Friday, 17 July 2009

A Glimpse Into The Priorities Of Some Facets Of The Justice System

What? You thought the top one might be justice?

Perish the thought:
A former magistrate cleared of rape has launched a landmark legal claim for £300,000 damages against his accuser.

Anthony Hunt, 66, was jailed in 2003 for after a jury found him guilty of raping a woman in her home after they both attended a flower show.
Who knew all that talk about stamens could have such an effect?

But it wasn’t long before the case fell apart and he was cleared. Though to Mr Hunt, it no doubt seemed far, far too long:
He spent nearly two years on a prison sex offender's wing before his conviction was overturned.

Now in a legal first, Mr Hunt wants to 'vindicate his reputation' by bringing a claim of malicious prosecution against the woman who alleged rape.
His first such application was turned down, but he’s now been given a chance to overturn that.
Mark Warby QC, representing Mr Hunt, however, said the move offered a vital legal remedy to those wrongly accused of rape.

Mr Warby said: 'It is 14 years ago to the day that my client had sex with the defendant with her consent at her home at the age of 52.

'It was nearly seven years afterwards that he was arrested and first learned of her allegation of rape. '
Eh…? Seven years after the act, this woman thinks to herself she’ll accuse a man of rape? Now I know why he wants his day in court, no matter the cost of the further publicity!

Meanwhile, over at the ‘Independent’, the emphasis is most definitely not on the unfortunate Mr Hunt:
Women who cry rape face being sued for hundreds of thousands of pounds in damages if the prosecution fails to secure a conviction in court, it was claimed during a landmark legal challenge yesterday.
Only if it can be proved they’ve lied, presumably?

Anyone would think that was a desirable outcome. Who, exactly, is arguing against this?
Lawyers and women's rights groups said that, if successful, the action could set back the prosecution of rape by decades. Mr Hunt has argued that the woman became the prosecutor by giving a witness statement to police in 2002 and by agreeing to give evidence against him, although the charge was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
There you have it, straight from the mouths of the vested interests themselves.

Not exactly ‘Let justice be done, though the heavens fall…’ is it?
Anna Mills, a lawyer at law firm Lovells, who acts for AB on a pro bono basis, said: "The case is unusual because Mr Hunt brought his initial claim against the complainant rather than the prosecuting authorities. This means that our client... is personally having to defend his claim for £300,000 in damages."

Ms Mills added: "Casting AB as the 'prosecutor' in a rape case brought by the proper authorities is oppressive... If the appeal succeeds, it will have serious public policy implications and allow rape complainants... to be sued by their alleged attackers."
No, Ms Mills.

It will finally allow some redress for men who have been falsely accused of the most dreadful crime, and hopefully make their tormentors think twice if they may be made to account for their actions financially.

Anyone interested in real justice, rather than the ideological kind, cannot fail to support this.

14 comments:

Letters From A Tory said...

Absolutely unbelievable. How dare people deny justice to anyone falsely accused of rape (which, by the way, is one of the sickest things that someone can dream up).

Sue said...

Why would any woman wait 7 years to make a rape charge? Utter nonsense, it should have been thrown out straight away.

I don't blame him for suing her. He spent time in prison and he will be labelled a rapist.

I hope he wins.

Women that falsely cry rape do harm to those who suffer such attacks.

Instilling doubt on whether charges are made out of spite or for monetary compensation will damage the chances for genuine convictions.

Womens Rights groups should be attacking THAT aspect of this case.

sobers said...

Surely people who have been raped, but their attacker has been found not guilty for whatever reason, stand a better chance in a civil case, as they only need to prove the case on the balance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. So by definition the only people who want to sue their accuser will be the innopcent ones? If you had escaped justice in the criminal courts, the last thing you would want to do would be bring it up again in a court with a lower standard of proof.

In fact have not women taken out private prosecutions in cases where their attacker has been found not guilty in a criminal case? Why is it even an issue for the reverse to occur?

North Northwester said...

Another case where I hope they throw th ebook. Poor man.

Mind you, if she made it up, she must be a poor twisted case herself, though I'll admit she hasn't spent two years walking with her back to the walls and washing in a damn hurry to get out of the ablutions.

Obsidian said...

Rape is a horribly complex subject, and some victims don't report it for years, if it all, for any number of reasons, including personal shame, family reasons and a lack of faith in the justice system.

And it's why I understand the reticence over suing accusers here - rape can be difficult to prove when it has occurred, and suing the accuser opens the prospect of genuine victims, for whom justice could not be given for whatever reason, being punished for simply standing up and making a complaint.

Equally, there needs to be harsh punishment against those who do falsely cry rape.

This really isn't a binary situation, and rather highlights how our justice system badly needs an overhaul. I wouldn't want to make this call, on the one hand you're denying the falsely accused a right to punish his lying accuser, on the other you're making victims who couldn't secure a conviction victims all over again.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Umbongo said...

If her evidence was a load of lies (which is the implication of this story) why isn't the CPS prosecuting this woman for, at the very least, abusing the legal process and wasting police time.

BTW this from your quoted report "Mr Hunt, whose civilian job was as a senior traffic warden, claimed he could not have raped his accuser as his manhood was 'abnormally small'" explains a lot about why men become traffic wardens and their behaviour in the job.

Rob said...

"If her evidence was a load of lies (which is the implication of this story) why isn't the CPS prosecuting this woman for, at the very least, abusing the legal process and wasting police time."

You are expecting the CPS to bring THE most political of prosecutions against this woman? You are joking, right? It would be the end of the career for whoever brought it. They would be slaughtered.

NickM said...

A friend of a friend when I was at university was acussed of rape. He did six weeks in chokey before the CPS admitted to the court they had no physical evidence whatsoever.

They had none because the only sexual assault he had carried out was to spurn her advances and then she made up the whole farrago to get back at him.

She was examined by the police surgeon. There was no evidence of recent sexual intercourse much less co-erced or forced intercourse. But the wheels kept on turning.

When it finally came before a judge he chucked it out in record time because the CPS had to admit they had nothing. Not only that but pretty much the entire medical faculty - both male and female - were prepared to testify she was a complete fantasist who had been stalking this guy for weeks.

She was later sectioned for being a threat to herself.

He had to redo the year.

Umbongo said...

Rob

Of course I'm joking: the CPS will launch such a prosecution on the same day Brown admits lying about the "2,000 soldiers for Afghanistan" ie never.

JuliaM said...

"..which, by the way, is one of the sickest things that someone can dream up.."

And in the days of universal belief that if you think you have been a victim, then it follows that you are, so very easy to pull off...

"Womens Rights groups should be attacking THAT aspect of this case."

They should. But they won't, because they have too much vested now in their idealogy.

"In fact have not women taken out private prosecutions in cases where their attacker has been found not guilty in a criminal case? Why is it even an issue for the reverse to occur?"

Good point. Wasn't Ioworth Hoare, the lottery winner rapist, one such case?

And it shouldn't be an issue, of course.

JuliaM said...

"This really isn't a binary situation, and rather highlights how our justice system badly needs an overhaul."

It does. In an attempt to put right some of the obvious injustices of the last few decades with regard to rape and women's rights, they've handed far too much of the whip hand to idealogues who are, frankly, far more dangerous than people realise...

"..explains a lot about why men become traffic wardens and their behaviour in the job."

Heh! I wasn't going to mention that, to spare the poor chap's blushes...

But on the other hand, who would use that as a defence in court if it wasn't true?

"She was later sectioned for being a threat to herself.

He had to redo the year."


Good grief!

blueknight said...

If 7 yr old cases are being pursued, no ome is safe. At least if the false report is made within a reasonable time period, there might be some evidence of what did or did not happen.
The system has to be fair and seen to be fair. There must be some legal redress for anyone that has been the victim of any kind of false crime report. Not just rape

JuliaM said...

"The system has to be fair and seen to be fair. "

Agreed. At the moment, it isn't.

Mike said...

Not guilty and guilty are quite clear terms. £300,000 is little compensation for the cost of proof that someone did not rape someone who lied to bring about a trail that finds the accused had told the truth. I hope that this man wins his case, the money helps him recover and his accuser is jailed. If she cannot afford to pay we all owe it to him to return his life to him. Trust me; it is not the authority’s fault that when a person lies to bring about a rape case the only person to blame is the lying accuser. They must be made to pay.
The tests are did the accuser lie? Did those lies leave the authorities with no choice but to follow procedure and charge? Was the accused found not guilty?
I see no reason why accused are named in respect of encouraging real victims coming forward. The authorities are quite capable of protecting the public interests. In fact anonymity for all until and if a guilty verdict is given can only encourage the facts are established and anything else encourages abuse of the system for all sorts of reasons other than a crime having being committed.
I believe regret is the greatest encouragement for women to make these claims both privately and sometimes officially. In so many ways society and the system supports women who, after the fact regret consensual but unplanned choices. It is simply not good enough to punish men and society because women who rightly enjoy more equality than ever before are encouraged to not take ownership and the responsibilities that come with those freedoms.
BTW I have net a few women who cherish thier freedom, accept responsibility, love thier friends but most....seem...just a bit out of control! There are a lot of men who are just big boys also.