The Dim-Post

November 4, 2013

Incentives in everything

Filed under: crime — danylmc @ 1:53 pm

The Police statement about the ‘Roastbusters’ a group of alleged gang-rapists who document their exploits on social media is interesting:

 Waitemata Police investigating rape allegations involving a group calling themselves the “RoastBusters” say a full and thorough investigation has been conducted, but in the absence of significant evidence such as formal statements, there is not enough evidence to prosecute the alleged offenders at this time.

Police have spoken with all identified and possible victims and their friends, on a number of occasions. We appreciate their difficult and traumatic situation however without further evidence such as formal statements Police are unable to prosecute the offenders in this case.  A Facebook site which was used by the suspects, although offensive and innapropriate, did not provide evidence which would allow the case to be put before a court.

Police acknowledge how difficult it is for victims of sex crimes to take the step of making a formal complaint to Police. Nobody should be subjected to this behaviour and it is very frustrating for the enquiry team who have worked tirelessly for months on the case.

In the past two weeks, Police contacted the girls again to see if any were at the stage where they felt able to make a formal statement to Police, and will continue to investigate this case and to build sufficient evidence to progress this matter.

I’m not sure if the police are correct about the legal situation, but it seems to me that their powerlessness in this matter sends a strong signal to rapists and potential rapists that they should target under-age victims and document the assault. Which seems like an odd message for the justice system to be putting out there.


  1. The Police also need to consider whether they can successfully prosecute. I suspect while they may have enough to lay a charge they do not have enough to feel comfortable they will be able to progress further.

    Comment by rsmsingers — November 4, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

  2. I get that the evidence as it exists probably wouldn’t result in a successful conviction. But if the police thought that these guys were selling and/or distributing drugs they’d put them under surveillance and try and secure convictions. Doesn’t the alleged serial gang-rape of minors warrant that kind of investigation?

    Comment by danylmc — November 4, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

  3. If the girl is identified and this identification confirms she is under-age then it is rape. What more evidence do you need? There is an age of consent for a reason. She isn’t of age, she cannot consent.

    Maybe the Police don’t prosecute because the victim asks them not too; she does not want to be re-victimised. But that is different to saying there is not enough evidence of a crime to prosecute.

    Or maybe there is not enough evidence of sexual intercourse, just an on-line humiliation and some bragging? I haven’t seen the facebook page (and do not want to) so don’t know the detail it provided.

    It reads like they had the group udner surveillance, waiting for someone to trip up.

    Comment by MeToo — November 4, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

  4. (Alcohol and consent is an issue too, but harder to prove after the event and without co-operation than age and consent.)

    Comment by MeToo — November 4, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

  5. If the girl is identified and this identification confirms she is under-age then it is rape. What more evidence do you need? There is an age of consent for a reason. She isn’t of age, she cannot consent.

    This is not an accurate statement of the law. Underage sex is not necessarily rape. It may simply be underage sex. Both are illegal, but one is more serious. The difference between unlawful sexual connection by age and unlawful sexual connection is that the first occurs when there is sexual connection with someone underage. Sex with someone under age is rape is there is not consent. If there is consent, that consent means it is not rape, although it is still illegal. The law is not so much that someone underage cannot consent, but that the consent of someone underage does not make the sex legal. It does, however, mean it is not rape.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — November 4, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

  6. I can see how there would be problems with evidence. Unless the relevant physical tests were taken at the time of the offence, it may not be possible to prove any sexual intercourse (or other sexual activity) took place – consensual or otherwise – on a specific occasion. Of course, if there were photos or video of whatever may have happened then any case for prosecuting a rape charge is MUCH stronger….but without hard evidence that anything actually occurred the chances of a successful prosecution are limited.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — November 4, 2013 @ 3:31 pm

  7. It seems a very odd thing to say – “We are aware of documented rape (or illegal sexual contact) incidences, but can’t see how we can do anything about it.”

    Am I stupid or doesn’t it seem like obtaining the documentation and proceeding on it’s evidence is an obvious plan?

    Comment by Fentex — November 4, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

  8. Which seems like an odd message for the justice system to be putting out there.

    There is, sadly in some cases, a presumption if innocence.

    That evidence that could possibly lead to a conviction is required before charged are laid is how the system dies and should work.

    We don’t know exactly what the police were doing or what their strategy was but I’ll certainly wait to be better informed before naming a judgement.

    Otherwise it’s getting to look like social media vigilantism.

    Comment by NeilM — November 4, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

  9. We don’t have a “justice system”, we have a legal system.

    Comment by grant — November 4, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

  10. Given that any prosecution would likely involve the defendants alleging the sex was consensual, any defense lawyer worth his salt would make a huge deal out of the victims’ non-involvement in a police prosecution. “If she didn’t consent, why isn’t she here?” Of course we can (I hope) think of many reasons why she wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t envy the police prosecutor whose job it was to get a conviction under those circumstances.

    The police would have legal grounds to prosecute these guys but are probably holding off because they’re likely to lose and want to conserve their resources.

    Comment by Hugh — November 4, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

  11. Sorry, yes legal system

    Drug and sex crimes are quite different are for good reason they are treated differently. With sex crimes the victim is of primary importance and that is reflected in how the legal system now desks with sex offences.

    There’s been an ill considered rush to judgement of the police by some who should know better. If they botch up the evidence and investition then these guys could get off.

    And already there’s been calls for forms of vigilantly just, it’s a time for cooler heads.

    Comment by NeilM — November 4, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

  12. Surely any footage of sex with an under-16 is evidence of rape, and it’s also covered by indecent publication laws. If they’ve photographed or videoed sex with an underage person, there would be no hesitation to prosecute. So there must be some misreporting here. I expect there’s only been bragging online and the cops can’t get one of the girls to corroborate. Correct me if you know I’m wrong. 7

    Comment by skeeter — November 4, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

  13. A police decision to lay charges against drug dealers doednt result in an extremely harrowing court process for any drug user.

    It’s pretty clear the police want to lay charges but are in a difficult position since the young teenagers aren’t yet willing to make a complaint.

    I wouldn’t want to be making the decision to have these young girls put through the trial process without them deciding that’s what they want to do.

    Comment by NeilM — November 4, 2013 @ 8:53 pm

  14. For once, I say the police are acting with great wisdom. After monitoring the site to try get evidence to prosecute (and not getting enough – they said on radio today that the facebook page didn’t have incriminating text or photos or videos, just clear insinuations), they have gone public to warn young girls and their parents about these predators. They also hope to draw out any other victims who may not have come forward.

    Already, a couple of the suspects have started to cooperate with the cops. Maybe cut a deal and narc on their mates. Good.

    One issue is that police have a responsibility to act to protect the public, which they balance against their efforts to secure a prosecution against dirtbags like these. Rape Crisis have already implicitly questioned whether police held off too long on warning the public about these predators; 2 years is a long time. How many girls were raped while police kept a watching brief?

    Oh, and to chuck the cat among the pigeons, I have noticed a disturbing number of liberals (both left- and right-wing) seem to view (illegal) under-age consensual sex as okay (oh, you shouldn’t really have sex, but here’s a couple of condoms to keep yourself ‘safe’). Perhaps police were worried about getting a few like that on the jury. And that’s before we consider the charmers who start to question these girls drinking, or wearing short skirts…

    Best thing we can do – educate the teenage boys that if they hear one of the mates or acquaintances talking about this kind of stuff, they should:
    – tell a parent on responsible adult they trust (teacher, etc)
    – let the guy who said it know how out of line they are.
    That way we may just change the culture, like was done with drunk driving. Time to man up, and end this sick attitude to ‘drunk sex’ and ‘underage sex’.

    Comment by bob — November 4, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

  15. Doesn’t the alleged serial gang-rape of minors warrant that kind of investigation?

    There has been, and still is, an investigation. Has that entailed surveillance? I don’t know and neither do you.

    Are you arguing for greater surveillance powers, a lowering of evidential standards?

    If, as is most likely, it turns out the police have done all they could within the law then this type of criticism is sending exactly the wrong message.

    Comment by NeilM — November 5, 2013 @ 2:08 am

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