Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Two Under Age Girls

A man faces up to five years in jail for watching a fourteen year old girl pose naked on a webcam.

A lawyer commented: "Until now, it always was assumed that an alleged abuser had to be in the same place as his victim to commit the offence of lewd and libidinous practice.

"The internet appears to have changed all that."

South of the border, five out of a dozen men who videoed each other having sex with a fifteen year old girl walked free after being cleared of rape.

I'm sure there must be some consistency between these two cases - does anyone know what it is ?

The second case raises a couple of issues aside from the victim's age. The judge, Michael Hucker, called the defendants' conduct "wholly disgraceful". Yet if we ignore the victim's age, in a post-Christian world what right has the judge to pass judgement upon the acquitted mens sexual predelictions ? If sex is divorced from procreation, from marriage, from controlling rules laid down in books written thousands of years ago, who is to say that ringing round your friends inviting them over for 'dessert' is not reasonable ? Anyway, maybe it's a cultural thing - some think one thing, some another. Hasn't the judge ever seen thirteen people in love before ?

I'm not ignoring the hurt of the victim - and that's the second point.

The treatment of the alleged victim by the prosecution in the rape trial was very similar to the treatment of the chief prosecution witness, also a young girl, in the Damilola Taylor murder trial. The defence found evidence of previous lies, of fantasising, of irresponsible behaviour - of enough, in short, to discredit her as a reliable witness. My point being this - that on the streets of Peckham, Brockley, New Cross and the other cultural disaster zones of Britain, the chances of witnesses to, or victims of, serious crime impressing a judge is always going to be small. The alleged victim is unlikely to be a regular churchgoer, the school's star history student, or Girl Guide studying for her Duke Of Edinburgh award. Those who hang out with young criminals, or who are accustomed to being picked up from youth clubs for sex in a car with a relative stranger, may not come over well in the witness box, and may well have their own 'previous' which won't reflect well on their character.

This is bad for justice - but it's the way we live now.

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