Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Conflicted about Calendar and Ched.

There are a lot of people very unhappy about ITV’s Calendar programme giving a platform for Ched Evans’s girlfriend and her campaign to clear his name.
At no point do I want to suggest anything other than rape is a heinous crime and that is really difficult for victims to get justice.
But reading open letters like this one bring back memories of growing up hearing about the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and others. They also had appeals denied, there was also outrage that the continued attempts to clear their names was insensitive to the victims. Eventually they were released with the original trials thrown out.

I have no idea if Ched’s girlfriend actually has any new evidence or if perjury happened, but I can’t see a way of objectively judging which campaigns should be allowed media exposure to attempt to gain traction to overturn verdicts or introduce reasonable doubt.
Lots needs to be done to end rape culture and ensure that rapists receive their just deserts, but somehow i can’t bring myself to get behind a zero platform policy for campaigns trying to clear someone's name. I know that from my position of privilege my voice is so far from being important on this matter, but it is hard problems like this that society as a whole needs to somehow have a position on.

I apologise for all of you offended or hurt by this doubt, but there it is.

1 comment:

grok-mctanys said...

Might it be wise to consider the relative prior probability of a wrongful conviction in each case?

Given the well-documented difficulty of rape victims to get justice, the low conviction rate for rape, and the high bar for evidence which is seemingly required to overcome he-said-she-said defenses and get past "reasonable doubt", it seems to me that the chance of a wrongful conviction for rape is fairly low.

However, given the general levels of publicity, media panic, and the need to be seen to be doing something ("being tough on terrorism", "for the children!", "keeping the streets safe") and justifying whatever draconian Orwellian measures have most recently passed through parliament, I suspect that the temptation to find *someone* responsible would mean that the chance of a wrongful conviction (or an accidental shooting in an underground station) for terrorism is significantly higher.

So maybe looking at the actual wrongful conviction rates for the type of crime in question would be a good general guide to which campaigns to give a platform to.