I have complained many times over the last few years about nonsensical judgements by Irish judges that let criminals off with super low or with no penalties in cases where we, the public feel that serious misjustice has been done.
So many judges in Ireland clearly can not be trusted with the law, which is a shocking realisation in itself. But we would hope that other part of the justice system are at least more trustworthy and show a better understanding of right and wrong.
A trial at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, however, showed that the next level down, i.e. the people that are not (yet) judges are as deranged in their opinions as many judges.
At that trial in Cork a 27 year old man was accused of raping a 17 year old girl in a laneway.
In her closing words, the senior counsel for the defence, Elizabeth O’Connell SC said:
“Does the evidence out-rule the possibility that she was attracted to the defendant and was open to meeting someone and being with someone? You have to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front.” :-O
The job of a defence lawyer is to achieve an acquittal of the accused and they do whatever it takes, even defending someone who is clearly guilty. We don’t know if the accused in this case was guilty or not. He claims that she consented, she says she didn’t. BUT he was acquitted in court by a jury of eight men and four women and it could well be that the outrageousness of “wearing a thong with lace front” contributed to that acquittal.
First of all, how can the clothing that a woman is wearing justify a rape? That is totally ridiculous! Some men might not have much of a brain, others are happy to switch it off, but NO man should EVER be allowed to use the defence that he couldn’t stop himself after he saw a woman dressed in a certain way.
Secondly, how does it matter what clothing is worn UNDERNEATH the normal (outer) clothing? Unless I run around showing everyone my under wear, it is MY decision what I wear underneath and NOBODY has the right to assume that I am inviting any sort of behaviour based on my choice of under garment!
But it is the third thing that shocks me most! This stupid argument about the “thong with a lace front” justifying what might have been rape was not raised by an old, crusty, misogynistic, out-of-touch-with-life, male solicitor/barrister. No, it was used by a middle aged FEMALE barrister and I can only assume that she never wore a “thong with a lace front” in her life! (Her picture is in this article, but has been removed by the Law Library it seems where it was originally found.) If women think that another woman’s clothing choice justifies any sort of behaviour by a man, then what chance do young women that were attacked have in this country?
Even more oddly, though, the FEMALE judge in the court did not stop that misguided defence strategy, but seemingly accepted the victim blaming based on her choice of clothing.
The Irish legal system is in a bad state if the professionals in it have no better understanding of right and wrong!!
The Irish Examiner brought this court case to our attention.