Not Producing Evidence Means Your Rape Case Is Dropped – And?

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
Anonymous

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?

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Boganboy
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Boganboy

This is certainly a neat little bureaucratic rule. If the plaintiff refuses to allow access to the potential evidence on her phone, simply refuse to pursue the case. Since the resources needed to pursue these matters are not infinite, some simple rules of thumb are needed to decide which to bother with. This one seems to be simple, quick, easy, cheap and practicable.

As a former very petty bureaucrat, I admire it.

Richard
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Richard

If all the police were looking at was recent posts/texts around the time of the sexual assault and any additional conversations the victim had with the accused then I would agree with your post. However they are wanting to suck up years worth of information that have nothing at all to do with the case. The requests are not reasonable and ask for way more info than is need to prosecute the case. There is no good reason for the Govt to be asking for information that has nothing to do with the accusations. We know the Govt sucks at… Read more »

Chester Draws
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Chester Draws

But texts made to other people at the time are also possibly of interest. What if she said “I’m going to get that guy into jail!” to a friend.

Imagine if any defence was not allowed to interview any people a complainant had talked to, on the basis that it was invading her privacy. Because that’s what we have here. She wants to keep all her conversations private, and that’s not allowed for those off the phone either.

Richard
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Richard

I covered that in my first sentence. “If all the police were looking at was recent posts/texts around the time of the sexual assault and any additional conversations the victim had with the accused then I would agree with your post.” Around the time of the sexual assault and any additional conversations……. So all texts around the time and any additional she had with the accused because older texts with the accused might be relevant. I have no problem for the cops wanting relevant texts or other info. HOWEVER there is absolutely NO REASON they need to go back YEARS… Read more »

literate3
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literate3

After Ched Evans was acquitted at his retrial the media belatedly revealed that the “victim” had not accused him of raping her. His career ruined and two-and-a-half years in jail because someone like this person wants more men jailed for rape whether or not they are innocent.

JdL
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JdL

I agree as long as the police really are prevented from going on a fishing expedition. Anything not relevant to the case in question should be treated as if it had never been seen.