Guest Post by Simon Myerson Q.C.: An alternative proposal concerning sexual offences and consent

The Secret Barrister

In March 2017, Harriet Harman proposed a legislative amendment to section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which would have the effect of prohibiting at criminal trials any questioning or evidence concerning the previous sexual behaviour of a complainant alleging a sexual offence. This week, Ms Harman reportedly confirmed that she was pursuing this amendment, and I provided my thoughts on why this is a dangerous and ill-thought out idea here

Back in March, criminal silk Simon Myerson Q.C. took the time to correspond with his MP, Anna Turley, over the planned amendment. He has very kindly permitted me to republish his note, in which he addresses the flaws in Harman’s Law, and offers his own proposal on how perceived shortcomings in the prosecution of sexual offences involving the issue of consent might be addressed. I understand that Anna Turley MP has yet to respond.

Simon…

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Discredited Offending Behaviour Programmes

Appeals Barrister

If you are a long-term prisoner and you want to be released more quickly, you will need to satisfy the Parole Board that your risk has been reduced. If you are a “lifer”, then if you want to be released at allyou will need to show that your risk has reduced. The usual means of showing the Parole Board that your risk has been reduced is by the completion of ‘accredited’ offending behaviour programmes (OBPs), run by the Prison Service on behalf of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). One of the most familiar OBPs is the sex offender treatment programme (SOTP)

I first encountered the SOTP whilst a pupil barrister. I was instructed to attend at a high security prison for a parole hearing. My lay client, serving a life term, was told that he needed to do the SOTP, but that he could not do it because he…

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In forgetting our fundamental principles of justice, The Trial’s fascinating run fell down at the last

The Secret Barrister

*SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the end of The Trial: A Murder In The Family, don’t read on. Unless you’ve no intention of watching it, in which case do as you please.*

Last night, Channel 4’s The Trial: A Murder In The Family drew to a close. At the end of a five-day run showing edited highlights of the augmented reality trial of Simon Davis for the murder of his estranged wife Carla, the finale dragged us inside the emotional furnace of the jury room as the twelve jurors deliberated with a ferocity belying the academic nature of their task.

2835 The Trial: A Murder in the Family, Photograph by Channel 4

Despite the judge giving a majority direction – where instead of a unanimous verdict, a court can accept a verdict agreed by 10 of the 12 jurors – the factfinders remained aggressively deadlocked. Eight were unpersuaded of the…

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The Women Without a Conscience in the Wrongly Accused Men’s Lives – Watch Out!

A Generation of Girls Growing Up Without a Conscience Jilly Prather, Advocate After receiving an email on Monday morning from the mother of a man who was wrongfully convicted of sexually molesting his step-daughter, I sat back and pondered a few things glaring at me about his case. I see an increasing number of fathers…

via The Women Without a Conscience in the Wrongly Accused Men’s Lives – Watch Out! — The Innocence Chronicles