Celebrity Witchhunt – Get me out of here ! !
January 25, 2014 Leave a comment
It is more than just a coincidence that the report, “Are juries fair ?”, (pub in Feb 2010) was sponsored by the Min of Justice and not the Home Office [see http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/research-and-analysis/moj-research/are-juries-fair-research.pdf ].
For those who have advised the Home Office from time to time (since 1999) on such matters, this choice of title is more than just a simple truth that juries have to be listened to – it is a revelation in official circles ten years in the making.
We now have an “official” ministry paper on what has really been going on with regard rape reports, juries and convictions. Such a paper could not have been contemplated 10 years ago.
At that time the Hone Office policy team (mostly women, it has to be said) decided that they were going to pull the net so tight that no man charged with a ‘sex related crime’ would ever in future, and I quote, ‘slip through the net’. It was their intention therefore – because they were of the school of thought that there could be “no smoke without fire” – that any a man suspected and detained for questioning must therefore be guilty.
These women – and they may have been radical feminists in political outlook – were convinced, and indeed, fully expected, that every man charged would be convicted. That would be achieved by removing the barriers that constituted a ‘fair trial’. Only then would society be safe for women and if that meant suspending human rights, so be it, if it meant altering the rules of evidence, then that was but a small price to pay.
What they could not tolerate, because it smashed their paradigm, was the phenomenon of the “falsely accused” and the innocent wrongly convicted. Officialdom still has to recognise this category of prisoner. Omitting them in every reports will not make them go away. In fact, the HO team (unlike the FBI) didn’t care about such travesties of justice.
All these unseen machinations culminated in what the public now knows as the Sex Offences Act 2003. This brings us neatly to the present crop of sacrificial lambs. A motley bunch of individuals, I grant you, but all entitled to a fair trial – which of course, they will not get.
The fact that they are media ‘celebrities’ is a bonus – and thank God for it, because they will probably have the £50,000 to £100,000 it takes to employ a competent defence team – something the average Joe just can’t hope to pay for.
The entire topic of sexual offences and the circumstances surrounding it has been deliberately manoeuvred and elevated upwards, and is now resting on an unsustainable pedestal.
So, who are the present alleged culprits ? Firstly, there is Lord Rennard whose crime is so miniscule it would seem that if he uttered an “I’m sorry” it would all blow over (but of course, it would not stop there – once admitting to “it” he could then be profitably sued to damages).
Whose next is in the frame for an ‘alleged’ sex-related offence ? Dave Lee Travis (veteran DJ of Radio 1), now aged 68; William Roache, a “star” of TV’s Coronation Street soap. aged 81; even older is Rolfe Harris (83); mischief-maker-extraordinaire Max Clifford, aged 70 (who must surely feel hoisted on his own petard having represented several gold-digger false-rape claimants in the past); and last but not least, Freddie Starr, also aged 70.
The last of these candidates earmarked for public humiliation, Freddie Starr, reminds us that all these purported offences happened in the 1970s or 1980s and are not at all (so far as we have been led to believe to date), serial in nature or premeditated over decades, as per the case of the Jimmy Savile saga, which gives everyone the shivers.
Tell us the rules
Some behaviour was always objectionable and criminal, as in the case of Jimmy Savile. Most men behave within the expected rules and are happy to do so, but when these rules change some 30 years later they find themselves vulnerable to prosecution.
The First World War was notable for its slaughter on a monumental scale – 10,000 dead in one day. Our modern perceptions would dictate that Lord Haig and Kitchener should be put on trial for mass murder but in their day that was the acceptable way to conduct warfare. Today, it is inconceivable that Generals would inflict the same scale of casualties in, say, Iraq or Afghanistan – because the rules of engagement and public expectations have changed.
In a way, thank goodness for “retro TV” channels such as Alibi and Gold, for there we can see the contemporaneous use of ‘me ol’ China’ phrasing and attitudes of ‘Del Boy’ that would today be seen as unflattering to women generally – though even at the time none was ever intended. In these old TV serials we see a secretary making tea for the boss or getting a friendly pat on the bum, being referred to a ‘Luv’ and ‘Darlin’, being taken out for a drink/meal and never expected (by the man / men), to pay for a round.
The New Rome
Since then, the ‘groupie’ culture of adoring fans has been superseded (and on arguably a larger scale) by the “ladette” culture where drinking alcohol to the point of being legless is de rigueur and leaving home for a ‘night out’ entails tanking up on alcohol even before leaving home.
As the picture here depicts (left), it is open to conjecture whether some girls might lose their underwear as a result of abusing alcohol – aping some Bacchanalian drinking frenzy – or some fleeting sexual encounters with a stranger.
Most of the complaints made against the current crop of celebrities – for it is not the first time this has occurred – appear to fall within a certain age range. Both the ladette culture and the unreliability of rape claims made by younger women are explored further in, “Precarious Rape Data – 16 to 25 year olds” (see https://falseallegations.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/6/).
We also have to bear in mind that this era (post 1960), also saw the emergence of groupies that followed rock bands around the country and would be wiling to do anything to get a ‘back stage pass’ or spend the night with one of the group. This is not to say it was wholly edifying at the time but those were the moral values, social norms, choices and trade-offs, the quid pro quo, thought acceptable at the time.
And to a degree that obsessive behaviour (mostly by young women) is still in evidence today. In fact, it has almost become normalised into our culture and is rarely noted. However, what and where the “ladette” culture’s quid pro quo is located still remains obscure.
The nature of the allegations, the celebrity status of the accused, the sensationalistic journalism and the heightened public awareness (or voyeurism lapsing into prurience ?), lends an amphitheatre-like atmosphere to proceedings.
One can foresee that perhaps the one redeeming feature of this orchestrated assault by the organs of the state against a class of individual is that at least the arthritic system will get the much-needed exposure which for too long it has been able to avoid.
Proof is not longer essential in rape cases, and gone too is the need for collaborative evidence. So instantly any case is proceeded with on shaky ground. But this is a rape trial, remember,so these things are so important.
Enhancing a complainant’s legal position in court while diminishing that of the defendant is no justice at all. If “Justice delayed is justice denied” then it surely must follow that “Justice denied is no justice at all.”
In fact, the HO team back in 1990 when they were organising for the 2004 Act didn’t care about such travesties of justice. Having a mandatory minimum sentence tells the reader all there is to know about the inherent bias in rape trials. Not having of maximum term in years but only a minimum will always be counter-productive to a fair trial and seen as repugnant to a fair-minded juror.
If not a ‘rape of the justice system’, then it certainly amounts to a perversion and corruption of it for consider a moment what has happened. Adopting US-styled ‘rape shield’ measures (heads you win, tails I lose) in order to convict has resulted in ‘arrested’ judicial process.
Contrary to popular belief (and many previous government reports), juries actually convict more often than they acquit in rape cases. There is, as this site and author has pointed out for many years, an average conviction rate of 50% + every year (not the 6% as claimed by the Home Office), and yet it took the Stern Review to legitimate this hard fact.
The elephant in the room is the uncomfortable fact that since about 1990 girls have not tried at all costs to keep their virginity but have positively y raced to aloes it at the earliest age possible.
Returning to the publication “Are juries fair ?“, cited above, it notes that jury conviction rates are high for female complainants but low when rape complainants is male , adding:
- This challenges the view that juries’ failure to convict in rape cases is due to juror bias against female complainants.
For more than 10 years our newspapers and women’s magazines have been filled with misleading headlines. Central among these was the claim, all too often made, that juries have particularly low conviction rates for certain offences, such as rape. Prominent among these authors were Liz Kelly et al. (2005). in ” A Gap or a Chasm? Attrition in Reported Rape Cases”. Home Office Research Study 293, published by the Home Office and within which she wielded a degree of influence at one time.
The Min of Justice report of 2010, however, says its findings differ from figures authored by Kelly and published by the Home Office in 2005. Liz Kelly had claimed that where a full rape trial took place, an acquittal was more likely than a conviction. The Min of Justice dismisses this. It says Kelly work used only a “very small” sample of 181 trials in a selected of number of court. By contrast, the Min of Justice report used data from “all 4,310 jury verdicts for rape in 2006–08 across all courts in England and Wales.”
Tragic rush to accuse
Readers might recall the Mike Tyson rape scandal of 1991 – 92. Desiree Washington aged 18-year-old claim she has been raped after agreeing to go to Tyson hotel room late at night. The judge did not allow evidence to be admitted that Desiree Washington had made false allegations before.  Even before the trail had begun she had lined up lucrative book and film deals. In the UK it has been common to sell such lurid stories to the Sunday tabloids for impressive monetary amounts.
Some years later, in 2006, Crystal Mangum, aged 28, and a former stripper and escort girl, made false accusations of rape against three members of Duke University’s men’s lacrosse team. In Nov 2013, Crystal Mangum was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend in 2011. 
By April 2007, it was clear to North Carolina’s Attorney General, Roy Cooper, that the charges had no substance and all three players were declared innocent. Summing up the microscopic analysis the players and their families had been subjected to, Roy Cooper called the litany a “Tragic rush to accuse.”
In the UK Dave Lee Travis is on trial accused of ‘groping’ a young woman, aged 23, who had “won the key” to his hotel room at a British Airways corporate party ! !
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Knowing how sensitive the issue of rape has been made and how embittered are its protagonists that the ministry of Justice backed off associating itself too closely
- The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by the Ministry of Justice (nor do they represent Government policy)
So intimidated is the political class that they fall silent in regards the unremitting attack launched by activists and lapped up by the press.
Misconceptions about jury verdicts in rape cases:
Contrary to popular belief and previous government reports, juries actually convict more often than they acquit in rape cases (55% jury conviction rate). Indeed, the conviction rate is higher than for most crimes.
- Other serious offences (attempted murder, manslaughter, GBH) have lower jury conviction rates than rape.
- A previous Home Office study stating that jury acquittals were more common than convictions was based on a small number of verdicts (181) in a few courts. Current findings cover all jury rape verdicts in all courts in 2006–08 (4,310).
- Jury conviction rates for rape vary according to the gender and age of the complainant, with high conviction rates for some female complainants and low conviction rates for some male complainants. This challenges the view that juries’ failure to convict in rape cases is due to juror bias against female complainants.
- Juries are not primarily responsible for the low conviction rate on rape allegations.