Monday, 20 March 2017

Liz Truss & Video Evidence

'We import two thirds of our cheese - MASSIVE PAUSE - that is a disgrace'. Who will ever forget the childlike self-unawareness of Liz Truss' speech to the Tory Party conference last year? Many found her speech performance that day bordering on excruciatingly embarrassing. Well, this individual is now the Justice Secretary. I know, it's hard to believe. But it just goes to show that these days anyone with a bit of luck can reach the dizzy heights of a seat in the Cabinet.

As Justice Secretary, Ms Truss' latest initiative is much more serious than dealing with cheese imports. She has decided that, from September, those making rape allegations are to be spared the ordeal of a cross examination in a court of law. Complainants will give their evidence via a pre-trial recording, which will then be played to the jury. This m.o. has been tested already in cases where children have to give evidence of alleged sexual abuse.

Ms Truss and her advisers believe that if such an initiative is extended to adult rape complainants, this will give them more confidence to report their ordeal. Ms Truss believes that we have made giant strides forward when it comes to dealing with sex abuse complainants, as cases of alleged sex offences have multiplied exponentially during recent years. Indeed, they've doubled in England and Wales within the past four years.

And, in case anyone is worried about liars coming forward, we are also told that false allegations of rape make up just 2-3% of all allegations.

If I may pick up on this last point for a moment. How on earth can anyone know the true percentage of false allegations when the police and CPS rarely, if ever, prosecute those complainants who they have a good idea might well have been spouting forth a pack of lies?

Take my own case, for example: it didn't involve rape, just an allegation of inappropriate touching over 30 years ago. Either way, the two liars who accused me were shown to be exactly that - liars. They managed to ruin my career and to push me to the cusp of suicide. When their lies were exposed for what they were, they slunk back whence they came. They were neither investigated nor prosecuted. When I subsequently asked for at least an apology from them, the Chief Investigative Officer's response was, 'That's not going to happen.' And, you won't be surprised, that's what's happened - precisely nothing.

So you'll excuse me if I dismiss that 2-3% statistic as meaningless. Knowing first hand how cases of alleged sex abuse are handled in this country, I'm surprised the percentage reaches two.

We all want the same thing - rapists to be brought to justice. However, we must be aware, with compensation pay-outs up to six figure sums, the easier we make it for genuine victims, at the same time the easier we make it for the opportunists and downright malicious liars as well.

If this latest initiative means more rapists are brought to justice, then that in itself is a very positive step forward. However, I know at first hand that there are those who will do practically anything to get their filthy, greedy hands on a compensation pay-out, while others simply take delight in seeing someone else's life, career and reputation trashed.

Will any of this have occurred to Ms Truss? I doubt it. I just hope intelligence plays as big a part in Ms Truss' reforms as emotion.

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