Is a Spinoff threshold of guilt to convict more men of sexual assault actual justice?

Marie Dyhrberg, QC, president of the Auckland District Law Society and woman about to be cancelled,

A grim analysis of the Green Party’s latest attempt at social justice by Marie Dyhberg demands some critical consideration.

We all want the court process to be as painless as possible for victims taking part in sexual assault cases and we acknowledge that many cases don’t make it that far and even fewer result in a conviction, but is the answer as the Greens are pushing for, a Spinoff threshold of guilt to convict more men of sexual assault regardless of their guilt?

You will all remember the infamous Spinoff exclusive where they alleged a Labour Party volunteer was sexually assaulted by a Labour Party staffer. It led to Stuff, which subscribes to the ‘if a woman said it on social media it must be true’ school of journalism to launch attack after attack on Jacinda by insinuating that she must have known about the sexual assault and then covered it up. Vance, Mau and even Michelle Duff who had written a book about Jacinda was prepared to throw Jacinda under the bus for fourth wave feminist doctrine.

Unfortunately for the Spinoff and the Stuff Sisterhood of the travelling pants, the story started imploding after the volunteer was caught doctoring her evidence to the Labour Party committee convened to look into this and the Spinoff hid she was actually in a relationship with this staffer.

At least Vance had the decency to apologise and retract her attacks on Jacinda after the story imploded.

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If you re-read the original Spinoff witch trial that launched the claim Jacinda not only knew about but covered up a sexual assault, note how the relationship is utterly falsified for maximum damage…

Over the next year, Sarah immersed herself in the party as a volunteer, quickly gaining more recognition and responsibility. It was during this period that she first came into contact with the alleged perpetrator, who is several years her senior, and started to have correspondence and regular meetings with him. He was already established in a leadership position at Young Labour, and his star continued to rise in the party proper. 

It was soon clear his interest in her was not purely political or professional, she said. On a party trip in 2017, after a night of drinking, he spent time “coming up behind me, hugging me, grabbing me”, she wrote in an April 2018 email to Maria Berryman, the lawyer leading the review. He also sent Sarah screenshots of explicit private messages exchanged with another party member, seen by The Spinoff, in which the pair fantasised about having sex with her. “I would feel manly if she was on her knees,” he wrote. 

Early in 2018 he invited her to a private meeting at his home to prepare for an upcoming regional conference. “He said it was really important that I came,” she said. “He made it feel like it was a part of my duties.” She arrived around six o’clock, and sat in the lounge to watch television with the rest of the household. After the others went to bed, the pair were left alone and moved to work on party documents on a computer in the adjoining office. 

It was then that Sarah felt the mood start to shift. 

…at no point whatsoever do Spinoff note to you the reader that she had been in a relationship with this guy for 8 months!!!

Doesn’t that context change everything and doesn’t the fact that it wasn’t noted to the reader deeply deceitful?

The text message he sent her was sent during their relationship – how does that equate to inappropriate behaviour? That’s the new evidential threshold is it? Sexts you send your Boyfriend/Girlfriend during a consensual relationship?

As The Spinoff story reads, this Staffer tricked a poor defenceless women into his home and was behaving like he was her boyfriend – because he was???

The editorial counter of course is that sexual violence occurs in relationships and just because you had sex with someone doesn’t mean you are consenting again to that, and we all accept that argument, but what The Spinoff did was hide an element of the allegation which completely changes how that story is being told because they believed woke mantra that suggests any attempt to contextualise the relationship amounts to supporting the rapist.

That is the new standard of guilt that the Greens are pushing for in their reform of the sexual violence bill and Marie Dyhberg is damning of that

I am, along with a majority of criminal lawyers, both prosecution and defence, deeply concerned about some of the proposed amendments and believe they go much too far. It is vital that complainants feel free to step forward and have confidence in the legal system, but this cannot be secured by eroding the rights of the defendant, who has the right to be tried on all the relevant evidence.

The bill also states that consent to sexual intimacy must be given every time, which no-one disputes, but then stretches logic to say the jury cannot hear about intimate encounters the same couple had previously. With a rape allegation, when the sex is not denied, the trial turns on whether the defendant had reasonable grounds for believing the complainant consented. Where a couple are in a relationship, that belief may well depend on what had been usual and acceptable between them before.

If the belief was unreasonable, let the jury decide, which they cannot do if the defendant is banned from telling his side of the story.

The law already says the complainant cannot be asked about anything that is not relevant. If a lawyer wants to traverse a couple’s sexual background, the judge will close things down if the evidence is irrelevant to the consent issue. That has also been the position for years.

The proposed law will deprive the defendant of a right that in every other area of criminal law is automatic and inviolable.

While it is true that some victims do not come forward because they fear the trial process, it is also true that innocent men get accused, sometimes for very vindictive or perverse reasons.

…The Greens want previous sexual history to be banned from the jury because the only defence to rape is that the man believed he had consent. By removing any context of a history between two people and presenting that to the Jury as a random one off event between people who had no previous connection  the way The Spinoff did will certainly gain a lot more convictions but will the men actually be guilty?

In the post me too subjective rage world where women have to be believed, the anger at the history of sexual abuse never seeing justice has warped the values away from ‘better 10 guilty men walk free than 1 innocent man goes to prison’ to ‘better 10 innocent men go to prison rather than 1 guilty man walks free’.

I would post a picture of Lady Justice here, but apparently she’s been cancelled..

..welcome to your brave new world where ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ was never written.

Once the enormity of these changes are understood by the wider public, parents will stop fearing they daughter being sexual assaulted and start fearing their sons of being accused of sexual assault.

The backlash to this will not be pretty.


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  1. One would like to think the Greens could get their priorities right and tackle the really important matters first, like the suicidal path humanity is on:

    ‘Humanity is waging a “senseless and suicidal” war on nature that is causing human suffering and enormous economic losses while accelerating the destruction of life on Earth, the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, has said.

    Guterres’s starkest warning to date came at the launch of a UN report setting out the triple emergency the world is in: the climate crisis, the devastation of wildlife and nature, and the pollution that causes many millions of early deaths every year.

    Making peace with nature was the defining task of the coming decades, he said, and the key to a prosperous and sustainable future for all people. The report combines recent major UN assessments with the latest research and the solutions available, representing an authoritative scientific blueprint of how to repair the planet.

    The report says societies and economies must be transformed by policies such as replacing GDP as an economic measure with one that reflects the true value of nature, as recommended this month by a study commissioned by the UK Treasury.

    Carbon emissions need to be taxed, and trillions of dollars of “perverse” subsidies for fossil fuels and destructive farming must be diverted to green energy and food production, the report says. As well as systemic changes, people in rich nations can act too, it says, by cutting meat consumption and wasting less energy and water.

    ‘Put a big fat price on carbon’: OECD chief bows out with climate rally cry
    Read more
    “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is senseless and suicidal,” said Guterres. “The consequences of our recklessness are already apparent in human suffering, towering economic losses, and the accelerating erosion of life on Earth.”

    The triple emergency threatened our viability as a species, he said. But ending the war would not mean poorer living standards or an end to poverty reduction. “On the contrary, making peace with nature, securing its health and building on the critical and undervalued benefits that it provides are key to a prosperous and sustainable future for all.”

    “This report provides the bedrock for hope,” he said. “It makes clear our war on nature has left the planet broken. But it also guides us to a safer place by providing a peace plan and a postwar rebuilding programme.”

    Inger Andersen, the head of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), said: “We need to look no further than the global pandemic caused by Covid-19, a disease transmitted from animals to humans, to know that the finely tuned system of the natural world has been disrupted.” Unep and the World Health Organization have said the root cause of pandemics is the destruction of the natural world, with worse outbreaks to come unless action is taken.

    The report says the fivefold growth of the global economy in the last 50 years was largely fuelled by a huge increase in the extraction of fossil fuels and other resources, and has come at massive cost to the environment. The world population has doubled since 1970 and while average prosperity has also doubled, 1.3 billion people remain in poverty and 700 million are hungry.

    It says current measures to tackle the environmental crises are far short of what is needed: the world remains on track for catastrophic warming of 3C above pre-industrial levels, a million species face extinction and 90% of people live with dirty air.

    Humans just 0.01% of all life but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals – study
    Read more
    “We use three-quarters of the land and two-thirds of the oceans – we are completely dominating the Earth,” said Ivar Baste of the Norwegian Environment Agency, a lead author of the report.

    Prof Sir Robert Watson, who has led UN scientific assessments on climate and biodiversity and is the other lead author of the report, said: “We have got a triple emergency and these three issues are all interrelated and have to be dealt with together. They’re no longer just environmental issues – they are economic issues, development issues, security issues, social, moral and ethical issues.

    “Of all the things we have to do, we have to really rethink our economic and financial systems. Fundamentally, GDP doesn’t take nature into account. We need to get rid of these perverse subsidies, they are $5-7tn a year. If you could move some of these towards low-carbon technology and investing in nature, then the money is there.”

    This meant taking on companies and countries with vested interests in fossil fuels, he said: “There are a lot of people that really like these perverse subsidies. They love the status quo. So governments have to have the guts to act”.

    Financial institutions could play a huge role, Watson said, by ending funding for fossil fuels, the razing of forests and large-scale monoculture agriculture. Companies should act too, he said: “Proactive companies see that if they can be sustainable, they can be first movers and make a profit. But in some cases, regulation will almost certainly be needed for those companies that don’t care.”

    Pollution was included in the report because despite improvements in some wealthy nations, toxic air, water, soils and workplaces cause at least 9 million deaths a year, one in six of all deaths. “This is still a huge issue,” said Baste.

    The world’s nations will gather at two crucial UN summits in 2021 on the climate and biodiversity crises. “We know we failed miserably on the biodiversity targets [set in 2010],” said Watson. “I’ll be very disappointed if at these summits all they talk about is targets and goals. They’ve got to talk about actions – that’s really what’s crucial.”

    And when they have the existential matters sorted, move on to the peripheral matters.

    Apparently such thinking is completely beyond the capability of the Green Party hierarchy.

  2. When the dust settles in the next decade Bomber we on the right will sit back and despair at the social damage done by this crusade much the same way you look back at the Lange government of 1984 and economic deregulation that followed.

    There will only be comeback when it starts affecting the sheeple in the middle. At this juncture they still enjoy living a delusional, debt fueled bubble where they get a outdoor pizza oven and a jetski for sub 4% on tick therefore zero fucks given. All the time the ‘wokeborg’ assimilates more and more people……..

    • “we on the right …”

      Nice try Frank. Identity politics can’t be dismissed as a left wing thing. It certainly originated on the left, and appears to have completely cannibalized the mainstream left in the Anglosphere. But surely you’re aware that woke has colonized the corporate world too – the likes of Alan Joyce (Qantas) and Mark Parker (Nike) can’t get enough identity politics. I myself work for a woke corporation, which is the main reason I use a pseudonym.

      Many of those who embrace identity politics aren’t economic lefties – they’re best described as progressive neoliberals.

      • Yeah ‘cos it’s such a convenient fig-leaf to hide real intent, real goals etc. I’ve seen some enormous crocks of shit in my 65 years but identity politics is the biggest /greatest worthless diversion/distraction yet! There is only one issue for any Green Political Party. Climate Change. Everything else is window dressing.

      • The wokeborg assimilated corporate multinational world a long time ago. I think you mistake ‘old’ left with new ‘left’. The new ‘left’ is arguably neoliberal, globalist in their worldview. Most of their ‘ideals’ such as freedom of movement, fluid borders etc are when you boil them down bastardised neo-liberal concepts. This is one of the main reasons corporate big business has sided with them. Much cheaper to employ migrant labor etc.

    • Frank, your National Party did more damage to justice than the wokey Greens ever will purely by making the fiscal side of enforcing the law a primary factor. In their haste to save money on all government spending they did great damage to the judicial system and we live with the consequences today. Tough on crime, what ever.

      Even a shaved monkey knows the Green Party are pure woke so save the breathless hype for your people who listen to Newstalk ZB!

  3. Objectively, this situation may have come about because lawyers are trained to interpret and apply and uphold the law, whereas journalists, commentators, and politicians rarely are. The intellectual deficiencies of the latter group, especially the politicians making laws, shouldn’t enable the victimisation any innocent persons of any ilk, and if the Spinoff deliberately withheld information which did not suit their purpose, then that can be construed as obstructing justice, which is also a criminal offence – as well as morally reprehensible- and they should have been called to account for this.

    Suggestions that the PM may have been party to covering up a criminal offence may simply be indicative of the lowering of standards which became acceptable under the John Key regime. Hopefully the opposition will be able to stop the Greens from again trying to perpetrate injustice upon innocent persons.

  4. Wait until more boyfriends and husbands go to trial (then jail) based on ‘he said/she said’ testimony, and their families start complaining that no-one was allowed to mention that prior relationship. Complaints that their male relative was presented during the trial as a unknown stranger raping a random woman.

    The new law will be seen as denying a fair trial. It will be a ‘barbeque-stopper’ issue as they say in Australia.

    • During a trial facts are presented which place alleged rapes in context eg few rapes are committed by strangers leaping from bushes. This does not however prevent the ordeal of false accusations being tested in a court of law, or of flawed outcomes.

  5. The war on drugs, the war on free speech, and now ladies and gentlemen we have the war on men. Go online and in the deep dark recess of the Internet who will find the ‘manosphere’, YouTube channels with reference to ‘MGTOW’ (men going there own way) which these creators claim is not a movement, but a philosophy.
    Look into the sentiments of these guys, or more terrifyingly the sentiments of ‘INCEL’ groups.
    Where have all the good men gone?

  6. A few months ago I went to a public lecture where two female academics from Auckland University spoke about the lobbying they had done towards a law change.
    They plainly said that there were ‘too few convictions for rape’ and that juries are usually biased in favour of males and ‘ are reluctant to convict young men of rape’.
    When I challenged the statement about sympathetic juries – what evidence did they have of bias? I could not see that they had done any actual research into this.
    The ‘too few convictions for rape,’ statement made me think of my Chinese father-in-law who was a foreman engineer in a Shenyang steel plant during the Cultural Revolution.
    The local Party Secretary told him that because no ‘Counter Revolutionaries’ had been exposed in his department he was under suspicion and if he wanted to clear himself he better produce some.
    Am I exaggerating if I say that the demand for more rape convictions has some similarities to this? Will convicting more men make women safer? Can anyone tell me?

  7. I do think we feminists need to be moving beyond #metoo.

    It served a purpose initially, in highlighting how sexual harassment, assault and rape of women is widespread, and rarely results in a conviction. It especially showed how wealthy and powerful men get away with abuse of women, and some men, all the time.

    But, the underlying problem is with the justice system, and somehow this needs to be fixed.

    #metoo is an individualist solution to an widespread, systemic problem, and it is often women with a bit of power, status and/or media profile that have been successful in exposing harassers & rapists.

    These days, many of the same women who use the #metoo approach, give males who identify as women a free pass. Women inside & outside the LGBT+ community who have highlighted sexual abuse and rape from self IDed transwomen, get abused and/or censored by some of the #metoo feminists.

    There are loads of cases of this happening internationally.

    Apparently such assaults/rapes never happen in NZ….!?

  8. While I think her criticism, so as to ensure fair defence, has merit, her attempt to network opposition to it is both off point and a bit dubious.

    “Defendants from lower-income levels of society, and Māori and Pacific Island communities, already bear the brunt of the criminal justice system disproportionately to their numbers. The message that would go out to these defendants is that the system is being changed to make it easier to put innocent men in jail, because they cannot be effectively defended in the usual way.”

    She is basically seeking the support of Maori and Pacific Islanders by infering they are the ones most at risk if rape complaints more often lead to conviction. First I would have thought it was not those men who were getting off on rape charges now. And second, are not Maori and Polynesian women amongst thsoe who have been raped and have been deterred from coming forward by the system as it was/still is?

  9. Jan Logie, Green MP, was Parliamentary under-secretary for domestic and sexual violence issues in the last government – the Justice Minister was Hon Andrew Little. He is now Health Minister and she has no current position apart from MP and member of the Business and Education and workforce Select Committees and womens spokesperson.

    Hon Kris Faafoi is Justice Minister, Hon Willie Jackson and Aupito William Sio are the Asscoiate Ministers (presumably these are the men Marie Dyhberg was trying to influence).

    The Labour and Green co-operation agreement

    a. Marama Davidson will be appointed to the position of Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness).

    b. Hon James Shaw will be appointed to the position of Minister of Climate Change and Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity).

    10. The Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence will be the lead Minister for the whole of government response on family and sexual violence with the mandate to coordinate Budget bids in this area. The Minister will also be a member of the ad hoc Ministerial group on the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.

    11. These Ministerial portfolios also reflect areas where Green Party expertise provides a valuable contribution to the Labour Government.

    12. Ministers from the Green Party will attend Cabinet Committees for items relevant to their portfolios and receive Cabinet Papers relevant to their portfolios, as provided for in the Cabinet Manual.

    As the ODT put is last year – after the bill’s progress was blocked by NZ First

    “The make-up of any new government will determine whether further changes will be promoted and if progressing this Bill promptly will be high on the agenda.”

    This Labour government has a majority, it decided on the co-operation agreement with Greens. And it held all the power then and now.

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