Judges Revolt over Rape Law to Protect Drunken Women
Byline: JAMES SLACK
SO the madness that is New Labour's obsession with casinos goes from bad to worse. The $64,000 question is: Why?
Whowanted dozens of them in the first place - apart from American tycoons hoping to muscle in on Britain's betting bonanza? Where was the public demand for alcohol on the gaming floor or casino advertisements on TV?
Everyone who knows anything about the misery of gambling addiction has warned repeatedly against the Government's new laws. Yet Ministers pay no JUDGES have opposed the Government's controversial plans to change rape laws.
Ministers say that once a woman's level of drunkenness renders her incapable of consent, a man who sleeps with her should be charged with rape.
But the Council of Circuit Judges dismissed the idea of a legal definition of a woman's capacity to consent to sex.
They believe it should be left up to a jury to decide whether an alleged victim was in a fit state to agree.
The Council, which represents the 637 circuit judges who would have to enforce the law, also opposed other aspects of Labour's attempt to increase the rape conviction rate, which stands at 5.3 per cent.
Judges said showing interviews with victims filmed when they first go to the police would be too emotive. Ministers believe this would explain the distress of victims.
But judges said it would not help establish the truth. They were also critical of plans to use expert witnesses in court to help dispel 'rape myths'.
Their rejection of a statutory definition of a woman's ability to consent will prove most damaging to ministers. The inten-attention - just as they ignored every warning, now proved so well founded, against 24-hour drinking. …