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Thread: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

  1. #151
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Then I'm at a loss why you are so vehemently arguing with us when you in fact fully agree with and support our position.

    It's not like the accusations against Weinstein and many others have been unsubstantiated.

  2. #152
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    when you in fact fully agree with and support our position.
    Heywood and faetal are saying that the accused shouldn't receive the benefit of the doubt, so, uh, no? Substantiating accusations with overwhelming evidence is one thing. Assuming all accusations are true unless proven otherwise, using that assumption to justify extrajudicial punishment when the situation is he-said-she-said, and justifying the inevitable false positives by appealing to their lower frequency is another thing entirely.

  3. #153
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Um, I don't think that's what they've been saying at all.

  4. #154
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    We are not saying that every accuser should be blindly believed
    Who is this "we"?

  5. #155
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Um, I don't think that's what they've been saying at all.
    If I'm misunderstanding something, please set me straight:

    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    Giving every guy benefit of the doubt on innocence is fucking over the 88-98% of assaulted women in order to protect 2-12% of men (...) Favouring the putative victims is the right call, in probabilistic terms.
    Quote Originally Posted by faetal View Post
    There are going to be false positives (2-12%), there are a huge amount of false negatives (rape conviction rates are extremely low, as it is incredibly difficult to prove). Hiding behind the rhetorical barrier of comparing phrases ignores the real life numbers.
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    You said it's better to let a guilty person go free than to punish an innocent person. It's easy to agree with that when it's somebody who stole a 12-pack from a convenience store, because nobody really got harmed. If we're talking sexual assault, I would still agree with that up to a point. But what happens if there are 10 instances of sexual harassment or assault that go unpunished for every wrongful accusation? What if it's 100 to 1, and "he said, she said" and "innocent until proven guilty" become tag lines for men in power to just sweep it under the rug? At some point, it becomes absurd to call this justice.
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Presuming a person is innocent until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt is not a law of physics or one of the ten commandments. It's a legal standard we adopted for criminal prosecutions because it produces more just outcomes. Just outcomes are what we should be interested in here, not blind adherence to a principle.

    Obviously, when a person is falsely accused of sexual harassment or abuse, and they suffer as a result of the accusation, that's not a just outcome. But when an act of sexual harassment or abuse goes unreported, or reported and unpunished, or when reporting it leads to shaming or further hurting the victim, that is not a just outcome either.
    Both appear to have been consistently saying that the comparative rarity of false positives justifies presuming guilt, and inevitably harming a non-negligible number of innocents is justified by the greater number of guilty who will receive punishment for their crimes. How else am I supposed to interpret that?

  6. #156
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    That's how I interpret it too.

    Correct us if we're wrong guys.

  7. #157
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    That's been the theme consistently throughout the thread, so I'd definitely interpret it (and have been throughout) as that.

  8. #158
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by catbarf View Post
    If I'm misunderstanding something, please set me straight:

    Both appear to have been consistently saying that the comparative rarity of false positives justifies presuming guilt, and inevitably harming a non-negligible number of innocents is justified by the greater number of guilty who will receive punishment for their crimes. How else am I supposed to interpret that?
    You are failing to take into account the context in which those statements were made and you're leaping to conclusions.

    They are not talking about punishment. They are arguing against the idea that all accused should be presumed innocent in the court of public opinion, as is the standard for criminal prosecution. Faetal is saying that if it comes to whether to believe one or the other, purely in probabilistic terms, the victims are vastly more likely to be right, therefore a system that, in an effort to eliminate all false positives, presumes that men are innocent until a court verdict is going to disproportionately hurt women.

    Here's what you're missing:

    I think anyone would need to be stupid too, to not see this as the fine tip of a very large iceberg, and yet the biggest problem that some people are seeing, is that maybe some men somewhere have been falsely accused and it has ruined their lives. Of course that is an issue, it's just a much smaller one. I don't think calling out for even more scrutiny and "believe the man first" tactics is a benign move here, I think it originates in misogyny. Like making a public statement about being raped or assaulted is somehow trivial. Of course I don't think that all accusations should result in conviction, but I also think that saying "shut up unless you have proof" hurts 88-98% of the abused, to protect 2%-12% of the accused. If women are worth less than men, this might make sense, but it doesn't.
    This doesn't mean that all men should be presumed guilty, it means all men shouldn't be presumed innocent no matter how much evidence there is stacked against them.

    And Heywood says:

    If you guys insist on applying the standards of criminal prosecution and presume the allegations aren't true unless there's a conviction, you're working to keep it that way.
    and

    Nobody stated outright that it's better to harm innocent people than allow some wrongdoers to go free, as you put it.
    Isn't this the complete opposite of what you're accusing them of saying?

  9. #159
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    Well I guess we can all go home then. I made cookies by the way, they're by the door. Go get some on your way out. And kiss your families! Good bye! See you next year!



    Whew. What a mess. I think I'll clean that up tomorrow. Some channel's got to have Die Hard on right now. Let's see...ah, there you go. Yippie ki yay, motherfucker, yippee ki yay.

  10. #160
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    They are arguing against the idea that all accused should be presumed innocent in the court of public opinion, as is the standard for criminal prosecution.
    And I'm saying this is rubbish.

    Someone mentioned misogyny. Isn't this pure misandry?

    Faetal is saying that if it comes to whether to believe one or the other, purely in probabilistic terms, the victims are vastly more likely to be right, therefore a system that, in an effort to eliminate all false positives, presumes that men are innocent until a court verdict is going to disproportionately hurt women.
    Is he?

    My argument is no one has to be "believed". Thats the equitable way, the fair way and the compassionate way.

    This idea that one side or the other has to be believed over the other is narrow minded and ridiculous. Stupid even. Painting everything as black and white is the preserve of the foolish.

  11. #161
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: Cambridgeshire UK
    A single sexual harassment report started an avalanche. A similar thing now seems to be occurring regarding men being maliciously accused of rape in the UK and subsequently convicted. The 3rd case in a short time just been reported. The poor chap had been in prison for four years! To quote The Independent :

    Lord Justice Simon, Mr Justice Goss and Judge Walden-Smith said defence lawyers later found the archive of 29 Facebook messages that had been “selectively” deleted by the complainant. They said the messages contradicted the prosecution’s case and supported Mr Kay’s claim their relations were consensual.
    The conviction has been overturned. What compensation could possibly make up for time in prison? The lying complainant probably won't be prosecuted because that would deter genuine victims from reporting rape and other sexual offences. What is the answer?

  12. #162
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    But the accuser would normally be prosecuted for perjury at the least, I would have thought. Wasting police time isn't very popular either. People making false accusations are regularly prosecuted, aren't they?

  13. #163
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Minecraft
    There was a case a few years back when a woman was prosecuted for false rape allegations (though it had to be brought privately). She killed herself before it went to trial, so now the courts are even more reluctant to prosecute false claims.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...e-reports-rape

    It's a tricky situation, and a good argument for anonymity for defendants in cases related to rape and sexual abuse.

  14. #164
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    Of course that argument goes either way.

  15. #165
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: Cambridgeshire UK
    @nickie: It's hard to sort out what percentage get prosecuted. In the UK about 3% of accusations are deemed to be malicious according to Wikipedia.

    Over a 17-month period there were 5,651 prosecutions for rape. 12% of the rape allegations were false accusations. There were 35 prosecutions for making a false allegation. (There is no report of the results of the prosecutions.)

    12% of 5651 is 678, so 643 false allegations weren't prosecuted. That's 95%! It looks as though a false accuser has got a very good chance of getting away with it.

    What is also bothering is that the police weren't thorough in some of their investigations. If they had been the number of prosecutions for rape and prosecutions for false allegations would both have been different - I suspect considerably higher.

  16. #166
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    Of course that argument goes either way.
    And that is why the system is completely broken. That not only destroyed the life completely of the accused who then took his own life, but also that of his mother who saw no point in living. That's just horrible .

  17. #167
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    There will always be some people who cannot take the pressure of being investigated for a crime. Nothing we can do about it.
    What we could do is not raising this pressure by prejudging anyone. Accusers or accused.

    But then you get those people who feel that is their God given right. Freedom of speech! Call it what it is! My opinion! We're not in a court!

    Well in my opinion they are guilty of a crime.

  18. #168
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    I'm afraid there was a sentence in Kolya's article that silently set me off on one of my hobby horses. Having been subjected to it, I'm very much of the opinion that people should not be living their lives through their children. To say (the brother), when she also has a daughter, that her life wasn't worth living without her son is more than a little mean on the daughter, IMO. I am aware of the 'guilt' that is involved for those who have to go through someone's suicide but that's not the point of what I'm saying. And the brother may well only be saying that as an expression of her pain. But people say it. I hear it all the time and it pisses me off. Your children are not yours to own. Which is way off topic. Apologies.

    @ freddy. Sorry, I feel a ramble coming on. This is one of the reasons I'm pulled in two different directions about naming and shaming. So I'll just say I think there are two different things that we talk about in this thread. In this case, I'm not talking about #metoo and people being subjected to harassment. I do see that differently (not wrong as such). But I read an argument and agree with it and then read a different argument and agree with that. I'm completely muddled.

    I can't tell now whether the changes in attitude to victims has made it easier for people to report the crime. I believe it has. Or at least that's one of the explanations given when people cite increased figures. I don't think 'false accusations' will make people less likely to report.

    I was very struck by the dramatisation, 'The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries', which SubJeff mentioned. I think it's a prime example of why 'The Public' including 'The Media' cannot be trusted with the names of anyone accused of anything. I lived in Portsmouth when mobs marched the streets in Waterlooville after suspected whatevers. 'People' are idiots.

    I think that I think that malicious accusers should at least be considered for prosecution. But we don't know what decisions the powers that be make. Probably some of those 95% will be doolally but for those who aren't then I also think it's kind of wicked to make false accusations about anything. But maybe you have to be a bit off your trolley to do that in the first place.

    I am reminded of when I first started counselling victims of child sexual abuse. Pretty much the first thing I was told was that false accusers were also incredibly troubled and also needed help.

    Perhaps they should try out not naming anyone, accused and accuser, until a case has been to court for anything more than a parking ticket.

    Tl;dr - I haven't a clue but I'm trying to distract myself from other things.

    Edit. I just remembered an occasion when I was asked to take a present for someone from London to Devon. I was accused of opening the present. Which I hadn't. They went on and on at me and it was horrible. I eventually worked out that the present opening was done by the children of the people I stayed with before I left. It was just a flipping present but they made me feel like it was the crime of the century. False accusations, however minor, can hurt.

  19. #169
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The 12% figure is incredibly misleading. There are many reasons why an accusation can be classified as "false", including the accuser retracting their statement or having inconsistencies in their testimony or by withholding information (such as illegal drug use or being a sex worker) or even simply by not acting sufficiently victim-like and therefore not being believed.

    Also, the statistics are further skewed by the fact that sexual assault is severely underreported.

    And Kolya, I may be guilty of the "crime" of believing Weinstein is guilty, but I think a greater "crime" is when people leap to the defence of sexual predators even when there is convincing evidence for their guilt and/or they have admitted their wrongdoings.

  20. #170
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kolya View Post
    There will always be some people who cannot take the pressure of being investigated for a crime. Nothing we can do about it.
    What we could do is not raising this pressure by prejudging anyone. Accusers or accused.

    But then you get those people who feel that is their God given right. Freedom of speech! Call it what it is! My opinion! We're not in a court!

    Well in my opinion they are guilty of a crime.
    So you are guilty of your own crime then? You prejudge the judgers before they have their day in court? LOL.

    Your opinion is that those expressing an opinion should not express an opinion under penalty of law.
    Last edited by Tocky; 31st Dec 2017 at 16:12.

  21. #171
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    thatsthejoke.gif

  22. #172
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    It's funny.

  23. #173
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: uk
    Quote Originally Posted by nickie View Post
    But the accuser would normally be prosecuted for perjury at the least, I would have thought. Wasting police time isn't very popular either. People making false accusations are regularly prosecuted, aren't they?
    CPS charging guidelines. Paragraph 3 in particular.

    Certainly the case in the OP sounds like it meets all the requirements, quite possibly is in the public interest and most importantly of all, SubJeff would get to find out her name.
    Last edited by nickie; 2nd Jan 2018 at 02:52. Reason: Fixed link

  24. #174
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2003
    Location: Cambridgeshire UK
    Thanks for the link.

    So a malicious accusation should result in a prosecution for "perverting the cause of justice". The maximum sentence for this is life, minimum a suspended sentence. (The maximum for rape is life, minimum a custodial sentence.)

    The stats from the Wikipedia article make more sense to me now. 5% of false accusations are prosecuted - that probably includes the 3% of false accusations which are are malicious. The other 2% might be for "wasting police time" in cases where the accused was caused considerable suffering.

  25. #175
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2002
    Location: I think I've been here
    Quote Originally Posted by caffeinatedzombeh View Post
    most importantly of all, SubJeff would get to find out her name.
    It's a risky life style but it's all he's ever known.

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