Now the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been dismissed, the usual suspects are queuing up to attack the criminal justice system; they are right, but not for the reasons they think.
As all the charges were dropped, there was a demonstration against the exploitation of black women implicitly by white men; the chimeras of racism and sexism again, but this was never a case about either race or sex, nor even about power, but about justice, or the lack of.
It is a fact that certain types of people are above the law in certain circumstances, in practice if not in theory. Anyone who is inclined to doubt the veracity of that statement should try to get a bent copper in the dock. On occasion, the police themselves have even tacitly admitted this. Consider this candid statement.
A discussion of the legal issues surrounding the dismissal of this case can be found here, and no fair-minded person could dispute the claim made therein that in the first instance, the legal authorities acted promptly at a time when swift action was needed. Strauss-Kahn was arrested as he was about to leave the country, and the spectre of the Roman Polanski case almost certainly motivated not only his detention but his initial treatment. Initially, his accuser was treated not simply as a credible witness but as a damning one. She was a chambermaid in a hotel, of Islamic background, and an immigrant who at the very least had an unblemished record in the United States, and, just as significantly, not only was she was thirty years younger than the man she accused of violating her, but there was evidence of physical contact such as one would not expect to find between a chambermaid and a guest. Short of a nun or a Sunday school teacher, it would have been difficult to find either a more credible witness or favourable scenario. So what went wrong?
To understand that, let us see how this case would have been played out in Britain. Strauss-Kahn would have been formally identified; his accuser would not have been unless she had waived anonymity; this is a largely unnecessary aspect of the British legal system. Any case involving children or young persons or any allegation of sexual impropriety will run into this, a measure that was enacted under pressure from the loony wimmin’s movement. Occasionally, a victim will request anonymity be lifted, as in the appalling case of Jersey-Lou Perry, a crime with no sexual overtones, and in which the victim was injured by a thug whom it has to be said would probably not have committed the offence if he’d realised a young child would be on the receiving end. Sometimes, anonymity is not a real option, as in the terrible case of Thompson and Venables, the ten year old boys who murdered two year old James Bulger.
Returning to Strauss-Kahn, he would almost certainly have been granted bail on fairly strict conditions. This is only fair; although allegations of this nature are serious, they are a long way short of murder, and on occasion, people are even been granted bail on murder charges, as in the United States. This though, is where the similarities of the American and British legal systems end; especially outside the courtroom, things happen very differently indeed.
The Internet has of course changed everything, and there is absolutely no way scurrilous gossip can be totally curtailed. Often alluded to erroneously as conspiracy theories, anything involving showbiz people, business people, bankers or politicians generates enormous volumes of this, but the Contempt of Court Act 1981 has real teeth, and any regular media outlet that oversteps the mark will quickly find itself in serious trouble. This applies especially to the tabloid press, and in this connection we can cite the recent case of Chris Jefferies. Sometimes, the legal authorities will warn the media about reporting on a specific case, as for example after Levi Bellfield was charged with the murder of Amanda Dowler.
Then there is the question of leaks. In Britain, information is sometimes leaked to the media, but nothing like on the same scale as in the US. In the Strauss-Kahn case, it is clear that if not from the beginning, then as soon as Nafissatou Diallo came under scrutiny, at least one person within the New York legal apparatus was leaking like a sieve.
On July 2, the New York Post branded the still unnamed maid “A HOOKER”. Prior to that, on June 30, the New York Times, whose Supreme Court correspondent swallowed whole Reprieves’s apologia for convicted murderess Linda Carty, showed it was unable to distinguish between rumour and substance in an ongoing investigation as well.
“Since her initial allegation on May 14, the accuser has repeatedly lied, one of the [unnamed] law enforcement officials said.”
“Among the discoveries, one of the officials said, are issues involving the asylum application of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who is Guinean, and possible links to people involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing and money laundering.”
Links? Come back Gerry Gable, all is forgiven. What does links mean, she once sat next to a man on the bus who was convicted of possessing marijuana? Money laundering sounds terrible, but the same charge has recently been levelled by the US Government against poker websites, some of whom have been operating there for a decade.
In Britain, such press coverage would have resulted in immediate action, both by the police to plug the leak, and also by government lawyers, probably the Attorney General himself, against the papers concerned. Because of this, it is most unlikely such a situation would ever arise in Britain, but the fact that it did in New York is almost certainly the reason Nafissatou Diallo went public, which was not a wise move, nor was it wise of her to engage a lawyer – victims in criminal cases don’t need lawyers.
Let us consider now the issue of her credibility; she was said to have lied on her asylum application. It is the world’s worst kept secret that the overwhelming majority of asylum applications are bogus because the applicants are not asylum seekers but economic migrants. Although they are never slow to denounce Western governments and whites generally as wicked racists, they still seek entry to Britain, Germany, and most of all the Great Satan, in their millions.
She may and undoubtedly has lied about other things, but the fact remains she was working as a chambermaid. If she had really been a whore, if for example she’d been convicted at any time for any offence related to prostitution, then her credibility would indeed have been compromised beyond repair, because although it is possible to rape or indecently assault even a harlot, an extremely high threshold is rightly required to even contemplate charges, including independent corroboration. By the same token, the word of a man of good character is worth more than that of a convicted thief in say a shoplifting case.
The fact that she was – and remains in law – a woman of good character - and the fact that there was independent and indeed undisputed (forensic) evidence of a sexual encounter means the case should have gone to trial. A prosecutor does not have to be certain of obtaining a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. In Britain, it is required only that there be a realistic prospect of a conviction, and that the prosecution be in the public interest, as indeed this was.
If the case had gone to trial it would then have been open to Mr Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers to subject his accuser to an intensive cross-examination, to expose her lies to the world, and to convince a jury that because of them, she should not be believed. They could also have put their client on the witness stand where he could have explained to the world how a strange woman 30 years his junior consented to a sexual encounter with him in a hotel room with no money changing hands and at the drop of a hat, or should that be at the drop of a towel?
Let us conclude with a case that involved a similar credibility issue. Twenty-nine years ago, a 24 year old man complained to police that around 3.40am on June 7, 1972, he had been offered a ride by a stocky man in his mid-thirties; his impromptu chauffeur was wearing a Barnaby's Restaurant jacket. The man accepted, but became concerned when the older man appeared to be taking him somewhere other than his destination. When he protested, the man took out a badge and identified himself as a “county police officer”, told him he was under arrest, and tried to handcuff him without success. Then he asked him what it would be worth for him to get out of this situation. When the young man said he had no money, the older man asked him "Would you suck my dick?"
When they got out of the car, the man produced a bunch of keys and unlocked the door to a Barnaby's Restaurant. Inside, his captor resisted, but the man clubbed him on the back of the neck then kicked him as he lay on the floor. He managed to run outside where the man pursued him in his car and “struck him down”. Finally, he managed to reach a service station where an attendant called the police.
The next day, the police questioned the night manager of the restaurant, who said he was home at 3am, and that his wife would vouch for him. There was supposed to be an identification, but the complainant said he was unable to appear because of his physical condition; two weeks later, the suspect was arrested, but in the end, charges against him were dismissed. This was because the accused contacted the police and told them his accuser was making threatening phone calls, and demanding money to drop the charges. After a set up, the police caught the complainant with $91 in marked currency. The young man had convictions for robbery and solicitation for prostitution; the authorities considered him to be unworthy of belief. His name was Jackie Dee. The name of the man he accused was John Wayne Gacy.
The above information was extracted from page 15 of the 1983 book KILLER CLOWN, by Terry Sullivan with Peter T. Maiken. Nuff said.
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