British Barrister Sparks Outrage With Rape Comments

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British Barrister Sparks Outrage With Rape Comments

By May Wilkerson 02/12/15

The 71-year-old David Osborne only dug himself deeper into a hole in a follow-up interview explaining his original comments.

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One of England’s top lawyers has sparked widespread outrage after spouting his opinions on sexual violence in a blog post titled, “She Was Gagging For It.” According to 71-year-old barrister David Osborne, sex with a woman who is too drunk to consent does not qualify as rape.

The post was written in response to new legal guidelines, which state that men must be able to prove that consent was given. Osborne refers to potential rape victims as “complainants,” and claims the new guidelines are “bent towards the conviction of the accused.”

“Consent is consent, blind drunk or otherwise, and regret after the event cannot make it rape. I have a simple solution,” he wrote. “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 defense. End of story and a victory for fairness, moderation and common sense!”

Apparently Osborne’s “considerable experience” informs him that there are “basically two defenses to an allegation of rape: either ‘it wasn’t me guv,’ or ‘she was gagging for it.’”

In a follow-up interview, the barrister added that women who “trollop around with their tits out” and “send out certain signals” are partially to blame for rape, because they make men think “she looks like a goer.”

Thankfully, Osborne’s views have been vehemently opposed by other senior members of the country’s legal system. Lawyers, charities, and support groups for rape victims have called the claims completely out of line.

“Most of what he says is simply wrong,” said lawyer Andrew Langdon, leader of an organization that represents the rights of barristers. “The views he articulates are not remotely representative of barristers who prosecute and defend these cases in practice.”

Consent is in no way a “gray area” said the UK’s senior public prosecutor, Alison Saunders. “In the law it is clearly defined and must be given fully and freely. We want police and prosecutors to make sure they ask in every case where consent is the issue—how did the suspect know the complainant was saying yes and doing so freely and knowingly?”

“I find it hard to believe this is not a sick joke,” said Sarah Green, director of End Violence Against Women Coalition. “He is suggesting the opposite of the law.”

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