Thursday 24 February 2011

Your money or your life.

Two men walk into a bar to celebrate the big real-estate deal they've just closed. They're well-groomed and wearing expensive male bling-bling that announces to the world that they are big-spenders, men with power who enjoy throwing money around so everyone has a good time.

Their wallets are full of cash which they flash around, as they pay for drinks for the good-time fellows that gather around them.

The two men talk loudly and jocularly of flying to Vegas to play some poker, notwithstanding the fact neither of them have a plane.

Soon the guys are too inebriated to drive; one of their new acquaintances who is sober enough to get behind the wheel, offers to drop them off to their respective appartments on his way home. They accept the offer.

Next morning both men notice considerable amounts of money are missing from their wallets. They file a report with the police. After considering the evidence the crown prosecutor lays criminal charges against the man who drove them home; following a lengthy trial he is convicted of robbing them.

The presiding judge refuses to sentence him to prison time, as recommended by the prosecutor. Instead, he gives the robber a suspended sentence and justifies his decision by noting the victims were sending signals that "money was in the air" through their lavish spending and generous behaviour on the night of the robbery, which he calls "inviting circumstances." He specifically observes the men kept their money in wallets that were visible to everyone in the bar and they wore expensive suits and jewelry.

"That night they made their intentions publicly known that they wanted to party - which the defendant misunderstood to mean they wanted to share their good forture with other people. This is a different case than one where there is no perceived invitation," says the judge, this is a case of misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behaviour."

The judge adds he doesn't want to be seen as blaming the victims, but that all of the factors surrounding the case must be viewed to assess "moral blameworthiness."

By now you've caught on to the substitution involved; male rather than female victim, a theft instead of sexual assault. This is the actual case.

Victims of unarmed robbery have the right to feel angry and vulnerable particularly if they can't recover what was stolen from them, but the damage done is far from that physical and psychological harm inflicted upon someone who was subjected to sexual assault. That pain may persist for months and years after the crime was perpetrated.

In his pronouncements, Justice Robert Dewar expressed considerable empathy for the defendant (a clumsy Don Juan ...?!?) and displayed little sympathy for the complainant, suggesting that she had created the circumstances which led to her sexual assault.

Responses to Justice Robert Dewar's nostalgic longing for 19th century *values* have not been supportive - quite the contrary. Some have suggested that his judgement reeked of misogyny. It does. One prosecutor said his words could have implications for public confidence in the system. They would certainly discourage other complainants from reporting similar crimes to the police.

I'd certainly hesitate if this judge were presiding; while I don't wear tube tops or high heels, I've been known to cast "sex in the air" by using double V words in Scrabble.

Un grand merci to k'in, a frequent visitor and commenter at DJ!, who flagged this travesty of justice.


Anonymous said...

"One prosecutor said his words could have implications for public confidence in the system."

Duh. Ya think?
These kinds of judges aren't an anomaly either.

k'in said...

scroll down & lookee here - Robert Dewar gave munnee to the Conservative party and Steve gives him a patronage appointment so now he gets to play caveman judge.

fern hill said...

k'in's link clickable. PDF.

Unknown said...

Brilliant, to help those who don't see, see. This has been a long, long battle. Sometimes it seems not much has changed since I joined my first consciousness-raising group in 1975.

deBeauxOs said...

The gynophobia beneath Dewar's words should be obvious without the substitution, but unfortunately ...

Fortunately, many men will no longer be quietly complicit or agree, by default, to stand in Dewar's camp of rape enablers. They are also speaking up in opposition to his misogynist and gratuitous comments.

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