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Sleeping well at night, lawyer man?

weeziepops 20 December 2011 31

A recent posting at the Supreme Court website makes for disturbing reading.

Apart from the horror of the case itself, a series of particularly brutal, incestuous sexual assaults, I was appalled by the transcripts of the cross examination of the brave victim.

The lawyer defending the perpetrator of these crimes accuses the young man, who was seven at the time of the assaults, of lying.

Have we made no progress at all in the last 30 odd years that the victim of such crimes is still being treated like the criminal?

I could not sleep at night if I made my money from adding to the pain of people like this.

I guess someone has to defend the accused but…


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31 Responses to Sleeping well at night, lawyer man?
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Here_and_Now 2:14 pm 28 Apr 12

lore said :

devils_advocate said :

It’s an adversarial system and everyone is entitled to the most thorough defence their advocate can make. Think about the position you would be in if you were accused of a serious crime – would you want your advocate making up their own mind about whether you were guilty or innocent and then moderating his efforts accordingly? No, you would want him trying as hard as he could to ensure you remain free.

In cases like these, people can and do lie. The system’s not perfect but it’s axiomatic that it’s better for 100 guilty men to go free than for one innocent to be imprisoned.

Also I doubt it’s easy for the lawyer. FWIW, the lawyer is not allowed to lead evidence or questions suggesting innocence if that is inconsistent with what his client has told him (ie based on the info above, it would appear the defendant has instructed his solicitor/barrister it didn’t happen).

+1

It’s very difficult, because if it didn’t happen and lawyer couldn’t suggest things like this, then where does that leave the accused?

I had a friend in early High School who told me she was sexually assulted, then confessed a couple of years later that she made it up. Not everyone tells the truth, simple as that.

It’s horrid, but unfortunately true. And when someone does make up such a thing, it’s not only terrible for the falsely accused, but can make it that bit harder for someone later who really is taking the difficult step of reporting abuse.

VicePope 5:10 pm 28 Dec 11

The offence has an obvious physical component. The accused person must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offence, which means the court has to be satisfied about every aspect, including the physical element. That can happen because an accused person pleads guilty, or because an accused person concedes that the physical component happened (basing the defence on something else). Or, if neither of those things happen, the evidence has to be put and tested through examination and cross-examination. The alternative is that people get convicted when it is not clear they have done the thing of which they are accused, and that’s intolerable. We don’t imprison people on the vibe of the thing.
The consolation here for the outrage that might be felt about an anatomically detailed and assertive testing of the evidence is that, on conviction, the accused person will get no “discount” for admissions that might have saved the victim from having to give this evidence. And whatever steps can be taken to avoid traumatising the witness have to be taken – including by allowing evidence by video.

whitelaughter 4:01 pm 28 Dec 11

shirty_bear said :

Appalling.

How do we get a punishment to fit the crime? Drawing and quartering is too kind ….

Easy, any prisoner who helps the prison authorities: gets a child molestor to use as they see fit.

whitelaughter 4:00 pm 28 Dec 11

devils_advocate said :

It’s an adversarial system…

It doesn’t need to be! That’s a holdover from the Middle Ages. Continental Europe scrapped the adversarial system *centuries* ago, Scandinavia followed not long over. We can and should do the same.

Tooks 5:50 pm 21 Dec 11

Little_Green_Bag said :

TheDancingDjinn said :

Memory regression and what not is a load of shit! – if you don’t remember it in your waking times then it never happened.

+1 Most of these so-called “sexual assaults” never happened and are just people who feel guilty after a sexual encounter running off to cops to boost their egos and get their names in the papers. As for “male sexual assault”, come off it! These are just closeted men who can’t accept the fact they are gay.

No doubt you base that on your extensive experience investigating sexual assaults. I hope you’re a troll, because it’s depressing knowing there are idiots like you living among us.

diced_mango 9:45 am 21 Dec 11

Little_Green_Bag said :

As for “male sexual assault”, come off it! These are just closeted men who can’t accept the fact they are gay.

I REALLY hope you’re just trolling.

http://samssa.org.au/information/myths-facts

colourful sydney racing identity 9:43 am 21 Dec 11

Little_Green_Bag said :

TheDancingDjinn said :

Memory regression and what not is a load of shit! – if you don’t remember it in your waking times then it never happened.

+1 Most of these so-called “sexual assaults” never happened and are just people who feel guilty after a sexual encounter running off to cops to boost their egos and get their names in the papers. As for “male sexual assault”, come off it! These are just closeted men who can’t accept the fact they are gay.

Perhaps you should spend some time talking to victims of sexual assault to have an understanding of why comments like yours have no place in our society?

Or, maybe you would like to tell the then 7 year old boy who was raped by his father, in this case, that he should just accept the fact that he is just trying to deny that he is gay.

In all honesty I find your comments deeply troubling.

If you actaully believe what you wrote, you are a danger to the community and should not be around women, and maybe men as well, unsupervised. If you don’t believe what you wrote, you obviously get your kicks out of downplaying an all too prevellant and vicious crime.

Either way, you are a pretty low form of life.

fgzk 9:03 am 21 Dec 11

The views of male rapists should at least be heard. Well said little green bag. We hear you.

Little_Green_Bag said :

TheDancingDjinn said :

Memory regression and what not is a load of shit! – if you don’t remember it in your waking times then it never happened.

+1 Most of these so-called “sexual assaults” never happened and are just people who feel guilty after a sexual encounter running off to cops to boost their egos and get their names in the papers. As for “male sexual assault”, come off it! These are just closeted men who can’t accept the fact they are gay.

Little_Green_Bag 8:53 am 21 Dec 11

TheDancingDjinn said :

Memory regression and what not is a load of shit! – if you don’t remember it in your waking times then it never happened.

+1 Most of these so-called “sexual assaults” never happened and are just people who feel guilty after a sexual encounter running off to cops to boost their egos and get their names in the papers. As for “male sexual assault”, come off it! These are just closeted men who can’t accept the fact they are gay.

colourful sydney racing identity 8:31 am 21 Dec 11

OP, I would really like to know, in your view, what else the lawyer for the defendant could have done in this case, other than suggest the accuser was lying.

Hanksinatra 2:21 am 21 Dec 11

The alternative is an innocent person being accused and presumed guilty. We can only acknowledge the strength and fortidude of the compainant who apparently now and as an adult has decided to seek justice and good on him. I’m sure there was an understanding of the legal system beforehand. 3 cheers and if he reads the riot act I heartily thank him for his bravery. Our English court system is terrible, but possibly the best going if you believe in innocent until proven guilty. That is not a universal program as for example in France. But that is how we do it here and the least likely component of our society to change for better or worse.

threepaws 11:17 pm 20 Dec 11

TheDancingDjinn said :

Sadly alot of sexual assaults where it is a male victim, go far more unreported than female ones. If this young man has come to court as an adult male and is standing up and saying he was raped by another man, then i’d put money on this young guy telling the truth. It breaks my heart as a person who has had a very violent and horrible crime comitted against her, that there are men and women out there who still go through this alone. Women have services to help here, men get nothing and thats truly heart shattering.

I only skimmed the posting of the case earlier today and I don’t really want to read it again tbh, so please forgive me if I don’t get the story straight:

I think the victim reported the crime fairly soon after it happened. Then some things happened – the offender disappeared, his mother died, and perhaps some other things, so that is partly why it has taken so long to get to court.

I think I read that part of the judgement involved the judge accepting the victim’s statement that he made at the time, his (now deceased) mother’s statement, and the statements of the police who initially followed up on the complaint.

The judge obviously believed the victim’s version of events. It’s a shame it took so long for it to go before the courts, but I guess an upside is that hopefully the victim is older & stronger now and better able to withstand the cross examination from the defence.

TheDancingDjinn 10:24 pm 20 Dec 11

LSWCHP said :

I met a woman through some friends who described her a “survivor” of incestuous sexual abuse. At first I was appalled by her ordeal, and totally sympathetic. then over the next few years I became more and more dubious. She kept discovering new “repressed memories” through some weird form of counselling, and it seemed that as time went by she kept remembering stranger and more bizarre sounding things so that people would continue to be interested in her story.

One day she told me she’d just “remembered” an event from her childhood in which her sexually abusive father had rowed her and some other men out to an island in the middle of Sydney harbour. When they got to the island the mdn put on Ku Klux Klan outfits, tied an Aboriginal man to a cross, doused him with petrol and set him on fire while they all raped her.

I decided that this was all deranged nonsense, and it seems likely to me that all her other “recollections” were equally invalid. She was making it all up to gain attention, or for other reason that I couldn’t understand. But at the start of this process, I gather that things hadn’t gone very well for her father when her “memories” sounded a lot more plausible.

So yeah, it’s hard to read about the actions of depraved monsters, but everybody deserves the best defence they can get, because the accusations may be false. It’s a very problematic situation.

Memory regression and what not is a load of shit! – if you don’t remember it in your waking times then it never happened.

LSWCHP 9:32 pm 20 Dec 11

I met a woman through some friends who described her a “survivor” of incestuous sexual abuse. At first I was appalled by her ordeal, and totally sympathetic. then over the next few years I became more and more dubious. She kept discovering new “repressed memories” through some weird form of counselling, and it seemed that as time went by she kept remembering stranger and more bizarre sounding things so that people would continue to be interested in her story.

One day she told me she’d just “remembered” an event from her childhood in which her sexually abusive father had rowed her and some other men out to an island in the middle of Sydney harbour. When they got to the island the mdn put on Ku Klux Klan outfits, tied an Aboriginal man to a cross, doused him with petrol and set him on fire while they all raped her.

I decided that this was all deranged nonsense, and it seems likely to me that all her other “recollections” were equally invalid. She was making it all up to gain attention, or for other reason that I couldn’t understand. But at the start of this process, I gather that things hadn’t gone very well for her father when her “memories” sounded a lot more plausible.

So yeah, it’s hard to read about the actions of depraved monsters, but everybody deserves the best defence they can get, because the accusations may be false. It’s a very problematic situation.

TheDancingDjinn 4:32 pm 20 Dec 11

Sadly alot of sexual assaults where it is a male victim, go far more unreported than female ones. If this young man has come to court as an adult male and is standing up and saying he was raped by another man, then i’d put money on this young guy telling the truth. It breaks my heart as a person who has had a very violent and horrible crime comitted against her, that there are men and women out there who still go through this alone. Women have services to help here, men get nothing and thats truly heart shattering.

Clown Killer 3:29 pm 20 Dec 11

Lawyers will do what lawyers do … I just hope that there’s a really special place in hell for that boys father.

harvyk1 3:20 pm 20 Dec 11

“I guess someone has to defend the accused but…”

But what? The accused is sitting there potentially with their freedom in the balance, it’s only fair that they get to respond to every allegation which is put towards them.

I’m not going to say that lawyers don’t overstep the mark, but basically the “right of reply” is one of the most important legal things we have.

Where our legal system falls down is the grossly inadequate sentences which are then handed down. You can tell it’s inadequate by the number of repeat offenders which end up in the courts over and over again.

colourful sydney racing identity 3:02 pm 20 Dec 11

drfelonious said :

What would make me uneasy was if the likes of the OP got to sit in judgement on people accused of sex abuse. You know, throw out the hundreds of years of the jury trial system because…/quote>

Don’t mean to rain on your parade but the defendant opted for a judge only trial

Bosworth 2:57 pm 20 Dec 11

weeziepops, are you advocating the abolishment of the Cab-Rank rule?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cab-rank_rule

drfelonious 2:50 pm 20 Dec 11

I think the lawyer would be sleeping very well indeed.

What would make me uneasy was if the likes of the OP got to sit in judgement on people accused of sex abuse. You know, throw out the hundreds of years of the jury trial system because it is – shock horror – a sex abuse case (the new witchcraft).

What does the OP suggest as an alternative – trial by fire perhaps?

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