We were fortunate indeed that Karen Straughan the Edmonton based activist for men’s rights was able to be with us for our 2019 Conference. We were anxious that someone of Karen’s stature and experience would address a topic which is very current: the ongoing review of the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the Dept of Justice. This is something of grave concern since it has implications for the fundamental principle of due process and the right to a fair trial.
That this is no exaggeration is borne out by experience from N. Ireland where a similar review has been undertaken. A group of barristers from the Bar of Northern Ireland travelled to Britain to observe a pilot project that promised drastic change for how alleged rape offences were prosecuted and defended. Among the changes they saw were:
The complainant never had to undergo the distressing process of giving evidence in a courtroom.
Crucially, the process of cross-examination of the alleged victim also took place long before the trial.
The Northern Irish barristers were “gravely concerned” by what they saw.
Karen did an interview on Limerick Live 95 in which she spoke about experience from Canada on this matter and gave her assessment as an outsider. It can be accessed here: