When justice becomes a mockery…

Can you imagine the ordeal of firstly being raped and then having to live that nightmare all over again in a Courtroom?  Having to recall the horrors of that incident and then having to face cross-examination by the lawyers of the person that violated you and lawyers who are trying to make it look like you are lying or you consented to sex. It must feel like you are being raped all over again.

Rape is rape.  And rape victims have the right to remain anonymous.

If a newspaper came out of court and the editor allowed a journalist to put into print the name of that rape victim, a) the journalist would be hauled before a court and probably sentenced to prison for contempt of court and b) the editor who allowed that to happen, would be given an even harsher sentence because being an editor of a national newspaper, means you have to know the law and you are responsible for what journalists do and what they write in the paper you are editor of.

Journos know the Contempt of Court laws and every other law with regards to reporting judgements handed down in sexual offence cases… They know the implications of what could and would happen to them if they breached those laws.

Yesterday nine people, including a teacher (and we will speak about that in a minute), stood in the dock and were found guilty of naming a rape victim on Twitter…  These nine people were charged with publishing material likely to lead the public to identify the complainant in a rape case (an offence under the Sexual Offences (Amendments) Act 1992.Each of those nine defendants were ordered to pay £624 compensation to the victim.

Sorry but that is not a sentence… this poor girl was raped, she had her anonymity taken away from her and she will never ever be able to get that back… the whole of twitter who was reading that timeline and more know exactly who this poor girl is.

Those nine people broke the law and £624 compensation from each of them is violating that rape victim all over again.

Standing in the dock, was a teacher. A person, namely Holly Price aged 25 from Prestatyn, who teaches our children and is a teacher of biology. A person who through her lessons apart from teaching our kids science also teaches our children right from wrong.

The Judge, Andrew Shaw said, “Your actions have re-victimised this woman.” Their actions are worse than that, they have taken away this woman’s rights to anonymity, she will never be able to have that right back. For the rest of her days, people will know who the rape victim was in the Ched Evans case, in which he was found guilty and sentenced to 5 years.

Last night on Sky News paper talk Kevin Maguire said, he wouldn’t want this teacher teaching his children and he even went further to say he wouldn’t want this teacher teaching at his kids school. I think every sane, rational parent would think the same.

No matter how much people proclaim their Freedom of Speech, there are laws and if those laws are broken then the person who committed the act must be sentenced.  People can’t just go around thinking they have the god given right to take the law into their own hands and apart from naming rape victims, call them a “money-grabbing slut”.

What you post online, whether it be by forum, blog or social media you are responsible for.  The Telegraph says this about postings online:

These days, whether it’s on a social media website or in relation to an online article, we all expect to have our say and post our own content.

The legal position of an individual who posts content online (whether on Facebook, Twitter, on comment sections of online news pages) is clear.

He or she is responsible for that content. Today’s case is notable because the defendants were not aware that naming the lady was a criminal offence. This was irrelevant: ignorance was not a defence.

When we post material online, we act as publishers and our publications are subject to the same laws as those of professional publishers, such as newspapers.

We are likely to see a proliferation of these sorts of cases, with the Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service taking action against individuals, teaching them the basics of publishing law.

The message we are hearing from the courts is that the public cannot treat Twitter and Facebook as they would a casual chat in the pub.

Back in August 2011, an opportunistic student stole a bottle of water from Lidl’s.  He did NOT have a criminal record and he was sentenced to 6 months in jail.

This type of sentence does make a mockery of our Justice system… some lad on the night of the riots decides to take a bottle of water from Lidl is sent down for 6 months, yet 9 people name a rape victim on a social media site, who had the right to remain anonymous and they walk free and told to pay £624 each to the victim.

And do you know what is the worst part in all of this, those out of that 9 who are on benefits will have some money docked from their benefits and it could take up to two years before the victim is paid that compensation and to add insult to injury the Judge didn’t sentence them, with a fine, imprisonment or community services, because he rejected sentencing options in favour of ordering the payment of compensation.

Sickening isn’t it?  And how dare the judge speak about the re-victimisation of this woman because, in my opinion, by rejecting other sentencing options, he himself re-victimised this rape victim all over again.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I read that article, too, and thought that paltry fine was insulting. A lot of rape victims, myself included, never go to court because they want to stay anonymous. it’s not just the lawyers in the court room that accuse you of lying or imply that you are a slut. When you lose your anonymity, suddenly you hear those things from everybody that knows you.


    1. Bren says:

      Welcome housewifedownunder, as you said a lot of rape victims don’t even report the crime and they feel guilty and blame themselves for being raped. I am so sorry to hear of your ordeal and I hope you had the necessary help needed in order for you to move on and live your life to the full without it being marred by this horrendous crime.

      It takes a whole lot of courage for any rape victim to pick up the phone and dial the Police yet alone have to endure a Court case.. And that is what is so wrong with our justice system in the UK, we at the moment allow far too many rights for the perpetrator than the victim.

      It is bad enough when you know family and friends are talking about your ordeal, and locals become aware of what has happened to you, yet alone having to deal with WWW laying you bare and open for such attacks.

      I love social networking, we can speak to others we would never get a chance to ever talk to.. but unfortunately it has a dark side to it… that being some people who interact on social networking do so with malice, hatred and spite oozing from every comment they make.

      I doubt if it will be long before some international law is made to protect people from the web. Each country have their own laws but unfortunately what is illegal in one land is not in another. And as the world wide web is international I do wonder if we now need an international body to Police it.

      Some of the things I have read on line, aimed at families who are already suffering, just breaks my heart. Parents who have missing children, become victims of internet courts and garden-fence gossipers and people who have lost children due to online bullying witness first hand the online maliciousness that is out there, when tribute sites are trolled and spiteful, hateful comments are posted.

      What a sad world we live in today. Again thank you for your comment and love your blog.


      1. It’s not just the UK, unfortunately. Did you hear about the teenage girl in America- Kentucky, I think it was- who was raped by a bunch of teenage boys who photographed themselves raping her while she was passed out? She then posted the names of her assailants on Twitter in violation of a court order and got in trouble for it. Even though these boys had raped her and shared the pictures of what they did to her, the court still thought THEY were the ones who should be protected. Sickening. They should have been drawn and quartered.


  2. Bren says:

    Hi housewifedownunder, I heard about that, I just can’t believe some of these judges now. How they can ever think that someone who has committed a heinous crime should be allowed anonymity is beyond me. I know these boys were teenagers but come on they must have known right from wrong and what they did was wrong.

    I don’t know if you read Joey Ortega’s blog, but he is writing up about gang rape http://behindtheyellowtape.me/2012/11/05/no-more-games/ and how a community is not getting justice for the victim.


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