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Radio 5 Live - good piece on rough sex

(38 Posts)
BlindYeoSees Tue 04-Feb-20 11:40:11

Emma Barnett on Radio 5 live just did a great piece on domestic abuse and the rough sex defence.

She had the Domestic Abuse Commissioner on, Nicole Jacobs. She was great. I didn't actually know there was a DA commissioner.

The talked all about the rough sex legal defence and "We Can't Consent To This" and Nicole was really clear and calm. They also talked about the Domestic Abuse Bill.

No stupid idiot on to counter it all with "yes but women love sexual violence innit". Just a good piece all round.

OP’s posts: |
Thelnebriati Tue 04-Feb-20 12:22:10

Clicky link, you don't need an account;

Thelnebriati Tue 04-Feb-20 12:23:10

Noooo sorry wrong link!

Thelnebriati Tue 04-Feb-20 12:24:52

Actual clicky link, its on now so not sure if this will work later;

BlindYeoSees Tue 04-Feb-20 13:02:56

Ta inebriati I should have put a link. Just nice to see the odd bit of light being cast upon such issues.

OP’s posts: |
WomanDaresTo Tue 04-Feb-20 13:55:11


(Fiona from WCCTT here)

Do you know roughly what time this aired the the prog?

sawdustformypony Tue 04-Feb-20 13:57:44

Don't you know - you were on it.

You're still misunderstanding the Natalie Connolly case I see.

WomanDaresTo Tue 04-Feb-20 14:03:24

GOT IT! 1:09:30 onwards

God I love a fella who tries to correct the ladies

sawdustformypony Tue 04-Feb-20 14:29:40

Ah, I listened to the first link. That makes sense.

Judging from that programme. From that, you didn't understand the Connolly case. Maybe you still don't.

BINtersectionalFeminism Tue 04-Feb-20 16:07:08

Thanks for sharing OP and for all the work you do WomanDaresTo.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 04-Feb-20 16:15:46

Sawdust what was being misunderstood?

On my phone in a quiet space, can't listen to the clip, sorry.

PaleBlueMoonlight Tue 04-Feb-20 21:46:26

I had no idea that Emma Barnett has her own show. Good stuff. I really appreciate her journalism.

sawdustformypony Wed 05-Feb-20 14:18:13

Sawdust what was being misunderstood?

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you - works busy. I listened to Emma Barnett programme (in the first link) which has WomanDareTo on it. She explains that it was after the Natalie Connolly murder trial that she started the We Can Not Consent To This website. That website is here. She had been concerned because she believed that the Defendant in that case, John Broadhurst, had been acquitted of murdering Natalie Connolly because his defence had been, that although he had indeed murdered her, because Natalie had consented to violent sex, then he shouldn't have been found guilty of her murder. (and in fairness, this was how the press were reporting it).

In reality, what happened was that Broadhurst was charged with murder and went to trial on that charge. However, during the trial it was shown that the CPS didn't have evidence that he had caused Natalie's death. Broadhurst had caused injuries to Connolly but the Court heard evidence from expert witnesses that these injuries hadn't caused her death. So the murder charge was abandoned or the judge directed the jury to acquit him of it - either way he was found not guilty of murder.

.....I'll break off there for a bit of background on murder (I used to be a criminal defence solicitor). At a trial the prosecution need to prove that the defendant had killed the victim AND that he had the intention to kill or cause grievous bodily harm. There's been a lot of case law on the question of intention. Part of the definition of murder included the term malice aforethought, but this doesn't mean there is need to prove that the defendant had been planning ahead to the killing - so if two people start to argue and in the course of that one of them picks up a knife and and stabs and kills the other with it, then this is murder. That is intention enough. If the prosecution can't proof intention but can prove that A kills B, then A is guilty of manslaughter.

Broadhurst was not found guilty of straight forward 'manslaughter' - as he would have been, had he caused her death. Instead, he was found guilty of a lesser crime that of negligent manslaughter - which is only used when a legal 'duty' exists by the defendant over the victim. Because what had happened that night, the Court decided that Broadhurst had created that duty and as such he should have done more to save Natalie's life.

However, WomanDaresTo claims that Broadhurst had killed Natalie i.e. murdered her, but had claimed (a non-existant) defence that she had provided her consent to the violence - and that this defence was Broadhurst's route to being convicted of 'manslaughter'. Complete nonsense - but lapped up by those that want to believe it happens.

There is more to say, but time marches on.......

ArranUpsideDown Wed 05-Feb-20 14:50:20

Barrister Julian Norman had some interesting points about what reform might look like (@ pg 7 of the then contemporaneous thread):

"There has been much said about the judge's sentencing remarks, which can be found here [LINK]. However, in the context of the sentencing guidelines [LINK], little argument can be made. The judge's job is to sentence "without fear or favour, affection or ill will" and however much ill will we as a society may bear Broadhurst for the entirely avoidable death of a woman, the judge cannot depart from the guidelines unless there are truly exceptional circumstances - and even then, would likely be appealed. The only part at which a lawyer might raise an eyebrow is the full one third discount for a guilty plea when that plea came so late.

And yet there is no way that this sentence appears fair, just or proportionate. A woman was brutally assaulted and died, due to a man's inactions in calling emergency services which could have saved her, and his actions which included not just beating her, but also inserting a bottle of carpet cleaner into her vagina, causing the ruptured artery when he broke it to get it out. The judge noted that she was so drunk as to be staggering and talking 'gobbledygook' before passing out: the decision by the CPS to offer no evidence on the assault by penetration sits very uneasily with the comments on her state of intoxication. The sentencing remarks appear to take Broadhurst's evidence of her desire for these activities at face value - her evidence, as always where a woman dies, is not available. Would it be too much to assume that women never consent to death?

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 05-Feb-20 15:02:49

Sawdust Thank you! I had some muddled version of that in my head, I remember being puzzled, outraged and disheartened at the time. I hadn't got the facts separated from the media fiction.

I have now. Thank you smile

Languishingfemale Wed 05-Feb-20 15:09:10

Thank you for posting that ArranUpsideDown

Wealthy men and their allies being so excited to have found a get out for murdering women is always a depressing read.

WomanDaresTo Wed 05-Feb-20 15:12:48

However, during the trial it was shown that the CPS didn't have evidence that he had caused Natalie's death. Broadhurst had caused injuries to Connolly but the Court heard evidence from expert witnesses that these injuries hadn't caused her death. So the murder charge was abandoned or the judge directed the jury to acquit him of it - either way he was found not guilty of murder.

Hi - that's one story.

I'd recommend listening to Mark Garnier - MP for Natalie and her family - on what actually happened.

A CPS prosecutor went to Natalie's family and asked them to agree to the prosecutor's decision to offer Broadhurst a manslaughter charge. I agree that there was not concrete evidence that her injuries had killed her - there was too much blood for that.

Strikingly jurors approached the family on the steps of the court, and Harriet harman, to say that they were appalled - that they would have convicted him of murder.

Bearing in mind also that Broadhurst had come down in the morning, stepped over natalie's body, eaten breakfast, washed the car, and only then called emergency services.

The CPS also did not pursue any specific charges (e.g. GBH, ABH) related to his beating of Natalie - which he claimed she had consented to as part of rough sex.

What we are desperately concerned about in Natalie Connolly's case, and in all other homicides and non-fatal assaults which have injuries claimed to be from "rough sex", is that the claim successfully deflects more serious charges. Police decline to investigate, prosecutors opt for lesser charges, or don't charge at all where "consent" is claimed.

In the proposed DA Bill amendments, prosecutors in a future Natalie connolly case would have to have DPP approval before dropping a murder charge - to ensure that families like natalie's are not asked to make that decision, and prosecutors must justify why a lesser charge is appropriate.

We're keen to hear other ways that could reduce the success of these claims if you have them - contact form on our site

ACatWhoBinds Wed 05-Feb-20 15:21:39

What do you think the solution is? I understand that it's a shit defence but what about people who do enjoy BDSM/breath play etc.? I sometimes like to do it. Is it easy to know the difference between a murder/manslaughter and genuine accidental death? (Genuine questions, not being facetious ☺️)

Languishingfemale Wed 05-Feb-20 15:28:00

The solution is that nobody engages in any sexual practice that leads to someone's death. And if they die, then it's a murder charge.. Nobody consents to being killed during sex.

CuriousaboutSamphire Wed 05-Feb-20 15:28:52

The solution is to make the law the same for all 'consent to harm' crimes.

If you cannot consent to various piercings and body mods then you can't consent to physical harm during sex.

If you CAN consent to physical harm during sex then you should also be able to get those piercings and body modifications.

But that would take some joined up thinking and a judiciary that doesn't believe a man can accidentally trip up and land penis first in any part of a woman's genitals.

ACatWhoBinds Wed 05-Feb-20 15:55:02

@Languishingfemale I see your point but it can be very hard to gauge - like people who die of autoerotic asphyxiation. The line between safe and dangerous is very thin.
@CuriousaboutSamphire, that makes a lot of sense and I agree with you on it. Having the one law that covers all 'consent to harm' actions would simplify it a lot too

Patte Thu 06-Feb-20 06:46:57

I have a thing I don't understand here. My sex ed was actually pretty rudimentary - in fact, nowadays it would probably be considered not nearly enough. However, I did know before I even got to adulthood that (in the UK) legally you can't consent to be hurt, let alone killed.

Is this not true? Did it use to be true but isn't anymore? Is it true but somehow this is still a defence against murder rather than manslaughter?

And if this is true, wouldn't it be a good idea to include it in sex ed? But then I'm an old fuddy duddy who thinks we should make a much bigger deal out of the age of consent in sex ed. Then maybe everyone would have realised that those poor girls in Rotherham et al didn't have boyfriends, they had rapists.

CuriousaboutSamphire Thu 06-Feb-20 07:30:55

It is true, and a recent case about body modification reinforced it.

It just isn't applied to 'rough sex' cases.

If you were a cynic you might be inclined to think this discrepency is due to the maleness of the perpetrator and femaleness of the victims!

But hey! The bod mod people were all men... maybe how a man looks is more important than whether a woman breathes.

QuentinWinters Thu 06-Feb-20 08:00:33

However, during the trial it was shown that the CPS didn't have evidence that he had caused Natalie's death. Broadhurst had caused injuries to Connolly but the Court heard evidence from expert witnesses that these injuries hadn't caused her death

This isnt quite how it was reported at the time. Reporting suggests the CPS decided to withdraw the murder charge

I can see how that happened given the amount she had drunk. But like rape trials, now the fact she enjoyed rough sex and wanted what happened to her is the narrative because of the verdict against him. It isnt fair and she can't defend herself

Patte Thu 06-Feb-20 08:02:17

Thanks for explaining, I was starting to doubt my own memory.

You're probably right about the male/female victims thing, although I also tend to think it's partly because everything sexual is now approached from the point of view of consent, and only consent, so no one wants to point out that something that (in theory at least) two consenting adults might do sexually might be illegal.

It's interesting, because as you point out, we don't treat other situations like that.

I think this is a mistake, and we should take consent as a necessary but not sufficient condition for sexual activity.

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