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Jail time for false accusations of rape

Rape is a very nasty and very serious matter. Which is why I have always believed that to make false accusations of this crime should be treated most seriously, in the UK a Judge thought so too.

Diane Berriman accused innocent landlord Paul Cook of raping her in his pubA woman who falsely claimed to have been raped by two different men – forcing them to spend time behind bars – has been jailed for eight months.

Diane Berriman, 31, accused innocent landlord Paul Cook, 54, of raping her in his pub last February – having previously claimed Cook had raped her in 2004.

She had also cried rape against another man named Trevor Hirst in the same year – so when the new allegations emerged suspicious police officers arrested her, and she confessed she had invented the attacks.

Sentencing Berriman at York Crown Court on September 21, Judge Paul Hoffman said: “The wider implication is that true victims of sexual crime are treated with suspicion and justice is not achieved.

“These offences are so serious only an immediate sentence of custody can be justified.”

Daily Mail

Sadly for many victims of rape the it often boils down to a case of he said she said on the matter of consent, with generally no other evidence. This also means that should someone wish to make a false claim it is relatively easy to do so. Eight months seems like a fairly light sentence though, because to my mind bearing false witness is right up there with Rape itself and should actually carry an equally harsh penalty.

Cheers Comrades
😉


20 Comments

  1. Mark L. says:

    Sadly for many victims of rape the it often boils down to a case of he said she said on the matter of consent, with generally no other evidence. This also means that should someone wish to make a false claim it is relatively easy to do so.

    I find it amazing that you think this side of the issue is the one deserving of a mention. Accusing, making statements and testifying against a rapist is a long and harrowing process; it occurs extremely rarely and is a crime committed by those with psychological issues. On the flip side, thousands of rapes go unreported or fail to reach the legal system because of both the evidential impediments and the impact on the victim.

    It’s also ludicruous to compare a crime of deceit with a physical attack. The men in this story will now be exonerated, pardon and probably compensated. There’s no opportunity for that for rape victims, Iain.

  2. Iain says:

    I find it amazing that you think this side of the issue is the one deserving of a mention. Accusing, making statements and testifying against a rapist is a long and harrowing process; it occurs extremely rarely and is a crime committed by those with psychological issues. On the flip side, thousands of rapes go unreported or fail to reach the legal system because of both the evidential impediments and the impact on the victim

    Mark this blog is an ongoing commentary on life the universe and everything and because it is ongoing I feel no need to cover every aspect of any particular issue at any particular time. I wrote about this “side” of the issue because I came across the piece I quote. Please don’t patronise me by suggesting that I don’t understand the difficulties for any one to see through the process to get legal redress when they have been abused and violated. How ever let me suggest a hypothetical that may well have resonance for someone like yourself, who is in the teaching profession. Just imagine that a student made a false accusation against you. Now can you honestly tell me that such an accusation would not forever taint your life? Besides the expense of defending yourself there would be a permanent stain upon your character that no amount of “compensation” would ameliorate. Would you not feel that you too had been raped? This is why I think that bearing false witness in a rape accusation should be seen as an offence worthy of serious jail time.

    On the flip side, thousands of rapes go unreported or fail to reach the legal system because of both the evidential impediments and the impact on the victim.

    and I actually hope that more of the scumbags who do rape are caught tried and sentenced to log spells at her majesty’s pleasure, but when there are clear cases of false accusations like the one in the story ,and as the judge commented ,it makes it harder for those who are telling the truth to get justice and this is another reason to impose a custodial sentence for such false accusations.

    It’s also ludicrous to compare a crime of deceit with a physical attack. The men in this story will now be exonerated, pardon and probably compensated. There’s no opportunity for that for rape victims, Iain.

    No Mark, Rape ruins lives ,but so too do false accusations. and no amount of money can compensate you for the stain on your character that can never be entirely washed away.

  3. Mark L. says:

    Mark this blog is an ongoing commentary on life the universe and everything and because it is ongoing I feel no need to cover every aspect of any particular issue at any particular time.

    You’ve trotted out that line every time someone challenges you about your motivation for posts. I just find it intriguing that you harp on about false rape convictions, which must tally in the single figures, and say little about rape itself, which is committed on a daily basis. It’s like you think that men are suffering some gross injustice at the hands of women.

    No Mark, Rape ruins lives ,but so too do false accusations. and no amount of money can compensate you for the stain on your character that can never be entirely washed away.

    There is no ‘stain on your character’ if you are publicly exonerated, Iain, as the men in this case certainly were.

  4. Iain says:

    You’ve trotted out that line every time someone challenges you about your motivation for posts. I just find it intriguing that you harp on about false rape convictions, which must tally in the single figures, and say little about rape itself, which is committed on a daily basis. It’s like you think that men are suffering some gross injustice at the hands of women.

    Why is it Mark that every time that I write about a matter of principle that you are so keen to resort to the statistical argument? Or that you are so keen to make the argument that we can not have more than one concern in matters of Justice? Perjury is rightly considered a serious matter so are you suggesting that in future it should be of no more consequence than a parking infringement, on the basis that people are also murdered on the streets? Because that is how I see your argument.

    There is no ’stain on your character’ if you are publicly exonerated, Iain, as the men in this case certainly were.

    Mark, you seem very naïve if you actually believe this because long experience has shown that no matter how publicly a person may be “exonerated” some suspicion and distrust will remain. Think, Lindy Chamberlain or perhaps Chris Hurley. Both exonerated by the courts and both still viewed with some level of suspicion. 🙄

  5. Mark L. says:

    Perjury is rightly considered a serious matter so are you suggesting that in future it should be of no more consequence than a parking infringement, on the basis that people are also murdered on the streets? Because that is how I see your argument.

    Then you must be blind then because that isn’t what I said at all. Unless, of course, you’re building another straw man. I am not suggesting that false accusation is not a criminal offence worthy of heavy sanction, I’m just curious about your priorities and your choice of focus. Also, I don’t know who Chris Hurley is but are you trying to tell me that you still believe Lindy Chamberlain is guilty, after being publicly cleared by two courts?

  6. Iain says:

    https://iainhall.wordpress.com/?s=rape
    Mark
    A quick use of the search facility that WordPress provides shows that I have considered the issue of rape, from various contexts, over the life of this blog. So kindly read these posts and then you will see that I have covered the matters that so concern you.
    I notice that you have steadfastly refused to comment on my hypothetical about You being personally accused. I bet that you would not be so sanguine about false accusations then.

  7. Mark L. says:

    If I was accused, then I’d be ruined. If I was accused then exonerated, I’d be pissed off for a while then I’d get over it.

    Since you want to deal in hypotheticals, let’s imagine your daughter is raped – whose been wronged more, her or I?

  8. Iain says:

    If I was accused, then I’d be ruined. If I was accused then exonerated, I’d be pissed off for a while then I’d get over it.

    Get real Mark, the first part of your answer is right but the second is showing evidence of a naivety that I have not seen in a very long time. Because it is not as easy to shrug off such things as you might imagine especially if the accusation had gone as far as a trial.

    Since you want to deal in hypotheticals, let’s imagine your daughter is raped – whose been wronged more, her or I?

    Both of you would have been seriously wronged and both would suffer greatly but there is no way to make a comparison Nor is such moral relativism entirely valid anyway, except for the left when they want to diminish the importance of particular offences.
    Look what I am saying is that if someone bears false witness then their punishment should be commensurate with the crime that they accuse someone off, because any concept of good justice demands such fitment of the punishment to the offence.

  9. MK says:

    Iain, I’m just glad she got a bit of jail time, seeing how weak the justice system is over there, i was surprised she even got time. I guess they too share the opinion of others that even though those two men had to spend time in jail because of what this lying sack of crap did, they should just get over it.

  10. Iain says:

    It seems that I am not the only one out of bed at this time of teh morning MK.
    As you suggest it is indeed unusual that any woman should get jail time for this sort of thing and as such note worthy enough to comment on here.

  11. MK says:

    🙂 Insomniacs ey, i know i’ll pay for it tonight..
    “..if someone bears false witness then their punishment should be commensurate with the crime that they accuse someone off..”
    I was thinking about this afterwards and you’re right, if she was prepared to send someone to jail for 10+ years and ruin their lives by lying, she should face the same, that ought to steady a couple of them up.

  12. Mark L. says:

    Get real Mark, the first part of your answer is right but the second is showing evidence of a naivety that I have not seen in a very long time.

    You obviously don’t read back over your own posts then, Iain. You asked how I would feel if falsely accused and exonerated, and I have told you. Don’t like it? Tough. Don’t try to second-guess me into another response for your sticky hypothetical because it doesn’t correlate with what your own might be; it’s patently clear that I am considerably different to you.

    Both of you would have been seriously wronged and both would suffer greatly but there is no way to make a comparison Nor is such moral relativism entirely valid anyway

    That’s quite a change in tune from the comparison and relativism that you engaged in in the original post, i.e. “to my mind bearing false witness is right up there with Rape itself”.

  13. Actually, ‘bearing false witness’ is already a crime, usually prosecuted under perjury. If ‘eight months seems like a fairly light sentence’, you should take it up with your local lawmakers.

    Sadly for many victims of rape the it often boils down to a case of he said she said on the matter of consent, with generally no other evidence. This also means that should someone wish to make a false claim it is relatively easy to do so.

    I agree that there is generally little evidence other than verbal disclosures to support allegations of sexual assault. Whilst cop shows might suggest otherwise, forensic evidence is extremely difficult to obtain, unless the victim undergoes forensic medical examination almost immediately after the incident.

    Whilst it is ‘easy’ to make a false claim, it is exceedingly rare for such claims to be prosecuted. Most rapes are believed to go unreported, and, of those that are reported, many are not prosecuted. When they are prosecuted, many are reduced to a relatively lighter charge to ensure a guilty finding (such as changing ‘aggravated rape’ to ‘indecent assaul;t’ and the like). Furthermore, almost every individual accused of a sexual assault either blames the victim, or accuses the victim of lying. Anecdotally, this response seems universal.

    Whilst perjury is generally regarded as a serious offence, there is no evidence of which I’m aware to suggest it inflicts the same trauma as sexual assault.

    You might do well to acquaint yourself with some information, or at least some basic powers of reasoning, before making spurious claims of ‘moral relativism’ when your asshattery is exposed.

  14. Mark L. says:

    Iain’s core principle is right: those who perjure to incriminate and convict others should be punished harshly. What he alleges that I don’t like is that false accusation is the equivalent of rape when it patently is not (one is a traumatic physical assault, the other a malicious crime of deceit). If given the choice of being falsely accused or raped, I would take the first option every time; Iain apparently wouldn’t mind either way. Interestingly, he then accuses me of moral equivocation!

  15. Anynimia says:

    I don’t understand what is going on here. Being accused for a crime you have not committed is a seriouse offense. Just because someone cries out does not mean that we take their word any more seriously. Everyone deserves a fair trial according to the goals and/or principles of their Justice System. IMagine being accused of Rape and you were totally innocent. It is not a matter of simply “getting over it”. This type of thing have alifelong concenquence. People will forever look at you differently….you don’t get over these things.

  16. […] proven by the jury at his trial to be false. He has clearly been exonerated and my commentator Mark L would have us believe that now that the teacher has been vindicated by the jury that his life will happily return to […]

  17. […] and Women, human rights, the Law by Iain on January 1st, 2008 Regular readers may remember that I have very little time for anyone who make false rape accusations. That this accusation got as far as the chap in question doing time in jail strikes me as a very […]

  18. […] that it is better than nothing. I still stand by my thoughts on this question that I covered in an earlier post  about another case […]

  19. Mike says:

    I recently read this article and was inspired to write. False accusations of sexual abuse are seriously; they have the impact to destroy the lives of those they affect. I know this personally. I’ve watched it happen.

    I’ve been searching all over the net to see how prevalent this is. I’d like to share with you a resource of first-hand accounts I found; these stories are of men who have been falsely accused of sexual abuse and it’s affect on their lives.

    http://creativehealthsource.com/abuse.html

    If you’ve been affected, I’d encourage you to submit your story or to help spread the word. This is the only way we can hope for change.

    All the best,
    Mike

  20. stolly says:

    False accusation ruins a persons life. Not only the name which that person lives by but also it is always accessable via internet by anyone. You are always dealing with the people who dont know that you were cleared. Also not to mention the financial burden that you have to deal with. It is a life changing situation and for someone young with their whole life ahead of them they have to answer to that forever. Its always gonna be there and for the person who falsely accused there is no punishment. They had no money out of pocket, they didnt have their name splashed all over the news and in the news papers as a person arrested of rape. Lets get real people I am strongly against rape, but being falsely accused of something that high profile destroys a person not only their life but the persons soul. Punishment for such an accusation proves that the person is either that naive or has some serious mental issues. As for the falsely accused…I feel for them the life they will have to live. Not only will they have to explain it over and over again to new poeple in their lives, but any future jobs that involve a background check are out of the question. Their will always be questions over that topic when your name get brought up whether you were exonerated or not.

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