Sometimes those of us who like to examine the output of the Mail and its friends in the dead-tree press get unstuck because we try to ascribe principles to them. They don't have principles.
Take for example the attitude of the Mail and its readers towards rape. Peter Hitchens said that a woman who had been raped deserved less sympathy; Mail readers said a woman deserved to be raped because she may have been sympathetic towards illegal immigrants; many Mail readers have argued that women who 'cried rape' were largely just regretting sex; Mail writers have argued that it's kind of women's own fault for being raped if they get drunk; and that a 15-year-old girl was as 'tempting as a ripe peach' whose very existence and lack of parental control meant that rape was inevitable.
All that would seem to suggest a kind of sympathy for rapists and the crime of rape; and an implication that many victims are 'making it up' and 'crying rape' rather than being genuine victims of a horrific crime. It should be noted the prominence that the Mail, especially, gives to all occasions whereby men are 'falsely accused' of rape (esp if they're nice middle-class white boys) as opposed to the prominence given to convictions.
But today's story shows a different side.
Now I'm no fan of the man who killed Baby P and raped a two-year-old - of course not. But it seems a bit rich that the Mail are getting on their high horses over the fact that people are challenging his conviction on the basis that the victim's testimony may not be reliable. Does the Mail attack this four-year-old victim with the same ferocity as they would a woman who had gone out and had a couple of sherbets? Of course not. For the Mail there's a bigger villain in all this than even the child-rapist himself, the Human Rights Act:
And they will claim that the 32-year-old's right to a fair trial, set out in Article Six of the Human Rights Act, was breached.
Defence lawyers defend their clients. That's kind of what they do. Even monstrous clients who have committed terrible crimes. That's the legal system. Would the Mail really want people not to have the right to a fair trial?
The Mail also make quite a big deal of the fact that the victim has been granted anonymity for life - which is exactly the same thing that always happens to all victims of sex crimes. I don't quite understand what their problem is with that, unless they're looking to the future and hoping for a big scoop interview when the poor girl is older...? Who knows.
Are you ready for the collective wisdom of readers?
HOW does a rapist get a DEFENCE TEAM?
- john, leicester, 03/5/2009 23:56
How on earth...? Why, it's almost as if lawyers are there to represent their clients, regardless of what they're accused of or convicted of.
Legal aid should be abolished for a start as it is only a gravy train for lawyers and helps criminals escape justice. Crooks will think twice before committing a crime if they have to pay for their own defence or get no defence.
- Robard Sinclair (British Expat), Birkenhead, Auckland, NZ, 04/5/2009 00:00
Yes, let's just assume guilt for everyone. That makes everything better, doesn't it? Oh but apart from those poor men falsely accused of raping women who 'cry rape', surely?
All thanks to Labour and their lovely human rights.
Roll on the next election, so we can get some proper laws which punish evil doers.
- Dino Fancellu, Epsom, 3/5/2009 22:58
Should rapists not have the right of appeal? And he's facing a life sentence, anyway.
There has to be a change in the judiciary system.lawyers "responsible" for their clients can be legally charged for the same crime as their clients if the client is convicted!
- Lorant Smith, Oxford, England, 3/5/2009
Yes, that makes sense, doesn't it.
As ever, the Mail doesn't have principles. Sure, it wants you to assume that women cry rape and that men are more often than not the victims of false accusations, but when someone they don't like says they've been falsely accused, then they can simply turn right around and reject any legal rights. If you're a 'monster' and are convicted by the judge and jury of the Mail's kangaroo court, then that's that. Personally I hope this man does get put away for a long, long time for the appalling crimes he's committed, but let's not change the law just because we don't like him. Even complete scum have the right to appeal and the same rights as everyone else. That's why we're the good guys. That's what makes the difference between us and people like him.
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Hello. I'm a Bristol-based writer and soon-to-be-redundant journalist. You can read more about me and the Enemies site here, or follow me on Twitter. Email me if you like - antonvowl at live dot co dot uk
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