Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oompa, oompa, stick it up your... Clause 4(c)

Talk Politics ably pulls apart the new laws on consent. Yes, it's another legal fuck-up by NuLabour, and the Sweaty Baboon's Home Office is plugging it with some pretty offensive posters.
The upshot of all this is that while its far too early to judge whether the new 'improved' interpretation of consent will actually result in more convictions for rape - remember, by far the biggest factor in low conviction rates is cases not getting to court in the first place - the one thing we can be pretty sure of is that by 'clarifying' the law in this way, the government has succeeded in substantially increasing the risk that miscarriages of justice will arise out of rape cases where consent is the sole issue on which a case is decided while, at the same time, creating an uncertainty around the legality of the manner in which the law treats consent that, if it were to be ruled incompatible with ECHR/HRA article 6 provisions for the presumption of innocence, could open to the door to men who have been quite rightly convicted of rape, being freed on a legal 'technicality'.

All of which is really stupid - if not quite so stupid as spending £500,000 on an advertising campaign in the mistaken belief that you've actually done a good job.

I find the posters offensive because they imply that only women can be victims, an assumption that I object to, frankly. However, they are actually pretty stupid too as the law actually does one thing that I think is a good thing: it allows that women can rape. Previously, this has not been the case: women could only be prosecuted for sexual assault, even in some (highly-publicised) incidents of what were effectively statutory rape cases.

However, the rest of the law is completely stupid and, amongst other things, could give rise to a situation in which both man and woman could end up both going to jail for life for failing to obtain consent. Furthermore, the law—completely wrongly, and really, this is pretty fucking scandalous but only par for the course for NuLabour legislation—essentailly assumes that the defendant is guilty; this could, thank fuck, be found to be illegal in itself (it contravenes the Human Rights Act, of which Toni is so proud). That sounds comletely stupid, I know, but Unity talks you through it.

This whole consent issue is utterly stupid. I'm sorry, but unless you are going to insist that both parties lodge a legal consent form with a lawyer or something (and what happens if one party changes their mind after visiting the lawyer?) then it is pretty much always going to be one person's word against another's. Oh, I suppose that you could have a dictaphone (a Dick-To-Phone: your Cunt's Security Blanket. Only £5.99 at Argos: don't life sentence it, Argos it!), and record each other saying, "yes, yes, I really want you to fuck me, fuck me you horny devil! And, for the record, I've only had three pints and I'm a sober as a judge at a rape case. Hee hee! Oh, fuck, yeah, there, there, that's just... Oooooh fuuuuck..." One can forsee, unless the assumption of guilt of this law is challenged, a rather sad time when measures like these may well be necessary.

I find it rather awful that a few people who commit rape and a few people lie about being raped should spoil the fun for the rest of us. Perhaps we will return to a less promiscuous society, forced thus by the possibility of life in prison. And I, for one, would be rather sad were that to happen: sex is fun...


Wrinkled Weasel said...

This issue really gets on my tits, if you will excuse the expression.

For a start, a woman can accuse a man of rape, remain anonymouse while the accused man can be named. Even if the man is found innocent, his name remains public and the accuser can hide under the mantle of anonymity. Where is the fairness in that?

and in future, i shall have to get a witnessed,signed consent form from potential casual sex partners, just in case she feels a bit bad about it the morning after.

Its fucked. it really is.

Al said...

I'm never sleeping with you. Ever.

Devil's Kitchen said...

For a start, a woman can accuse a man of rape, remain anonymouse while the accused man can be named. Even if the man is found innocent, his name remains public and the accuser can hide under the mantle of anonymity. Where is the fairness in that?

Yes, that climbs all over my nipples too.


Anonymous said...

Taking as your starting point in law that the accused is innocent does not mean that you start from the presumption that the accuser is lying. And I can't think of a singe other crime where the accused is given anonymity. Rape is a particularly difficult crime because by and large it comes down to one person's word against the others and the jury must decide whose evidence is credible. Which is why it's to men's benefit that the law has shifted to evidence of consent not evidence of resistance. Arguing that she didn't say no is always going to sound weaker than I asked her and she said yes. What I really really don't understand is why non-perpetrating men (the vast majority) seem to want to stand in solidarity with rapists rather than seek to ensure victims are protected. The law frequently is an ass and nowhere more than in sexual offences law which for years has been full of anachronisms, prejudices and inconsistencies. Support any efforts to improve the practice of law even if you loathe the government introducing them. I don't like the posters either.

Neil Harding said...

The posters are awful, I'm in agreement there, but anything that gets more rapists to court sounds like a good idea to me.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

was it ever on the cards, Ceres?

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