Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Rape of Justice

The last time that Ken Clarke was in the Cabinet, and possibly (I'd have to check) the last time that he had specific responsibility for these matters, the sentence for everything was automatically cut in half as soon as the judge or magistrate had handed it down.

Shame on Labour for failing to reverse this despite having voted against it, as surely as for failing to reverse, despite having voted against, the Conservative Party's surrender of the supreme legislative power of Parliament, its devastation of small and family business by abolishing Resale Price Maintenance, its suppression of numerous historic regiments of the British Army, its metrication of weights and measures, its decimalisation of the currency, its abolition of National Service, its crippling of the Police with needless paperwork, its dismantlement of the national rail network, its wiping of historic county names and boundaries off the map, its replacement of O-levels with GCSEs, its closure of so many grammar schools that there were not enough left at the end for that record ever to be equalled, its discontinuation of the fiscal recognition of marriage as a good uniquely and in itself, and so very much else besides. On none of those occasions was that party in coalition with the Lib Dems or anyone else.

Just as there must be no reversal of the burden of proof or abolition of the right to conduct one’s own defence in rape cases, changes frequently demanded by certain campaigners, so there must be no extension of anonymity to adult defendants. Rather, there should be no anonymity for adult accusers, either. We either have an open system of justice, or we do not.

The fact is that the specific offence of rape only serves to keep on the streets people who should certainly be taken out of circulation. Instead, we need to replace the offences of rape, serious sexual assault and indecent assault with an aggravating circumstance to the ordinary categories of assault, enabling the maximum, and therefore also the minimum, sentences to be doubled, since every offence should carry a minimum sentence of one third of its maximum sentence, or 15 years for life. That way, those poor women with broken bones and worse, whose assailants were never convicted of anything, really would have received justice.

But can anyone explain to me how the conviction rate for rape is demonstrably wrong? What would be the correct rate, and why? The real scandal is that there are so few prosecutions for what is clearly very widespread perjury, attempting to pervert the course of justice, and making false statements to the Police.

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