Monday, November 12, 2007

Conviction rates on rape

The headline I read on the BBC is that David Cameron would like the law tightened so that more men charged with rape are convicted.

This is similar to noises from the New Labour government, Harriet Harman I think.

Here is what should have be said; "The efficiency of justice should be improved so that more men who have committed rape are convicted".

The difference between the my phrase above and the two main political parties is absolutely key. There is no such thing as a good, or appropriate, conviction rate. Although such a figure might be used in a resource limited justice system to prioritise effort.

What matters is that justice is served and seen to be served. That the innocent can live their lives in peace and free from fear. If laws can be changed to improve justice then good - if more resources are needed to ensure justice then good - but it is a terrible day if laws are changed just to get the conviction rate of those charged up, because it will come at the expense of justice.

Update: See Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times 2 Dec 07 on a similar point.


ContraTory said...

This is an example of imprecise language on the part of the Conservative team, I think, as opposed to the Labour feminists' "all men are guilty" mentality.

Man in a Shed said...

Contratory - I like the Tank - visited the Tank Museum myself over summer. Kids didn't like the outside display though - too loud.