The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

And They Wonder Why So Many Women Don’t Press Rape Charges

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 29, 2008

While it’s (sadly) not unusual to hear of sexist questioning from the defense counsel during rape cases (i.e. “What were you wearing?”, “Were you drunk at the time?”), now we can add racist and idiotic to the party. This is, frankly, gobsmacking:

A barrister has tried to exclude Greeks from being jurors in a Victorian rape trial because of a “common misunderstanding” they like anal sex.

John Desmond, a defence barrister for 23 years, initially told a County Court judge his submission was in fairness to the alleged victim, a Greek woman.

He told Judge Roy Punshon there was a misunderstanding in the community that “Greeks like anal sex” and that the woman might be seen as compliant and “in fact wanting it”.

“That would be doing her a disservice, it wouldn’t be fair to either party,” Mr Desmond said earlier this month.

When Judge Punshon refused the application — saying he would not have a jury empanelled that excluded Greek people — Mr Desmond then made the application on behalf of his client “in fairness” to him.

Asked by Judge Punshon what the issue was with his client, Mr Desmond replied: ” I don’t want a Greek juror empathising with a Greek complainant (the woman), your honour.”

Did you get that? Essentially, Mr Desmond is saying, “Well, she’s Greek, and they love it up the bum, so it wouldn’t really be fair to her.” What a chivalrous guy, huh? Here’s a further excerpt from the transcript:

Mr Desmond began his submission by telling Judge Punshon it would be appropriate that there be a “general exemption for a category of potential juror to be inquired of in the case here”.

Asked by Judge Punshon what was the issue of fairness to the complainant, Mr Desmond replied: “Greeks.

“See, the allegation here, this is a Greek complainant and her nationality will be established on the evidence, your honour, it’s part of the narrative and there are allegations here of anal penetration and there’s a common misunderstanding in the community that Greeks like anal sex and she might readily then be seen to be compliant and in fact wanting it.

“That would be doing her a disservice, it wouldn’t be fair to either party.”

Unbelievable. Mr Desmond must have been pleased that his client was eventually acquitted (the other two men standing trial were found guilty), regardless of the number of “Greeks” on the jury.

2 Responses to “And They Wonder Why So Many Women Don’t Press Rape Charges”

  1. mscate said

    How ridiculous.

  2. audrey said

    Yeah. There’s also a common conception that women generally like sex in general and therefore must be wanting it whenever they get raped in a general manner.

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