RIP Frances Andrade(48 Posts)
Very very sad story
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I thought the pursuit of justice was paramount.
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.
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.
Awful. That poor woman.
What on earth can be done about this?
Right, lemonmuffin, that's the question.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
That is so tragic. The poor Woman.
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.
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.
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.
Yes AbigailAdams definitely defence barrister - very easy to make that mistake, I agree with you on why that is.
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.
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?
"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?
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
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.
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.
"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"?
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.
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.
Piprabbit, I agree, I think that's a very powerful post.
"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?
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?
But the defendant doesn't have to give evidence.
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.
"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.
Merlin, that's shocking, I'm so sorry.
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.
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!!
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?
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."
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.
"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.
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.
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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