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FFS. Woman jailed for 8mths after retracting rape accusation

(202 Posts)
MmeLindt Sun 07-Nov-10 17:19:04


The woman retracted her claims after being bullied by her husband and family.

She was then prosecuted for falsely retracting claim.


lollipopshoes Sun 07-Nov-10 17:20:49


curlymama Sun 07-Nov-10 17:33:46

She did mess the court around alot though to be fair. When someone does something like that it becomes very hard to believe them either way. She may have been raped, but equally she may not.

Miffster Sun 07-Nov-10 17:38:43

Good to see the Telegraph having a go - a disgraceful precedent indeed.

A contemptible abuse of the law
A rape case in North Wales sets a shameful precedent.

By Telegraph View
Published: 7:00AM GMT 07 Nov 2010
Studying the treatment received by a woman from north Wales at the hands of the legal system, it is difficult to believe that such crass and blundering insensitivity could take place in modern Britain. The woman, as we report today, told police that she had been raped. She has now been jailed for eight months – not for making up the allegation, a crime which might deserve such a punishment, but for retracting it.
The only “offence” she committed was to have been persuaded, or perhaps intimidated, into believing that it would be better not to prosecute the man she originally accused of raping her. The police and prosecutors tried to change her mind. She refused, and the rape prosecution had to be abandoned. The police and prosecutors were unhappy at having spent a lot of time on a case that they were unable to bring to trial. Their frustration may be understandable, but it cannot provide a reason for prosecuting and imprisoning a woman for refusing to testify in court that she was raped. The authorities seem to have realised that fact, for they accused her of perverting the course of justice – in relation, as her defence said, to a series of events in which she was the victim. We do not understand how this is possible, unless rape is treated as an offence where the victim is not the woman, but the state and its prosecutors.

It is not just in terms of the harm done to the woman herself that the authorities’ actions were idiotic. The public interest has also been harmed, for the only conceivable effect will be to make victims of rape less likely to confront their attackers, for fear of being jailed themselves. We hope the woman will be released as soon as possible; in the meantime, all of those responsible for her imprisonment should feel ashamed

curlymama Sun 07-Nov-10 17:51:35

It shouldn't deter people from making an accusation. it should deter them from making one and then retracting it.

How do we know she was persecuted by the family. How do we know that she didn't make it up, then change her mind about going through with a false accusation, then realise she was going to get into trouble and decide to say she was telling the truth after all?

MmeLindt Sun 07-Nov-10 17:52:43

She changed her story because she was threatened and intimidated into it by her family and by her abusive husband.

If she decided to withdraw her case, the prosecutor should have chalked it up and walked away.

Do you think that this will encourage anyone to go to the police if they are raped?

ISNT Sun 07-Nov-10 17:57:34

There have been a lot of cases in the papers of women being jailed after reporting rapes.

I do think that all of this publicity will put women off. Until a year ago I had no idea that falsely reporting rape got you years in jail, that you could be sent to jail for years if the authorities believed you were making it up ie you did not change your story, and now that if you are intimidated into retracting a statement you can go to prison too.

Many women withdraw from prosecutions - there is a very high "attrition" rate - for various reasons. Realising they can't face court, unsympathetic treatment by the authorities, being threatened, wanting to forget about it and move on, there are a million reasons. And now this can land you in prison?

curlymama Sun 07-Nov-10 18:16:27

Lidnt, do you know that for sure? It seems the obvious thing to say if you are threatned with jail for withdrawing an allegation.

I am playing devil's advocate a bit here, and all I know of this case is what I've read here. If all is as it says on the face of it then I feel desperately sorry for her. Unless he is proved guilty then we don't really know if she was making it all up or not. But if she is now saying that he raped her, are they going to prosecute for that if she will give evidence? Are they going to prosecute those who harrased her?

ilovemydogandMrObama Sun 07-Nov-10 18:24:38

I don't understand why the prosecution had to be abandoned. They are acting for the CPS, and rape, along with other criminal acts are deemed to be an offence against the Crown. Presumably there was already enough evidence against the defendant to proceed?

Whether to prosecute or not shouldn't be the decision of the victim alone. It would make a more robust system if the system said, 'we are going to prosecute anyway...' Then there would be no point in pressurizing witnesses/victims because the decision is out of their hands.

sethstarkaddersmum Sun 07-Nov-10 18:40:49

If someone messes the court around as a result of being intimidated surely the people who should be prosecuted are the people doing the intimidating, not the victim of it? confused

am VERY pleased to see the way the Telegraph is taking this.

forevervacuuming Sun 07-Nov-10 18:41:55

In doing this the judge is implying that he accepts that she was raped - yet now she is the only one in prison.


sethstarkaddersmum Sun 07-Nov-10 18:46:01

the message is just do not report rape because there are so many ways they can get you.

If they decide you were lying because you didn't meet their view of how a rape victim should behave you can get imprisoned for making a false allegation. Now it seems they can get you for retracting it as well.

sethstarkaddersmum Sun 07-Nov-10 18:47:17

oh and if you have evidence, like being found tied up, they can do you for faking the evidence, like Gail Sherwood.

MmeLindt Sun 07-Nov-10 19:12:30

Of course we do not know for sure what happened, and I accept that it must be frustrating for the police and prosecutors when a woman changes her story. They should however be investigating WHY she changed her story and going after those who intimidated her.

We have read enough domestic abuse threads on MN to know how difficult it is for women to make a clean break, when they have been made to feel worthless for years.

ISNT Sun 07-Nov-10 19:23:53

Are there any stats available for women who have been sent to prison as a result of reporting a rape? (Whether they admitted they were lying, or the court decided they were lying, or they were annoyed at having time wasted, or whatever)?

It would be interesting to see if the numbers have increased.

pozzled Sun 07-Nov-10 19:28:32

I am so shocked that this could have happened. Of course this is going to put people off reporting rape- there is already a ridiculously low conviction rape, now there is the worry that if they don't feel able to go through with the prosecution for whatever reason they could end up in jail themselves.

As for the effects on the woman- as far as we know she was raped, bullied into retracting her allegations and then jailed because of it. If the CPS didn't believe she was raped, they couldn't have prosecuted her for a 'false retraction'.

darleneconnor Sun 07-Nov-10 19:32:36

So am I correct in understanding from this that if a woman reports rape to the police but doesn't want to testify in court she has no choice?

If so then surely this will put a lot of women off reporting rapes? I mean it is often said that the trauma of being x-examined is as traumatic as the event itself. What if the woman is in a fragile emotional state and cant face it? I remember one case when a girl killed herself after harsh cross-examination- is this what the 'justice' system wants?

KarmaDevil Sun 07-Nov-10 19:37:37

Fucking disgusting! Absolutely unbelievable! The judge should be jailed himself maybe he'll experience a bit of what the poor bloody woman has been through. Twat! Really is a man's bloody world.

StayFrosty Sun 07-Nov-10 19:59:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

octopusinabox Sun 07-Nov-10 20:48:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sethstarkaddersmum Sun 07-Nov-10 20:58:51

Most of the time when a man is found not guilty, I don't think they would assume you are lying, but there have been some very disturbing cases where the evidence the woman was lying was along the lines of 'she was seen chatting to him after the alleged attack' (despite the fact that victims often behave like this as it takes a while for what's happened to them to sink in), 'she texted him afterwards' and 'she was filmed on a mobile phone consenting' (when the woman says she was forced to act keen while the attacker's friend filmed it).

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sun 07-Nov-10 23:09:00

a "false retraction" - does that mean that they have prejudged the man guilty then? So weird, and horrible.

MmeLindt Sun 07-Nov-10 23:43:48

That is weird, isn't it? He was found not guilty so why was she charged with a false retraction? Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.

EightiesChick Sun 07-Nov-10 23:48:08

The way the law deals with rape is a complete joke. I didn't think it could actually get worse! angry

SumfingNew Mon 08-Nov-10 00:44:52

Too many people claim "rape".

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