Prosecution, or persecution?

A strong piece by Herbert Purdy on the vexed issue of show trials of men for suspected sexual offences. I confess I disagree with him in at least one area, however. I would have anonymity for both accused and accuser in such cases, not public revelation of both their identities.

About Mike Buchanan

I'm a men's human rights advocate, writer, and publisher. My primary focus is leading the political party I launched in 2013, Justice for Men & Boys (and the women who love them). I still work actively on two campaigns I launched in early 2012, Campaign for Merit in Business and the Anti-Feminism League. In 2014 I launched The Alternative Sexism Project, aiming to raise public understanding that the sexism faced by men and boys has far more grievous consequences than the sexism faced by women and girls.
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  • I would add something else. We have reached a point where there needs to be a limitation period applied to crimes other than murder.
    Regulatory offences, including motoring except when death occurs, say, six months; offences against the person, including sexual offences, the personal injury limitation period of three years; for other offences, the civil limitation period of six years.
    Discretion to extend time in wholly exceptional cases, and the evidence needed to get such an extension needs to be more or less conclusive, I’ve forensic, not witness.

    • I see no reason to let a criminal off just because she (or he) wasn’t caught for a while. If one of my children were murdered, I would hate to think that the killer could get away with it just by remaining hidden for long enough even though, for example, DNA evidence was available.

      I think that what is really needed is for the Crown Prosecution Service to adhere to their remit much better. They are not supposed to put a case to the courts unless there is a reasonable chance of prosecution (quite rightly, it is not for them to work out if a person might be guilty). However, it seems this rule is not sensibly applied in historic cases and there needs to be better guidelines illustrating that the more historic a case, the less the chance of a conviction (physical evidence notwithstanding).

      You may be interested in this article:
      “It is a paradox that article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) states that a trial takes place within a reasonable time ‘rendering justice without delays which might jeopardise its effectiveness and credibility’, but has not determined any limitation for prosecution. There is no uniformity across signatory countries.”

      • I did say that a statute of criminal limitation should not apply to murder. However, the longer the period between commission of an offence and detection, the harder it is to prove it to the required standard in the absence of contemporaneous documentary or forensic evidence.

  • I’m with Herbert on this, there should be no anonymity. If you have anonymity for both then you are curtailing free speech, and adding yet another law for the police to (possibly selectively) enforce. A major problem in the fight against feminism has actually been men’s reluctance to speak out. Blokes who get accused of sex crimes etc will often prefer to just hide, if we have anonymity for both then even more blokes will just hide.

    If we go in this direction then we’re very much heading in the direction of having essentually secret courts which is what police states do. We already have this nonsense in the secretive family courts and as a consequence children are often abused for their “own protection” but no one is allowed to speak out with the excuse being, again, to “protect the anonymity of children”… Yeah… Sure…

    Did I ever send you this video before? One man’s struggle to get his child back from the clutches of the secretive and criminally negligent family courts:

  • My initial reaction was to side with Mike on this one: have both granted anonymity. Anonymity is helpful for victims (I’m talking real victims) of sexual offences for several reasons, among which is a curtailing of the gutter press hassling a traumatised person and revealing personal histories that are of no real relevance to anyone. Given that such anonymity is helpful, the same MUST be applied to both accused and accuser: this has always been obvious and the calls for doing so have been swamped out by people who, at the same time, wanted to define all sexual predators as only male (and they almost succeeded, not having given up that idea at all).

    However, my distaste for secret courts and for breaking rules of justice just for one specific class of accusation pushes me to think that nobody should be granted full anonymity.

    Further, just because the accused has anonymity will not mean that the incentives to falsely accuse someone dissappears: on the contrary, it means that potential supporters of legally innocent but accused people will be weakened. Perhaps, then, it is better to work at educating the public about the difference between ‘accused’ (but still innocent unless {note: not ‘until’} proven guilty) and criminally convicted .. especially in classes of accusation subject to high levels of mistaken identity and deliberately false statements. How to teach the public to revile media that glorifies in a victim’s trauma is, I will admit, a tougher call.