When I stopped guest blogging Amp kindly said that I could post any further updates about the police rape case that I had been writing about. There hasn’t actually been a major development in the police rape case, but some information that had previously been suppressed is now able to be talked about.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about I wrote a summary a couple of months ago. The short version is that one of New Zealand’s assistant police commissioners* stood trial for rape, alongside two of his former police buddies. They were found not guilty after a three week trial where it was sometimes hard to figure out who the media thought the defendent was (it was called the ‘Louise Nicholas trial’ – even though trials are usually named after the defendents).
I knew, I think a lot New Zealanders knew, that there was more than one accusation of rape against these men. That they were basically using their badges (and their batons) to rape and abuse women with impunity.
There is still a lot of suppressed information in this trial, including information that the jury isn’t allowed to know. Immediately after the verdict some of this suppressed information was posted on my blog. I was then told then that there weren’t just more accusations; there were going to be more trials. That there was a real possibility that the breaches of suppression orders could lead to the judge throwing out the charges against these men, on the grounds they couldn’t get a fair trial.
I took down information breaking the suppression order on my blog, and on Alas. I believed that any woman who wanted to try and get justice through the court system deserved that right. While I believed that the information I had published would not prevent a fair trial – the judge might.
The fact that there were more trials was also suppressed, and I was told that even mentioning future trials could lead to the rapists’ lawyers arguing that Bob Schollum, Brad Shipton and Clint Rickards weren’t going to be able to get a fair trial (I never did understand that argument, presumably the jury would know there was another trial – because they were at it). So I couldn’t even explain why I was taking the information down.
Now part of the suppression order has been lifted and so I was able to say that they are going to stand trial for at least one more set of sex charges. I don’t know if it’s just the one more trial, there could be more than that. I don’t know how many women these men raped, but I do know that it’ll be less than the number of rapes that they’re charged with.
There are a number of women who have fought to take on the entire police system and expose a systematic culture of rape and abuse. The police officers who were investiagting their complaints were mates of the men who raped them. Finally, two decades after the fact, some of these cases are coming to trial. That the woman whose case is going to be heard next is prepared to proceed, even after watching how Louise Nicholas was treated is a testimony to her strength.
* Policing is centralised in New Zealand, so this is sort of the equivalent of the Deputy Commissioner of the FBI being charged with multiple counts of rape.
Note this thread is for feminists and pro-feminists only.