Sunday, October 16, 2016
British footballer Ched Evans cleared of rape charges, following retrial. Feminists furious
I thought from the beginning that the conviction was a monstrous injustice so I am pleased that justice has finally been done. It took a British court to convert consensual sex into rape. The Crown Prosecutors stretched the law in order to appease feminists with a high profile conviction. Feminists had been complaining that there were "not enough" rape convictions. Evans is the victim of feminist hate
The many who condemned and shunned Evans will have egg on their faces for a long time
According to the original prosecution, Yes means Yes and No means No -- except when you are Ched Evans
The woman concerned DID say Yes to him and made no complaint afterwards but a badly instructed British jury in its stratospheric wisdom decided that Evans should have taken Yes to mean No. She was too drunk to give consent, apparently. Though how they know that and what is the relevant metric of drunkenness in those circumstances remains uncertain. How was Evans to know the woman was too drunk to give consent? There are no standards for how drunk a woman can be before being unable to consent.
So it is a relief that the British justice system has now got it right -- after Evans spent over two years in jail. According to the original verdict, sex with women who drink must be harshly discouraged. If that pompous dictum were taken seriously among the population at large, it would at least halve the British birthrate, I would think. Alcohol and sex have a long history together, even among married people.
And the Yes means Yes mantra is a typically stupid feminist invention anyway. There are many men who can attest that sometimes No means Yes. I was always too impatient to play that game myself (apparently to some confusion) but it is a common one where the woman is embarrassed, shy etc. Many women would think less of themselves if they said "Yes" straight away. The woman would think that she was appearing "too easy". So men do sometimes have to decide whether a No really means Yes and they can obviously make the occasional mistake there, particularly if they are not too bright.
So one can only hope that the feminist mantra, Yes means Yes, is vigorously preached to women too so that they will be less evasive and less confusing to men. I am not holding my breath.
Some of the feminist comments below are very disturbuing. Discovering the truth can be wrong: Better for an innocent man to remain wrongly convicted, apparently
International footballer Ched Evans has been found not guilty of the rape of a 19-year-old woman, but the decision to allow the jury to hear the sexual history of the complainant has sparked outrage from women’s support groups and campaigners.
As Evans was acquitted of rape at a retrial on Friday, five years after having sex with the woman in a hotel room, activists expressed the fear that an earlier appeal court ruling which allowed the complainant’s sexual behaviour to be taken into account by the jury would set a dangerous precedent, and could put off women from coming forward to report sexual offences.
The appeal court judgment – made before the retrial but which can only now be reported – allowed in new evidence from two witnesses who gave testimony about the complainant’s sexual preferences and the language she used during sex. It led to her being questioned in detail in open court about intimate details of her sex life.
Evans, who has played for Wales and Sheffield United and was a member of the Manchester City youth set-up, spent two-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted in 2012 of raping the young woman following a drunken night out in his home town of Rhyl, north Wales.
Following his conviction, a well-funded legal and PR campaign that included the offer of a £50,000 reward for information leading to his acquittal was launched by family and friends. The campaign eventually resulted in the case going to the court of appeal in London and his conviction was quashed.
After an eight-day trial, a jury at Cardiff crown court took two hours to acquit Evans. He kept his head down as the male foreman returned the unanimous verdict. Evans then rushed from the dock into the arms of his girlfriend, Natasha Massey. They held each other for a minute and sobbed on each other’s shoulders.
In a statement read outside the court by his solicitor, Shaun Draycott, Evans said he was “overwhelmed with relief”. He thanked his friends and family, “most notably my fiancee, Natasha, who chose, perhaps incredibly, to support me in my darkest hour”.
The statement concluded: “Whilst my innocence has now been established, I wish to make it clear that I wholeheartedly apologise to anyone who might have been affected by the events of the night in question.”
A spokesman for Evans said he would now return to football – though he is currently nursing an injury. He may be able to sue for lost earnings, which would total millions of pounds.
Chesterfield, his current club, welcomed the verdict. Chief executive Chris Turner said: “We can now all move forward and focus on football.”
It can now be revealed that:
During the appeal case that led to the retrial, lawyers for the crown suggested the two new witnesses may have been “fed” information by those close to Evans. This claim was rejected by Evans’s side and by the appeal court.
The appeal court judges expressed “a considerable degree of hesitation” before allowing in the new evidence of the former partners because it would result in the complainant’s sexual behaviour being subject to forensic scrutiny.
Evans’ girlfriend, Massey, was accused in legal argument during the second trial of offering an “inducement” to a key witness. The prosecution said this had “the flavour of a bribe”. The trial judge disagreed.
The woman told the jury she woke up naked in a hotel room in Rhyl, north Wales, in May 2011 with no memory of what had happened but fearing her drinks were spiked.
Friends encouraged her to go to the police and officers found out that the room in which she woke up had been booked and paid for by Evans. He was questioned, and both he and his friend and fellow footballer Clayton McDonald said they had consensual sex with the woman.
The prosecution said she could not possibly have consented as she was too intoxicated. She has never alleged Evans or McDonald raped her.
In court, Evans admitted he lied to get the key for the hotel room and did not speak to the woman before, during or after sex. He left via a fire exit. It also emerged that Evans’ younger brother and another man were trying to film what was happening from outside the room.
Lisa Longstaff, of the group Women against Rape, said the case seemed a “throwback to another time”. Section 41 of the Youth and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 puts restrictions on what evidence can be put before a court by the defence about an alleged victim’s sexual behaviour and questioning of the complainant.
“But it has exceptions, and clever lawyers can get round it,” said Longstaff. “Here they’ve driven a coach and horses through the supposed protection.”
Vera Baird, the barrister, women’s rights campaigner and police and crime commissioner, said the appeal court decision would “go down as a precedent that will be used and abused”. She said the exception used by Evans’ team was originally specifically about instances of sexual activity that happened “at or about the same time”, such as during sex parties.
One of the new witnesses said he had sex with the complainant on the same bank holiday weekend as the hotel incident; the second said they had sex a fortnight later. A feminist activist who goes by the pseudonym Jean Hatchet and was behind petitions asking football clubs not to sign Evans following his jail term, told the Guardian it was “deeply worrying” that evidence about a victim’s sexual history had been permitted.
She said: “This will set a precedent in rape cases to follow where defence barristers will comb through an alleged victim’s sexual past and following the alleged assault at a time when they are suffering trauma.”
Rachel Krys, co-director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “We are very concerned at the precedent which might have been set.
“In addition to this there are reports that the defence offered a ‘bounty’ for such testimony. This is extremely worrying. We will review the case in full and may contact the Crown Prosecution Service and the government about aspects of this case which raise concern.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid, said: “There is a big risk that this case overall has a negative impact on reporting. Only this week CPS figures revealed a quarter of women are not pursuing cases. If you look at the surrounding maelstrom about this case it’s easy to see why that is the case.
“A woman’s past sexual history bears no relevance on whether or not they have been a victim of rape. There is a need to challenge pervasive cultural assumptions that equate a woman’s former sexual history with her likelihood of being a victim of rape.”
Police reminded people that naming the complainant was a criminal offence. Supt Jo Williams, of north Wales police, said: “We are aware that once again the victim has been named on social media. An investigation is ongoing.
“People need to be aware that they could find themselves being arrested and prosecuted. This was done previously, people were prosecuted and heavily fined.”
Aint multiculturalism grand?
A South Dakota man is accused of sitting on his pregnant ex-girlfriend and slicing off her nipples with a pair of scissors.
Tony Ledbetter, 45, is charged with eight counts of domestic assault in the brutal beating of his ex-girlfriend, which started when a conversation about their relationship led into an argument, police spokesman Sam Clemens said.
'The really disturbing part is he went and grabbed some scissors and sat on top of her and used those scissors to cut off her nipples,' Clemens said told Keloland.com.
Prosecutors said the victim is pregnant with Ledbetter's child.
The woman told investigators that Ledbetter also punched her and slammed her head on the ground.
He tried to stop her screaming by putting his forearm on her throat and stuffing a blanket in her mouth. She managed to free herself and called out for help, police said.
Ledbetter called 911 to explain himself, KSFY reported.
The 39-year-old woman is hospitalized but no information about her condition has been released. The baby is doing fine, the family said.
In court Thursday, prosecutor Tom Wollman said Ledbetter wasn't under the influence of any substances but 'just lost it', the Argus Leader reported.
'We believe he presents an extreme risk to the public,' Wollman said. Police called the case 'disturbing'.
Ledbetter is assigned to public defender. He is being held on $250,000 bond.
His criminal record includes previous assault convictions as recently as 2013, according to the Argus Leader.
Ledbetter has a number of dismissed charges of stalking and domestic assault, the newspaper reported.
Thrown in jail at 71: The disturbing story of a grandmother who refused to bow to social service orders and move an OAP from the care home he loves
Authoritarian social work again
A grandmother of 71 has been jailed for refusing to move an elderly man from a care home where she believes he is happy.
Teresa Kirk was given six months in prison by a judge at the secretive Court of Protection, it emerged yesterday.
Mr Justice Newton ruled she had disobeyed orders to move the 80-year-old from his native Portugal to a care home in Britain chosen by social workers.
He jailed her for contempt of court despite conceding she was acting out of ‘deeply held sincere beliefs’ to protect the interests of the man, who is suffering from dementia.
The judge said the pensioner had lived in the south west of England for 50 years, that he had a large circle of friends, and ‘a cat of whom he was exceptionally fond’.
Mrs Kirk has become the second woman known to have been jailed by the Court of Protection in a dispute over the choice of care home for an elderly individual.
In 2013, the Daily Mail revealed that 50-year-old Wanda Maddocks had been imprisoned by the court in secret after trying to get her 80-year-old father removed from a care home where she believed his life was in danger.
Details of Mrs Kirk’s case were made public only this week – nearly two months after her sentencing.
The grandmother, who is expected to appeal, is understood to be held in Bronzefield prison in Middlesex – whose previous inmates include serial killer Rose West.
The facts of the case remain surrounded by secrecy ordered by the Court of Protection.
Mr Justice Newton’s decision and Mrs Kirk’s name have not been revealed by the court despite transparency reforms following the scandal involving Mrs Maddocks.
The Daily Mail is unable to name the elderly man or to describe his relationship to Mrs Kirk. Even the name of his cat cannot be published for legal reasons.
The elderly man – identified in court papers as MM – was born on the Portuguese island of Madeira but had settled in Devon.
When his health began to decline because of dementia in 2014, Mrs Kirk moved him into her home in Sussex. After social workers said he should live in a care home, she travelled with him to Portugal instead.
In June 2015 the court ordered that he should be returned to Britain. The man’s health declined further and he went into a care home on the Algarve in September last year.
A second ruling made by the court followed in June this year – but the managers of the Portuguese care home refused to allow him to leave without the permission of Mrs Kirk.
After she failed to yield to the court, Mr Justice Newton said he had ‘no alternative’ but to jail her.
He said at a hearing made in August but unpublished until now: ‘I acknowledge that she has deeply held, sincere beliefs as to the best interests of MM and is genuinely concerned about his welfare.
'[But] I have reluctantly concluded that ... I am left with no alternative but to pass a sentence of imprisonment, however much I have made it perfectly clear that I do not wish to do so.’
Mrs Kirk, who has a daughter and four grandchildren who she regularly cares for, is understood to have been given a last chance to change her mind after her sentencing. She refused, and was arrested at her home in Sussex a fortnight ago.
Her former husband Chris Kirk said she called him at 11pm to say police were knocking at her door.
‘After that she simply disappeared,’ he said. ‘I could not contact her. I asked the police if they could tell me what had happened, but they said they had no information and if I was worried I should report her as a missing person.’
The Court of Protection hearing in London was open to the public and Mrs Kirk was represented by a barrister. However, the ruling was only published on the court judgment website this week after an approach by the Daily Mail.
Open justice campaigner and former MP John Hemming called the decision ‘oppressive’, adding: ‘It is wrong to lose a 71-year-old grandmother in the prison system.’
‘The rules on secret jailings that were issued following the campaign from the Daily Mail are not trivial.
'They act to protect people from being abused by local bureaucrats. In this case the courts have failed to follow those rules and Mrs Kirk and an elderly gentleman are suffering.’
Former pensions minister Baroness Altmann said jailing Mrs Kirk was ‘cruel and unnecessary’.
‘How can it be right when you are trying to do your best for a loved one for the courts not to understand and respond with compassion?’ she said.
‘This is someone who has been doing her best in the face of a social care system which is in absolute crisis.’
A spokesman for the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary said the online judgment had been held back from publication ‘so an error could be amended’.
Devon Council said: ‘Any decision regarding where a vulnerable adult should live is entirely a matter for the Court of Protection.’
The court was set up under Tony Blair’s Mental Capacity Act to decide the affairs of people who cannot make decisions for themselves.
But it gained a reputation for excessive secrecy, and one judgment in 2012 ordered that a pregnant woman should undergo a forced caesarean birth following a breakdown.
It’s time for me to face the truth – I am no longer a feminist
Trisha Jha, writing from Australia
This is a big deal for someone who was heavily involved with the Women’s Collective at university and helped to organise SlutWalk Canberra in 2011 (though I attended armed with a John Stuart Mill-inspired placard).
It’s been a long time coming – no-platforming, abuse of safe spaces, trigger warnings, microaggressions, you name it. Ideas that were once useful in improving understanding of gender and feminist issues are now instead being used to shut down discussion, rather than enlighten it.
So it’s with dismay rather than despair I read this morning’s Australian, which broke the news that Victorian high school students are going to learn about male privilege:
Victorian students will be taught about “male privilege” and how “masculinity” encourages “control and dominance” over women, as part of a mandatory new school subject aimed at combating family violence…
While the program refers to “gender-based violence”, the overriding emphasis is on men being the perpetrators of violent acts. Proposed lessons will introduce students to the concept of “privilege”, which is described as “automatic, unearned benefits bestowed upon dominant groups” based on “gender, sexuality, race or socio-economic class”.
“Being born a male, you have advantages — such as being overly represented in the public sphere — and this will be true whether you personally approve or think you are entitled to this privilege,” states guidance for the Years 7 and 8 curriculum,” it says.
By Years 11 and 12, students are asked to examine their privilege and ways that “equity” can be encouraged, such as catch-up programs, special benefits or entitlements for those who are not considered privileged.
As my colleague Dr Jeremy Sammut pointed out, this is indeed an example of “taxpayer-funded indoctrination” that ignores the complex social problems that inform domestic and family violence.
More than that, it’s truly sad that a program originally labelled “Respectful Relationships”, instead inspires alienation, and peddles guilt and shame, when put in practice.
Rather than telling boys and girls as young as 12 that boys are “privileged” and girls are “victims”, would it not be better to teach them how to have a healthy, independent sense of self that is more resistant to peer pressure and social messaging about what it is to be an “ideal” man or woman?
But this is more just a wasted opportunity – there is potential for real harm. A focus on ‘control and dominance’ and ‘hegemonic masculinity’, so distant from the lived experience of teenagers who have grown up around family violence where abusive behaviours are seen as the norm, is more likely to result in a dismissive attitude to the whole idea. For students whose understanding of communication and non-violent conflict resolution within intimate relationships is imperfect, this simply means they are more likely to grow into adults who struggle — and perhaps even resort to abusive behaviours themselves.
If the goal is to stop domestic violence at the start, as those federally-funded ads tell us, then it’s difficult to imagine a worse way to do it than this – cooked up by academic experts on gender theory, dished out by teachers who may not know how to effectively communicate nuance, and served to teens at a key stage in their maturation into adults.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.