Abolition of rape juries will be discussed in Parliament today

Sounds alarming? Not if you’ve been keeping up with the news.

Ann Coffey MP will be raising this issue in an adjournment debate this morning from 11am in the House of Commons. In today’s Times, referring to the ‘shockingly low charging and conviction rates’, the MP raises the issue in this way:

‘Rape myths about how victims are expected to behave continue to pollute our society and jurors take these attitude into the court room.’

In the article the MP also refers to recent research, which I helped with as legal adviser. I and Dr Dominic Willmott of the psychology department of Huddersfield University arranged several sophisticated mock rape trials involving case papers and actors and barristers, and the juries (randomly invited as in real life from the electoral roll using jury ‘summonses’) were psychologically profiled and their findings assessed.

What we found shocked us. Read my post about the research on the BoothBlog.

The Guardian covers today’s debate here.

Please retweet and repost: What Does This Sign Mean ?

I guess the choice is:


A: “The parking restriction here applies to motor caravans only, and they may not be parked here between the hours of 11pm and 7am.”


B: “The parking restriction here applies to all motor vehicles including motor caravans, and they may not be parked here between the hours of 11pm and 7am.”

Booth would go for Choice A. Am I wrong?

“We accompany people to court and the whole time we see rape stereotypes used to discredit complainants and to enforce elements of the defendant’s case.”

A teenager’s underwear has been used against her in an alleged rape case in Cork, sparking outrage among campaigners. The barrister representing a man acquitted of raping a teenager in the city in southwest Ireland suggested the jury in the case should reflect on the underwear worn by the 17-year-old girl. The 27-year-old man – who had denied raping the woman in a lane in Cork – was found not guilty by the jury of eight men and four women at the Central Criminal Court.
— Read on – chapter update just issued for Chapter 7

I have just issued an update for Chapter 7 (“What Will Happen At My Very First Court Appearance?”) To help you assess whether the offence that you are charged with is an ‘either-way’ offence, you can see my  list of the most commonly encountered either-way offences. Also I’ve included a note about the special procedure that applies to criminal damage offences and the really quite bizarre procedure that applies to low-value shoplifting offences.

Click here to go straight to the update.

Human Rights Watch on North Korea: Impunity for Assault and Rape by Men in Power

‘ North Korean officials commit sexual violence with little concern for the consequences, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government fails to investigate and prosecute complaints, or to provide protection and services to victims, and even asserts that the country is implausibly free of sexism or sexual violence. ‘

‘ The North Koreans we spoke with told us that unwanted sexual contact and violence is so common that it has come to be accepted as part of ordinary life: sexual abuse by officials, and the impunity they enjoy, is linked to larger patterns of sexual abuse and impunity in the country. The precise number of women and girls who experience sexual violence in North Korea, however, is unknown. Survivors rarely report cases, and the North Korean government rarely publishes data on any aspect of life in the country. ‘

Watch the Human Rights Watch explainer video and read their report here.

Please retweet and re-post! Sixth-Formers: Win a paid-for law degree and training to become a solicitor

A joint venture between The Times and Kingsley Napley Solicitors:

‘ The Legal Apprentice is Kingsley Napley’s legal competition, in partnership with The Times, for students in school or college in years 12 or equivalent. We invite students to work as part of a team to complete a series of tasks, designed to encourage them to tap into their “inner solicitor” – using skills and logic to provide legal advice for virtual clients. The competition aims to provide students with first-hand experience of what it is like to be a solicitor. ‘

Read more on the Kingsley Napley website here and at The Times here.