More on The Verdict

// 13 February 2007

Protests did take place on Sunday and are planned again for tonight against the BBC2 programme The Verdict. Indymedia has coverage and a rather lovely photograph . In the meantime Woman’s Hour has a podcast on it where Stephen Lambert, head of RDF Media who made the programme seemed singularly unaware that people might be angry that they didn’t consult groups who work with and for women who have experienced rape. Joan Smith represented the feminists and my verdict would be the Smith was debating with an unarmed opponent as Lambert blantantly did not understand the issues at stake.

For anyone who can’t bear to watch the programme my summary (and this is entirely my own views) would be Collymore is an arrogant bully who would refuse to convict even if show a video clearly showing a rape. He talks over anyone who disagrees and refuses to listen. He also has the rest of the jury trying to persuade him to act like a human being and actually listen to other people but he has admitted he’s only prepared to listen to Michael Portillo and Jeffrey Archer because they are elder statesmen. The So Solid Crew member is against the jury system in toto and vacillates between listening to the evidence and believing no-one should judge another member of society. Jennifer Ellison is convinced she could fight off two strong, physically fit, male assailants. Patsy Palmer disbelieves rape allegations on principle. More interesting are Ingrid Tarrant, Honor Blackman, Jacqueline Gold and Sara Payne – but these are the four people who have been harangued by Collymore the most so we rarely hear anything from them. In short – it’s an exercise is arrogance which tells us, if we didn’t already know, that rape trials are reliant on the preconceived notions of rape in the jurists minds rather than the evidence presented.

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