Thousands of Rape Stories Are Made Up, Claims Judge

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Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY

THOUSANDS of men are falsely accused of rape each year because women make up claims, a senior judge said yesterday.

The reason so few rapists are convicted is because of the high number of unfounded allegations, according to Roger Sanders.

He also criticised Government proposals which aim to increase rape convictions by using expert witnesses to explain victims' psychology.

'We've already had to suffer pseudoscientific evidence of so-called facial mapping experts which, in my experience, has been hopeless - and handwriting experts who are not much better,' said the judge. 'Perhaps we'll have astrologers next.' Solicitor-General Mike O'Brien last month said rape conviction rates were 'unacceptably low', with only 751 from more than 14,000 rape allegations in 2004.

But there are concerns over ministers' attempts to secure more convictions.

Some judges and lawyers are known to hold private fears that the Government is trying to put too much pressure on juries.

Under its plans, a man will be guilty of rape if he has sex with a woman who is judged too drunk to give consent.

The proposals would also allow expert witnesses and video evidence showing distraught women in police stations within hours of alleged rapes, to help juries overcome 'myths' about victims.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Unreliable Evidence programme, Judge Sanders added that the Government's use of statistics is distorted.

'It is very emotive to tell us that 14,000 allegations were made in 2004,' he said.

'Only 2,000 to 2,500, I think, were prosecuted and of course the conviction rate was only 751, being 5.29 per cent.' He added: 'Perhaps the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, will tell us why those were not prosecuted? …