We have a complaint here that an allegation of rape should move forward to a charge of rape without the complainant having to provide the evidence asked for. The correct answer to this being, and?
My sexual assault case was dropped because I wouldn’t hand over my phone
If you’re asked to produce evidence then don’t produce it then why should your allegation go forward?
Eventually my case was dropped because I refused to give the government access to the entire contents of my mobile phone.
There have indeed been cases where that social media evidence exonerates those accused of the crime. People have served considerable periods of time in prison – no, not on remand, after conviction – as a result.
I share those sentiments because I was left feeling I could be raped with impunity.
No, you refused to hand over possibly exculpatory evidence. Why should the State therefore prosecute?
Certainly there could be rare situations where a claimant’s phone should be investigated, but it is impossible for the public to really know if a request was legitimate without understanding details of the case. I was told they needed an entire download to see if I was hiding something or if there was anything that would discredit me. I was happy to provide them information relevant to the crime, but did not think a fishing expedition into my phone was reasonable, especially when such personal data could be handed over to my attacker as part of disclosure. When I refused to comply my case was immediately dropped.
The way this works is that you’re not the person who decides what is relevant to the case. You’re the one making the allegation, recall? And no, we don’t allow the claimant to make the decision upon what is relevant. Simply because of the way humans work, someone claiming something tends to select the evidence which supports the claim.
More weight was put on hypothetical evidence that I could be lying than on real evidence that I am telling the truth, for example an eyewitness testimony from the night of the assault.
Which is the way that criminal justice – just like science itself – is supposed to work. Just the one thing that even puts doubt is enough. The one fact outweighs all the others on the side of innocence of the accused.
An investigation where a defendant’s freedom is on the line needs to be thorough. In campaigning against these policies I am often asked how I expect to make the legal process equal for victims and defendants. I would love to make it equal. That just 1.5% of rape cases lead to a charge or summons means that the chance of a rapist seeing a day in court, let alone jail, is almost zero (when you factor in how many rapes go unreported).
These statistics are dismal, and yet whenever I try to have a meaningful conversation about the prosecution rate, the handful of cases in which a miscarriage of justice occurred are brought up. The system is not always perfect and mistakes can be made, but it does not mean we should stop prosecuting crime or do away with the right to privacy. These cases are cited as a cautionary tale of the dangers of the “lying women”, but they are extreme outliers.
Well, no. Because the best evidence we have is that 6% of claims are false allegations. Which is, as you will note, rather higher than that 1.5% stat cooked up to talk about allegation to charge.
All in all there’s a significant misunderstanding about the system here. The purpose of which is not to bang up anyone accused. But to investigate whether the accused dunnit – even, if the dunnit were done. And we do indeed bias that system toward the accused, not the accuser.
Now try inverting the system. Claimants can decide not to produce any piece of evidence that the police asks for. Just because, privacy perhaps. We think this will lead to the fair and impartial administration of justice, do we?