I’ve blogged about this before here.
And now we can see here what the Home Office proposes to do.
It is suggested that “experts” could be called by the prosecution to give evidence in rape cases where the alleged victim has delayed her complaint.
Juries are often told the delay is caused by post-traumatic stress disorder. This delay can, and often does, disadvantage the accused. I’ve represented those who have been charged with an incident going back two and three years. And it makes investigating the case especially an alibi, and calling alibi witnesses, difficult if not impossible.
In such cases there is unlikely to be any valuable forensic evidence. Thus, the jury is left with two people giving different accounts of an historical incident. No wonder they are reluctant to convict.
I doubt whether the introduction of more experts into the trial process will assist much. After all, if the prosecution are going to call an expert the defence must also have that right. Specialists are likely to disagree; the jurors will, in many cases, be left in a quandary how to resolve the issues.
It’s interesting to compare cases where children make allegations of rape. These can go back decades. Yet juries are able to work this issue out for themselves without, in most cases, the help of experts.
It’s about time all governments realise that constant tinkering in this field- and I see they are having another go with trying to sort out “consent”- is the likely cause of the high attrition rate of allegations of adult rape.