UK Politics

Ken Clarke is right on rape

Labour leader Ed Miliband is calling for the head of  justice secretary Ken Clarke following the latter’s remarks about the prosecution of rape. In doing so, Miliband has put himself at the head of a baying mob who care more for party-political point-scoring than the rights of women or the ends of justice.

Ken Clarke is right.

Who honestly believes there is no difference between the following: (1) two teenagers of similar age (but one being slightly lower than the age of consent and the other slightly higher) having ‘consenting’ sex but the one party nevertheless being guilty of statutory rape; (2) a couple in an existing relationship having sex, often while drunk, and one party withdraws consent while the other ignores this and is guilty of date rape; and (3) a woman is attacked and held at knife or gun-point and raped in a dark ally by a complete stranger on her way home, i.e. violent rape.

It seems the “average sentence” is calculated on all cases and therefore the – yes – “most serious cases” aren’t noted for attracting appropriately longer sentences.

Clarke also said that incentives for an earlier guilty plea would most likely increase the number of successful prosecutions, which are, as he noted, disappointingly low. It seems to me that the ends of justice would be better served if more of those guilty of rape were sent to prison than fewer for longer.

It is baffling why any of this is controversial.

Speaking of controversy, when Peter Tatchell suggested several years ago a “Romeo & Juliet” law to deal with underage sex by teenagers, he was denounced for promoting paedophilia. Now it seems even a Tory minister sympathises with his very sensible view. How times change.

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