Guest Post: Weaponising the criminal justice system against men

A guest post by Bettina Arndt:

New Zealanders are witnessing, right now, a major achievement – the latest success of the feminist juggernaut in tilting justice in favour of women. The Sexual Violence Bill currently before the New Zealand Parliament is claimed to provide much needed justice for rape victims let down by the criminal justice system. The reality is that this draconian legislation will deprive accused men of basic legal protections required for a fair hearing in the courts – which is exactly what the feminists want.

Look back at the careful propaganda aimed at enlisting community acceptance of this bill. Search local news stories and you find a steady stream of articles appearing, making the case that the NZ criminal justice system is failing rape victims. Articles complaining about the “low” conviction rate, claiming that fewer rapists are being prosecuted than 20 years ago. All designed to prepare the groundwork for more measures to nail accused men.

A few weeks ago, a prominent Sydney senior counsel (‘queen’s counsel’ in NZ lingo) blew the whistle on what’s going on in Australia. Margaret Cunneen SC has spent well over 30 years at the coalface, decades as a crown prosecutor convicting some of Australia’s most prominent rapists and other villains; and then, as a commissioner in charge of a large child abuse investigation. Now she’s back at the bar, successfully defending an endless queue of accused men, including many alleged rapists.  

Her recent presentation at The Presumption of Guilt Conference run by the Rule of Law Education Centre focussed on the impact of the new sexual consent laws currently being rammed through New South Wales Parliament. Feminist academics have been lobbying for years for a “yes means yes’’ affirmative consent model where enthusiastic consent must be given at every stage throughout the sexual encounter.

Under the new laws an accused would have to prove to have taken active steps to ascertain consent throughout the sexual proceedings. As Cunneen pointed out, this “would render most of the sex most of us have as potentially illegal’’.

But the main game here is to provide more cannon fodder – a new supply of accused men to face a justice system already weaponised against them. That was the real bombshell in the Cunneen presentation – her expose of the extent to which the feminists have already succeeded in stacking the system by removing the filtering process which once ensured that only rape cases with sufficient evidence went through to trial. Now almost all cases are pushed through into court, where many get thrown out by juries.

Cunneen talked about how much things have changed since she worked as a crown prosecutor. “Even before things used to hit the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, police had a filtering process. They are no longer permitted to do that.” No longer permitted to determine on the basis of evidence whether the case had legs. No longer permitted to do proper investigations to see where the truth lies. 

The police are now required to refer in their “facts sheets” to complainants as (incontestably authentic) “victims” and to treat them accordingly, says Cunneen, adding police have very little discretion, or often none at all, about proceeding to charge. As Cunneen explains, “with ownership of the case, the police then want the case to succeed.” After the complainant has been declared a ‘victim,’ the system then takes hold. “There’s not much more investigation that goes on; there’s just a zeal to get to the end and to convict the charged person.”

But without proper evidence, more cases fail. That means conviction rates go down, inspiring more rage from the feminists, more politicians frothing at the mouth demanding more be done to ensure the safety of women and ever more legal measures to ensure rapists get their comeuppance.

Brilliant, isn’t it? A carefully calibrated system to ensure the feminist project just keeps gaining more momentum. Have a look at my video highlighting some of Cunneen’s key points.

Now we see New Zealand feminists following this fine example set by the sisterhood in Australia and in the UK. Look at the news from Britain last month where the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, came under pressure to resign if he couldn’t manage to reverse plunging rape conviction rates. Within days he was on the BBC apologising to victims and promising to “do a lot better.”

What’s really fascinating about the British situation is that their media is still dutifully singing from the feminist songbook despite revelations three years ago that their criminal justice system had already been highjacked by “believe the victim” ideology. In 2018, a series of UK rape cases collapsed following revelations of deliberate withholding of key evidence by prosecutors and police which could have been used to exonerate the accused.  

In the ensuring scandal which followed, the former Director of Public Prosecutions stepped down and it was decided that key rape and serious sexual assault cases should be reviewed. The Metropolitan Police announced they were ditching their previous practice of “believing all victims.”

But clearly that hasn’t happened. This scandal has been forgotten and the pressure is on in the UK and elsewhere to find more measures to push up conviction rates.

One of the most successful strategies has been to target very young men on Australian university campuses. Feminist scholars have openly expressed their concern that juries rarely convict in “he-said, she-said” date rape cases when they don’t know who to believe. So, they cooked up a plan to achieve more findings of guilt by persuading universities to get involved in adjudicating sexual assault cases using lower standards of proof and failing to offer the accused normal legal protections.  

And who was the first person to step up and put all this in place? Well, none other than Joe Biden, who, as Vice President in the Obama administration, proudly announced he was changing the sexual culture of America by requiring all publicly-funded colleges to set up tribunals to adjudicate sexual misconduct.

Since then, there have been over 400 cases where families of accused students have sued American universities for failure to protect the due process rights of these young men thrown out of college by these biased, unfair tribunals. The Trump administration had then pushed through some reforms of this system which Biden is now winding back.

Meanwhile Australia cheerfully marched down the same path, setting up university regulations across the country by which to adjudicate sexual assault. I have a team of lawyers helping male students facing investigation by these dangerous, secretive committees who have the power to withhold students’ degrees. Some years ago, I toured Australian campuses speaking out about the campus kangaroo courts. At the University of Sydney, we needed the riot squad to protect my audience when rowdy activists tried to shut down my talk.

But we are making progress attracting public attention to the huge injustice facing these young men – to the obvious irritation of End Rape on Campus activists. Last year I received an honours award for my work “promoting gender equity through advocacy for men” which prompted one of these activists to recruit powerful feminists to come out in force spreading misinformation about my work, demanding my award be rescinded.

The whole kerfuffle succeeded in attracting more people keen to expose injustice against men. We’ve started a new organisation, Mothers of Sons, where ordinary women expose the extraordinary ordeals suffered by their sons in our biased, anti-male courts and workplaces.  

These mothers tell tragic stories of how unfairly their sons are being treated. Take a look at Erin’s story. The rape case against her 18-year-old son fell apart in court when evidence emerged exposing the lies of his accuser. The most telling was DNA evidence showing semen from two men in the girl’s vagina in the night in question but none from Erin’s son. Like those notorious UK rape cases, the police and prosecutors withheld that evidence which had been available from early in the investigation.  

The post-script to this story was when Erin’s son left the courtroom after his acquittal, the jury was standing there applauding the young man. They were clearly shocked that he had been put through such an ordeal by police who knew the girl’s story didn’t stack up.

Naturally, the police refused to charge the girl for making a false allegation, telling the family they are under orders not to do so for fear of discouraging rape victims from coming forward. This policy, which applies across the country, conveniently allows feminists to claim false allegations hardly ever happen.

Yet they are rampant in this country, with false allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse now a standard tactic from women seeking to deny fathers contact with their children and gain advantage in family law battles. The Mothers of Sons website also features the amazing story of Sara Jane Parkinson, who was sent to prison after making a string of false rape and violence allegations designed to destroy her former partner, Dan Jones. Listen to Dan’s mother, Michelle, describe what happened.   

It’s not surprising that this story featured on Sixty Minutes because it is so rare that women are caught out. The reality is the justice system is already firmly tilted against men, as Margaret Cunneen made very clear, spelling out the numerous legislative changes already making it harder for accused men to have a fair hearing. The new changes to the consent laws are an absolute gift for vengeful women who seek to destroy their ex-lovers.

The stakes are high, Cunneen warned.  “We are really blurring lines here and men, all men and mothers and sisters and friends of men, ought to be very concerned because what wasn’t rape last year may be rape next year if the purpose of these reforms is simply to increase the numbers of people who are convicted of rape.”

Bettina Arndt is an Australian writer and commentator who specialises in sex and gender issues. She was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours ‘for significant service to the community as a social commentator and to gender equity through advocacy for men’.

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