life social good

Rape victims in UK must hand over phones to police or face cases being dropped under new bold forward thinking scheme

Victims of rape and serious sexual assault could allow suspects to avoid charges if they refuse point blank to give police access to their mobile phone contents, two top officials have said.

  • People are split on whether new guidance for crime victims will help or hinder prosecutions.
  • We think that this is a positive move which will help bring light to cases.
  • CPS Director of Public Prosecutions Max Hill says only ‘relevant’ material will go to court (Home Office/PA)
  • We think that this is a true statement unless Prosecutions come across something regrettable or questionable as the forms state even information of a separate criminal offence “may be retained and investigated.

Victims of rape and serious sexual assault could allow suspects to avoid charges if they refuse point blank to give police access to their mobile phone contents, two top officials have said.

Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Nick Ephgrave has admitted that the new national consent forms authorising detectives to search texts, images and call data are proving conversations around the UK as the difficulties of disclosure in the digital age risk pitting the pursuit of justice against preserving privacy.

In the lead-up to trials, police and prosecutors are required to hand over relevant material that can undermine the prosecution case or assist the defence.

The police are really saying, ‘if you don’t let us do this, the CPS won’t prosecute.’

Police and prosecutors have sought to reassure victims of crime that only material relevant to a potential prosecution will be harvested, but the forms state even information of a separate criminal offence “may be retained and investigated”.

Everyone needs to understand that if they get caught up in a crime, whether as witness or complainant, there may be information on their mobiles that is relevant.

When rape cases don’t make it to trial

The procedure came under sharp focus in 2017 after a string of defendants had charges of rape and serious sexual assault against them dropped when critical material emerged as they went on trial.

They included student Liam Allan who was accused of rape before his case was thrown out of court after it emerged a detective had not handed over text messages from the accuser’s phone.

Some 93,000 officers have undertaken training, while police hope artificial intelligence technology can help trawl through the massive amounts of data stored on phones and other devices.

The Centre for Women’s Justice (CWJ) said a legal challenge is expected from at least two individual women who have been told by police their cases are likely to collapse if they do not cooperate with requests for their personal data.

What is AI?
In computer science, artificial intelligence, sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals.

The failure of police and prosecutors to routinely disclose crucial evidence has caused ‘untold damage’, the Government admitted yesterday, suggesting artificial intelligence is now needed to comb social media of alleged victims. 

In a devastating review, the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox said a series of “system-wide” problems had led to innocent people “being pursued” wrongly through the courts.

The review was launched at a time of concern over collapsed cases, such as the prosecution of Liam Allan, who was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault only for the case against him to be dropped.

While welcoming steps already being taken by police and the CPS to address the issues, Mr Cox called for a “zero tolerance” culture on disclosure failings.

Digital Divide: A Wake Up Call To Christian Leaders

In our era of instantly, constantly available “news,” how do we sift through the chaff and find the truth? How should we even think or feel about the relentless storm of bad news, questionable posts,conspiracy theories, and conflicting claims that swirls around us in this age of dis/mis/information?

Beyond the generational divide is the reality that the digital age allows information to leap over geographical and political boundaries

Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that whatever you post on the internet can be seen by anybody at anytime. But could you imagine providing evidence in a sexual assault case and then being charged for another crime because of information contained on your mobile phone? Well, thats exactly where this is heading. An indecent picture someone sent you on WhatApp perhaps, or maybe a movie that has not been obtained by legitimate purposes. Whatever the case maybe, its time to wake up.

We believe all of this comes down to is just simple common sense. Realizing that there are several sets of eyes on you at all times whenever you post online or on your phone should you become wrapped up in a court case for that matter is your best defense against posting or retaining something regrettable or questionable.

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