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I am very confused - Lord Rennard

(132 Posts)
Domus Mon 20-Jan-14 11:39:08


If he did what he's accused of, far more action than making him apologise is required.

If he didn't, why on earth does he need to apologise?

The current stance by Clegg and others is ridiculous? Or is it me? I'm not surprised he won't apologise as (legally) he's not guilty of anything. Surely if he makes any kind of meaningful apology that would really implicate him. (i.e. would be an admission of guilt) I'm sure no-one's going to be happy with an I'm sorry if I was misunderstood type of apology.

If "they" think he's guilty of something he needs to apologise for why are they entertaining having back at all?

Apologies if there are other threads-I did look!

Domus Mon 20-Jan-14 12:25:43

Obviously is just me grin

LostInWales Mon 20-Jan-14 12:33:31

No, I have been baffled listening to the radio. From the BBC page it looks like a barrister has reviewed the evidence and decided that whilst it is possible/probable there is no legal way of proving it. Clegg has gone (in his weak, weak way) 'say sorry' as though he was talking to a toddler (which actually Rennard looks not dissimilar to). Rennard has said no because it would be an admission of guilt (his words). Although looking a images of him, he can't be very healthy so possibly nature will take the argument out of everyone's hands.

I hope to goodness when we have the next election people look at the way these buffoons act and get rid of them all.

SirChenjin Mon 20-Jan-14 12:36:51

I'm confused too - you're not alone grin

If it's not possible to prove it from a legal POV, then technically he's not guilty - and therefore there's no requirement for him to say 'sorry' because that would be tantamount to admitting guilt?

OneHolyCow Mon 20-Jan-14 12:40:25

Wasn't there something in the LibDem party rules that is HAS to be proven beyond reasonable doubt that he is guilty before they can make him leave/resign? Since there is only the owrds of many women against him but nothing like hard evidence on film, or witnesses, or maybe another man he told about his acts, there is nothing they can do. Poor them, there is no other way.

I guess they have lost the vote of women now.
I certainly hope so anyway.

Domus Mon 20-Jan-14 12:44:38

Oh I get that they can't sack him/expel him if there's no evidence. That's really as it should be isn't it? Although possibly they could/should have looked a bit harder for the evidence - you don't need pictures to get a conviction after all.

I don't get why he should be made to apologise if he's not guilty. (which he isn't, as things stand)

LostInWales Mon 20-Jan-14 12:47:46

Because Clegg is wet and doesn't really think things through?

Dromedary Mon 20-Jan-14 12:49:53

I thought the decision was that he had invaded women's space, but no evidence that he had meant it in a sexual manner?
Not sure why they're not putting more emphasis on the impact on the women - there's no indication that he chose to invade any male colleagues' space?

Poledra Mon 20-Jan-14 12:50:14

Well, as I understand it, they do not want him to apologise for sexual harassment, but the QC did say that there was a broadly credible evidence for

"behaviour which violated the personal space and autonomy of the complainants"

and that this was what Clegg was asking him to apologise for - not a direct admission of harassment, but an acknowledgement that he stepped over the bar of normal social interaction, perhaps.

ProfessorDent Mon 20-Jan-14 12:53:25

Rod Liddle was quite funny about this in yesterday's Times: Of course he invaded their space, he's a fat lad isn't he? was the general gist of it. The moment Rennard says sorry, the women can hit him with a law suit is my understanding, a bit like if you say sorry after a car accident, you're then liable (actually, is this still true?)

Poledra Mon 20-Jan-14 12:54:14

One of the other issues is that Clegg does not have the power that the leaders of the other parties have; the Liberals are a democracy, and Clegg has very little power, if any, over Rennard. I cant find anything online to back me up, so I'm speaking about what I can remember hearing on the radio this morning - I think the leader of the Tory pary, for instance, could have done something more decisive because the regulations of his party allow it, not because he is a stronger character than the leader of the Lib Dems.

Poledra Mon 20-Jan-14 12:56:09

TBH, I expected one of those non-apologies; y'know 'I'm sorry if you felt I was violating your personal space. That was not my intention.'

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 20-Jan-14 12:56:53

If he's done something illegal he should be prosecuted. If he's done nothing illegal but been offensive he should have the decency to apologise. If he's done nothing whatsoever either illegal or unpleasant and everyone else involved is lying their heads off, then those people should be apologising.

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 20-Jan-14 12:58:09

There is evidence- the account of the several women complainants is evidence. The inquiry found that evidence was not enough to prove the sexual assaults beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what Lib Dem rules require (wrongly, in my view: it should only require proof on a balance of probabilities).

However, it seems everyone believes that something happened, and the women are not outright liars, hence telling Lord R to apologise. He can't of course, even if a feeble 'I'm sorry if...' way, for fear that it is seized on as a partial admission and used in a legal action against him.

And ultimately, I think a lot of his supporters in the Lords know he did wrong but simply don't care, because all those pesky women are unimportant and should know their place.

Poledra Mon 20-Jan-14 13:02:42

Angela, is this the difference between a criminal and civil case? What I mean is that there is insufficient evidence for a criminal suit but that, if he makes even a partial apology, the women could then potentially sue him in civil court?

eddiemairswife Mon 20-Jan-14 13:03:36

I'm unclear as to what he is supposed to have done; 'invading personal space' is a bit vague. Someone who stands too close behind me at the checkout might be invading my personal space, but it's not sexual harassment. Really I'm just nosy and wish the women involved would tell us exactly what he did!

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 20-Jan-14 13:06:30

Yes. The inquiry QC said he considered there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt, which is both the criminal standard of proof and the standard of proof in Lib Dem internal disciplinary proceedings.

The civil standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities. The women could sue him, and although this prospect keeps being mentioned, I don't know if any of them actually want to.

Poledra Mon 20-Jan-14 13:08:48

Thank you for the explanation - I'm a bit woolly on the differences between the courts (thankfully haven't had much to do with either type in my life!).

Domus Mon 20-Jan-14 13:11:47

Now, that's raised another question for me! If they sued over sexual harassment, who would they be suing? As they were harassed at work would it be him personally or their employer? Both? Who is their employer? The party or HoP (taxpayer?)?

If I had reason to make such a complaint against a colleague, wouldn't I sue the company rather than the individual? Although if I was successful I think harasser would lose his job and probably be suspended pending a conclusion.

SirChenjin Mon 20-Jan-14 13:12:11

Wouldn't an apology be meaningless though? He would 'regret any upset caused' or something like that, no charges would be brought, and unless the women sued him it would all be forgotten about.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 20-Jan-14 13:12:23

"...for fear that it is seized on as a partial admission "

I think that's the crux of the whole thing actually. His accusers would have probably settled for 'truth and reconciliation' but, because he's dug his heels in and made it a big story, any acknowledgement or apology will be jumped all over by press and public

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 20-Jan-14 13:21:19

One accuser, Alison Smith, has said:
"she had made complaints about Lord Rennard’s ‘inappropriate behaviour’ on two occasions, five years apart.
The first was in 2002 when she was ‘very young, very green and new to the Lib Dems’.
It made her feel ‘very uncomfortable’ but at that time he accepted that she had said no. ‘I asked around and people said, “Oh yes stay away from Lord Rennard – he has a bit of a reputation as a lech”. But it’s easier said than done; it’s a workplace.’
Five years later he made advances again but she said ‘the problem this time is that he really did not want to take no for an answer’. She said he touched her intimately.
She added: ‘I felt trapped in that room. He said I couldn’t leave – it actually turned out to be quite a scary experience. I had to raise my voice and threaten to call the police.
‘It’s one thing to be working with someone who’s a bit of a lech, it’s another thing if you’re actually feeling your safety is under threat.’"

"Ms Gaszczak, who now sits with Lord Rennard on the party’s federal policy committee, says that at the event his (Lord Rennard’s) hand started to rub the outside of her leg. She claims that when she moved away he kept getting closer and was brushing parts of her that she ‘didn’t want to be brushed’.

When she excused herself to go to the toilet, she says he followed her and said: ‘Why don’t we get a couple more drinks sent up to my room, where we can continue this conversation?’"

SirChenjin Mon 20-Jan-14 13:45:17

AngelaDaviesHair shock

And yet this would not stand up in court? confused

edamsavestheday Mon 20-Jan-14 13:47:37

I gather the bizarre inquiry found both that there wasn't sufficient evidence to a criminal standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) AND that he should apologise.

Rennard has skipped off gleefully with the first half but insists on ignoring the second.

Made me sick hearing Lord Carlisle on the radio, doing his 'powerful old boy can safely ignore silly women making a fuss' schtick. Apparently, he said, two blokes have shaken hands (on Rennard getting back the whip) so that's a satisfactory conclusion.

Disgusting. Whole thing's a complete stitch up - holding a disciplinary inquiry to a criminal standard of proof is ridiculous, as is deciding the whole issue turns on 'intent'. Right, so if an obnoxious man assumes he has the right to touch a woman that's OK then?

I hope any decent men and all the women in the Lib Dems refuse to let this one past.

AngelaDaviesHair Mon 20-Jan-14 13:56:36

I think there must be an awful lot of Lib Dems who could have given evidence to that inquiry but chose not to. Lord R could not have had such a bad reputation unless many people knew about his behaviour.

But all the closing of ranks has done is damage the party. I for one do judge a group of people who think this kind of activity should be ignored and the victims of it don't matter.

Lord R's supporters are muttering darkly about this all being politically motivated, and doing him no favours at all in the process. And Carlisle has come out of it dreadfully.

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