« Grrrr. | Main | Katrina Insurance Claims. »

September 17, 2005

What the Judge Said

Did you see this case?

An innocent witness who offered to help police and then found himself charged with rape was cleared yesterday after the judge described the case as a "travesty of justice".

Judge Sanders said the "inherent weaknesses" of the prosecution - including a complete absence of scientific, medical and identification evidence - clearly showed that Levi Multilal, 22, should "never have been charged".

After telling Justin Bearman, for the Crown, that he had been talking "utter rubbish", Judge Sanders warned the barrister that he might be held "personally liable" for the costs of the court hearing, with the Crown Prosecution Service perhaps having to pay the defence bill.

What were they thinking? Is this simply a mistake? Or is it part of the current attitude towards rape, that the woman must always be believed no matter what?

Judge Sanders said that everything Mr Bearman said was "utter rubbish." He said that notwithstanding the "inherent weaknesses" in the case, the prosecution still maintained it was "fit for a trial".

Mr Bearman did not "seem to understand" that "the Crown have an overwhelming duty to assess the reliability of their evidence before they present it to a court".

The judge continued: "It might have occurred to them that the complainant's account might have been impaired through the quantity of alcohol she had consumed.

"The Crown's case amounts to her assertion that, since he was in the car, it must be him. They have not asked why no traces of his DNA were found in her body or on her clothing, but that of another man was.

"The investigation of this case has been a travesty from the outset.

"There was insufficient evidence on which a charge should be based, let alone to send him to the Crown Court or place him before a jury."

Oh, and by the way, this is the system where the Home Secretary wants the power to lock up anyone at all whenever he likes without a presentation of evidence in court.

Good system, eh?


September 17, 2005 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What the Judge Said:


If only cases with sufficient evidence go to court then there should be a 100% conviction rate, no?

Posted by: Rub-a-Dub | Sep 17, 2005 11:29:39 AM

How can you present a case where the woman was not believed as an example of ‘the current attitude towards rape, that the woman must always be believed no matter what’? And where are the data supporting this claim in the first place? Look at the available statistics cited in The Times:

a study by the Home Office … disclosed the latest rape figures and that some men are now trawling bars looking for drunk women to rape. It also estimated that the actual number of rapes in England and Wales is more than four times higher than the 11,700 reported to the police in 2002.

It is the fall in the conviction rate to 5.6 per cent which will cause most disappointment to the Government, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police. They have succeeded in encouraging more and more women to come forward to report rape but still too many cases never get into court.

The report also suggests that many women find it difficult to persuade police to take their complaint seriously and that others remain concerned at going into court where they may have to face the alleged rapist and relive the ordeal.

The report found that only 14 per cent of cases reached the trial stage, with the highest proportion of cases dropping out of the criminal justice system at an early stage.

Posted by: Contradictory Ben | Sep 17, 2005 11:44:38 AM

Thank you, Contradictory Ben. I would say that you took the words out of my mouth, but I'd never have said anything as clear and coherent as that.

Posted by: mrs mcmuffin | Sep 17, 2005 6:30:59 PM

The "believing the woman no matter what" was offered as an possible explanation for the alarming behaviour of the Crown Prosecution Service, not of the court itself.

Being acquitted is much better than being found guilty of a crime you did not commit, but it is bad enough. The nine months when this man was on a rape charge cannot have been fun.

Do you think he was guilty?

Posted by: Natalie Solent | Sep 17, 2005 11:08:15 PM

"The nine months when this man was on a rape charge cannot have been fun."

Particularly not when his name is in all the news reports, while hers is protected.....

This case is doubly surprising not because of the false allegations (God knows, there's been plenty of them) but in the vehemence of the judge. How many times do you get this - a member of the judiciary specifically criticising the prosecution on their failure to carry out their duty?

Posted by: JuliaM | Sep 18, 2005 8:11:41 AM

Nice to see you blogging a bit on this case. I think people in general ARE becoming aware that justice, in the UK, in Canada, and in the US, is somewhat 'unjust' when a man is pitted against a woman. Some of this attention is due to men climbing to the top of towers in superhero outfits, but some of it is due to stories like this actually making the news, a few brave judges, and also just people's eyes being opened to abuses like this. With a bit more attention, maybe the playing field could begin to become level again.


Posted by: Misandrope | Sep 22, 2005 2:59:28 PM