MoMA MEDIA RELEASE:
Law Commission Panders to War Against Men
Community group the Ministry of Men’s Affairs today expressed concern that the latest changes recommended by the NZ Law Commission in sexual offence cases will further reduce the ability of defendants, mainly men, to protect themselves against false sexual allegations.
As part of a review of the Evidence Act, the Commission recommended that any discussion of sexual history should be dealt with before trial and that complainants be notified in advance what the defence intended to cross-examine them about.
Ministry of Men’s Affairs spokesman Kerry Bevin said the recommendations were the latest in a long line of changes specific to sexual accusations. He said “There is little reason to treat sexual allegations differently from any other allegations. They need to be subjected to the same scrutiny to ensure they are true and people accused need to have same protections against false conviction.”
“We believe most of the changes that have occurred in recent decades for sexual trials have had the effect of making it easier to convict men on the basis of inadequate evidence, often no more than “she-said’ evidence.”
“The law changes have essentially sought to make it easier for women to have men convicted.”
“If these constant reductions in the ability of defendants in sexual cases to defend themselves were justified they should be applied to all other criminal cases but they are not. We believe this is because women are significantly accused of most other crimes and it would be seen as unfair to reduce their ability to properly defend themselves. But fairness towards men seems to be seen as less important.”
Mr Bevin said that the Law Commission’s recommendations were based on an emphasis on what it called “the ghastly, stressful experience” for complainants in sex trials, but this was true in most other criminal cases too and the same applied for those accused. “Accused men are staring into the barrel of huge, life-ruining prison terms. When allegations are false or exaggerated the defendant’s experience will be extremely traumatic and this has increased with each successive removal of protections against false conviction for sexual crimes.”
MINISTRY OF MEN’S AFFAIRS
MINITATANGA MO NGA TANE
A Community Group because successive governments have failed to protect the welfare of New Zealand men
PO Box 13130
Contact: Hans Laven (07)5712435 or (0274)799745
or Kerry Bevin (09)4247762