Forgive me for writing to you in this way. This is not really what I set up this blog for, and nor is it how I expect you normally like to be approached.
But if I might approach the bench I would like to say a few things.
It would seem that in a week of news that changes every minute, from Murdoch and News International to murders in Norway, this story has been somewhat hidden.
To which story am I referring? The one where you as a Court have overturned a previous Court’s decision to convict six men of statutory rape of two 12 year old girls in a park in Reading, close to where I live.
I grant you that I am not a party to all of the evidence but I do have a 12 year old daughter so this sort of story hits me hard and I have read with interest the press coverage since the story first broke last February.
I don’t understand, and I suspect I am not alone, how you can decide that these two girls, just 12, let’s remember, “had wanted sex”. Reaching this conclusion when the original judge had said that the attackers had seen the girls “simply as pieces of meat, not people”.
How on earth can a girl that is crying, sobbing, in fact and repeatedly saying “No, no, no” whilst sitting on a park bench at midnight be “wanting sex” with five unknown men. A girl who had never wanted to be there but had been tricked into getting into a car with three of the men by the other girl.
A girl who had been taken there by the other girl who, it is reported, had done this several times before and had been in touch with one of the convicted men via text message earlier that night. This doesn’t detract from the fact that these girls were being driven to a park, to have sex with three times the number of men present. And these men have the cheek to say “they were tricked into it”?
These men are now playing the victim card and it sickens me that they feel aggrieved because their careers are ruined and they are on the Sex Offender’s Register.
Whether or not one of these girls said she was 16 or not and these men therefore assumed “it was legal” this whole situation is appalling. Six men having sex with a girl that is crying, in a park, at midnight and then dropping them off outside a petrol station at 2am is not right.
When a woman says “No” repeatedly and is crying, it means “No”. Under any circumstances no means no. No doesnt mean “oh go on then”. “No” doesnt mean “I am just saying that but I dont mean it really”. When it comes to six men and two women in a park I don’t understand where the grey area is to that statement.
As judges, do you have any idea how tremendously difficult it is for a woman to report a case of rape? To get to the point where they are standing before you giving evidence? Reliving the most revolting facts about that event?
When the conviction rate in rape cases is something like 7%? When as an adult female the defence will tear apart her background and use any fact in her past against her to destroy her credibility as a witness?
So many women do not report rape cases in this country and this just reinforces why.
To read cases like this where a conviction is then overturned is disgusting. Despicable and revolting. And in the case where it is two 12 year old girls and six teenage boys it is even more disgusting.
Where is the justice for these two girls?
Where is the justice for any woman raped in the UK?