A GROUP of men cleared of gang raping a 21-year-old woman today won backing for their call for a change in the law so their accuser could be named in public.
For those who file false accusations, yes, they should be named. And those who are accused of rape should have anonymity along with their accuser.
A jury yesterday found pub bouncers Steven O'Rourke and James Hyndman not guilty of raping the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Co-accused Robert Miller and Ryan Dunn had earlier been cleared of the same charge after the Crown decided to drop proceedings against them midway through the trial.
Outside court, Mr Dunn said: "It is completely unfair that we have all been named and been made out to be animals when it was all a pack of lies.
This hits the nail right on the head. The damage that a mere accusation of rape can do is enormous. Considering that men have lost friends, family, jobs, and even their lives, we must do more to ensure that all involved are protected, until such time as guilt is determined.
"She is just an attention-seeker and she should be named and shamed for what she has done to us. It has ruined our lives."
Edinburgh South Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle said the men had suffered "a travesty of justice" and backed their calls for a change in the law.
He said "I see no reason why that woman should not be named. I think these men have every right to say that either their names should have been kept sub-judice or all parties' names should be disclosed."
At this point, since she is not longer a "vicitm" of rape, but a criminal who filed a false rape claim, she should be named automatically. The fact that she is protected by the UK rape laws from having her name published assumes, implies, and suggests that she was a "victim" of rape by reason of the accusation alone, the truth be damned, and by extension, that the men accused are guilty by reason of the accustation, again, the truth be damned.
I'm in favour of everyone being completely anonymous until they are found guilty and if they are found not guilty, their names should not be disclosed.
"People say mud sticks and I have every sympathy with these four young men. She obviously falsely accused them and people should know she is a liar.
"The woman, from Bathgate, claimed she had been gang-raped by four men at her former home in the town on 11 February and that they had threatened to kill her.
But the jury preferred the men's account of the evening – that she had simply invited them all back to her home and then willingly engaged in group sex with three of them.
The High Court in Perth had heard how the woman had put on her red lace underwear and gone out on a solo pub crawl which ended in the Livery Lounge bar.
Shortly after entering the bar, she invited the four men back to her flat to "party" and was "having a laugh and a joke" about group sex on the way home.
O'Rourke, 24, Hyndman and Dunn openly admitted having sex with her, while Miller was banished to another room when she said she would "do three, but not four".
Mr Dunn revealed that the group sex had ended when the woman became concerned about her kitten. He said the change in atmosphere led to the gang throwing items out of the fourth-floor window.
Notice how the 4 men are continually referred to as a "Gang", as if they are some pack of wild, predatory outlaws. Again, we see the not so subtle attempt to make them into villains.
"Our behaviour was appalling then and we shouldn't have done that but we never raped her."
Lothians SNP MSP Ian McKee said on balance he supported anonymity for rape accused.
Excellent. Then start pushing for reform of the law that gives accusers anonymity, even when their claim is proven to be false.
"If the person making the accusations is being protected, it would seem reasonable the person accused should have their name withheld until the case is over."
Couldn't have stated it better.
But Linlithgow Labour MSP Mary Mulligan said she was against any change in the law.
She said: "There are no other cases, even murder, where an accused's identity is withheld and I don't see why this should be any different. I believe a woman needs to be protected in these circumstances."
There are no other cases where the accuser is granted anonymity either (at least in the U.S. - I don't know about the U.K.). And please tell me how anonymity for the accused protects the woman? She wonders why this should be different? The stigma that society attaches to sexaully based crimes, is much worse, than any other crime. For rape, it is almost impossible to "prove" it didn't occur in many cases because of the "he said/she said" nature of the case. The courts should try the case, not the media.
Livingston SNP MSP Angela Constance added: "I would not support the woman being named because it may discourage genuine victims from pursuing cases."
Before guilt is determined, I have no problem with not naming the accused. But if it is determined to be a false accusation, then there should be no problem naming her. And please stop insulting our intelligence with the baseless assertion that naming would discourage genuine victims from coming forward. If they are genuine victims, their name won't be published.