“A better measure would be to hand control of all examination of a victim to the judge with lawyers for both sides notifying the court which issues they want dealt with, along with shifting the burden of proof on the issue of consent to the defence.
This means that if two people have sex, and one person accuses the other of rape, then the accused must prove beyond reasonable doubt they had consent.
Now you might think this is just Andrew Little musing aloud. Not so. He confirms in this tweet it is official policy.
Graeme Edgeler sums their policy up:
Labour’s policy is that: if the government can prove you had sex, that sex was rape, unless you prove it wasn’t.
— Graeme Edgeler (@GraemeEdgeler) July 4, 2014
Andrew Little says:
“This approach does not contradict the fundamental principle that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty – the basic facts of the case still have to be made out – but it does mean the prosecution doesn’t need to prove a negative, namely that there was no consent.
This is sophistry. If the act of sex is not disputed, just consent, then the defendant does have to prove themselves innocent.
I wonder how many hours it will take until Labour does a u-turn on their policy, once people realise its implications.
Rape is a terrible crime, and the court process is very hard on many victims, and I am sure it can be improved. But reversing the presumption of innocence and burden of proof is not the answer.