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Monday, December 21, 2015

How did that happen?

It's hard enough as it is to secure rape convictions but you'd hope it wouldn't be much of a feat when the defendant's only defense is that he fell and landed in her:

A Saudi millionaire has been cleared of raping a teenager after claiming he might have accidentally penetrated the 18-year-old when he tripped and fell on her.
Property developer Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was accused of forcing himself on the girl as she slept off a night of drinking on the sofa of his Maida Vale flat.
He had already had sex with her 24-year-old friend and said his penis might have been poking out of his underwear after that sexual encounter when he tripped on the 18-year-old
Abdulaziz said he had accidentally fallen on the youngster as she tried to seduce him, and that was how traces of his DNA came to be in her vagina. (Mirror)

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean the jury believed him over her, but merely saw that this story constituted "reasonable doubt". Of course, someone obviously forgot to explain the meaning of "reasonable" to the jury. The standard itself  ("guilty beyond reasonable doubt") is perfectly understandable, but it requires the jury to consist of reasonable individuals as well, and we know from the O.J. Simpson & Casey Anthony cases that a randomly drawn jury, even after accounting for "strikes" (although I'm not sure if the British have these), can end up consisting of morons or simply weak-willed invididuals who are susceptible to the manipulations of a single strong-willed individual.
This is NOT a call for lowering the standard of evidence. Some American colleges are setting up Mickey Mouse courts to try serious offenses such as rape, using a much lower standard of evidence ("preponderance of the evidence"), while it shouldn't be their job to investigate rape claims in the first place; that job belongs to the police and prosecutors. Serious offenses require serious standards of evidence. It's just that people may fail that standard sometimes. This case clearly should have resulted in a conviction.

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