We’ll Never Solve The Rape Trial Problem And Not Just Because Men Are Pigs

Nor is our rape trial problem because we inhabit a patriarchy, nor even because the underlying problem is purely about consent to an entirely legal activity. It is, obviously enough, legal to have sex – we don’t go around jailing mothers purely on the grounds that they must have bumped uglies at some point. The defining line between rape and not rape is that issue of consent. Yes, of course, non-consent should be a crime, is a crime and will continue to be one. But that doesn’t remove the problem in trying to work out, in a specific instance, whether that crime took place.

But to something more specific here. We have a challenge to the Crown Prosecution Service over the manner in which they are treating rape trials:

Crown prosecutors are dropping rape cases because of fears they will be lost due to juries’ prejudices about the women victims, campaigners claim as they mount a legal challenge to the “covert” policy. The UK-wide coalition of women’s organisations alleges the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has secretly changed its policy so that “weak” cases are abandoned to boost prosecution “success” rates instead of them being pursued on merit.

Well, our first comment here would be that “weak” and “not meritorious” are synonyms here. A good case is one that can be won, a bad one likely to be lost. So, there will always be marginal cases and at some point the decision whether to prosecute or not has to be taken. Sure, that line might be drawn in the wrong place but the basic decision will always be there.

The End Violence Against Women coalition (EVAW) cites a 23.1 per cent fall in the number of rape cases taken on by the CPS in the 12 months to 2017/18 from 3,671 to 2,822. This was despite a 16 per cent increase in police recorded rapes to 56,698. It said this meant that women now have a four per cent chance of their case being heard in court compared with one in five in 2014.

That’s the usual journalist drivel with numbers. There is no way that prosecutions were ever 20% of rape reports. They mean 5% presumably. And then there’s the legal idiocy there. Police don’t record rapes. They record allegations of rape. The rest of the system exists to try to sort through those allegations. Was a crime committed? Not always, no. While it’s possible to argue over how often false allegations do occur. It’s even possible that people claim that was a rape wasn’t, rather than being malicious. Then there’s, well, do we have someone we can prosecute? Not always possible with, say, stranger rape. Then there’s the, well, enough proof to be likely to gain a conviction?

That’s what the rest of the system, after the police recording of the allegation, is there to try to work out. But here’s the reason why we’re just never going to get this sorted:

The coalition traces the change of policy back to training sessions in 2017 for prosecutors in which they were encouraged to remove weak cases from the system in order to achieve a higher conviction rate.

Because in 2014 to 2016 the world was littered with complaints that the conviction rate upon going to trial was too low. The CPS was sending those marginal cases to trial because that’s what people said they wanted. Then the low court case to conviction rate was regarded as being evidence of a failure in the system. So, change the decision on the marginal cases so that fewer of them went to trial. The trial to conviction rate rises – but, obviously, at the cost of some more allegations not making it to trial.

Now the complaint is that not enough allegations are going to trial – we’re back on the same roundabout, aren’t we? Which is why we never will solve the problem.

By the way, the allegation to conviction rate isn’t very different for rape than it is for most other major crimes. Sure, lower than it is for murder but not out of line with most of the rest of it.

Or, to be heteronormative, even patriarchal, about it we can set the system up any way people want it. Somewhere in that pipeline from tearful allegation through to rapist justly jugged there’s going to be leakage in the system, of the crime not having been committed, the wrong person being accused, evidence not being available and so on. So laydeez, could you please make up your damn minds about where you want this filter to be? Allegation to trial? Or trial to conviction?

8
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
5 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
BarksintheCountryJonathan Harstonchiguy31Matt RyanDodgy Geezer Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Q46
Guest
Q46

‘… cases because of fears they will be lost due to juries’ prejudices about the women victims…’ Even if true, it would be pointless presenting the case – what level of mental disorder is required not to be able to see that – and therefore is a sensible reason for not prosecuting, and there is nothing the CPS can do about those alleged prejudices anyway. Clogging the Court system with cases unlikely to succeed means other cases have to wait: justice delayed is justice denied. Isn’t there somewhere these self-obsessed, mindless blobs can be sent for retraining? North Korea springs… Read more »

chiguy31
Guest
chiguy31

There is a cost to the defendant in both the accusation and in the whole judicial proceeding. Legal costs, reputational costs, time in jail, bonding costs, probably employment costs, etc. The guilty pay a higher price than the “not guilty”, but the acquitted will carry the scars of the process for a long time. The advocates of more trials seek to impose costs on the accused rapist; regardless of guilt or innocence. The mere threat of prosecution will deter aggressive men; it also deters smart men from dating women who come across as militant feminists (not coincidentally, it fosters exploration… Read more »

Hector Drummond, vile novelist
Guest

The ultimate aim is do away with jury trials for rape, and have a panel of feminists decide guilt or innocence.

Matt Ryan
Guest
Matt Ryan

And not just any feminists because they are fractured like the People’s Front of Judea.
This will need to be the radical harpies who think anyone with XY chromosomes is a rapist who hasn’t been caught yet.

Jonathan Harston
Guest
Jonathan Harston

No, the solution is not to have anybody decide guilt or innocence, but to have the accused sent straight to prison.

Dodgy Geezer
Guest
Dodgy Geezer

…we can set the system up any way people want it…. 1 – It’s not the way PEOPLE want it. People, in general, don’t really think about how the criminal justice system should be set up. It’s ACTIVISTS who are the people voicing their concerns – usually to an administering bureaucracy which does not care about anything, prefers not to change anything that is currently in position, but will shift in order to get a quieter life. 2- We CAN set the system up the way activists want. AFAICS, they would prefer that an accusation is taken as a conviction… Read more »

Matt Ryan
Guest
Matt Ryan

Wasn’t it the patriarchy to blame when strong minded village women were burned as witches in the middle ages on the basis of false accusations (or weighing less than a duck)?

So why do the same to men in modern times?

BarksintheCountry
Guest
BarksintheCountry

This is the extrajudicial system widely in use by American universities. Allegations are generally sufficient for imposition of draconian penalties.