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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Inequality before the law.

One of the good things the Cobbleition would have achieved if they'd had the balls to go through with it would have been to extend anonymity in rape cases to the accused. I never got around to blogging on their various plans but this was something which I thought was good for justice and the principle of being equal before the law. I'm quite happy that rape victims, practically uniquely among accusers, remain anonymous and I have no problem with the name of a convicted rapist being made public. I can even accept the argument that accusers should remain anonymous even if no conviction results because it might discourage other victims from going to the police. What I do not accept, given that false accusations are extremely damaging and, as the Ambush Predator frequently points out, not actually that rare*, is that this anonymity should not also apply to the defendant.

All that makes the news that the Cobbleition have U-turned on the issue more than a little disappointing, though perhaps not surprising.
The controversial pledge to "extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants" was a surprise inclusion in the power-sharing agreement binding the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats together after the general election.
It faced an immediate storm of protest from MPs across all main parties including Harriet Harman, the acting Labour leader.
Obviously Harritwit Harm-men would object, but since she'd probably be happy to change the law so rape defendants were guilty 'til proven innocent that was sufficiently predictable that the proposal should have had 'Oh, do fuck off, Harriet' at the bottom from day one.
Miss Harman's campaign against changing the law was joined by leading female Labour MPs including Yvette Cooper and Caroline Flint, both former ministers.
And your fellow Harpies. What's slightly surprising is that enough MPs from all parties agree to make The Elder Twin put his tiny balls away and give up on the idea, including some on the other side of the House.
Female Tory MPs including Louise Bagshawe, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry have also voiced concerns.
So the support for the status quo and the continued opportunity for malicious women to ruin lives of innocent men goes along gender lines. How fucking depressing. Why are so many sensible women, Mrs Exile and the Ambush Predator to name but two, able to see how that this is intrinsically unfair but the Political Sisterhood of all parties can't? Christ, even pricks like Keith bloody Vaz can see why it's needed.
However, other MPs claim the law must be changed. Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the Home Affairs select committee, has said that men can have their "whole lives destroyed" by false accusations.
I never thought the day would come where I'd be metaphorically shoulder to shoulder with Keith Vaz, but here it is.

Look, if it was an extremely rare event, as I once thought it was, then I'd agree - leave things as they are. But you only have to click that link above and cout how many examples JuliaM has found. Presumably like most of us JuliaM is a part time blogger but she's written using her 'lying about rape' tag more than forty times. As I said above, by all means publish a rapist's name on conviction, even put it on every front page along with the bastard's photo if you like, though bear in mind that some false accusations have lead to convictions that had to be overturned later. Still, naming people on conviction is something that probably nearly everyone can agree on. But if we're to believe in the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven then surely, when the mere accusation of rape has such power to to damage a person's life, surely we have to give them anonymity until and unless they are actually convicted. Let's be blunt about this: if it's a case of mistaken identity then the defendant is going to be almost as much a victim himself, and if there was never actually a rape to begin with then the defendant is in fact the only victim.

Equality before the law? My steaming arse.

* Coincidentally she's blogged another one only today.


JuliaM said...


Lol, well played!

On the subject of equality, it seems they share the same faulty dictionary as the dreaded Harriet.

Angry Exile said...

It must be a special Orwell dictionary that politicians get when they embark on their careers of paternalism, nannying and control freakery, in which black is white and equality is what you get by showing favouritism.

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