#MeToo – Poisoning the Well

Nearly two month ago I wrote a piece about the random hysteria and fall-out from the Harvey Weinstein case, in which I made a passing comment about the Orwellian nature of politicians wanting to “raise the conviction rate” for sex crimes.

This week there was this story about Metropolitan Police review of rape cases evidence in which at least 30 rape cases will be reviewed, it is implied because of the way evidence was handled in each of these cases.

Commentators have been putting forward their reasonings for these failings and the above BBC link sums it up perfectly:

Undoubtedly the squeeze on resources, with cuts in the Crown Prosecution Service and policing and a national shortage of detectives, together with the increased caseload for sexual offences units, have played their part.

An inspection report this year also pinpointed inadequacies in training and supervision.

Some see the problems as a direct result of a misplaced culture of “believing” the victim, where police don’t look for or withhold contradictory evidence – but that’s an assertion for the attorney general’s inquiry to examine.

It other words, its the governments fault for a lack of funding, training, etc. but it is dubious whether we’ve now put too much emphasis on securing convictions whatever the cost.

It is very sad that it has come to this.  It strikes right at the very heart of a legal system that is built on innocence until proven guilty and in all these scenarios both the accuser and the accused will end up have a diminished amount of faith in the legal system and the pursuit of having a fair trial.

In other Orwellian fall-0ut from the #MeToo histrionics, if it wasn’t enough to send Kevin Spacey down the memory hole for simply being accused of improper conduct, it is now Matt Damon’s turn, for merely speaking, quite clearly and precisely about his views on conflation of behaviour with actual rapes and sexual assaults, to have his roles in current and future films considered ripe for exorcising from history.

This is a troubling path we are travelling down and precedents are being set at a knee-jerking rate because you can’t be seen to hold even a slight difference of opinion from the new orthodoxy.

Matthew Hopkins would be proud, confused but proud.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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