Clinton = Bush?

Glenn Greenwald responds to this article in at NYT by the incomparable Maureen Dowd:

… we’ll just dismiss the last eight years as nothing really notable — just the standard, garden-variety failures, disappointments and corruption we normally see from politicians.  Hence: Bill Clinton had an affair and let contributors stay in the Lincoln Bedroom; George Bush tortured people, stomped on the Constitution, chronically broke our laws, started wars based on manufactured pretexts, committed felonies by spying on American without warrants, abolished habeas corpus, imprisoned human beings in “black sites,” etc.  Boy, politicians sure are bad.  Let’s move on and hope Obama doesn’t do what Clinton and Bush both did.   That’s the mentality that ensures that our current political leaders — and their enablers in the Beltway establishment — won’t be held accountable for what they’ve done.

Here it is, the whole thing

Let’s All Harass Kelly Ellard

After a THIRD trial, Kelly Ellard was convicted in the death of young Reena Virk on the basis of gossip and conflicting testimony.  The B.C. Court of Appeal has set it right.  For now:

A B.C. Appeal Court has overturned the conviction of Kelly Ellard and ordered a fourth trial for her role in the murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk.

Ms. Ellard was convicted in the beating and drowning of Virk near Victoria in 1997 in a case that stunned the country because most of Ms. Virk’s attackers were teenaged girls.

The B.C. court cited inconsistent testimony and the charge to the jury in its 60-page decision released Friday.

“I would allow this appeal, set aside the conviction and order a new trial,” wrote Justice S. David Frankel, writing on behalf of the court.

A 15-year-old at the time of the killing more than a decade ago, Ms. Ellard has been tried three times in Ms. Virk’s killing.

Her first conviction was overturned on appeal, and her second ended in a hung jury before she was convicted at her third trial.

Justice Edward Chiasson concurred with the decision to allow the appeal, saying that instructions to the jury over one witness’s testimony were in error.

“In addition, the history of this case suggests in light of the error, the verdict cannot stand safely,” Judge Chiasson wrote.

One of the three judges on the panel dissented.

Stan Lowe, spokesman for the provincial Crown prosecutor’s office, said the Crown is reviewing the ruling and will decide how to proceed in the coming weeks.

Several other teenaged girls were convicted for their part in an earlier attack on Ms. Virk. She was then followed from the scene, beaten again and drowned in the Gorge waterway, near Victoria.

Warren Glowatski, who was also a teenager at the time of the killing, was convicted of second-degree murder for his role in Ms. Virk’s death in the waterway that night. Mr. Glowatski was granted day parole last year.

Ms. Ellard’s lawyer argued at a hearing in May that the jury based its second-degree murder conviction on lies, rumours and inconsistent evidence.

But Crown lawyer John Gordon told the court the jury was aware of the poor credibility of witnesses, rampant teenage gossip and rumours – and convicted anyway.

Obviously, I don’t know what role Kelly Ellard may have played, if any, in the tragic and horrific death of Reena Virk.  The point is, neither does anyone else.  If the Crown can’t get a conviction after three shots, I say quit.  Leave Kelly Ellard alone.  And don’t put Reena Virk’s family through the process again.  This opinion may not be popular with “law and order” folk who just want to see someone go to jail, even if they didn’t commit the crime, but why would I care about that?

Payne in February

Here’s what Kyle Payne said on his blog in February, in response to the “rumours” about him:

I want to be very careful how I share these words with you. Given the numerous accusations and attacks I have received lately, I am finding it very easy to respond in ways that are defensive, confrontational, and antagonistic. While those behaviors might be appropriate if I was enlisting in a battle for my place in the hierarchy of our dominator culture, they are neither relevant or productive in this context. Furthermore, I worry that these actions would be interpreted as yet another reason not to listen to a word I have to say.

I am upset that there is gradually developing a bizarre and twisted understanding of who I am and what I am about. And I am angry that individuals, who I presume are otherwise capable of critical thought, are jumping to the most outrageous conclusions. I am also deeply disturbed at the joy others have taken in painting such a disturbing picture of me.

For a variety of reasons, there is very little I can say about the recent news. So, unfortunately, I cannot give you the answers that you might seek. Worse yet, I can do little in the way of defending myself against a whole host of claims about my character that are both irrational and damaging. What I can tell you is that this may be a situation that demands a great deal of patience and a departure from our expectation that everything in life will make perfect sense. In fact, it may demand that people give me some room to breathe as I try to make sense of the situation myself.

Trust me, I know this situation raises a lot of very serious questions and has created a great deal of shock and confusion. And while I desperately wish I had the opportunity to talk openly about it and clear the air, I do not. So please offer my family and me the compassion not to make judgments and speculations based on information that is incomplete and not fully understood.

Thank you.

Kyle

In all that time, he still hasn’t come close to understanding, after insulting the intelligence of the people who spread “rumours”.  What I’m really concerned about now is that it appears to me that Payne may have offered counselling to survivors of rape and sexual assault on his own, without training and for obviously perverse purposes.  See this

BTW, it appears to me that you can leave comments on Payne’s older posts.  I’ve got two comments up as I write this – not sayin’ they’ll stay there.

Title of Payne’s post:  “A New Kind of Pain”  Right.

Woman’s Death Doesn’t Matter

The only thing important about this woman’s death is that her body was found in a neighbourhood frequented by “prostitutes” who are, of course, the cause of everything evil that threatens the “neat green spaces” that some people are trying to protect in the area.  Of course, nothing evil ever happens to sex trade workers.  At least, nothing that’s more important than protecting nice gardens:

The body of a woman found in an alley behind a high-rise building in the east end is being investigated by police as Toronto’s 38th homicide of the year.

Police received a call just after 7:30 a.m. Saturday reporting the body behind 191 Sherbourne St., near Shuter St. and the Moss Park Armoury.

Homicide Detective Michael Barsky said there were “obvious signs of trauma” to the body, which is yet to be identified.

The woman is likely between 30 and 40 years old, said Sgt. Craig Somers, who was also on the scene. 

Several residents and neighbours said they did not know about the death and did not hear anything Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Forensic officers were collecting evidence and searching the surrounding area, but Sgt. Somers said police would not divulge more information until the post-mortem results were returned and the next of kin notified.

Sgt. Somers said that it was a “suspicious” death given the location.

The Sherbourne and Shuter intersection is infamous for drug dealings, residents say.

“This is crack central. That’s what they call it here,” says Kenny Tynes, 47, who lives in the neighbourhood. “This is worse than Jane and Finch.”

Tynes has lived in his Sherbourne apartment for 19 years and says the area is rife with “knifings” and “crack.”

The Sherbourne and Shuter street corner is also popular with sex-trade workers, neighbours say.

Patrick Keyes, 65, has lived here for 22 years, just across from the alleyway where the body was found. He says he has watched pimps drop off prostitutes here and drive away.

“With prostitution goes drugs and with that people get high and stupid. They get noisy,” Keyes said. “I don’t know what causes it but it’s a nuisance. It brings people in this neighbourhood looking for action (sex and drugs) and that is not desirable.”

The front of the 19-floor building is surrounded by a black fence, green lawn and neat flower-beds. Residents say there is a security guard at the front door and there is an intercom security system.

The red-brick back of the building overlooking the alley is also surrounded by neat green spaces. 

Inciting Hatred

Jim David Adkisson, the alleged shooter at the TVUUC on Sunday, left a letter providing very specific evidence as to how he’d been affected by violent right-wing rhetoric and has made clear statements in that regard, as you can see from the following article:

Police found right-wing political books, brass knuckles, empty shotgun shell boxes and a handgun in the Powell home of a man who said he attacked a church in order to kill liberals “who are ruining the country,” court records show.

Knoxville police Sunday evening searched the Levy Drive home of Jim David Adkisson after he allegedly entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and killed two people and wounded six others during the presentation of a children’s musical.

Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve Still requested the search warrant after interviewing Adkisson. who was subdued by several church members after firing three rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun into the congregation.

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”

Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

Adkisson said he also was frustrated about not being able to obtain a job, Owen said.

The letter, recovered from Adkisson’s black 2004 Ford Escape, which was parked in the church’s parking lot at 2931 Kingston Pike, indicates he had been planning the shooting for about a week.

“He fully expected to be killed by the responding police,” the police chief said.

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

Owen said Adkisson’s stated hatred of the liberal movement was not necessarily connected to any hostility toward Christianity or religion per say, but rather the political advocacy of the church.

The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers.

Adkisson does not appear to be a member of any church himself, Owen said.

“In his written statement, he does not ascribe to any affiliation,” the chief said. “It does not appear he’s a member of any organized group.”

read the rest here

Since the alleged shooter has done all the work for us by being so clear about his motives, it’s difficult to see on what grounds anyone could argue that he was unaffected such comments as these:

“My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.”
-Ann Coulter, August 26, 2002

“I’d hang every lawyer that went down to Guantanamo”
-Michael Savage, June 19, 2008

“In this recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he “did it,” even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate. ”
-Ann Coulter,
High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, 1998

 

That from The Galloping Beaver

More of Ann Coulter’s pithy comments:

Phil Donahue: “I just want to make sure we got this right. Liberals hate America. They hate all religions except Islam. Liberals love Islam, hate all other religions.”
Ann Coulter: “Post 9/11.”
Donahue: “Well, good for you.”
Donahue, MSNBC, July 19, 2002

From “Cam Kate”:
On [Fox News Channel’s February 7th] Hannity and Colmes, Alan Colmes confronted Ann Coulter with the following statement she made at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference:“We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too.”
Coulter whined to Colmes, “
I didn’t know we were talking about this tonight, but now that you’ve sprungit on me…” but confirmed she made the comment and boasted it was a “huge hit with the audience.
Colmes: “You hate liberals. You despise liberals. This is unbelievable.
We should execute them to make liberals scared?
Coulter: “
Right. Right!
— Feb. 10, 2002
“When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty.We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors.”
— Ann Coulter, CPAC convention, February 2002
“God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it! It’s yours.'”
— Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes,June 20, 2001
“The thing I like about Bush is I think he hates liberals.”
— Ann Coulter, Washington Post, August 1, 2000

“If you don’t hate Clinton and the people who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country.”
— Ann Coulter, George, July 1999 (and you wonder why the magazine folded)

On Rep. Christopher Shays (D-CT) in deciding whether to run against him as a Libertarian candidate: “I really want to hurt him. I want him to feel pain.”
— Ann Coulter, Hartford Courant, June 25, 1999

“I have to say I’m all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents, a lot of whom consider it a badge of honor to be sent to juvenile detention. And it might not be such a cool thing in the ‘hood to be flogged publicly.”
— Ann Coulter, MSNBC, March 22, 1997
  

 

And, finally, this one seems horribly á propos:

“If those kids had been carrying guns they would have gunned down this one [child] gunman. … Don’t pray. Learn to use guns.”
— Ann Coulter, Politically Incorrect, December 18, 1997

See American Politics Journal for more

If these comments don’t constitute incitement to violence, I just don’t know what would.  In Canada, it would appear that the Criminal Code allows for prosecution in such cases:

Publicly inciting hatred, wilfully promoting hatred or advocating genocide are criminal offences under the Criminal Code section 318 — regardless of how those messages are communicated.

If that amounts to censorship, that’s fine by me.  It’s a reasonable restraint on freedom of expression.

Thanks to Dr. Dawg and The Galloping Beaver

UPDATE:  Ya gotta see driftglass

Leprosy & Mental Illness

An essay from a series on mental illness in The Globe & Mail:

‘In no other field, except perhaps leprosy,” a Canadian report on mental illness said 45 years ago, “has there been as much confusion, misdirection and discrimination against the patient as in mental illness … Down through the ages, [the mentally ill] have been estranged by society and cast out to wander in the wilderness. Mental illness, even today, is all too often considered a crime to be punished, a sin to be expiated, a possessing demon to be exorcised, a disgrace to be hushed up, a personality weakness to be deplored or a welfare problem to be handled as cheaply as possible.”

[…]

 … stigma is not just name-calling. It’s also “sticks and stones” that can have concrete consequences. According to a Scottish study, people with mental health problems reported experiencing more than twice as much harassment as the general population. The perpetrators were typically neighbours and teenagers. Almost all those surveyed said that the harassment had made their mental health worse. Almost one in three moved as a result.

People living with mental illness are also less likely to report any offence or crime committed against them, because they report that police are unsupportive. And if they do press charges, they often end up being branded “unreliable” witnesses in court.

British research confirms that 80 per cent of people with longer-term mental health problems are out of work. So poverty and small, fragile social networks add to their problems. In Canada, it is no better. Almost half of us believe that if someone at work was dealing with depression and missing work, they would be more likely to “get into trouble and maybe even fired.”

Current research has found that the public is generally better informed about mental illness than it was a few decades ago. Researchers at Columbia University report that there is greater awareness of mental illness and its biological underpinnings, as well as the availability and effectiveness of treatment.

The bad news is that, in lockstep, there has been a corresponding increase in stigma, discrimination and social distancing. Increasingly, the public is attaching stereotypes, such as “dangerous and incompetent,” to people with mental illnesses.

[…]

Perhaps the most shocking evidence of the deep-seatedness of stigma is in a study by the Michigan Psychiatric Society, in which half of the psychiatrists surveyed said that they would treat themselves in secrecy rather than have mental illness recorded on their medical chart.

Oryx, Crake and the Growing Prison Population

George Monbiot searches for the reason that rates of imprisonment just keep going up in England and Wales while crime rates continue to fall.  One of the causes, he suspects, is growing economic disparity:

“I can’t prove this, and it is hard to see how anyone could do so. But my untested hypothesis runs as follows: the greater the wealth accrued by the top echelons, the more ferociously they demand protection from the rest of society. They have more to lose from crime and less to lose from punishment, which is less likely to strike the richer you become.

The people who help to generate the public demand for long prison terms (newspaper proprietors and editors) and the people who mete it out (judges and magistrates) are drawn overwhelmingly from the property-owning classes. “Those who have built large fortunes,” Max Hastings, who was once the editor of the Daily Telegraph, wrote of his former employer Conrad Black, “seldom lose their nervousness that some ill-wisher will find means to take their money away from them.”

Money breeds paranoia, and paranoia keeps people in prison.”

I think a lot about Sci Fi dystopias these days.  Oryx and Crake especially.  It’s not that I always want to think about it.  I can’t help it.

The world that Margaret Atwood described in the novel is so compelling partly because it is so well imagined but finally, because the imagination actually doesn’t have to work as hard as I wish.  As any good dystopic writer will do, Atwood picks up on the most negative aspects of life in a Western corporate capitalist democracy and exaggerates them, but in so doing, is only illustrating the logical result if these characteristics continue to grow in infuence, unchecked.

So, in the world of Oryx and Crake, the world is, finally, defined by huge and overwhelming disparities between rich and poor.  Societies like this are notoriously unstable.  France before the revolution; Russia before the Bolsheviks; the US during the Depression and so on.  So in the O & C world, the powerful rich have taken action against the poor, finding technological means to ensure their own security whilst, of course, also shutting down the  possiblity of social mobility. 

Fear of “outsiders” , the new untouchables, the have-nots, is rampant and profound.  Understandably so.  Million of people are cut off from the means to a decent life while others live off “the fat of the land” (it’s a metaphor – really, there’s not much fat land left); those who are shut out devise ever more desperate ways of trying to break in while the insiders obssess over how to keep them out.  And inevitably, on ways to de-humanize and demonize anyone who wants simply to eat.  In this world, stealing bread is, as always, a crime.  But the worst crime is trying (or succeeding) to break in to the world of the “haves”.

I’m not a pessimist.  I think good dystopic novels can function as canaries down the mind shaft, warnings of the logical result of contemporay political, social and economic decision making.  Far from causing depression, they can represent their own small call to action.  When I think of the numbers of people imprisoned in Western “democracies”, our growing fear of and punitive actions against “illegal aliens” (even that word “aliens” puts me in mind of the “outsiders” in O & C), food supply crises, impenetrable digitized fences, identity cards, impending environmental catastrophe and, of course,  intransigent economic inequality, I’m inclined to believe the canaries are dying in flocks.  Exploitive global corporations and the governments they have all but bought have no interest in changing this situation in favour of “others”.  It will have to be movements of people at “the bottom”, and close by, forcing change, bottom to top: trickle up, but a trickle is likely not powerful enough to get the job done.

African Americans & American Prisons

Glenn C. Loury: “Why Are So Many Americans In Prison?: Race and the transformation of criminal justice“:

[…]

In the 1970s, the sociologist David Garland argues, the corrections system was commonly seen as a way to prepare offenders to rejoin society. Since then, the focus has shifted from rehabilitation to punishment and stayed there. Felons are no longer persons to be supported, but risks to be dealt with. And the way to deal with the risks is to keep them locked up. As of 2000, 33 states had abolished limited parole (up from 17 in 1980); 24 states had introduced three-strikes laws (up from zero); and 40 states had introduced truth-in-sentencing laws (up from three). The vast majority of these changes occurred in the 1990s, as crime rates fell.

This new system of punitive ideas is aided by a new relationship between the media, the politicians, and the public. A handful of cases-in which a predator does an awful thing to an innocent-get excessive media attention and engender public outrage. This attention typically bears no relation to the frequency of the particular type of crime, and yet laws-such as three-strikes laws that give mandatory life sentences to nonviolent drug offenders-and political careers are made on the basis of the public’s reaction to the media coverage of such crimes.

Despite a sharp national decline in crime, American criminal justice has become crueler and less caring than it has been at any other time in our modern history. Why?

The question has no simple answer, but the racial composition of prisons is a good place to start. The punitive turn in the nation’s social policy-intimately connected with public rhetoric about responsibility, dependency, social hygiene, and the reclamation of public order-can be fully grasped only when viewed against the backdrop of America’s often ugly and violent racial history: there is a reason why our inclination toward forgiveness and the extension of a second chance to those who have violated our behavioral strictures is so stunted, and why our mainstream political discourses are so bereft of self-examination and searching social criticism. This historical resonance between the stigma of race and the stigma of imprisonment serves to keep alive in our public culture the subordinating social meanings that have always been associated with blackness. Race helps to explain why the United States is exceptional among the democratic industrial societies in the severity and extent of its punitive policy and in the paucity of its social-welfare institutions. 

[…]

So consider the nearly 60 percent of black male high-school dropouts born in the late 1960s who are imprisoned before their 40th year. While locked up, these felons are stigmatized-they are regarded as fit subjects for shaming. Their links to family are disrupted; their opportunities for work are diminished; their voting rights may be permanently revoked. They suffer civic excommunication. Our zeal for social discipline consigns these men to a permanent nether caste. And yet, since these men-whatever their shortcomings-have emotional and sexual and family needs, including the need to be fathers and lovers and husbands, we are creating a situation where the children of this nether caste are likely to join a new generation of untouchables. This cycle will continue so long as incarceration is viewed as the primary path to social hygiene.  [more]

Guilty in Edmonton

From The Star:

An Edmonton judge on Tuesday found Thomas Svekla guilty of second-degree murder in the death of sex worker Theresa Innes, 36, whose body was found in a hockey bag in a home northeast of the city in May 2006.

However, Judge Sterling Sanderman found Svekla not guilty on charges of second-degree murder in the death of another sex worker, 19-year-old Rachel Quinney. Her body was found in a wooded area east of Edmonton in June 2004. Svekla told police he stumbled over the body while smoking crack cocaine with another prostitute.

The 40-year-old had been on trial for the past 3½ months.

Sanderman told the packed courtroom that although it’s human nature to want to hold someone accountable for the “cruel, callous behaviour directed towards two vulnerable human beings,” Svekla can’t be held responsible “for everything” just because he had a woman’s body in a hockey bag.

The judge called Svekla a “needy attention-seeker who has a grossly over-inflated sense of his own importance” and said he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Svekla killed Innes.

He pointed to the fact that her body was elaborately wrapped in a shower curtain, garbage bags, and an air mattress, then bound with wire. Sanderman also found Svekla guilty of committing an indignity to a body, in connection with Innes’ death.

But the judge found that there was not enough evidence to prove the auto mechanic played any role in the younger woman’s death.

“There is no compelling evidence that ties Svekla to Rachel Quinney let alone her death,” he said.

Outside court, Crown prosecutor Ashley Finlayson provided only brief comments about the split decision of the court.

“The fact that it was a circumstantial case had a significant impact,” he said. “I’m sure it’s a difficult day for [Rachael Quinney’s family].”

Finlayson would not say what he will be seeking in the way of a sentence. Second degree-murder carries with mandatory life sentence, with a minimum of 10 years before parole eligibility. The judge can impose a lengthier time in prison.

The family of Theresa Innes refused to speak to reporters, angrily pushing cameramen and photographers out of the way.

Rachel Quinney’s sister-in-law, Charlotte Lajimodiere, was heartbroken.

“Great pain, great anger, because Rachel’s murder goes unsolved,” she said.

Svekla’s sentencing hearing is set for June 16.

He is also due to go on trial in September on charges of sexual assault and uttering threats in connection with an attack on a woman in High Level, Alta., in the summer of 2005.

The woman, who can’t be identified, testified at Svekla’s trial in Edmonton. She told the court Svekla attacked her and threatened to kill her after after sharing a six-pack of beer and going to back to his apartment.

Svekla is the first person charged by Project Kare, a joint task force between Edmonton city police and RCMP that is investigating the deaths and disappearances of more than 20 women since 1983, all of them prostitutes or others in what police call “high-risk lifestyles.”

Isn’t it amazing how judges can manage to insult women even while finding a woman-hater guilty of murder?  He can’t find the guy guilty of “everything” “just because he had a dead woman in his hockey bag”?  So much wrong, so little time … And I’m sure we’re all better off with something rather than nothing – women having been disappearing from Edmonton since 1984 and they’re just now starting to look for them?  Hell in a handbag.  And hey women, look out for those “needy attention-seeker” guys with inflated senses of their own importance … that should eliminate a few guys anyways.  (Sorry decent guys)

Rape Myths Flourishing

From The Guardian/UK:

Judges have undermined a law intended to stop defence lawyers cross-examining women in rape cases about their sexual history, by continuing to insist on their discretion to allow it, a new book discloses. 

Interviews with 17 judges in London and Manchester found that some insisted they still had a wide discretion to allow questions on sexual history, although the law was changed in 2000 to impose severe limits on questioning. 

One judge described the provision as “pretty pathetic because it’s get-roundable”.

Another said: “I’m not one for being unduly fettered. I’ve been appointed to do a job on the basis that I have a certain amount of judgment, and to be fettered or shackled by statutory constraints I don’t think helps anybody.” 

The conviction rate in rape cases remains stubbornly low – only 5.7% of cases reported to police, despite a series of legal reforms aimed at boosting it. 

The limits on introducing sexual history were intended to prevent defence lawyers from feeding into jury prejudices about rape by making the complainant seem less deserving. 

Sexual Assault and the Justice Gap: A Question of Attitude, to be published by Hart Publishing on April 15, puts much of the blame for the low conviction rate on myths and stereotypes about the crime. 

The authors say the entire justice process is affected, from the initial decision to report the rape to police, through to conviction or acquittal by a jury. 

The authors – Jennifer Temkin, professor of law at Sussex University, and Barbara Krahe, professor of social psychology at the University of Potsdam in Germany – found stereotypical views about rape were widespread among potential jurors. 

Their survey of more than 2,000 members of the public aged 18-69 showed people tended to blame the woman for bringing the attack on herself, see a case where the man had sex with a woman without her consent when she was drunk as not a “real rape”, and downplay the seriousness of having forced sex when the perpetrator was the woman’s former partner. 

The views were also found to be common when the authors outlined a range of rape scenarios to British undergraduate law students in their final year and a group of British graduates doing professional law training, the lawyers and judges of the future.   more here