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  1. Former star of Dragons' Den Doug Richard has been found not guilty of child sex offences. Mr Richard, 57 contacted a 13-year-old girl through a "sugar daddy" website. He admitted having sex with the girl but told the court he believed she was 17. He was cleared of sexual activity with a child, causing a child to engage in sexual activity and paying for sexual services. He exchanged messages with the 13-year-old after meeting her on the Seeking Arrangements website and went on to act out his fantasies when she travelled from her home in Norwich to London to meet him. The American businessman, who once advised Prime Minister David Cameron, told jurors that at the time he believed she was an experienced 17-year-old and insisted he would never "knowingly" have sex with a child. The court heard he gave the girl and a friend who accompanied her £60 each in cash, which Richard says was a "gift" and not payment for sex. The court also heard that he made two £120 deposits into PayPal accounts to cover their travel expenses and pre-booked an apartment in London. The jury was sent out at 11:00 GMT and took under four hours to reach a verdict. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35437118 There's more detail on the Evening Standard website: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/former-dragons-den-star-doug-richard-cleared-of-paying-girl-13-for-sex-a3168601.html Including this line: "In one conversation, the technology entrepreneur asked her: “Are you free to come to London after school?” Richard claims he thought the girl, who is barely 5ft tall and weighs less than six stone, was 17 – despite her sending a naked picture – and says he was mortified to learn that she was 13." Now, he's been found Not Guilty of the charges but has admitted having sex with the girl. I find it difficult to believe he was not aware that she was under 16. There seems to have been a massive betrayal of trust here - he's 57 and she was, according to his defence, 17, but in reality 13 years old. The Sexual Offences act 2003 has some serious gaps in the legislation here - A boy or girl under 16 can not consent in law (Archbold 2004, 20-152) but SOA Sec 9: Sexual activity with a child. (1)A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—(a)he intentionally touches another person (B), (b)the touching is sexual, and (c)either—(i)B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or (ii)B is under 13. It appears to me that B, as a 13 year old, cannot consent in law, but she can lie about her age and therefore pretend to consent? This makes no sense.
  2. Consent: It's as simple as tea. Find out more about the #ConsentisEverything campaign by visiting www.consentiseverything.com
  3. The views of a barrister who criticised new legal guidelines about rape in a blog called "She Was Gagging For It" have been branded "alarming" and "deeply offensive". David Osborne, who was called to the criminal Bar in 1974 and has fought cases in the Court of Appeal, said men should walk free from rape trials if the victim says she was too drunk to give valid consent, saying he found it "distasteful and unattractive" that a victim cannot give consent when "blind drunk". His blog, which appears under the masthead "witty, incisive comment on the law today", said: "If the complainant (I do not refer to her as the victim) was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, when she was ‘raped’, this provides the accused with a complete defence. End of story and a victory for fairness, moderation and common sense!" Campaigners said his "deeply offensive" blog ignores current law around consent and plays up to old-fashioned stereotypes of rape victims. The blog was posted in response to guidance issued to lawyers and police officers dealing with rape cases by Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, which spells out situations where possible victims might be unable to give consent to sex, including because of alcohol or drugs. Mr Osborne wrote: "I have always found it distasteful and unattractive the suggestion that as the victim was blind drunk she was therefore unable to give her consent to sex, or more to the point, she gave her consent which she would not have given had she been sober. "In my book, consent is consent, blind drunk or otherwise, and regret after the event cannot make it rape... David Osborne The rape guidelines issued last month advise officers and lawyers to ask how the suspect knew the complainant had consented to sex ''with full capacity and freedom to do so''. Rape Crisis England and Wales spokeswoman Katie Russell said: "Through his unwillingness and inability to grasp the simple legal principle that consent must be freely and fully given by someone with the capacity to do so, he has merely illustrated the desperate ongoing need for measures to improve the criminal justice system for sexual violence survivors. "On top of this, it is outrageous and depressing that someone practising law in the 21st century should be so unabashed about airing such baldly misogynistic and victim-blaming views." Mr Osborne also suggested that rape crimes would fall if girls "covered up". He told the Daily Mirror: "You've seen the news sequences of girls who, regardless of the weather, have their backsides sticking out of their dresses and their tits hanging out of the same dress. "Wandering around the streets, staggering around and then wondering at the end of all that why somebody has, if you like, taken advantage of them. "I tell you what would drop the rape statistics would be if girls covered up, dressed appropriately and stopped drinking themselves legless." The blog Sarah Green, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said she thought the blog was a "sick joke". "This is a legal professional indulging in the oldest stereotypes about rape, probably for attention-seeking purposes, and appearing to condone the predatory behaviour of men who target vulnerable girls. "I suggest he takes time to look at the impact of rape on survivors and how the situation is made worse by being told by people like David Osborne that it is their fault. "We've moved beyond putting restrictions on women's movement and behaviour. We need to talk about men not raping women, not women preventing rape." Ms Osborne is nicknamed "the barrister bard" for once delivering his closing speech to the jury in verse. His blog also condemned the use of 'Ms' as a title for women and asked: "Is it just me, or are women taking over the world? "It’s all to do with political correctness, or so they say, but speaking for my wife, and I suspect millions of other wives, when she agreed to marry me, convention dictated that she took my name and became Mrs. Osborne. "She does not wish to be referred to as Ms. Osborne, nor does she wish to be known as my partner. It’s insulting!" http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/07/rape-blog-david-osborne-condemned_n_6635754.html?utm_hp_ref=tw Link to his blog - http://www.david-osborne.com/blog/?p=275. Offensive tripe, or a valid blog piece?
  4. I lived in Edinburgh for one year and during that time was the girlfriend of a prominent Edinburgh businessman. Six weeks before my UK working holiday VISa expired we broke up. For one month post break up, this person became increasingly abusive, derogatory and unpredictable in his manner and behaviour (texts, emails, driving past my house) and it got to a point where I was so scared from the content of the communications (threats to come to my work and try to get me fired, to come to my house and get me evicted, threats to contact family) that I attended at a police station and explain my case. The police I spoke to agreed to make contact with this person. They did, however the contact did not cease. The police explained to me that, while the communication was unwanted and unpleasant, I only had six weeks left in the country and the process to go through to get an intervention order would probably take as long, if not longer than my remaining time. They said if he threatened assault or violence (which he did not) then to contact him again, but basically, there was nothing they could do. Stupidly, and partly out of fear, I spent my last two weeks in Edinburgh with this man. I made it clear to him I did not want to get back with him and that I just wanted to leave everything on a positive note. One week before my departure we slept together. After leaving the UK and returning to Australia (where I am from) the contact (via email and phone) has increased in intencity, frequency and the content has gotten considerable worse. He is abusive (calling me a slut and a whore), threatening (saying he's going to "humiliate" me, that he has all the time in the world to pursue me). He claims to have, during the last time we slept together, made a video of us which he is currently editing to only show me (ie. blank his face out) and which he plans to "distrubute" (his words). I never gave me consent to be videoed. In fact, I caught him doing this once (he set up a camera beside the bed) and I was hysterical when I found it. I made it clear I DID NOT want to be videoed. This man has family in Australia and plans to come here in January. I sent the following email to him yesterday, and added an app to my phone to block his calls and texts. I also blocked his email address from my email address. I also sent him the following email. Today, he bought a new sim card and sent me a text message saying the video is "almost ready for distribution" and to, quote " victoria police". What can I do about this video? What are me rights? Would contacting Edinburgh police and explaining the situation do anything? Would the police contact him again and explain that it's illegal to do what he's threatening to do? Any help will be greatly appreciated. COPY OF EMAIL: Request to cease contact This is a request that you cease all contact with me via any means. This includes phone, email, Facebook or through a third party (ie. passing messages on through friends, previous co-workers etc.) I also request that you do not contact my friends, family or anyone known to me with whom you have no previous relationship. My mobile number At the request of me and with the assistance of Victoria Police my phone now has international barring in place. Any call you make from your home phone or mobile phone to my mobile will be automatically cut off after 2 seconds of ringing, but the register of the call will be logged in a file on my phone. Any text you send to me will be automatically responded to with an error message and logged in a file in my phone. Any text or log of a phone call after 12:00 Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time on 08/10/2013 will be considered a breach of this request. Any contact you attempt to make to my friends, family members or anyone known to me whom you have not established a previous relationship after 12:00 Eastern Daylight Savings Time on 08/10/2013 will be considered a breach of this request. As you are the only person in the United Kingdom who has been provided with my current mobile number any contact made to from the United Kingdom of a threatening, derogatory or otherwise unpleasant nature will be treated as originating from you, due to distribution of my mobile number by you or in some way as a direct result of your actions and a breach of this request. All correspondence to my email addresses from your email address will be automatically deleted by my email unwanted messages filter, including any response you attempt to make to this request. Photos/Videos taken with/without my consent I request that any photos/videos taken without my consent be destroyed immediately, and the three indecent images you sent to my phoneon 07/10/2013 be destroyed also. The source of photos and videos can always be traced back to it's origin (ie. make and model of device used to create the images) and where it was first uploaded (computer make and model; town, city and country) and the date and time of creation of videos or images can always be proven. It is illegal to distribute indecent images (including images showing nudity) without the prior consent of the person pictured or videoed and any pictures of videos of an indecent nature discovered by me or made known to me by anyone on any medium will be considered a breach of this request, and a serious breach of Scottish Common Law. If what you confirmed via text message regarding videoing me without my consent is true, then the charge is 'voyuerism' and it's punishable by up to two years in prison: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/67 Interim Intervention Order While I have requested the assistance of Victoria Police I have not made any formal complaint against you. A formal complaint made against you would in all likelihood result in an Interim Intervention Order. It costs me nothing, I do not have to hire a lawyer and you do not have to be present, and it would be a formal recording of my request for you to cease contact with me, and all copies of correspondence sent to me by you would be made available to the court. This would mean any attempt to enter Australia would flag this record and I have been informed that, while access to Australia is made on a case by case basis and there is no guarantee that you would be denied entry, once I action this and include a copy of the report I logged with Edinburgh police, copies of all previous correspondence of an abusive, threatening and derogatory nature and your current veiled threats to contact my family and friends, in all likelihood, you would be denied entry. If you were denied entry once, the likelihood of you ever being able to enter the country would be minimal. I realise this would mean you, in all likelihood, would never see your father again, or be able to take Ben or Lily to see your father, and this is the only reason why I haven't made application to the court already. Even if you were not denied entry, this record would exist forever, and every time you entered the country the record would flag a warning and you would in all likelihood, be questioned every time you attempted to enter.
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