The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn set to walk free today and I’m not surprised one jot

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So it seems as though Dominique Strauss-Kahn will be a free man later today after state prosecutors decided that they had no realistic chance of conviction and therefore will ask a judge today to officially dismiss all charges. This isn’t a shock to me but it will not go down well in certain circles.

I have no idea what really happened in that hotel room. Only two people do and neither of them are people that I know. There was a sexual encounter that we know but whether it was consensual or not we just do not know. Was this a powerful man getting us own way or a poor maid trying to extort money from a rich man? I don’t know and I won’t profess to know but what I will say is I’m not shocked the charges have been dismissed and this is why.

If the main prosecution witness is not believable then the likelihood of a jury convicting is insanely low. I have sat on two juries in my time. I was juror #7 on a GBH case where two guys were accused of beating up two bouncers outside a nightclub. When the bouncers took the stand all of the jury thought they were fantasists and were at best embellishing what had happened and at worst were just lying. We acquitted the two guys without too much deliberation if I’m being honest on all seven charges relating to the incident. We just didn’t believe the key prosecution witnesses.

The next day I was sworn in as juror #1 and would become foreman of a second case. Ten charges of sexual assault against a minor. It was a step dad on his step-daughter and he was accused of – well you don’t need me to spell it out. It was not a pretty case at all and the 12 year-old alleged victim (11 at the time of the alleged incidents) and we had several people on the jury who thought just because of the crimes we should find the defendant guilty. However there was no scientific evidence and the girl and her mother just were not credible witnesses so we had to find him not guilty (although in all honesty he may well have been guilty – we just didn’t know).

What we knew was the girl first made the allegations when she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and that the mother didn’t go to the police until the girl went back to school and other mother’s told her that she should. So first of all we had a daughter that seemingly was lashing out because she didn’t get what she wanted for Christmas and secondly her own mother clearly didn’t believe her daughter because she didn’t go to police for 12 days. If the mother didn’t believe the daughter then how on Earth can 12 member of a jury?

This is similar to what is going on in the DSK case. The main prosecution witness is clearly not credible as she has been a proven liar on her asylum forms and she has changed her story on what happened in the hotel room on several occasions in the aftermath of his arrest and she first went to the police. It was never credible and no matter what scientific evidence is there if you do not believe the victim beyond reasonable doubt then you just can’t expect to get a conviction.

The Maid’s lawyer, Ken Thompson, was not happy one jot about the decision saying, “The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance, has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case. He has not only turned his back on this victim but he has also turned his back on the forensic, medical and other physical evidence in this case. If the Manhattan district attorney, who is elected to protect our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our wives and our loved ones, is not going to stand up for them when they’re raped or sexually assaulted, who will?”

I can see his PoV considering who his client is but if his client hadn’t changed her story and lied before then the DA could have carried on with the case. She may well have been raped but the law is (rightly) weighted so that you need to prove a case and you could not prove this case.

It is sad it came down to this as some people will see this as another reason to say why rapists get away with their crimes more than they should. The conviction rate for rape is all too low and so is the rate where women even go to the police as they never expect a conviction but this has nothing to do with the crime but everything to do with the victim’s credibility as a witness. If you lie and change your story repeatedly then how can you ever be seen as credible?

I am personally surprised it took so long but I fear for my twitter timeline and I expect it to blow up later on today when he is formally freed from house arrest and the charges dismissed. I wonder just how many people if they were on a jury would convict without believing the key prosecution witness. I suspect not many and those that do are not good jurors.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 23rd, 2011 at 11:19 am

Posted in News

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