Waxman’s review will look at what intimate information police are asking for, what impact wading through vast caches of phone data has on the length of investigations, and how much of it is ultimately useful in court.
“I speak to the judiciary about it and they say: ‘I’m not interested in what she said to her friend about sex.’ But the police and CPS position has been very much about: ‘Get everything and then we’ll see what’s reasonable, what we need to consider, because there could be something in that that undermines the case.’”
Has she never watched any forensics being carried out? Everything that could be relevant is sampled. Because until you start analysing it, you just don’t know what could be relevant…
Why, exactly, should this type of evidence gathering be any different to the other, physical sort?
Even in cases of stranger rape where there is no relationship with the accused to examine, she says, school or medical records are routinely scrutinised for anything potentially affecting the victim’s credibility.
Well, yes. Because the victim’s credibility matters. In case she turns out to be one of those nutters who thinks that crying rape is a jolly wheeze.
Elsewhere in her work, she welcomes potential moves to curb the so-called “rough sex” defence used in several recent murder trials, by men claiming to have strangled or beaten women to death in sex games gone wrong. (The former Labour minister Harriet Harman has led moves to tighten the law, as part of a domestic abuse bill going through parliament this spring.)
“It’s being used far more widely now as a defence and it’s incredibly concerning, because these victims are not consenting to be killed.”
No, but what they are consenting to provides any potential maniac with a cast-iron defence, doesn’t it?
Which brings us to the role of Priti Patel, the home secretary. Patel has campaigned for stronger victims’ rights since she was a backbencher and Waxman, who has had several meetings with her over the years, stresses that she has never found Patel anything other than “very supportive” and “very lovely to me”.
But does she think the home secretary makes a credible champion of victims with bullying allegations hanging over her? “Not currently now, unfortunately. Whether there’s truth in the allegations or not I don’t know, but obviously that does impact her currently. If you are committed to supporting victims, you don’t really want to be accused of creating victims or making someone a victim of abuse.”
So after all that guff about ensuring that relevant evidence only is gathered (by some supernatural means, one assumes..), she immediately discards the evidence of her own interactions with a person in favour of internet rumours and Westminster gossip?