Understandable but wrong

September 30th, 2012 at 9:43 am by David Farrar

Chloe Johnson at NZ Herald reports:

A teenager who claims she was sexually abused as a child has taken the law into her own hands after police declined to take the case to court.

Hastings student Mikayla Ziebe, 16, hand-delivered more than 100 leaflets to Napier houses last week, accusing an elderly man of being a paedophile.

Ziebe’s mother, Julie Wakefield, supported the action.

“This is her way of being heard,” Wakefield said. “It is her choice and I fully support her.”

The letter has four photos of the man, his name and the message: “He is in his 70s, watch out for him.”

If she was abused by the man, then I can understand her anger and desire to protect others. There’s a part of me that thinks it is good she is not just being a victim.

It was also left in the letterbox of the accused. Ziebe and her mother reported the allegations to Hastings police, which investigated but were unable to press charges because of a lack of evidence.

After four months of counselling this year, Ziebe decided to publicly accuse the man.

“It’s horrible and no one will believe me,” Ziebe said. “I want them to know I am serious.”

Eastern District crime manager detective inspector Rob Jones said police investigated the allegations on two separate occasions and both times fell short of finding sufficient evidence to prosecute.

From what I have observed, the Police tend to prosecute – even when they have a he said vs she said type scenario. I’m in no way doubting her word, but we don’t know what evidence the Police found or did not found. Were there specific dates alleged which he can prove he was not here for etc?

I’m also rather concerned that the motivation is “to be heard”, rather than to protect others. Sticking a copy in his letterbox also suggests it is about revenge – and understandable if the allegations are correct – but ultimately wrong.

Of course you can argue she has freedom of speech, and he can sue for defamation, but it isn’t quite that simple.

The accused man told the Herald on Sunday it was a vicious attack on his family, which they reported to police. He denied the allegations and was overwhelmed with support from his neighbours. “I would be in jail if I was guilty,” he said.

Well, not quite.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Garth McVicar said it was a “natural outcome” for people to seek justice when they felt let down by the system.

Auckland Sexual Abuse Help clinical manager Kathryn McPhillips said only 1 per cent of cases ended in a conviction because the justice system was not child-friendly.

1%? I’d like to see a reference for that figure. I know only around 10% of rape complaints lead to a conviction, but 1% seems a very improbable figure to me. That suggests that if there are 5,000 child abuse convictions are year, in fact we have 500,000 case of abuse annually.

 

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14 Responses to “Understandable but wrong”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,277 comments) says:

    Well, some people consider smacking “child abuse”. 500k kids could easily be smacked every year.

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  2. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    After decades of experience we now know that an industry of false allegation of violent or sexual abuse has arisen in male-female relationships. It would be disappointing if this increased in the child abuse area as well, although in some respects it is probably already rife.

    Regarding the 500,000 cases, even if that was the number many of them would be reports of multiple offences by the same offender on the same victim. Also often many different offences may be reported during a single offending event. This skews our reported crime statistics if or other crimes as well.

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  3. F E Smith (3,315 comments) says:

    I know only around 10% of rape complaints lead to a conviction

    And yet the conviction rate at trial is around 50%.  That is a lot of complaints not being prosecuted or being withdrawn prior to trial.

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    When will people like McPhillips be brought to account for what I will politely call hyperbole (though there’s a different word I’m tempted to use).

    In the US, “Prosecution of child abuse: a meta-analysis of rates of criminal justice decisions” (Cross, Walsh et al, 2003) concluded:

    Rates of carrying cases forward without dismissal were consistently 72% or greater. For cases carried forward, plea rates averaged 82% and conviction rates 94%.

    An Australian study tracked 117 child abuse cases where the name of the offender was known. Forty-five cases (38%) reached trial. Thirty-two cases (27%) resulted in a conviction.

    There are many similar studies across many jurisdictions. Not one supports McPhillips’ contention, or even comes close.

    The Australian study delves into the reasons why many such prosecutions fail. One reason is because, as DPF says:

    From what I have observed, the Police tend to prosecute – even when they have a he said vs she said type scenario.

    And that, at least in part, is why the successful conviction rate is low. In what other area of criminal law would Police go to court with nothing more than an unsubstantiated allegation?

    In at least a proportion of these cases, the accused was, in fact, innocent. If Police took a more cautious approach than the current “throw it at the courts and hope it sticks” approach, not only would the successful conviction rate rise to reflect what is a more realistic indicator of the actual prevalence of sexual abuse, but many innocent people would be spared the horror of facing a false accusation of the worst possible kind.

    Instead, by making unsubstantiated claims of a 1% success rate, McPhillips is tacitly encouraging Police to throw even flimsier cases at the courts in the hope that, in loading the front end of the process, more success will occur at the end. History suggests she’s not only wrong, but dangerous.

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  5. MH (693 comments) says:

    It’s a terrible dilemma and knocked the hell out of men entering the teaching profession. If the accusation is true then by going public it may encourage others to come forth and substantiate the claim,as accusations like this are rarely one off incidents by the offender.

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  6. hmmokrightitis (1,572 comments) says:

    And if its NOT true MH, what then? Cant afford to take action against claims you’re a sexual predator? Tough shit, you’ve just been labeled for life.

    Years ago a woman claimed I had sexually harassed her at the company we both worked at. Went through sheer hell until she fessed up that she had invented it. And it was ONLY because I asked for the police to get involved that that happened. Not saying this is made up, but we have laws for a reason.

    Similar to a Dr I know who now sits in prison. He does deserve to be there, but the police got claims from women outside of the town where he operated from women who claimed to have been raped by him in his surgery. 4 of them couldn’t even tell the police where his surgery was. Don’t believe everything you hear.

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  7. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I’d like to see a reference for that figure. I know only around 10% of rape complaints lead to a conviction, but 1% seems a very improbable figure to me. That suggests that if there are 5,000 child abuse convictions are year, in fact we have 500,000 case of abuse annually.

    Its hard to be polite about this sort of disgusting feminist garbage.

    It in no way “suggests” 500,000 cases of abuse. How did you arrive at that absurd notion? What we can reasonably confer is that 90% of accused men are innocent, or at least that a prosecution should not have been taken based on the available evidence. It is another example of the institutionalised misandry we have in the West. Saudi Arabia is often criticised for its treatment of women, but we do much the same to men, thanks to people like you who enable it.

    Would you be blogging with this approach if it were (say) convictions for tax irregularities, with a 90% failure rate. And with the accused citizen having their lives and reputation destroyed, regardless of the legal outcome? I think not. Would you recommend ignoring proper legal process with any other crime? So why accept it with something as serious as this? Why is it with “sex offences” it is always considered they “got off” rather than they are innocent?

    Your clearly buying into the notion that no woman would wrongly accuse someone of rape. That is a lie. There are numerous false complaints made. They are almost never reported and convictions are virtually unheard of. How about blogging about that injustice? Maybe you lack both the guts and the integrity to do that and instead appeal to the popular PC narrative with the tripe you posted today.

    How would YOU feel if you were WRONGLY accused and dragged through Court as a rapist/child molester? How would you like to be the victim of a private campaign to label you a child molester with no trial at all?

    How about we just accept your advice and forget the whole legal process (that you claim fails 90% of the time anyway) then we can do what we like, can’t we…

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  8. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    I always ask the women at my work if it is OK to sexually harass them before I do. Most agree so we go to it.

    The only problem I ever really had was one who took it too seriously and wouldn’t leave me alone.

    I transferred her to the night-shift! :)

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  9. MH (693 comments) says:

    I agree,the worst accusation a man can face.and as we know the suspicion and stigma remains for the man for life,but the women can change their names and are easily forgotten.

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  10. bc (1,355 comments) says:

    Yes, I agree DPF. I read the article from the Herald and was concerned with the one-way tone. There didn’t seem to be any concerns expressed that the teenage girl was taking the law into her own hands and acting like a vigilante. Rather the tone was that she was brave and heroic.
    I also agree that the police tend to prosecute, allowing the courts to decide. They have investigated TWICE and still not prosecuted.
    The comments from Gareth McVicar and Kathryn McPhillips suggest that they are already coming from a perspective of guilty until proven innocent.

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  11. Grendel (972 comments) says:

    There is nothing scarier as a man as a woman claiming either rape or coercion into sex, esp when you actually had sex. because at that point you are not denying the act, just the consent levels. i struggle to think of anything else where an activity can be both legal and illegal depending on the mood of the participants.

    early last year after 11 years of marriage i briefly dated someone, who called it off abruptly. when i asked why she said (eventually) that she felt she had been coerced into sex and had not really wanted to. this floored me, she had come over willingly, stayed the night, initiated the sex at night and in the morning and we had spent the day together.

    after two days of worrying and fretting i went back to her and apologised profusely and said i had no idea what i had actually done. at which point she apologises and says i had done nothing wrong, but her ex had been bugging/stalking her and she felt angry at him and in her anger had basically superimposed me over him, blaming me for what he had done!

    all it would have taken was for her to be a bit more angry (or a bit more nuts) and i could have been recieving a visit from the cops.

    how the fuck do you defend against a false rape complaint when you did have sex?

    becuase consent can be so subjective (esp if you go with this rediculous thing in europe where the women can withdraw consent after the event), the bar has to be very very high for rape complaints, and the police should be very careful about pressing charges. that may mean that some legitimate complains do not go anywhere, but as a mans life will be just as ruined from a false as from a true rape complaint, its the only ‘fair’ thing.

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  12. pq (728 comments) says:

    Farrar says

    “I know only around 10% of rape complaints lead to a conviction,”

    How do you know this PC NZ Nat party propagandist Fararar,
    tell us what you know that we don’t, on social belief issues

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  13. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    The woman is entitled to her freedom of speech. It is a shame that the justice system and New Zealand libel laws are so archaic that there cannot be swift justice for the accused. She should be able to say what she said, and he should be able to easily sue her. That’s how freedom should work.

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  14. chef1415 (1 comment) says:

    yes freedom of speach but photos no that is an no way speach and it may well of happend but the law says you need proff it stops people making shit up it may be true but you cant take someones word for it these days people will do any thing to get noticed so find proff then when you got it stick his photo on the 6am news but what she did is doing wrong as he socalled did.

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