witness in sex abuse trial commits suicide after grilling by female QC

(240 Posts)
BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 16:23:59

the violin teacher who was the unwilling prosecution witness against the two Chethams Music School teachers killed herself in the middle of the trial. She told her friend she felt like she'd been raped again after the female defence QC accused her of lying in her evidence. Very, very sad.
My cynical view is that defendants in sex cases go for female barristers because they think it'll give them a veneer of innocence /respectability. I know the woman was "just doing her job" but I'd sure like to hear her views on methods of cross examination in sex abuse trials.

BlissfullyIgnorant Fri 08-Feb-13 16:31:27

I heard this on the radio not long ago, in the school run. It's made me very upset and I'm disgusted that this poor woman was driven to take her life. I'd be interested to hear the points of view of those involved in the case, but don't expect we'll ever hear.

BobbiFleckmann Fri 08-Feb-13 16:37:07

do we have any defence barristers on here? I'd like to hear from them.

Mollydoggerson Fri 08-Feb-13 16:40:48

I think females are more aggressive to females than males to females.

But no one is responsible for someone else taking their own life.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 08-Feb-13 17:15:44

It's a very sad story but I think it is unfair to blame anyone else for someone's personal decision to take their own life.

Dothraki Fri 08-Feb-13 18:11:33

Last week when I heard the remarks from the QC I was livid - I thought that slandering victims was no longer acceptable. I am devastated for her and her poor family.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 08-Feb-13 18:34:44

I don't think it's unfair to blame QCs and the judges who allow these types of character assignations. We hear time and again from victims about how the trial is as bad or nearly as bad as the assault. This isn't some huge surprise. It's not the first suicide in these circumstances. And there are plenty more women who may not have felt suicide was the only path, but who nevertheless find the court proess hugely damaging. There is noway being a witness in court should be so damaging to a witness.

The people responsible for this aspect of it are the barristers that follow this line of defence and the judges that allow it. They absolutely should be blamed.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 08-Feb-13 18:35:25

*assassiniations

EmmelineGoulden Fri 08-Feb-13 18:35:55

I give up on typing.

Why is the fact that it was a female QC relevant? Would you have stipulated a male QC?

edam Fri 08-Feb-13 23:38:06

Oh Lord, that is desperately sad. I doubt the gender of the QC has much to do with it though. We need to lay down guidelines about the way vulnerable people are questioned, not assume that female lawyers will be nicer than male.

I've been following this case closely, because I know the accused sad (from a long time ago, but still shocked as I only have positive memories of him) One of the articles I read maintained that the judge insisted the barrister was just doing her job and hadn't in any way overstepped the mark in her questioning. However, it does seem that she wasn't prepared for the trial and had no real idea of what it would entail - in fact I understand it was a third party who brought it to the attention of the police, so she was then dragged through this whole process having seemingly put it behind her and moved on with her life. So so sad for her and her family.

Deryns Sat 09-Feb-13 01:45:07

It's the job of the defence to challenge the accuser.

The rape charge was a NOT GUILTY verdict.

The accused faced rape charges that potentially carried a life sentence.

Anyone facing a very long prison sentence is entitled to challenge their accuser.

The QC in question was not particularly aggressive to the witness - imo.

FarelyKnuts Sat 09-Feb-13 02:09:49

Link?

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sat 09-Feb-13 02:28:05
FarelyKnuts Sat 09-Feb-13 02:32:04

Thanks bunch

Very sad. Even sadder that she was advised not to receive counselling during the trial?

hackmum Sat 09-Feb-13 10:57:55

This has made me very angry. On the Today programme they were questioning the way the prosecution handled the case, but to my mind they should have been questioning the fact that the defence barrister chose to question the victim so aggressively and the fact that the judge allowed her to do so. Why in this day and age can we allow vulnerable victims to be treated like this in court? This poor woman was accused of being a fantastist by the defence barrister and told she'd made it all up. No wonder so many rape cases don't get reported.

The whole thing makes me feel sick to the core. I hope the defence barrister has the decency to feel some sense of shame about it, but unfortunately people like that appear to have no scruples whatsoever.

Dothraki Sat 09-Feb-13 11:25:17

They were both found guilty of sexually abusing her when she was 14.

mayorquimby Sat 09-Feb-13 11:52:08

"do we have any defence barristers on here? I'd like to hear from them. "

No idea of the contents of the case and the nature of the cross-examination and the alleged discrepancies in her testimony are notm outlined in this thread so it's impossible to offer any opinion without that info.
I'd appreciate someone filling in the blanks though.

mayorquimby Sat 09-Feb-13 11:53:54

"My cynical view is that defendants in sex cases go for female barristers because they think it'll give them a veneer of innocence /respectability"

happens all the time.

Deryns Sat 09-Feb-13 12:10:21

""My cynical view is that defendants in sex cases go for female barristers because they think it'll give them a veneer of innocence /respectability"

happens all the time. ""

Not in this case - it was originally a male QC but he had to withdraw at short notice, nothing to do with his gender.

"Why in this day and age can we allow vulnerable victims to be treated like this in court? This poor woman was accused of being a fantastist by the defence barrister and told she'd made it all up. No wonder so many rape cases don't get reported."

She chose to give evidence in open court against the recommendation of the judge.

Whilst it is imperative that women come forward it is also important that the allegations are fully tested given that there is a maximum of life imprisonment for rape. To allow untested allegations to be treated as fact would be equally dangerous.

ledkr Sat 09-Feb-13 12:16:28

I wonder if it would be very painful to be cross examined by another female and thus doubted. Somehow we expect women to stick together don't we?
I felt very upset yesterday when female mumsnet ers were defending a man who was abusing his wife. It seemed worse somehow.

JamesB1957 Sat 09-Feb-13 12:17:17

I practiced briefly a few years ago and had to put arguments that were difficult and which I did not believe myself. The fact is that a client is entitled to have their arguments tested. It does not make one feel good and I am quite sure Counsel will be feeling awful about this case. The Judge is supposed to ensure some levels of intervention - but if there is a complete clash then one has to face the issue that either the client or the witness is lying. It is not for a defendants barrister to judge the client - otherwise the client faces two trials - one from counsel and one from the court.

hackmum Sat 09-Feb-13 12:56:01

"She chose to give evidence in open court against the recommendation of the judge."

So it was her fault?

To my mind, it shows she was an exceptionally courageous woman. One Frances Andrade is worth a thousand Kate Blackwells.

Ponders Sat 09-Feb-13 13:06:34

some cross examination exchanges here

I assume they're accurate despite it being the DM (I don't think even the DM would make stuff up in a case like this?)

'Bernadette Baxter (representing Kay Brewer): All this has been a fantasy to get attention.
FA: If I wanted attention I would have done this an awfully long time ago'

Well, quite. & it wasn't even her idea in the first place, was it?

She defended herself as well as she could in the face of that sort of accusation. She was incredibly brave & it's so sad it's ended for her like this, without even seeing them found guilty of at least some of the charges

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 09-Feb-13 13:07:51

I can't understand:

- why the Daily Mail people are up in arms about the QC being a woman and feel the need to draw attention to this fact. What difference does it make? Would you feel that a black male barrister cross-examining a black male defendant should go easy on them? News flash: many barristers are female. Get over it.

- why so many people get up in arms about defence barristers doing their job. They HAVE to be tough to ensure that justice is done. They are not "trying to get rapists freed" or anything like that, they are trying to making the best possible case for the accused (innocent until found guilty) so that if the jury returns a guilty verdict, that verdict can be relied upon, because the accused had the best defence they could have had and was STILL found guilty. That is how our justice system works and if any of you are ever charged with a serioous crime you will be bloody glad of it.

Branleuse Sat 09-Feb-13 13:16:02

heartbreaking

Delayingtactic Sat 09-Feb-13 13:17:43

I'm in two minds about this. It must be awful to have to go over and over the minute details of such an awful event but what if the defendant were innocent? Would it be ok not to challenge evidence then as the accuser is vulnerable? I don't think the QCs are to blame - they have a job to do and everyone is entitled to a defence.

My utmost sympathies to her family.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 09-Feb-13 13:18:01

and yes, I would make the same point even about a black male barrister cross-examining a black male witness - there should be no special treatment for anyone. The failings in how this case was managed are not with the QC, they are with the guidelines that prevent traumatised victims/witnesses from getting counselling until a case is concluded, and with the lack of support for vulnerable witnesses during the long and often confusing process of a criminal trial. The barrister was just doing her job.

Dededum Sat 09-Feb-13 15:28:14

The issue is not so much the QC's who are just doing their job so much as the criminal justice system, the fact this case had been rumbling on for 2 years, lack of support after previous suicide attempts and the lack of notice of the trial date. There were no doubt underlying mental health issues, maybe caused by previous sexual abuse. She was vulnerable.

Such a pointless waste of a life, leaving 4 children, 2 of whom are quite young. This just feels so brutal and unnecessary.

Veritate Sat 09-Feb-13 15:58:38

The fact is that some witnesses do lie, and a defence barrister would be failing badly in her job if she didn't test the evidence thoroughly. If I were falsely accused of something, I know I would want my barrister to do everything she could to demonstrate that those accusing me were lying, and I would be appalled if she failed to do that just because they were women.

lljkk Sat 09-Feb-13 16:11:13

Argh, I can't help but sit on fence on this one. When it's one person's word against another, a reputation to be ruined and liberty to be denied, how else can we test the evidence except by probing witnesses? To do anything else would be injustice, too.

I get the impression that prosecution in England normally does give very little support to their witnesses; better support exists in other countries I think. That's the part I would like to be changed, a kind of witnesses support charity group should exist that could offer support to witnesses on any side (impartial). Something semi-autonomous from lawyers & govt. but still able to help encourage witnesses to be brave enough to face blunt questions.

mummytime Sat 09-Feb-13 16:20:24

I knew her.

I just wish I'd known she was doing this, I would have told her "We believe you."

I also don't understand why she was advised not to have therapy during the trial.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 09-Feb-13 16:32:04

AFAIK survivors of sexual assault are usually advised not to have therapy on discuss their experiences before they testify, in case doing so colours their memory of what happened. Awfully hard to deal with though sad

Dededum Sat 09-Feb-13 19:07:14

Hi Mummytime - didn't know her but one of my boys is in her daughters class. Not sure what if anything the school is going to say to the kids on Monday. Can't believe this won't be talked about in the playground.

dikkertjedap Sat 09-Feb-13 21:39:01

Just have read the link to the cross examination - I hope the female barrister does not sleep well and has a good think about her part in all this.

To keep accusing FA of lying is a disgrace and had nothing to do with trying to uncover the truth. If this is what barristers train all those years for ..... or she is simply a rotten apple and should be struck off.

sad

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 21:57:32

dreadful news,heartfelt condolences to her famiy
we have an adveserial legal system all parties have right to qc, each qc will vigorously defend their clients
in fairness this sad news hasn't been attributed to the qc line questions.let's wait and see

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 09-Feb-13 22:01:44

dikkert did you read my posts above? Do you have any understanding of how the legal system in this country works?

dikkertjedap Sat 09-Feb-13 22:11:07

As it is, it is nothing with how I understand the legal system. I simply disagree with you HollaAtMeBaby and I believe what that barrister did was unacceptable and she should take responsibility for her actions.

scottishmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 22:29:35

well if necessary the qc will be held to account by bar standards

Dromedary Sat 09-Feb-13 22:42:08

I think that it's quite a common assumption that a woman accusing a man of rape is lying. The barrister was probably trying to tap into this mysogenist stereoptype in the hope that it might be in the minds of some of the jury.

There is a photo of Michael Brewer in the Guardian today, going into court. I may be wrong but he appears to be wearing a top with a National Youth Choir of Great Britain logo on. If so, I am pretty gobsmacked - why would he want to do more damage to the young people's organisation he was Director of for many years?

edam Sun 10-Feb-13 00:07:53

It seems that we are failing victims by telling them not to get therapy until the case is heard. It cannot be beyond the wit of intelligent human beings to figure out a way of reconciling therapy with giving reliable, trustworthy evidence.

I agree in our adversarial legal system the defence barrister had to test the case against her client. Is there a way of doing that without calling the victim names? Could the barrister not have said 'that just isn't true, is it?' rather than 'you are a fantasist', and would it have made any difference to the emotional damage done to the victim?

Veritate Sun 10-Feb-13 00:58:15

I doubt that the suicide was solely or even principally to do with the cross examination. She had apparently had a pretty awful life, starting with being raped from the age of 8 onwards before she even encountered Brewer.

I really don't see that the QC has anything to blame herself for. If she was going too far the judge would have stopped her.

hackmum Sun 10-Feb-13 09:45:03

"If she was going too far the judge would have stopped her." Yeah - judges never make mistakes or exercise poor judgement.

"I can't understand:Why people are up in arms about the QC being a woman and feel the need to draw attention to this fact. What difference does it make?"

People expect female barristers to behave with more sympathy and tact than male barristers. Clearly they are mistaken.

Some people have made the point that Andrade was already troubled and suicidal - as if that excuses the cross-examination. But it is surely all the more reason to treat her gently. Two Australian DJs were hounded for making a prank phone call to a woman who later killed herself. They could have had no idea that she was vulnerable. The defence QC knew very well, however, that Frances Andrade was vulnerable, and she still went for the kill anyway. I'm afraid "she was just doing her job", an excuse that has a long and ignoble history, doesn't cut it for me.

The Mail on Sunday has an interview with Frances Andrade's husband (www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276229/My-wife-killed-trial-choirmaster-Husbands-anguished-account-abused-wife-spiralled-suicide-court-ordeal.html#axzz2KJorusKL)

From the piece:

"However, Fran remained incensed by the barrister, Ms Blackwell, and by the court system.
Levine says: ‘It was partly because it was a female barrister, partly because she was called a liar, partly because she couldn’t remember all the right dates.
‘Fran said it was particularly awful because in a normal conversation you can defend yourself, but she got reprimanded so many times for fighting back."

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 10-Feb-13 09:47:25

I agree that a rethink is needed over how to question vulnerable victims. Otherwise, what's being stated is that vulnerable victims cannot get justice due to being unable to cope with the adversarial justice system we have. It's all a bit 'survival if the fittest' which makes me feel very uncomfortable. It's perhaps the cruellest of ironies that the damage caused by the abuse suffered means the victim is less able to cope with aggressive cross examination. I think it's a good point to suggest saying 'that's not true' as opposed to 'you are a fantasist' because that taps into the very fear that every victim has i.e. not just being branded a liar but a liar with issues and that explains their vulnerability, not the assault. That's precisely why it's said, knowing the effect it has on the victim i.e. rattles/upsets/provokes the victim into reacting in a way that will undermine their evidence. I don't like it one bit.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 10-Feb-13 11:28:34

Saying "that's not true is it?" or "You're a fantasist" isn't probing. The witness never says "oh OK, you caught me out there. I made all that up." Some people get rattled in the witness box. The people that get rattled aren't necessarily the liars. The point of those sorts of statements aren't to probe, they don't serve justice well.

mayorquimby Sun 10-Feb-13 14:54:39

"Saying "that's not true is it?" or "You're a fantasist" isn't probing"

But it doesn't have to be probing, the reason it is done is because anything that you are intending to put forward when making the case for your defence after the prosecution has rested must be put to the relavent prosecution witnesses.
As such if the accused intends to say that the alleged victim is lying when it is the defences turn to present their case to the court, they must put this to them when they are in the witness box.
Otherwise the alleged victim does not have the opporutnity to refute their claims.
They can't sit back and wait for the prosecution to be finished and then just get the accused to stand up and say it was all lies.
Otherwise not only does the accused not get to refute the claims but also the prosecution will, in cross-examination, want to put it to the accused that he is lying etc.
So that leaves us with a problem, because either the prosecution can now not put it to the accused that they are lying (because we've decided it has no probative value) or the prosectuion can put it to them meaning that the accused is now having his testimony examined with greater intensity than he was allowed to examine the testimony of others.

edam Sun 10-Feb-13 14:58:06

it's not just the line of questioning that the poor woman found stressful though, there are apparently lots of different aspects of the system that let her down according to today's papers. Most notably Surrey police telling her to avoid therapy, which Greater Manchester are saying they would never have done (hmm, not entirely convinced by that one). Sounds like there is a lot of work to be done to make sure victims feel supported and aren't scared off.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 10-Feb-13 18:19:19

mayor I don't really see how it's particularly probing to say to the accused "you're lying aren't you?" much better to point out discrepancies, it doesn't have to be aggressive. Nevertheless, the accused and witnesses aren't in the same situation, the accused does not have to testify. The accused has a priveledged position in many ways. And I don't think that's bad. I would certainly expect to have protections in place if my freedom were on the line. But this witness had a lot on the line too, without any protections in place. The result was tragic and the court system palyed an active part in that tradgedy.

It is obviously a major part of most trials that the prosecution are saying the accused and defence witnesses are lying, and the defence are saying that the prosecution witnesses are lying. But I doubt it's beyond the witt of the jury to understand that without assanine questions and statements being put to witnesses (or the accused) in the witness box. They're answering questions under oath, they've already said they're telling the truth. In that respect asking if they're lying is just repetition.

Our legal system (and I don't just mean the courts) often seems to have been built up clinging to traditions and assumptions without stopping often enough to ask "how effective is this at getting justice?".

Bramshott Mon 11-Feb-13 14:58:09

Surely the problem isn't so much with the barrister but with the support system (police? CPS?) which should have been there for her as a witness and was sadly lacking?

fromparistoberlin Mon 11-Feb-13 15:09:19

this shows why so many people wont go to court

I find it dreadfully upsetting to be honest

her poor family

and I am sure the QC feels pretty shit too, its not her fauly though. Its the overall system

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 16:22:04

having just sat through a rape trial of a close family member I can say every single thing mentioned on this thread happened in this trial.

The child victim and their entire family were subjected to allegations of lying, therapy was advised against, investigation was lacking.

Character assassination of the victim and parents (who were not witnesses and had no opportunity to refute the alegations being levelled against them - the child victim had to try to defend parents).

Furthermore the family is, now the trial is over, being subjected to a barrage of rumours being spread around, ranging from drug dealing to child abuse.

Its a horrendous system that fails and fails and fails again.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 16:28:49

the defences used are standard practice in rape trials

the defendant has right - the victim has none

it makes me so angry - I would NEVER ever ever report anything of this nature

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 16:34:36

If your instructions are - this woman is lying. Then you have to cross examine on that basis. It is up to the judge to intervene to stop questions.

If you were accused of something serious, would you expect your barrister to 'go easy' on your accuser in case he or she got upset?

She was offered chance to give evidence behind a screen. I wish she had taken up that offer. From what I have read, some of what upset her was watching the male abuser smirk as she gave evidence.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 16:37:11

I think any one who blames the QC in qestion is nieve at best

It i was faceing LIFE in jail i will be hiring a rotwiller justice is only so when you have A ROBUST defence and well as prosecution


Its only when we ourslefs are facing jail for a crime we didnt commit we value a good defence

My FIL is a QC when i married my oh and wondered how he could sleep at night

When he told me of a case of a man who has served 15 years in jail due to a weak defence the witness was hardly grilled

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 16:42:42

I'm quite sure far more rapists walk free dom leaving the victim and the victim and their family facing a life sentence.

I agree everyone is entitled to a fair trial - but that should mean everyone - including the victim.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 16:44:04

She is paid to do her job and she is doing it what diffrance dose it make that she is a woman

Should a black QC not give a robust defence to a white clinent accused of rasicm

I could go on but the implication thats the QC is a women and should not be defending someone who is INNOCENT asccused to rape is just off

And yes i said innocent because in the uk as oppsed to some tin pot rebulics we we are INNCOCENT until proven guitly

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 16:44:06

I asked a female solicitor how she could defend a rapist that she was pretty convinced was guilty. She said she was going to give him the best defence she could so he would have no chance of appeal when he was convicted - which hope was.

We have to have a system of innocent until proven guilty. You cannot just assume anyone who makes a complain of sexual assault is telling the truth.

I think the system has made enormous strides in past decade. There are dedicated witness support services, evidence behind screens or via video link for eg.

What seems to have gone wrong here was that she got no information about how long whole thing would take or what the questioning was likely to involve.

She should have got much more support for that.

But to blame the lawyer is just wrong. She was doing her job - an entirely necessary and very important job, if you place any value on justice.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 16:52:04

constantnamechanger no offece but Victims also get the oppatunity to get represented its up to the crow to provide just as tenacious , rotwillers in the pursuit in truth.

There are cases my FIL has lost because there case was stronger or somtimes because there QC Was better or somtimes the defendant crumbles under cross examination by the prosecution


Every one has i mean everyone has the right to a robust defence any one who dosent belive that dose not belive in justice

PUTTING THE WRING PERSON IN JAIL DOSE THE VICTIMS NO GO GOOD IT BRINGS THEM NO PEACE we have to make sure asscuser stands up to surtiney because if not innocent people go to jail for the rest of there lives

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 16:52:08

having seen the very exacting standards required before a case of this nature gets to trial - I would NEVER believe anyone was innocent - they would NEVER be able to sit me on a jury.

And given that it is widely acknowledged that the conviction rates of reported crime of this nature are way too low - most people believe a defendant is guilty regardless of the verdict - doing no-one any favours.

Things may have come on in the last 10 years but the starting point was so low that doesn't really say much.

I ha've been shocked at how appalling the system is for victims, how a defence barrister can accuse the victim and others of anything they like with absolutely no requirement That they have any proof or substantiation of what they are saying.

Many, many rapists and abusers walk free to abuse and rape all over again - in the pursuit of great British justice.

There is very little great British justice for rape survivors - and even less for the vast majority who never even get the change to see the inside of the courtroom.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 16:55:02

dom the crown is under massive restrictions that do not apply to the defence - for a start the Crown is not allowed to make things up or pluck things out of thin air or change their evidence halfway through a trial the way the defence is.

Have you ever actually sat through a rapetrial?

Miggsie Mon 11-Feb-13 16:59:31

Sadly, the legal system allows barrister to confuse and gaslight their victims (sorry, the witnesses).
Shouting at someone till they break down and are unable to speak is bullying, and the legal system just loves it.

If you saw someone being shouted at or harassed in this way in the street you would be appalled, yet the legal system thrives on it. The barristers are also allowed to call someone a liar - slander in any other environment.

My mother was a witness at the Old Bailey once and the barrister accused her of being an unreliable menopausal woman who was attention seeking and also a fantasist - sadly he didn't realise my mother was not someone to be bullied and she fixed him with a piercing stare and said "young man, I know what happened, I was there."

Not everyone can deal with being shouted at at close range - and I don't think it should be allowed.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:00:21

The barristers code of conduct is clear - you cannot make malicious or utterly spurious allegations in your questions but equally you have a very clear duty of care to your client and must act on instructions.

If those instructions are - it never happened, she is a liar - what would you have the barrister do? Soft pedal in case witness is upset?

Sadly the very nature of most sexual abuse cases end up on he said/she said basis as there is usually very little evidence to test other than the words of victim and accuser.

If you don't like this system of testing evidence, what other system do you propose?

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:02:03

I am not allowed to shout at people in court. If I did the judge would stop me.

You can put very difficult and probing questions but you cannot shout at a witness. I don't think there is any suggestion the barrister shouted in this case.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:08:06

And its for the proscaution to show the the defences arse if they saying

Yu were just wanting attention you made it up the procasution if you have a good one will come out fighting like mike tyson

I belive the convictions rates are so low in rape cases due to the publics view via the jury its not right that jurys on the whole will be biased its also not right that if you have a black defendant And a majorty white jury sadly weather your likable comes into play all sort of things i dont know what we can do about that

But all people deserve a robust defence No ifs no buts think of all those countrys were you can just be halled into court accused of any old thing now think thank god i dont live there i live in the uk were i could get the best defence possible

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:08:11

Spero - I would like to see the defence subjected to the see restrictions as the prosecution.

They should not be allowed to pluck things out of thin air, laws of evidence should apply.

They should not be able to accuse a child victims parents of lying - unless it is to the adults in question.

They should only be allowed to reference things directly relevant.

Etc, etc, etc.

Why for example should the fact a victims mother isn't in a court room at any point in time be dragged up to show she doesn't care (sat outside sobbing but the jury didn't know that).

Until the defence is required to back up their claims with facts and evidence they will be able to continue to slander victims unchecked.

TheSecondComing Mon 11-Feb-13 17:09:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:10:05

Spero all that anyone else can perpose is that anyone who accuses anyone else of a sexual crime should just be belived should not be challanged

Whoch to me is mad

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:11:18

Dom - you didn't answer me - have you ever sat through a rape trial and seen what victims are subjected to?

And I meant to say the reason that victims are advised not to go to counselling or therapy is the therapist can be accused of leading them.

Plus the records are disclosable - which means you wouldn't much feel safe speaking.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:14:14

dom - if your house was burgled - would you expect to be put on the stand and have to prove it was burgled?

would you expect your life, your husband's and possibly your children's lives examined - your school and work history examined, and theirs.

Your financial standing??

All this to prove you have been burgled in the first place.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:14:50

Sorry, I haven't done crime in a while, but the last time I was involved in criminal cases the defence were to allowed just to pluck things out of the air at the last minute. Ay defence of alibi for eg had to be given in advance.

All participants in court hearing lbs are subject to rules about what evidence can be adduced.

But I thought the problem complained about here was that the defence barrister accused witness of lying. That was the defence. What else can the barrister do?

Of course the witnesses should have been talked through the process. I thought that was standard now. Did she refuse to talk to anyone, in same way she refused screens?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:15:39

actually dom - we were advised that juries ha've a problem convicting young white males with good jobs - they are too scared of being wrong

I'm so torn by this sad

On the one hand the defence was doing her job.
On the other it is a terrible thing to do to a vulnerable victim.

As for the sex of the QC, I don't know about QC's but when it comes to juries I've heard that defence lawyers for accused rapists hope for a predominantly female jury as they tend to judge the alleged victims much more. sad I suspect it has something to do with wanting to blame the victim as then they don't have to admit it could happen to them, they don't want to admit that you can't avoid the risk.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:07

But constant - what are you saying ? That anyone can go to court and say 'I was raped' and that's the end to it? No questions, no testing?

That's slightly dangerous isn't it?

TheSecondComing Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:17:57

Spero - I mean for example - closing something I have heard but isn't related room the case I sat through.

if a victim is being accused of making rape up for financial gain - because they are having financial difficulty - the defence should have "proof" of that financial difficulty and not be able to just make it up.

BelindaCarlisle Mon 11-Feb-13 17:18:38

she wasnt a WITNESS , wasnt she the IP?

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:19:11

No not a rape trial but i have been in a trail and in my view both get grilled defendants priors get brought up a pen they stole 20 years ago ect

I just saying its not nice and very hurt full but its a sacrfice i am willing to make with a heavy heart so EVERY ONE CAN GET A ROBUST defence

I never sat in on a rape trial
But i never been asccused of rape and faced life in jail

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:19:45

Spero - obviously people have to be questioned - but why shouldn't the defence be subject to the same standards of evidence as the prosecutor - the prosecutor has to have evidence of anything they say - so should the defence

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:19:58

But what you are doing is then shifting the burden of proof - the accused has to prove he is innocent. That can't be right.

The system is manifestly not perfect but I think it is the least worst option. If the state accuses me of a crime, it is the state's job to prove it. Anything else makes me really, really uneasy.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:05

Dom only 2% of crimes like this result I a prison sentence.

Very few rapists get "life".

TheSecondComing Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:21:50

How does the defence have evidence that someone is lying? Rapes are rarely captured on CCTV.

Usually only victim and accuser are involved.

I just don't understand what alternative you are advocating. There are already laws against relying on past sexual history for example.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:23:14

constantnamechanger if you say 24 and got 10 years its pertty much your life

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:23:27

well as far as I am concerned based on what I have seen and heard speaking to plenty of others - it is practically impossible to get a conviction based on current rules.

I don't have enough legal know how to give you answers - but at the moment too many rapists walk free, too much never even makes court.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:24:23

Dom senses are miniscule in all but the most serious cAses - maybe you should do some research?

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:24:45

It is a very interesting point that she was a reluctant witness. Apparently one of her friends went to the police and she was furious.

It if the prosecution had decided not to go ahead on that basis, I bet they would have been criticised.

She was clearly very vulnerable but I am not sure what 'the system' can do more than offer the help it did - which she rejected. It must have been awful giving evidence in eyeshot of her a user, but she didn't have to do that. But if she wasn't warned she was likely to be accused of lying, she certainly should have been. As far as I can see, that was the only tack left open to the defence.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:25:29

Spero see the example I gave about finances above.

The defence should not be able to say someone is in financial difficulties - they should have proof of it.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:27:13

Spero see the example I gave about finances above.

The defence should not be able to say someone is in financial difficulties - they should have proof of it.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:28:00

Convictions in rape trials are difficult because of the nature of the offence. Evidence of sexual intercourse is not evidence of rape - he will just say she consented to sex. Particularly difficult are cases where rapist was known to the victim - juries are reluctant to convict because it is so serious - maximum sentence life imprisonment.

But all you can do is change the burden of proof to balance of probabilities as opposed to beyond reasonable doubt or shift burden on accused to,prove he is innocent.

And for what I hope are obvious reasons, that would be very dangerous.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:30:11

and Thats another way victims are let down - told not to apply for criminal injuries til post trail because the defence can use it against them - but you have to apply within 2 years and it often takes more than 2 years to get through court.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:30:16

I disagree with your example - defence say 'you are lying because you are in financial difficulties' witness responds 'no I am not, I am not in any financial difficulties'

Unless defence DO have evidence of those difficulties, jury likely to disregard this. But why do you think it sensible to fetter the defence?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:32:11

Spero a system that continually allows rapists to walk free is also dangerous.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:33:31

because otherwise it is never a level playing field - the prosecutor would not be allowed to use financial difficulties as a reason for rape unless they had evidencentre of those difficulties

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 17:34:40

What worries me deeply is the advice she was given not to seek counselling. It echoes a comment I've seen on here - someone was advised by police/CPS not to get counselling until the case came to court and the trial was over.

Why?

Anyone who has been raped and then goes through the emotional turmoil of reporting that attack, waiting for the case to go to court and testifying should be able to have professional support. It should be confidential and shouldn't even be mentioned in court.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:36:37

You have to balance the dangers. I would rather the guilty went free than innocent people were locked up. I think the burden should very firmly remain on the state to prove guilt.

I don't believe it was just the questioning in court which she couldn't face. An article I read today (DM unfortunately because couldn't find anything else on it) mentioned that she had attempted suicide half a dozen times over the past year. According to the same article, the family don't blame the QC who questioned her.

It's all so sad I'm a bit torn by it too. FA didn't want to bring the case to court. (Her friend who brought it to the attention of the police was my singing teacher for a few years.) FA was, I believe given the option to appear via video link or behind a screen, but chose not to. However, the lack of support given to her, and indeed the lack of information she received about the proceedings is something that needs to be addressed, otherwise many victims will be too frightened to speak out.

EmmelineGoulden Mon 11-Feb-13 17:38:38

I think wehn it comes to rape we have far too many guilty walking free, and we need a better way to find justice. I don't think we should remove the presumption of innocence, but I don't believe the sort of questioning that goes on in court rooms is in the least bit likely to illuminate truth or bring about justice (in either direction).

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:39:04

What is desperately needs to speed up trials. That would hopefully deal with problems in delaying counselling. It there will be no chance of that as gov already massively slashing money available to criminal justice system.

Agitate against that, rather than against one woman who was doing her job.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:39:11

but you are never going to prove anything 100% in a he said she said scenario, its impossible. 

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:40:44

So what are you saying?? A mere allegation of rape is enough? If he said she said is all you've got, that's what you use. jury assess demeanour of each witness in court and do the best they can.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:40:47

Narkec would you ecpect somthing a defndentsaid during councilling to remain confidential?

It has to work both ways supposeing somthing wich ment the accuser might have not been 100% sure about the id of there attacker or may be cleared a co defendant of being envolved you think that should be kept quitshock wow

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:05

emmeline just said in one post what I have been trying to say.

narked I explained thread about that.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:41:38

Standard of proof is not 100% in any event, but 'beyond reasonable doubt'

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:43:52

Spero its not about assessing the demeanour of the victim - you can't be 100% certain of anything from demeanour - this is why conviction rates are low.

I'm hazy but aren't something like 83% of convictions guilty pleas and in the main involve DNA evidence.

I understand what you are saying but rape is almost an unpunishable crime in this country and that is not right either.

JuliaScurr Mon 11-Feb-13 17:44:41

www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/the-saddest-graph-youll-see-today/

A rape victim is a crime scene with valuable forensic evidence in the Criminal Justice System - no showering, hair/clothes washing or counselling can happen because evidence would be contaminated. In court, she is a witness - the crime is against the Crown, not against her. A defence lawyer must show witnesses are unreliable. Meanwhile, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.

This situation isn't two equal sides, one word against the other. The system itself puts women at a disadvantage from the outset.

The graph is equally applicable to GB, according to Home Office.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:45:29

Spero to ture as humans we worked out the likey hood of weather somones telling the truth

Sometimes thast based of feeling,rasicm,sexism just plain old gut somtimes jurys just dont like the cut of somones jib were people and do out best.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:45:32

was 100% on the trial I attended according to the defence barrister - over and over and over and over again - if I didn't know for a fact how many lies he spouted in that trial on behalf of his client - I'd have believed his innocence.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:48:37

Of course it is about assessing witness giving evidence - that is why we have adversarial system. People are judged on what they say in witness box and how they say it.

It is not a perfect system. But when I ask for alternatives, I don't get any.

Yes rape convictions are low. This is due to nature of the offence - often committed in private, only two people at scene, waters may be muddied by prior relationship etc, etc.

Lets put our energies more into rape prevention - not making it women's responsibility to avoid rape but pointing out to men they should not rape.

I am sorry it i can't think of a better system than our adversarial one - its least worst option. If accused of a really serious offence, you should have a right to test the case against you.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 17:49:15

Counselling should always be confidential. Full stop. It doesn't work otherwise.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:50:32

dom surely as an experience professional we would be able to rely on a therapist/counsellor to decide if the're is anything relevant.

Why should every suicidal rape victim be denied the help they need? Or have to gave their rapist being able to get off on their distress.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:51:25

Nothing should should be private when either life or liberty are at stake sorry

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:52:16

Counselling is not confidential if someone reveals they are going to harm another person or a child. Counsellor must inform someone if that happens.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:53:09

Anything said in counselling that reveals a child protection issue has to be disclosed. As it should be.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:54:24

Most of the comments here are from perspective that anyone accused of rape is guilty and any witness is thus a victim. And that's the danger.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 17:54:51

You really haven't got a clue.

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 17:54:54

constantnamechanger i agree but you should be prepared as a victim or defandent to have it brought into court if what you are saying is relvant in freeig somone or putting somone in jail

Am i correct even QC cannot conceal evidence when life or liberty are at stake

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:55:28

I don't think it's the least worst option because it isn't working - men know they can rape women, other men and children with impunity - because the chances of a conviction are less than 1% based on conservative estimates of under reporting.

The current system leaves countless victims - reported and not reported withlife sentences.

And while budgets services and resources are slashed it will get worse

Conviction rates in court may well go up - because less and less will get to court at all as the burden to only prosecute water tight cases to save resources gets higher.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:56:34

dom you really don't know what you are talking about - and it becomes clearer with every post.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:57:06

A what is the alternative? Assumption that anyone a caused of rape is guilty? Send them straight to prison? I don't want to live in a country where that is ok.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:57:54

Spero yes I agree - but that's the call of the therapist/counsellor - its part of their code of practise.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 17:58:55

I've already said that in my opinion the defence should be stopped from pulling defences outility of thin air.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 17:59:19

It is not the 'call' of the therapist - it is their professional duty. They cannot reman silent if child protection issues are raised.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 17:59:28

No. The comments are based on the fact that it's incredibly difficult to get a rape case to trial. I too couldn't be on a jury in a rape case because you know from the start that the very fact that the case has reached court means that you can be 99% sure the person is guilty.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 11-Feb-13 17:59:52

Isn't part of the problem that there is no preparation of witnesses, as you do have in the likes of America? My understanding is that preparing a witness is tantamount to tainting evidence, so the victim/witness won't be as prepared as they probably should (for their sake, not necessarily for the sake of the justice system). <disclaimer> I'm not in anyway knowledgeable or qualified in this area so happy to be corrected if I'm wrong.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:00:27

Spero I said that in the second half of my sentence.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:01:16

bunch the witness is not allowed to speak to the prosecuting team

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:01:28

well not about the case

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:01:47

So define 'thin air'. Ae they allowed to accuse someone of lying, or do they have to find other witnesses to testify that yes, witness had previously lied to them?

Sorry, I don't want to sound unsympathetic to your argument. I have a daughter and am not thrilled that there are clearly thousands of very dangerous men walking the streets but I worry the consequences of relaxing burden of proof or fettering defence could be very dangerous.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:03:54

You absolutely cannot 'prepare' a witnesses evidence but you can certainly explain the trial process, take them to see the court room etc etc. I thought that was the purpose of witness support at courts - but haven't done crime for ages.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 18:04:07
bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 11-Feb-13 18:04:44

So the suggestion that this witness did not get the right support she needed because that isn't allowed is correct then? I guess the alternative is that some sort of disclosure in advance would help i.e. what the defence is likely to be challenging. But can that be done without prejudice to the trial?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:05:29

I was trying to avoid specifics - so our example - a bad school report.

That didn't exist, no-one had seen, wasnt in evidence.

But that a child victim was hounded for having.
.The prosecution would have had to actual had the report - reference it, enter it into evidence.

I could cite numerous examples of things made up by a barrister on the say so of his defendant just in one trial - and I mean made up.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:07:27

bunch

entirely based on the trial I sat through - the defence changed their entire defence halfway through the trial when the first defence wasn't working.

And why not I guess the prosecution has to disclose.

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 18:08:31

The prosecution works on proof. The defence works on insinuation and rumour. Juries start from a position of not wanting to convict.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:10:39

If I was on a jury and the defence wanted to rely on documents they didn't produce I would be very suspicious of that defence. I don't understand why his is seen as such a problem. Surely a jury can be trusted to notice a desparate defence. But that doesn't mean you stop them trying. Because who makes that decision? Only the jury surely. So they've got to hear it.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:10:56

As opposed to the defendant - whose school records showed a pattern of violence against younger children and whose police logs showed a pattern of DV by the defendant in the family home - which despite being documented.

Neither of which were allowable because of Some legal ruling.

So a child defendant has to try to defend themselves against rumour but the defendant gets to avoid any reference at all to their violent behaviour

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:11:26

Spero - the jury was subjected to 4 days of this.

ratbagcatbag Mon 11-Feb-13 18:13:21

This is awful, especially as it appears she was pulled into the trial rather than reporting it herself!

I was abused and it really took me years to decide to go to the police, I had an amazing solo worker and CID were fab, but it was still so difficult. I was also asked if I'd ever had councilling, when I said No, they did suggest that was better due to not being influenced in anyway.

I was dreading the court case and I'm quite a tough person, particularly once I had made the decision to go ahead with it, I had been warned it would be really tough, as it happened my uncle bottled it, did some plea bargaining and pleaded guilty. I could have gone through with it, but if I'd have had to do it at any other point, especially if I hadn't decided for myself, then I think it would have destroyed me. I had to build up to a certain mindset to know what I was doing.

Really really sorry for the family

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:13:51

why have they Got to hear it - if it isn't substantiated?

They don't have to hear it about the defendant.

Plus they have a short attention span - and they get lost - in our case - they even
fall asleep.

And they don't want to convict

Narked Mon 11-Feb-13 18:27:05

I'm sorry CNC.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:34:56

thanks you narked

the CPS did their best - but there was so much they weren't allowed to introduce it was never going to be a fair trial from a victims point of view - whereas because the defendant was also a relative they were allowed to use everything they could tginl of and a lot they made up

if a victims schooling is fair game (without any obligation to back it up) - why isn't a defendants? especially if it is backed ultimate by school records.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:35:13

Constant - that sounds appalling. I think judges should definitely try to stop lines of cross examination that are not going anywhere, but it is a very difficult call. Stop questioning and you run the risk of appeal due to unfair process. So maybe judge was operating on basis that defendant would have no prospect of appeal of allowed to run on in this way. I agree it is often an appalling and abusive experience for victims.

I just can't see any other way of testing cases. I know if I was accused of anything I would want a proper robust and very thorough defence.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:37:08

anyway that's all about us.

I'm nor surprised she killed herself - I am surprised not more victims do.

If she was subjected post trial to even half of the rumours we as a family have her life will have felt unbearable.

I thought being accused of this sort of crime ruined a defendants life in fact the opposite is true

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 18:37:15

Any way you all still havent answered the alertitive is what allow people to jpsimply assuce people of a sex crime the police then haul the person to court the judges passes sentence on the victims say so

Perosnally i think the law is not perfect in this area of law the chances of conviction is stacked agaisnt tye victim more to do with people [jurys]attatuids about this sort of crime but in others like child protection the odds are stacked in favour of the prosecution

Eg good luck being the defence of some one accused of terror charges by the govermnt all the while the prosecution telling you evidence cant be handed over or heard by the jury due to The secrets act or security
One sided much

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:39:30

Constant - it looks like the court case pushed her over the edge but she had quite a long previous history of self harm and suicide attempts.

I think maybe the prosecution needs to review why it pressed ahead with a reluctant and vulnerable witness.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:39:34

thanks Spero but it's not uunique - its the same pattern in different scenarios over and over again.

Either the rules 're evidence for prosecution need to be lightened or tightened for defence.

Too many people walk free. I'm not a legal eagle - its not my job to fix it

Domjolly Mon 11-Feb-13 18:39:47

I feel deeply for her family any loss is hard to bare but i afraid its the best one we have and no other system round the workd has managed to convinve me of that


But i really feel its not the system its the midset of the jury

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:40:16

Spero - she was a rape victim - many of them have that history.

Dahlen Mon 11-Feb-13 18:43:42

Replace rape with the assault and make both defendant and victim male and this sort of questioning would never be tolerated. The reason it continues to be de rigueur for rape cases is because society still starts from the assumption that 'many women lie about rape' - despite the fact that false accustations are no more common than for any other type of violent crime.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 18:51:31

I don't think the assumption is that they lie - it is just that very often that is the only defence that can be run due to the problems already highlighted re evidence.

You don't have to be a legal eagle to have a view on alternatives. These are issue that go to the very heart of our society. A lot of the problems people say arise on rape trials is due to reluctance of jury to convict - these are supposed to be the representatives of society as a whole.

Should we have a more inquisitorial system, abandon jury and let judge lead investigation?

JuliaScurr Mon 11-Feb-13 18:54:49

Dom - only about 10-15% of rapes/sex assaults are reported. Of them, about 10% are considered viable by CPS (evidence not collected, victim not 'suitable', etc), of cases prosecuted about 60% are convicted. So the attitude of jurors only affects about 1 - 1.5% of cases anyway. So that's not the main problem, though CPS ideas of what jurors think may affect prosecution numbers.
Those worried about false accusations - the Home Office estimate 3-5% of reports. Only 10-15% are reported. So not a major problem.

JuliaScurr Mon 11-Feb-13 18:58:31

Spero Inquisitorial system - maybe.
If accuser sued defendant in civil court, the decision is on the balance of probability.
Is it possible to devise a system combining these two?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:03:16

Spero - yes - I think it should be the judges job to get to the truth - not be referee in a giant chess game.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:03:47

To drop beyond reasonable doubt and move towards more civil type proceedings you would have to accept a greatly reduced prison sentence or even none at all, possibly fine only.

But you would hugely increase conviction rates. It's all a trade off.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:06:04

But what makes the jury so special is that it is about involving the community in decisions about who is punished and for what.

Or is the juries day done? So many people wiggle out of jury service, doesn't seem much enthusiasm for it.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:07:05

something has to give - its horrendous at the moment - defence appear to be allowed to do what they like more or less

As a society surely we should believe victims have rights too?

I'm told in Portugal they lock you up pending trial - but that is anecdotal.

Dahlen Mon 11-Feb-13 19:07:23

Do juries in rape trials have to undergo a rape-myth-busting education?

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:10:18

They can lock you up pending trial here too - you can be out on bail or remanded in custody. Which is pretty shit if you spend a year in prison then are not convicted.

I agree something has to give but I don't want to end up in a situation where people can be accused of something really serious and then not able to defend themselves.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:11:29

Of course victims have rights, but again you seem to have the starting point that everyone who makes a complaint of sexual abuse is telling the truth.

Dahlen Mon 11-Feb-13 19:14:38

What's worse? An innocent kept on remand or a victim who doesn't get justice?

Genuine, ethical dilemma. Neither is acceptable but one of them has to be.

Statistically speaking, however, the number of victims who lie are far outnumbered by the number of perpetrators who lie. So it would perhaps make more sense to have the starting point of believing the victim.

Which, of course, would mean radically changing our legal system, so is very unlikely to happen.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:15:48

but we all know no matter how compelling the evidence unless you plead guilty there is only a very slim chance of conviction - maybe the prospect of doing time regardless would deter some?

I guess it depends what you care about most - the 99% or more of victims who never see justice or the one in a million false conviction.

And I accept that for many its the legal system itself and the concept of innocent until proven guilty that matters but when it so clearly isn't working for victims - then something else has to be considered.

Rapists are laughing.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:16:31

Spero - not everyone - but by far and away the overwhelming majority.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:17:08

and in no other crime is the starting point of the defence that the victim is lying

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:20:01

As I have said - that she is lying is often the only tack the defence have. No other offence involves so little evidence either way.

That the majority are telling the truth doesn't mean you can assume all are, at least not while the potential maximum sentence is life.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:22:18

the victim is already living a life sentence so that doesn't wash with me as a reason
for the failures of the current system

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:26:07

effectively we ha've a
guilty until proven innocent system for the victim
innocent until proven guilty system for the defendant

we have a prosecution under huge burdens of proof and evidence rules
we have a defence who ha've none

we have juries that don't want to be there and don't want to convict

we have rapists and abusers walking free most of the time

we have a justice system that only talks about defendants rights

welcome to Britain.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:28:05

I fail to see how putting innocent people in prison makes it any better for women who have been raped.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:29:33

we aren't putting anyone in prison at the moment

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:31:57

That isn't true.

People are being convicted. The approach of the police is much much better than it was 20 years ago.

We live in a country with a functioning police force and court system, I think we are pretty lucky compared to the rest of the world.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:33:18

sorry that was facetious - putting the innocent away wouldn't help anyone - but we aren't convicting the guilty - and that is happening in large numbers.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:34:37

what am estimated 1% conviction rate

people to scared to report

those who have been through the system describing it as worse than the abuse - you really believe it's working?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:35:48

and you wouldn't feel lucky if you or someone you love had been the victim of this.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:37:13

I have repeatedly said its the least worst alternative. I can't think of another way, unless you lower standard of proof but then have to accept lesser penalties.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 19:40:38

Of course I wouldn't feel lucky if I or my daughter was raped but i would far rather go through police and courts here than say India or Pakistan.

Also I would not want to see rape as a 'life sentence'. That's letting the rapist control and befoul the rest of your life. Why give him so much power?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 19:48:19

nothing is "given" - its been "taken" and then the system "takes" some more

then unless you have lots of money you habeas to live in a community that brands you a liar

without being horrible - unless you have really lived it you wouldn't understand how much the whole thing - not solely the abuse - pervades every aspect of your life

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 20:03:44

I appreciate I cannot know unless it happens to me.

I don't want to appear to trivialise the impact of rape. But if my daughter was raped I would not want to portray it to her as a 'life sentence' - her life is worth so much more than the criminal actions of someone else.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 11-Feb-13 20:05:33

Of course Spero, but stuff like PTSD, or people whispering about you - you can't just wish it away. Rape victims aren't actively choosing to suffer ongoing effects.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 20:09:03

Of course not, a lot is beyond your control. But it can't help to have lots of people around you telling you you've just been handed a 'life sentence'. I think that is giving the rapist far too much power and makes me really uncomfortable. Like saying a woman is 'ruined' because someone had sex with her. I would much rather the focus was on the criminal and his actions, not the supposed repercussions for the victim.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:17:54

Spero nothing is portrayed to the victim other than it being something that they can get over.

But in all honesty it's bollox - its something you learn to live with.

As for focussing on the criminal - what criminal? If there is a not guilty verdict the victim - and other witnesses are the ccriminals - the legal system has just found them guilty of lying on the stand.

That's it feels, thats what people say about you. Don't be under any illusions that victims remain anonymous.

Yes survivors take back their lives - but at the very least it's a life without any faith or belief in justice.

We all think we know what we would behave like - but until its you - we don't really know.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:22:16

I have a friend with severe mental health issues - when he was sectioned of 30 patients he was the only one on the ward who hadn't been abused.

He works with the homeless - the majority of people he has worked with ha've been abused.

People with drug and alcohol issues - many ha've been abused.

Many survivors go on to live a fulfilled life - many do not

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:36

and also Spero it sounds like you are thinking of one off rape - I am thinking years and years of systematic abuse that steals a childhood.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 20:24:54

Your post of 19:22 said that the victim is already living a life sentence. This seems to be a pretty common reaction to rape. I don't want my daughter internalising this kind of stuff. What some disgusting criminal does with his penis should not define the rest of anyone's life.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:25:03

(not that one is worse than the other)

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 20:26:56

yes, you are right, I was thinking of a 'one off rape'. I agree that sexual abuse carried out over a long period of time is a completely different propostion - particularly if you are talking about a child abused by a trusted adult. That is going to cause significant and long lasting harm to your ability to form trusting relationships as an adult. It is a gross breach of trust and will undoubtedly damage you.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:27:21

My post is based on experience and a lot of research.

And the fact that a lot of trivializing goes on because it makes us feel better to think it.

I say all the right things - but in my heart - I don't believe them - I will never get over what has happened and it didn't happen to me.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 20:51:36

Maybe 'getting over' it is the wrong phrase - but fighting against allowing it to define you? Or letting others define you by it?

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:53:34

Spero - I can't explain its too complex.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 20:56:55

But I'll finalise this by saying - the rape crisis centre I sought advice from told me they have ladies come forward in their 80s, seeking solace before death - if that's not a life sentence, I don't know what is.

A good justice system is central to a victims recovery - its (I've been told) no good a thousand people believing you - if the jury doesn't.

And only a tiny fraction of cases even get that far.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:27

sorry, I am not trying to get you to explain/talk about things you are not comfortable with.

I think Helena Kennedy made a good point when I heard her talking about this on Radio 4 - the criminal justice system is not about providing closure or vindication for the victims and that might be part of the problem - people go to court expecting to get something very different from what the process actually delivers.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 21:12:41

no I'm fine these conversations are important - I was involved in a similar one about how barristers sleep at night.

I came away with a much better understanding.

Yes victims think the CJS is about seeing criminals sentenced but it isn't - its about making sure no one innocent is found guilty.

its shocking once you become involved in it how poor it is for the victim - even when you "know" based on reading mad research the stats, how victims find it - nothing at all prepares you for living through it.

Spero Mon 11-Feb-13 21:40:13

I think it boils down to whether you are prepared to see a tiny handful of innocent men convicted or allow a large proportion of guilty men to go free.

I would still go for the second. But neither I nor anyone I love has been raped.

constantnamechanger Mon 11-Feb-13 21:55:02

I'd rather neither - but as we currently have a system that sees rape as almost unpunishable I have to say I'd go for the ffirst option.

But someone I love has been systematically abused over a long period and it is suspected that there are other victims.

A family friend has been accused of 8 counts sexual assault that apparently happened over 30 years ago. We can prove he is innocent using legal documents without ever calling a witness to give evidence.

However as the police have used any evidence he has given them,dates, names etc to get the victim(??!) to change her statements around to fit. So we can't produce the evidence until in court now. Total madness

I have had a police officer say to me "If he is not guilty why did he ask for a solicitor when we arrested him".

The same officer also seemed to be trying to convince me that this family friend abused me as a child !. Which he did not.

This 60 year old man with a clean criminal record and how has never been accused/questioned by the police before was arrested at the airport in front of fellow passages. Handcuffed and transported for 85 minutes to a police station.
He had been traveling for about 22hrs before arrest. They then refused to give him water until interview a couple of hours later.

This is how we treat the accused in these historical cases. It is up to you to prove yo are innocent and if you talk to the police on arrest they use this information against you. Every lawyer we have spoken to says the same thing tell the police nothing until court.

How can this be justice and how much are this cases costing the tax payer because the police just want convictions. The public should be able to work with the police to find the truth.

I was the victim of a ABH and sexual assault by my now exhusband. The court process tore me to shreds. But Thereasa May is wrong we can not believe accusers know matter what. Innocent peoples lives are at stake.

ratbagcatbag Wed 13-Feb-13 16:48:46

I'm sorry Wonder Woman but as a victim in an historical case I know how difficult it is for them to even consider pressing charges, so the fact that they have suggests more to this that what is being let on. It took lots of evidence for them to consider it, and I was warned throughout the whole process it's really unusual in these cases to get more than a couple of charges if they even do so. Eight is a lot (what my abuser got charged with - one per year he abused me) and three attempted rapes.

ratbagcatbag Wed 13-Feb-13 16:50:59

And my abuser still has family friends who gave him character references in court as they couldn't believe he'd done it, including a friends dd who he babysat where nothing ever happened to her.

scottishmummy Wed 13-Feb-13 18:32:46

wonder woman the burden if proof about the man doesn't fall to you
irrespective of whether you think he good man,police will investigate
he's. hardly likely to admit to you if he is guilty

JuliaScurr Wed 13-Feb-13 19:35:22

Moral Maze R4 8pm is on the Frances Andrade case (the rape victim who took her own life) and the criminal justice system failing in sex assault cases

constantnamechanger Wed 13-Feb-13 20:35:54

wonderwoman you are talking absolute crap - no doubt because that's what you have been fed.

The police do not help witnesses come forward with dates and times - quite the opposite.

His is defence is the police helped the victim fit him up - do me a favour.

constantnamechanger Wed 13-Feb-13 20:41:15

and of course you have sympathetic lawyers - they are on the side of whoever is paying them

We have decided as people that has been lied to by police officers and had our children interviewed on their own by social services. The later because we refused to play along with the story being told. Social worker states clearly we are wonderful parents and there is no abuse of these kids etc.We intend to go very public once his case is closed.

We are very luck to be a family with lots of local support. Have spoken with children and extended family everyone agrees this is madness.

The public have to be mad aware of the handling of these cases and that there is no fair police investigation. From the moment you are accused you become guilty until proven innocent.

I have made a very clear chart/timeline showing what she is saying and comparing it to legal documents/personal letters and public records to show where he lived and worked at the time of these alleged abuses. The timeline clearly shows that over the 6 year period she claims 80% of what she says is impossible. And this is a case that is going to court.

My hope is to have this chart plus some other information published in the press. Then maybe people will see how much there own families are in danger and things will change.

If you don't believe trust me I understand I would of been the same as you. However having lived this my views have changed completely.

The discloser of evidence from the cps shows no document evidence except old school reports on her behaviour at time. The witnesses are just friends saying that she was a troubled teen and a couple of people saying she disclosed to them a couple of years ago.

The police have failed to had other a copy of the interview tape. This is despite the fact he was charged months ago. The reason being they questioned him on her first 2 statements and have made changes since. This would show on the tape. If we get to court and still no tape it should mean the judge will say no trail but we don't want that.

We want her on the stand commiting predjury.

If I can get the press to run the story once we are legally aloud to do so you will all be gob smacked.

Forgot to say she has told people stories of 7 other people that abused her (not at the same time or connceted in anyway). I knew a couple of these stories before but it is only since the arrest that people have started talking about her other claims. He is the first she has reported to the police (amazing he is the most wealth).

Out of the 7 other stories he is the third one of my relatives. All the stories vary from physical, mental and sexual abuse.

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:22:28

I find it absolutely disgusting that you appear to know so much about an ongoing rape investigation.

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:26:54

I know of one rapist locally who is spreading rumours his own father is an "ex drug dealing methhead" - doesn't mean it's true despite people sadly believing it and passing it as truth.

People are only too quick to spread salacious gossip.

Of course people are talking about her since his arrest - that's what happens to rape victims - some believe far more dont and lots of people are happy to stick the knife in.

You are aware are you that victims are often repeat victims.

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:28:14

and a social worker wouldn't state anything that categorically either

(1) Social worker did not write in report we are wonderful parents and no abuse etc. However she did say to us in those words. There is no case where her words offically.

(2) I know so much about the case because I am a witness and also have had to help find key documents that the police should have bothered to find themselves. The victim here is a very shocked 60 year old man with health issues that is now on diazipam and sleeping pills. If the family were not here to help him find the information to defend him he would be in prison for the rest of his life. I have not been aloud to see statement of course as is right in a live case. But I don't need to in this case as the dates mean he would have to have superpowers or a helicopter.

(3)As I have said in another post I was the victim of ABH and a sexual assault (exhusband). I know how hard it is to go to the police. At the trial I broke down when the cps questioned me. The defence barrister didn't have a hard job getting him off sexual assault charge. He only got 9 months for ABH because of the injurys I had.

(4) Who can anyone expect the police to investigate fairly if the interviewing police officer says "If he is not innocent why did he ask for a solicitor when arrested".

(5) I know very little about the case of this poor woman who killed herself. I just don't think people should always think no smoke with out fire.

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:07:51

as a witness you still shouldn't know so much about case

Forgot to say not rape investigation but sexual assault of a child (8-14). Historic as over 30 years ago.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 14-Feb-13 22:12:26

is this a current case?

In what way do you mean. I am family and have been questioned by police. My family and friends have been questioned. The accuser has been talking to other family friend about it. Plus I have had a timeline to set up so given date to work on and legal documents to find.

I have said as can not talk freely

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 14-Feb-13 22:20:24

your case may be going to court in future?

perhaps discussing it on mumsnet is not wise.

I know thanks x

but need to vent a little so fed up with current political madness and public view that all accused are guilty.

Not going to say anything that would cause problem with case.

Can't wait to go public with the details as amazing this can go to court.

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:35:54

the police would not ask a witness to set up their own timeline and dig out documents

sounds more like you are planning your own witch hunt

and as a rape victim - she will be protected from her name in print

facebookaddictno9 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:38:05

and the public view maybe that people are guilty - buts that's down to the fast we all know the majority of abusers walk free - a system that punished the majority of the guilty would better serve the absolutely minute proportion of innocent

The police have not ask for a timeline or documents that is the defense team.

If the police did ask for this information or even bother to find this information themselves I would be happy. The police and cps are only working on witness statements. If they where to put the abuse allegations to one side and find out if the facts of the case are true then they would see what the rest of us can.

As witness about to commit perjury in court and even if a guilty verdict happened. She has told some very provable lies. For get defense witnesses there are legal documents that prove maybe 80% of what she is saying impossible.

She is going to prison.

The witch hunt as you call it is for the investigating officer. Personally I will not rest until every case she has dealt with is looked at again. If you or your family were ever interviewed by her you would understand. She has lied to people and not taken photo evidence when offered. Also not spoken to key witnesses (we believe in case they said something that will disprove the case). She is so convinced that the accuser is telling the true that she is blinded.

The police don't investigate these cases they build a case.

The first line (1a I think)of the police investigation guideline states that all avenues and evidence must be explored. In this case and others that has not happened.

Less abuses would walk free if the police did there job properly and didn't just rely on witness statements but looked for any factual evidence as well. In historic cases the cps can go to court on a victim statement and what is called hearsay evidence. Weather this is wrong or right I am not to say but as there is factual evidence in this case that is available to them from public offices there is no excuse not to bother doing some research.

Would you all be happy if it was your husband/father/son/uncle going to court because Thresea May or Cameron says that all these cases should be tried no matter what.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Feb-13 23:11:35

I would be very interested to know what "legal documents" could categorically establish that historic abuse allegations are untrue. As a alwyer myself I cannot think of any category of documents which would be capable fo this. On this ground alone I find your assertions lacking in credibility, wonderwoman. it is not uncommon for family and friends of elderly defendants in historic cases to react with outrage against the accuser - even where, as I have seen in more than one case, the defendant later capitulates and admits the truth of the allegations.

Got to be a bit careful hear as you are aware but here goes.

Ok, so say you went on holiday to your holiday home last year and the police arrest you for punching a bar man. However the barman says that the assault happened in July. You however where at home 500 miles away at the time as your holiday was in May. And you had sold that holiday home in June (Land register)

Also he says you drove away in your green volvo however you sold that volvo five years before. (car papers)

Made up this but you get my point?

Also for real the police have not realised that I would have to be two years younger than I am and my sister one year older. Trust me we do know how old we are.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Feb-13 23:27:16

The Land Register cannot establish that a person was in a given place at a given time.
You are talking bollocks.

The land register can tell you when a person brought and sold a house. You can't be abused in a house years before or after a person lived there.

Are you a bit slow?

Or the investigating officer?

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Thu 14-Feb-13 23:36:17

Slow I may be, but I can at least spell...

We I am no lawyer just a uneducated mum trying to make sense of why the law is being so horridly abused. All in order for some evil person to claim compensation.

The police who I may add I have until these events away thought did a wonderful and diffcult job. None of us have ever been arrested before so as a family we are in shock and learning the law as we go.

If what we have and are going through is normal the system has to change.

I was thinking the other day if my daughter was abused the thought that this police officer was running the case would be appalling. If this was a case of a guilty man then at court it would be down to whose witnesses preform better. Not the case hear but think. The police have not tried to find any real evidence.

Just thought that is not totally true. The took his laptop, mobile and dvds. All of which returned after months as family friendly.

ratbagcatbag Fri 15-Feb-13 04:43:23

Sorry wonder woman but you sound just like the ones who tried to get my
Uncle off too. In historic cases it is accepted that you cannot accurately remember dates especially as you were a child. I repeat absolutely that cps will only take a case if there is a good chance of conviction and the victim will hold up/ be taken as credible. I was made very clear from
The beginning that it wouldn't be an easy path and cps donor always result in charges. Eight is a huge amount so they must've bloody certain on it.

Oh and witnesses that have been disclosed to earlier are all part of the cause, I had the same, it means that through your life you have consistently told your story. Agree with others it sounds like you want a witch hunt to get this woman. Trust me, in an historic case you have to be bloody certain with what you're saying even if the dates are wrong, they go over and over it.

Luckily for me the people who didn't believe me didn't have much bearing on the case and my uncle still resides on the sex offenders register even now.

Finally, compensation, yep got some of that. 8k, 8k for being abused everynight for eight to ten years (can't remember exact dates), 8k for the self harm in my teens as I couldn't handle it anymore. You could have kept every penny as I know what I'd have preferred.

ratbagcatbag Fri 15-Feb-13 04:49:57

And I'm sorry your comment regarding not resting until every case the investigating officer has been looked at again is horrific, you wish to reopen old wounds for many victims as part of your witch hunt. Lovely.

Interestingly as said up thread if you relative confesses then what, oh wait I guess it would be the same as my family, I'm
Still a liar but of he admitted something he hadn't done then he'd get less of a sentence.

ratbagcatbag Fri 15-Feb-13 04:50:41

Should say every weekend, not every night. Doh

facebookaddictno9 Fri 15-Feb-13 08:12:29

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

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 15-Feb-13 08:15:26

It's all bollocks. If she starts some vendetta against the investigating officer she'll end up in serious legal trouble herself, I suspect. Horribly stressful for the person trying to do her job too, mind.

norkmonster Fri 15-Feb-13 09:59:21

The conviction rate for rape offenses (ie cases brought to trial that result in a guilty verdict) is NOT 1 %. It is 58%. The attrition rate (based on the number of convictions compared to the number of reported rapes) is around 6%. I think it is really important to emphasize that the likelihood of a conviction at trial is more than 50%. Otherwise victims will not come forward in the first place.

facebookaddictno9 Fri 15-Feb-13 10:55:36

I thought many of those convictions were guilty pleas? My understanding is the conviction rate at actual trial is about 17%?

I be really really really happy to be wrong about that

I know that by speaking out loud on here that I am open to well this.

However after nearly a year of this rubbish I need a voice.

If you have ever had your children interviewed by social services on there own with nobody they know present and a police officer saying not asking questions to you but saying horrid thing to you to try and convince you

(a) the accuser is telling the truth and

(b) you have also been abused in some way????

8 charges are not so many when the charges are spree out back to back over a 6 year period, apart from the last two. This is in order to get at least one charge dated right. To start with they were each over lapping over a 2 year period. A judge told cps this was mad, so they changed the time periods.These are charges that know span between when she was 8-14 years old. I can go for someone of 8 not being able to tell you the age/year they where abused but a 12/13/14 year old.

Not a date but a year. Surely you would be able to tell the police within a two year period?

This case like many other is stuck in a new all cases must know be tried system. Two years ago the facts would have stopped the cps going to court. Now Cameron says all must go before a court.

As for comp She is planning to sue privately why else go after someone you claim has molested you rather than the person you have claimed did far worse (not in any relation to this case separate allegation back in the day when I was friends with the accuser).

My relate has money her other alleged abusers have not, simple.

Only one thing worse than a child abuser. The scum that pretends they have been abused.

If I where all of you in the current press/political climite I would be thinking "There before the grace of god go I"

Forget where but I think I read it was Germany.

When they stopped compensation except for legal, medical or therapy. The reported cases of historical abuse went down by 70%.

True cases should be tried and hanging is to good for the guilty. Hung, drawn and quatered maybe.....

But cases should be investigated properly and common sense applied. Not a system that says people should go to court for a judge/jury to decide. The strain, stigma, mental health and money side of a year waiting to go to court are appalling.

EldritchCleavage Fri 15-Feb-13 13:13:55

It is interesting to me that all the anger has focused on the QC. I know she carried out the cross-examination, but let us not forget she did so on the instructions of her client, the lying abusing bastard. HE told her it was all untrue, HE wanted to test the witness to the maximum extent possible to see if she would crumble and he could get off, HE persisted in those instructions throughout the witness's ordeal.

And in all offences against the person which are one person's word against another's with little other evidence, a full-on confrontation accusing the victim of lying is going to be a central plank of the defence. How could it be otherwise?

Finally, while I have no desire to be unkind to you personally wonderwoman2012, I think your statements on this thread have been misguided, over-simplified shite. Truly. And please don't extrapolate from your one experience to tell the rest of us what to think about abuse complaints and the people who make them.

Fair enough

Will duck out without another word, just wanted some of the no smoke without fire people to stop and think for a second.

Not the best taste forum to be on anyway.

Unlike the case of this poor women witness statements are not the only defense evidence in my example. All these cases are different and should be viewed on there own evidence.

I know in the case where I was the 'victim' the assault and being in court where to much for me. The defense team barely had to speak to be. I could not articulate what happened. He was only found guilty because of medical evidence.

I am going to other forums to find some legal opinions and public opinions as interesting to find out the way a jury may think.

facebookaddictno9 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:06:31

wonderwoman witnesses are not supposed to discuss ongoing cases with each other - even husband and wives - so you have jeaporaised the cAse for the defence already

bollox do all new cases have to be prosecuted the guidance for cps prosecution is freely av. online

there is again in your case no fair trial for the victim because the defence witnesses are clearly colluding together - this wouldn't be necessary if the defendant had nothing to hide

based on what you have posted here you should be found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice

facebookaddictno9 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:08:39

oh and all you have made me think is with people like you in the world no wonder few victims come forward

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 15-Feb-13 15:00:05

"I can go for someone of 8 not being able to tell you the age/year they where abused but a 12/13/14 year old."
experienced prosecutors of my acquaintance tell me different. I'm afraid the sad truth is that for youg people who have been subjected to abuse day after day for years on end things often get a bit jumbled. Prosecutors have to select sample charges from different time periods to ensure the course of offending is properly reflected 0 the criminality cannot be charged "en masse".
Far from being some kind of cospiracy, such practices are designed to ensure a fair trial; they ensure the defendant understands, as clearly as possible, what he is being asked to account for.
the CPS and police have not regarded such difficulties, which are inherent in hostoric cases, as a bar to charge or prosecution, for some considerable time; certainly since I qualified, which is 15 years' ago. I, for one, am jolly glad about that.As for the point about civil action, perhaps you could explain to me what the point of suing people with no money would be.

ratbagcatbag Fri 15-Feb-13 17:54:30

I was aged between three and twelve, I struggled with some of the years what happened when, I can still only define which house it happened in and I moved when I 10, that's between 5-7 years of mixed memories and dates. 8 charges, one per year they believe he abused me, it is a lot, 3 attempted rapes plea bargained away.

Stop minimising the victims memories, it's not so fucking easy to remember everything in date order, you mind doesn't want you too, mine was ten years down the line ad I still couldn't do it even now I've processed it all.

You really are a piece of work and I really hope you get more opinions somewhere else and drop yourself right in it.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 15-Feb-13 19:05:30

ratbag the people who know about this stuff and deal with it know that people cannot be expected to remeber dates and details when they are talking about abuse they suffered as children and they fight hard to frame the case in the best possible way. Only an idiot or someone with an agenda would think otherwise. I take my hat off to you for having the courage to go through the process and I'm glad you were vindicated.

ratbagcatbag Fri 15-Feb-13 20:36:57

Thanks Karlos, it's not often a poster really infuriates me, but hate it when some manage it. smile

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