Friday, November 30, 2007

Too Groggy To Testify Then Too Groggy To Consent

A defense team in the UK argued during the trial of 39-year-old Ajmal Mohammed that the alleged victim, a 14-year-old girl, was too groggy from drinking and vomiting (in 3 places) before the alleged rape to be a credible witness. The defense wanted her testimony that she woke up to a rape in progress to be ignored.

The problem with this assertion is that it means that the defense was providing a backhanded acknowledgment that the defendant knew she was groggy past the point of being able to give legal consent and he didn't think she would be able to remember what happened.

Other than falling for all the talk by rape denialists about how rape allegations between people who know each other is only morning-after regret, there really is no reason for a jury to buy this defense tactic.

I find it amazing when someone deliberately provides high doses of alcohol then uses the predictable effect of their own actions as their defense. If the person who reported rape does remember all or part of the crime, that testimony is supposed to be ignored because the alcohol should have resulted in a complete blackout. Those who fall for this defense not only let rapists off the hook, they are encouraging predators to use drugs and alcohol as a tool of rape.

They are teaching rapists that if she blacks out or should have blacked out, he walks. If someone is at the level of physical distress described by the defense team, that person should be immediately taken to the ER in case the person is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning. By not doing so, Mohammed put her life at risk.

Yet most people concerned about rape of the intoxicated only scold potential victims, ignoring rapists and potential rapists. This practice places the blame and responsibility for rape directly on the victim which feeds the rationalization of rapists.

The report states that Mohammed pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the girl after cell phone footage was found of him sexually assaulting her while she was asleep. So she wasn't too groggy to remember consenting or not as the defense team alleged, it turns out she was unable to give anything that might be mistaken for consent.

The report isn't clear about whether the one guilty plea stopped the trial. It seems like it would, but sometimes cases don't fit expectations.

Update (12/6): The trial is over and the jury convicted Mohammed. I don't see a mention of the guilty plea however so maybe that was a reporting error.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:06 PM   0 comments links to this post


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