Rape Trials – Whose Justice?
In August 2019 I was raped in my home by a man pretending to be a pizza delivery driver. The first trial in January 2020 resulted in a hung jury and the retrial was delayed until March 2021 on account of covid-19. During this time the defendant was remanded in custody.
I had worked in the criminal justice system as a probation officer so was used to the court process. However, I was shocked at the conduct of the defence barrister, and his portrayal of me as a consenting partner in my opinion contributed to the outcome of each trial.
After the first occasion I read about the process of trials and what was appropriate. I am aware that CPS must take several issues into account when deciding whether a prosecution can go ahead and that stereotypes about victims should not play a part. However, the defending barrister broke all of these rules and although he was reined in by the judge a few times the point had been made. On account of having worked as a probation officer, although thirty years previously, it was claimed that I should have been able to talk the defendant out of raping me. No reference was made to my age of sixty five and that the defendant had threatened me with a large kitchen knife which he pointed at my throat and drew across my neck. An example of the belief that women are responsible for men’s behaviour ?
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t
In such cases where the victim is the only witness part of the defence’s role under the current system is to discredit her. Bearing in mind that the jury have to be convinced of guilt beyond all reasonable doubt this can prove precarious for victims. I was under threat by the defendant for seven hours, latterly in my bedroom where the five counts of rape took place. At one point he became interested in my books and I encouraged discussion to distract him from further violence. He was particularly interested in some books about witchcraft which my daughter had bought for a degree module on genocide and a reference book which I had bought several years ago out of interest. The defendant had mentioned these books to the defending barrister who asked me whether I was a witch at both trials. He was reprimanded at the first but not the second trial. As well as being an attempt to discredit me in the jury’s eyes I felt as if I was being tried as a witch in that everything that I did to stop him from using the knife to seriously injure or kill me, which I experienced as a real threat, was held against me. A modern day equivalent of the ducking stool.
Decriminalisation of rape
The defence challenged my account of events by relaying the defendant’s story which sounded like a mix of a Mills and Boon novel and a porn movie. A domestic scene of drinking coffee and washing up was included. I was ridiculed and constantly asked why I had not taken various actions to escape despite having been under serious threat and terrified. At the first trial it was claimed that the knife was used to cut the non existent pizza.
The jury found the defendant not guilty. As well as being in shock about the verdict I was concerned for my safety in view of his possible feelings of anger at having been on remand for nineteen months and knowing where I live. He had also seen me that day on the video which was my evidence in chief. I had already asked, on the advice of the witness support service, for a restraining order to be made in the event of an acquittal. The judge refused to make an order as there was no evidence of harassment.
“Within seven days of his release the defendant was again remanded in custody for sexual assault. This is an indictment on the current system which gives rapists excuses for their behaviour and lends credit to their stories which in turn gives them a sense of entitlement. These men are a danger to women.”
Issues such as offending cycles which are typical of sex offenders’ behaviour are little known to the public as a whole. On account of their specific nature sex offences should be treated differently and not follow the current adversarial process where the victim’s right to justice is effectively cancelled out by the defendant’s. There appears to be an assumption that the victim is lying and being possibly retraumatised by the trial does not allow her voice to be heard fairly. Jury members could have their subjective opinions about rape and it has been suggested that sometimes female jurors take an unsympathetic attitude to a female victim in order to reassure themselves that the rape happened because she did or did not act in a certain way and that if they act differently they will not be at risk of rape. How a victim responds to rape is entirely individual and cannot be predicted as it depends on circumstances. Therefore a line of questioning about her actions or lack of actions can unfairly influence a jury.
Is a panel made up of experts about sex offender behaviour and how victims respond to trauma the way forward ? Maybe this would challenge the current low conviction rate of rape cases and act as a deterrent to rapists whose sense of entitlement is encouraged by the current system.
One thought on “The mandatory imposition of juryless trials on Scots by WOKE activist SNP politicians ignoring legal guidance in preference for an emotional response is unacceptable- a woman who was raped explains why!!!!!”
We need something like this for child abuse cases.
Mailing you on the move!