Students cleared of gang rape because the woman "had previously enjoyed a threesome" - wtaf?

(42 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Quatrefoil Tue 12-Apr-16 13:20:03

Just read this in the paper copy of The Times and can't find an online article that mentions her previous threesome, so here is an extract:

"Four students have been acquitted of raping a woman at a May ball after evidence emerged that their alleged victim had previously enjoyed a threesome with two military policemen ... The evidence was found on a mobile phone owned by the woman who claimed she was raped at the Royal Agricultural University annual ball in 2014."

Here is a link to The Guardian's article (doesn't mention the "threesome":

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/11/four-men-cleared-of-raping-woman-at-university-ball

If what The Times has reported is the real reason for this trial being thrown out, I am truly shocked. What the hell have her previous sexual choices got to do with what happened that night?

Is this really how things go in rape trials even in this day and age? Victims being investigated and tried, and labeled as easy or up for it every single time she's propositioned just because she has consented to sex before?

Quatrefoil Tue 12-Apr-16 13:21:26

Sorry my link failed - can't see how it should be done ...

MajesticWhine Tue 12-Apr-16 13:33:06

The prosecution dropped the case deciding there was no prospect of conviction. No mention of previous threesome in my newspaper (telegraph). If that is the reason then it's disgraceful. It should have no bearing whatsoever on the case.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 12-Apr-16 14:34:30

The account I read was that the police hadn't made available prior evidence that the woman had a previous rape case fail because of differing accounts she gave. It also came to light that in this instance her complaint took place after a video had been released on Snapchat. There may also have been an indication via evidence on her phone, that the sex was consensual. The accused had all pleaded not guilty.

That's only reported though, so may also have been presented to suit the story but various sources seem to say the evidence had been 'cherry picked' and 'airbrushed'
>>defence barrister, Edward Henry, demanded to know why it had taken so long to reach the conclusion.

He said: “There was no explanation as to why that decision has been reached. Why it took 13 months to decide to charge these defendants in the first place?”<<
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/11/four-students-cleared-of-raping-woman-at-college-ball/

I think varous headlines saying the men have been cleared though are misleading. They haven't been cleared, the case was dropped.

peggyundercrackers Tue 12-Apr-16 15:09:34

Given all the information coming out about the case now im surprised it ever got to court. It seems there are errors all over the place about what happened. the statements the police took were incorrect and missing some information they were given, evidence has been withheld, messages on the girls phone seem to suggest it was consensual - she seemingly said if the video got out she was worried it would make her look bad, there is a video of the act itself - from what ive read she only complained after she realised the video was on snapchat but that may just be the way the newspaper are reporting what happened.

chilledwarmth Tue 12-Apr-16 18:14:16

Enrique that's two ways of saying the same thing really isn't it? If the case is dropped, they might not have been formally cleared by a court but you also have the presumption of innocence principle. If it hasn't been proven that the guys are guilty, then in my mind they are innocent.

I'm not surprised about it not going to court either. If statements are incorrect and missing evidence, and she made a previous allegation and gave differing accounts of that, it would be very hard for a jury to feel confident in convicting.

prh47bridge Tue 12-Apr-16 18:16:46

There is no way the case would have been dropped just because she previously had a threesome. The other issues with the case are far more likely to be the reason. Reading the Guardian report makes me wonder if the report in the Times is confused.

scarlets Tue 12-Apr-16 21:58:59

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Tue 12-Apr-16 22:05:33

chilled the point is that being cleared is a result of the evidence being heard and a court deciding a not guilty verdict. , so the headlines aren't accurate. If there were no charges to answer then they can't be cleared of them.

In this instance the prosecution offered no evidence and the case was dropped. So yes, theres the presumption of innocence of course, but it's not the same as the headlines declaring that they've been cleared, they've not, because they've not been tried, no evidence was heard and no court decision reached.

Very unfortunate for the men that they've been named and photographed in the media.

EElisavetaOfBelsornia Tue 12-Apr-16 22:07:15

Oh FFS scarlets. "One of those mendacious women"? Proven numbers of false rape claims are minuscule. Rape reportedly happens to up to one in four women. This case may not be proven but let's not pretend false allegations are common - they're not.

Toadinthehole Wed 13-Apr-16 10:23:21

In this instance the prosecution offered no evidence and the case was dropped. So yes, theres the presumption of innocence of course, but it's not the same as the headlines declaring that they've been cleared, they've not, because they've not been tried, no evidence was heard and no court decision reached.

My understanding is that if a matter reaches trial and the prosecution offer no evidence the judge can dismiss the case without the need of a jury, and the defendant is formally acquitted. This means that the defendant cannot be retried. It is just the same as a not guilty verdict by a jury.

Surprisingly, The Sun's report has more relevant details than the Gruaniad.

First point: she was alleged victim in a separate rape trial and changed her evidence. Her sexual history isn't relevant. The fact she changed her evidence is: her truthfulness would have been put in issue, weakening the prosecution case.

Second point: the rape was filmed and it was consensual. Filming it might involve an entirely separate crime, but not rape.

Third point, and it's hard to overstate the seriousness of this: the police did not disclose these matters to the defence. Goodness knows how this happened but at best that is negligent and at worst misconduct. Defendants have the right to know all the evidence held by the authorities against them, and that includes rape defendants. If the authorities get slack about this, innocent people go to prison.

I suspect the judge would have handed the prosecution its arse on a platter had it wanted to proceed with the trial.

Scarlet it does not good speculating on why the woman complained to the police. In any event, it is the responsiblity of the CPS together with the police to ensure that poor cases are not taken to court. Clearly this didn't happen here. This, together with the Waterloo sexual assault case (where video evidence was adjusted without the defence being informed) makes me believe that the police / CPS are coming under pressure to prosecute cases that are so weak that the liberty of innocent people is being put at risk.

prh47bridge Wed 13-Apr-16 12:50:07

My understanding is that if a matter reaches trial and the prosecution offer no evidence the judge can dismiss the case without the need of a jury

If the jury has not been sworn in the judge can enter a not guilty verdict without needing a jury. In this case the jury had been sworn in so the judge will have asked them to return a formal not guilty verdict.

The rest of your comment is correct. Enrique is wrong. The verdict has exactly the same effect as if the men had been tried and acquitted. They have been cleared and cannot be retried for the same offence.

If the authorities get slack about this, innocent people go to prison

Agreed. Far too often in miscarriages of justice it emerges that important evidence has not been disclosed to the defence or, worse, evidence that may have been useful to the defence has been "lost".

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Apr-16 12:58:28

There's never a bad time to link to We Believe you

BareGrylls Wed 13-Apr-16 13:17:08

At least the woman has the benefit of anonymity. These men have had their names and photos all over the press. That will never go away.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Wed 13-Apr-16 13:26:35

* In this case the jury had been sworn in so the judge will have asked them to return a formal not guilty verdict.*
Thank you. I hadn't picked that up from the report I'd read, so my earlier comments didn't reflect the fact that the Jury had been sworn in. I had understood the case to be dropped in the light of the Prosecution offering no evidence, not that a verdict had been returned.

Obviously with all the accused being identified it's important this is clarified and I'm happy to stand corrected.

lougle Wed 13-Apr-16 13:45:53

Olivia are you saying that these men are indeed guilty of the crime which they were charged with but have been found to have no case to answer?

I think it's dangerous territory to say 'we believe you' regardless of the evidence.

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Apr-16 13:48:31

There's never a bad time to link to We Believe you

of course there is a bad time. you are suggesting that even though the evidence shows the girl may have made the whole thing up and the accused have been cleared that you STILL believe her. surely that just makes it look like you aren't interested in the justice process and only interested in believing the girl no matter what - that's an appalling stance to take.

CrossfireHurricane Wed 13-Apr-16 13:51:12

I take it We Believe You was in defence of the men in this particular instance?

Abraid2 Wed 13-Apr-16 13:51:15

I think that is an ill-timed link.

I have a student son. Sometimes I terrify myself thinking that he could have consensual sex with someone who then claims it was rape and everyone will believe her just because she made the claim.

peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Apr-16 13:54:17

I take it We Believe You was in defence of the men in this particular instance

if you follow the link its all about believe the person who has been raped so in this case I cant see how it can be in defence of the men.

Biscetti Wed 13-Apr-16 13:55:24

One of these men is a close friend of my DC.

Add message | Report | Message poster lougle Wed 13-Apr-16 13:45:53
Olivia are you saying that these men are indeed guilty of the crime which they were charged with but have been found to have no case to answer?

I think it's dangerous territory to say 'we believe you' regardless of the evidence.
Add message | Report | Message poster peggyundercrackers Wed 13-Apr-16 13:48:31
There's never a bad time to link to We Believe you

of course there is a bad time. you are suggesting that even though the evidence shows the girl may have made the whole thing up and the accused have been cleared that you STILL believe her. surely that just makes it look like you aren't interested in the justice process and only interested in believing the girl no matter what - that's an appalling stance to take.

^ these posts. With bells on.

I say this as someone who has been raped.

BareGrylls Wed 13-Apr-16 14:02:39

PresidentOliviaMumsnet So, to be clear, your post suggests that you think the men are guilty even though they have not had a trial and the judge saw fit to throw out the case. shock

KindDogsTail Wed 13-Apr-16 14:26:14

Chilled You wrote that:
If it hasn't been proven that the guys are guilty, then in my mind they are innocent.

Obviously it would be terrible if anyone not guilty of rape were convicted, however
I strongly disagree with the idea that because there is no proof of a rape, that means the alleged rapists are innocent. No proof can just mean there was no proof - often the case with rape. It does not mean the crime was not committed.

Only 15% of sexual crimes are reported. (rapecrisis.org.uk)

Only 2%-8% of allegations are false (same as for other crimes but with a lower conviction rate than other crimes)

^*Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes*, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator. (Kelly, Lovett and Regan, A gap or a chasm? Attrition in reported rape cases, 2005)^(rape crisis.org.uk)

In 2012/13 there were 3,692 prosecutions for rape in England and Wales, resulting in 2,333 convictions.(Guardian 1st December 2014) so 63% of prosecuted cases resulted in a guilty verdict.

So there seems to be a discrepancy somewhere, with the result that wrongly acquitted rapists could be going free, alongside the vast number of other rapists who were never reported, or never charged following a report.

BillSykesDog Wed 13-Apr-16 14:28:01

Wow. What a spectacularly I'll judged post Olivia.

KindDogsTail Wed 13-Apr-16 15:19:30

Toad and PRH I am interested by this thread but would not have understood all the legal points. You have made it all clearer and especially what you said here Toad

Defendants have the right to know all the evidence held by the authorities against them, and that includes rape defendants. If the authorities get slack about this, innocent people go to prison

It seems The CPS behaved wrongly and this could have lead to innocent people being convicted.

Aside from having been cleared of the rape charges, publishing the video, if that is what the men did (after dressing up in black tie and going to the May Ball), makes them cads at the very least though in my opinion.

Abraid I would be worried too if I had a student son. But it is horrifically worrying that many girls really are raped at universities every year and get the sentence of a ruined life for years to come.

Did your son have the Consent lessons for new students that have come in recently? www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11933506/Breaking-news-rapists-can-be-nice-university-educated-boys.html

Maybe mothers could help sons stay safe from accusations by telling them not to get drunk and go to bed with a drunk girl; to never have sex with a girl who has not fully consented; that if she is drunk or drugged she cannot give consent; that snogging or even other sexual contact that goes much further is not consent; to ignore the myth that "No" really means yes and the girls want to be dominated; that not fighting and not screaming is not in itself consent.

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