Scorpio Risen

My day at Court

Posted on: 14 July, 2007

(For want of a snappier title, hmph.)

As y’all know (unless you’re a newcomer – Wilkommen!) I do Sociology A level, and we’ve already started on our Crime & Deviance module, although we really start in September. So, for Block Week, we went to Luton Crown Court on our Sociology Day.
I was an absolute geek, and was the only person in my class of 19 who had brought pen and note-paper, let alone actually take notes…

I saw about four cases in all; two while the defendant was being cross-examined (dangerous driving/assault, and Assault/GBH – which was actually a woman), and two sentencing. The first case being sentenced was that of “Exposure and engaging in sexual activity in front of a child”.

Basically, this bloke – white, in his twenties – lived opposite this twelve year old girl; their gardens backed onto each other. Her bedroom window was opposite his, and when it was her bedtime, he would deliberately attract her attention using a laserbeam pen, so that she would see him naked and masturbating. This happened three or four nights in a row. Not nice. In fact, the little girl was apparently pretty traumatised by it.

The judge – and, believe you me, this pissed me off like hell, and it took a lot for me to bite my tongue (damn court ettiquette) – said that the “Impact of the naked man would not be as great” because it was in separate houses, separated by gardens too. Well, I guess that makes it OK then. … Unfrickinbelievable. It doesn’t matter the distance, the fact is that this man was getting off on the girl’s fear, and that he sought it out by attracting her attention.

This girl was was very scared by all this, and was “shakey”, and in a statement had said that it seemed that everytime she would have her bedroom light on, he would be there. Her father, however, was a great help, telling her to “crawl under the bedroom window” so he wouldn’t know she was there. This is somewhat akin to the message that women shouldn’t drink or wear short skirts etc, or they would be raped…it places blame on the victim, and dictates how someone should live their life, thus restricting them.

Now – get this – the police were called about this…did bugger all. They were called again; did bugger all again. However, third time lucky. Now, I know they say something about how there’s never a police ’round when you want ’em, (but if you’re speeding, then they’re all over you like wasps to wine – well, that’s a bit of paraphrasing, but wasps do like wine; well, this bloody bugger of a wasp pretty much chased me inside earlier, cos it kept sniffing at my wine), but this is just outrageous. I personally see it as something serious, if someone were exposing themselves in front of anyone, let alone a young child, and as such should be treated seriously by the police, soon as.

I have already mentioned that all this really scared the girl, as it would pretty much anyone. After all, it is all about intimidation, and gaining pleasure through another person’s fear and distress; it’s a form of control, in a way, of asserting superior power over another – because he’s in a position of power rather than vulnerability. If you ask me, it’s a physical manifestation of patriarchy. But let’s not get too theoretical here. 
Instead, just imagine how freaked you would be, to be a 12 year old girl, experiencing this…it’s as if some strange man knows your bedtime routine. That wouldn’t be at all comforting, that would be unsettling and disturbing. In fact, she couldn’t sleep. She had to miss school for a week, and then missed school for another week due to tonsilitis, which she thought was due to crying all the time. I don’t know who this girl is, but my heart goes out to her.

Anyway, this bloke has had no previous convictions, although he has been cautioned when 19 for having sex with an underage girl. He was considered a low-risk for re-offending, and normally would have been given a long custodial sentence, however, the judge said that he believed his low risk would be further reduced by joining a sex-offenders programme, being in a stable relationship (his fiancee was conveniently pointed out), working and no mental health problems. As such, he gave him a 3 year community order, with supervision, and to attend a group programme. Any breach, and he would be shown “no mercy” and sent straight to prison.

The prosecution sought that he would be disqualified from working with children in future, but again due to his “low risk”, he was not disqualified. However, the judge said “I do not, have not minimised the distress and fear” of the victim, although I find that debatable, given his comment about the distance lessening the impact on the victim.

The defendant had pleaded guilty, and the defence claimed he had an “immature attitude” but was able to acknowledge that the victim was an “unacceptable” age, but at the time didn’t realise it. (I wrote in my notes here: “bollocks”.) Y’know, I really don’t give a crap about bullshit like that. Whether she was 12, 22, 52, whatever, that is not acceptable behaviour; it all harks back to the use of intimidation, and the fact that people like that get their kicks from another person’s fear. I wouldn’t say her age is irrelevant at all, but I think that whatever age he thought or didn’t think she was; that’s irrelevant. He shouldn’t have done it. Full stop. Whatever the age. I don’t think people should get off the hook, just by that kind of bullshit. Like the case of that ten year old girl who got raped, but it was all OK ‘cos she supposedly looked 16 (I would link, but not right now).

Honest to Goddess, this man should’ve received a much more severe sentence.  

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4 Responses to "My day at Court"

We’ll see him on Crimewatch in the not too distant…i betcha.

Frickin’ “justice” under this system sucks bigtime. It’s all bolleaux.

“the ‘Impact of the naked man would not be as great’ because it was in separate houses, separated by gardens too.”
I guess that sexually abusive phone calls are not a big deal then, because they are separated by phone lines? (Barf.) Also, in the US at least, it is child abuse to expose a child to pornography or sexual activity.
So this disgusting repeat offender gets a slap on the wrist … yet the stupid sexist men who always troll feminist blogs will still bawl big time about the millions of poor innocent wittle menz who are locked away in prison by those evil lying bitches.
I can’t wait until *you* are a famous journalist and calling out this BS for thousands of readers!

Aaarrrgh!!!

That’s all I can say about this right now. I was going to say un-fucking-believable, but sadly this treatment of female victims of sexual harrassment/abuse and the way the male perps are getting away with it, is becoming too common.

Gah. What the others have said. The judge sounds hypocritical – to say he is not minimising the pain and fear the girl felt but at the same time making that comment about the distance. I mean – the ignorance of some judges up there is unbelievable.

Also, you sent me a comment asking advice about which subjects to do – sociology and politics or history and politics?

Sorry it’s taken so long! Obviously, having done sociology, I would say go for it because it’s given me the tools for analysing society and underlying meanings.
And it’s very likely you will come across feminism a lot as many modules include feminist perspectives. It’s probably worth checking out the kind of modules the course you would like to do have and whether you think they’re interesting to you. I did some politics for my first year (optional modules and all that) and they did intersect with sociology well (although I didn’t enjoy politics that much…but that’s my preference!).

A lot of politics students took second and third year modules in sociology too as there was such a wide range of modules (this is at York Uni, I’m not sure what it’s like at other uni’s, but I’m guessing there will be quite a range!). If you want to go for it, then go for it – it’s up to you really!

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