I'm finding the coverage of the Michael Le Vell case really biased against the alleged victim

(158 Posts)
ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 05-Sep-13 17:11:25

I'm really shocked. This poor girl, who can't currently be more than 13, is not only having her case all over the media, but the headlines seem terribly pro LeVell before the verdict is even being considered.

Despite the paediatric expert saying that there was no evidence EITHER WAY two years after the last alleged attack ( i.e it neither confirmed NOR negated abuse), the Sun and other gutter press are headlining that she never had sex at all.

Sexual abuse cases are notoriously hard to prove due to the quintessentially secretive nature of the act. This coverage will surely discourage victims to come forward?

IMO, people are mistaking LeVell for the affable character he plays and demonising the victim, who is still only a 13 year old girl.

Methe Thu 05-Sep-13 17:24:13

The alleged victim. He hasn't been found guilty yet.

I don't read the papers but I have been shocked at the amount of detail the tv coverage is going in to. When a case is regarding a child it ought to be done in secret untill the end. It must be awful for her.

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:25:15

The victim is now 17 I think.

The headlines have been pretty tasteless. However the headlines from earlier in the week definitely cast him in an unfavourable light.

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 17:26:55

It may not be deliberate bias, though it probably is. I think the media is absolutely rubbish at reporting court cases, because it involves having to sit and actually listen to then summarise information. Not a skill the tabloids particularly prize.

ZeroTolerance Thu 05-Sep-13 17:34:21

Totally disagree with you. The press is actually very careful in cases like this. They report the facts from the court. If it's a day of prosecution evidence, he will come off worse. There were some very unpleasant headlines earlier in the week. When it's the turn of the defence, her testimony will be questioned and challenged. Obviously.

It's a rape case. She has anonymity for life. The media will tread particularly carefully in this case because the girl could VERY easily be identified. If he is found guilty, I doubt the press will go to town on him actually. Nothing to do with his fame - because of the risk of revealing her identity.

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 17:38:26

I'm sure they will be careful not to identify her. Does not mean they will be any good at achieving an accurate precis of the evidence.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 19:06:24

I agree with you.

I went into the newsagents after work and was really taken aback by the Star headline which said (I just googled to check)

"Doctor says she has NEVER had full sex"

And I was surprised as I thought the doctor had said it was inconclusive with no firm evidence either way. I just checked on the BBC and that's what it says. So why the actual fuck are the Star printing on their front page in massive headlines that the girl is a liar.

Coverage in this type of case is usually anti-victim, unless the alleged perpetrator fits the profile of "evil sex fiend" in some way.

Makes me feel quite ill.

Pixel Thu 05-Sep-13 20:27:32

I've only glanced at a couple of articles about this and am slightly confused. They said that he allegedly raped this girl but didn't mention how he would have had access. Was he a family friend/neighbour/relative?

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:36:52

They probably can't say as it might/would identify her.

Coconutty Thu 05-Sep-13 20:39:07

I think both identities should be protected until the case is proven.

Effjay Thu 05-Sep-13 20:46:58

I agree with OP. My reaction to the story was how awful it must feel for the alleged victim and I thought of the recent case of the violinist who was abused at Chetham's who had the bravery to take her abuser to court, but her ordeal lead to her suicide.
Why is it that the victim has to be subjected to trial (by some sections) of the media during the process? I hope she's being sheltered from all of this.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:48:47

Problem with that is that it makes it harder to secure prosecutions are there is no chance for further victims to come forward.

I would not be at all keen on prosecution witness names being released on not guilty verdict either.

MikeLitoris Thu 05-Sep-13 20:50:35

But headlines from earlier this week made him look very guilty. Is that ok?

Imo there is no need for there to be any headlines about this case until there is a verdict.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:59:40

I only saw headlines saying things like "Girl claims wotsit did XYZ", nothing saying he was outright guilty.

Happy to see the other side though if you have any links, would cheer me up if it was more balanced.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:01:50

I agree though that there is absolutely no need whatsoever for details of child rape and sexual assault (whether it ends up proven or not) to be printed in the papers, and often in such a salacious way.

That seems to be the way it goes with sex crimes - against women and girls anyway. I can't recall seeing details of a sex case against a man or boy reported in that "style" but then maybe I have missed them.

Barbarashop Thu 05-Sep-13 21:02:49

I think reading they are not actually protecting her identity as carefully as they could.

Barbarashop Thu 05-Sep-13 21:03:19

Sorry - don't know where the word reading came from.

Animation Thu 05-Sep-13 21:03:39

I also agree with you op. Those headlines struck me as very distasteful with the doctor saying the girl hadn't had sex. It didn't seem right at all reporting this and I REALLY felt for her.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 05-Sep-13 21:06:21

Her identity has been revealed three times, so it isn't as 'protected' as usual. They still aren't going to say who she is, but a lot of people know.

It's probably worth adding a note that everyone who has revealed her identity has been charged, so it'd be a very bad idea to speculate on who she is on this thread.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:08:03

But did the doctor even day that?

I looked at the star article when I got home and it said the same as the BBC ie neutral, can't say one way or the other.

And yet their headline is basically doctor (professional) says girl is a LIAR which people will glance at in the shop and go away with the message that the girl was definitely never raped and she is a liar.

How are they allowed to be so utterly revoltingly irresponsible?

Why are they setting out to perpetuate the myth that females - even children - routinely lie about being sexually assaulted and raped? Why do they do that? It happens all the time and I don't understand why. Is it because it's what people want to hear - like the way the DM says stuff about immigrants or benefit scroungers or whatever? I really don't understand it.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:10:51

The last thing people on a thread showing sympathy for the way a child prosecution witness to serious sexual offences is being treated are likely to do, is start speculating as to who the victim might be.

What on earth?

Animation Thu 05-Sep-13 21:11:48

"And yet their headline is basically doctor (professional) says girl is a LIAR which people will glance at in the shop and go away with the message that the girl was definitely never raped and she is a liar.

How are they allowed to be so utterly revoltingly irresponsible?"

Yes, absolutely!!!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 05-Sep-13 21:57:15

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking this.

I thought she must be 13 as the last time she was allegedly raped was the age of ten and the last attack was over two years ago.

I'm amazed this doesn't have a news blackout until the verdict. It is such a delicate and emotive case and so unfair on the alleged young victim. I bet it has undone years of good work by Rape Crisis Centres and charities.

iclaudius Thu 05-Sep-13 21:58:47

totally agree op
saw the daily star today and was concerned that the wording of the headline looked biased in le vells favour

scaevola Thu 05-Sep-13 22:03:11

There were threads on MN earlier this week about the (upsettingly graphic to some) headlines based on the girl's testimony. When the prosecution case was being put forward, he looked bad in those headlines; as trial moves to defence, it will show his side.

scaevola Thu 05-Sep-13 22:09:12

According to the BBC he is charged with offences from 2001 onwards, and the first occurred when she was 6. That makes her 18-19 now.

landrover Thu 05-Sep-13 23:03:33

oddly enough, wikipedia have changed his history recently, presumably because of the case.

Pixel Thu 05-Sep-13 23:56:10

I wasn't speculating who the girl could be, it hadn't crossed my mind that going into more detail in the paper might identify her blush. I just thought I'd missed something when I skim-read the story.

TheSecondComing Fri 06-Sep-13 00:03:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hackmum Fri 06-Sep-13 09:27:18

As far as I can tell, all the newspapers are doing is reporting what is said in court. Obviously they choose the most dramatic statements for their headlines, but they have to be very careful not to report any of these statements as fact, nor to write anything that hasn't been said.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 10:01:18

I agree with TSC. It's pretty obvious, and that makes the media coverage even more reprehensible, I think. It's really surprising that there isn't a media blackout, to be honest.

I'm also disgusted at what the defence claims is her motivation for making the allegations, but I suppose that's part and parcel of the vile practice of verbally destroying the reputation of the alleged victim. Nice sad

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 10:17:53

But hackmum I haven't seen it reported anywhere else that the doctor said that.

lotsofdogshere Fri 06-Sep-13 10:18:33

I worked with victims/survivors and their families for many years. I agree with the comments here about the way this case is being reported. I have been angry for months about the way in which the Mirror/Star in particular have been covering Michael L V's life with such a sympathetic slant. Endless photographs of him either looking depressed, or with whichever woman he is with that week, all with the emphasise that all the Corrie cast support him, no one believes he is capable of the offences alleged against him, etc. It felt like victim bullying to me, for him to continue to be so much in the public eye, and with the sympathy of the papers concerned with him on the innocent till proven guilty premise. I accept that false allegations are sometimes made, but it's not common. It's so difficult for children or adults to give evidence to the police, and then in court about sexual offences. I find it hard to believe we still allow the court rooms to be open to the public in this kind of case.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 10:19:32

I don't watch coronation street and don't know much about this man, but it seems from this thread that lots of people know who the victim is.

In which case none of these details should be reported.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 11:02:02

lotsofdogs- I totally agree. If anything is designed to put a victim off from reporting a rape, it's the frightening way an alleged victim has been discredited in the national press before the jury have even retired.

I think rape cases should be a news blackout until the verdict in order to protect the alleged victim.

As an aside, I have no idea who the victim is and I'm not even going to try and guess.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:00

"I'm also disgusted at what the defence claims is her motivation for making the allegations, but I suppose that's part and parcel of the vile practice of verbally destroying the reputation of the alleged victim. Nice sad"

I know!!

It's got to change - it IS disgusting!!

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:30:52

"If anything is designed to put a victim off from reporting it's the frightening way an alleged victim has been discredited in the national press before the jury have even retired."

Yes - and front page headlines at that!!!

The press need to stop this - what they're playing at!

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 14:34:51

How else do you cross-examine though? He says she's lying. She says he's lying. How does a court, in an adversarial system of law, challenge the evidence and arrive at a decision about what happened?

How would it work if the court assumed the victim was truthful and the defendant had to prove a negative-that he didn't commit the offence?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 14:50:21

Eldritch- How else do you cross examine? Easy answer- IN PRIVATE!

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:50:40

But for the defense to make some nasty assumption about her motive for reporting it - they're not dealing with facts and evidence based material there are they. It's just bullying brow beating court behaviour - annihilating her and getting very personal when this girl who may have been raped from the age of 6 and if so, is probably feeling very exposed and vulnerable.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 14:53:04

But we have a system of open justice, for good reason. And the proceedings have to be reported anyway, I think.

The victim is not in court always-they use video links. So making the whole thing private is unlikely to help the victim's feelings but could undermine public confidence in the trial process.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 14:53:48

Agree Animation.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:57:57

"And the proceedings have to be reported anyway, I think."

Why?

I'm the public and I'm not happy how this trial is being conducted!!

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 15:12:23

Yes we do have open justice, and in the main I agree that it is a good thing. However some highly sensitive cases are subject to media blackouts and due to the celebrity of the accused, and the nature of the accusations along with the age of the alleged victim both when the offences occurred and now, I'm rather surprised that this wasn't one of them.

Did that make any sense?

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 15:14:23

No, but I'd be a lot more unhappy with a state of affairs where a verdict was announced for a trial held in secret which heard evidence we were not told about. That's the stuff of kafka-esque Nightmares and totalitarian regimes.

Trial reporting is sometimes postponed, within strict limits, but it ought always to happen. Why do you think lawyers and some judges made such a fuss about the plans for secret courts for some terrorism hearings. Bloody sinister.

If we want less brutal treatment for victims and more convictions, we should get rid of juries. Don't just blame lawyers, its the prejudices of us, the public, that is pandered to in these trials as we sit on juries, subscribe to rape myths, blame victims and refuse to believe anyone vaguely respectable-looking or successful could be a sex offender.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 15:18:30

Also, the defence appears to be that she is making it up in order to get get a career as an actor or dancer confused

I have to admit, I did a hmm at the radio when I heard that.

Sometimes I wonder whether we should consider the american model of the alleged victim having an advocate too. It does seem as if victims in the UK are left to get on with it alone. A bit of counselling after the event doesn't really go that far to negating the effect of having your character torn to shreds in public.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 15:21:21

What would the victim's advocate do though? She would still have to be cross-examined.

And actually, though it is awful, the very thinness of the supposed reasons for her to lie is laid bare for all, especially the jury, to see. My first thought on hearing it was 'Poor girl'. And my second was 'Seriously? That's all you've got Turner? Blimey.' It's not even logical-how does any of this horrific exposure amount to a showbiz career for her? I hear the sound of the barrel being scraped.

ExcuseTypos Fri 06-Sep-13 15:22:42

I agree with you OP about the reporting of the Drs evidence.

Grossly unfair to the victim.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 15:28:48

"And actually, though it is awful, the very thinness of the supposed reasons for her to lie is laid bare for all, especially the jury, to see"

Very true.

My thoughts are the defence is rubbish ..

Viviennemary Fri 06-Sep-13 15:32:46

I didn't think the headline were particularly biased in his favour but I was surprised at the level of detail being allowed to be reported. For example the fact that she went to a conference and heard an American speaker talk about being raped as a child and then going on to great success as a model.

And then made her accusations after that. But I suppose you could read anything into this. I read the first attack was in 2002 when she was six. (That is horrific) Which would make her now 17 if the details are correct. But I wondered too about access. Six year olds are not normally left quite alone with males who are not relatives. It's a very disturbing case indeed.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 15:36:32

I don't think I've phrased the advocate thing properly, not being a legal professional. Basically, I'm trying to suggest something like this, not a barrister who will testify in court. Obviously if there was somebody who was also obliged act as a barrister and defend the reputation of the victim, they'd be going round in circles forever.

I have a couple of friends who work as criminal barristers, and both of them feel that the way victims are treated in court is pretty shit overall, but neither of them have been able to suggest a workable way for things to change while still having a fair trial for the defendant.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 17:52:41

But I wondered too about access. Six year olds are not normally left quite alone with males who are not relatives

Don't go there-last thing we all want to do is identify her or start speculation about that, surely?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 18:13:09

Who's to say they are safe with relatives? And it's not just men who are paedophiles.

The fact is children are rarely 100% safe, a parent can only do their best and use their best judgement and common sense at the time.

Despite vast media coverage of sexual assault, we also need to remember that the majority of children ARE safe and the majority of adults are NOT paedophiles.

I heard from a Detective who specialised in sexual assault and rape cases that the defendants in this category almost NEVER plead guilty. They deny it til they're blue in the face, even when there is clear proof.

NotInTheMood Fri 06-Sep-13 19:51:22

I know who it is too I really hope they come to the right verdict

Barbarashop Sat 07-Sep-13 11:53:40

I think the whole thing should have had a news blackout - you either have an innocent man whose life has been ruined or a victim whose identity has been extremely thinly veiled.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Sat 07-Sep-13 17:56:00

I agree actually Barbara. Both defendant and victim should be protected until the verdict.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Sat 07-Sep-13 17:56:15

sorry alleged victim, just to be correct.

scaevola Sat 07-Sep-13 20:19:50
bamboostalks Sat 07-Sep-13 20:26:30

Totally destroyed lives here.....whatever the outcome. Just awful reporting, I thought the Helen Flanagan interview was very inappropriate.

hackmum Mon 09-Sep-13 09:56:15

EldritchCleavage: "How else do you cross-examine though? He says she's lying. She says he's lying. How does a court, in an adversarial system of law, challenge the evidence and arrive at a decision about what happened?"

One of the problems in these kinds of trials is that the defence can say anything at all about the victim to blacken her name - that she's promiscuous, she's a liar, she has a history of making things up. But the prosecution can't say anything to blacken the name of the defendant, and they certainly can't mention previous criminal convictions. It's completely unbalanced. I'm still shocked that in the Joanna Yates murder trial, the prosecution weren't allowed to mention the fact that the defendant enjoyed watching videos of women being strangled, as that might "prejudice" the case.

I agree with barbarashop - there should definitely also have been less reporting, because that would be the decent thing to do.

Instead, whichever way the verdict goes, two lives have been ruined. Him, because even if he is not guilty of the alleged crimes, he will always have the horror, shame and ego-destroying memories of this time. (in the true sense of the word "ego" - knowing men who have been through similar, though less publicly, they were left empty shells of who they used to be)

The alleged victim, because she is either a victim of abuse, or will be known forever as a woman who tried to destroy a man.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 09-Sep-13 10:42:28

hackmum- I totally agree. I know of a case where the defendant had a previous conviction for sexual abuse of a child but they weren't allowed to mention it. Meanwhile, his 13 year old victim was questioned about boyfriends, sex and whether she watched porn. He was found not guilty. She was left to put her life back together.

hackmum Mon 09-Sep-13 18:30:26

That's heartbreaking, Chocs.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Mon 09-Sep-13 21:26:34

It really was, hackmum. I reckon the result might have been very different if the Jury had been allowed to know his track record.

jmdad Mon 09-Sep-13 22:17:43

I agree, and clearly a great deal of the evidence, such as motive for example, has been supressed from publication in papers and TV due to the fact that it would could identify the alleged victim.

ZeroTolerance Mon 09-Sep-13 23:33:03

Virtually no evidence has been reported so I don't see how there can be bias one way or the other.

sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 10:32:52

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EldritchCleavage Tue 10-Sep-13 12:18:28

Really distasteful level of detail in that post, sue.

pindorasbox Tue 10-Sep-13 12:36:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 13:16:00

Distasteful to who EldritchCleavage? I did give a warning for my choice of words at the beginning..... and I am pretty damn sure it was tame compared to the actual alleged victims detailed statements that were read out in court but subject to a media block.. etc.

Apologies if I caused offense tho....

boschy Tue 10-Sep-13 13:51:22

The jury is out, as far as I am aware.

EldritchCleavage Tue 10-Sep-13 13:59:09

Distasteful to me, for starters. Really weird post in fact.

BabyX Tue 10-Sep-13 14:05:36

Pindora, on what are you basing her shredded reputation? There's been hardly any reporting of this case. There's hardly anything they can print!! I would argue Le Vell is the one with the shredded reputation, whatever the outcome. He hasn't been given anonymity, has he? We all now know he is an alcoholic - in fact, his drinking seems to be the only thing the papers have been able to report freely.

She has been treated with absolute protection and fairness by the legal system. The fact that the defence has offered reasons why they don't believe her is how trials work. I'm not sure what else you expect.

sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 14:14:30

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EldritchCleavage Tue 10-Sep-13 14:21:03

Odder and odder.

sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 14:33:11

EldritchCleavage , you are on a thread about a child abuse court case. If it offends you, please go back to the birthday ideas, nappy cakes and school run threads!

sue, are you a juror? or just a mind reader?

I find the salacious nature of your post extremely distasteful.

sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 14:59:15

ahh, another one biased against the victim..

salacious ??? did i put smiley faces ? did i put lols ? Or did i put a warning that some might find my words crude and advised to scroll past. This isn't no tv licence or parking fine case.

if he was charged with those offences, then that is what the cps say he did. none of this 'but its kevin webster' crap

I agree with the OP, people are biased towards the alleged victim. I also agree with the mother and what the prosecution say about the courage of this child, who would have had to say far much worse in statements and open court I'm sure.

EldritchCleavage Tue 10-Sep-13 15:09:56

Sigh.

Youhaventseenme Tue 10-Sep-13 15:22:52

NOT GUILTY

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 15:30:14

And a unanimous verdict, according to SKY.

So the real victim is the accused. I doubt he will work again, will be left damaged, broken and empty.

But who cares, we've had our tittle tattle, of course there's no smoke without fire, justice is weighted against the "victim", yada, yada...

meditrina Tue 10-Sep-13 15:41:12

Why would he not be able to return to Corrie?

Upsy1981 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:19:57

As I understand it, Corrie have been very supportive and have left the door open for his return in the case of a not guilty verdict. Quite right too imo.

comingalongnicely Tue 10-Sep-13 16:20:14

They've said they're looking forward to getting him back.

His whole life & personality has been ripped to shreds & exposed for the world to see, that must take a toll on him.

I really think there should be anonymity for all involved until the guilty verdict is reached....

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 16:38:05

I have mixed feelings on this. If he didn't do it and is an innocent man, then great.

However, people need to remember that victims don't go through these gruelling trials just for kicks. It's so difficult for a victim to go through the intrusive physical examinations, to have their background investigated and discussed and to be discredited in court. I wonder how the poor girl is doing now that the media is crowing about the result and calling her a liar.

My view may be coloured by the fact that as I said above, I know of a trial where the defendant had a Not Guilty verdict despite having past convictions for it, and despite the fact that I knew that he was Guilty. (NB it was not me by the way). I will never read a verdict in the same black and white way again.

Upsy1981 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:38:47

I agree coming

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 16:41:27

Actually I agree too. I think that both defendant and alleged victim should be anonymous until a verdict is reached.

The reasons are twofold. Not only does it protect a man who may be innocent, but it also stops the alleged victim from being identified. i.e if it was the victim's uncle or stepfather, people would put two and two together and be able to identify the alleged victim more easily.

Upsy1981 Tue 10-Sep-13 16:45:34

Unfortunately, I think that SOME alleged victims do go through these trials 'for kicks' or attention or whatever in the same way that people with Munchausens syndrome for example will put themselves through intrusive and unnecessary investigations and treatments for various reasons. However, at the opposite end of the scale is the case you referred to. I still think we need to trust our justice system and the jury who heard all the evidence rather than just snippets in the press as, on the whole, I think they do get it right.

hackmum Tue 10-Sep-13 17:03:22

I think the idea that someone would go through the process of having their character ripped to shreds in court for the "kicks" is very unlikely. We do know, by contrast, that thousands of victims of sexual abuse never report it precisely because they know what will happen to them in court, and because they know they will never get justice.

Ponders Tue 10-Sep-13 17:04:27

Certainly the tone of some of what she was reported to have said in her testimony was just plain weird. eg what was with those times she gave? I can't find a report now, but she said it would happen at 2.21am (or some such time) - from when she was 6? she had a digital clock? & remembers now what time it was then?

that, & the teddy bear business, just sounded made-up. if it wasn't made-up, & she was telling the truth, then the verdict is tragic; but I interpreted the media reports (presumably written by people who were in court) as transmitting the tone of the evidence in the words they used.

(& I can't believe anybody thought "Kevin Webster wouldn't do that" - they couldn't - could they??? confused)

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 10-Sep-13 17:19:44

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sue1806 Tue 10-Sep-13 17:24:57

Well, i return to apologize as i said i would, if my assumption of him getting off with the major charges due to lack of evidence but being found guilty of the lesser ones was wrong. So I apologize.

I would have preferred him to have been cleared because the girl retracted her story, rather than the jury working under the direction of the judge to make a decision based on the 'evidence' presented to them.

Anyway, I wonder if he will get back with his ex wife now he's been cleared .....

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 17:40:24

Cogito- you are exactly right and have voiced what I was thinking.

A Not Guilty verdict is not the same as being totally cleared and acquitted.

It means that it could not be proved that the defendant was guilty BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. i.e if you were 99% sure that the defendant was guilty but couldn't put it in concrete due to lack of witnesses, or forensic evidence, then you would have to concede a Not Guilty verdict.

Sadly it is very hard to prove such cases because evidence is sometimes taken years, not minutes, after the fact and also because the very nature of the alleged crime is such that the two people involved are alone with no witnesses.

Furthermore, the defence team will try and nail down specific times and dates of events that happened several years earlier, even if its impossible for the alleged victim to remember such specific details such as "what time did the TV programme finish?" or "what time did you eat that day?". this can then be turned round into "so you can't remember exactly what happened etc"

BabyX Tue 10-Sep-13 17:49:15

I really wish I could speak openly about this case. This is the right verdict, I am certain of it. If you knew a few extra facts those of you being so compassionate towards the alleged victim might think a little differently. Lots and lots of evidence in court was not reported. You do not know some very key facts.

Probably best to let this one go. Very, very sad. I feel enormous sympathy for Michael Le Vell.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Tue 10-Sep-13 17:55:30

Let's put to one side for a moment private views on the right or wrong verdict.

What has bothered me from the start is the fact that a genuine victim of sexual abuse or rape may have been following this case with interest and may have been scared off from ever reporting it.

I think rape cases should always be subject to a media news blackout out of respect for those involved. This was done so publicly that half the country has an opinion on it and the facts that were discussed in court should have been kept private.

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 10-Sep-13 18:08:35

You are quite right in that 'not guilty' isn't the same as 'innocent' and that's what he's going to have to live with forever I guess.

The reporting seemed to change during the trial as others have said depending on whether it was a prosecution or defence day. However, like someone else said - as soon as I read the time information the complainant had cited from when she was 6 years old - well I guessed he'd be found not guilty.

I feel very sorry for him having had his life devastated like this and just assume the complainant must be a very troubled individual.

I wondered if this would have ever come to trial if it wasn't for the whole Saville/Yewtree operation.

comingalongnicely Tue 10-Sep-13 19:30:09

Trouble is, there is no "Innocent" verdict, so anyone who enters a British Court as the accused will only ever be "Not Guilty".

By that token, everyone that walks out of those courts only does so "because there wasn't enough evidence" rather than the fact they may be innocent....

I find that sad...

MrsCampbellBlack Tue 10-Sep-13 19:47:42

I do too comingalongnicely.

Upsy1981 Tue 10-Sep-13 20:16:15

Me too.

GooseRocks Tue 10-Sep-13 21:06:36

Interesting post BabyX.

I really do hope this is the correct verdict.

On the presumption that it is, poor, poor man. There really isn't anything worse a person could be accused of.

EldritchCleavage Wed 11-Sep-13 10:45:59

You have to balance rules for a fair trial with looking after victims. I don't think you can have completely different rules and procedures for trials of sexual offences, as opposed to other crimes, either.

People saying we should have anonymity for the accused and no reporting: that amounts to secret trials, which is constitutionally a very risky road to go down. Witnesses and other victims wouldn't come forward, there would be no scrutiny of whether trials were fair and sentences were fair.

The real problems are still cultural, you can't blame the legal system completely for how victims are regarded and all the failures to convict, including the way newspapers choose to report this stuff. I think they'd be even worse after every not guilty verdict in a secret trial and we wouldn't have the same idea of how the evidence unfolded and whether the coverage was fair or not.

EnjoyEverySandwich Wed 11-Sep-13 11:25:59

Accusations of rape and other sexual offences are different from other crimes though. There is usually no doubt that a murder, say, or a robbery has occurred, and there will be physical evidence. But people can and do make false accusations of sexual offences and there may be no evidence, especially if the alleged offences are not recent. I don't agree that such cases shouldn't be reported, but I do think that the accused should not be publicly named unless and until found guilty.

Clawdy Wed 11-Sep-13 13:42:48

Hate the way he came out of court smirking and laughing and brandishing a pint of beer. That looked awful.

EnjoyEverySandwich Wed 11-Sep-13 13:55:10

"Smirking" - such a loaded word. Let the poor guy enjoy the moment a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders. He's entitled to feel happy for the first time in two years. The baggage surrounding this will continue to cause him pain.

Clawdy Wed 11-Sep-13 14:02:32

All that gloating and rejoicing looked really inappropriate to me.

EnjoyEverySandwich Wed 11-Sep-13 14:12:54

Not if you consider the likelihood that someone has deliberately and maliciously tried to destroy his life.

Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 14:23:18

Thats th trouble isnt it. A man or woman can be tried for rape, and some people will still think they are guilty. And they can be as innocent as you or I.

lemonmuffin Wed 11-Sep-13 16:26:22

Interesting comment here:

'In 2010, an official enquiry report led by Baroness Stern - a prison reform campaigner - ordered Harriet Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years she’d been pumping misinformation that only six per cent of rapists are brought to justice, when the reality is very different. It is much higher'

cumfy Wed 11-Sep-13 17:51:50

You are quite right in that 'not guilty' isn't the same as 'innocent' and that's what he's going to have to live with forever I guess.

Well, the CPS could consider bringing perjury charges.

Personally, in cases like this I think jurors should be able to consider charges both ways in one trial.
But I'm aware it doesn't work like that legally.

ThisIsntOver Wed 11-Sep-13 18:03:19

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ThisIsntOver Wed 11-Sep-13 18:07:16

In fact, I'm sure when he's alone, he feels utterly bereft at how this situation ever got this far. I'm sure he will question his actions in recent times which may be connected to it. And he will know with absolute certainty that one part of his personal life is destroyed forever.

Drinking with his friends may be all he has left.

Clawdy Wed 11-Sep-13 19:16:54

Surely the destruction of that part of his life would leave him unable to show anything but immense sadness even with the relief? Not laughing and boozing....

happyhev Wed 11-Sep-13 19:37:23

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LillianGish Wed 11-Sep-13 19:40:02

I can't believe there are people on here saying not guilty is not the same as innocent. He has been cleared by a jury who were in full possession of all the facts - unlike anyone else who wasn't in court who had to rely on what was allowed to be reported. Reporting restrictions exist to protect the identity of the so-called victim - it means newspapers can't report the full facts (which might persuade you he is innocent).

Havea0 Wed 11-Sep-13 19:55:24

happyhev. Someone has accused your partner of commiting rape. Made up all sorts. Oh well.

StitchingMoss Wed 11-Sep-13 20:09:34

Happy, so every man accused of rape is guilty?

Why bother with a trial then? hmm

Catherine1932 Wed 11-Sep-13 22:03:57

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cumfy Thu 12-Sep-13 01:06:17

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EldritchCleavage Thu 12-Sep-13 10:50:50

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Viviennemary Thu 12-Sep-13 11:16:16

There was no evidence against him. Apart from the testimony of the witness. That was what has been widely reported.

JuliaScurr Thu 12-Sep-13 12:21:12
Havea0 Thu 12-Sep-13 16:17:33

Interesting. Havent got time to read that all in one sitting. Will read some more later.

zatyaballerina Thu 12-Sep-13 20:51:21

I think it's wrong that all the evidence shouldn't be open to the public, there was a lot of information that convinced the jury of his innocence that the public doesn't know, the same people who think that's' right are the same ones saying he's likely guilty, females don't lie etc...

He has the right to prove his innocence, not just to be found 'not guilty', now the trial is over, he should be entitled to release as many facts as necessary to clear his name. Mud sticks unfortunately, it's wrong not to let the falsely accused wash it off.

Lazyjaney Thu 12-Sep-13 22:20:43

What VivienMary said. I'm one of those who was surprised it ever went to court.

Leopoldina Thu 12-Sep-13 22:25:47

A gang rape trial in which 9 men have each spent 6 months in prison awaiting trial has just been withdrawn by the prosecution - the prosecution barristers uncovered evidence by simply googling which showed that no gang rape had taken place. 6 months in jail for that. their lives will have been ruined.

Lazyjaney Thu 12-Sep-13 22:29:01

If one countersues for perjury, does anonymity go away?

EldritchCleavage Fri 13-Sep-13 10:32:59

You can't usually 'counter sue' for perjury. You can try and bring a private prosecution but the Attorney-General can stop it if it is thought not to be in the public interest.

I don't know how people think criminal trials are going to work if the minute you are acquitted you try and prosecute or sue all the witnesses for perjury. Who on earth would ever give evidence (truthfully or not) in those circumstances?

But if there were a perjury trial the court would impose reporting restrictions to maintain victim anonymity., Ditto a civil case.

Havea0 Fri 13-Sep-13 10:35:35

Counter suing may be a good idea in this case.

That would be ironic wouldnt it.
Presumably then, he becomes automatically innocent, and the girl becomes automatically guilty in some peoples' eyes shock

EldritchCleavage Fri 13-Sep-13 10:38:57

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EnjoyEverySandwich Fri 13-Sep-13 10:54:32

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EldritchCleavage Fri 13-Sep-13 11:28:47

I think I know, Enjoy-pm me?

Ponders Fri 13-Sep-13 12:10:16

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EnjoyEverySandwich Fri 13-Sep-13 13:28:41

I don't know anything, but have gleaned enough from various sources to be pretty sure what's gone on here. I don't want to say any more publicly or privately, but I feel desperately sorry for them.

Lazyjaney Fri 13-Sep-13 14:43:41

I don't know who was involved in this case, but it does seem to me in general that one should be able to sue for damages in some way or other if your name is wrongly dragged through the mud.

I read today about 9 other people now freed, but who were imprisoned on obviously false testimony.

EldritchCleavage Fri 13-Sep-13 15:12:05

I understand, that's fine.

confuddledDOTcom Fri 13-Sep-13 17:26:54

Because of this thread I put ages and dates together, I hope I got it wrong because that's really sad (either way around) if I'm right, not that it isn't enough.

Ponders Fri 13-Sep-13 19:01:34

yes, that's what I did, confuddled

I don't think we're wrong, I'm afraid

it does explain a lot, & I hope to god they can all get back to some kind of normality after the dust has settled

Clawdy Fri 13-Sep-13 20:30:21

I am sure you're not wrong,which is why I found the celebrating and drinking outside the courtroom so sickening.

Ponders Fri 13-Sep-13 20:36:09

I suspect that left to his own devices he would just have quietly gone home, Clawdy

the celebrations were mostly from his siblings, & you can understand why they felt like that...

UseHerName Fri 13-Sep-13 20:45:09

oh my god Enjoy who else is involved?!? i'm agog!

Skybore Sat 14-Sep-13 09:53:56

Those uncertain of whether the accused should be named or not in these situations really just need to visit Mumsnet Talk for help in making their mind up! And those campaigning for not naming should just print off this thread, and a similar one in AIBU, as they really do make compelling evidence of the need for anonymity for the accused as well as the alleged victim IMO.

So many posts of "he was found Not Guilty that doesn't mean he is innocent" and "she might have been telling the truth but the jury just couldn't be sure beyond all reasonable doubt" have changed my mind on this issue. There's something sad and revealing about seeing hundreds of posts more or less confirming that Mud Sticks. I think I knew that some people might think this way, but in my personal life and work life I don't know anyone who would say so. Seeing so many on here doing just that has made it more real for me.

And as if this wasn't enough, the fact that the alleged victim has been identified by many on here as a result of knowing his identity, has done it for me.

Animation Sat 14-Sep-13 18:50:53

Not sure what to think - truth be known.

I don't know how you can prove historical rape.

confuddledDOTcom Sat 14-Sep-13 19:38:03

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Skybore Sun 15-Sep-13 00:13:52

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confuddledDOTcom Sun 15-Sep-13 14:09:29

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MikeLitoris Sun 15-Sep-13 14:32:57

hmm

Why on earth did they delete your post and not the one quoting it?

I actually can't see why it was deleted at all tbh.

EnjoyEverySandwich Sun 15-Sep-13 14:34:54

Me neither. If the quoted bit is the entire post, there's nothing explicit in it.

Havea0 Sun 15-Sep-13 14:46:56

Havent a clue what people are talking about in the last few posts.

Seems like he is going to now counter sue. Good [though as I said, I dont know exactly what has gone on.]

EnjoyEverySandwich Sun 15-Sep-13 14:56:43

"Counter sue"? That's not what it says here:

"Michael Le Vell has told how he forgives the teenage girl who falsely accused him of rape.

The cleared Corrie star revealed: “I was angry in the beginning. But I am not a vindictive person and don’t hold grudges.”

In emotional talks with his ­family, Michael, 48, said: “I think I am strong enough to forgive.”

The actor spelt out his amazing message of compassion after a jury found him not guilty last week of rape and indecent assault.

He has revealed how he believes the mother of the teenage girl who falsely accused him of rape was “hell-bent on destroying me”.

The star told his family he fell victim to a vindictive campaign that only ended when a jury dramatically cleared him five days ago.

But amazingly, despite his hellish two-year ordeal facing terrible accusations, Michael says he is determined to forgive."

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/michael-le-vell-forgive-girl-2275400

Havea0 Sun 15-Sep-13 15:10:23
EnjoyEverySandwich Sun 15-Sep-13 15:12:42

That's more like it. This case should never have come to court.

confuddledDOTcom Sun 15-Sep-13 19:18:17

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confuddledDOTcom Sun 15-Sep-13 19:19:39

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EnjoyEverySandwich Sun 15-Sep-13 19:46:13

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confuddledDOTcom Mon 16-Sep-13 11:30:03

I don't think I've had so many deleted posts before! hmm

I'm not sure even why lol

EnjoyEverySandwich Mon 16-Sep-13 16:02:03

That's my first! I only said that I thought that what I thought you were hinting at was wrong .... blush

mewkins Wed 18-Sep-13 21:08:17

This may have already been said but I thought that this was a really interesting case to read about. Having worked in related fields, what you have to remember is that those reporting know a lot more about the case 'off the record' than they are allowed to report. Eg. They would probably have been briefed by police/cps and all media would have come to an agreement to ensure there couldn't be jigsaw identification of the victim. Because regardless of outcome, they couldn't be identified due to current law. However, the iD of the victim was I guess pertinent to the case

Therefore we are left with really quite confusing reports with lots of gaps and not the full version of events.

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