28 June, 2010


Sauce, goose and gander

The sisters are predictably up in arms about current proposals for the anonymity — more precisely the proscription of publication of their names beyond the confines of the court — which is currently granted to alleged victims of rape to be extended to their alleged assailants.

One small question. One reason, probably the main reason, for introducing "anonymity" for alleged victims was the damage almost invariably suffered to the woman's reputation even if the man was eventually convicted of a violent stranger rape. The "she must have been asking for it" factor.

Yet the man's reputation is at least equally vulnerable. Even if he is acquitted. Even where the case fails not simply because the evidence is insufficient but because the complainant is actually demonstrated to have deliberately lied, the man's reputation is still typically ruined on the "no smoke without fire" principle.

Sauce, goose and gander indeed.

Incidentally, I have just been listening to an item on this subject on the Today programme, in which a lawyer claims that the proportion of convictions in rape cases is noticeably higher than for the generality of prosecutions at something over 50% (unless I misheard). Wimmin's groups are forever banging on about the low conviction rate. If memory serves they quote a figure somewhere around the 5% mark. That is actually the ratio of eventual convictions to initial reports of rape to the police, not the ratio of convictions to cases prosecuted. Evidently the CPS thinks that 90% of complaints are either unfounded or will not stand up in court. Some people might well think that the CPS are not trying hard enough, but there's no justification for outright lying.

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