Juror shocked by court ‘cruelty’ to abuse victims #CSA #Scotland

The manner in which barristers cross-examine alleged victims of sexual abuse has been described as shameful and excessive

APRIL 9th 2017

 

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https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/juror-shocked-by-court-cruelty-to-abuse-victims-f7pwkcgql   https://archive.is/xqPvQ


Juror shocked by court ‘cruelty’ to abuse victims

A juror in a child sex abuse case has revealed her distress and shame over the treatment of victims in court after learning one later committed suicide.

Dawn McCormick took her own life late last year, as her father Richard was sentenced to eight years for child sex offences going back more than 30 years.

McCormick, 69, was found guilty in October of eight charges against five girls, including his daughter. One charge involved the attempted rape of an eight-year-old girl.

The female juror, a former education professional whom The Sunday Times has decided not to name, was forced to judge the harrowing evidence given at the High Court in Edinburgh.

She said: “As I listened to and watched how the witnesses were treated, I felt at first uneasy, then actually ashamed. I know this might be the role of the defence lawyers, but it seemed excessive and cruel. Just watching made me feel I was part of that process. Ironically, the accused did not undergo such badgering because he chose not to give evidence.”

The juror later did an internet search to find out what sentence was handed down by the judge Lady Carmichael in December, and stumbled across a press article about the suicide of 42-year-old Dawn McCormick.

She said: “I felt sad and upset, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the way she had been treated in court had contributed to that drastic action. She had been called a liar. She had been told her allegations couldn’t be true because she had begged her mother not to divorce her father. She was reminded that she had accepted gifts and treats from her father, and I watched her crumble before my eyes.”

She added: “When she came in to give evidence, she looked damaged and fragile. By the time the justice system had finished undermining her, she looked pathetic and completely broken. I noted that two of the other victims, the ones who were putting up a bit more resistance to the defence, were treated even more aggressively than Dawn.”

The juror, a mother and grandmother, said she did not blame the judge for not intervening but said it became clear as the case unfolded “that the rights of the man in the dock counted for far more than the rights of the victims”.

She added: “You’re left wondering why anyone would report such a crime if they knew what they were in for.”

The senior counsel in McCormick’s defence team was Frances McMenamin. She was also one of six defence counsel in a child abuse case in 2001 that prompted a juror to make public his concerns about the conduct of the case.

A girl of 11 and her brother, then eight, from Ayrshire, had accused six men of serious sexual abuse. The girl gave evidence over 10 days and was cross- examined by all six defence counsel, but the boy broke down twice under cross-examination by the barrister Stuart Gale and the case was thrown out.

Retired teacher Chris Garner was so outraged at the treatment of the children in court that he made the at the time unprecedented decision to criticise the justice system.

The latest juror’s decision to do the same could influence future laws on the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses in sexual crime cases.

Holyrood justice minister Michael Matheson recently said child witnesses would soon be treated differently in court. They will make a recorded statement under controlled conditions soon after disclosing sexual abuse, and that will become their evidence in chief.

Once a new system for dealing with children is established, sources claim ministers will seek to extend better protections to vulnerable adults.

McMenamin has maintained that she treated her client’s victims correctly. She added: “Like all advocates, I have a duty to put forward a client’s instructed defence to the best of my ability, and I approached my duty in this case, as in every case, in an entirely proper way, treating each witness with fairness and courtesy. Neither prosecuting counsel nor the judge found any reason to question my conduct. I am bound by a professional code of conduct, as well as by legislation and the rules of the court, all of which I take very seriously, and have always done so during 32 years in practice.”

Matheson said: “Giving evidence during a criminal trial can be a stressful event for anybody but particularly so for children and vulnerable adult witnesses. We want to ensure that they have all the necessary support to reduce anxiety and ensure they can give their best evidence, while maintaining the necessary rights of accused persons.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/juror-shocked-by-court-cruelty-to-abuse-victims-f7pwkcgql   https://archive.is/xqPvQ

One thought on “Juror shocked by court ‘cruelty’ to abuse victims #CSA #Scotland

  1. This kind of debate has been going on in the USA for some time. It has had various odd results. Courts do not require a child to have to testify in court AND confront their accuser. But on the other hand, this of usually used to give far lighter sentences. As well, I have seen right in my state, a girl who sought to destroy her teacher, a male, because he put his hand on her shoulder. This was near to 2000. She had told other kids what she intended to do. She was the real beginning of the ultra left 3rd wave feminism, the most dangerous movement in the world to day.

    Kids told their parents but 2 female police officers were the investigators and they were sure that the touch must have meant something, though what, was never specified. The school administration also supported the girl. The newspaper reporter mention after, he could not understand who this case was ever believed in the 1st place. The girl could no hold up in court, despite month coaching and victim tampering. The Accused teacher sued and won against the school and others. We never got to hear how much but I hop it was good. Now bear with me.

    Civility and respect should have always been part of court procedure. No witness should ever be badgered or insulted or any sort of intimidating behavior. This is the main problem. But to go to the other extreme, and not require kids to testify and confront the accuser and allow respectful dignified, calm cross-examination by accuser’s lawyer would be just as wrong.

    The problem, obviously, it that lawyer have often been allowed to be outrageous in court. This has been done to destroy kids and adult female rape victims, in the UK, in the USA. But going the other way and say that female rape victims should be believed without being doubted or cross-examined is beyond words for horror. #rd feminists have on outstanding feature. They lie like there is no tomorrow. For them rape accusations are their right and they have the right to destroy a man and many do it in the USA. Its just game for them because the guy used them.or lied to them about his job.

    The biggest problem in all this is that police, lawyers, judges other connect officials are allowed to abuse the system as they please. It is the single biggest piece evidence to show the many ways they have to abuse victims throughout the process. Our disregard for due process and law, in favor of wealth and power, shall be the undoing of of the human race.

    I would suggest this much. IN a process that does not take into account a child being easily intimidated by adults and accepting so called bribes to be quiet, or maybe fearing mom will be mad at them for complaining, the least they can do is prepare the child for what might happen.

    But as I had said within the last week or so, in general, we do not listen to kids or care about their feelings. In every way, we shame and belittle their feelings and dignity. There ain’t a hell hot enough! And further, No words can express the hatred I have for this new feminists, for whom lying and mocking the judicial system put them in league with all these male abusers but all they care about is having their way. Spoiled little rich girls whose daddies taught them to “do as thou wilt” and show them who is boss. And that is why we live in hell now. and it sure is hot! Ouch!

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