The Entirely Foul Idea Of Non-Jury Rape Trials


If only we had a conservative government, eh, one that would be able to knock on the head such absurd ideas as having rape trials without a jury. For such would be to railroad the accused in a manner entirely inconsistent with any useful version of civil rights.

Scrapping jury trials for rapes and tougher rules on consent could be considered in a major review announced today by Government into the way sexual violence against women is investigated and prosecuted. Victoria Atkins, the home office minister, said the root-and-branch review will investigate how victims of rape and sexual violence are treated from when they report their allegations to the final verdict in court. It follows a rise in sexual assaults to a record high but which has also been accompanied by a big decline in the number of offenders being brought to justice.

Over and above the vileness of having a Star Chamber system to deal with one specific crime we’ve the fact that these people are innumerate:

Rape prosecutions in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest rate in more than five years, the Guardian can reveal. Figures show just over a third of the 2,310 rape cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) between April and September last year resulted in charges being brought. The rate for the full year in 2013-14 was 62%. The figures emerged six months after a Guardian investigation revealed the CPS in England and Wales has been quietly urged to take a more risk-averse approach in rape cases. The furore over plummeting prosecution rates has prompted the Home Office to launch a comprehensive review of how rape cases are dealt with across the criminal justice system, as part of a package of measures to tackle violence against women and girls.

There’s been a significant rise, over this same period, in the number of sexual assaults claimed. That’s not a surprise, given the greater importance society is placing upon such being reported and taken seriously.

But here’s the thing, If the number of actual rapes – you know, rape as defined by the law, not by some other standard – hasn’t changed? More reporting is going to mean fewer of the reports leading to a conviction. Which is just what we’re seeing and exactly what is being complained about. More is being reported, convictions aren’t moving in lockstep. A reasonable conclusion to draw from this being that the greater reporting is bringing the more marginal cases into the system. The conviction rate on those marginal cases obviously being lower than the average such.

This actually being how marginal and average work. To fail to see this is to be innumerate. And aren’t we lucky here? That the innumerate, the ignorant of basic numbers, are in charge of depriving us of that basic cornerstone of civil liberty, the jury trial?

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