Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Court: Big Place, Tiny People

Well, there we go. There were no council meetings. Seems I should have listened to Ms. Murray after all, and for that I apologize. I did however get a chance to visit the courts once again, for that slice of reporting action that I crave so very much, so very often. Seriously, its like a drug.

Anyway, the experience started like any other experience involving court reporting. I got dressed up in my finery, or...tie and shirt, and toddled on down to the court like a good little soldier of the fourth estate. The court was just as imposing as I remember it, with the security guards looking down at me with their scarily broad shoulders, and the people wearing wigs, even though they don't need to! There's a strange sort of madness abroad in those halls I tell you.

Anyway, I immediately deviated towards the reception. "What cases have you got in the courts today?" I ask.
"Well, we've got a rape in court 1." she replies.
"Oh good!" I reply. Sometimes I think that a constant flow of bad news has tainted me, like a water supply, but then I quickly quell that thought.

When I went into court 1, I suddenly realized that I might be a bit in over my head at this stage in the game, considering the sheer caliber of journalism that graced the press box during this very controversial of cases. People from the Times and such.

The details of the case is as follows:

Peter Bacon, 26, was being accused of the rape of a 45 year old solicitor in her house in Kent. During the case, several character witnesses were brought forward, all giving glowing reports of Mr. Bacon's gentlemanly persona, and generally niceness towards members of both the opposite and same sex. The three witnesses, who all work with Mr. Bacon, used phrases like "genuine" and team player" when describing his character, whilst a fourth statement issued by his ex-girlfriend Emma Anderson, was glowing, explaining how he "respected wishes and boundaries" and calling him one of her "closest friends".

Since my visit to the court, the case has been dropped, with the jury of seven women and four men taking 45 minutes to label Bacon not guilty. Questions have been asked as to why the case, which cost the taxpayer and estimated £90,000, was followed through, considering the substantial amount of evidence leading towards Bacon's innocence.

The 45 year old woman who raised the charges described herself as a "casual binge-drinker" claimed that on the night of the suspected rape, was "too drunk to remember consenting to sex".

Thus endeth the copy.

Well, in my opinion, this is a "tricky grey area". Its one thing to say that "she was giving me the come-on" and its another thing entirely to have taken advantage. The true fact is that only one person there is capable of remembering what happened, and that was Mr. Bacon. And no ones going to admit to rape. Certainly not one accused of it.