beat me to it, but I want to use the piece by Marina Hyde
as a springboard for a few comments. The first is to note that it makes the same point that JQH made
Out on the airwaves to address the Carrick case, the new Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley’s big buzzword has been “integrity”. Rowley said yesterday: “We haven’t applied the same sense of ruthlessness to guarding our own integrity that we routinely apply to confronting criminals.” But Carrick WAS a criminal. Multiple criminal complaints about him were routinely ignored.
More importantly, I want to go back to something I mentioned in my last post that has been stuck in my mind ever since. Due to the huge number of rape charges against Carrick it's hard to parse individual allegations against the resulting charges but from my little bit of research it really looks like the rape allegation made in October 2021 was not prosecuted. The Evening Standard
[Carrick] denied a further count of rape in September 2020 relating to a 13th woman, whose allegation triggered the investigation, and the Crown Prosecution Service decided it was not in the public interest to proceed to trial on the charge.
And this is backed up by the CPS
Carrick was charged with offences which related to 13 women. After careful consideration the decision was reached to accept his not guilty plea in relation to one of the women.
The more I think about this the more baffled I feel. This woman went to the police to report a rape by one of their officers, something that must have taken huge bravery and something she's highly unlikely to do if it was a false accusation. Her report led to him finally being investigated and determined to be one of the most prolific rapists known in the UK and yet somehow her testimony wasn't deemed sufficiently believable to be prosecuted. It feels like such a huge denial of justice for her.
The Marina Hyde piece mentioned this article
by Sian Norris that describes the first victim of John Worboys,
She described how, when the case was reopened years after her police report, she attended an identity parade of Worboys along with “20 or 30 other women. And I just sat in the corner thinking ‘you’re all here because of me. You’re here because I wasn’t believable'”.
The fault was not her lack of believable testimony. She told the truth about what was done to her. It was that the police refused to believe it. She talks about carrying the guilt, but the guilt does not lie with her. The issue is not that she was not believable. The issue is that she was not believed.
The victim who went to the police in October, despite everything else, was somehow still deemed not believable. Or, at least, not believable enough to go to trial. It's telling that it's the only case that Carrick didn't plead guilty to, and feels like a last 'f.ck you' to the victim who caused his world to end. 'You may have got me put in prison, but at least I'm not going to prison for your
rape.' And it honestly makes me cynically suspect that for all their claims of being appalled and pledging to doing better, nothing's actually changing. If they can't be bothered to go to trial for the only not guilty plea by a prolific rapist, what chance of justice does any rape victim have? Where would we be if he'd decided to plead not guilty to the other charges? Would the CPS have pushed for trial or gone down the 'insufficient evidence, not in the public interest' route for them as well and let him go free to continue harming women?
My suspicion isn't helped by the CPS's own words
In this case, as with many other rape and serious sexual assault cases, the evidence may have appeared limited.
However, it was the testimonies of the women that provided the key evidence against Carrick as they were strong, authentic and consistent, as more and more victims came forward.
This is quite simply astounding to me when you consider that the CPS has an entire Annex titled Tackling Rape Myths and Stereotypes
which has an entire section on Inconsistencies,
- Inconsistencies in accounts can happen where a person is telling the truth or not.
- Avoid an either/or argument that allows a complainant’s evidence to be wholly dismissed because of a peripheral inconsistency. Don’t pit it as either you believe the defendant OR you believe the complainant for this reason.
- Rape can be very traumatic and memory can be affected in a number of ways. Understanding the effects of fear and the psychological mechanisms that may occur during a sexual assault is vital when considering recall and memory. Some, understandably, may try to avoid thinking about being raped or try to avoid recalling it all – this can impact upon recall.
If they're unable to follow their own guidance in their decisions to prosecute in such a high profile case then what hope is there for lower profile cases? If every woman who's been raped must reach the standard of being "strong, authentic and consistent" regardless of how they react to trauma, then no wonder we have such a low conviction rate.
Another aspect that struck me was the ages of his victims. The woman who went to the police in October 2021 was 50. Another was 40. These are middle-aged women, not the sort of women we think of as being rape victims (ONS data
on the age of rape victims between March 2018 and December 2020 shows 88% of female victims are under the age of 34) which could be another way to make them less likely to be believed by taking advantage of the 'who'd want to rape you?' attitude far to prevalent in society. Of course, there could be any number of reasons why Carrick went after middle-aged women, but given how calculated so much of his behaviour seemed, I can't help but wonder if this was another calculation to reduce his risk of getting caught.