This clearly violates the presumption of innocence affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act (not to mention the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ICCPR, and every other major human rights instrument). Under that presumption, the state has to prove each and every aspect of its case (“the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies”). That’s clearly not the case under Labour’s proposal.
Our Supreme Court has already found that the presumption of supply in the Misuse of Drugs Act violates the Bill of Rights Act for exactly these reasons. They will draw exactly the same conclusion about this proposal – as will the UN Human Rights Commission.
I accept that rape cases are difficult to prove. This change will make them remarkably easier. If Labour gets its way, there will be a lot more convictions for rape. And a lot more of them will be of innocent people. We presume innocence because we believe it is far better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to be punished. Labour clearly does not believe that any more.
A party which does not believe in and will not defend the presumption of innocence does not deserve your vote. All they deserve is your contempt. If they retain this policy, you should not vote Labour.
I can not believe they will not back down on this policy. Surely it is just a matter of time.
I’m surprised the Law Society and the Criminal Bar Association have been silent on Labour’s policy. It’s hard to think of a policy that strikes more at the heart of the justice system.