MWWT Opening Statement
Any woman, anywhere is free to make a false rape or sexual abuse accusation against a man and remain anonymous. “Feminists like Julie Bindel apparently seems to believe that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male. In fact, she once said being falsely accused wasn’t so bad. ‘A fair number of celebrities have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer term,’ she incredulously wrote in The Guardian. ‘To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisation.’
Any man being falsely accused of rape would be totally horrified as the vast majority would not be able to contemplate performing such an abhorrent act on a woman. There would be the accompanying fear of being publicly named and shamed, shunned by people, possibly losing his job, wife, family. The list would be endless along with the mental anguish which might result in his suicide. Not that people like Julie Bindell would worry. Would she say the same about the tragic suicide of Caroline Flack just before facing trial for an allegation of domestic abuse?
Harriet Harman’s ‘unreliable statistics on rape scare off victims’
By TIM SHIPMAN
UPDATED: 03:44, 15 March 2010
Harriet Harman was ordered to stop misleading the public about rape by an official inquiry report yesterday.
The Equalities Minister was accused of pumping out unreliable figures about the low number of rapists brought to justice, thus discouraging victims from reporting attacks.
The review by Baroness Stern appeared to put an end to years of claims by ministers that laws and criminal procedures for dealing with rape need radical reform because only six per cent of complaints end in a conviction.
The claim was even made by Miss Harman last September on the day she set up the Stern review.
But Lady Stern, a prison reform campaigner and human rights activist, called in her report for ‘an end to the widespread use of misleading rape conviction data – in particular the six per cent conviction rate figure’.
The six per cent figure relates to reported cases. In fact, the conviction rate for those actually charged with rape is nearly two out of three, higher than comparable figures for other violent crime.
The report’s view is doubly humiliating for Miss Harman because it was, she who set up the review.
Instead of condemning low conviction rates and demanding legal reforms – as ministers have repeatedly done over the past six years – Lady Stern said there should be more help for victims and greater use of police intelligence to track down men who serially attack and rape strangers.
Her report said: ‘The figure for convictions of those charged with rape as the term is normally used is actually 58 per cent.
‘There is concern that the six per cent figure can make victims feel it is not worth reporting.’
Lady Stern added: ‘The conviction rate has taken over the debate to the detriment of other important outcomes for victims.
‘Prosecuting and convicting is of course important, but my view is that support and care for victims should be as high a priority.
‘The obligations the state has to those who have suffered a violent crime, and a crime that strikes at the whole concept of human dignity and bodily integrity, are much wider than working for the conviction of a perpetrator.’
It was the second high-level slap on the wrist Labour’s deputy leader has received within a year over use of statistics to further her favoured political causes. Last summer the watchdog UK Statistics Authority accused Miss Harman of ‘undermining public trust’ by exaggerating the pay gap between men and women.
Baroness Stern’s report criticised ‘sharp failures’ by police in the cases of John Worboys, a taxi driver who was convicted of 12 attacks on women and may have committed more than 100, and Kirk Reid, suspected of 71 offences.
It called for sharing of police intelligence across London boroughs and for forces to consider specialist rape units. Lady Stern also said the Ministry of Justice should study numbers of false rape accusations. Because the alleged victim’s anonymity is guaranteed by law, critics say false claims can be made with impunity.
Her report said: ‘This provokes strong feelings and is surrounded by controversy, which … plays a part in responses to rape complainants.’
Lady Stern also said there should be an end to targets for rape convictions for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service; better forensic examination of complainants; better video evidence schemes for witnesses, improved compensation procedures for victims, and more explanation of sexual offences law to young people.
Miss Harman declined to comment.
Compliance or lack of with the 2010 Equality Act & 1998 Human Rights Act
2010 Equality Act
- Women receive anonymity, men do not. Anonymity for both parties was the case from 1976 to 1988 but it was removed from men as social media and mobiles etc were not prevalent which made it more difficult for police investigations. That excuse no longer stands with the proliferation of social media and the practice of denying men anonymity contravenes the Equality Act 2010.
- False allegations – women walk free with anonymity and no automatic charge of wasting police time or perverting the cause of justice which is punishable for up to 7 years imprisonment. Meanwhile the man struggles to obtain work because the accusation still remains on file. He also faces lifelong stigma.
- Suicide – many men falsely accused commit suicide – there is no criminal charge against the perpetrator when this happens.
1998 Human Rights Act
- When men are accused of rape the viewpoint is that they are guilty until proven innocent. Many left leaning lawyers and women’s groups are looking for the removal of juries and replacing with one judge and a committee of two – Julie Burchill and Harriet Harman come to mind. Innocent until proven guilty is a Human Right yet this is blatantly disregarded for men accused of rape.
- A man’s phone is taken for examination but consideration is being considered to allow the accuser to retain her phone on the grounds that it is against her human rights. This would contravene a man’s human rights i.e., the right to a fair trial.
- Rape targets – the setting of rape targets strays into the realm of gender politics where a conviction at any cost becomes the target instead of justice. Alison Saunders, former head of the CPS, brought the whole process into disrepute with her blinkered, biased and heavy-handed approach into the judicial process.
The case for anonymity for both accuser and accused
Men SHOULD be afforded anonymity in rape trials – it’s a human right’: High Court judge Maura McGowan is correct, says Peter Lloyd
By Peter Lloyd
PUBLISHED:14:56, 20 February 2013
UPDATED:15:46, 20 February 2013
Anonymity: Maura McGowan, chairwoman of the Bar Council, believes people accused of sex crimes, including rape, should have their identities protected
Earlier this week, Mail Online reported on Maura McGowan – the deputy High Court judge who recommended that men should be granted pre-conviction anonymity in rape trials. In a rare example of common sense within British law, the leading figure said that men should have their identity protected unless they are convicted.
Quite frankly, I agree.
Only yesterday, MailOnline reported on the case of Sophie Hooper – a 19-year-old woman who maliciously accused an innocent man of rape.
The mother-of-one, who was photographed smirking outside Southampton Crown Court after avoiding a jail sentence, only admitted to fabricating the allegations two months into the police investigation.
Sadly, cases like these are increasingly common.
In April last year, Kent’s Kirsty Sowden – a former John Lewis shop assistant – was jailed for just 14 months after crying rape over a fully consensual encounter with a man she’d met online. He was arrested at his workplace in front of colleagues and detained in a cell, wasting 376 hours of police time and costing £14,000.
In May 2012, 20-year-old Hanna Byron was spared jail after falsely accusing her ex-boyfriend of rape in revenge for breaking up with her.
In August, Sheffield’s Emma Saxon was jailed for making a second false rape allegation against her boyfriend, Martin Blood. He was held in police custody for 14 hours and subjected to an intrusive medical examination – all because he’d stood her up.
Meanwhile, Teesside’s Joanne Buckley was jailed for three years in September after stabbing a man because he refused to have sex with her – then threatening to cry rape if he went to hospital for treatment.
These cases – and the many, many more like them – are exactly why men deserve protecting by the law as much as women.
Tellingly, my opinion is shared by the majority of Britain. In 2010, a poll conducted by MailOnline showed that 67 per cent of readers want pre-conviction anonymity for rape defendants, as opposed to 33 per cent who don’t.
‘It’s a human right to be innocent until proven guilty’
Originally, the law agreed. In 1976, the Labour government introduced rape trial anonymity for both the alleged victim and the accused. It operated this way until 1988, when guidelines were relaxed to help police investigations.
At the time, the media was far less powerful, less global, less permanent than it is today. There was no internet, no slew of gossip magazines, no mobile phones with cameras, no social networking sites.
Police techniques and technology were also less refined, so a lack of anonymity helped them.
Now, things are different. Dramatically so. And – once again – the law should change to reflect this.
Why? Because a not guilty verdict is no longer enough to repair the planet-sized crater of damage caused by weeks of daily headlines across the globe.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s also a human right to be innocent until proven guilty.
Feminists like Julie Bindel disagree. She seems to believes that men deserve the stain of rape stigma, guilty or not, simply because they are male. In fact, she once said being falsely accused wasn’t so bad. ‘A fair number of celebrities have been accused of rape in the past and do not seem to have suffered longer term,’ she incredulously wrote in The Guardian. ‘To say that an accusation ruins lives is perhaps a sweeping generalisation.’
Perhaps she should speak to Peter Bacon. In 2009, he was cleared by a jury in just 40 minutes after being falsely accused of rape by a woman he met through a one-night stand. Although he was totally exonerated, the incident was so traumatic that he changed his name and left the country. His life was utterly destroyed.
Meanwhile, the accuser kept her anonymity – and, for all we know, went on to accuse others.
Where’s the fairness in that?
Even UK charity Rape Crisis admit that almost 1 in 10 rape allegations are fake. This means that, out of every 10,000 cases that go to trial, around 800 men will be named and shamed in the media. All of them innocent sons, nephews, husbands and fathers.
To say this doesn’t matter is not only patronising, but irresponsible and sinister. It also smacks of some darker gender agenda.
Ironically, women like Bindel are enraged at the concept of pre-conviction anonymity for men, yet so few of them are equally outraged by the false accusers who betray the sisterhood (and the real victims of rape) with their lies.
'It could make testifying easier for those who've come forward. Identifying the accused often inadvertently identifies the victim'
Yet these women are damaging rape justice more than pre-conviction anonymity ever could.
Even Labour peer Lord Corbett, who introduced the 1976 law providing mutual pre-conviction anonymity, argued this until his death in February 2012. He told the Evening Standard in 2002: ‘Rape is a uniquely serious offence and acquittal is not enough to clear a man in the eyes of his family, community or workplace. He is left with this indelible stain on his reputation. The case for matching anonymity for the defendant is as strong now as ever.’
He was right in life and he’s right in death.
Besides, the benefit of mutual anonymity would cut across both genders, helping victims as well as conserving fair trials. For a start, it would deter anyone from making false claims out of spite, seeing the accuracy of convictions rise – not fall.
Secondly, it could make testifying easier for those who’ve come forward. Identifying the accused often inadvertently identifies the victim, which adds immense pressure for them. It’s all wrong.
Accused: UK charity Rape Crisis admit that almost one in 10 rape allegations are fake
The issue is made even more complex when our government officials muddy the waters of truth.
In 2010, an official enquiry report led by Baroness Stern – a prison reform campaigner – ordered Harriet Harman to stop misleading the public about rape statistics. For years she’d been pumping misinformation that only six per cent of rapists are brought to justice, when the reality is very different.
Actually, the rate is more like two in three – a figure which is much higher than comparable numbers for other violent crimes.
But Harman’s creepy spin is symptomatic of another problem, because the way we criminalise rapists seems to have become political. Instead of securing robust, fair trials, people now want a system where woman have all the power – as if this would guarantee justice.
Fortunately, women like Maura McGowan see the reality.
Like the rest of us, she understands the abhorrence of rape and the importance of justice. Yet, even in discussing such an emotive issue, her response remains rational: name the convicted, not the constricted.
The overwhelming majority of men are not rapists – not by a long shot, and the law must remember this. Perhaps Harriet and Julie should too.
Student Liam Allan ‘betrayed’ after rape trial collapse. Both the prosecution lawyer, Jerry Hayes and the BBC’s legal correspondent, Clive Coleman slate poor disclosure practices in rape trials
BBC Documentary on Falsely Accused – ‘I Am Not a Rapist’. On Thursday, 10 September, BBC Northern Ireland transmitted a hard-hitting documentary on three young men falsely accused of rape, and of the devastating consequences to their lives the accusations made.
His trial collapsed due to detectives failed to disclose vital evidence to the defence’ He had been charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault and could have faced 12 years in jail and having his name permanently on the sex offenders register. The evidence on the disc contained 40,000 messages and his defence lawyer, Simone Meerabux, had to work at home overnight to trawl through the evidence which finally cleared him. Liam commented “This wasn’t a case of people trying to prove my innocence, it was a case of people trying to prove I was guilty.”
Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of “sheer incompetence” over the case. Before the trial the defence team had repeatedly asked for the phone messages to be disclosed but was told there was nothing to disclose.
Mr Hayes, who demanded the messages to be passed to the defence, said he believed the trial had come about because “everyone is under pressure”. “This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak,” he said. His accuser has, of course, walked free leaving Liam to pick up the pieces.
The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman gives his analysis of the case.
Mr Allan’s lawyer Simone Meerabux said it had been “a very traumatic experience” for her client.
She said it was “amazing” the case had got to the stage it did “but it’s not uncommon” because of problems with disclosure. Despite discovering all of the lies on her phone, she remains free from prosecution leaving Liam to get on with his life with the trauma still affecting him and difficulty in finding employment.
His accuser was having problems with her boyfriend and used Ashley to remove her problem. She asked him to pick her up for a date but not outside her home. They drove up into the surrounding hills and had consensual sex.
On arriving back home she rang the police and claimed that he had raped her. He gave a statement and was treated like “scum”. A long period went by with no information during which time he lost his job and cut himself in a suicidal attempt. He was eventually informed that all charges were dropped and has had extreme difficulties getting on with his life.
Meanwhile, his accuser safe in her anonymity just gets on with her life, facing no prosecution for wasting police time.
24-year-old Camellia, Jay’s sister talks about accusations that drove her brother Jay and, eventually, their mother, to suicide. No aspersions are cast on the motivations of the accusers, although the institutional failings are manifest. But, with funding for the criminal justice system slashed to the barest bones, what can realistically be done?
The accusation was withdrawn but the damage had been done to Jay who left a suicide letter for his mother and sister bought his favourite drink, crisps and a rope and hung himself.
One year later, on the anniversary of his death, his mother also committed suicide.
Summary of facts stated in the documentary
- 1,000 rape reports every week in England & Wales ONS 2019
- 3% of cases that go to court result in conviction
- At the lowest estimate 1500 men were falsely accused of rape last year Home Office Report 2005 – the figure could be much higher
- 90% of alleged rapists are known to their accuser
- Average delay between arrest and going to court is 1 year MOJ 2017
- Before 2014 reported rape was less than 20,000 a year. By 2018 fig had tripled ONS
- Since 2016, 1419 men under investigation for rape or sexual assault have died untimely deaths FOI 2019
- None of the three cases were reported as false allegations despite Liam being told that he had been recorded as not guilty and left the court without a stain on his character
Her claims – Liam
- It was painful but he would not stop and made her cry
- He tied her to the bed with neckties & she cried throughout
- He met her aged 18 and within 2 years relationship failed – college etc
- Saw her off on the bus and 4 months later she filed multiple rape claims
- Eventually his defence lawyer accessed the accused woman’s phone on which the police indicated there was nothing there. It was the complete opposite and the case collapsed
Her claims – Ashley
- Having problems with boyfriend – would he pick her up around corner
- Went for a drive up in the hills and kissed then they both undressed and had consensual sex
- Took her home and she dialled 999 and claimed he had raped her
- Text from her boyfriend accusing him of raping her
- Arrested on suspicion of rape and treated like scum
- Lost job – attempted suicide
- Eventually the accuser withdrew her allegations
Her claims – Jay
- After foreplay he laid on her and she froze. He asked what the problem was and received no reply other than taking her home at her request. He was distraught and his sister Camella called the girl to be told that she was pressing rape charges. Jay called police and volunteered to go in for questioning. His solicitor advised him to say no comment due to inconsistencies in her statements. Female officer came at him full on accusing him of rape. Clearly in her mind he was guilty. Weeks went by and only when Jay phoned the police did they inform him that all charges were dropped. By this time the damage was done and after leaving a suicide note he bought his favourite energy drink and crisps and a length of rope and hung himself.
A year later, on the anniversary of his death, his mother also committed suicide.
This is a most powerful documentary and we feel obliged to pull together some of the statements arising from the film. It is quite clear that the appalling mess that Alison Saunders, head of the CPS, left behind which as a result of Liam Allan’s experience required a halt in all rape cases in England and Wales at the time in order to make full judicial checks. It has to be commented that Saunders went on to become a Dame for her efforts while running the CPS.
MWWT Proposals – Rape/Sexual Assault Trials
Rape itself is an abhorrent crime and any woman or man suffering from it will be scarred for life. Every effort must be made to ensure that the correct procedures are applied to ensure that a safe conclusion is reached.
As we will see there were a series of collapsed rape trials in whilst Alison Pearson was Head of the CPS. She along with sloppy police work resulted in 27 rape trials collapsing due to withheld evidence and the CPS desire for a conviction at any cost. This has resulted in the public’s lack of confidence in the judiciary and the police and cannot be tolerated any longer. The effect on men of being falsely accused is appalling as they are pilloried in the media, can lose their wife, family, job and are ostracised in public. Some even commit suicide.
- CPS – requires a complete overhaul to ensure that all trials are treated in an even-handed way and without prejudice to either party. Candidates need to be selected on that basis. We do not want any more Alison Saunders heads of the CPS who has brought the whole judicial system into disrepute.
- All judges, police departments should receive up to date training on how to conduct rape trials using the procedures outlined below to ensure that both accuser and defendant are given a fair hearing. This is to ensure that there are no more collapses of rape trials due to shabby practices which does not help women any more than men.
- Innocent till proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt is a basic human right
- Anonymity for both accuser and defendant. This is essential in order to ensure that juries are under no public/media pressure to deliver the wrong judgement either way. Anonymity for both parties was the case from 1976 to 1988 .The effect on men of being falsely accused is life destroying
- Telephones of both the accuser and the defendant must continue to be removed under strict conditions of privacy and only information pertinent to the case to be used.
- Men must prove that the woman consented – this has not become Law, nor should it ever be as it would be impossible to prove.
- Jury system – this must always be used. Some Women’s Groups and left leaning Lawyers are pressing for the removal of juries and replacement by a sole judge and a committee of two. This would end up with a rubber stamped result every time and would be extremely unreliable.
- False Allegations – a result of unproven would not be a false allegation and both parties would be free to leave untainted. If a proven false allegation with clear evidence was made, the guilty party should be automatically be prosecuted and receive a custodial sentence. The accused should receive adequate financial compensation. If proven guilty the party concerned should receive the full appropriate sentence and lose his anonymity as well as being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life. It would be vital that this punishment was not reached based on unstable court procedures.
Stephen Fitzgerald – Chairman MWWT