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Live webchat with Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, Tuesday 13 March, 9.30-10.30am

(130 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Mar-12 14:05:01

As part of our week supporting our 'We Believe You' campaign, we're very pleased to welcome Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosections, for a webchat on Tuesday, 13 March at 9.30am. He'll be happy to address questions raised by 'We Believe You'.

Keir was called to the Bar in 1987 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 2002. Before being appointed DPP, his main areas of practice were human rights, international law, judicial review and criminal law. He was named QC of the Year in the field of human rights and public law in 2007 by the Chambers & Partners directory, and in 2005 he won the Bar Council's Sydney Elland Goldsmith award for his outstanding contribution to pro bono work in challenging the death penalty throughout the Caribbean and also in Uganda, Kenya and Malawi.

He was appointed as Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service in November 2008. Since being appointed, Keir has spoken publicly about the need to improve the way we prosecute cases of violence against women and girls. The second annual CPS Lecture was given by Baroness Stern on "The crime of rape and justice for victims". In April last year, Keir made a speech about "Domestic Violence: The facts, the issues, the future".

Keir is married and has two children: a son aged three, and a daughter aged one.

Because of Keir's professional responsibilities, the CPS has asked us to make a few things clear. Prosecutors take a case from pre-charge (giving the police advice in a complex investigation) through to verdict. The CPS authorises charges in serious or complex cases, including all charges of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence. Keir will be happy to address general questions raised by the We Believe You campaign, but please be aware that he won't be able to discuss the specifics of any cases, including those that are currently under investigation or going through the courts. Sentencing itself is a matter for the judiciary rather than the CPS, and as such it would be difficult for Keir to discuss the specifics of sentencing in any case. Finally (and somewhat obviously), changes in the law are a matter for Parliament rather than for Keir himself.

Do please join us on Tuesday at 9.30am for the webchat. If you can't join us live, please post up your questions for Keir here in advance.

Crumblemum Mon 12-Mar-12 16:33:55

Why do you think some police forces do better than others? Is it just down to local leadership? I heard that Kent police have one of the highest 'no crime' rates in the country (where they say 'oh sorry that doesn't seem to be worth pursuing'). What can we do to make the pull up their socks

ooh, this is exciting!

Re: Abu Qatada. Here's what I understand. Based on the HRA, and/or the ECHR, he cannot be deported because of the potential of torture/degrading treatment in addition to potentially not getting a fair trial in Jordan.

However the Home Secretary, Theresa May has recently visited Jordan to seek assurances from their government.

My question is what is the threshold in terms of the lengths a government need to go to in order to comply with the HRA/ECHR.

Thank you.

Crumblemum Mon 12-Mar-12 16:36:56

Also - does the CPS do anything/ have any say in courts? If so - should/ could judges give more direction about what to think about (and what not to think about eg some of the myth stuff in this campaign) at the start of the trial?

justalittleinsane Mon 12-Mar-12 16:43:02

I would like to know why there is the ridiculous step of sendin a rapist to magistrates merely for him to be committed to crown.

He doesn't even enter a plea at magistrates and it is simply a paper pushing exercise causing more delays for the victims and I assume increasing the costs of the case for the court.

A months wait for a CPS charging decision, a future 2 weeks for rapist to return from bail, another month to get to magistrates, followed by 6 week wait for a PCMH. Then at least 5 months from the PCMH for Crown - and that's in a good week.

So it's a minimum of 10 months just to get to court.

So my actual question is 2 fold.

A) why the antiquated magistrates court step
And
B) do you think those timescales are acceptable in situations where he police investigation is completed at early stages

KeirStarmer Mon 12-Mar-12 16:43:09

TEST

painterlyswoosh Mon 12-Mar-12 16:52:42

In your opinion, is rape a crime that is by its nature dramatically "different" in how it should be prosecuted?

This is an issue that often comes up in discussion of this topic. The argument being that whether or not sex is rape depends solely on whether or not one party says no - and it is almost always impossible to get evidence that doesn't end up being his word against hers/his.

Do you agree with this argument and the conclusion that it should be treated differently by prosecutors?

Roseformeplease Mon 12-Mar-12 17:22:19

In the light of a really interesting article in today's Times, do you think more should be done to encourage male victims of rape to feel comfortable coming forward, as well as making it easier for women?

LineRunner Mon 12-Mar-12 18:52:42

Keir,

Hello and thank you very much for being here.

I do not understand why in rape cases, the defence counsel seems to be able to pursue aggressively the line that if the alleged victim has told a lie, even about an unrelated matter, then that means they could [reasonably] be lying about the allegation that is before the court.

I do not see this in any other type of crime.

Does this, in your view, frustrate the interests of justice?

LR

NormaStanleyFletcher Mon 12-Mar-12 18:53:03

Hi Kier,

I like baroness Stern's lecture, and the idea that the victim should be given the protection of legal representation; I understand that this is outside your remit however.

So my question:-

If money were no object (haha) what changes do you think could be made to the processes and workings of the CPS in order to bring more rape cases to court, or to better support and communicate with the victims of this violent crime?

DarrowbyEightFive Mon 12-Mar-12 19:08:56

There have been all too many cases of (sexual) violence against women and girls in recent years where the judges have made what many regard as appallingly ignorant comments and decisions - some of them seem to be fully paid up members of the 'she was asking for it' brigade. It gives large swathes of the population the impression that these judges are stuck somewhere in the 1950s. Why are more judges not chosen who represent society as a whole and more sane progressive opinions? What comeback is there for judges who seem to propagate the outdated attitudes that have underpinned sexual violence for too long?

LineRunner Mon 12-Mar-12 19:12:24

Keir, given the provisos alluded to in RowenMN's original post, and the comments above, what influence do you have?

fiftieshousewife Mon 12-Mar-12 19:54:54

Hello

Big fan of yours! grin

Given that you seem to have very strong views on various things, do you find the formal limitations of the DPP role frustrating? Are you ever tempted to move into politics?

My question is following on from Darrowby's really. How do you think that overly lenient sentencing and comments from judges perpetuating rape myths in cases such as this can be avoided in the future?

Nyac Mon 12-Mar-12 21:09:57

Are you concerned by the number of rape victims being prosecuted for supposedly making false reports of rape, and what effect do you think those prosecutions will have on rape victims coming forward, given how few we know do at the moment out of the number of women actually raped.

LindsayWagner Mon 12-Mar-12 21:59:33

Hello Keir, it's great that your here - I'm a critical admirer (the best kind.)

I've got a couple of questions. The fact that so many reported rapes never even make it to court is a contributory factor to women not reporting rape - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sometimes, it's because the police 'no crime' cases - but the CPS have also acknowledged that they tend not to prosecute 'difficult' cases, where the victim had been drinking, flirting, in a previous sexual relationship with the defendant, sexually active, had consented to some other sexual activity etc - in other words, cases which don't conform to precisely the same Rape Myths which Mumsnet is campaigning about.

These cases form the bulk of reported rapes. I don't buy the argument that the CPS can do nothing about this, that they're just being realistic about the chances of a jury convicting. So, what will the CPS be doing - either overtly or behind the scenes - to ensure rape myths are challenged in court?

My second question: how can women's confidence be improved when the media focuses so relentlessly on the proportionately very low incidences of false reporting, and sexualises so many other cases?

LindsayWagner Mon 12-Mar-12 22:02:43

One more - why can't the judge advise the jury at the beginning of proceedings, rather than at the end? By that time it's too late - they've already heard all the evidence through the filter of the rape myths that we know so many members of the public believe. If myths are to be challenged, surely it should happen at the start?

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Mar-12 22:18:36

Hello Keir

Barnardo's is one of the organisations which we're supporting, as part of our We Believe You campaign. They've asked us to pass on a couple of questions.

Firstly, we know that many children find giving evidence in court a very difficult, and sometimes harmful process; how can we make the court process work better for victims of child sexual exploitation?

and

What can be done to tackle the low rate of prosecutions brought to court and even lower number of convictions for child sexual exploitation?

Thanks, on their behalf!

LeninGrad Mon 12-Mar-12 22:48:36

Is there any recourse when judges come out with the most appalling nonsense? I am often really shocked by the things some of them say with regard to women and girls who are raped and sexually assualted and it just seems astonishing that no action is seemingly taken.

Ditto for the press, what can be done when falsehoods are propagated there? Probably out of your remit but someone else might know. Keep up the good work, things are slowly going in the right direction.

CathAlfred Tue 13-Mar-12 06:41:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Mar-12 08:21:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dollymixtures Tue 13-Mar-12 08:36:20

CathAlfred - erm, no. You might want to have a look at the "we believe you" thread or the relationships board to see how infrequently women are attacked because of their clothing hmm

Keir, another admirer here! How do you think the high recidivism rate for rape and dv could be addressed?

LapsusLinguae Tue 13-Mar-12 08:56:19

I seem to remember reading that all cases of "false rape allegation" (perverting the course of justice) - are now passed personally to you for review.

Can you confirm this and can you also reassure people that if the police fail to find enough corroborating evidence of rape that this does not equal a false rape allegation?

What sort of evidence exists that these false rape allegations are indeed false - particularly when we know that some factors that the public might think are persuasive of this are in fact rape myths (delay in reporting/not telling anyone else/retracting due to threat of violence/continuing a relationship with the rapist). The Daily Mail some papers LOVE these stories and report them out of proportion with rape cases - what can be done about that?

TheStandard Tue 13-Mar-12 09:25:26

I'm very cross about the cosy corrupt relationship some journalists seem to have with the Met police. What kind of contact/passing on of info do you think is appropriate, and what kind of controls are needed to stop a Hackgate situtation developing again?

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Mar-12 09:26:15

Am pleased to say Keir is here at the Towers and almost ready to go.

strangerwithmyface Tue 13-Mar-12 09:27:10

Do you think people should have the right to die What are your thoughts on yesterday's much publicised case?

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Mar-12 09:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 13-Mar-12 09:27:48

I don't have any questions because everything I wanted to know has been asked already but thank you very much to Keir for making the time to come and do this.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 13-Mar-12 09:29:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nyac Tue 13-Mar-12 09:31:23

Morning Keir, thanks for coming to Mumsnet to talk to us about this.

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:31:52

Good morning and thank you for inviting me to Mumsnet. I'm here to chat about the Mumsnet 'we believe you' rape awareness campaign. I should say that I fully support the campaign. Myths and stereo types have bedevilled rape cases for far too long and they are by very definition deeply entrenched and hard to shift but the campaign will help us and others to confront them. At the CPS we have trained our staff and the police to focus only the facts of the case, and make no assumptions about behaviour. When we get to court we do our best to persuade judges to give direction to the jury to take the same approach.

Having had a quick look at the thread, perhaps I should address linerunner's question straight away - as DPP I am head of the CPS and we advise the police during an investigation (if asked), decide who should be charged and with what and then bring the case to court, which means we are the gateway to the criminal justice system in all rape cases.

TheMulberryTree Tue 13-Mar-12 09:34:25

Morning Keir.
My Q is: Is it possible for cases to remain subjudice from the moment of arrest, given the internet and how easy it is for information to get out. Do you think we'll move to a situation (as in the US) where those arrested are immediately named in the press?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:36:38

I have personally taken a lead on rape and violence against women because the statistics are of such concern. So I decided last year to visit every single CPS office and have a personal discussion with each of our teams of specialist rape prosecutors, and in that way, I have become deeply familiar with the difficult issues that confront rape victims and those trying to bring cases to court. I also personally host meetings with groups (usually women's groups) concerned about rape, many of which evolve around the personal details of cases they are concerned about. Before I was DPP I also represented rape victims on a number of occasions.

StewieGriffinsMom

What, if any, personal experiences do you have which led you to publicly support the We Believe You campaign?

I'm sorry if that's too personal. It's that feminists are frequently attacked for not involving men more but as men, as a group, don't usually engage with these issues I'd like to know what we can do.

Voidka Tue 13-Mar-12 09:36:44

I wonder if Keir could explain to us his feelings about the Gary McKinnon case?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:38:39

I understand your point, but I don't think the rules are about to change. The internet raises some very serious challenges for our criminal justice system- most of which are only being worked through now- your point will certainly come up in those debates.

TheMulberryTree

Morning Keir.
My Q is: Is it possible for cases to remain subjudice from the moment of arrest, given the internet and how easy it is for information to get out. Do you think we'll move to a situation (as in the US) where those arrested are immediately named in the press?

spamfilter Tue 13-Mar-12 09:40:27

Rape is massively under-reported, as we know, but sexual assault even more so. This is only anecdotal, but I know of almost no woman who has not been exposed to - it's happened to me on three occasions, including once on the London underground! Yet I never reported any of these, not least because I was young at the time. I realise these encounters are often fleeting and so it would be difficult to arrest and charge men - yet this kind of affront or assault is on a continuum with other forms of violence against women, including rape.

Is there any recourse for women who find themselves in this situation? What would you recommend? Is there any point in contacting the police given the dismal rate of conviction for the much more serious crime of rape?

Darleneconnor Tue 13-Mar-12 09:43:57

Hi, I recently attended a conference about sexual assault referral centres in Scotland. A few issues came out from it:
The police officers there said that since they had created specialist teams to deal with sex crimes they had become more skilled and this policy had reduced the attrition rate of cases- is this model being used by CPS and if not will you be doing something to push for this model?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:44:28

Myths and stereotypes have no place in a criminal justice system and we the CPS do actively challenge them. I agree with you that many cases of the type you mention do arise, and I can reassure you that we do take those cases to court. One problem we all face ius that the media rarely focuses on the success , and so its only failures that are ever really reported. We the CPS have taken a very hard line on myths and stereotypes in the last years.

As for, false reporting, this is in fact very rare indeed and a very, very small percentage of the rape allegations made, fall into this category. We now have very clear policy about these cases which i think and I hope has met with a good deal of public approval.

LindsayWagner

Hello Keir, it's great that your here - I'm a critical admirer (the best kind.)

I've got a couple of questions. The fact that so many reported rapes never even make it to court is a contributory factor to women not reporting rape - it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sometimes, it's because the police 'no crime' cases - but the CPS have also acknowledged that they tend not to prosecute 'difficult' cases, where the victim had been drinking, flirting, in a previous sexual relationship with the defendant, sexually active, had consented to some other sexual activity etc - in other words, cases which don't conform to precisely the same Rape Myths which Mumsnet is campaigning about.

These cases form the bulk of reported rapes. I don't buy the argument that the CPS can do nothing about this, that they're just being realistic about the chances of a jury convicting. So, what will the CPS be doing - either overtly or behind the scenes - to ensure rape myths are challenged in court?

My second question: how can women's confidence be improved when the media focuses so relentlessly on the proportionately very low incidences of false reporting, and sexualises so many other cases?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:46:22

We have had specialist rape teams within the CPS for several years now. I am a complete fan, and think they have made a real difference. In many areas there is also a specialist police unit, but unfortunately not in all. My own view is clear, where there is a specialist CPS team and a specialist Police team working together the results are better.

Darleneconnor

Hi, I recently attended a conference about sexual assault referral centres in Scotland. A few issues came out from it:
The police officers there said that since they had created specialist teams to deal with sex crimes they had become more skilled and this policy had reduced the attrition rate of cases- is this model being used by CPS and if not will you be doing something to push for this model?

DoomCatsofCognitiveDissonance Tue 13-Mar-12 09:47:11

Hello, thanks for doing this. If this is too personal, please don't worry - if you or someone you knew had been raped, what would your best advice to them be about how to deal emotionally with what would happen in the legal system?

Do you feel the emotional care of rape victims is the responsibility of the legal system, or not?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:48:40

Thanks for this, the answer is please to report this kind of behaviour which I know is far too prevalent. Very rarely does someone expose themselves only once, and if as many people as possible report the incidents, we and the police an try and join the dots. So please report.

spamfilter

Rape is massively under-reported, as we know, but sexual assault even more so. This is only anecdotal, but I know of almost no woman who has not been exposed to - it's happened to me on three occasions, including once on the London underground! Yet I never reported any of these, not least because I was young at the time. I realise these encounters are often fleeting and so it would be difficult to arrest and charge men - yet this kind of affront or assault is on a continuum with other forms of violence against women, including rape.

Is there any recourse for women who find themselves in this situation? What would you recommend? Is there any point in contacting the police given the dismal rate of conviction for the much more serious crime of rape?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:50:00

This case is with the hOme Secretary at the moment, so you'll understand that I can't comment on it. Apologies but the CPS does not have the McKinnon case on its desk at the moment.

Voidka

I wonder if Keir could explain to us his feelings about the Gary McKinnon case?

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Mar-12 09:50:21

Do you think there is anything that can be done to improve prosecution rates for women who are sexually abused as part of domestic violence ? Anecdotally at least, it seems that women who go through this are not supported well, or taken seriously enough.

Also, do you have any feeling as to whether those who are seen at a specialist sexual assult centre get a higher prosecution rate than people who go to a regular police unit ?

ComradeJing Tue 13-Mar-12 09:52:08

Hi Keir, What do you think is the one thing that can be done to raise the percentage of rape convictions?

Best, Comrade

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:53:05

It is the responsibility of the legal system along with others. I have learnt that expertise in emotional support is what is really needed. And where the legal system can't itself provide that it should make sure its available from others.

To be frank, I don't know what advise I'd give if someone close to me had been raped. I think these things are intensely personal and individual.

DoomCatsofCognitiveDissonance

Hello, thanks for doing this. If this is too personal, please don't worry - if you or someone you knew had been raped, what would your best advice to them be about how to deal emotionally with what would happen in the legal system?

Do you feel the emotional care of rape victims is the responsibility of the legal system, or not?

slug Tue 13-Mar-12 09:53:27

Hi Keir

When you have time, I suggest you check out the #ididnotreport hashtag on twitter. There are just so many examples of women being sexually assaulted, sometimes in full view of the police, and no action being taken. It also shows the prevalence of a denial culture by the police and authorities.

DoomCatsofCognitiveDissonance Tue 13-Mar-12 09:54:18

Thanks Keir.

Darleneconnor Tue 13-Mar-12 09:54:31

Do you think that the British adversarial system of justice is disadvantageous to rape victims compared to the inquisitorial systems of continental Europe (which have higher conviction rates)? Could special 'rape courts' help in this?

SardineQueen Tue 13-Mar-12 09:56:15

I am interested in the question upthread about how the accused has a legal team but the victim is no more than a witness and so if not close to the prosecutor and has no-one there "on her side".

What can be done about this? It sounds like a lonely and scary place to be. If the accused has a legal team to look after his interests why not the victim?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:56:18

No one thing, but here's a few starters for ten; enhance public confidence by having a rapid and specialist police response. Gather evidence as early as humanly possible. Have well equipped sexual assault referral clinics, in as many places as possible. Encourage the police to take early advise from the CPS, . Make sure all cases are dealt with by specialists and have a honest discussion with the victim about the support they would like in court.

ComradeJing

Hi Keir, What do you think is the one thing that can be done to raise the percentage of rape convictions?

Best, Comrade

Nyac Tue 13-Mar-12 09:56:48

Would the legal system be able to cope if women and girls who've been assaulted reported every incident of sexual violence?

SardineQueen Tue 13-Mar-12 09:57:09

Also in Darlene's question posted just now.

Thank you for talking to us today Kier.

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:58:51

This is a good question, which has been raised a number of times, the CPS prosecutes on behalf of the public. But obviously, the victim is central to everything that we do. For that reason, we have enhanced our support for victims in recent years and will therefore consult and support victims much more than we used to. However, you are right, under the current arrangements the victim does not have a legal team as such.

SardineQueen

I am interested in the question upthread about how the accused has a legal team but the victim is no more than a witness and so if not close to the prosecutor and has no-one there "on her side".

What can be done about this? It sounds like a lonely and scary place to be. If the accused has a legal team to look after his interests why not the victim?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 09:59:17

Yes, we would make it our business to cope.

Nyac

Would the legal system be able to cope if women and girls who've been assaulted reported every incident of sexual violence?

Nyac Tue 13-Mar-12 09:59:50

A 2005 Home Office Report on attrition rates in rape cases said that there were still police officers and staff in the CPS who suscribed to rape myths, the main one being that women lie about rape. What action has been taken to ensure that members of the legal system are not misinformed in this way?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:02:10

Yes- we've done a lot of work on domestic violence, and a number of cases we bring has increased significantly along with the conviction rate. Can we do more, yes. To take an example where we can obtain the 999 call in sexual abuse or domestic violence cases and play it in court this has a clear and obvious effect on everyone in the court.

CMOTDibbler

Do you think there is anything that can be done to improve prosecution rates for women who are sexually abused as part of domestic violence ? Anecdotally at least, it seems that women who go through this are not supported well, or taken seriously enough.

Also, do you have any feeling as to whether those who are seen at a specialist sexual assult centre get a higher prosecution rate than people who go to a regular police unit ?

slug Tue 13-Mar-12 10:02:12

It's an interesting question Nyac. Just how far can we go? I don't report sexual harassment, even though it's a part of my daily life. The implication is I'm supposed to be "flattered" by men commenting (frequently loudly from passing cars) on the size of my breasts. Nor do I report the groping and rubbing that happens on the daily commute.

I'm of the opinion (rightly I assume) that the police won't take it seriously and that they have better things to do with their time than deal with the low level harassment. But the passivity on my part contributes to a culture where sexual assault is normalised, making the next step, rape, seem less of a serious crime and more of an extension of what women put up with every day.

thebestisyettocome Tue 13-Mar-12 10:03:25

Hello Kier. I'm of the view that there are too many not guilty verdicts in rape cases simply because of mistakes made in the investigation process. Do you agree and if so, how can this be rectified?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:04:53

We have had an intensive focus on myths and stereotypes in recent years, and issued clear guidance. The myths and stereotypes set out by thE 'We Believe You' campaign come from the CPS rape manual. I personally chair an assurance group every six months looking at our performance across England Wales, a lot has happened since 2005.

Nyac

A 2005 Home Office Report on attrition rates in rape cases said that there were still police officers and staff in the CPS who suscribed to rape myths, the main one being that women lie about rape. What action has been taken to ensure that members of the legal system are not misinformed in this way?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:07:18

Any not guilty verdict that arises because of a mistake in the investigation is one too many. My own view is that the numbers of mistakes are going down, and the conviction rates are in fact improving. But we have to keep our focus and commitment, things can always be improved.

thebestisyettocome

Hello Kier. I'm of the view that there are too many not guilty verdicts in rape cases simply because of mistakes made in the investigation process. Do you agree and if so, how can this be rectified?

Darleneconnor Tue 13-Mar-12 10:08:12

A more technical question: I've often wondered why in cases where a man has eventually been revealed to be a multiple rapist (eg Levi bellfield, Peter Tobin et al) why can't they be tried for multiple attacks simultaneously rather than each victim having to do each case as if it is an isolated incident? Obviously time is a factor in some cases but there must be cases where multiple victims could testify at the same trail?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:11:07

Very good question, and I for one would welcome more debate on precisely this issue. Without changing the adversarial system it may be time to start identifying the best practice in Europe across rape cases.

Darleneconnor

Do you think that the British adversarial system of justice is disadvantageous to rape victims compared to the inquisitorial systems of continental Europe (which have higher conviction rates)? Could special 'rape courts' help in this?

highburyonfoot Tue 13-Mar-12 10:11:22

Children and older people (particularly from poorer households) feature disproportionately in the statistics for those killed and seriously injured on our roads. Why does the CPS not take killing by driving more seriously? A moment's inattention by a pedestrian or cyclist can result in their death, while a moment's inattention by a person behind a wheel can result in the death of others. If people in cars felt the consequences of their actions were more serious they might drive with more care for the people around them.

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:12:29

The law has recently been changed to allow precisely that, for all the reasons that underpin your question. The result sis much better.

Darleneconnor

A more technical question: I've often wondered why in cases where a man has eventually been revealed to be a multiple rapist (eg Levi bellfield, Peter Tobin et al) why can't they be tried for multiple attacks simultaneously rather than each victim having to do each case as if it is an isolated incident? Obviously time is a factor in some cases but there must be cases where multiple victims could testify at the same trail?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:15:34

Performance does vary across different police areas and I'm sure good leadership helps better performance, but there also other factors. Where the police come to the CPS and have a specialist rape teams the results tend to better.

Crumblemum

Why do you think some police forces do better than others? Is it just down to local leadership? I heard that Kent police have one of the highest 'no crime' rates in the country (where they say 'oh sorry that doesn't seem to be worth pursuing'). What can we do to make the pull up their socks

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:17:04

The CPS does have a say in court, and we try to persuade judges to give jurors guidance about myths and stereotypes.

Crumblemum

Also - does the CPS do anything/ have any say in courts? If so - should/ could judges give more direction about what to think about (and what not to think about eg some of the myth stuff in this campaign) at the start of the trial?

Nyac Tue 13-Mar-12 10:17:20

The Home Office report I referred to earlier also stated that rape prosecutions require a higher standard of evidence to achieve a conviction than other crimes e.g. what might convict someone for burglary, still won't be enough to convict a man for rape. Do you think that's still the case?

CMOTDibbler Tue 13-Mar-12 10:18:16

Thank you for answering my question. If I may ask another, is there a system in place to independantly review the cases (or even a random sample) that do not go to trial to try and establish whether those are being dropped with good cause ?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:18:54

I will be giving evidence to the Leveson enquiry in just a few weeks.

TheStandard

I'm very cross about the cosy corrupt relationship some journalists seem to have with the Met police. What kind of contact/passing on of info do you think is appropriate, and what kind of controls are needed to stop a Hackgate situtation developing again?

thebestisyettocome Tue 13-Mar-12 10:21:10

Dareleneoconnor. Brilliant question on the adversarial system. I've had the same thoughts for some time.
In the wrong hands it can make the experience feel like you've wandered into an all-boys lower-sixth debating society hmm

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:22:00

Thanks for this, I'm hoping to meet Barnado's in the near future,. You're right many children do find giving evidence difficult and we can make the court process better by giving them the protection they need. That is not always easy in an adversarial system. But i do think Barnado's and others are right to raise these questions and we will discuss them with them.

KateMumsnet

Hello Keir

Barnardo's is one of the organisations which we're supporting, as part of our We Believe You campaign. They've asked us to pass on a couple of questions.

Firstly, we know that many children find giving evidence in court a very difficult, and sometimes harmful process; how can we make the court process work better for victims of child sexual exploitation?

and

What can be done to tackle the low rate of prosecutions brought to court and even lower number of convictions for child sexual exploitation?

Thanks, on their behalf!

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:23:39

They do not require a higher standard of evidence, the test is the same.

Nyac

The Home Office report I referred to earlier also stated that rape prosecutions require a higher standard of evidence to achieve a conviction than other crimes e.g. what might convict someone for burglary, still won't be enough to convict a man for rape. Do you think that's still the case?

Prolesworth Tue 13-Mar-12 10:24:35

What can be done to combat the rape myths held by jury members on rape cases? It seems that attitudes are improving within the justice system, and juries are being given guidance to counter rape myths but such attitudes run so deep a few words from a judge is insufficient to shift those attitudes within the timescale of a rape trial. Attitudes take a long time to change and I don't think we as a society can afford to wait for the general public to catch up with the more enlightened views of those with professional expertise. What practical steps can be taken to stop juries from acquitting rapists on the basis of their belief in myths like 'women routinely lie about rape'?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:25:27

Ok, I know this is a real problem, its our job to try and increase confidence in people to come forward. Its a big task but its a must.

slug

Hi Keir

When you have time, I suggest you check out the #ididnotreport hashtag on twitter. There are just so many examples of women being sexually assaulted, sometimes in full view of the police, and no action being taken. It also shows the prevalence of a denial culture by the police and authorities.

thebestisyettocome Tue 13-Mar-12 10:26:57

Oh and yes Keir. Given a lot of people's obsession with tv programmes about scenes of crime there seems to be an idea that you always need a certain type of evidence in order to make a complaint about a sexual crime. Perhaps something more could be done to educate the public.

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:27:53

These are intensely difficult cases, I have personally reviewed all the assisted suicide cases and I'm well aware of the issues there, yesterday's case was different and there will now be full legal argument in due course.

strangerwithmyface

Do you think people should have the right to die What are your thoughts on yesterday's much publicised case?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:29:45

My own view is that cases should go to the court where the trial will be as quickly as possible. So I'm not in favour of cases being delayed in the magistrates courts. Frankly, the shorter the period from incident to trial the better.

justalittleinsane

I would like to know why there is the ridiculous step of sendin a rapist to magistrates merely for him to be committed to crown.

He doesn't even enter a plea at magistrates and it is simply a paper pushing exercise causing more delays for the victims and I assume increasing the costs of the case for the court.

A months wait for a CPS charging decision, a future 2 weeks for rapist to return from bail, another month to get to magistrates, followed by 6 week wait for a PCMH. Then at least 5 months from the PCMH for Crown - and that's in a good week.

So it's a minimum of 10 months just to get to court.

So my actual question is 2 fold.

A) why the antiquated magistrates court step
And
B) do you think those timescales are acceptable in situations where he police investigation is completed at early stages

justalittleinsane Tue 13-Mar-12 10:31:35

Thank you - it's nice to know you don't agree with it - but are there any present plans to change the system so it no longer happens?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:31:40

Rape is not prosecuted differently, the code for Crown Prosecutors governs all our cases but there are some additional features, so for example, we have trained rape specialist, rape coordinators and specialist rape policies.

painterlyswoosh

In your opinion, is rape a crime that is by its nature dramatically "different" in how it should be prosecuted?

This is an issue that often comes up in discussion of this topic. The argument being that whether or not sex is rape depends solely on whether or not one party says no - and it is almost always impossible to get evidence that doesn't end up being his word against hers/his.

Do you agree with this argument and the conclusion that it should be treated differently by prosecutors?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:33:05

We do encourage male victims to come forward- all our policies refer to male victims as well as female victims and we do not discriminate in our approach.

Roseformeplease

In the light of a really interesting article in today's Times, do you think more should be done to encourage male victims of rape to feel comfortable coming forward, as well as making it easier for women?

KeirStarmer Tue 13-Mar-12 10:35:11

I have to sign off now, but thanks for all your questions which raise really important issues. This debate and the 'We Believe You' campaign and i think its important that the CPS studies not only the comments but also the Mumsnet survey results. Thanks for having me.

justalittleinsane Tue 13-Mar-12 10:36:01

Thank you.

Darleneconnor Tue 13-Mar-12 10:40:08

Thanks, of you are interested in MN comments you might also want to read this old thread.

SardineQueen Tue 13-Mar-12 10:42:56

Thank you that was very informative.

thebestisyettocome Tue 13-Mar-12 10:58:35

Thank you Kier.

I also wonder if it is worth the DPP pressing the Bar Council to see if there could be a standard imposed for defence Counsel who wish to be involved in rape cases. Everything is being more and more regulated so why not say you can only act for the defendant in a trial if you have attained a certain level of excellence/training. This would weed out the crappy Counsel who think the way to cross-examine is make the complainant cry. Perhaps say that only those who have are level 4 prosecutors can act (for the defendant) in such serious cases. Just a thought...

AspirantPirate Tue 13-Mar-12 11:31:20

Late coming to this, but wanted to add my thanks to Kier Starmer for taking the time to do this.

LineRunner Tue 13-Mar-12 11:46:27

Damn, I missed the actual live Q&A (had to work!) but reading through it now.

Thanks again for doing this.

Vickiw1 Tue 13-Mar-12 17:32:45

I was raped twice as a child and what I would ask is what CPS is doing to end the situation whereby a defendant in a rape case is treated as innocent until proven guilty, whereas the victim is treated as guilty (of lying) until proven innocent. Society - media, men, police and judiciary - starts from two very different stand points depending on the gender of the perpetrator/victim which allows the perpatrator of the crime to go free more often than not. Simply saying it comes down to his word against hers is not good enough - we do not treat burglary, mugging or any other crime as a case of the victim has to prove she is not lying first and foremost. I believe that rape and sexist violence as a whole (DV) is treated in a radically different manner than any other crime by a male dominated system trying to cover up the extent of male on female crime.

SardineQueen Tue 13-Mar-12 18:32:14

It's a shame that this decision came too late to ask Kier about it.

That is an excellent point very well made Vickiw.

NormaStanleyFletcher Tue 13-Mar-12 18:49:14

Sardine - that case is shock and sad

SardineQueen Tue 13-Mar-12 18:54:58

It's absolutely shocking isn't it.
There is a thread in feminism topic at the mo with people expressing disgust.

LineRunner Tue 13-Mar-12 19:02:11

I can't find an answer to my first question, which is the one that mattered to me the more; and which relates very much to Vickiw1's important question.

Why do rape defence counsels go after alleged rape victims about whether they told a lie, even about an unrelated matter? Why is this allowed to take place?

Rape is not prosecuted and defended like other crimes as long as this happens, and is allowed to happen.

It's a massive rape myth - catch the victim out on one lie, and she's a habitual liar....

bringmesunshine2009 Tue 13-Mar-12 22:02:24

Thanks Kier, some food for thought on a tough topic.

On a lighter note, where do you get your hair blow dried?

LineRunner Wed 14-Mar-12 20:58:36

Keir,

On the We Believe You thread on Mumsnet, a poster with the nickname dogparadise reports a miscarriage of justice which saw her jailed for allegedly lying about being stalked and raped.

Many Mumsnetters have rightly expressed their concerns about this, not least the verdict, the reporting, the behaviour of the judge and the jury, the sentence, the alleged failings in process, and the lack of self-review by the CPS.

Will you agree, in the spirit of this campaign, to review this case and report back to MN and the wider public on lessons learned?

Thank you.

BasilFoulTea Wed 14-Mar-12 21:15:12

Keir what percentage of reported rapes are prosecuted?

And what percentage of supposedly false allegations of rape are prosecuted?

LineRunner Wed 14-Mar-12 21:26:10

Keir,

Upthread you say

As for, false reporting, this is in fact very rare indeed and a very, very small percentage of the rape allegations made, fall into this category. We now have very clear policy about these cases which i think and I hope has met with a good deal of public approval.

Could you please explain that comment about the 'very clear policy' further, especially in light of BasilFoulTea's pertinent question?

Thank you.

Nyac Wed 14-Mar-12 22:07:50

I asked this question upthread and he ignored it:

"Are you concerned by the number of rape victims being prosecuted for supposedly making false reports of rape, and what effect do you think those prosecutions will have on rape victims coming forward, given how few we know do at the moment out of the number of women actually raped."

justalittleinsane Wed 14-Mar-12 22:57:38

I would like to also add my voice to the request for a review of dogparadise case.

LapsusLinguae Wed 14-Mar-12 23:48:57

Keir seemed to miss hmm my post of Tue 13-Mar-12 08:56:19 - so I will repeat as it is relevant to the new posts added here:

I seem to remember reading that all cases of "false rape allegation" (perverting the course of justice) - are now passed personally to you for review.

Can you confirm this and can you also reassure people that if the police fail to find enough corroborating evidence of rape that this does not equal a false rape allegation?

What sort of evidence exists that these false rape allegations are indeed false - particularly when we know that some factors that the public might think are persuasive of this are in fact rape myths (delay in reporting/not telling anyone else/retracting due to threat of violence/continuing a relationship with the rapist). The Daily Mail some papers LOVE these stories and report them out of proportion with rape cases - what can be done about that?

MerlinScot Wed 14-Mar-12 23:50:30

Hello everybody, first I'd like to support dogparadise fight, second... I'd like to be believed too!
Posted my brief story on this thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/mumsnet_campaigns/1424654-We-Believe-You-were-launching-our-rape-awareness-campaign-today?msgid=30624901#30624901
*
Anyway, as you can assume from my nick, I live in Scotland (upper Highlands). Different law system but same treatment towards rape abuse victims!!!
And it also seems that the Northern Constabulary fancies a lot to accuse more the rape victims then the rapists!!
*
www.northern-times.co.uk/Home/Ardgay-woman-jailed-after-false-rape-claims-5542131.htm
brennybaby.blogspot.com/2011/12/police-in-scottish-highlands-condemned.html
*
In my opinion, police forces all over UK are deterring rape victims to come forward, given that the percentage rate of rape victims who get prosecuted is higher than the one regarding the rapists!!!

MerlinScot Wed 14-Mar-12 23:56:14

LapsusLinguae, I was asked, while releasing my first statement, all of the questions you asked Keirstarmer, i.e. why I had delayed in reporting him, why I hadn't telling anyone else, why I had continued a relationship with the rapist. This translated in a "false rape accusation" for them. No corroborative evidence, so you're lying. It's not a myth, it's true.
They didn't even treat my case as domestic abuse, which it was making more sense because I had reported him for a series of other abuses together with the rape.

SardineQueen Thu 15-Mar-12 16:51:00

And there is yet another poster in FWR who reported and was treated like a criminal and is waiting to find out if she is going to be prosecuted.

LineRunner Thu 15-Mar-12 17:23:00

I think it would be helpful for the DPP to get into a bit more detail about encouraging all women and girls to report rapes and sexual assaults, especially given (as he has said on this thread) (and to paraphrase)

(a) his own [understandable] reluctance to say how he would advise someone close to him in the same circumstances, (b) his own leadership in respect of action and policy; and (c) and his own department's policy on prosectuing alleged falsehoods.

I would also like to ask about the Gail Sherwood case and whether this will be reviewed?

BasilFoulTea Thu 15-Mar-12 20:57:42

If I were raped again, I would not be reporting it (again) because I now run the risk of being told by the police that I will be prosecuted for falsely alleging rape.

Is this Britain or Saudi Arabia?

I am beyond shocked and angry about this. Women have NO JUSTICE when they are raped and it looks like the justice system, having told us all to report for years, is now actively trying to discourage us from doing so by arresting us and sending us to prison when this stinking justice system lets our rapists walk free.

The law won't give us justice for rape and it may punish us for complaining about rape. That much is crystal clear.

angry

MerlinScot Thu 15-Mar-12 21:24:53

I wouldn't report it either (again).
I'd like to see the face of the PF if my rapist rapes someone else. Maybe he's going to discourage all my ex's victims to report trying to get them prosecuted.

Basil, I think you're right, our rape laws are used to incriminate the victims ;(

edam Thu 15-Mar-12 22:45:51

Damn, I missed this and he managed to avoid saying anything at all about the horrifying cases where women are prosecuted for daring to report rape.

BasilFoulTea Fri 16-Mar-12 06:34:14

Is he going to send answers to these remaining questions mumsnet, or is that it from the CPS?

SardineQueen Fri 16-Mar-12 09:53:36

Should we report the thread and ask MNHQ to let Kier know there are additional posts and questions?

BasilFoulTea Fri 16-Mar-12 12:29:23

Yes I think that would be a good idea SQ, those further questions are quite important and challenge the discrepancy between the stated aim of getting women to report rape, versus the reality that no-one in her right mind, is going to risk being sent to prison because she can't get a guilty verdict

LineRunner Fri 16-Mar-12 20:59:30

I agree with SardineQueen and BailFoulTea.

This where it all coalesces.

This is the real deal.

SardineQueen Sat 17-Mar-12 14:52:01

Has anyone reported and asked MNHQ? Shall I do it?

edam Sat 17-Mar-12 14:56:44

Yes please SQ.

LineRunner Sat 17-Mar-12 15:02:25

SardineQueen, that would be grand, if you would do that. Thank you.

SardineQueen Sat 17-Mar-12 15:04:55

Dear MNHQ

Thank you for the webchat with Kier Starmer. There have been quite a few posts added with questions at the end, and some cases raised. We were wondering if Kier is aware that the thread has continued, whether you could let him know? Whether there is any possibility he would be able to respond to any of the additional points raised.

Thanks, Me

SardineQueen Mon 19-Mar-12 11:40:02

Response from MNHQ

Hello SardineQueen
Thanks for getting in touch and apologies for the delay in getting back to you. We are hoping that Keir Starmer will be able to respond to any additional questions - but this may not be immediate.
All best
Olivia
MNHQ

So we all need to remember to keep our eyes peeled!!!

FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 20-Mar-12 10:22:37

Hello All, we've sent your additional questions through to Keir Starmer, he will take a a bit of time to answer them all but he will come back to us

Thank you

SweetTheSting Tue 20-Mar-12 14:27:11

Thank you Frances.

FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 21-Mar-12 10:54:15

Hello, Keir Starmer's office have asked me to let you know that he will respond to your questions, but probably not until mid next week at the earliest.
Thank you
Frances

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 21-Mar-12 11:08:15

Thank you smile

FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-May-12 10:37:09

Hello, Keir Starmer's office have come back to me with some answers and they'll be posted up shortly.

Thank you

Frances

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:46:10

thebestisyettocome Can I answer this in two parts. First, I am already working with others to improve standards pf advicacy in court using a quality asurance scheme. Second, as you will appreciate, it is not really appropriate for me as prosecutor to seek to dictate to defence council how they conduct their case. That is really a matter for the court.

thebestisyettocome

Thank you Kier.

I also wonder if it is worth the DPP pressing the Bar Council to see if there could be a standard imposed for defence Counsel who wish to be involved in rape cases. Everything is being more and more regulated so why not say you can only act for the defendant in a trial if you have attained a certain level of excellence/training. This would weed out the crappy Counsel who think the way to cross-examine is make the complainant cry. Perhaps say that only those who have are level 4 prosecutors can act (for the defendant) in such serious cases. Just a thought...

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:47:36

Vickiw1 we have to be careful here. All defendants must be treated as innocent until proven guilty – that is a fundamental principle. However, i completely accept your point that victims should not be treated as guilty until proven innocent. That is why it is so important that we tackle the myths and stereotypes surrounding sexual offences – which is what this campaign highlighting. I, for one, accept that whilst we have made progress, there is more that we all need to do.

Vickiw1

I was raped twice as a child and what I would ask is what CPS is doing to end the situation whereby a defendant in a rape case is treated as innocent until proven guilty, whereas the victim is treated as guilty (of lying) until proven innocent. Society - media, men, police and judiciary - starts from two very different stand points depending on the gender of the perpetrator/victim which allows the perpatrator of the crime to go free more often than not. Simply saying it comes down to his word against hers is not good enough - we do not treat burglary, mugging or any other crime as a case of the victim has to prove she is not lying first and foremost. I believe that rape and sexist violence as a whole (DV) is treated in a radically different manner than any other crime by a male dominated system trying to cover up the extent of male on female crime.

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:51:35

LineRunner Sorry if I missed your first question – not intentional. I hope I have now answered it but on the specific issue of defence counsel questioning victims about issues beyond the incident in question, the law has infact got tighter here and the courts are more controlling of the questions. I can't comment on whether the balance is right in any specific case but i do think most people appreciate the point you are making.

LineRunner

I can't find an answer to my first question, which is the one that mattered to me the more; and which relates very much to Vickiw1's important question.

Why do rape defence counsels go after alleged rape victims about whether they told a lie, even about an unrelated matter? Why is this allowed to take place?

Rape is not prosecuted and defended like other crimes as long as this happens, and is allowed to happen.

It's a massive rape myth - catch the victim out on one lie, and she's a habitual liar....

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:53:54

BasilFoulTea The percentage of reported cases that are prosecuted when compared to the number of reports is quite low. There are a number of reasons for this but it is obviously a cause for concern. I should make it clear that not all reported rapes are by any means submitted to the CPS for consideration and the percentage of cases percentage of cases passed to the CPS that are prosecuted are much higher. I have asked my team to provide some of the statistics we have available on this. As for the question of false allegations of rape as you know we changed our policy a year ago in relation to false allegations of rape and we intend to collate the figures over those 12 months. At that stage I hope I will be able to give you an accurate answer to your question probably later this year.

For statistics from our 2010-11 Violence Against Women and Girls report see below:

The official national rape statistics from the Ministry of Justice indicate that in the calendar year of 2010 there were 3,071 defendants, on a principal offence basis, prosecuted for rape at the magistrates courts, with 3,013 committed to the Crown Court for trial. In 2010 there were 1,058 offenders convicted of rape, resulting in a prosecution to conviction ratio in 2010 of 34 per cent;

MoJ data from 2008 indicated that of the rape cases heard at Crown Court in 2008 and matched to an outcome in 2008 or 2009 (i.e. completed trials):

58% were convicted of an offence (42% were not guilty);

Of which 33% were convicted of rape;

A further 14% were convicted of another sexual offence;

5% were convicted of a violent offence, a further 5% of another indictable offence and 1% of a summary offence.

Since 2007-08, CPS performance management data has illustrated an increase of 20% in the volume of prosecutions and 22% in the volume of defendants convicted;

In 2010-11 there was a slight fall in the proportion of defendants convicted after charge against a ten per cent increase in the volume of defendants prosecuted and a nine per cent increase in volume of those convicted;

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:55:14

Nyac Sorry if this question was missed, it was not intentional – the questions were coming thick and fast. I am concerned that rape victims should have confidence in coming forward and I do recognise that if they fear prosecution should they change or retract their evidence that can clearly affect that confidence. That is why, a year ago, I amended our policy on prosecuting those who it is judged have made false allegations of rape.

Nyac

I asked this question upthread and he ignored it:

"Are you concerned by the number of rape victims being prosecuted for supposedly making false reports of rape, and what effect do you think those prosecutions will have on rape victims coming forward, given how few we know do at the moment out of the number of women actually raped."

KeirStarmer Tue 29-May-12 10:57:04

LapsusLinguae Sorry I missed your question. For the past year I have put in special arrangements for all cases of false allegations which has required them to be handled at CPS HQ. We are now requiring all Chief Crown Prosecutors personally to have sight of these cases and continuing CPS HQ oversight through quality reports.

I can certainly reassure you that failure to find corroborating evidence is never treated as amounting to a false allegation of rape. I also accept that there are many factors that may affect individuals who change or withdraw their rape allegation and our revised policy makes it absolutely clear that we will not prosecute unless we can prove that the original allegation was false and even in those circumstances we will go on to consider if it is in the public interest to prosecute.

LapsusLinguae

Keir seemed to miss hmm my post of Tue 13-Mar-12 08:56:19 - so I will repeat as it is relevant to the new posts added here:

I seem to remember reading that all cases of "false rape allegation" (perverting the course of justice) - are now passed personally to you for review.

Can you confirm this and can you also reassure people that if the police fail to find enough corroborating evidence of rape that this does not equal a false rape allegation?

What sort of evidence exists that these false rape allegations are indeed false - particularly when we know that some factors that the public might think are persuasive of this are in fact rape myths (delay in reporting/not telling anyone else/retracting due to threat of violence/continuing a relationship with the rapist). The Daily Mail some papers LOVE these stories and report them out of proportion with rape cases - what can be done about that?

KeirStarmer Wed 30-May-12 11:34:23

LineRunner I certainly encourage all women and girls to report rapes and sexual assaults and both I and the CPS are committed to supporting victims and witnesses of rape and sexual assault.

My only reticence in saying how I would advise someone who had been raped or sexually assaulted was not so much concern with whether or not they should report the matter, which I think they should, but how they might react and how they might be supported. I am only reticent because I know it is very easy in the abstract to say how one would react to a very serious and sensitive issue when, in reality, until one is in that position one never really knows how you would react.

LineRunner

I think it would be helpful for the DPP to get into a bit more detail about encouraging all women and girls to report rapes and sexual assaults, especially given (as he has said on this thread) (and to paraphrase)

(a) his own [understandable] reluctance to say how he would advise someone close to him in the same circumstances, (b) his own leadership in respect of action and policy; and (c) and his own department's policy on prosectuing alleged falsehoods.

KeirStarmer Wed 30-May-12 11:35:17

edam I'm sorry you missed the session. I hope I have said quite a lot about the issue you raise both when I first answered questions and in these subsequent replies.

edam

Damn, I missed this and he managed to avoid saying anything at all about the horrifying cases where women are prosecuted for daring to report rape.

SirEdmundFrillary Tue 04-Dec-12 14:33:28

Last week on Radio 4‘s ‘Today’ programme a solicitor who represents abuse victims spoke about the CPS’s attitude of dismissiveness.

In my experience he’s right. Hearing it was upsetting but a relief. I don’t want to explain my own situation here.

With institutional racism organisations had to dig deep and to me this seems similar.

So my 2nd question is, what do you think of that?

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