Wednesday, May 18, 2011

 

Why Ken Clarke essentially is right regarding 'serious' rape

Ham-fisted though Ken Clarke may be, he is essentially right about rape, and David Cameron merely trots out deeply uniformed disgraceful PC-fascism
 
The clear reason why over recent years the proportion of convictions has declined is the change in the nature of the cases coming forwards. 'Stranger rape' remains rare, but so-called 'acquaintance' rape has mushroomed. These cases are inherently not only usually one person's word against another's, that by definition can't even reach the civil standard of proof, let alone a criminal conviction; but often revolve around applying a definition of rape that in many cases is borderline, if not marginal to the point of splitting hairs; and often amounts to a retraction of consent after the sexual act took place.

'Stranger rape' cases are by contrast always clear-cut. By comparison rare, perpetrators usually are serial offenders, who are -- bar police clumsiness -- fairly easily caught. Clearly, albeit that there are cases of 'aquaintance rape' of a character more akin to 'stranger rape', in that these are very much the minority then there should be a profound distinction in sentencing accordingly btween 'stranger' and 'acquaintance' rape.

Self-evidently hopeless 'acquaintance' rape cases nevertheless are still passed by the CPS to be taken to court, not least because in effect the burden of proof has been shifted on to the defence. Changes in the law in 2003 now require an accused man to show that he took "reasonable steps" to establish consent. The court even supplies a "non-exhaustible list" of what he should have done! The law is supposed to be that any activity is presumed not to be illegal unless it is so proscribed, but in the case of sex, all sex by men is on sufferance of being declared illegal in what amounts to a 'show trial'.

To make matters far worse, research across the world reveals that specialist rape investigators conclude that most rape allegations made to police are fabricated. This is why, despite decades of pressure from the Home Office, a quarter of complaints are still 'no crimed'. No crime is deemed to have taken place. On top of this, many of the large number of cases put under 'no further action' police strongly suspect likewise are fabrications. Sir Ian Blair himself authored the study in England that showed that police estimated 50-70% of complaints to be bogus. Even on the Home Office's own figures in two specialist rape studies, conservatively 35% of formal rape allegations are bogus.

Professor Keith Soothill has researched the reasons why women fabricate rape, which can be and often are extremely trivial. So it was that the two large studies on supposed 'drug rape' found that the whole phenomenon was a hoax. The Forensic Science Service looked at over a thousand hospitalised cases and found that a third had self-administered illegal drugs, a third has self-administered alcohol, and a third were not intoxicated with anything at all. The embarrassments that in the case of each of these thousand individual women these claims of 'drug rape' were to cover, were varied but mostly astonishingly inconsequential.

Given all this, it should be clear that there needs to be a radical review of sentencing for rape, the role of the CPS, and the question of anonymity for both defendents and accusers.

Talk of wanting to increase the rate of conviction is an appalling travesty of justice, and is the Harriet Harman line of trying to convict nine innocent men to try to catch the one man who actually is guilty.

 


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