RIP Frances Andrade

(48 Posts)
vezzie Sat 09-Feb-13 15:13:55

Very very sad story

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/08/sexual-abuse-victim-killed-herself-trial

I want to do something but I can't think what.
Various things about this make it feel very close to home.

Feeling heartbroken. what can I do?

At the very least, can some clever activist people on here tell me of any existing campaigns against the aggressive interrogation of sexual abuse witnesses?

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 15:31:13

Just reading this in the Guardian. She actually said during her cross-examination to the defence barrister, This is why cases don't come to court.

Sunnywithshowers Sat 09-Feb-13 15:45:08

That poor woman.

Greythorne Sat 09-Feb-13 15:45:21

Shocking.

So sad.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 17:38:22

The judge may think that the cross-examination was properly conducted, and the Police may say that she was properly advised and protected - but she was saying whilst giving evidence that the questions and the statements made about her by the defence were too much.

Sitting behind a screen wouldn't have changed the nature of those questions or those assertions about her memories, character and credibility.

toughdecisions Sat 09-Feb-13 17:41:34

Terribly sad.

piprabbit Sat 09-Feb-13 17:46:09

It feels as if the pursuit of a conviction was done at the expense of the victim. I don't see how a trial which results in the death of a victim can ever been seen as a successful outcome.

piprabbit Sat 09-Feb-13 17:49:09

I was also just listening to some interviews on R4 where it was said that witnesses should be prevented from accessing counselling until after a trial, in case it contaminates their evidence.

I would suggest that, if that really is the case, then the police and CPS should allow the case to collapse if that what it takes to protect a victim.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 18:03:46

I thought the pursuit of justice was paramount.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 18:10:13

Which means that justice for Frances Andrade was surely, paramount. I don't like the way the state and the defence got to override her integrity in their adversarial battle.

snowshapes Sat 09-Feb-13 20:48:02

This is a very sad story, she was so obviously distressed and expressing her distress. She was right about it being why people don't go to court. Heartbreaking.

lemonmuffin Sat 09-Feb-13 21:50:02

Awful. That poor woman.

What on earth can be done about this?

vezzie Sat 09-Feb-13 22:30:40

Right, lemonmuffin, that's the question.

lastSplash Sun 10-Feb-13 00:50:04

Not to detract from your point on the way Frances was treated in court, there also seem to be a lot of other worrying related issues.

I found the string of correspondence linked at the top of this Guardian article horrible to read.

Basically the head of the music school brushing under the carpet accounts that a senior music teacher had sex with a number of vulnerable teenage students over a number of years, even after the teacher admitted it. What is particularly depressing is that the teacher in question is still to this day head of department at the music school. The head of the school has moved on to continue with his glittering career and sit on the boards of other music education places.

I hope one thing that comes out of all this is that the pair of them are removed from anything to do with young people.

Reform of the way the whole court system treats victims of abuse would be the most significant outcome, but this stuff about music schools has touched a nerve as it is closer to home.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 10-Feb-13 09:40:36

He was found not guilty of rape wasn't he?

Another demonstration of how men set up rape laws to enable them to rape and get away with it.

There was something on the radio about this yesterday with some bloke saying how the legal case was all handled properly and correctly.

Which I'm sure it was. That's male justice. A woman is driven to suicide and that's the result of all the correct procedures being followed.

Sometimes I can't even feel angry about this anymore. Just exhausted and sick.

AbigailAdams Sun 10-Feb-13 09:54:04

Helena Kennedy foes into this in Eve was Framed. A woman who has been raped is a witness for the prosecution, that is all. As such she gets little or no preparation for the trial. She possibly only meets the prosecution solicitor/barrister for a few minutes shortly before they give testimony. Yet when she is on the stand she is questioned like she is the defendant. I found it interesting in the MN survey that a number of people got the prosecution and defence mixed up. In the case of rape it is very difficult to differentiate between the perpetrator (defendant) and victim.

She will receive no counseling from the court system before or after to prepare for this ordeal. As Fastidia says, a system set up by men, run by men for men.

AbigailAdams Sun 10-Feb-13 09:55:57

Obviously it isn't that difficult to tell the difference between rapist and victim, just in the court context I.e. how they are treated in court. Hope that was clear!

kim147 Sun 10-Feb-13 10:16:41

I've heard that - the victim is just "another witness" to the crime. But in what other crime is the victim put on trial like that?

I really hope this awful case leads to action being taken in the way such cases are handled and the victim is supported at all stages by the prosecution team.

DoctorAnge Sun 10-Feb-13 11:08:58

That is so tragic. The poor Woman.

DoctorAnge Sun 10-Feb-13 11:38:02

Oh my God have just read the string of correspondence. Heartbreaking.

The abuse victims really are seen as less than human, invisible.

This man should never work again and he is still on a prized, priviledgea position.

lastSplash Sun 10-Feb-13 11:45:44

The fact that the prosecution barrister did not break the rules (and there was a police statement saying they also did not do anything wrong), maybe means this case is more likely to bring about change. If this is the result when process and procedures are followed, clearly the process and procedures are at fault, rather than 'one bad apple' type arguments.

AbigailAdams Sun 10-Feb-13 11:59:40

I think it was the defence barrister that was deemed to have done nothing wrong lastSplash. Although that does illustrate my point about how the victims do seem to be being prosecuted.

lastSplash Sun 10-Feb-13 12:43:02

Yes AbigailAdams definitely defence barrister - very easy to make that mistake, I agree with you on why that is.

LastMangoInParis Sun 10-Feb-13 18:49:36

This story is so, so sad and anger provoking. As another poster has already said, Frances Andrade actually pointed out how unjust trials of sexual abusers (or trials of their victims, as seems to be the case) are during the trial itself.
I read that the judge took issue with the defence barrister during the trial, then closed ranks and described her cross examining of Andrade as 'exemplary'. From what I've read, it was a typical example of how defence barristers treat victim/witnesses in trials like these.
Yes, there needs to be a change.
Rape Crisis carries on campaigning for changes, and if anyone can volunteer to Rape Crisis or Women Aganist Rape or similar organisations, please do.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 10-Feb-13 20:38:00

Clearly this is a tragic case and those of you on this thread think that the cross examination of Frances was wrong. Can I ask how you would suggest the cross examination be conducted when the Defendant denies what is alleged of him? How can the defence case, that the complainant is lying, her being a fantasist, be advanced without giving the complainant to deny that she is doing so?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now