I am vocal about the state of rape conviction rates in this country, about the culture we have. But before you go all twitterstorm about the verdict am guessing the media are calling ‘sarah’s verdict’, I’d hold back. This is a nuanced complex judgement, and within the judgement you can see precisely the situation that has occured.The court not only recognises within the judgement that it has occured, but lays out steps to avoided a repeat in future. That is how the law develops.
THis is not a judge making judgements guided by rape myths, this is a complex case, with a complex behaviour pattern, a very specific set of circumstances, and the only judgement that could have been made. Because courts make legal judgements not moral ones, and there is recognition from all parties involved that this is a situation where the law being applied is not the same as justice being done. If you read the last paragraph of the judgement you see that it recognises and lays the groundwork for this not to happen again.
”The reality of this case is that the appellant was undoubtedly guilty of a serious crime,
from which police officers did all they reasonably could to dissuade her. Compassion
for her position, and indeed for any woman in the same or a similar position, should
have produced a non-custodial sentence. That is why this court acted speedily to
quash the custodial sentence and replace it with a community order which would offer
practical assistance to the appellant in the immediate aftermath of her release from
prison. The court also expressed itself in clear and direct language, which was
immediately considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who has now issued
fresh guidance about how cases involving false retractions of true allegations by
vulnerable defendants will be addressed in the future. All that acknowledged, we
cannot dispense with or suspend the statute, or grant ourselves an extra statutory
jurisdiction. Accordingly, we are not entitled to interfere with this conviction. The
appeal must be dismissed.”