The Dim-Post

September 9, 2016

Darkness before beers

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:26 am

There’ll be an awful lot written about the convergence of issues in the Chiefs/Scarlette scandal, but something I think we’re seeing a lot of, generally, is the rise of the anti-show trial in which powerful people or institutions accused of wrongdoing investigate and then exonerate themselves, generally outside the bounds of the criminal justice system.

49 Comments »

  1. You mean like a South American banana republic with a self-appointed elite that thinks it is above the law? Something like that?

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 9, 2016 @ 8:40 am

  2. The counter to that will be holding back on evidence until the faux-investigation is over. Feed the media with “fresh revelations”.

    Also, the term “QC” will be devalued pretty quick if they keep agreeing to do these (it’s happened under both Clark and Key). So they might not volunteer for the job, because lawyers will always value their reputation over their fees … er, let me try that again?

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 9, 2016 @ 8:52 am

  3. I thought rugby was played by gentlemen?

    Comment by leeharmanclark — September 9, 2016 @ 9:01 am

  4. “…I thought rugby was played by gentlemen..?”

    Maybe back in the old country, my dear fellow. Here we’ve thoroughly democratised the game, together with an unseemly obsession with money and many of the other beastly habits of the lesser classes, as this episode demonstrates. A young lady retained for the evenings entertainment would be totally safe in a Gentleman’s Rugby Club lounge in London, I’ll wager many older members would discretely line up with their 10 shilling notes for a good spanking to administered by her, not to her!

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 9, 2016 @ 9:13 am

  5. So far the only emotional response I’ve seen from Rugby spokesmen has been exasperation.

    Comment by NeilM — September 9, 2016 @ 10:05 am

  6. Or maybe its best not to go running off to the media first before making a police complaint about inappropriate behaviour

    Comment by rjs131 — September 9, 2016 @ 10:08 am

  7. This entire fiasco has been litigated outside the bounds of the criminal justice system. In fact, the only thing that everyone involved seems to agree on is that they don’t want it investigated by the Police. That in itself is a pretty damning indictment on the system. But it also makes this kind of self-serving claytons investigation almost inevitable. We don’t have an alternative police force to conduct investigations that are not being investigated by the Police. So as long as people remain convinced that they should not complain to the Police, trial by media or in-house investigations are as good as it is going to get.

    Comment by Nick R — September 9, 2016 @ 10:39 am

  8. We always knew she wouldn’t get justice and that she’d cop a massive backlash, be called a liar and worse. That’s the way it always happens. Every time. She’s very courageous for coming forward and hopefully this scandal will teach a few people what the audience members should and shouldn’t do when watching a stripper. At the very least it’ll stop professional sports teams from hiring strippers.

    Comment by NN — September 9, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

  9. Well, the criminal justice system requires a complaint of rape or assault. There’s no offence of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ and I can’t see how you define one without criminalising a lot of people’s entirely consensual bonking.

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — September 9, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

  10. Rich, what she alleges in the radio interview definitely constitutes assault at the very least. She won’t make a complaint to the police because it would be unlikely to achieve anything.

    Comment by NN — September 9, 2016 @ 2:29 pm

  11. Women wanting to be treated with dignity and respect would be wise to not work as strippers, I would have thought. Wouldn’t that be the sort of job where you would frequently be touched or whatever by drunk men egging each other on? I would have thought that was common sense. Maybe not.

    Comment by Jimmy — September 9, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

  12. I worked as a stripper for nearly two years, and the vast majority of customers were capable of keeping their hands to themselves. It’s not actually that difficult.

    Comment by helenalex — September 9, 2016 @ 3:23 pm

  13. @NN, so how do you prove beyond reasonable doubt who committed the assault without the evidence of the victim? Unless the players confess.

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — September 9, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

  14. “Wouldn’t that be the sort of job where you would frequently be touched or whatever by drunk men egging each other on? I would have thought that was common sense.”

    So, by that logic, police who get assaulted shouldn’t complain, because it’s an expected workplace hazard?

    Comment by Stephen J — September 9, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

  15. “So, by that logic, police who get assaulted shouldn’t complain, because it’s an expected workplace hazard?”

    Of course they can complain but police officers will sometimes be assaulted because of the sort of people they encounter every day (criminals). If you don’t want to get assaulted by criminals, then don’t do a job that would require you to be around them a lot.

    Comment by Jimmy — September 9, 2016 @ 4:13 pm

  16. NN – I can also understand her not wanting to complain to the Police. But the idea that complaining to the media instead would somehow produce better results seems misguided.

    Comment by Nick R — September 9, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

  17. >> “[One] proceeded to touch my vagina multiple times with me telling him not to and eventually having to fight him off. That didn’t deter him though – he kept going.”

    That’s a bit more than ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

    And NN has a point: proving criminal actions to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in a situation of one persons word against many others is virtually impossible (assuming no recording).

    I’m not so sure about the claim that she copped a “massive backlash” tho’.

    Comment by steve — September 9, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

  18. “If you don’t want to get assaulted by criminals, then don’t do a job that would require you to be around them a lot.”

    It’s not exactly an ideal comparison, though.

    Firstly, hordes of people don’t typically run around in public arguing that a police assault isn’t the fault of a person who assaulted a Police Officer, or at the very least their responsibility is minimised, because the officer should have expected it as part of their job, and that it was their own fault for being there.

    Secondly, if a Police Officer states in court that they were assaulted, they’re likely to be treated as a credible witness. They’ll be trained for the task of a speaking in a court room. They’ll also be strongly supported throughout the process by up by a vastly resourced employer that specialises in mounting court prosecutions. By comparison if nearly any person makes a claim of being sexually assaulted, the very same legal system tends to re-victimise them over and over again. It often continues the torment for years at a time, and often without any worthwhile likeliness that the evidence that person can provide being enough to result in a conviction that might make a positive difference for them.

    Comment by izogi — September 9, 2016 @ 7:01 pm

  19. In America it’s just the same with the Maryville trial and Brock Turner.

    And another thing I’ve noticed is that apologists for rape culture will often opportunistically play the pinkwashing card, whenever the word ‘rape’ is in the same sentence as ‘refugee’ or ‘illegals’. What they really mean to say is that women are their copyright – a notion from at least around Shakespeare’s time that’s been called bollocks on.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 9, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  20. “the players crowded around her with “a real pack mentality kind of thing”, she told RNZ.”

    Trad kiwi male culture calls a spade a spade, so it’ll be necessary to rebrand the Chiefs as the Wild Dogs.

    “I told him not to hit me which he did again,” she told RNZ. “He proceeded to touch my vagina multiple times with me telling him not to and eventually having to fight him off. That didn’t deter him though, he kept going.”

    In order to prevent this primary offender from being identified, the team agreed a clever strategy: maintain that everyone was equally responsible. The media always fall for bullshit like this. Maturity for real adults involves taking responsibility for your behaviour. But these pseudo-adults are just overgrown kids, so the RU has to protect them from the adult world by having a fake investigation that ensures ongoing anonymity for the primary offender.

    But you can see why she doesn’t want the police to pursue the matter: “she slapped him as part of her routine, she said” so a court would decide that she started the violence.

    “When she arrived, the players were “beyond drunk” so she had to perform in a garden bar outside, rather than the main building, she said.” Thus the gravel. So the contract to perform professionally as entertainer became a bunch of animals tormenting a victim of their group power. She said they crowded around her – perhaps that’s why the four women present didn’t see any misbehaviour? Or perhaps they feel strippers ask for it, so they protect their husbands from having to take responsibility for bad behaviour…

    Comment by Dennis Frank — September 9, 2016 @ 8:28 pm

  21. >> ‘ “If you don’t want to get assaulted by criminals, then don’t do a job that would require you to be around them a lot.”

    It’s not exactly an ideal comparison, though.’

    Yeah, for the reasons you gave izogi. And also because it’s ridiculous to suggest that the police want to be assaulted by criminals.

    Comment by steve — September 9, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  22. Women wanting to be treated with dignity and respect would be wise to not work as strippers, I would have thought.

    That implies the men involved are involved because they want to treat women with disrespect and a lack of dignity.

    In this case that would be true but who does that reflect badly on?

    Wouldn’t that be the sort of job where you would frequently be touched or whatever by drunk men egging each other on?

    Up until relatively recently it was indeed the case that sexual harassment was considered an inevitable and not onerous price woman would have to pay if they wanted to work,

    Comment by NeilM — September 10, 2016 @ 12:15 am

  23. 4th paragraph in italics

    Comment by NeilM — September 10, 2016 @ 12:17 am

  24. proving criminal actions to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in a situation of one persons word against many others is virtually impossible (assuming no recording).

    Nonsense. An accused can be and is convicted solely or largely on the basis of the accuser’s testimony.

    Comment by Ross — September 10, 2016 @ 8:43 am

  25. Rugby players dry root each other at the pub in Hamilton (and all around NZ). They used to stand by the toilets at the Outback inn hitting up girls for a quicky in the disabled toilets. Some girls were up for it. If what they were accused of went down, it is wrong but not at all surprising. Getting nude in front of a large group of 20 something, testosterone pumped (weight training/exercise elevates testosterone levels) neanderthals who have been elevated to demi god status in the public sphere always carries the risk of going pear shaped. Rape culture is fucked up but like my dad used to say “Don’t leave your wallet on the seat of your car because unfortunately there are assholes out there who will be tempted to break in and steal it.” In some places you could probably leave the car unlocked with the windows down but in others you could be fully alarmed and the whole car could dissappear and end up in the chop shop.

    Comment by Eltalstro — September 10, 2016 @ 8:51 am

  26. David Dougherty is one of NZ’s most egregious miscarriages of justice, convicted largely on the testimony of an 11 year old girl who misidentified her attacker. That was despite the fact that Dougherty had an alibi and his DNA didn’t match the rapist’s.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3504996
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/features/1387410/Falsely-imprisoned-David-Doughertys-story

    Comment by Ross — September 10, 2016 @ 8:55 am

  27. Aaron Farmer – another egregious miscarriage of justice – was convicted of rape largely on the basis of the victim’s evidence. Farmer, like Dougherty, had an alibi and his DNA didn’t match the rapist’s.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4890554/True-rape-culprit-may-never-be-found-lawyer

    Comment by Ross — September 10, 2016 @ 9:02 am

  28. Don’t leave your wallet on the seat of your car because unfortunately there are assholes out there who will be tempted to break in and steal it.

    But there’s no contract between the thief and the owner of the wallet as there was between the stripper and the rugby club.

    There does seem to be agreement though that rugby players can’t be trusted to act in a decent manner and to honour their obligations.

    So the solution is to restrict their behaviour, since they are incapable of self-regulation, rather than restrict the employment opportunities of others.

    Comment by NeilM — September 10, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

  29. Women wanting to be treated with dignity and respect would be wise to not work as strippers, I would have thought.

    I would have said men wanting to be treated with dignity and respect would be wise not to work as rugby players, so I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 10, 2016 @ 3:39 pm

  30. I have a theory.
    The chiefs and the NZRU obviously know what went down and who the culprits are.
    Among the Chiefs squad there’s at least 2 players that I know of who are earmarked for leadership positions in the All Blacks, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick are two, there might be one or two other guys.
    If the internal investigation showed that Sam Cane (for example- I’m not saying he did) was the main culprit, the union might decide that rather than scuttle his career, which likely includes the future captaincy of the all black’s through a scandal like this, (maybe losing him to overseas contracts as a result) they would prefer to whitewash it and go with a collective responsibilty line instead.

    Again, not saying it’s Cane to blame but if it was, that might explain why they’re so keen to see this go away.

    Comment by Helmet — September 10, 2016 @ 4:57 pm

  31. “… there’s at least 2 players that I know of who are earmarked for leadership positions in the All Blacks, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick…”

    This is exactly the sort of comment you have in mind when they say all tainted with the same brush. As top flight All Blacks, they are probably the least likely to have been there, but some half wit has to go and mention them by name with zero evidence.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 10, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

  32. Because it’s a closely guarded secret that there’s ABs in the chiefs squad right?
    If they weren’t at the party you can guarantee that the NZRU press machine would have pointed that out by now.
    Their emphasis on collective responsibility suggests a need to protect certain individuals.

    Comment by Helmet — September 10, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

  33. Ross at 24 (and 26 and 27),

    >> “An accused can be and is convicted solely or largely on the basis of the accuser’s testimony.”

    Yes that can happen. Not sure your point. I, obviously, wasn’t saying there’s no possibility of miscarriages of justice. (Also, neither of your examples was of one person’s word being taken over multiple accused persons.)

    Furthermore, in your examples the crimes clearly happened but the issue was whether the right person was identified as the perpetrator. In this case the issue – if it were to go to court – would be whether the criminal activity took place at all. It’s unlikely Scarlette would be able to prove that to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard, even if it probably happened (which I’d say it did).

    Comment by steve — September 10, 2016 @ 8:36 pm

  34. @Helmet – you are making wild assumptions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 10, 2016 @ 10:10 pm

  35. Sanctuary getting squeamish, canary karking it in coalmine. Both trusty indicators that something of substance is afoot.

    Comment by Joe W — September 10, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

  36. Steve

    I thought my point was fairly clear – that an accused can be charged and convicted on the basis of an accuser’s evidence. The examples of David Dougherty and Aaron Farmer are significant because in both cases there was little or no corroborating evidence to support the allegations of rape. That didn’t prevent charges or convictions.

    You say Scarlette would be unlikely to be able to prove that a crime took place. If it’s true that nine independent witnesses do not corroborate her version of events, you might be right.

    I’d encourage you to keep an open mind. I recall the rape allegations made against players in the Duke University lacrosse team several years ago. A stripper falsely accused several young men of raping her. Many, including the prosecutor, seemed to believe her version of events from the beginning. Indeed, numerous professors put out a paid advertisement implicitly supporting the (false) allegations, referring to them as a “disaster”. They were a disaster but not for accuser or for Duke, but for the wrongly accused.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_lacrosse_case
    https://today.duke.edu/showcase/mmedia/pdf/socialdisasterad.pdf

    Comment by Ross — September 11, 2016 @ 6:40 am

  37. “If it’s true that nine independent witnesses do not corroborate her version of events, you might be right.”

    Very possibly (which doesn’t really address a separate issue of our crime & justice system not being able to address issues like sexual assault very well).

    On that specific point, I’d still withhold assumptions about that actually being the case. As far as I’m aware, nobody’s actually seen any report with any clear detail of the counter-claims. All anyone’s seen are three hardly independent NZR representatives fronting a press conference saying “we’ve checked out this accusation against our staff and think it’s wrong”.

    Comment by izogi — September 11, 2016 @ 7:39 am

  38. “@Helmet – you are making wild assumptions.”

    Wow, the Universe has shifted. Cats chasing dogs.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 11, 2016 @ 11:02 am

  39. >> “I thought my point was fairly clear – that an accused can be charged and convicted on the basis of an accuser’s evidence.”

    But in response to my comment about the difficulty of proving criminal actions to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in a situation of one person’s word against many others, you said it was nonsense and then gave non-comparable examples.

    >> “The examples of David Dougherty and Aaron Farmer are significant because in both cases there was little or no corroborating evidence to support the allegations of rape.”

    Huh? In both cases rape actually occurred. Certainly in the former, the girl was raped and someone is now in prison for it. The issue was misidentifying the perpetrator, not that the rape didn’t happen.

    >> “I’d encourage you to keep an open mind.”

    I’d be less inclined to form an opinion on who to believe if the Rugby Union’s investigation was remotely credible.

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/media/09-09-2016/some-awkward-questions-about-nz-rugbys-report-into-abuse-claims/

    Comment by steve — September 11, 2016 @ 8:09 pm

  40. In both cases rape actually occurred

    I never said it didn’t. But in each case the accused was wrongly convicted despite a lack of corroborating evidence. If an innocent person can be convicted solely or largely on the basis of the accuser’s testimony, it’s surely reasonable to expect that plenty of offenders are convicted on the same basis. Police frequently prosecute rape or sexual assault cases where there is a lack of supporting evidence.

    Comment by Ross — September 11, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

  41. Steve

    The spinoff article suggests the report doesn’t actually exist which is silly. It also asks who conducted the investigation. The Herald reports that it was Keith Binnie, an employment lawyer with the NZRU.

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11706820

    Comment by Ross — September 12, 2016 @ 7:22 am

  42. “The spinoff article suggests the report doesn’t actually exist which is silly.”

    It’s not unreasonable for media to question this. There most likely is some kind of report or documentation being kept internally, but the fact that our entire exposure to this supposed investigation has been a handful of NZR reps at a press conference effectively saying “move along, nothing to see here”, means that it’s impossible for anyone to properly scrutinise the validity of the investigation that’s reached this conclusion (hence the mass cynicism that’s everywhere). If NZR isn’t actually showing anyone, why should we assume there’s anything to show?

    “It also asks who conducted the investigation.

    Possibly, but those articles came out on the same day (9th Sep), On the previous day (from what Google News tells me — it’s difficult to be clear when online resources change their content), the reporting was only that it was believed to have been headed by Keith Binnie.

    That aside and with the knowledge of who carried it out, an even more direct question might be to ask why the investigation was carried out by an employee who, while presumably very capable of being fair and neutral, is primarily responsible for protecting NZR’s brand, which is an obvious conflict of interests if simply being employed by NZR wasn’t. And, once again, there’s no evidence of neutrality when there’s no clear documentation of how the investigation was carried out, what evidence it collected and exactly what conclusion it reached as a consequence.

    Comment by izogi — September 12, 2016 @ 8:46 am

  43. “If an innocent person can be convicted solely or largely on the basis of the accuser’s testimony, it’s surely reasonable to expect that plenty of offenders are convicted on the same basis.”

    No, it isn’t. That does not logically follow at all.

    Comment by steve — September 12, 2016 @ 11:29 pm

  44. No, it isn’t. That does not logically follow at all.

    Why not?

    In 2015, there were 2,337 convictions for sexual assault or related offences in NZ. Given that there are seldom eyewitnesses – other than the victim – when sexual assaults occur, many of those found guilty of sexual assault last year may have been convicted largely or solely on the basis of the accuser’s evidence.

    Comment by Ross — September 13, 2016 @ 6:17 pm

  45. “Why not?”

    Because it’s a non sequitur. And it doesn’t help that you use wishy-washy terms in an ostensibly deductive statement. What does “plenty” mean in your context? “Massive numbers of…”? “Virtually all of…”?

    An alternative but equivalent statement: If a person guilty of sexual assault can be acquitted on the basis of a jury mostly agreeing that the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” was not met, despite all agreeing that the person was at least probably guilty, it’s reasonable to expect that a massive number of people actually guilty of sexual assault are acquitted on the same basis.

    I’m being generous in even bothering with such a close comparison. Your argument of “if X can happen then it’s surely reasonable to expect that X happens a lot”, has obvious problems.

    Comment by steve — September 14, 2016 @ 1:22 am

  46. Steve

    I think you are arguing with yourself. As I explained at 44, there were over 2000 convictions last year for sexual assaults and related offences. From memory, that represents about 50% of prosecutions for such offences. So about half of all prosecutions result in conviction.

    You made the statement above that “proving criminal actions to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in a situation of one persons word against many others is virtually impossible (assuming no recording).” It isn’t virtually impossible at all. It happens all the time. I gave you two good examples where innocent accused had been convicted despite a lack of supporting evidence. On what basis do you think they were convicted if not for the evidence of their accuser?

    Comment by Ross — September 14, 2016 @ 7:11 am

  47. I think you are arguing with yourself. As I explained at 44, there were over 2000 convictions last year for sexual assaults and related offences. From memory, that represents about 50% of prosecutions for such offences. So about half of all prosecutions result in conviction.

    Um, okay. I’m not sure what that’s got to do with my answer to your question, i.e. that your statement was a non sequitur, but thanks for trying.

    You made the statement above that “proving criminal actions to the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard in a situation of one persons word against many others is virtually impossible (assuming no recording).” It isn’t virtually impossible at all. It happens all the time. I gave you two good examples…

    You gave two examples that were not the situation of one person’s word against many others. Not sure why you think those were good examples. Still, if it happens all the time, there must be a massive number of other examples. Will you be a linking to a Wikipedia page or an MRA website?

    … where innocent accused had been convicted despite a lack of supporting evidence.

    Convicted but ultimately acquitted. The system ultimately reached the conclusion that the standard of ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt’ was not met.

    My point in context was obviously that I agreed with NN’s comment about how a person in Scarlett’s situation may not want to lodge a formal police complaint. The standard for Scarlett (or someone in her situation) would need to reach to ultimately secure prosecution is very difficult to attain if it is her word against the word of a number of other people, all other things being equal. This should be uncontroversial.

    Comment by steve — September 15, 2016 @ 1:04 am

  48. Steve

    I think you’d be keen on a Star Chamber. Far simpler and cheaper than annoying jury trials.

    Comment by Ross — September 15, 2016 @ 6:06 pm

  49. I wasn’t actually arguing against jury trails. You, however, do seem keen to point out poor jury decisions.

    Comment by steve — September 16, 2016 @ 12:05 am


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