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?

WidowWadman Sun 10-Feb-13 20:44:53
LineRunner Sun 10-Feb-13 20:54:51

"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"

Is it possible to see the transcript?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sun 10-Feb-13 21:05:40

There is a partial transcript of the cross examination in the Daily Fail. It is however only of the final few questions, which are generally when the defence case (or prosecution case when cross examining the defendant) is put to the person giving evidence. This part of the cross examination tends to be fairly aggressive and when any assertions of fabrication are strenuously put to the person giving evidence. The prosecution would be similarly aggressive to the defendant at this stage, accusing him of being a liar and no doubt a sexual predator.

I do not think the partial transcript in the article would be representative of her entire cross examination

Daily Mail Article

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 11-Feb-13 17:42:50

DreamingoftheMaldives, I think the greatest problem is the very fact that most of the time, the defence is that the victim is a fantasist and a liar.

The very fact that this is the most common defence because women are all a bunch of liars, is the problem.

This isn't a legal problem as such, it's a societal one. Legal people choose that defence because it works; if our society had a higher opinion of women, lawyers would stop using that defence because it simply wouldn't work - most jury members simply wouldn't buy the idea that your average random woman is likely to be a fantasist or a malevolent liar. They would treat her as if she were a man, IE would want real, concrete evidence to buy into the possibility that she's a fantasist or a liar, because most people aren't, so it's unlikely, so therefore it's not a reasonable proposition unless you can show other evidence that she's unable to tell truth from fact in every other area of her life.

Similiarly, they would want to know that a man who is claiming that he thought she wanted sex, is as inept and incompetent at social interaction in all other areas of his life. They wouldn't take it on trust that men can't be expected to function in their sexual relations even though they function to a very high degree in every other area of their lives.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 11-Feb-13 18:42:09

The defence does not come from the legal team but from the Defendant. The Defendant provides the instructions, presumably in this sad case that he did not have sexual relations with Frances; if he denied having sexual relations with her, then his case can only be that she is lying about it. How else is his case to be advanced other than to say she is lying. That applies in many cases of sexual offences as it is generally not a situation in which one would be suggesting the complainant is mistaken. If someone says something which one disputes is factually correct, and they cannot be mistaken, then the only possible explanation one can give is that the person is lying.

It is not for any Defendant, whether male or female, in any case, to provide concrete evidence that the person making the accusations is a fantasist or liar, although clearly if such evidence can be produced then that would strengthen the defence case. Are you suggesting that if the defendant cannot produce such evidence, he should not be allowed to say to the court that she is lying? The Defence should only be allowed to conduct the trial by testing the evidence by highlighting inconsistencies in the evidence, rather actually advancing any positive case?

would want real, concrete evidence to buy into the possibility that she's a fantasist or a liar, because most people aren't, so it's unlikely, so therefore it's not a reasonable proposition unless you can show other evidence that she's unable to tell truth from fact in every other area of her life.

And similarly, a court would want real concrete evidence to buy into the possibility that the Defendant is a rapist, because most people aren't, so it's unlikely, so therefore it's not a reasonable proposition unless you can show other evidence that he is a rapist.

The Defendant is treated in a similar manner to the complainant when giving evidence; the prosecution barrister will call him a liar, a predator, violent, manipulative etc? He is subject to aggressive cross examination, sarcasm etc and has not actually been convicted of an offence at that time. At that stage, the court have not even accepted that any offence has taken place.

If you restrict the ability of the Defence to rigorously test the evidence and advance their case, then you significantly increase the likelihood of Defendants, whether they be male or female, being wrongly convicted.

FastidiaBlueberry Mon 11-Feb-13 19:24:07

"Are you suggesting that if the defendant cannot produce such evidence, he should not be allowed to say to the court that she is lying?"
No. I'm suggesting that he wouldn't bother, because no-one would automatically believe him the way they knee-jerk believe him now because of deeply ingrained misogyny.

"so therefore it's not a reasonable proposition unless you can show other evidence that he is a rapist."
Given that research shows that only about 2-6% of rape allegations are false, the chance that he is in fact a rapist, is quite high. Part of the problem is that the prosecutor is not allowed to show other evidence that he is a rapist; no-one questions him about his sex life, how he relates to women, what his beliefs and attitudes are to consent. How can you show evidence when you're not allowed to, because he doesn't have to account for his behaviour and views?

"...you restrict the ability of the Defence to rigorously test the evidence..."
In what way is calling a rape victim a liar and a fantasist "rigorously testing the evidence"?

piprabbit Mon 11-Feb-13 19:33:43

Fastidia - when you put it like that "In what way is calling a rape victim a liar and a fantasist "rigorously testing the evidence"?" it almost sounds a 17th century witchhunt - testing somebody (usually a woman) until they break.

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 19:40:15

I think some barristers are actually trying to break down the witness, not test the evidence.

The defendant doesn't actually have go into the witness box at all.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 11-Feb-13 19:54:24

Piprabbit, I agree, I think that's a very powerful post.

kim147 Mon 11-Feb-13 20:17:28

"Part of the problem is that the prosecutor is not allowed to show other evidence that he is a rapist; no-one questions him about his sex life, how he relates to women, what his beliefs and attitudes are to consent. How can you show evidence when you're not allowed to, because he doesn't have to account for his behaviour and views?"

Aren't they allowed to do that? Are they only allowed to talk about the case without discussing the character of the defendant? That does not seem right at all.

What about the victim? What are they allowed to ask them and not allowed to bring up with them?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 11-Feb-13 20:48:02

Calling the complainant a liar and/or fantasist is putting the Defendant's case to the complainant, something the barrister is duty bound to do. The complainant/witness with whom the Defendant takes issue must be allowed the opportunity to dispute or confirm what the Defendant is saying. In many trials, witnesses, both male and female, are accused of lying, if that is the Defendant's case. It is not a tactic which is reserved for women when being cross examined in rape cases. He denies having had any sexual activity at all with the woman, yet the woman says that he did and she did not consent. How else do you suggest this should be dealt with, other than making it clear that his case is that it did not happen and therefore the woman must be lying? In a case of this type, both the complainant and Defendant cannot both be telling the truth; one of them must be lying.

The small portion of the cross examination which is printed in the press, in which Frances was called a liar, would not accurately reflect the complete questioning of her. The majority of the barrister's questioning is to establish the full detail of her account and to draw out any inconsistencies in the evidence; they do not simply keep shouting "liar, liar" at the witness!

In the majority of trials, a Defendant does give evidence. When he does give evidence in a sex case he will also be called a liar, a predator, manipulative, violent etc. How is that any different to the complainant being called a liar or fantasist?

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 21:25:39

But the defendant doesn't have to give evidence.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Mon 11-Feb-13 21:34:51

No he doesn't; for the reasons explained above. I doubt there are many rape cases when a Defendant doesn't give evidence; he would generally do his case considerable harm by not doing.

Well considering the complainant is the one to make the allegations, it is obvious that she must give evidence as the Defendant denies the allegations, hence the need for the trial.

MerlinScot Tue 12-Feb-13 14:41:49

"Aren't they allowed to do that? Are they only allowed to talk about the case without discussing the character of the defendant? That does not seem right at all.
What about the victim? What are they allowed to ask them and not allowed to bring up with them?"

kim, They are allowed to ask everything. Given that I'm a rape survivor (and survived the legal process too, miracle....), I'll tell you that my ex wasn't asked how many women he had or if he knew what oral sex means. I was. I was also asked to give evidence of NOT lying, meaning to keep a 'clear' mind and answering all the questions in a convincing manner during the interrogation. I was physically put under pressure (meaning the police officers have the right to make you feel cold and uneasy because they need to break you down in pieces to see if you're lying).

After two hours of unbearable cold and emotionally breaking questions (they don't stop in front of nothing, I cried for an hour and a half continously and I was only given time to blow my nose), I was released. You would be surprised to hear that I waited for months before knowing I had been taken seriously and my ordeal was over, my ex had been let free of everything 15 days after the report.
This for a serial rapist and èsychotic domestic abuser. Sorry but I don't think rape and abused victims will ever have any justice if society doesn't change.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 12-Feb-13 15:07:07

Merlin, that's shocking, I'm so sorry.

FastidiaBlueberry Tue 12-Feb-13 19:39:55

The only way women will get justice for rape in society as it is currently constructed, is if they take justice themselves.

The state will not give them it.

The state has set up the rape law, to enable men to rape us and to get away with it.

The figures speak for themselves. 1 in 4 women raped or sexually assaulted, 85-90% not reporting, 6% conviction if they do report and only about 4-6% of all rape allegations are false.

This is not an accident. It is inevitable.

MerlinScot Wed 13-Feb-13 10:01:08

Tunip thanks

Fastidia, I totally agree with you. And I should add, given that most victims' desire is to heal (only in a few cases they aim to have vengeance or to take justice themselves), the only way you've to do that is 'detaching yourself from your previous life'. Sometimes that is not possible, for many reasons, and these poor women are forced to live in sort of a limbo that in a few cases brings them to suicide.

And to be honest, how you can convince raped victims to report when you're shoveled in your face 24/7 that only 6% of rapists are convicted and the rest the complainants are even taken as liars?
Not to speak that in remote and rural areas, many rape reports end up in a trial for the complainant, because after a rape report the police needs to blame someone!!

Dozer Wed 13-Feb-13 20:13:25

I read that in this case she was prevented from accessing therapy until the case was over. That's awful.

She was brave to see the case through. So sad.

Those stats are shocking.

The other sleazy teacher still in post, mentioned upthread, surely something could be done about him now?

piprabbit Wed 13-Feb-13 21:00:20

Did anyone else hear the Moral maze on R4 tonight? it was discussing the moral issues that this case has raised. TBH there was alot of vile nonsense spouted - but it did end with the following comment, which I thought is really the crux of the matter

"Telling someone they have a moral duty to do something that may destroy them is a terrible thing."

lastSplash Wed 13-Feb-13 22:09:26

Dozer - the teacher I mentioned upthread has now resigned, there was a Guardian article about it on Tuesday. He had been in his senior post despite what was known about him for 10+ years.

The man who hired him and defended that decision in an appalling way is yet to suffer any repercussions.

I'm really surprised there hasn't been more discussion here on MN about the case - the child protection issues in educational settings, as well as the sexual violence against women / how courts handle it issues.

I usually find the Moral Maze a lot of vile nonsense piprabbit. Disappointing as the issues are often very interesting.

MerlinScot Wed 13-Feb-13 22:46:43

"Telling someone they have a moral duty to do something that may destroy them is a terrible thing."

piprabbit, they don't tell you that may destroy you, and many of us are ignorant about law so that's how you end up being strangled by the system.

FYI, many rapists, despite the allegations, are let keeping their jobs until a conviction. My ex was free to keep his job among children and teens anyway. I guess it would have made the parents happy to know what he was capable of.

SirEdmundFrillary Fri 15-Feb-13 17:26:31

This case makes me very angry on her behalf. Nothing the authorities have said means anything: 'We followed the procedures.' Good for them; if the proceddures are crap that means nothing.

This needs looking at more.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 15-Feb-13 22:19:40

Only just seen this. Sm shocked. I have his books. Dh has net him - been to his house. We would never have guessed.

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