This site has serious
relating to this case:
It is repugnant that the man should have been charged on
the basis that the woman was incapable of making her own decision
The accused and the complainant were both adults and responsible for their
own actions. They were both intoxicated, brought about by their own
actions, and the woman also admitted taking cocaine. However all of the
women’s friends bar one thought she was all right because she could function
quite well. Both accused and complainant were similarly capable, and able
to make their own decisions
New law changes dating to 1995, allow for people to be charged if the
person who has had sex cannot genuinely consent because of alcohol. But
these laws were introduced to protect women from being deliberately fed
alcohol (“drug rape”). The events in this case were quite different.
The police either do not
understand, or took insufficient regard to the issue of “recovered memory”
when dredged up with the “assistance” of counsellors
Gary Gotlieb outlined that the
first statement was made 14 hours after the event, and there was
insufficient evidence to prosecute. Five weeks later after an ACC sensitive
claims application, talking to her friends and the police and at least two
sessions with a psychotherapists bar she made another statement. Gotlieb
politely called this a “bloody nonsense”
The reality is that the first statement is likely to be the most accurate.
After the history of the five weeks, it is likely that the complainant’s
memory has been hopelessly compromised by her search for memories. This
observation is supported by the woman herself saying that she had thought
of going to a hypnotist to help her retrieve more memories.
The police are far too reluctant
to make their own decision to make a decision to close a rape investigation
when the dangers of a miscarriage of justice should be obvious.
It may be that the police have been affected too much by the high profile
allegations of rape by serving police officers, and do not want to be seen
as condoning the crime. It may be,
as Gary Gotlieb suggested that
the new adult sexual assault team were out to prove themselves, with a high
profile accused man. It may be that the police have insufficient training
or knowledge to understand issues of false allegations.
But the standard police response that they should “leave it to the court to
decide” is simply not good enough for all allegations of rape. False
allegations are real and far too frequent, and are a significant proportion
of rape allegations, despite unsubstantiated rhetoric from Rape Crisis
The problem with always “leaving it to the court” are the consequences for
the innocent. In this case the accused had to endure a 19 month waiting
time for the case to be heard. The mental anguish is significant. The costs
of a defence are also huge.
If the possibility of a conviction is very small, as the police officer in
charge of this case admitted, the police should balance their duty of care
to the innocent accused alongside their duty of care to provide justice for
victims of rape.
The police did not adequately
consider that the accused may have been innocent
This is highlighted by Detective Senior
Sergeant Beard proudly asserting that the new adult sexual assault
squad were continuing to support the “victim” after the trial. It should
have been extremely obvious at the end of the trial that the real “victim”
in the trial was the accused man. While this site supports police actions in
continuing to support complainants, the language of the senior police
officer betrays his bias, which presumably occurred during the
New Zealand law does not
adequately protect the innocent
Tea Ropati said that he never doubted
that he would be found innocent, because he “was honest and up front at all
times with everyone concerned”. This site believes
such a belief is probably born of naivety rather than reality.
This site is concerned about laws that allow men to be convicted of sexual
offences with no more evidence than the word of the complainant. In such
circumstances, the result is probably more a result of chance and/or
whether the complainant or the accused appears more believable to the jury.
Gary Gotlieb refers to the law in
the 38 years he has been working on rape trials going ‘‘so anti-male, it’s not funny’’. This site agrees.
This site endorses the call from
high profile lawyer Barry Hart that a Commission of Inquiry is required to
consider and make improvements to police investigations.