Rape myths and the psychology of rape juries, my article in the Law Society Gazette

“What if I told you that some jurors do not decide cases on the evidence that they hear, but instead on entrenched prejudices and stereotypes that they cannot shake? That as far as those jurors are concerned, the calling of evidence does nothing more than pay lip-service to the concept of a fair trial? Would you be shocked that people could be convicted and imprisoned on the basis of prejudiced and stereotyped jury attitudes? Except that it’s not defendants who are at risk; instead the biases operate against women complainants in rape cases.”

On 21st December 2018 the Law Society Gazette published my article on the psychology of rape juries. Here is a link to my blogpost about it and a link to the article.

> ‘Excessive and disproportionate’ trawling of rape victims’ mobile phones and personal records by police is being investigated amid concerns it may stop women reporting crimes

An important move as the Information Commissioner’s Office steps in to examine the extent to which the mobile telephone records of complainants in rape cases are being obtained by police investigators.

For me, the new DPP is spot on, as he is quoted in an article in the Independent :

Max Hill QC said the right to a fair trial must be balanced against the “unnecessary and unjustified invasion” of complainants’ private lives, which may be used to undermine them in court. “We are very clear that seeking to examine the mobile telephones of complainants and witnesses is not something that should be pursued as a matter of course in every case,” he added. “It is crucial that only the reasonable lines of inquiry are pursued, to avoid unnecessary intrusion into a complainant’s personal life.”

Read the full article here.

Fear stops reporting of sexual harassment at the bar, says top QC

‘Sexual harassment at the bar is not being reported because pupils and young lawyers fear their careers will be damaged if they complain, according to a senior barrister, Prof Jo Delahunty QC suggested there was widespread complacency about the prevalence of inappropriate behaviour in chambers and even by judges in courts.’

Read the story on the Guardian website here.

Judges and juries often wrongly assume that women who use online dating sites “would have sex with anyone”, one of the country’s leading human rights QCs has claimed

“Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws, QC, told the annual Bar conference in London that courts needed to be more aware of women’s rights and the #MeToo movement … A government survey three years ago found that a third of the public generally had the view that sex attack victims bore partial responsibility for an assault if they had been “flirting heavily” with their attacker.”

 

Read the full story in The Times.

.@bindelj – What are the biggest obstacles when it comes to rape convictions?

What are the biggest obstacles when it comes to rape convictions? Vachss is unequivocal. Prejudices held by jurors, and the reluctance, both here and in the US, to bring “difficult” cases to court, such as those involving prostitutes, drug and alcohol users, and teenage girls (all of whom are often seen as unreliable witnesses).’

Excellent article from 2007 by journalist and founder of Justice for Women, Julie Bindel.