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Nasty twist in reporting of rape/bringing it to court etc... Dittany etc you may be interested

(41 Posts)
LovelyTinOfSpam Wed 15-Jul-09 21:41:15


So it seems that now if you report a rape you put yourself in a position to be sued.

Given the pitifully low reporting rates, compounded with pitifully low detection/prosecution rates, compounded with pitifully low conviction rates, it's not as if victims of this crime need anything else to contend with.

As far as reported, the accuser has not said she was lying or anything like that, the evidence was good enough to convict in the first place and then the conviction was overturned (fresh evidence or technicality?). So now the woman may have to give the man £300,000.

This doesn't happen with burglary etc does it? So what's different about rape? Is it going to be treated in the same way as libel?

This is very scary whichever way you look at it.

onagar Wed 15-Jul-09 21:56:06

If he got his way it could surely apply to burglery too, but I don't think it will happen. If he could prove she lied then the crown might prosecute her for perjury, but as it says, she was not the presecutor in the first place. The court required her to be a witness.

I'm no expert, but if this went anywhere then surely every court court with an acquittal would leave the witnesses open to being sued (and the jury too maybe). That surely couldn't be allowed.

AppleandMosesMummy Wed 15-Jul-09 23:41:51

Burglars get treated very differently in the media and indeed in prison. They need to not name the accused until he's convicted, that would solve that problem.

RealityIsGettingMarried Thu 16-Jul-09 09:02:14

Message withdrawn

SlytherinStretch Thu 16-Jul-09 09:35:56

Jesus, that poor woman. sad

From reality's link:

"This means that our client... is personally having to defend his claim for £300,000 in damages."

Hasn't she been through enough?

NormaSknockers Thu 16-Jul-09 09:41:19

This is awful, just awful. I literally have no other words. Awful

AppleandMosesMummy Thu 16-Jul-09 09:42:13

Or has she accused an innocent man who's been attacked in jail and life is ruined, it would take balls of steel to come out of prison early and then keep the matter going. Surely if he was guilty he'd be thanking his lucky stars and keeping a low profile ?

nigglewiggle Thu 16-Jul-09 09:43:51

In my experience the CPS will not prosecute women for perverting the course of justice or perjury even when they can be proved to have lied about a rape allegation. They are understandably concerned about deterring other victims from reporting.

I would imagine that there would be a similar reluctance by the courts to allow these type of actions, unless it can be proved that the allegation was false.

Besom Thu 16-Jul-09 09:55:40

I don't think that just because he is continuing to say he is innocent means that he is. It is not uncommon for sex offenders to be in total denial about their guilt and to believe that the act was consensual. I am not speculating on his guilt or innocence, I was not there and I don't know.

I think it would be disastrous for the criminal justice system if he wins this case and I hope he won't.

It will definitely affect reporting of rape.

Many rape cases (especially historical ones) are not brought to trial because there is not enough evidence. If something has gone wrong with the system here he should seek compensation, but not from the woman herself.

nigglewiggle Thu 16-Jul-09 10:16:11

It is a tricky one because rape is a very difficult offence to prove, especially when it comes down to the issue of consent. It is also therefore an easy offence to falsely accuse someone of.

The conviction rates are poor, largely because it is so difficult to prove. I would be concerned that prosecuting women who make false allegations would reduce the successful prosecution rate or the reporting rate even further. But I also have sympathy for those who are falsely accused (and I have dealt with quite a few). If it did deter women from making false allegations, it would also mean that more time and resources would be available to investigate genuine reports.

onagar Thu 16-Jul-09 10:23:05

Surely this is still the hearing to decide if such things should go ahead and not the case itself?

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 11:28:28

The idea about not identifying the accused to save the public condemnation wouldn't have worked in this case as the man wass convicted of the crime.

I wish they had given more detail of why his conviction was quashed. Obviously a totally different thing if she's lied or if it was a technicality.

And surely even if she lied the usual process is to prosecute her (nigglewiggle I saw your post but they definitely do prosecute sometimes as I have read of women going to prison for this in the papers).

The other disturbing thing is the comments section on the Independent (reality's link) where you would expect a lot of lefty hand-wringing a la this thread. instead it seems to be peopled by very angry men.

The other thing that comes to mind is that a lot of people seem to believe that if the rape conviction rate is 5% (it's something like that I think) then this means that 95% of women are lying hmm and this will encourage them in that belief.

I really hope this arsehole gets kicked out of court.

nigglewiggle Thu 16-Jul-09 11:35:07

They tend to prosecute only where they have admitted that they lied rather than where they stick to their story, but the evidence disproves their allegation.

As you say, we don't know the facts of the case, so I'm not sure whether he is an arsehole or not.

AppleandMosesMummy Thu 16-Jul-09 11:42:59

Nobody can truly believe that innocent people do not get sent to prison and in the case of rape or child abuse it's the worse thing anybody could be acused of, if it's proven that anyone lies in court then there needs to be more prosecutions and if the courts won't act then suing is the only option available.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 11:43:16

Sorry niggle i thought you meant when they had admitted it.

The problem with all of this is we have no reliable statistics as to the actual prevalence of rape (which I imagine, from anecdotal evidence, is stupendously high) and the number of false allegations (which I imagine is very low). If my suspicions are correct then doing this to protect a tiny tiny minority with the result being that even fewer rapes are reported will be a disaster.

However as I mentioned earlier, a lot of people believe that women lie about this all the time, that women get what they deserve if they're out after dark etc and for this large proportion of people I imagine there will be a lot of support for anything which stops all these horrible women from ruining innocent mens lives... sad

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 11:47:56

By anecdotal I mean this sort of thing which makes for really grim reading.

HecatesTwopenceworth Thu 16-Jul-09 11:52:07

If it can be proved that someone lied about being raped, (by proving that the person was elsewhere/non match of dna/admission etc) then why should the accuser not be sued? It is a vile crime, but it is a vile thing to falsely accuse someone of.

AppleandMosesMummy Thu 16-Jul-09 12:01:04

Lovelytinofspam, that does make for very sad reading.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 12:21:18

I must admit that I thought if you brought a false allegation you would/could be prosecuted.

Not comfortable with the sueing thing. It kind of mixes up the criminal courts with the civil (?) ones.

You can't sue someone for comitting a crime against you can you. You (if you're lucky) get money from the compensation scheme. Maybe that scheme could be extended to compensate those falsely accused. Which would make sense as you would be compensated by the organisation who prosecuted you. Rather than the individual. For the individual there is still the threat of court action if you are found to be lying.

I just don't like the direction this is going at all.

Incidentally anyone remember that thing about teh compensation scheme recently, where they were reducing the amount paid to women who had been drinking or similar, for no apparent reason. Just shows how deeply ingrained the "rape myths" are. I am sure the idea that many women lie about rape is another such myth. It makes people feel more comfortable if they can think these myths are true.

nigglewiggle Thu 16-Jul-09 19:45:48

In my experience a high proportion of rape allegations are false, much higher than most people would expect. What the other thread shows is that there are in fact a lot of people who don't report genuine sexual assaults. So that partly explains why the conviction rate is so low.

There are some women who will make this horrendous allegation to get revenge on a man, because they later regret a sexual encounter, or because they are mentally ill. The prosecution of these first two groups of women, as I said earlier would hopefully reduce future false allegations. This would then improve the conviction rate and more genuine victims might be encouraged to come forward and report their assaults.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 20:20:37

A high proportion are false? Crikey?

Are you in the police niggle?

smallwhitecat Thu 16-Jul-09 20:50:43

Message withdrawn

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 16-Jul-09 21:52:17

Hello smallwhitecat nice to see you! Thank you for your post.

I must admit I was under the impression the number of false rape allegations was very low, but am better on the gut feeling than the actual stats front.

Niggle are you in the police, or a lawyer, or something else? I'm interested to know as the impression that many rape accusations are false is not one I've come across on MN before.

nigglewiggle Thu 16-Jul-09 22:13:23

I can only speak for my experience as a detective (I don't know how the research came to that figure) but about 50% of the allegations I investigated were proved to be false either by admission or by investigation. Of the remaining 50% I had personal reservations about roughly half. I wonder if the research is based on those cases that get to court, because the vast majority of false allegations are withdrawn long before they get to trial.

I want to make it clear that this did not affect how any of the women were treated. I would always treat them as I would want to be treated. As I said earlier, some were psychologically unwell and others were perhaps immature and didn't understand the seriousness of what they were doing.

AppleandMosesMummy Thu 16-Jul-09 23:06:32

I'm not surprised at those figures at all, when ever my brother does something the ex girlfriend doesn't like, not baby sitting when it suits her for example the first thing she does is call the police, they suggested a restraining order last time but of course that doesn't suit her because then he can't drop around with cash and to babysit.
And yet despite getting to crown court twice and no convictions every time the police have to jump when she calls them and my brother gets hauled into the police station for 24 hours, thank god he gets bail, because he's never done anything wrong and yet she's battered him black and blue.
She plays the police like a fiddle and I'm sure she's not alone, not bright enough to think of it all by herself for a start.

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