A young footballer who filmed a friend having sex with a 14-year-old girl before distributing the mobile phone images has walked free from court. Callum McKinlay passed the video round among school friends after the incident at a party in Perth.
At the town’s sheriff court, the 16-year-old, who earlier admitted making and distributing indecent images, was admonished. McKinlay was told he was being treated leniently because of his future career.
The schoolboy, who was 15 at the time of the offence, and two of his friends, recorded a 16-year-old youth having unlawful sex with the third-year pupil during the drunken party in May. When footage of the incident was distributed to several youngsters at a school in Perth, police were called in to investigate.
McKinlay, from Bridge of Earn, who has played for Scotland Under-16s, Rangers and Hibs, was told he would have had his sentence deferred, had it not been for his potential career. Sheriff Michael Fletcher told him: “I think there’s a whole raft of things you can learn from this whole sorry experience... You might develop into a good footballer and if that did happen to you, imagine what it would be like if you were in the situation these people were, and people took photos and sent them on to magazines or newspapers.” [BBC]
Clearly the judge here knows his football
, and has made his judgment on the basis that when McKinlay grows up and joins the big time, he’ll need the time and experience necessary to become a successful premier-league rapist.
Talking of which, research last week showed that rape convictions have stood still and that changes brought in by the 2003 Sexual Offences Act are having little impact or just aren’t being implemented
in the first place. As unexpected news goes, this is right up there with “Earth revolves around sun”, but it doesn’t change the fact that with a 5 per cent conviction rate for reported rapes in England and Wales, right now this is a bull market for rapists.
There are, inevitably, opposing views on this. First, still frosted with intellectual fairydust from the enlightenment wonderland that is the BBC’s “Have Your Say” forum, here’s James from Durham
Part of the problem is the fact that so many women are falsely accusing men of rape nowadays. A woman gets drunk and gives consent, yet in the morning can accuse the male of rape. Add to that cases of women accusing celebrities of rape, yet the first port of call is Max Clifford, then the local police station, doesn’t stand to reason. A judge and jury have to take these in to account before establishing ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Thanks for that, James. Sue from London
appears to disagree:
The myth of women crying rape, whether after bad sex or for whatever reason, is crucial to the condoning of rape. The problem is not that women falsely report being raped but that most women do not report rape at all, and those who do are subjected to a process of character assassination which leaves them bewildered.
The phrase ‘false allegations’ needs unpicking. The malicious woman who concocts a false story to take revenge on her past lover would not get very far in the legal system, where a past sexual relationship usually precludes cases even getting to court. Temkin (1987) points out that there is no evidence that fabricating allegations happens more often in rape cases than in other types of crime. In a Home Office study, the police decided that they had evidence of this in only seventeen of the cases reported to them from two London boroughs over a three-year period. There is no evidence such cases reach court. According to a Scottish study of police response published in 1983, although some officers talked about a high rate of false allegations, they found it very difficult to recall particular cases they had dealt with that were unquestionably false. When I asked the director of one of the regional CPS offices who had worked for the CPS since 1985 if he had ever come across a case in which a woman had made a false allegation, he somewhat sheepishly admitted that he could not think of one. *
Come on, love, call yourself professor of women’s studies at the University of London? You don’t even begin to address the massive epidemic
of celebrities being accused of rape. After all, why on earth would you behave badly if you were a celebrity?
Even if the man is convicted, there may still be questions about his accuser. The case that caused the phrase “date rape” to be coined, that of Angus Diggle in 1994, became a cause célèbre for the right-wing press. The Sunday Telegraph
at the time, lambasting what it saw as the latest manifestation of political correctness
The conviction only makes sense on the basis that Diggle was being punished not for what he actually thought would be Ms X’s attitude to his advances, but for what he ought to have thought.
Since the jury agreed with Ms X that she had been asleep on the couch
at the time when Diggle started having sex with her, he seems a curious choice as a hero for these guardians of law and order, civil society etc. Telegraph
columnist Minette Marrin
was particularly incensed on his behalf:
The whole date-rape nonsense, of which this is the worst example in this country, was the direct result of political correctness... what Diggle did was something that most of our sons and lovers have done, though, it is to be hoped, with more style.
Um... remember the part where she was asleep
? Look, just don’t spend the night at Minette’s house. Lord alone knows what she’ll be getting up to once you nod off.
The right-wing press was, however, as it so often likes to claim, ahead of its time. Sleep has been downgraded in recent sexual offences legislation from a reason rape will automatically be judged to have happened to a factor that can be argued over
. Essentially, the fact that you were asleep when attacked does not now necessarily mean that you weren’t giving your consent. Presumably defence counsels will soon be regularly consulting Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams
Meanwhile, the original version of this story
(though not the update) quoted a woman who was recently challenged by a judge: if she couldn’t remember exactly what time she had gone to sleep, how could she possibly remember
whether or not she had given her consent for sex? A reasonable question for someone to ask—if they have never, for example, had sex. Or sleep.
Also, case history has repeatedly established that if the complainant has previously had a sexual history with the defendant, there is no way
that a jury will countenance that he could later have raped her. It turns out that I could at any time, under any circumstances, have sex with any woman I have previously slept with and, she and her boyfriend or husband might be rather surprised to discover, no court would ever think of convicting me.
Still, if you have been so ungallant as not to revisit an old flame, it is important to remember, as a man, that you’re statistically more likely to find yourself up before a male judge, a man of the world who’s been around
. He’ll understand.
In court [the defendant] agreed that he had asked the young woman if she would like to wait for her boyfriend in his flat. He claimed that when she had disappeared, he had gone to look for her and, to his astonishment, had found her naked in his bed. He said she had invited him to join her and claimed she had agreed to intercourse. At this point the judge, who had given the impression that he found the complainant very attractive, intervened with the following preposterous question:
JUDGE: Did you find her attractive as a woman, a girl?
DEFENDANT: She was attractive enough.
JUDGE: When you went into the bedroom you must have thought it was Christmas and Easter put together when you found her naked in your bed. *
* Extracts taken from Sue Lees (professor of women’s studies at the University of London), Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial, 2002.
This edition makes it plain that it does not take into account the changes that were due to be enacted by the Sexual Offences Act 2003—but as it’s now clear that precious few of those changes have actually happened, it looks pretty much as relevant as bloody ever, doesn’t it?