Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

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The baying mob seem to have already decided a guilty verdict after the face of a student accused of rape was plastered all over Facebook today

If you’re a student with access to the internet, you’ve probably heard about the Manchester University student being accused of rape. Perhaps you shared his photo online, in a misguided attempt to see the perpetrator of a horrible sexual offence apprehended. Well, if that’s all that matters, you got him. Congratulations, you may have successfully ruined a potentially innocent man’s life.

Before I go any further, I’d like to make this absolutely clear. If it is proven in a court of law that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then I’d like nothing better than to see his overly excitable testicles placed in a vice. Rape is a deplorable crime, symptomatic of a man with the mistaken belief that he has the right to make decisions for a woman. But…

If he isn’t guilty, his photo was just shared across the majority of the student populace, and indeed national news. Thousands upon thousands of people saw his face next to a detailed account of the offense, and will instantly have marked him down as a rapist, as scum. Without expensive plastic surgery, his face and name will forever carry that association – hardly one that’s easy to shake. Even if it is later decided that his ‘victim’ was falsifying the accusation, her identity is protected by statute. Him? Well, we all know who he is, and what he’s done. He’s the rapist, isn’t he?

He’s in police custody as we speak, no doubt answering their questions and trying to get to the root of the accusation. What could have been an innocuous one night stand is now being dissected by the masses in every sordid detail, and the presumption of innocence is in tatters. I’m not in any way suggesting that his accuser shouldn’t have the right to level such a charge, but it’d be nice if he stood a chance at a fair trial rather than being damned by a baying mob before his story has been heard too. It’s quite a delicate diplomatic tightrope to walk, but hear me out. Innocent until proven guilty- that means don’t share his photo with comments such as ‘If I ever saw him down a darkened alley’, ‘sick fuck’ and the like. Those are just two comments I saw perusing Facebook today; I can guarantee there were far more.

The thing is, it is a hugely taboo subject. Millions of women that suffer a sexual assault don’t report it, either because they fear that their story won’t be believed or that they’ll suffer for the crime of being violated. In some parts of the world, women that are raped can be imprisoned, for ‘asking for it’. I’m glad we don’t have that, but the whole issue leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you get raped, come forward- the perpetrators of such a heinous crime deserve punishment. But next time you see someone’s photo being shared as a ‘rapist’, stop for a second. Innocent until proven guilty. That should remain paramount.

  • anon

    I don’t think the photo by it’s self is the issue, it was the way in which the article, which has now been removed, was written. It implied outright that he was guilty, actually using the sentence, ‘he refused to leave and then raped her’. More over, the way it referred to the defendant as ‘girl’ and him as ‘man’ gave a sense of vulnerability that was so biased it hurt to read.

  • Honey Boo Boo

    ^ Whatever he/she/it said

  • Blu

    I think that if he was a different race, this would have been a totally different story.

    • Edmund

      I’d like to contend that. I don’t care what colour a person is- I’m a law student, I care about the principles of a fair, just trial and as the title suggests, innocent until proven guilty. Why would it have been different?

      • Anon

        as a law student shut up and leave it to the law courts then. wasn’t aware judges were easily swayed by fb comments… this in no way affects his ability to have a fair and just trial. attitudes like the ones expressed in this article however do affect the victim’s ability to get justice for herself.

        • Edmund

          I’ll shut up when everyone condemning him as guilty has done the same.

        • x

          No wonder you aren’t a law student.. you are right in saying that judge are not swayed by fb comments, but a criminal trial is by jury, and the likelihood is that jurors might be swayed by fb comments. Obnoxious, condescending cunt.

        • YEH!

          its not about a fair and just trial, if he is found innocent then his life is ruined forever

        • Anonymous

          The issue isn’t about what decision they come to in court the issue is then what happens as he goes about his day to day life IF he is cleared. What happens now if one of the many people who saw that article see’s him in the street and decides to enact some vigilante action even if he’s innocent? As a female, I believe the accused should have the right to anonymity just as much as the victim until PROVEN guilty. And as for the women who make such false accusations there needs to be some seriously harsher punishments so that for the women who ARE actually victims of rape they don’t have to feel like they won’t be taken seriously. Women who lie about rape are abhorrent and are destroying the justice system laid out to protect them.

      • anon

        screw you edmund

        • Sara

          Your contribution is valuable. Pity you aren’t.

  • Anon

    This article is so true.. witch-hunting him before anyone knows what actually happened. This is a young boys life being ruined here based on claims and assumptions. Every guys worst nightmare is a girl ‘crying wolf’ after a regret or argument. This could tarnish the image of others who actually are victims. Innocent until proven guilty.

    • Anon

      If posting that photo online helped police find a suspect quicker than they otherwise would have done, it can only be a good thing. The police have not said he’s guilty, it is the responsibility of the media and of individuals to respect that he is innocent until proven guilty. However, I think this issue would have been reported very differently, or probably not mentioned if the individual was not a student. Social bodies tend to be more concerned with the rights of a suspect when that suspect is from their own social group. If this individual wasn’t a middle class student, then I don’t think we’d be having this debate.

      • Edmund

        Going directly to the university, who hold pictures of every student would have had the same effect. Releasing the photo in the way that they did has caused untold strife for a man who (and I cannot emphasise this enough) is innocent- wanted only to help with the enquiries. This isn’t just students banding together, the ‘victim’ is herself a student- wouldn’t we be doing the same to defend her? This is about the horrors that a false accusation can cause- I’d be saying the same for any man, and I’ve always found it disgusting the way mob rule works, with people sharing the picture with their own judgement atop it. It’s like a warped version of Chinese whispers, each time the message changes, becomes slowly more convoluted. What starts as ‘potential rapist’ turns into ‘CHILD SNATCHING ROMANIAN RAPES DOG’ (bit extreme, but I’m sure you understand what I mean).

        Finally, yes. We’ve reported it because it’s a student, because it’s news targeted at students. We’re a student paper- who else are we going to aim it at?

        • Roger

          And how exactly are the university going to have the time to go through every single photo of white males attending the university? Unless you think they’ve got some amazing photo recognition software, which is highly unlikely judging by the state of blackboard, I fail to see how they would be able to identify him. This was the quickest way to identify him in order to question him. They obviously have sufficient enough evidence to make an arrest, although I think it was unfair to state the nature of the offense he’s a suspect for when he’s not been charged.

          • Anon

            Police have some pretty impressive photo recognition software to the best of my knowledge. Wouldn’t be hard to ask for the database of photos and then to run the software? Even just not mentioning the alleged crime would have been enough.

            • Anon

              The police do have some impressive photo recognition software, however, it’s rarely used as it’s expensive and takes time to do; it would only be used in really serious circumstances. The police post photos to the public as it’s very quick and cheap. Until there are greater advances in software making the use of it cheaper, this is the best way. I do agree though that mentioning the crime, and going into great detail linking it to the suspect’s name, was out of order as he’s not been found guilty.

            • Anonymous

              ‘Really serious circumstances’…like a rape accusation? That sounds pretty serious to me.

      • tomm

        “The police have not said he’s guilty” oh yes they have the already described him as the “offender” on their website, and not once did they describe the offense or the allegation of it as alleged!

  • Anonymous

    When the police want to find a suspected rapist (or pretty much anyone else) it’s completely standard practice to release something like this:

    You may notice that’s from yesterday. Yesterday. What some have today been calling “witch hunting” is pretty standard practice it seems.

    Here’s a more local example that Manchester students may remember, this story was featured in The Mancunion too:

    A success, by all accounts. Evil rapist gets caught – great.

    Maybe I’m being too cynical, but I am absolutely astounded at how quick people are to suddenly condemn this approach when the suspect happens to be a white student from London. Where has your moral outrage been hiding exactly?

    You say in your article that women who suffer sexual assault don’t report it. Absolutely right. Here are some stats on that:

    “Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales each year.”

    “Females who had reported being victims of the most serious sexual offences in the last year were asked, regarding the most recent incident, whether or not they had reported the incident to the police. Only 15 per cent of victims of such offences said that they had done so. Frequently cited reasons for not reporting the crime were that it was ‘embarrassing’, they ‘didn’t think the police could do much to help’, that the incident was ‘too trivial or not worth reporting’, or that they saw it as a ‘private/family matter and not police business’” – Source:

    The sheer ignorance of your statement “if you get raped, come forward” is enough to make me think you and anyone who has liked this article is beyond help, but let me try and break this down for you:

    You have jumped to defend a suspected rapist over a suspected victim. Your attitude in this article is WHY rape victims don’t come forward.

    I think an apology article needs to be issued, and quickly.

    • Edmund

      Not in the slightest. I’ve not defended him, I’ve pointed out that it’s a key principle of the criminal justice system that a man is innocent until proven guilty. Yes, it’s the first time we’ve shown this outrage, but it’s the first time it’s come to my attention, and The Tab is a new paper. – Theresa May agrees with me, suspects deserve anonymity in the same way that a victim does. What I saw today was the complete, total character dissemination of a man that had no idea the charges were even being levelled. And if you think I’m going to apologise for defending someone that isn’t even proven guilty yet, you’ve got another thing coming. At least I’m brave enough to put my name on my opinions, aren’t you?

      • anon

        “Theresa May agrees with me”. Well there’s a bastion of moral rights right there. How could anyone possibly disagree.

        “Millions of women that suffer a sexual assault don’t report it, either because they fear that their story won’t be believed or that they’ll suffer for the crime of being violated.” – and because people write articles like this when they go to the press. because friends of the man they claim raped them smear their name over the press.

    • an e-fit released at a press conference is very different from a professional nightclub photograph being shared on Facebook .
      and the chorlton takeaway rapist was admitting what he did so no reason to protect his innocence

  • I did not see what this supposed other article said. But whilst, rightly lying about rape can devestate lives, you hypocryritcally have writtend thuis article on the assumption of innocent until proven guilty, the same way others will argue guilty until proven innocent. The fact of the matter is, its nobodys right to go around making any assumptions or guided judgements at all. 60 to 90 thousand women are rape victims in england a year, with only 1000 convicted and an absolutely abismal number falsely taking men to court. As students, people will talk about the time when someone they know made a false accusation about some kind of assault, but it provides an entirely unrepresentative image as noone talks about the times countless people they know actually did get assaulted. bearing in mind most university students are in their early 20s, so most of these stories of false accusations will have been conducted by teenagers who often dont understand what they are doing (whilst i do not justify this at all and know it is not exclusively young people who do this). I am devestated to say that that at my age of 21, the number of my friends who have been subjected to sexual violence is shocking and unforgiveable, and this number will be higher than a lot of men realise. Last and by now means least, its one thing to cry wolf on rape, and another to take a false rape claim to the police, and to court. having seen one of my friends take a rape case court and get taken to pieces on the stand being told she was a liar and having explicit, humiliating depictions of her ordeal relived by a prosecuter for a guilty sentence of community service, I understand why most of my friends who have been through previous experiences havent gone through with it. So before you yourself jump on the innocent till proven guilty band wagon, why dont you just get off band wagons full stop, let the case go on in peace, and if he did do it, then that girl is more brave then we can ever imagine, and if he didnt, obviously that is devestating for him but everyone will hear that he was not guilty and he can work to rebuild that and she will suffer the concequences, but neither require any of this loaded presumption. rape isnt always by some thug on the street. its any case of someone not listening to no means no. so the best thing we can all do is just leave this thing alone and let the police and judges decide.

    • Edmund

      Right, I’m afraid your formatting is giving me a headache, so excuse me if I miss anything here.
      1. I’ve written this article as a defence of man. Yes, I’m saying ‘innocent until proven guilty’, but that’s a key principle of our justice system. The guy has been lampooned by the masses as a rapist, with our own Women’s Officer criticising any defence as unfounded- the implication being that a student under her remit is unworthy of defence, and almost certainly did it. Any accusation is in itself also unfounded, surely.
      2. People have already gone around making ‘assumptions and guided judgements’. It’s too late to stop that, I’m trying to point out that those are wrong. I say myself, if he’s guilty, fuck that guy. He deserves everything the criminal justice system can throw at him, but only when it’s proven. People making threats against his safety now is despicable.
      3. I’m sorry that your friend was so humiliated, but every case is different. This man’s image was shared again, and again, and again, with no chance for him to share his own side of the story- and this story has two sides. It’s unfair to say that his side is worth less because of the amount of times this crime is committed, he’s still a human being with a life, a future, dreams.
      4. I’m attempting to slow any bandwagons down. I’m saying he has rights, to a fair trial by a jury of his peers- not a baying mob brandishing freshly polished pitchforks.
      5. I’m sorry if my article caused you any offence- but think about the bloke too. His life is in shreds in front of his eyes, all because people didn’t stop before passing judgement. I’ve not passed judgement in the article- I’ve told people that they bloody well shouldn’t be. We’re making the same point, just in different ways.

      • Amazed

        This comment is astounding, ‘the innocent until proven guilty bandwagon’, it isn’t a bandwagon, it’s how the justice system works, it is the principle that it is founded on, it’s not a case of opinion whether it should be innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent, and if this is the first you are hearing of it at the age of 21 then that is worrying

      • Anon

        ‘His life is in shreds in front of his eyes, all because people didn’t stop before passing judgement.’

        What the fuck….. If the guy did rape her, thank fuck for that. As a rape victim, i know what it feels like for my life to in ‘shreds’.
        Basically you are doing the exact reverse of your article and brandishing her as a liar before trial has begun. And even if you don’t mean to the language you use is reflecting that opinion. As the person above said, let the trial take place and THEN voice your opinions. Why pass judgement on either of them until the court has? Your are not being impartial – you are sympathizing with the accused which is ridiculously hypocritical as you are damning the people sympathizing with the supposed victim through social media.

        • Edmund

          I’m damning the people that have passed judgement before the courts. I know someone that was falsely accused, in a situation with worrying similarities to this one. People seem to be regarding me as a rape apologist of some form- no, merely someone that’s open to the idea there’s two damn sides to the accusation, not just one.

          • Anon

            In defending him you’ve implied that she’s lying, whether or not you meant to. Lets just all remember that it was the police who released the photograph, that’s the title or your article, not the apparent backlash. Surely, whether the girl is telling the truth or “crying wolf” as you so delicately put it, she needs help and support. If she’s telling the truth, she’ll need support to deal with what’s happened, and to be brave enough to go through what promises to be a very harrowing experience; and in the lesser likelihood of it all being a big tale, there’s clearly some some of other problem which needs to be addressed.

          • Anonymous

            So if she is lying then its acceptable for her to ruin someones life becuase ‘she has problems’ REALLY???

          • Equalist

            The fact is we do not know what has happened.. This article is not ‘brandishing her as a liar’ in any way, but surely it is just as bad to brandish the guy as a rapist before the trial has begun? We should give this guy the same respect we give the girl until anything is proven. Just because a claim is made does not mean it is true. I’m not sticking up for either side, just saying keep an open mind. Just as women have fought to be heard and for rape cases to be taken seriously, it’s just that- take it seriously. By automatically believing the victim we are no better than men who used to automatically excuse the offender.

          • anon

            you are defending him and damning the police and telling everyone all about how his life ‘might’ be in pieces (if he’s innocent) – his life is in pieces full stop. so is hers. but you don’t seem to muster a single line either on facebook or in this article for the woman who has made this accusation. shame on you, shame.

          • liz

            Also, by “automatically believing the victim” we are leaning the way of statistical evidence, lets be clear. It is not the case that 50% of rape reports are false otherwise there might be some grounds to say that. In a report produced by the Crown Prosecution Service in March, researchers found that there had been 5631 prosecutions for rape, but only 35 prosecutions for making false allegations.

  • Anon

    I don’t know what facebook comments The Tab was reading but a general sample of the ones I saw about the alleged victim were “liar liar pants on fire” “i hope she gets raped” and some form of blame placed on the girl by saying she shouldn’t have invited him in if she wasn’t going to “give him what he wanted” Nowhere on facebook did I see the accused’s name or anyone saying he definitely did it.

    • Edmund

      Well, the comments I were reading about the alleged rapist were pretty damning too. I was able to find the accused’s name on three different posts, and his Facebook page as a result of that. There are two sides to the story, but it seems we’ve been reading both.

      • Edmund

        bloody hell, the comments I *was reading. Shameful error there from me.

        • anon

          by no means your only ‘shameful error’, disgusting article

  • Chris

    The suspect is a victim of all this crap denting his name.

  • A girl who appreciates resourcefulness to solve crime

    I would like to point out that it was the Greater Manchester Police Page that shared his image on Facebook in the first place – I do not want to comment on whether or not he is guilty, as we are not able to judge this ourselves, but if the police wish to make use of social media in their attempts to capture criminals then they are doing the right thing – a lot less people watch television nowadays, and what would the difference be in placing a photo on a programme such as crimewatch to across social media? If he is innocent, I’m sure they will let us all know that too, and I for one will not hold any judgement against him for being a suspect – I’m sure noone would if they were decent enough human beings.

    • Edmund

      The thing is, people aren’t decent human beings. Once tarred with such a brush it’s a horrible experience trying to cleanse yourself of it. A friend of mine read my article and sent me in his own experience after he was falsely accused three years ago, and I think it makes for interesting reading, especially in light of this:

      “The way that this has been handled is appalling. My case, although not with anywhere near the same amount of exposure, had, and still has caused me a ridiculous amount of problems, so I want to give you people vindicating this behaviour (the press and police, not the girl’s), a taste of what his life will be like from now on should he be innocent (***this whole post operates on the assumption that he’s innocent, which is the same assumption the press and police should be under***). Rumours were circulating within the girl’s school even before the arrest, and although my face wasn’t plastered up all around town for people to see, when both myself and my co-accused we’re arrested in school, it was painfully obvious to most what had happened. I was subject to all sorts of abuse, threats and branded a rapist by plenty of my peers, and whilst I did receive support from many people, it wasn’t hard to sense the unease of a large number in exclaiming my innocence, or simply those teacher’s who’d been tasked to help me, but clearly deep down were operating under the assumption I had done it.
      Then there was the effect it had on my education. I was placed on bail, up until the day before my first AS exam, and that looming worry, combined with seriously low attendance that had come about as a result, meant that I, as well as my co-accused fell well short of expectations in terms of results. For A2, the abuse didn’t stop, despite the case being discontinued – rapist had become somewhat of a nickname for me, and both my attendance and attainment had dropped even lower. I eventually had to take a year out from full-time education to re-sit the exams, and now have to pay thousands more in tuition fees than I otherwise would have. Then, to top it all off, my reputation as a ‘rapist’ led to some self-confessed mentally unstable guy I’d never met accusing me of raping his girlfriend on social media, which led to even more people thinking I must have done it, since twice can’t be a coincidence…
      In short, I’m still recovering over 3 years later, because a girl decided it’d be safer to accuse a guy of an indictable offence, rather than admit to her parents and her friends, that she got drunk and gave a guy a blowjob at a party of her own free will.

      The man in this case will surely experience far worse, and more than likely, will never get any sort of justice. Know that when you’re defending the actions of the press and police in this circumstance, as well as similar circumstance, you’re defending the years of torment, instability, and really any negative connotations these actions have.”

    • Anonymous

      The world isn’t full of decent human beings though is it?

  • The real shock is not the release of the photo but the language used by the media today; calling someone a rapist/offender opposed to a suspect is out of order when nothing has been proven. Immature comments have been made by students, that happens no matter what the scandal is but professional journalists who are in a position of power and have a responsibility to broadcast truth have reported what they suspect in this case rather than statements of fact, which is appalling. Their realisation of this is supported by the several articles that have been removed from the internet. I was under the impression this piece was originally a criticism of people only considering one half of a story; that does not mean rape victims should be discouraged to come forward but that when they do, people should mind their own business until there is any hard evidence. Let’s leave this piece at that rather than turn this comment section into an argument over who deserves the most sympathy!

    • Edmund

      Good lord, a rational response. I thought that concept was but an idle dream!

  • aaaa1112

    ‘If you get raped, come forward- the perpetrators of such a heinous crime deserve punishment.’

    This seems exactly what the girl has done. You write as if she is lying, so until the truth comes out surely you have no write to denounce the girl as a liar. The article was wrong of course but not the girls actions, as we do not know the truth yet.

    • Edmund

      Hardly written as if she was lying- merely written to accept that there are two sides, which everyone else was very keen to ignore.

  • anon

    When all of the universities in Manchester would have a database of all students photographs that line of investigation should have been exhausted by the police prior to releasing his image publically . especially if there was any information about the suspect that the victim could provide

    Even when his image was released publically I fail to see why they couldn’t have just said we are looking to speak to this person in relation to an investigation, no doubt they would have found him just as quickly and bar the victim and the suspect nobody was to know what they wanted with him .

    The difference between this and the Chorlton rapist are startlingly obvious .The rapist in that case was proclaiming his guilt with a sick kind of pride .

    I didn’t interpret this article to be about casting any doubt on the truth of the statements made by the victim, no doubt right now she will have an extensive support network available to her, people will be reassuring her that they believe her and she isn’t in any way to blame.

    This article was about the sickening way the media as well as people sharing his image on Facebook branded an innocent suspect a rapist as if he had somehow been miraculously convicted of this crime without a trial . Because right now he will no doubt be in a cell with no support network and his life in tatters. Even his closest friends will want to disassociate themselves from him.

    If he is subsequently found guilty of rape then I would not argue that the media are right to report that he is a rapist but until then he is merely a suspect who has allegedly committed a rape.

  • –anon–

    When all of the universities in Manchester would have a database of all students photographs that line of investigation should have been exhausted by the police prior to releasing his image publically . especially if there was any information about the suspect that the victim could provide

    Even when his image was released publically I fail to see why they couldn’t have just said we are looking to speak to this person in relation to an investigation, no doubt they would have found him just as quickly and bar the victim and the suspect nobody was to know what they wanted with him .

    The difference between this and the Chorlton rapist are startlingly obvious .The rapist in that case was proclaiming his guilt with a sick kind of pride .

    I didn’t interpret this article to be about casting any doubt on the truth of the statements made by the victim, no doubt right now she will have an extensive support network available to her, people will be reassuring her that they believe her and she isn’t in any way to blame.

    This article was about the sickening way the media as well as people sharing his image on Facebook branded an innocent suspect a rapist as if he had somehow been miraculously convicted of this crime without a trial . Because right now he will no doubt be in a cell with no support network and his life in tatters. Even his closest friends will want to disassociate themselves from him.

    If he is subsequently found guilty of rape then I would not argue that the media are right to report that he is a rapist but until then he is merely a suspect who has allegedly committed a rape.

    • Denny

      Edmund must be a Man Men student because here at Man Uni we are studying for our exams. . law student at Man Uni


      • anon

        Thanks for weighing in, you’ve really cleared things up for us

      • Edmund

        Sorry brah, not even slightly. I just have more fun doing stuff like this than revising for my impending land law exam. Bit offended you’d even sink that low.

    • the d-man

      if you really think that assumptions of guilt on social networks within a student community would affect the guy’s right to a fair trial then i feel a bit sorry for how thick you are.

      should he be treated as guilty? no, of course not. he might not be. is it wrong to share his photo as if he is, yes? have you got the reasons for this wrong ten times over, oh my god yes you have.

      by the way, “Rape is a deplorable crime, symptomatic of a man with the mistaken belief that he has the right to make decisions for a woman.” i think you’re probably guilty of some kind of misandric hyperfocusing of rape here, it isn’t just a male on female crime. sort it out son.

      • Edmund

        I’m focusing on this particular example. Word limits are a pain- of course it’s a crime that can be perpetrated on both genders, but in this specific example it’d be hard to go into any more details.

        How have I gotten the reasons wrong? Man’s life being ruined before justice has run course. Seems simple.

        I don’t think it affects his right to a fair trial, I’m using that to point out how easily it is to jump the gun and convict him in our minds before the courts have done the same. The social network dissemination of his character can ruin his life though.

  • Anon

    This is a brilliant article expertly written, it’s just a shame that this one wont be so freely shared as the earlier incriminating news releases.

    • anon II

      hahaha is this you edmund

  • Anon

    Those of you saying the news releases earlier were acceptable should give your heads a little wobble. ‘He then refused to leave and raped her’ ITV, a national news broadcaster. According to their article there is no doubt that he raped her and they appear to be dealing with facts when in reality they absolutely are not and can not be certain that that is the case. If this lad has raped her, he deserves the punishment he gets, a punishment that may well end up smothered in irony but until he is proven guilty, beyond all reasonable doubt, to brandish him a rapist is an absolutely disgusting miscarriage of justice and if the verdict is anything but guilty I have no doubts there will be a few law suits commencing.

    • Anonymous

      Can’t help but feel that this sympathetic reaction is coming out of the fact that as we have had the ability to objectively view this guys Facebook, it has provided an image of a guy that seems relatable and perhaps familiar to us all rather than the media manipulated unflattering images that are often released of accused criminals

      I do believe that the way this was handled was incorrect and as others have stated the nature of the investigation didn’t have to be publicized.

      HOWEVER – we point the finger at people before trial has ensued ALL THE TIME. The images released of the Boston ‘bombers’ led to a city wide man hunt before most of the people searching for them had seen a shred of hard evidence to allow for anybody to accurately accuse and justifiably say yes, it was them. And that is just one case in a million, it happens daily in local and nationwide news. Is it because this is a case of rape that is making the accusation trivialized? I don’t know.
      I am saddened by our finger pointing culture, especially before any evidence or trial has been undergone, but there is absolutely nothing new to see here.

      • James

        “Innocent UNLESS proven guilty” not “innocent UNTIL proven guilty”, the latter implies they are guilty but it has yet to be proven.

      • H dawg

        The difference is the Boston Bombers were suspects that had a huge amount of evidence built up against them – they were basically caught on camera planting the bombs.

        Here, there is no such evidence that the boy committed the crime, so the response from the public is based on nothing but an accusation.

  • Anonymous

    The criminal justice system rightly works on the basis of innocent until proven guilty. Just imagine if it were the other way around. I could accuse you of murder, or any number of other crimes, and unless you could prove beyond a doubt that you hadn’t done it you would, by default, be charged with murder. I suspect most of you would think it’d be quite easy to prove you are innocent, but think about it and realise you can’t provide evidence about things you haven’t done. The fact that there’s no evidence condemning you only works if the default position is innocent until proven guilty.

    • anon

      if we didn’t have innocent until proven guilty, might as well be back in the days of lynch mobs.

  • Lucy

    Whatever the outcome of the trial, this article sensibly addresses an issue I have long considered to be a flaw in the system. Your friend’s personal account makes it all the more glaringly obvious – while actual offenders can be granted new identities upon their release from prison to enable them to rebuild lives unaffected by prejudices to do with their crime, those accused but found innocent are not: their falsified offence will follow them for months if not years. The article is very clear in terms of its condemnation of rape and rapists and its condoning of the justice process and the fair ability to come forward about related crimes. What it questions is society’s (and the police’s, who first chose to publish the photo alongside a description of the supposed crime) right to condemn a man to what often turns out to be a life sentence of judgement before he has even entered the court.

  • Cammy

    Maybe everyone should stop giving their opinion until the authorities properly sort this out. Then we will all know the truth.

  • Anonymous

    There are a few things about how this situation has been handled that I find unsettling:
    1. The way the police and the media handled the release of the nightclub photo of the suspect. Understandably, as the girl who reported the crime didn’t know the suspect, this photo was the best thing that the police had to go on. The speed of his arrest indicates that the release of this photo on the internet was probably the fastest method that the police could have used to track him down. I don’t disagree with the release of the photo, but I disagree with the inclusion of the account of the crime that was released along with it. If the police had released the photo and stated that they were interested in finding the man in relation to an inquiry then I’m sure that he would have been found just as quickly. Unfortunately, “rapist” is a label that this guy will have associated with him for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether he is found to be guilty or not.
    2. I find it equally unfair that many people, presumably friends of the suspect, have immediately claimed that the accuser is lying in Facebook posts. If you think it is wrong to label the suspect as a “rapist” before a trial, then how is it acceptable to label the accuser as a “liar”? The fact of the matter is that we don’t know at this stage what the outcome of this investigation will be. There is the possibility that she could be lying but she could also genuinely believe that she has been raped by the suspect.
    3. Some of the comments that I have seen on Facebook posts regarding the investigation have completely disgusted me. “I hope she gets raped” being just one of them. Is it any wonder why so many women are sexually abused and never come forward? Imagine if you were reading these comments as a victim of sexual abuse. Or imagine if someone was saying these comments about your sister, mother, friend or girlfriend. I feel that in a lot of ways, there has been a complete disregard for the feelings of the accuser and I think a lot of this has to do with her anonymity. It’s important to remember that there is another person involved in this investigation, and although we do not know her name or her face, she is still a person. A person who has probably read your comments. A person who is a possible victim of sexual abuse.
    One thing that I do find reassuring about the investigation is that the accuser’s claim was taken seriously by the police. I hear too many stories about women who report rape but their claims are disregarded because they were drunk at the time or they were in a relationship with their abuser. Some women do make false rape claims, but these few women should not make it impossible for others to have their claims investigated thoroughly.
    That was a complete ramble but I just wanted to get my thoughts on the situation across somehow.

  • Anonymous

    The daft thing is we shouldn’t be having to discuss this on the internet, it should be a private and confidential matter.

    I find it hard to believe that after finding a picture of him on the facebook page of the nightclub the two met at, that they couldn’t just peruse through the photographs until they found him tagged in one.
    The way the police have gone about bringing the suspect to questioning has been clumsy and insensitive. Using itv and facebook to instigate a hunt for him was not the only way to bring him to questioning, I can think of many ways in which they could have identified him privately without calling on the general public.
    Both suspect and victim must have rights to privacy and discretion, because as we’ve now found out the suspect whether found innocent or guilty will be defamed by the accusation regardless. As a result this is not a fair trial.

  • mike

    Whether or not this accusation is true or false is irrelevant – clearly the girl is in need of support whether it is true that he did or did not rape her. I feel bad for her, I really do I can only begin to imagine how soul breaking this whole experience is for her. At the same time, I feel awful for the man who probably thinks he has done nothing wrong and has had sex with a girl who has regretted the incident and reported it as rape. I struggle to understand all this heated commotion about defending him or defending her – we all have our own views on the matter but publicly speaking about them is only going to be counter-productive to both their cases. If you are condoning her that she is falsely accusing an innocent man, then fewer girls will come forward in the future. If you are condoning him that he has committed such a terrible crime, then if he is proven innocent all this negative publicity is going to be detrimental to his life.

    The problem is the system, at this moment his face has been plastered all over the papers with RAPIST written next to it when he has not been convicted. No news reporter is ever going to write the story: ‘MAN ACCUSED OF RAPE FOUND INNOCENT’ because it just wont sell. Therefore, it would be ridiculous to say that in the event that he is innocent, everyone will know and this damage is irreparable. Now please please please do not see this as me siding with him – all I’m saying is that the situation has been handled awfully, that the Police should not have released the photo as part of a rape investigation. I understand that it is often the most used way of finding criminals and is very effective, but to say ‘if it helps catch the accused quicker then it can only be a good thing’ is purely wrong as it has completely ruined his life no matter of whether he is or isn’t innocent

    • Anon

      Speculating as to what has happened by saying she regretted it etc completely contradicts what you go on to say . All we know at this point is that she is alleging that he raped her which means she must believe that she was raped . speculating as to fact by saying she willingly slept with him and later regretted it is just as dangerous as the news story labeling him as a rapist . Leave the decision about fact to the jury if he is charged .

      This article wasn’t defending what the man is alleged to have done .or attacking what the victim has said or done . It was about how the way in which the police and the media had portrayed him as a guilty man before he has even had a chance to explain his side of the story

  • Anonomous

    Releasing a photo is an efficient way of catching a suspect, that is not the fault here. The problem is professional news articles condemning the man without any evidence. Young students are always going to be opinionated and express opinions for both sides of this ordeal in ignorant ways but all that should be ignored, its the media that is at fault here.

    And to all those using statistics to claim this man is guilty should stop. Yes statistically only 2/1000 rapes are false accusations meaning statistically he is probably guilty, but each case should be dealt separately as it will in a court of law, statistics are not enough to condemn this man as guilty and should be forgotten. I am sure we will find out soon if this man is guilty or innocent, and even if there is the chance the victim has falsely accused the suspect. However until actual evidence has been brought to light and a verdict made, people should just leave it alone and not accuse without evidence against either party, especially in the offensive manner people have been doing. Two peoples lives are in shatters at the moment and people need to stop acting like savages.

  • Anonymous

    “If you get raped, come forward” – this is absolutely disgusting victim blaming. Stop telling women not to get raped and how to respond to their assault, and start telling people not to rape.

    • Jake

      Oh fuck off. How the fuck is that victim blaming? You’re desperately searching for a way of spinning this article into MEN HATE VICTIMS AND THEIR HIVEMIND ENCOURAGES RAPE. no. Don’t be a fucking idiot- of course people shouldn’t bloody rape, but it’s hardly the fault of every man ever that some believe they have that god given right. People shouldn’t rape. Victims shouldn’t stay silent. Don’t be a cunt.

      • anon

        It implies victim blaming because of the horrifically callous language used. ‘if you get raped’, not ‘if somebody assaults you’. ‘if you get raped, come forward’ is just so bluntly and ridiculously put as if it is an easy thing to do. The whole article undermines any valid points it could be trying to make by the awful way it is written. Yes it is a delicate issue, as the article states, so the whole thing should have been written with so much more care and thought if it didn’t want to appear to fully believe the suspect over the victim (which it massively does, despite protestations claiming to be about justice.) If this TRULY isn’t the intended effect then the writer seriously, seeeriously needs to learn to handle things more sensitively (in the same way he is claiming he would like the police to do…)

        • Anonymouse

          You’re literally just splitting hairs. Quibbling at phrasing does not detract from the point of the article as you seem so inherently desperate to imply, you’re just putting your all in to finding a way of making this so much more contentious than it is. The points raised are damn valid, and I think if you woke up to rape accusations you’d wish you had the right to anonymity professed here quicker than you can say ‘Shit man, maybe I’m talking out of my arse?’.

          Bore off. It’s obvious that the guy isn’t leaning either way, he’s just presenting an alternative view to the complete and utter character destruction he saw. You’re just as stubbornly believing the victim as you imply the writer is believing the ‘perpetrator’, perhaps you’re just a hypocrite?

    • Anonthesecond

      Maybe you should learn to read

      • fedupwithfeminism

        yep, because this is an article all about how men hate women. bore the fuck off. If a woman had potentially committed a crime and was named and shamed before found guilty, you’d be defending her case. Just because this is a man who has been shamed means that he must be guilty and gets what he deserves? literally couldn’t be more fed up with student politics, why can’t we focus on equality rather than perpetuating the man/woman divide. by default feminism defines women as unequal, start fighting for equality.

  • ————-

    I completely agree with this article. It may be standard practice in the prosecution process; the media will always prioritize sensationalism over a more moral, two sided approach and it is, indeed, sad that it takes a middle-class white student to bring this to all of our attention. That isn’t what this article is about. This article highlights the culture prevalent among the Facebook community to post, share and comment on anything to follow the crowd, with no discrimination of the source, content or implications of their activity. This is one of countless examples.

  • Anon

    ‘Even if it is later decided that his ‘victim’ was falsifying the accusation’. Why is this even being touted as if it may be a likely possibility? It’s worth asking ourselves why many don’t come forward when they’ve been rapes. And when they do, why prosecutions are so low. Given how difficult it is to come forward and the ensuing process of doing so, it makes no sense to assume that false accusations are a significant reality! I disagree with witch-hunts and innocent until proven guilty yes, but you still sound like you are subtly victim-blaming in certain instances in the article.

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  • Anonymous

    “If it is proven in a court of law that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then I’d like nothing better than to see his overly excitable testicles placed in a vice.”

    I guess genital mutilation is justified if one is guilty of rape.

  • Pingback: Manchester student cleared of rape charges | The Tab Manchester()

  • Daniel Mizen

    I am a UCL rugby lad. Not only am I more intelligent, I am more of a lad too. You boys sound like a bunch of fucking fairies. Come down to the Loop on a Wednesday and I’ll show you how to chop a cold one.

  • Fat Wanker

    This makes me embarrassed to be a member of UBRFC . Not only is it poorly written, it also highlights the fact the majority of UBRFC are a bunch of socially inept, self-centred, fucking idiots.

  • Sticks and balls

    Great read, couldn’t sum up the philosophy of the club any better.

  • Jerry

    As Bath Uni is regarded as one of the top sporting universities in the country, UBRFC should be ashamed that the only thing they’ve won in the past few years is the Combinations Cup, where they eventually scraped past a bunch of fat cider drinking part-timers. Perhaps they should concentrate less on learning the lyrics to Only Fools and Horses and ‘bolting pints’, and actually start performing.

    • I love hockey

      What about being BUCS national sevens champions? Poor trolling Jerry, good effort though.

      • Jerry

        Shame on me. Forgot the 7s Rangers. Seed for me then eh boys?!? Chubb-Z and Farmer Giles are gunna have my fucking pants down.

        • Jog On Jerry

          Clueless as to what you’re chatting about Only Fools and Horses Jezz..? Everyone knows that ‘Lady of the Manor’ is the fan favourite these days!

  • Strong chat all round

    “Respect the hierarchy” sums it up for me. Go in insecure and suck on the elders’ nads whilst learning all the standard formulaic “chat”, so that in two years time you can go on to have your own nads sucked by more insecure losers who more than likely struggled to make the 2nds at school. So strong from the boys.

  • Andy Non

    Seriously strong from bath rugby club. You must be so strong! Really, though, superb strength. I can only imagine how proud I would be to have such cracking banter!!! I’ve always wanted to be a lad. Thanks for showing me the way (to be a great lad).

  • Anon

    Seen pictures of suspects posted hundreds of times on news websites etc, clearly the blatantly obvious thing to do to find a suspect…… only seems to make a difference to people here because its a white, middle class, ‘nice-guy’ student, and everyone knows rapists are weirdos who hide in bushes, right? Really couldn’t care less if the ‘whole thing leaves a bad taste in your mouth’.

  • Anonymous

    Innocent to proven guilty. I dont know the guy but to say directly next to his picture “this incident shows there are people out there who will not think twice out there who will not think twice about attacking their victim given half the chance” its hardly a fair assumption. it should read more like this “Can you identify this man, we believe he can help us out with our investigation” Not condeming him.

  • Edmund

    Christ, this isn’t because he’s white, or a ‘nice guy’. It’s because I saw him being ripped to shreds by a gleeful public desperate to pass their own judgement on his alleged actions. I’m not a racist, as you seem so desperate to imply. I couldn’t care less that you couldn’t care less- I don’t care if I’m the only voice defending his right to be seen as innocent until proven guilty. The issue was mishandled.

  • Edmund

    The picture was posted next to a relatively graphic description of his alleged crime. It was character destruction- the university holds pictures of all students, there were far simpler ways of identifying him. He was damned from the start.

  • edmund hater

    relatively graphic?! HARDLY

  • Ed

    What an amusing name- wanna grow up? It was a damning account that included the phrase ‘he then raped her’- hardly fair.

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