Wednesday, 26 May 2010

2 boys and a girl

I am of course referring to the recently concluded trial at the Old Bailey of two boys for sexually assaulting a girl. Most of the coverage of the story and the public reaction to it is frankly disgusting but I'm not sure I can get my own thoughts in any sort of rational order. Part of me says was there a mountain made out of a molehill? Were they just satisfying the curiosity many children feel about each other's bodies? Another part of me says whatever it was it shouldn't have happened and the children need to be told that it is not acceptable behaviour.

Should the girl be prosecuted as well? In my opinion - no she shouldn't. Her story was consistent right up until the end of her cross examination by the defence barrister. Of course many people are saying women learn to lie about rape at an early age without taking into account the way barristers question witnesses. Most of us could be tricked into contradicting things we were absolutely sure of and it is probably a major area of concern for our adversarial system of justice. The jury were obviously convinced by the rest of the evidence and there was medical evidence as well - which I gather from seeing only one reference to it - has not been widely reported.

As for those saying that the case only went to trial because the mother insisted - well words fail me! The CPS does not ask the victim - or anyone connected with the victim - whether trials should go ahead. If they did a lot more cases would go to court than do now. They clearly felt there was enough evidence for a conviction - and their decision was correct in the light of the jury verdict.

Whether or not children should be tried in adult courts - with or without wigs and robes - is another issue and should not be used to confuse debate over this particular case.

If you don't show children at an early age what behaviour is acceptable and what is not they grow up to be adults who attack others.

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