Rape Victims Told They Must Hand Over Their Phones to Police or Risk Prosecution Against Their Accusers Being Dropped!
At least two complaints are planning a legal challenge against a new consent form which asks permission to access text messages, photographs, emails and social media accounts. These consent forms rolled out across 43 forces in England and Wales after a string of Rape and Sexual Assault cases collapsed when critical information emerged at the last minute.
Police and Prosecutors defend this action as a means of closing a gap that presently does NOT force complainants or witnesses to disclose their phones,tablets,laptops or smart watches. Big Brother, a privacy advocate group says this move is akin to a strip search and treats victims as suspects. The form, according to the article indicates a) If you do not provide consent to access you have to explain why and b) If you refuse to provide consent for Police to investigate or for Prosecution to disclose material that allows the Defendant a fair trial, then it may not be possible for the investigation or prosecution to continue. The Centre For Women’s Justice said a legal challenge is expected from at least two women who were told by Police their cases are likely to collapse if they do not co-operate. They also cited a recent case of a woman who reported a rape and expressed her opinion that such evasion of privacy of her personal life by strangers made her feel violated once again.
Balancing the need for privacy and the need for justice is always a complicated issue. Both Victim and Accused are entitled to a Fair and Just Legal System. Paul P. gives you his thoughts and opinions on this case, fair and balanced.