Louise Livesey // 7 November 2008
Man defends other men’s right to not get long punishment for murdering partners/women if they show autonomous sexual behaviour.
Apparently changes in the law which remove the “provocation” defence of infedelity ignores the impact of sexual betrayal on men according to the (male) Lord Chief Justice. Odd that seemingly affects just men, not all partners who are cheated, on but then I guess there is less issue because women don’t tend to murder their unfaithful partners in the same numbers.
Absurdly the Independent compared men who kill because their partners had sex with someone else to women who kill after years of abuse. Dear Robert Verkaik (who wrote that) this is an apple and this is a pear. The difference between a “battered spouse” defence and a “nagging or shagging defence” is massive.
The proposal is that men who kill for “crimes of passion” (for which read the woman refused to capitulate to his whim and presumed patriarchal privileges) would actually be tried for their real crime – murder. Amazing how controversial that piece of small logic is. You know the one that says all people including men should stand trial for the crime they commit. Just as how saying all people who experience years of abuse before murdering a partner out of fear should have the right to at least a partial defence of prior abuse, fear and threat to their life (where the abuse constitutes such).
Instead the Lord Chief Justice has decided it is too harsh to expect men to be held accountable for their crimes like women are.
Lord Phillips said: “I must confess to being uneasy about a law which so diminishes the significance of sexual infidelity as expressly to exclude it from even the possibility of amounting to provocation…As far as not letting men off lightly is concerned, I have some difficulty with this proposition. The current law requires provocation to be conduct that would cause a reasonable man to act as the defendant acted. “
Here’s the translation – women who break patriarchal norms such as exclusive sexual contact should expect to be killed and it’s unfair to blame the man for that. Oh and the idea men don’t get let off lightly under “provocation” or similar defences – well six years for a five hour beating with a dog chain which resulted in Sonya Todd’s death, three years for murder, dismemberment and freezing the body of Tae Hui and seven years for the repeated stabbing of Madeline Hulmes despite her teenage daughter trying to remove the knife from the killer, Les Humes, hands. The “any reasonable man” claim made here is nonsense on two levels – 1. there are plenty of men who experience partner infidelity and don’t murder them and 2. whether others may do it is a legal test which ignores whether it is just to be lenient on murder on these grounds.
The impact of the provocation (described by some as the “nagging and shagging”) defence was well laid out by Harriet Harman in a speech in 2003 at the Women’s Library:
We should find a better alternative to provocation. My concern is that the effect of the provocation defence is that:
- The victim is blamed for own death
- Responsibility for the offence falls not on him but on her
- Her relatives are left distraught – as they suffer not only the loss of their daughter or sister but also the denigration of her reputation which is a necessary part of a provocation defence.
- And although manslaughter carries a maximum of life imprisonment sentences for domestic homicide generally do not reflect the seriousness of taking another’s life in a violent act.
Oh and this was by the same man who recently reduced the sentences of some of the youths who stomped to death a young woman because she “looked different”. So that’s social awareness in the judiciary for you.
Elite, white, male institution defends right to employ man who accessed child porn and shows no repentence.
The bland BBC story hides a much more unpalatable truth. Nicholas Hammond’s defence was that he hadn’t intended to view the pictures of two day old babies being abused, just the ones of teenage boys. Apparently this makes it OK. They both appeared in his “collection” of over 1,500 obscene images of children.
Cambridge University has confirmed that Dr Nicholas Hammond, who is currently on paid “special” leave will return in April probably remaining a fellow of Gonville and Caius College but he may lose his position as Director of Studies of modern languages, some academics might see this as a reward as it’ll lessen his administrative duties and give him more time for…..well lets not think about that shall we….
Kidscape have condemned the news saying “The punishment here does not fit the crime. We would expect a signal from such an august body that they are with the victims.” and “They are completely out of touch, considering the public feeling and outrage about these types of cases. You can’t help feeling that if this was an unemployed Joe Bloggs who had this nasty habit he would not get the same treatment.”
Hammond was sentenced to two year suspended sentence, a two year supervision order and £1,000 fine as well as signing the sex offenders register in September after
The judge presiding, Gareth Hawkesworth, who is also a Cambridge graduate, claimed Hammond was:
a sorely damaged individual who could be rehabilitated. “During this period you were suffering from moderate depression and you were seeking refuge from life in a halcyon part of your youth, relived by looking at low-level images of boys, often in swimming clothes. But viewing this material can become addictive and if you had not been interrupted there would have been a serious risk that your voyeurism may have turned into action.”
Not sure how Hawkesworth can claim “low level images” of over 30 category five pictures including those of babies and over 150 at category four. Nor that “moderate depression” is justification for this when, lets face it, defendants who aren’t white, middle class and fellows at the same University as the judge wouldn’t face such leniency. As Michelle Elliot, from Kidscape has said:
It would seem that the awful abuse these children suffered is not very important if you’re somebody as grand as a Cambridge professor. Had he been an ordinary working man he would have been sent straight to prison. The message is that he is somehow above the law as a professor.”
Prosecutor Sally Hickling said the images, found on two laptops and a memory stick during a police raid on Hammond’s home, were predominately of male babies aged between two days and six months. Hammond’s lawyer David Fisher said there was no suggestion Hammond had acted on his urges. He said: “My client has never had sexual contact with children or students.”
You see the thing here is that Hammond didn’t need to sexually abuse children himself – he had others do it for him and produce pictures. Just because he didn’t do it doesn’t mean he’s not guilty of their abuse – he’s the consumer the demand for such materials meets.
Woman forced to step down from job as local Councillor because she was a strippergram and phone sex worker.. Apparently people working in the sex industry don’t deserve representation or to be treated as everyday members of society. Maybe that’s why Jeremy Clarkson thought it funny to joke about the Ipswich murders and seems to have got away with it despite at least one MP calling for his dismissal. The “joke” in question was this (as Clarkson was driving a lorry):
“This is a hard job. I’m not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers. It’s a hard job. Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear.”
The tabloids rushed to Clarkson’s defence, as did the CEO of one of the biggest trucking organisations Eddie Stobart who said
CEO Andrew Tinkler said: “They were just having a laugh. It’s the 21st century, let’s get our sense of humour in line.”
Now am I the only one to notice that actually we should be asking women in the sex industry whether they object to their murders being “a laugh” and not truck drivers? Oh and Eddie Stobart’s email address is here for those who want to complain.
EDIT: Just adding this article by the Councillor in question where she talks about the issues involved in her decision to resign.