If NZ is so immersed in rape culture – do we need to end Jury trials?



The last couple of weeks of terrible evidence of just how much rape culture permeates every inch of our culture.

The remarkable behaviour of the Chiefs with a dancer, compounded by the way Management decided to denigrate her, compounded by the way the Sponsor asked her what she expected, compounded by her employer finally deciding to fire her altogether was such a bewildering train wreck of sexist victim blaming garbage it was difficult not to bang your head against a wall with each passing story.

The case of two women who complained about being touched in a Wellington bar and the way that bar shat all over them felt like we were going backwards.

And the case of the hung jury over a young Cricketeers allegation of rape when the woman had clearly said no 3 times felt like we have really learned bugger all.

In each case it’s the bias of ordinary people that can’t accept a woman’s right not to be touched when she says no.

This is a cultural problem that you solve long term with far more openness about sex, saying yes and no to sex and what consent really means.

But in the short term, until those messages kick in, what do we do about all those cases currently failing and seeing no real justice?

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The solution could well be Judge only Courts.

The right to decide how you will be judged is an incredible protection, but if you are constantly sourcing a Jury that are as ignorant and biased as the person committing the rape, then you will never see justice.

If we went down Judge only trials, we would need to see the extra investment into Judges to be fully trained in the complexities of sexual assault and we would need to see a far larger gender and ethnicity mix of Judges.

That way we remove much of the bias and bigotry from the  Jury process and put more faith in well educated Judges to make the decision.

We need some extreme solutions to the sexual assault crisis we have in this country and if people are too slow to accept a women right to say no, then replace those people until that long term education process is complete.


  1. The jury system is a quaint medieval idea that may have worked when everyone in town knew each other, but as used these days is wasteful, inefficient and wildly unfair to just about everyone.

    Unfortunately it attracts support from all the people who believe they know better than the experts in any field.

    The justice system works so badly when confronted with rape culture that jury trial is a good place to start; I imagine many of the arguments will be found to apply more widely.

  2. The irony here is that one of the apologists for the Chiefs, was a woman, who blamed the victim for “puuting herself into the position” of being groped by drunken idiots.

    Of course, being drunk is no excuse. It doesn’t count as an excuse when facing a public brawl or driving while intoxicated, but it seems to be a mitigating factor for our sporting “heroes” (many of whom seem to have little self control when it comes to women).

    Of course, it’s all a different kettle of fish if it’s ones own daughter who has been sexually harassed/assaulted by drunk idiots. Then the redneckery turns to the “law being soft on crims”.

    There is much work left to do on this issue.

  3. Mt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,[c] ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[d] 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    Its a pity society has thrown away the standard of morality that we could have used. Yes forced religion is as bad for us as the problems we experience now so I am not wanting to suggest it is the answer but when society tolerates the lack of moral values across all media that is shown today then the lack of respect for women among large parts of the male population is not a surprise.

  4. Having been selected for jury and having seen the antics that go on in the jury room, I’m a fan of non jury trials where there is just a judge and two assessors. I believe both South Africa and Singapore have this system.

    The result would be more consistent outcomes based on law and proven fact rather than emotional appeals to a relatively uneducated jury.

  5. If I was her boss I would have fired her too.

    1. She was without bodyguard.
    2. She accepted “additional services” for a fee without informing the other players.

    As for the players what the hell were they doing without someone sober supervising them and making sure they acted professionally at all times?

    Not saying she’s not victim but this has nothing to do with rape culture but more a total balls up from the get-go.

    As for the trial case sounds like a simple case of he-said she-said. He says she consented and she says he forced her arms over her head and raped her. Jury was either unable to decide who to believe or maybe thought she was telling the truth but there was still a reasonable doubt.

  6. Judge alone or a panel of Judges to hear sexual assault trials is the way to go. Defence lawyers prey upon jurors ignorance and prejudice and as a result the justice system as it currently stands is a spectacular failure in this area and serves victims abysmally.

    And in my opinion it is so bad most prosecutions would fail the Solicitor Generals guidelines on a reasonable prospect of conviction before a charge is laid! And when you’ve reached that level something is badly wrong.

    • XRAY: You may find the opposite happens.

      Rape is a particularly difficult charge to prove ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ if there is no evidence of violence and the accused had a prior relationship with the victim or the victim willingly went with the accused. It becomes a case of ‘he said/she said’.

      Without sympathetic jurors, the prosecution would struggle gain traction and disinterested judges would consider the charge unproven and the accused therefore innocent.

      • Hey, Andrew, it’s only difficult because you think it is.

        Why is is any easier to believe someone who claims to have been mugged or burgled? Oh yeah, because it’s PROPERTY involved and women are no longer chattels.

        It takes a lot for a woman to lay a complaint, be interviewed, cross-examined in Court, have her past dragged up, and every detail publically examined.

        When is the last time a burglary victim got his back dredged up in court? Or the last time it was suggested he “asked for it” by keeping his flatscreen in full view of the windows?? Oh yeah, never.

        You wouldn’t challenge a robbery victim if he pointed out his attacker, would you? So tell us, brightboy, why it’s not a he said/she said in robbery cases?

        Because you’re a misogynist is why. You put more worth on a male’s denial than you do a woman’s accusation.

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