The most senior judge in England and Wales today freed a mother who had been jailed for retracting "truthful" allegations that she had been raped by her husband.Note that the ‘Guardian’ has the sense to put the ‘truthful’ part in inverted commas.
It’s the last bit of common sense you’ll see, however…
Overturning her eight-month sentence, Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, criticised the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to prosecute the 28-year-old woman, who he accepted had been the victim of prolonged domestic abuse and been put under pressure by her husband to withdraw the allegations. Judge said there should be "a broad measure of compassion for a woman who had already been victimised".So a judge can just decide this at the appeal, without having heard any of the testimony first-hand? Without any kind of trial of the husband?
It was, he said, "an extreme case" which he hoped would not be repeated.Probably not, now. But it should be.
Though delighted at her release, the woman's family said she was distraught at being sent to jail away from her children.Well, a lot of that was down to her, wasn’t it?
"The system has failed her and she knows it," the woman's older sister told the Guardian. "She is devastated. She can't believe it ended this way."
Campaigners described the ruling as a "turning point" but said it was wrong that the victim was the one left with a criminal record while her husband walked free.Well, no. She has a criminal record because she committed a criminal act and was convicted of it, whereas he hasn’t faced a trial or been convicted of anything.
A professor of law will tell you tha…
Oh. Maybe not:
Clare McGlynn, professor of law at Durham University, said: "Where is the recognition that the woman is the victim here? How come a victim of domestic violence and rape is the one with a two-year community sentence and a criminal record?"Because she’s NOT a ‘victim of domestic violence and rape’, is she? That hasn’t been proven in court. It’s just what she claims.
Since when did we start unconditionally accepting that whatever someone claims is the truth, without putting it to a test in a court of law? And since when have we paid the salaries of professors of law that don’t seem able to grasp this?
"What does this say about the way the authorities deal with rape victims? It's especially worrying given the climate over the last couple of months with the proposal to grant anonymity to rape defendants, which was underpinned by the belief that a high number of rape complaints made by women are untrue."I’ve got about 57, and I’ve only been compiling them for less than a year, I think.
Also, I’ve only been noting the ones that make the papers…
Lisa Longstaff from Women Against Rape said: "While we are relieved the woman has been freed, we are outraged that the lord chief justice did not rule that she should never have been prosecuted in the first place. It is common for women and girls to be pressed to withdraw, by attackers, family members and/or police.Whereas making false allegations is…what?
Imprisoning rape victims for supposed false allegations is discouraging other victims from reporting and encouraging rapists to carry on. It is a perversion of justice by the authorities."