Peter Rhodes on term-time holidays, an honest advert and how to increase rape convictions by simply telling the truth

By Peter Rhodes | Opinions | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

A Rumpolish game

I DO admire honesty in advertising. Take this, from eBay: "Mirror sailing dinghy boat hull - project or would make a good garden seat."

A GROUP of women's organisations is taking the Crown Prosecution Service to law for allegedly failing to prosecute enough rapists. But what is the CPS supposed to do with a case like the one presented to the media by the campaigners? It involves a woman who claims she was imprisoned for two days and raped at knifepoint. But after the incident, she and the alleged rapist exchanged messages on social media. Can anybody genuinely not understand why the CPS would be unwilling to present such a case to a jury? Can they not see what a field day the defence barrister would have with those messages?

UNDER the Rumpolish little game that passes for British justice, any defence lawyer can imply the victim is at best a slapper and at worst a perjurer. And yet while the lawyer is undermining a victim in the jury's eyes, nobody is allowed to point out that his client is, for the sake of argument, a serial rapist who has been on the sex-offender register for 20 years and was let out of prison the day before an attack. Why not? God knows.

BUT if you want to do justice, the solution is easy. Let every rape case begin with full disclosure of the defendant's previous convictions. It goes without saying that legal professionals who make a good living out of pretending sinners are saints, would fight tooth-and-nail against full disclosure. Ignore them. Let us put our faith in juries and let's have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth told in court - and see the rape-conviction rate take off like a rocket.

HEAVEN protect us from over-zealous headline writers. The Guardian website headline on a column by a professor at Birmingham City University, begins:"I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica." What wickedness is this? How dare the authorities single out a father for such treatment and deny his lad the culturally-enriching chance to visit the land of his fathers? Do your hackles not rise in indignation? And then you actually read the column and discover that the professor was not exactly fined for taking his child to Jamaica. He was fined £60 for taking the kid out of school during term time. This is not Jamaicaphobia. Exactly the same fine would have applied if they'd gone to Turkey, Tahiti or Tenby, but that wouldn't quite fit the Guardian agenda, would it?

AS it happens, I'm with the professor on this one. I have a young friend whose parents took her on several term-time holidays. She insists she gained much more from a week in Majorca than from a week in the classroom. She may not be the world's greatest mathematician but her pedalo-skills are excellent.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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