Friday, August 29, 2008

Travesty: victim of a false rape accusation serves jail time, his false accuser does not

The story below is a follow-up to a horrible story we previously reported. A 19-year-old woman, upset over an unfounded rumor that her 20-year-old ex-fiance kissed another girl, dumped him and waited several months before making a false rape claim against him. The next day officers came into the pub where the young man worked as a bartender and arrested him. "I was arrested at work in front of colleagues and customers. It was awful," the young man said. Police held him for questioning for almost 24 hours. Solely on the basis of a vindictive lie.

Now the young woman has been sentenced, and she will serve no jail time.

You read that right. No jail time. None whatsoever.

Once again, the victim served more jail time than his false accuser. This is one of the rape double standards we've previously written about.

The victim's mother had this to say about his false accuser: "I'm livid. She should never have got away with it. She should have been put inside. It was vicious and vindictive and the sentence has made a mockery out of the justice system. It sends the message that false accusers can get away with it."

The wrong message, indeed.

How is this sentence proportional to the false accuser's crime? Let's talk about proportionality for a second. It is a fundamental maxim of our jurisprudence that the punishment should fit the crime. For most crimes, it is difficult to discern what is a proper punishment. What sentence does a punch in the nose warrant? American jurisprudence does not generally sentence the criminal to be subjected to the same harm as he or she inflicted on the victim (or else a criminal would receive a punch in the nose for having inflicted a punch in the nose); for serious crimes, our jurisprudence opts for incarceration instead. The reason it is usually difficult to say what sentence is appropriate for a particular crime is because generally the harm inflicted to the victim (e.g., the punch in the nose) and the sentence to the criminal for inflicting that harm (incarceration) are proverbial apples and oranges -- jail time for a punch in the nose -- so there is never an exact match.

But in this case, it's not apples and oranges. Among other things, the harm inflicted on the victim, the young man, was jail time – the same punishment that the criminal, the young woman, could have received. The harm to him and the possible punishment to her are apples and apples. Yet she doesn't even serve a day in jail. (The fact is, the harm to him was far greater than the time he served in jail -- there were numerous other direct harms flowing from the false accusation – the psychological torment, the damage to his reputation, being rendered an outcast among his friends and family -- the list goes on and on. But at a minimum, for starters, it would have been proper, and fair, to assume she should serve at least as much jail time as her victim -- and then tack on more time for the other harms she caused -- right? Apparently not to the judge in this case.)

How will she and others be deterred from doing it again? Answer: She and they won't be deterred.

What a terrible, terrible result. This tells you much about our culture that tolerates false rape claims for reasons that have nothing to do with justice in individual cases.


Woman who made false rape claim against her ex-fiancé walks free from court

By Paul Sims
Last updated at 3:21 PM on 27th August 2008

A woman who cried rape against her former fiancé walked free from court today to the fury of the innocent man's family.

Gemma Capon, 20, invented the allegation after her turbulent six-month relationship with Graham Tysoe came to an end.

She told detectives he had forced his way into her home and then sexually assaulted her on the living room sofa.

Mr Tysoe, also 20, was immediately arrested by police in front of colleagues at the pub where he works as a chef, and was held for almost 24 hours.

He was interviewed, had his DNA, fingerprints and mugshot taken and, most cruelly of all, was subjected to intrusive forensic examinations.

When police confronted Capon with discrepancies in her story a day later she confessed that she had made it all up and was later charged with wasting police time.

District Judge Tim Daber said her behaviour had undermined the 'credibility' of genuine complaints.

Yet, instead of a six-month maximum jail term, Capon was given a 12-week suspended sentence and ordered to pay just £95 in legal costs.

Mr Tysoe's mother, Sharon, a 42-year-old staff nurse, condemned the sentence and claimed it sent the wrong message to those who think of crying rape in future.

She said: 'I'm livid. She should never have got away with it. She should have been put inside.

'It was vicious and vindictive and the sentence has made a mockery out of the justice system. It sends the message that false accusers can get away with it.'

Mr Tysoe started dating Capon in November last year. They had known each other from school but had lost touch by the time they were reunited over the internet, Southend Magistrates Court heard.

On New Year's Eve, after a whirlwind romance, Mr Tysoe proposed. But in April this year the relationship faltered after Capon falsely accused her boyfriend of kissing another woman.

He told her that he had been on 'a boys' night out' and had air-kissed a female friend who was helping him plan a surprise engagement party. Within weeks the couple had split up, the hearing was told.

At the beginning of June Mr Tysoe returned to the flat the couple shared in Shoeburyness, Essex, to collect his belongings.

But days later, on June 5, he was arrested on suspicion of rape.

Capon, who has twice auditioned for TV's X Factor, accused him of barging into her home a day earlier, locking the door and raping her on the sofa.

Mr Tysoe said: 'I was arrested at work in front of colleagues and customers. It was humiliating.

'They said my ex-girlfriend had accused me. I just thought, "Oh God, no, this can't be happening."

'I was put in a cell and told to take off my earring, chain and belt and leave my shoes outside. I had an intimate swab taken, DNA, fingerprints, a cheek swab and a photo.

'I felt like a criminal. I thought I was going to be locked up for something I didn't do.'

He added: 'I was in there for 23 and a half hours before they released me on bail. I just kept thinking, "What's going to happen to me?"'

Police even searched his parent's home in the middle of the night for a piece of clothing which did not exist, he said.

Mr Tysoe, who was elsewhere at the time of the alleged attack, was eventually released on bail on June 6.

Later that day Capon, a fast-food waitress, admitted lying to the police.

She pleaded guilty to wasting police time on June 26.

Police spent 156 hours investigating the false claims, the court was told Alan Hurst, mitigating, said his client was 'genuinely sorry'. He added: 'She has made an early mess of her life but she doesn't say it has to continue that way and she's determined to continue to turn it around.'

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Tysoe said the case had left him suffering from stress and with trouble sleeping.

He said: 'I hate her. I don't think she realises what she's done.'