Rape victims will no longer face cross examination in court!

(35 Posts)
Destinysdaughter Sun 19-Mar-17 09:25:37

I can't quite believe this but according to this article, their testimony will instead be pre recorded and then shown during the trial.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/rape-victims-cross-examination-in-court-videoed-a7637521.http

Destinysdaughter Sun 19-Mar-17 09:26:07

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/rape-victims-cross-examination-in-court-videoed-a7637521.html

patodp Sun 19-Mar-17 09:55:24

Also great news that sexual communication with a child now carries a reasonable sentence. I think grooming has always been difficult to prove/brushed aside if it was presented as "harmess" chat.

HelenDenver Sun 19-Mar-17 09:57:41

That's good, I think.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 19-Mar-17 11:51:31

That is good news. It will apply only to England and Wales. I hope Sturgeon can spend some time doing her day job and introduce it in Scotland too.

isupposeitsverynice Sun 19-Mar-17 11:54:03

Excellent news

cadnowyllt Sun 19-Mar-17 12:49:51

It'll be interesting to see how this works. At the moment, the defence cross-examines the complainant after hearing the examination-in-chief by the prosecution. so, is that examination to be carried out prior to the trial too. And presumably any re-examination by the prosecution too.

If the judiciary have given their support, I suppose that's going to be the case.

ladyballs Sun 19-Mar-17 12:54:03

Delighted.

ZilphasHatpin Sun 19-Mar-17 12:56:05

Brilliant news. I wonder if there are plans for the same in NI? Silly question. We don't even have a fucking government right now hmm

But great news for England and Wales.

PoochSmooch Sun 19-Mar-17 12:58:33

That sounds like a positive move. The article was a bit hazy on the detail, but I expect there's still a fair bit to be ironed out about how it will work in practice. Still, a move in a good direction, I think.

Destinysdaughter Sun 19-Mar-17 13:05:54

I looked at this news in the DM as well and typically, there's howls of outrage from men saying how much easier it will be to make a false accusation yada yada...

cadnowyllt Sun 19-Mar-17 13:11:15

...and its not restricted to rape or sexual assault cases. Seemingly not only to the complainant either but also to any 'vulnerable witness' - depending on the facts of the case this category might include the defendant.

Xenophile Sun 19-Mar-17 13:49:12

Well, there will be, because according to DM readers we should never hold men to account for their violence to women, unless it's men with brown skin and then we need to be allowed to burn them.

Avioleta Sun 19-Mar-17 13:54:04

Xenophile that comment is spot on.

cadnowyllt Sun 19-Mar-17 14:03:21

Thankfully, DM readers don't make the laws in this country.

LittleOyster Tue 21-Mar-17 12:00:38

Terrible news. The presumption of innocence seems to be disappearing, which worries me greatly. Let's not forget that the most vulnerable person in a courtroom is often the defendent.

HelenDenver Tue 21-Mar-17 13:27:27

Eh? The cross examination is still happening, oyster.

LittleOyster Tue 21-Mar-17 14:03:35

Yes, but the complainant is being positioned as a 'victim', which implies the defendant's guilt before the evidence has been examined. The court is signalling to the jury that her account of herself as a victim is correct before it has actually been tried. That can't be good for justice.

Sorry if that sounds harsh. I really sympathise with rape victims. I've been raped, and chosen not to report as I couldn't face the stress of an investigation/trial. (Although maybe I should say I believe I've been raped as, strictly speaking only a jury can decide that, and my case was never tried).

HelenDenver Tue 21-Mar-17 14:07:02

Eh?

Video testimony happens in other cases e.g. With children as witnesses. It is about vulnerability of the witness (which is what the victim is).

You were raped if you were penetrated by a penis without consent. A jury is required for a criminal conviction, a jury not being involved doesn't alter the facts. Sorry that happened to you.

sonyaya Tue 21-Mar-17 14:09:11

I have mixed feelings. Great to reduce the trauma for genuine victims (who are, in my opinion, the majority of complainants). But I suspect this will lead to a decrease in convictions. Video evidence just isn't as persuasive.

LittleOyster Tue 21-Mar-17 14:25:54

Children are vulnerable because of their age. That is a self-evident fact and acknowledging it will not influence the outcome of a trial. But - unless I am mistaken - the witnesses we are discussing here are deemed vulnerable because they have suffered a sexual assault/rape. But that is exactly the matter in question, which the jury must determine. The trial should not begin with a presumption of guilt on the part of a defendant.

Thanks for the kind words, Helen. smile

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 21-Mar-17 14:26:50

sonyaya is that an established fact about video evidence?

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 21-Mar-17 14:27:46

Why does deeming them vulnerable equal assuming guilt before the start of the trial?

sonyaya Tue 21-Mar-17 14:29:04

assassinated

I don't know. I am a barrister and it's what we all think but whether it's objectively verifiable I can't say - it's just my opinion and a fear I have for these brave women.

LittleOyster Tue 21-Mar-17 14:32:27

It doesn't, if the reason for deeming them vulnerable has nothing to do with the question the court has to decide: e.g. they are a child, have learning disabilities, severe mental health problems, dementia, etc. But 'I was raped' is the claim the court is testing, so it shouldn't be treated as a ground for vulnerable witness status, because that amounts to presuming it to be true.

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