back.

intitgrand Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:48

That poor poor man.He and his loved ones must have been to hell andI do hope he can now rebuild his life and I hope karma serves the acuser what she deserves.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:21:37

ITV don't have to do anything they don't want to.

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 16:22:01

'That poor poor man.He and his loved ones must have been to hell andI do hope he can now rebuild his life and I hope karma serves the acuser what she deserves.'

I wish people would stop automatically assuming that the accuser was some lying, scheming vixen.

CiderBomb Tue 10-Sep-13 16:22:08

It makes me sick that people lie about things like this. I was sexually assaulted as a teenager, it's something that I still think about to this day and its made it hard for me to have relationships with men as a result. To think that someone could make that they've been raped or abused makes me so angry me want to explode.

I'd quite to see the vindictive little madam named and shamed for dragging an innocent mans name through the mud.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:22:23

of course they do squoosh, but look at how many people here still consider him guilty.
With the benefit of years past, I genuinely can't remember whether / what eg Michael Barrymore or John Leslie were charged with / convicted of. Lack of mutual anonymity is very unfair.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:22:46

So you don't believe any men should be convicted of rape MinesAPint? As in the majority of cases that's one person's word against anothers and consent is what's disputed?

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:23:43

I'd quite to see the vindictive little madam named and shamed for dragging an innocent mans name through the mud

That's quite vindictive in itself ciderbomb

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 10-Sep-13 16:23:53

Whoever that may actually be, initgrand.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 10-Sep-13 16:23:59

intitgrand, what an attitude you have there. Guilty people walk free all the time. And I am NOT saying that he is guilty, I wasn't sat on the jury, but you cannot presume that the accuser is lying. You have to be a special kind of stupid to think that not guilty actually means innocent.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:24:12

squoosh presumably if she wasn't lying and scheming, then he'd be off to prison. So we would be right to assume she was.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:24:18

Why are people assuming that a not guilty verdict means the girl was lying?

Switchedtoeatingbutter Tue 10-Sep-13 16:24:59

Ciderbomb how do you know she was lying? If your abuser had to go to court and get off, would that mean you were lying, that your horrific experience never happened?

In the spirit of I Believe Her, can I say that just because he has been found not guilty does not make her statements a lie or make her a vindictive little madam.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:26:31

bowlersarm

Do you understand how a rape conviction is decided?

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:27:29

But how can you say you believe her, when the jury doesn't? Is a rape accuser always in the right MrsTP?

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 16:27:47

Bowlersarm you have great faith in our justice system, far greater than I do. Once again, I'm not referring to this case but guilty people are found not guilty all the time.

You'd be more than a little bit silly to assume that all men who are found not guilty of rape are actually innocent.

NOT THIS CASE <disclaimer> Beyond a reasonable doubt means that she could well be telling the truth. There might also be a tiny chance that he is, so he gets a not guilty. Different standard in different courts. That is why OJ Simpson got a not guilty but then was sued and lost in his civil case. On the balance of probabilities, he DID murder those poor people.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 10-Sep-13 16:28:01

What evidence is there that she lied, CiderBomb?

Does innocent until proven guilty not work both ways?

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:28:02

Not exactly limited enlighten me?

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 10-Sep-13 16:28:27

Havant I wish it was possible to convict more men of rape when the defence is that it was consensual sex. In fact one thing that makes me wish I'd had the courage to report is so that if the "man" in question committed similar crimes there would be a record of multiple victims.

That doesn't however mean I think that there should be a lower burden of proof for sexual assault and rape than for any other crime.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 10-Sep-13 16:28:32

"It makes me sick that people lie about things like this. I was sexually assaulted as a teenager, it's something that I still think about to this day and its made it hard for me to have relationships with men as a result."

So flip this on it's head.

Say if you decided to press charges and your abuser was put on trial and subsequently found not guilty, would that make you a vindictive little madam?

She may well not have lied. This kind of talk of getting what she deserves and vindictive little madams is VERY harmful to women who've been sexually assaulted/abused. And I am talking as one of them. Please think before you write such spiteful crap.

I don't think there's any 'comfortable' position here. Either you have to disbelieve a victim or you have to embrace what would have been a conviction without evidence.
The whole situation is a tragedy and probably the best thing is to let those involved rebuild their lives as best they can whilst everybody else concentrates on creating a better society. A society where children aren't hurt, where abuse can be disclosed and timely prosecutions take place. Probably a distant dream unfortunately.

HeyUGuys Tue 10-Sep-13 16:29:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:30:05

Yes squoosh I agree that men who escape conviction can't all be innocent. By the same token there must be a huge number of men who are accused of rape when they are entirely innocent.

Feminine Tue 10-Sep-13 16:30:11

I read the that the jury was mostly made up of women?

He has been found not guilty.

That needs to be the end of it.

I say that as someone who has been abused as a child.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:30:18

Ha! So in your world Bowlersarm everyone found not guilty of rape is the victim of false allegations?

If a juror is 90% sure the defendant is guilty, they're supposed to say not guilty. In civil law it's about the balance of probabilities. In criminal law the standard is set much higher.

"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer". This is what our system is built on. Which means a not guilty verdict doesn't equal innocence. Rightly if you don't want a balance of probabilities system, which I don't.

I believe her as a victim because she has a right to be believed. If I was on the jury on a case, my duty would be different.

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 16:30:48

this whole situation makes me feel quite pathetic, an intellectual gnat and really sad. I'm floundering, unable to make any sense of it at all.

If he was falsely accused - its a travesty.
If this teenage girl was telling the truth and wasn't believed - it's a travesty.

so either way it's a sorry sorry mess.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 16:30:58

He has been found not guilty and so has been aquitted and discharged from court by the Judge.

Acquit
To set free, release or discharge as from an obligation, burden or accusation. To absolve one from an obligation or a liability; or to legally certify the innocence of one charged with a crime.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:31:15

I don't think a lot of you have read the reporting. This court transcript from bbc news may be enlightening:
he defence lawyer said the girl had attended a motivational speech by a woman who had been raped at an early age and went onto rebuild her life.

He said the girl had come back from the talk "excited" and told her family she was "part of a special group now", which a relative had said was "weird".

"Is that what some of this is about? You heard this lady talking about how she was raped when she was very young and how she went on and became a model?" he asked.

"You want to become an actress or a dancer, is that right?"

'Vendetta' denied
The girl denied being excited by the woman's speech and said she no longer wanted to be an actor or a dancer.

The court heard that a case against Mr Le Vell had been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2011 and the girl had subsequently contacted the police with further allegations.

Breaking down in tears, she said the delay in reporting the offences was because she had "had a lot more flashbacks [and] I was very confused".

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:32:08

The CPS only touch cases where they believe they have a reasonable chance of conviction. Most rapes aren't reported. Most reported rapes never come to court. The ones that do are the strongest ones.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 10-Sep-13 16:32:46

I think it's impossible for an onlooker to say whether the verdict is sound because the nature of the victims identity meant that reams of evidence was discussed in court that could not be reported in the media for fear of outing her.

I also think that perhaps there should have been a total ban on reporting of the case, because despite the restrictions the media made it bone-crushingly obvious who she is.

That said, if she is telling the truth, I imagine she's glad the media were able to report some of her testimony as it's the only justice she can hope to get.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 10-Sep-13 16:33:23

Hmmmm. I don't think it is right to call her a vindictive little madam. Perjury is a serious crime in the UK so if the police have reason to believe she lied then they can prosecute her.

But unless / until she is found guilty of perjury then she is just as innocent as he is.

BoozyBear Tue 10-Sep-13 16:34:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeyUGuys hope you don't mind, I reported your post, because of the ongoing investigations.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:34:59

not guilty on 12 charges in half a day's deliberation. That's pretty damn fast.

friday16 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:36:08

"So you don't believe any men should be convicted of rape MinesAPint? As in the majority of cases that's one person's word against anothers and consent is what's disputed?"

However, there's often evidence that sex took place, and as you say, the case then becomes about consent. And although obviously evidence of violence, or force is not a necessary part of that (as we aren't living in 1973), it is nonetheless part of many trials. That's not the case here, where there's no evidence that sex of any sort took place other than the testimony of one person. Given the girl's age at the time of the alleged offences, consent wouldn't have been relevant, so forensic evidence would have been pretty much probative.

None of us were in court, so all the things that can't be reported mean we know very little about the case. Presumably there's evidence as to how he had access to her, as a child, over a period of some time. For those of us watching from the sidelines, I'm not sure how much evidence there was that actually shows that the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator of the alleged crimes were ever in the same postcode.

The thing that jumps out at me is:

"The allegations emerged in September 2011 after she and her mother attended a motivational talk by a woman who herself claimed to have been raped as a child."

"Recovered memory" cases have a terrible history, and juries are today very, very reluctant to convict on such evidence.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:36:30

I have no idea if this girl was telling the truth. I will say that in rape cases the main defence is to attack the victim. Imagine every word you've ever spoken in your life being dragged up. Comments without context. People you cut out of your life years ago popping up with things you may have said.

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 16:38:41

Leopoldina I read what you are quoting. It doesn't clarify anything to me.

A rape victim could surely have heard a motivational speaker who had also been raped, and used that positive example as a way to turn her life around rather than dwell on what happened to her? She could have been inspired to follow her dreams despite her attack, rather than be held back by it? To her relative who did know know she had been (allegedly) rapes, it may have seemed "weird" - so what?

Are child sexual assault victims really expected to be able to recall every detail and date of incidents that happened many years earlier to be believed?

comingalongnicely Tue 10-Sep-13 16:38:50

Not Guilty - that's the end of it, even for the elite team of MumsNet Legal Experts that have all come crawling out of the woodwork.

Maybe the poor bloke start picking up what little pieces of his life the media have left him....

BoozyBear Tue 10-Sep-13 16:39:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 16:39:47

One would only presume that if one had a completely unrealistic view of the law.

A not guilty verdict means that the prosecution failed to convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt that he was guilty. That's all.

It does not automatically mean that the person who made the allegation was lying.

You would be an arse to presume anything.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 10-Sep-13 16:40:05

I believe he was innocent. I also believe the girl THINKS she is telling the truth. However, that is my opinion, I wasn't there, wasn't in court and don't have the full facts. Either way, I don't think she is a
'Vindictive little madam'. I think she is as much a victim as he is.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 10-Sep-13 16:41:49

Leo, if you are trying to imply that the girl made the allegations because she wants money or fame you are barking entirely up the wrong tree.

If she wanted money or fame, having Le Vell imprisoned for rape would not in any way help her.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:42:03

Sometimes news coverage or a storyline in a soap lead to people reporting historic abuse. I don't know about this particular girl. I am stunned by the number of people who don't seem to know anything about how the system works and seem to assume that a not guilty verdict equals a lying victim. It does give an insight into the misperception that a high percentage of rape complaints are false. No wonder people think that if they think that no conviction means no crime.

LegoAcupuncture Tue 10-Sep-13 16:42:06

My BIL had serious (similar) allegations made against him in the early 1980s. It went to court and he was proven innocent. Yet even though prove innocent his life was ruined, still is almost 30 years later.

He cannot go out in his home town, he had to move away. When he visits he doesn't go shopping at the local shops, he can't go drink at the local pub in case someone who knows him is there. I've had people come up to me and ask me if I ever leave my DC alone with their uncle and if I'm glad that I don't have and daughters as it must be scary having someone like him for a BIL.

An innocent/not guilty does not always bring reprieve because some people will always think bad.

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 10-Sep-13 16:42:35

HavantGuard What do you suggest we do instead? How would you like the legal system to treat people accused of rape and their victims?

You seem to think those of us who thing this would be hard to convict against want men who have raped to be left to walk the streets free, not that we can't see how to find guilty whilst maintaining the same burden of proof.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 16:43:35

Even if he had been found guilty all we would know is that the prosecution successfully convinced the jury that he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:45:09

The current law allows for people to be convicted on the word of one person. It's not the law that's at fault, it's people like you.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 16:46:11

Le Vell has not attacked his accuser in court though . All along he has stated he is innocent and he has no idea of why she is accusing him of rape. No personal attacks on her or her mother so he didn't try to discredit them to boost his defence.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:47:04

Okay bowlersarm. A woman might genuinely believe she didn't give consent and a man might equally genuinely believe that she did, or at least didn't make her objection clear enough for him to stop.

Both would be telling the truth. Only if the man could be shown beyond reasonable doubt he was raping the woman, would he be guilty.

That's what makes rape convictions so hard to come by, because juries are reluctant to convict of such a serious crime, someone who got what are called mixed signals.

It's a defence barrister's job to play up mixed signals.

That's not a judgement btw. It's a fact.

I find it interesting that juries often don't have such problems deciding about other messy human relations that aren't about sex.

There's a high-profile case going on atm about a date gone wrong where the man grabbed the woman's phone because she wouldn't stump up half the bar bill. He was charged with theft.

I genuinely couldn't decide whether he was guilty of it or not because I wasn't in court.

You've reminded me to look it up because I'll be interested at the outcome and will probably post it on here.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 16:48:48

the man grabbed the woman's phone because she wouldn't stump up half the bar bill. He was charged with theft.

He's been cleared of all charges.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 16:48:52

the man grabbed the woman's phone because she wouldn't stump up half the bar bill. He was charged with theft.

He's been cleared of all charges.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 10-Sep-13 16:49:25

I didn't think he had tried to discredit, or even been vaguely spiteful, to the accuser or her mother, to be fair to him.

I don't think that I could say the same for myself if I was in court for something I hadn't done. I'd be discrediting like mad.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:49:55

If I testified that I saw someone steal £500 holiday money from a drawer in my house I don't think there would be the same doubt.

celticclan Tue 10-Sep-13 16:50:20

We know very little about this case to speculate either way. There are some cases like the Becky Godden murder where Christopher Halliwell was acquitted because of a technicality and we all know he did it.

This case is different we know very little about the circumstances, we don't even know how they knew each other. It is wrong to say that we should automatically believe every rape allegation. It is very very rare for someone to make up an allegation of rape but it does happen.

FannyMcNally Tue 10-Sep-13 16:50:31

Do they not have lie-detector tests any more? Could that 'prove' who was telling the truth? Ok, it might not work on the woman if she was lying but really thought it had happened but if MLV had one it would prove whether he was lying or not.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 16:51:23

Thanks for that limited. It is such a grey area.

However in this case she was such a young age, that consent or not is not really the issue? It could only be rape, if he had sex with her. No grey area there at all.

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 16:54:15

Lie detectors aren't used in British courts.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 16:54:57

He couldn't really go after the accuser hard in court. How would it look to a jury? A teenage victim of child abuse being bullied by an adult, reduced to tears? They wan't to paint her as disturbed, delusional and attention seeking not create sympathy for her. There may have been no raised voices but the defence wouldn't have been doing it's job if it hadn't tried to dismantle her credibility.

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 16:55:19

holdmecloser what I'm implying is that this looks very much like a case of false memory syndrome. The line of questioning taken, the summing up and the judge's direction as well as the total absence of questioning on other issues strongly suggests it, and as someone else upthread said quite pithily, the reporting makes it "bonecrushingly obvious" who the complainant is. The picture appears that there is nobody who believes they are making false claims. That doesn't mean that there isn't an innocent man.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 16:55:42

Bowlersarm. The grey area is that you can't seem to understand that the girl could really believe it happened even if it didn't. That it may really have happened but the jury have not been convinced.

Life's a fucking grey area.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 10-Sep-13 16:56:41

That wasn't somebody else, that was also me.

RalphGnu Tue 10-Sep-13 16:56:49

I believe him.

So did the jury and that's good enough for me, like it was in the Ched Evans case.

sparklekitty Tue 10-Sep-13 16:58:23

Being found innocent doesn't mean you are. It means there was a lack of evidence to convict without reasonable doubt.

If you charge her with wasting police time you are potentially charging a rape victim with reporting the crime against them

Do you not have to have corroboration in English Law? This case wouldn't have got off the starting blocks in Scotland.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:04

He could attack her family as part of his defence a vendetta or a blackmail allegation would probably be hard for the cps to disprove.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:51

There is no way to know that "false memory syndrome" or anything else is behind this because unless you were in the courtroom you can only know a tiny fraction of what was said in evidence.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 16:59:52

Thanks, flapjack you saved me looking it up. I felt he probably couldn't be convicted of theft.

fanny lie detector tests have never been applicable in British courts. They are reliable only on TV shows.

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 17:00:34

Waffly why are you angry with me?

Leopoldina Tue 10-Sep-13 17:02:13

nobody has suggested they "know". "looks very much like" isn't knowledge. As I've repeatedly said, what has actually been reported (which not many appear to have bothered to read) and what did not form any line of questioning was very revealing and that is why I believe (not "know") that this seems like the correct verdict.

Andro Tue 10-Sep-13 17:06:24

Cases like this are why I firmly believe that there ought to be anonymity on both sides until the point of conviction, Le Vell might be not guilty in the eyes of the law but his reputation is in pieces (and his personal issues have been splattered across the media). I find it very difficult to defend the price he has had to pay in the process of (legally) clearing his name.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 17:06:52

I'm not, bowlers. Although I do find people who think in such simplistic black and white terms annoying.

Legally people are not 'proven innocent'. They are found 'not guilty' ie the prosecution failed to convince the jury that they had committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt.

I guess the only time one could claim being 'proved innocent' is if the judge dismissed the case after compelling evidence was provided. EG the accused was on live national tv talking to the queen at the time.

BoozyBear Tue 10-Sep-13 17:08:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Footface Tue 10-Sep-13 17:09:57

I'd quite to see the vindictive little madam named and shamed for dragging an innocent mans name through the mud.

You really think that all people who accuse men of rape are lying! No wonder more people don't come forward.

madam is not an acceptable word to use for a potential victim

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 17:10:22

I don't think that I could say the same for myself if I was in court for something I hadn't done. I'd be discrediting like mad

And you would be advised by your barrister not to do that marmalade. The jury's impression of you might hinge on whether you managed not to do that or not.

colourmehappytheresasofainhere Tue 10-Sep-13 17:10:28

Why is no one addressing the point raised by the op? She's going through a really difficult experience and has come here for some sensible ideas.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 17:11:47

There are 2 verdicts in English Law: Guilty and Not Guilty.

In Scotland there are 3: ^ ^ and Not Proven.

Bollocks all this 'not guilty' doesn't mean he is innocent. It makes it sound as though you WANT him to be guilty and do not trust the Jury in their decision !!

We'll try him in Court, but if MNers don't like the verdict they will try him again !!!

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 17:11:53

There are 2 verdicts in English Law: Guilty and Not Guilty.

In Scotland there are 3: ^ ^ and Not Proven.

Bollocks all this 'not guilty' doesn't mean he is innocent. It makes it sound as though you WANT him to be guilty and do not trust the Jury in their decision !!

We'll try him in Court, but if MNers don't like the verdict they will try him again !!!

Chotter Tue 10-Sep-13 17:12:42

Why do we have to have an adversarial justice system? Are there not better alternatives than seeking to reduce people to a blubbering mess?

Feminine Tue 10-Sep-13 17:14:12

what ideas can be given though colour all cases are different. confused

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 10-Sep-13 17:15:39

"And you would be advised by your barrister not to do that marmalade"

Oh I know. But honestly, I think frustration and anger would take over and I'd start shouting bad things. I'd go dahn for contempt of court, I know I would. blush

Andro Tue 10-Sep-13 17:16:08

colourmehappytheresasofainhere - because without reading all the instructions given to the jury (and having an understanding of judicial process/limits/responsibilities), it's impossible to comment on the validity of the statement.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PatPig Tue 10-Sep-13 17:18:13

anyone who is accused of rape is therefore guilty, according to many mumsnet posters

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:20:56

Yes. There are two verdicts in law. Being found not guilty in court doesn't mean a person didn't commit the crime they were accused of. As I said, if a member of the jury is 90% sure someone is guilty they have to vote not guilty. A not guilty verdict does not automatically mean a false allegation.

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

noddyholder Tue 10-Sep-13 17:22:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

squoosh Tue 10-Sep-13 17:22:46

Bye bye PramQueen.

Chotter Tue 10-Sep-13 17:23:13

'anyone who is accused of rape is therefore guilty, according to many mumsnet posters'

That's the FWR board you're looking for grin

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 17:23:30

And, HavantGuard as I said, trial by MNers follows. Stop nit picking - he has been found NOT GUILTY !

I didn't mention 'false allegation' in any way shape or form.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 17:25:36

And a guilty one doesn't mean they did do it, it means they have been proved to have done it beyond reasonable doubt in the eyes of law. People's own private opinions on either side can differ from what the court concludes.

Pointing out that there is no 'proved innocent' isn't the same as saying you think he did it.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 17:27:35

I don't think that I could say the same for myself if I was in court for something I hadn't done. I'd be discrediting like mad

marmalade I'd always think the same of myself until I was in a nasty work situation. I know you only have my word to go on, but honestly, I was the injured party smile

I had a deal with my union rep that she would kick me if I went too far during a number of meetings that were deliberately confrontational.

In one three-hour meeting she only kicked me once - and then it was only a mild kick. More a nudge, than anything else.

I've never been so proud of myself in my life. So don't underestimate your ability for grace under fire.

TidyDancer Tue 10-Sep-13 17:28:26

I believe MLV is innocent. I also believe the girl is largely innocent. I don't necessarily think she believed everything she said, but I suspect she was in a difficult position and was maybe led to think things were true.

I'm not explaining this well, but honestly I think MLV and the victim are actually both victims in this and ultimately, there really are no winners.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:28:54

It's not 'nit picking' or 'trial by MNers' to point out that a not guilty verdict does not automatically mean that the accuser was lying. That is a very dangerous belief that makes it more difficult to get rape convictions. If people believe that cases where the defendant is found not guilty are therefore cases of false allegations it makes them less likely to believe victims and gives them a totally skewed picture of the number of false allegations.

TattiePants Tue 10-Sep-13 17:29:22

PramQUeen I hope no one even tries to respond to your posts as you clearly are beyond reasoning with.

Many years ago my mum was part of the jury on a rape trial. She thoroughly believed that a rape had taken place but there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt. As said previously, being 90% certain isn't enough in our judicial system. It certainly didn't mean that the man was innocent or that the woman was a madam or should be shot, just that it was one persons word against the other whether the sex had been consentual.

ANormalOne Tue 10-Sep-13 17:30:02

There are miscarriages of justice, people are found guilty of crimes they didn't commit and people are found not guilty of crimes they did commit. Just because the jury found him innocent, does not mean he didn't do it. It's that simple.

He has been found Not Guilty, the evidence was not sufficient to convince the jury beyond reasonable doubt. None of us were in the courtroom so we cannot really comment on the correctness or otherwise of the verdict. However, everyone I know who has been on a jury (including myself) have taken it very seriously and have really tried to get to the correct verdict based on the evidence in front of them. I assume the jury did the same in this case.

stemstitch Tue 10-Sep-13 17:31:17

In English law, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. This is a very high bar, as well it should be as someone's freedom is on the line. Being found not guilty does not = the victim is lying. It just means the case could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. In a case like this, where the crime was committed some years before, there are obvious problems with physical evidence.

The person who made the allegation would only (possibly) be open to prosecution for a false allegation if there was considerable evidence that s/he had purposely fabricated the entire thing, e.g. emails outlining the plan.

Anyone who says that a not guilty verdict alone automatically means the victim must be lying is labouring under a severe misapprehension of the burden of proof in criminal trials and the English legal system in general.

stemstitch Tue 10-Sep-13 17:31:17

In English law, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt. This is a very high bar, as well it should be as someone's freedom is on the line. Being found not guilty does not = the victim is lying. It just means the case could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt. In a case like this, where the crime was committed some years before, there are obvious problems with physical evidence.

The person who made the allegation would only (possibly) be open to prosecution for a false allegation if there was considerable evidence that s/he had purposely fabricated the entire thing, e.g. emails outlining the plan.

Anyone who says that a not guilty verdict alone automatically means the victim must be lying is labouring under a severe misapprehension of the burden of proof in criminal trials and the English legal system in general.

I have asked mumsnet to remove my message. Apologies for inflammatory post.

limitedperiodonly Tue 10-Sep-13 17:33:32

...especially the feminists, who are obsessed with rape

Oh God, yes, I'm obsessed with rape.

Oh, oh, oooooh

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 17:33:33

HavantGuard - it's the best system we've come up with for hundreds of years. If you don't like it, or believe in it, then go to Uni and do something about it. Good luck with that.

TSSDNCOP Tue 10-Sep-13 17:35:45

Well lets hope he's saved plenty if money, no way he's going back on telly again if the comments on here are anything to go by.

OP, is your solicitor/barrister doing any pre-trial prep with you? I know t's down to you on the day, but I can't believe they'd send you to give evidence without briefing you.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:35:59

I have no idea of the 'correctness' of the verdict. I have no idea if there was a crime committed. I have a fair belief that the jury followed the law. I am stunned by the people posting unpleasant things about the girl as though the verdict is somehow a verdict on her veracity. If every juror was 90% sure he was innocent, the verdict would be not guilty. If every juror was 90% sure he was guilty, the verdict would be not guilty. The verdict is not a statement that the girl was lying.

friday16 Tue 10-Sep-13 17:36:56

"I'm not explaining this well, but honestly I think MLV and the victim are actually both victims in this and ultimately, there really are no winners."

This.

None of us were in court. We don't know what happened. In cases like this, the reporting is subject to a lot of restrictions, so none of us can know what evidence was adduced or how convincing it was, and therefore can't have a meaningful opinion of the jury's verdict. In which case, the obvious conclusion is that the verdict was sensible, in the absence of any reasonable evidence otherwise.

Crucial material, such as how much contact was known to have occurred between the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator, presumably would identify the alleged victim and therefore cannot be reported. But clearly, before you can sexually assault someone, you need to be in the same postcode as them, and I don't think the evidence of that, whatever it might have been, was reported.

If an adult had had regular unsupervised access to a child, and there was evidence of that, and there wasn't an obvious reason for the contact, then the jury might have had more to think about if it was claimed that the adult used that time to abuse the child. But if there wasn't evidence of them actually spending time together, the issue of what they did while they were together might not even arise, and hence the jury would not spend very long deliberating.

zatyaballerina Tue 10-Sep-13 17:39:16

You're innocent until proven guilty under the law so yes he's innocent. The problem here is bringing cases to court where there is no way that it can be proven or unproven due to the fact that there is zero evidence, the whole case is based on he said, she said.

Anyone can make any claim about another person and unless it's recent enough for there to be times and dates allowing the accused to prove they have an alibi, provide witnesses or actual physical evidence, how on earth can an innocent person disprove a claim?

This doesn't work for the accused who has these claims hanging over their head for life even when found not guilty, it doesn't work for the accuser who is assumed to be a liar when a not guilty verdict comes in, it doesn't work for rape victims in general when yet another case comes in as not guilty casting further doubt in the public mind of the truthfulness of victims and it's dangerous to risk sending falsely accused innocent people to prison because their accuser was a convincing liar.

Nobody's fate should hang in the balance due to the word and only the word of one person. This should never have gone to court.

I understand why everyone is pointing out that a not guilty verdict is not the same as the victim lying and that is correct, the verdict does also depend on "provability". Some of the spiteful comments towards the complainant are utterly unacceptable.

However, he has been found not guilty so in the eyes of the law he is an innocent man and it bothers me that people are suggesting that he may still have committed the crime. It hasn't been proved and so it is inappropriate to keep suggesting he might have done it.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:42:38

It's one of my degrees grin. The problem in this case is not the system but people, through ignorance and prejudice, misunderstanding the system.

Not guilty does not automatically mean a false allegation. The law is balanced in favour of the defendant and the degree of proof required is such that it is very hard to meet in a case of rape. Not guilty means that the prosecution failed to convince the jury to the required degree. No more, no less.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:43:45

'Nobody's fate should hang in the balance due to the word and only the word of one person'

So that's most rape cases ruled out then.

wannaBe Tue 10-Sep-13 17:44:03

so guilty equals guilty and not guilty equals not innocent? bullshit. The law in this country expressly states "innocent until proven guilty." He has not been proven guilty - in fact he has been found not guilty. He is therefore innocent.
You can't just decide that he is still guilty because you want to believe that he is - in the same way that you can't assume that someone is innocent even if they are found guilty.

As for the alleged victim, perhaps she believes it happened, perhaps it was someone else, or perhaps she made it up - I guess we will never know.

If it were my partner or son or male relative I would want the alleged victim prosecuted for false accusations, who wouldn't?

BoozyBear Tue 10-Sep-13 17:47:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sashh Tue 10-Sep-13 17:47:20

CiderBomb

Have you reported your accuser and have they been convicted? By your own standard you are a vindictive little madam and should be named and shamed if your abuser has not been convicted.

And you do realise you are talking about a child.

Not guilty is not the same as innocent.

When the OJ Simpson trial was on I was convinced of his guilt but I could not have found him guilty because of the falsified evidence, that introduces a grain of doubt.

One of the things (of many) about the LeVell case was when asked about raping a child he said, "Why would I take the risk?", not an answer I would expect if I asked any man I know would they rape a child.

WafflyVersatile Tue 10-Sep-13 17:47:54

Who is saying that?

LegoDragon Tue 10-Sep-13 17:50:31

I have no idea about a lot of the case. I think some people want him to be guilty- saying he's essentially guilty and the jury are wrong (have seen hints of that on here, but outright said on a few other forums). I personally would like to follow the innocent until proven guilty rule. The man hasn't been proven guilty, he should be treated as innocent and try and move on from this horrible time. The girl in question shouldn't be accused of doing anything either, until proven so at court. It would have been horrible for him and she could well have FAS, they have both gone through a well known and doubtless terrible experience. As a rape victim, I would love to be treated as innocent of accusing my predator of rape. As the victim, I deserve to be treated as innocent- and so should the man.

ClaraDeLaNoche Tue 10-Sep-13 17:50:32

The whole thing is very sad. I think the girl did think what she alleged was true but it wasn't. Personally I am surprised at his reaction. I thought the whole punching the air and have a pint thing was a bit distasteful. However how he reacts is up to him of course. If I were him I would be in a rage and very upset. I am sure ITV will find a way out of the contract, they're normally done on a short term basis.

Andro Tue 10-Sep-13 17:51:12

So that's most rape cases ruled out then.

Yes, it is. Where there is no evidence to support an allegation - other than the testimony of the accuser - it is impossible to prove an allegation to the standard required by law. I would suggest that without corroborating evidence, it would be tough to prove a he said/she said allegation to the standard required for a 'balance of probabilities' decision!

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:51:36

No. Not guilty equals found not guilty in a court of law. It means the jury wasn't convinced of the defendant's guilt to the required degree of certainty. That's all it means. It doesn't tell you if the person was wholly innocent of any crime, if the accuser was lying, if the jury were unsure either way or if they leant towards a conviction but weren't sure enough. Any of those things could be true or none of them.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 17:52:01

sashh - Not guilty is not the same as innocent

It is in the eyes of English Law.

HavantGuard Tue 10-Sep-13 17:52:21

Balance of probabilities is civil law.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 17:53:35

FYI OPs. My mum didn't notice and I was 6 and repeatedly raped.

iclaudius Tue 10-Sep-13 17:56:35

I don't get the 'surely Rolf Harris can't be charged after all these years'

Yes he can. Yes he can be found guilty

daisee
All people in the court will be looking at the way people give evidence but that doesn't mean that nerves and stress will mean that people won't believe you. The people on the jury are people like you and me and they will have enough common sense to know that giving evidence in this sort of case is very stressful.

Smudgebunny Tue 10-Sep-13 18:05:36

Without commenting on the MLV case, I sat as a juror on a trial where the rape incident happened some time ago. The only evidence was the testimony of the victim and the accused, with little added by witnesses for either side. The victim provided a very convincing account and I believed her. I did not however feel the prosecution proved the case beyond ALL reasonable doubt. Without this it was impossible to consider a guilty verdict and the likelihood of a prison sentence. It was very distressing; I believed the poor girl was abused and felt so sorry for her and her family. I have no idea of the standard set by the CPS before bringing a prosecution but it is so very difficult for a jury to believe one person's word against the other without any evidence whatsoever. I really have no answers for you OP but just be as honest and open as you can and this will come across to the jury. Hope you have lots of support around you to help you through it. x

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Tue 10-Sep-13 18:05:37

Agree Chaz

StuntGirl Tue 10-Sep-13 18:09:09

I have asked mumsnet to remove my message. Apologies for inflammatory post.

I should fucking well hope so. Disgraceful post.

There are a lot of people here who don't seem to understand the law. Nothing good has come out of this case, for everyone involved their lives have been left worse off. It's very tragic.

Chotter Tue 10-Sep-13 18:14:27

I want to ask a question about the Mumsnet 'we believe you' campaign. How does someone who subscribes to this act if they are put on jury duty? Do you set it aside for the duration of the trial?

needaholidaynow Tue 10-Sep-13 18:14:29

Basically, if you're found guilty then you're guilty, and if you're found not guilty then you're still guilty. Lol ok then.

Innocent until proven guilty. He wasn't proven guilty, so therefore he is innocent.

alemci Tue 10-Sep-13 18:15:33

I just wondered how and when he would get the chance to do this. was the girl the dd of a family friend or distant relative. have other posters thought about this or is it just me.

very difficult to know the truth.

pensandpaperclips Tue 10-Sep-13 18:15:41

MLV and the child most likely were never even alone together. Would you leave your six year old alone with a man who wasn't a close relative?

TidyDancer Tue 10-Sep-13 18:27:32

Pensandpaperclips - it's a bad idea to speculate on how they are connected, just in case that's where you are going. People have been arrested for names that have come from such speculation in this trial and twitter is awash with rumour.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 18:29:40

Thanks ops, Whether he is found guilty or not I am still going for it.wine wine

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 18:34:08

pensandpaperclips- what about stepfathers? Long standing friends of the family?

I know of a case where it happened in the same house as the mother was and she still didn't know.

OP- I really feel for you. Putting the verdict to one side for a moment, what really upsets me about this case is the number of people in your shoes who may now be too terrified to come forward seeing what has happened to the accuser.

I would also like to say to the people who think that the accuser in this case should be prosecuted for wasting police time- shame on you!

Is it not hard enough for an alleged victim to go to court, be examined and discredited and then lose her case through lack of concrete evidence? I'm not saying that was the case here, but where do you draw the line? Prosecuting victims who couldn't prove their cases? It's abhorrent.

I know of a victim who couldn't prove her assailant did it. He even had a previous conviction for child sexual assault but this was not allowed as evidence. Sexual assault is notoriously hard to prove due to its covert nature and lack of witnesses and lack of immediate physical evidence in the aftermath.

To try and prosecute those whose cases failed would wipe out any chance of a victim coming forward.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 18:35:00

Oh and pensandpaperclips- do you think that being a close relative stops a child abuser?

mayorquimby Tue 10-Sep-13 18:40:02

Aside from this trial, as I know very little about it.
Where have people plucked the figure of 90% from as the measure of beyond reasonable doubt?

It seems to have been repeated a number of times now and I've never heard it before at law school or the bar.

SeaSickSal Tue 10-Sep-13 18:40:10

Alemci it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out who she is. I think that's part of the reason why this case is very difficult to call, I think a lot of the evidence has been withheld from the public so as not to explicitly identify her.

friday16 Tue 10-Sep-13 18:43:07

"He even had a previous conviction for child sexual assault but this was not allowed as evidence."

And properly so. The police spent the 1970s and 1980s banging up wrong'uns, mostly on the rather circular argument that they had previously been convicted on equal flimsy evidence. They arrested people with form, extracted verbal confessions in unrecorded interviews, obtained statements that were essentially confessions, and juries (in a less cynical age) tended to believe the police. There's a reason why most miscarriage cases of late have been historic in the sense of being prior to PACE.

By the way, at risk of lighting a firework and tossing it into a pile of petrol-drenched rags, while the MN legal eagles are muttering that not even an acquittal is proof that they didn't do it, let me just say "Sally Clarke: Discuss". Not only was she not acquitted, she was actually convicted, on wholly spurious evidence: anyone with an ounce of statistical training would know that the evidence against her was bogus. The conviction was upheld at appeal, too, and she was only cleared on second appeal. Guilty, presumably?

daisee flowers

I believe you x

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 18:48:45

SeaSickSal I have absoutely no idea who she is, or how he is connected to him at all. To be fair I have read very little about it, but why do you say 'it doesn't take a brain surgeon...etc' ?

Without saying anything that will directly identify her can someone please give me a clue as to what the connection is? confused

I would be inclined to agree that unless you are a teacher a relative or a carer, it would be pretty difficult to arrange to be left alone with such a young child, so many times without arousing suspicion.

Misspixietrix Tue 10-Sep-13 18:52:46

Coming I agree.

Misspixietrix Tue 10-Sep-13 18:54:40

Good luck for your upcoming Case OP flowers

OhTheDrama Tue 10-Sep-13 19:00:24

I'm finding this thread and some of the views really distressing. I have a family member who was abused by her father. The age that she was at the time of the allegations and the detail in her statement left me in no doubt that she was a victim of this vile excuse of a man. Medical evidence was inconclusive and the judge at trial directed the jury to find him not guilty whilst in the next breath admitting that he believed the childs evidence! WTAF!

That man went round telling everyone who would listen that he was innocent as a judge and jury had said so. Seven years later he was found guilty of sexually assaulting his girlfriends two daughters, crimes that would have been very probably prevented had he been convicted first time around. God I'm shaking with anger typing this! Not guilty does definitely not mean innocent in my eyes! Why would she make all those sorrid details up?

Subliminal, it would be very risky for anyone to give you a clue. People have been arrested for leaking that information on twitter.

FlapJackFlossie Tue 10-Sep-13 19:02:27

So, according to you OhTheDrama he is probably still guilty??

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 19:04:53

Thank you misspixie and plenty, that means a lot.

OhTheDrama Tue 10-Sep-13 19:06:38

FlapJack I really don't know, I would truly hope not seeing as he's been found not guilty and will most likely be back on TV in the coming months confused.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 19:07:57

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TidyDancer Tue 10-Sep-13 19:15:58

I figured it out from a newspaper article which said enough for it to be obvious as to the connection between MVL and the accuser. And as Agent says, there are some scumbags who have leaked rumours on twitter.

Like I said, I think there's more than one victim in this and absolutely no winners.

ExcuseTypos Tue 10-Sep-13 19:16:13

I've always thought you don't need to think somone is 100% guilty. I assume that as long as your doubts are "reasonable" then it's ok to find them guilty. Ie a few small doubts in your mind, but on the whole feel the case has been proved.

Am I totally wrong here?

comingalongnicely Tue 10-Sep-13 19:16:20

So we're all agreed then, anyone who enters the British Justice System as an "Accused" is not Innocent, ever - they're only Not Guilty.

Fair enough, now apply that to every single case that goes through court.

I find it worrying that the "baying mob" (that's most of you by the way) - feel that the fact that the CPS decide to bring a case against someone means "they must have done it, there just wasn't enough evidence to put it beyond reasonable doubt".

He's Not Guilty - it's actually a pleasant surprise to find that an allegation of rape/abuse doesn't automatically mean jail for a man, it might give a bit of hope to those that have been accused by nasty, vindictive people for no good reason - it does happen, and more than you'd like to think.

SaucyJack Tue 10-Sep-13 19:19:45

OP, I don't really think this was an appropriate case for you to reference in order for you to discuss your own situation.

Nothing r eleased in the media suggests that this was anything other than a false accusation. Obviously this will be reflected in the judge's speech and the verdict.

Good luck with your own trial.

alemci Tue 10-Sep-13 19:20:11

seasick sal I don't know and I am not a brain surgeon but I must be missing something. I must lead a sheltered life.confused

OhTheDrama Tue 10-Sep-13 19:20:55

Tidy Yes I think I figured out what the connection may be from the Daily Fail this afternoon.

BeCool Tue 10-Sep-13 19:21:48

Excuse - in the criminal system you must believe the case against the accused has been proved "beyond reasonable doubt".

Bowlersarm Tue 10-Sep-13 19:22:48

confused we know who she is?

TheLightPassenger Tue 10-Sep-13 19:30:04

OP, hope you are OK, and not too troubled by the outcome of this particular trial. Best wishes.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 10-Sep-13 19:30:08

So how do you design a system that protects the potential victim, while also protecting potentially wrongly accused people? How can we protect victims of rape and offer them justice, without relying on 'he said, she said'? when there is no physical evidence?

Where is the balance?

duchessandscruffy Tue 10-Sep-13 19:31:10

I think I figured out who the victim was today and now the whole thing, including the not guilty verdict, makes a lot more sense. I don't think this was a 'regular' rape case and it is very sad for everyone involved.

sarahtigh Tue 10-Sep-13 19:35:18

in criminal cases it must be "beyond reasonable doubt" in a civil case it is merely on the balance of probabilities so if you think about 51% he did it he would be guilty in civil case but not guilty in criminal case

rape is a criminal offence so it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that he offended so if you are only 50-60-70% sure you would have to find not guilty

a not guilty verdict means counted as innocent under laws of double jeopardy can not be re-tried for same offence normally ( occasionally this can be revoked with substantial new evidence etc)

so while he may pr may not be innocent morally in legal terms he is innocent and can not be referred to as the alleged rapist etc anymore

only in a very few cases would a witnesses be charged with perjury wasting police time etc because again it would have to be proved beyond reasonable doubt that they made it up with malicious intent to harm or pervert the cause of justice not just that they may have made it up

as someone upthread said about her own experience on rape trial she thought victim was telling the truth but it could not be proved so she found not guilty even though on balance of probabilities she thought the accused was probably guilty

serious crimes with serious consequences for the accused have to be tried fairly and proved beyond doubt as if not that would not be justice for the accused

asmallandnoisymonkey Tue 10-Sep-13 19:36:46

People saying that the alleged victim should be prosecuted for "falsely accusing" someone of rape need to take a step back and think before they type.

He was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, after a trial in which evidence was presented.

That the evidence was not enough to convince a jury of his guilt does not make him innocent, it makes him not guilty in the eyes of the law. It doesn't mean he didn't do it - it means that in the jury's opinion there were reasonable doubts.

To start saying that people who make an allegation that is supported by the CPS should start being prosecuted and charged after a not guilty verdict is returned is an incredibly foolish thing.

People that are found, after evidence has been presented to support the opinion that they are flinging false allegations should of course be subjected to the full force of the law, but to prosecute someone for alleging a crime is quite frankly, idiotic.

AmberLeaf Tue 10-Sep-13 19:40:48

I am more concerned that the Jury should not be directed to take demeanour , appearance etc into account. Lots of people come across strangely under pressure

YANBU and I understand why this worries you.

Good luck with your upcoming case x

BasilBabyEater Tue 10-Sep-13 19:42:13

Generally accepted research indictates that something like 2 - 4% of all rape allegations are false.

And yet the percentage of reported rapes which end in a guilty verdict is 6%.

Should all the other 94% of people making rape allegations be prosecuted, even though most of them aren't making false allegations, they're making true allegations for which there isn't enough evidence to convict?

That would be one good way to ensure that the reporting of rape goes down, wouldn't it. hmm

Portofino Tue 10-Sep-13 19:49:17

Daisee. I believe you too xx. The trouble with all these kind of cases is that they are really hard to overwhelmingly prove. Especially when there is some celeb in the picture and the lawyers have an EXTRA argument that the victim wants celebrity themselves - insinuated but definitely not proved here.

I once sat on a jury for a GBH charge. 10 of the 12 jurors didn't understand the law as summed up by the judge, and felt sorry for the perpetrator as going to prison would ruin his life, and stop him working with disabled children. Can't possibly imagine when he started doing that the thug

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 19:49:37

This is not a standard rape case though, is it?

With rape of an adult woman there is often an acknowledgement that sex definitely happened, but the question is one of consent, which is much harder to prove, and there are is all sorts of potential for grey areas and misunderstandings, amibiguity, mixed messages and the changing of minds.

This was a young child. No such grey areas can exist. Whether she gave consent or not is not an issue. Hence the very quick verdicts - cleared of all charges. the jury clearly thought nothing of a sexual nature had taken place at all and the girl was either lying or was living in some fantasy world or false memories.

cooeeyonlyme Tue 10-Sep-13 19:59:17

If it is proven that this girl has lie

Portofino Tue 10-Sep-13 19:59:24

Or they thought that no one off the telly could possibly have done such a thing.....

Isabelonatricycle Tue 10-Sep-13 20:02:44

Havant presumably in your £500 analogy there would actually be a missing £500? If you accused someone of stealing £500 and could show that the money had been there, and was now no longer, then you have a case. Even better if the person you accuse now has £500. If you accuse someone of stealing £500 and can neither offer proof of the original £500 existing nor that the person you accuse has an extra £500, you have no case.

That is the problem with the vast majority of rape/sexual assault cases. It isn't a question of who did it?, it is a question of was the deed done at all? If there is physical evidence to show sexual contact occurred (which there often isn't due to many people not approaching the police immediately) there might still be no evidence to support a claim that it wasn't consensual, as in no bruises etc - this may be due to fear, shock, alcohol and all manner of other reasons. It usually is one person's word against another's.

On those grounds, whilst it is absolutely awful for someone who has been raped to have his/her abuser found not guilty, based on our system being innocent till proven guilty, it is not surprising that the conviction rates are so low. It isn't a good thing at all. However, I don't think changing the burden of proof is a good thing either.

Paintyourbox Tue 10-Sep-13 20:03:15

An interesting thread with some interesting viewpoints.

I must add my own experience that after being abused as a teenager, several years elapsed before I reported the crimes. The police were fantastic, kind and patient with me until I was able to give a full statement.

I decided not to press charges. I could have carried on and the officer in charge said he thought the CPS would prosecute but the issue was lack of evidence. There was no physical evidence as so much time had elapsed and mentally, I had been treated for post-traumatic stress at this point- I'd have crumbled in the witness box. The police put it like this: "it's your word against his"

So essentially he got away with it.

For me, the lesson is this: I must have the conversation with my own daughter that if she is ever victim of sexual crime that she must tell someone immediately. No one ever had that conversation with me and I spent many years thinking I had been in the wrong. That I was guilty.

Until young people feel that they can speak up as soon as something of this nature happens then conviction rates are going to remain low, we need physical evidence to secure convictions.

There's a really great campaign called PANTS from the NSPCC, it helps us to talk to young children about inappropriate behaviour. Here is the link: www.nspcc.org.uk/help-and-advice/for-parents/keeping-your-child-safe/the-underwear-rule/the-underwear-rule_wda97016.html

cooeeyonlyme Tue 10-Sep-13 20:04:52

My brothers and their friends were accused of gang raping a woman.
The police were involved, all men were rounded up and questioned except my brothers. My brothers were on holiday, they weren't even in the country.
The others were soon released without charge because the police found cctv evidence that proved they were innocent. They hadn't even spoke to her. She was apparently having a 'bad day' and fancied a bit of attention.

The woman in question should of been took to court. She could of ruined 7 peoples lies with her vile lies. But she got away with it apart from a slapped hand from the police.

Isabelonatricycle Tue 10-Sep-13 20:05:11

Sorry, just had to add, obviously in this case, it wasn't a question of consent, it was a question of did it happen. She couldn't have consented due to her age.

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 20:14:35

Thanks to the OPs who have been so supportivethanks . I can't get a false accusation, where's the benefit to anyone?

GeorginaWorsley Tue 10-Sep-13 20:20:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

BoozyBear Tue 10-Sep-13 20:25:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

friday16 Tue 10-Sep-13 20:26:30

I must have the conversation with my own daughter that if she is ever victim of sexual crime that she must tell someone immediately.

This.

However, it's often not as straightforward as that. Sexual assault is sometimes a crime of sudden aggression where the attacker hasn't thought through how they're going to get away with it. But (and we seem to be learning more and more about this) it is also sometimes a crime of great cunning and planning. It appears to be part of the modus operandi for pre-meditated abusers to choose children who either don't have that "someone", or where there is strong reason to believe that the child won't be believed.

If the victims are sufficiently vulnerable, it's historically been very difficult to secure convictions even with very strong cases where the victims have told not only family but also professionals. That's getting better in the aftermath of Rochdale and Oxford, but it's still not good.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 10-Sep-13 20:31:07

Hello OP.

My apologies for starting another thread, I looked and couldn't find one.
I have nothing more to add so will ask for its removal.

omwards Tue 10-Sep-13 20:33:24

BeCool so in your view it is impossible to prove your innocence in the courts? If someone is found not guilty, then they are legally innocent of that crime, aren't they? It seems a bit facetious to say, they might still be guilty. Of course they might still be guilty!

Daisee a very high proportion of the people who come to court are guilty and people who work in courtrooms (as I do) hear an awful lot of lies. I think when you tell the truth, it has a certain ring to it. Good luck.

OhTheDrama Tue 10-Sep-13 20:41:29

God forbid anyone is ever accused of a sex crime because they're guilty by public judge and jury whatever the court of law decided.

That's why I am beginning to think that the accused should remain anonymous until the verdict has been returned by the jury and should only be named if found guilty.

Portofino Tue 10-Sep-13 20:45:31

I was totally shocked by my experience of serving on a jury. The law was clear, the evidence was clear, people's emotions were all over the place. Literally women saying "but he looks like such a nice young lad..." "Prison will ruin his life...." They KNEW he was guilty in the eyes of the law, but didn't want him to suffer the punishment. It scared the bejesus out of me, to be honest.

Mine was a "minor" crime as in kicking young women and men in the head and all that. I really fear that these type of jurors get to decide in cases of rape and murder.

In my particular instance, we had a real "12 angry men" session and the guy went to prison. It should not have been necessary as evidence was clear and Judge's summing up was clear. I never got over how they felt sorry for him.....

LaGuardia Tue 10-Sep-13 20:46:20

I hope the woman receives the medical treatment she obviously needs.

SubliminalMassaging Tue 10-Sep-13 21:02:00

I agree with you Porto, I've done JS too and it's extremely difficult to just focus on the evidence and not get sidetracked by what kind of a person you think the defendant might be, based on how your gut feelings about them.

Which is why I think it's all the more likely that he is innocent. I know the jurors are supposed to only convict when they have no reasonable doubt, but I' not convinced that happens often, and I think that gut feeling plays a bigger part than we like to admit.

People always immediately think the worst when middle aged men are accused of paedophilia. Most people on a jury would want to side with the poor innocent 6 year old little girl (as she was at the time of the alleged abuse) and would feel naturally distrustful of the man in question. The fact that he was found not guilty on every single charge tells me that the evidence given must have been very, very heavily weighted towards his innocence.

BasilBabyEater Tue 10-Sep-13 21:03:24

Portofino - was he wearing a suit by any chance?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 21:28:42

The fact that he was found not guilty on every single charge tells me that the evidence given must have been very, very heavily weighted towards his innocence.

Not always. It must be beyond reasonable doubt. You may 80% think he did it, but cannot be 100% certain, therefore you would have to vote not guilty.

The case I know of consisted of more charges than that and I KNOW he was guilty and had previous form and had done time for a similar charge. This was not allowed to be mentioned, whilst his young victim was questioned about the most personal subjects imaginable, no holds barred.

pindorasbox Tue 10-Sep-13 21:29:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlingBang Tue 10-Sep-13 21:29:57

Hope I never get picked for Jury duty, sounds horrendous. Do people think a closed system would be better then. One where a trained judge etc looks at the evidence and decides the outcome.

intitgrand Tue 10-Sep-13 21:33:08

intitgrand, but you cannot presume that the accuser is lying. You have to be a special kind of stupid to think that not guilty actually means innocent.

You have to be a special kind of stupid not to be able to read properly.I deliberately said I hope that karma serves her what she deserves.If she was telling the truth karma will reward her for her bravery and if she was lying...

If she was telling the truth karma will reward her for her bravery like all the victims of rape and sexual abuse who don't get a court case, never mind a guilty verdict.

To all the people on this thread and the OP who have told their stories of the abuse they survived, I believe you. thanks

Portofino Tue 10-Sep-13 21:56:23

Basil, yes, he was wearing a suit, never spoke in his own defence and his barrister made much of the fact he was working with disabled children. He got 2 years, and some of my fellow jurors blanked me as we were leaving. The photos of the injuries were awful. I dread to think what some jurors have to look at. sad

intitgrand Tue 10-Sep-13 22:05:52

TerryParatchett I said I hope not that it would happen
Jeez when will people learn to read!

Chotter Tue 10-Sep-13 22:07:58

Why does this have to be such a divisive issue ffs? Does everyone feel like they have to take a single standpoint? Can you not put your politics to one side for 5 seconds?

Sometimes innocent people's lives are blighted by false accusations.

Sometimes guilty people get away with crimes.

Both situations happen. Life is shit, but there you are. Take the fucking blinkers off.

Lilacroses Tue 10-Sep-13 22:10:26

What Chotter said.

Portofino Tue 10-Sep-13 22:10:43

Didn't think this thread was about politics tbh. I guess in this particular case you have a pov that he is guilty, not guilty, or such cases could be handled much better by the media....

SeaSickSal Tue 10-Sep-13 22:11:59

I have to say I was absolutely convinced that she was telling the truth. But my husband just told me that she claimed full sexual intercourse had taken place but her hymen was still intact. I've checked this and it's true. That is pretty damning. Although the doctor concerned said that as children don't really know what intercourse is they can mistake attempted or simulated intercourse for full intercourse.

The whole thing is so sad, it's terribly upsetting.

Chotter Tue 10-Sep-13 22:18:08

That's what I don't get though. Nobody here was on the jury, so how can you have a pov that is based on anything other than pre-conceived ideas?

daiseehope Tue 10-Sep-13 22:29:33

Hello, I started the thread not to question the verdicts, but to ask if I as a future "accuser" ABU to worry about the Judge's direction regarding manner and demeanour of the girl. I worry that fewer will come forward to tell TRUTHS because of this case and the vitriol. I worry that my case is less likely to proceed.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 10-Sep-13 22:31:06

To the OPs original point, we all like to flatter ourselves that we are intelligent and perceptive enough to be able to tell if a person is telling the truth from their demeanour. years of practising law have taught me that that is bollocks. Some people are just very very good at lying. Others appear incredible and dishonest even when telling the truth. Unless you have good knowledge of a person's character and behaviour and are yourself free of unconscious bias (and who among us could say that) a judgement of their credibility is no more than a random guess.
For me, if a complainant's evidence was broadly consistent, knowing what I know about how vile the process of bring a rape allegation to court is, I'd have no difficulty in convicting. No-one puts themselves through that process without jolly good reason, unless they are mad.

caroldecker Tue 10-Sep-13 22:31:36

Whilst the overall conviction rate in sex crimes is low, 71% of rapists who go to court are convicted here.

Paintyourbox Tue 10-Sep-13 23:33:44

Apologies OP, your thread had become derailed somewhat.

I think that you are making a very good point, the judge should not be bringing appearances into the argument here. Although without knowing exactly what he meant its hard to say more.

To my mind, it reminds me of the disgusting stereotype that just because a woman wears a short skirt she's "up for it" or because a victim was drunk "she deserved it"

If course he may have meant that the victim didn't appear to be upset, or she didn't appear traumatised or some such thing. Like I say, perhaps she did not appear tone a credible witness.

I can see why the manner of someone giving evidence may cause attention (if someone was inappropriately smirking etc) as this may undermine their evidence.

I hope all goes well with your case, and that you get all the support you need through this time.

Misspixietrix Wed 11-Sep-13 10:34:40

daisee I don't think you should worry. As someone said upthread It's hard to work out the context of the Judges' comment without the full statement. Judges advise and Instruct on matters of the Law and aren't allowed to bring Emotion into It etc so some of the things they say can be a bit jaw dropping to a Layman but I'm assuming It has some relevance for him to have mentioned It as they would on the Defendants' Character for example. I remember doing my training at University and having to repeatedly tell the 'Judge' in the 'Case'. "With all due respect the Witness is not the one on trial here". Please don't lose faith in the Justice System OP. As others have said there is huge differences between the Levell case and others. I know I've already wished you luck but I wish you strength to get through these times too. flowers

BoozyBear Wed 11-Sep-13 10:46:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Leopoldina Wed 11-Sep-13 10:56:08

correct boozy, and interestingly while the procedure allowing victims to give evidence from behind a screen was introduced to help them, I know that many criminal barristers have reached the conclusion that if the jury can't SEE the victim, they are more likely to acquit because they form less of a connection to them.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Wed 11-Sep-13 15:35:35

The jury could see her.

The screen shields her from the accused and the gallery. The judge, barristers, and jury could all see her.

mayorquimby Wed 11-Sep-13 17:44:09

I see nothing wrong with the judges line (obviously my opinion could change if the rest of the charge gave greater context) but most cases will include similar sentiment in their charge.
Witness testimony is direct and real evidence, how they appear in the dock and give that evidence will inform the jury.
Jurors in deciding whether or not they've been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt will often do so on what witnesses they found to be credible.

All the judge has done is reiterate the jurors role and on what grounds they are allowed to base their decision.

BasilBabyEater Wed 11-Sep-13 20:17:31

That's the problem the OP is pointing out though.

Rape victims are required to behave in a way which distinguishes them as rape victims.

If they're don't behave in the way popular myth says rape victims ought to behave, then they are held to be not really rape victims.

Is that what you are getting at OP?

iclaudius Wed 11-Sep-13 21:06:28

i was involved in a not dissimilar case to the lv one and the judge specifically said to discount urrent 'demeanor' or words to that effect

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 11-Sep-13 21:34:45

To go back to the OP, I think the instruction to the jury was very odd. However, presumably it made sense in the wider context of the case.

It is interesting that Keir Stamer (director of public prosecutions) believes there was a case to answer and there was enough evidence to go to court. news.sky.com/story/1140266/le-vell-trial-right-decision-to-prosecute

I do think those being prosecuted should be named, as it can help show how widespread the abuse is, and encourage more victims to come forward.

I think there is a lot more to this case than the public will ever no. Hopefully, the verdict reached was the correct one.

I think our justice system is woefully inadequate at dealing with rape cases, regardless.

BasilBabyEater Thu 12-Sep-13 08:34:42

I think that judges should not be directing juries that the manner and appearance of the alleged victims of rape or sexual assault is vital in coming to a conclusion about whether they are in fact victims, unless those jurors have first been educated out of the rape myths most of them will either consciously or sub-consciously hold.

You still get cases of people saying things like: "she was too calm - she couldn't have been raped - if she had been she'd have been hysterical" or "she was a party girl, always up for it - not the sort who gets raped" etc. I don't see how there is ever going to be justice for rape victims while most people hold these sorts of views and judges go along with it. If juries are going to be directed to take into account the victim's manner and appearance, then they need to be educated about how rape victims' manner and appearance is in reality rather than in popular myth before they are allowed to sit as a juror on a rape trial. While they're about it, they could also be educated about how a perpetrator's manner and appearance may differ from that of popular myth.

Most rapists are acquitted, not charged or not reported. Focusing on victim's manner and appearance ensures that status quo continues. Which is excellent news for rapists.

cantspel haven't had time to read whole thread, but felt I must comment on 'how can a mother not know her 6 year old has been raped'
My best friend was one of those mothers. She walked in as an older boy was raping her five year old son anally. She actually saw the boys penis in her little boys anus. The family then went through years of horrendous court cases, and the case was 'paused' due to the older boy being jugded mentally incompetent. There was never any physical evidence found, even though her little boy told her he had been being abused for some months prior to her walking in on them. He was groomed by the older boy into silence. It happens.

Runningchick123 Thu 12-Sep-13 10:48:05

There was no actual forensic or medical evidence in the levell case, so the only thing that the jury have to base their decision on is the verbal evidence provided by the alleged victim and her mother - therefore the demeanour of the alleged victim is crucial to the case and the judge should direct the jury to its significance. The judge didn't pass any negative or positive comments about her demeanour: he simply told the jury to consider it.
I don't really see how the jury could reach any verdict other than not guilty as there was no actual evidence that anything had taken place. The original CPS decision to drop the case was probably right given that there was very very little chance of a conviction and any conviction would have been swiftly appealed due to the media influence on the case. The CPS only decided to reopen the case and charge Levell after the alleged victims mother had made a complaint against the CPS - that isn't a good enough reason to charge somebody seeing as the evidence (or lack of) hadn't sufficiently changed. Two medical experts (one from a specialist rape crisis centre) stated in court that the victim showed no signs of sexual abuse or rape and it was possible that she was still a virgin; how could we realistically expect to convict a man of raping somebody who still shows signs of being in virginal state.
We rightly don't know the identity of the alleged victim or the full details of the case so don't know whether there were any grudges or reasons for a malicious allegation or whether the victim has any history of mental illness etc.
I am disappointed that the rules have not been changed to allow anonynimity to the accused in sex abuse cases until a conviction has been secured as people's lives get ruined even when they are innocent. By all means hang, draw and quarter them once a conviction has been secured but hold off the media circus until that time.

MooncupGoddess Thu 12-Sep-13 10:54:28

"how could we realistically expect to convict a man of raping somebody who still shows signs of being in virginal state"

It's actually very hard to tell, you know. Virginity tests (ugh) are not at all scientifically reliable.

"no actual evidence that anything had taken place"

Victim testimony is evidence and it's not uncommon for abusers to be found guilty on victim testimony alone. Clearly that didn't happen here (for whatever reason), but it doesn't mean the CPS were wrong to bring the case.

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 11:04:25

But the medical evidence in this case was that there was no sign of injury to the girls hymen. So to not have damage it must be still there which must be strange if she had an adult male rape her at least 5 times since the age of 6.

trash sorry about your friends son. But if he was abused by an older boy rather than a fully grown man then the physical damage could well be un noticable due to the fact that the abuser was still not fully developed.

Runningchick123 Thu 12-Sep-13 11:07:37

Clearly the head of Manchester CPS didn't think there was enough evidence for a conviction as he dropped the case. It was only when the alleged victims mother made a formal complaint that a more senior legal adviser decided to reopen the case against advice that there was not sufficient evidence.
If it becomes the case that we can bring people to trial without forensic / medical / other physical evidence and purely on an alleged victims testimony then we will have a lot of innocent people being dragged through the court system and huge legal bills for cases with no real prospect of conviction.
We need to have some certainty that a person has committed a crime before convicting them and if I was on a jury then I would need more than one person saying he did it and the other person saying that he didn't do it.

MooncupGoddess Thu 12-Sep-13 11:17:52

But there is no physical evidence for most rape cases... the jury have to weigh up whose story is most convincing, the defendant's or the victim's.

I once observed a court case where the defendant was on trial for abusing his now adult daughter as a child. The only evidence against him was her testimony but it was very convincing and the jury convicted him. Seemingly in this case the testimony was less convincing, and the jury decided not to convict. That's how the system works.

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 11:27:43

no physical evidence and evidence of a non damaged hymen are a bit different and a very large hurdle for any prosecution to overcome

MooncupGoddess Thu 12-Sep-13 11:31:45

"Many researchers note that the presence of an intact hymen is not a reliable indicator of whether a female has been vaginally penetrated."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginity_test

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 11:37:30

Yes but a series of abuse over a 10 year period (which this case is )would be more likely to show damage especially if the intercouse was forced as hymen will not be as elastic as if it is moist due to arousal.

And that link is more about why someone might not have a hymen but still be a virgin than the other way around.

cantspel Thu 12-Sep-13 11:39:04

I dont feel right discussing the evidence of this case when the man has already been acquitted so i will leave it there.

friday16 Thu 12-Sep-13 11:54:30

The Sun (yes, I know, but I saw it in Waitrose and was drawn in by the headline) has a lengthy story today about the mother of the alleged victim, who is said to have a major interest in Satanism and the paranormal. You need to treat such stories with caution, for a whole host of reasons I'm sure we can all rattle off, and even if there's a basis of truth The Sun is hardly the best filter to read it through. However, if there is a whiff of recovered memory, satanism, and so on to the story it will set child protection back by decades, just as the damage done by the Satanic Abuse stupidity of the 1980s was starting finally to recede from child protection workers' memory.

LurcioLovesFrankie Thu 12-Sep-13 13:40:10

Re. the issue of whether the "we believe you" campaign would leave people unfit for jury service. For me, at any rate, it's an issue of what your prior belief set is and how you update it in the light of evidence.

(Bayesian theories of belief point out that everyone starts out with an initial set of prior likelihoods - probabilities - that they adjust in the light of further evidence. For instance, if you were betting on a horse race, and had no evidence other than that there were five horses in the field, you might start out by giving all of them a probability of 20% of winning. Then if someone told you Lightning Flash had won its last 4 races, while Three Legged Nag had fallen at the first in its last 4 races, you might up your assessment of LF's chances to 50% and downgrade TLN's chances to 1%).

So that's what I'd do in a rape case - I'd start from the belief (based on my understanding of Home Office and Police Stats) that only about 5% of rape accusations are maliciously false. I'd also factor in the chance that it was a genuine misunderstanding - she didn't consent, but he genuinely thought she did (so rape from her personal perspective, but not rape in the eyes of the law). Then I'd listen to the evidence.

And in this respect I'd be no different from anyone else - because we all go into situations with a set of prior probabilities (even if we've never thought them through explicitly). So someone who's experienced a relative or friend being falsely accused might quite understandably start with a prior where they believed the rate of false accusations to be higher than 5%.

But regardless of our priors, I trust that we'd both take jury service very seriously - and I'd be prepared to acquit if there was insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt, and the person who'd come across cases of false accusation in the past would be prepared to convict if the evidence dispelled all reasonable doubt.

The bottom line is no one comes to jury service in a vacuum - we all have prior beliefs which may be correct, may be erroneous. But the jury system rests on (I think) three principles: (1) the jurors are decent people who really want to get to the most truthful outcome they can; (2) that it's better to live in a society where the occasional (or even quite a few) guilty person walks than one where innocent people are routinely convicted; (3) not guilty can mean "innocent" or can mean "we weren't convinced beyond reasonable doubt", and because on the basis of newspaper reports none of us outside the jury room can know which is the case, you should not be pillorying either the accused ("they got away with murder") or the plaintiff("they should be tried for perjury for making false accusations").

BasilBabyEater Thu 12-Sep-13 15:50:52
spindlyspindler Thu 12-Sep-13 21:05:19

It isn't about physical appearance as such. It's more about body language and demeanour. Deciding whether or not someone is telling the truth involves looking not just at what they say but at how they're saying it - the way they come across. We all exercise those judgments all the time when we're evaluating what people say to us and juries do it when they hear cases.

One thing to bear in mind is that in England and Wales the jury has to be sure (satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt) to convict. An acquittal doesn't always mean that the jury thinks the prosecution witnesses are lying. It can mean that the jury thinks that they are probably telling the truth but doesn't feel sure enough to feel comfortable about convicting.

OP, The judge's summing up hasn't been transcribed anywhere so you don't know the context of what was said. Try not to take it to heart or apply it to your own case. I'm not surprised you're anxious - taking a case to court is stressful and you should ask for support if you need it. I'm assuming you've been given the number of the officer in your case. Give them a ring and talk your concerns through with them. Good luck.

Butwilliseeyouagain Fri 13-Sep-13 02:03:05

MLV and the child most likely were never even alone together. Would you leave your six year old alone with a man who wasn't a close relative?

If there was no chance of him ever being alone with the girl the case would not have gone to court.

ZenGardener Fri 13-Sep-13 07:04:07

How do you know she wasn't a relative? confused

We don't know who the victim is but her mother believed her.

ZillionChocolate Fri 13-Sep-13 07:40:05

We can't send someone to jail on the word of one person, whatever they are accused of.

I completely disagree with this. We can, do and should.

mayorquimby Fri 13-Sep-13 08:43:19

And we do it quite often thankfully

toysintheattic Fri 13-Sep-13 10:43:31

seasicksal get your facts straight before you post myths like "her hymen was intact so she could not have had intercourse". Until you have a medical degree and have worked on a child abuse team you have absolutely no basis to say things like this despite what the media may be spouting to you and what the (well-paid) defence attorneys would like the jury to believe. Lay people seem to believe that a hymen is like a covering over the entrance to the vagina that is 'broken' and is therefore proof of intercourse having occurred. It is in fact a ring of tissue that is different sizes in different people so to say it is intact just says that there is some tissue there, no bearing on whether or not that person has had intercourse. IME there are very rarely physical injuries or evidence in cases of child abuse; when there is child abuse teams tend to (unfortunately) be very happy as much more likely to get a conviction. Most of the time evidence is gathered from the victim undergoing interviews conducted by well trained people using dolls, etc.

One thing that I think has been glossed over is that this guy is an ACTOR, it is in fact his JOB to play a role and make people believe what he is telling them. Imagine being up against that as the victim giving evidence. And credibility? Le Vell is not even his real last name.

eineschlampa Fri 13-Sep-13 11:16:12

Well unfortunately for you toys He has been acquitted of any wrongdoing and in the eyes of our law he is INNOCENT.
Wrap that around your head and bleating on and on about him is not going to change that.

BeCool Fri 13-Sep-13 11:24:45

Well unfortunately for you toys He has been acquitted of any wrongdoing and in the eyes of our law he is INNOCENT.

It's been covered up thread in detail but a verdict of "not guilty" is never a verdict of or declaration of "innocence".

If you did an act, and are found not guilty in court, the act you committed doesn't become reversed. it doesn't disappear. It just means there is insufficient evidence presented in the court to find you guilty "beyond reasonable doubt".

I imagine this is all too often the case WRT sex crime prosecutions, where physical indisputable evidence can be very hard to come by.

I'm not saying this is the case here, but a not guilty verdict is never a declaration by our courts of innocence.

SoupDragon Fri 13-Sep-13 11:47:35

And credibility? Le Vell is not even his real last name.

How is that relevant?

Arart from anything else, he was charged and appeared in court under his birth name.

toysintheattic Fri 13-Sep-13 11:52:41

I'm not so much bleating on about him as trying to dispel the hymen myth that is still perpetuated, sadly to extremes in some countries.

toysintheattic Fri 13-Sep-13 11:58:46

Relevance....he is capable of telling untruths, whether that is classed as a 'lie' or not, obviously many actors change their names and can be easily identified with their 'real' names but speaks to me as though he is capable of lying, or at least telling untruths.

Mumsyblouse Fri 13-Sep-13 12:05:43

I don't think changing your name to a better stage name is an untruth or has any bearing on his trustworthiness, that's daft. So is saying he's an actor, he's been playing the same part remarkably similar to his own character for a long time, he's hardly a consummate actor, I don't think that has any relevance either otherwise all evidence in court by actors would be invalid on this basis.

BeCool Fri 13-Sep-13 12:17:35

I don't think changing you name is an indication or trustworthiness.

Repeated prolific cheating on your spouse, blaming your 'class' for why you go out and get pissed every night, being a committed alcoholic/addict - all these are huge indicators of potential untrustworthiness.

SeaSickSal Fri 13-Sep-13 12:18:07

Toysintheattic fuck off with your patronising. I was quoting verbatim what I read the medical expert said as quoted in the Guardian reporting.

A medical examination found no apparent damage to the girl's hymen. But Laws said: "It is important to understand that a substantial proportion of sexually abused children have no abnormal signs. Children can be confused as to what full sexual intercourse really involves."

It was common for a child to misinterpret simulated or attempted intercourse for full penetration. "That is what the Crown suggest has happened in this case," Laws said.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/sep/02/michael-le-vell-coronation-street

So despite all the posturing on here regarding the hymen in fact in this case even the prosectution accepted that judging from the state of the hymen there had been no full intercourse as did the medical experts.

I wasn't posting misinformed rubbish, in fact I had bothered to research the exact facts relating to this issue in this case before I posted, unlike some people obviously.

So with respect, get your fucking facts right before you lecture me.

SubliminalMassaging Fri 13-Sep-13 12:31:44

Blimey if we are going to find him guilty on account having a stage name then there is no hope for most actors, is there?

mayorquimby Fri 13-Sep-13 12:40:12

"Relevance....he is capable of telling untruths, whether that is classed as a 'lie' or not, obviously many actors change their names and can be easily identified with their 'real' names but speaks to me as though he is capable of lying, or at least telling untruths."

This is bonkers

ZenGardener Fri 13-Sep-13 12:43:09

I think in the UK, when actors register with Equity they will only accept actors with a unique name. So, if there was already an actor called Michael Turner he would have no choice but to use a different name.

I have heard actors complaining about this before and having to use their middle name or mother's name for acting purposes.

I do get the point that someone who is an actor and used to performing in public may make a better court witness than someone who is not but I don't think it necessarily means anything. Some actors tend to over act and come across as insincere too.

I think Craig Charles, another Coronation Street actor was found not guilty of rape a few years back. It seems the producers are willing to move past these things.

SeaSickSal Fri 13-Sep-13 12:44:02

So when women change their name when they get married does it make them child molesters?

I work with several people who use their middle name not their first name are they all less trustworthy because of it? None of them are actors either.

Feminine Fri 13-Sep-13 14:14:06

grin and more sad that someone would actually spout such shit over an actor having to use a different name.

Its quite true. If there is an actor with yours -you change it. Equity law.

How one earth does that make one an abuser?

I had to change mine. I've done nothing dramatic since.

SubliminalMassaging Sat 14-Sep-13 04:03:08

If you are an Equity member you cannot have the same name as any other existing member. Fact. It has no bearing whatsoever on someone's character.

EnjoyEverySandwich Sat 14-Sep-13 12:38:25

Le Vell is his mother's maiden name I think. People often choose a family name if they have to change.

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