brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

John Knight jwknight at
Thu Sep 5 23:23:44 EST 2002

  Robert Whiston wrote:
  "Another reason, why we believed 'Billam' was redundant was that it denied
  female equality and responsibility. It held that women are so infantile that
  they cannot make up their own minds sensibly and assess the risks of, for
  example, accepting a lift from a stranger. No where were women held
  accountable for their actions and decisions. This endorses the notion that
  women are defenceless and can not commit DV."

Our courts are the same way, Robert.

The correct term is "moral minors".  Our courts believe that women are such moral minors that they can't even be relied upon to sign a contract, follow a court order, obey the law, or pay taxes.

So they don't.

Study after study shows that American women are 65% of those who perpetrate domestic violence, 98% of parents who murder their own biological children, twice as likely as a husband to kill their spouses with a knife or through a contract murder, yet they're five times more likely to be acquitted of exactly the same crime that a man commits, 16% less likely to be imprisoned if convicted, and receive sentences a third of what men receive.

If we want to perpetuate and even promote these serious female criminals, then this is certainly the right idea.

John Knight

The Rape Sentencing Panel offers advice to the Court of Appeal regarding the
appropriate length of sentences. The latest proposals from the Panel, which
completed and published its report in May 2002, is that the minimum sentence
for rape should be set at 5 years.

It is clear from the Consultation document, issued in 2001 that the panel
felt moderately inclined that the minimum tariff in rape cases should, in
future, be set at 8 years. The very first question, in their 2001 paper,
asked whether "8 years was appropriate". Their May 2002 report, therefore,
represents a movement contrary to expectations and against the prevailing
calls (presumably) from women's groups.

Contrast this with Buggery (male rape) which used to carry a MAXiminm
sentence of 10 years.

Not only is it contrary but one that is downward in terms of historic

So are we witnessing a small success ? Has the bandwagon been slowed - or
even stopped ?

In 1980 the average (most numerous) sentence, at 37%, was 2 - 3 years. This
represented a single spike in graph form. By 1996 the average when depicted
on a graph had become a lopsided plateau of 28 % and 23% covering the
sentence range 5 - 7 years and 7 - 10 years (HOS 196, Fig 6.1, p 38). The
prospect was that the trend would continue and that 8, 10 or even 12 years
would become the norm for a rape offence was a real possibility.

Rape sentencing guidelines used to day were first set out in the case of
"Billam" (1986).

At para 30 the reported states "A minority of respondents to the Panel's
consultation paper thought that the 5 year starting point should be higher
(6 or 7 years), and some would prefer the 8 year starting point to be
increased to 9 or 10 years. Some of those who took the contrary view
suggested that higher starting points would carry the risk of an increased
acquittal rate, because juries would be more reluctant to convict." This was
one of ManKind's observations and one shared by judges.

When the Rape Sentencing Panel invited ManKind to contribute to its
deliberations we undertook a very detailed and exhaustive review. We looked
at practices in Europe (both east and west) and in North America. The
results were disquieting. We found the English regime unenlightened and
comparatively barbaric. [In Germany and France the bulk of offenders
(approx. 95% and 52% respectively) are sentenced to less than 60 months (5

In Italy the majority of rapists serve less than 2 years. In Sweden 35%.
serve less than 2 years. In England only 4% are sentenced to less than two
years. This is imbalance is what ManKind sort to address.

We knew that the University of Sussex had been asked to undertake research
based on a self-selecting group of female rape victims and a "focus group".
To task untutored members of the general public to answer questions about
the intricacies of rape. knowing it would deeply influence the Sentencing
Panel. was in our view reckless. [The gut reaction ("hang 'em high") that
they subsequently reported was entirely predictable. ]

We wrote in our submission ('To Kill a Mockingbbird', £14.99), ".. No where
are there so many life sentences than in Britain. Countries normally
associated with harsh penal regimes, e.g. Russia and Portugal, do not have
as many 'lifers' as England or Scotland. Even France, which has 3 times the
number of rapists incarcerated, has only 4 men serving 'life'." We offered
the Panel an alternative progressive penal regime which they ignored.

We have to view the Panels recommendations as a success because it is a
reprieve from what might have been. The previous minimum sentence guidelines
(Billam) meant that the average sentence for a rape offender (in 2000) had
been talked up to 7 years 4 months. For a 'not guilty' plea the average was
7 years 6 months on and 6 years 10 months on a guilty plea.

Despite this, many judges believe that many rape cases did not deserve 5
years as minimum or 7 years where there are "aggravating factors", eg threat
of violence. Some judges viewed the Billam guidelines as 'unhelpful' and
wished they could ignore them (HOS 196, p 39).

After completing appropriate LCD training some judges are awarded a "sex
ticket" which enables them to try sex cases.

In Britain the majority of sentences (57%) fell within the range 5 - 10
years, but 25% of offenders received sentences of under 5 years, and 17%
were sentenced to more than 10 years, including 10% who were sentenced to
life imprisonment (Para 7 ).

But perhaps the greatest breakthrough was in the shift of mind set. The
panel, commenting on the victim's behaviour said, a para 43, "The relevance
of the victim's behaviour to the seriousness of an offence of rape is a
difficult and sensitive issue. The Court of Appeal said in Billam: 'The fact
that the victim may be considered to have exposed herself to danger by
acting imprudently (as for instance by accepting a lift in a car from a
stranger) is not a mitigating factor . . . . But if the victim has behaved
in a manner which was calculated to lead the defendant to believe that she
would consent to sexual intercourse, then there should be some mitigation of
the sentence. In this passage the Court of Appeal makes it clear that just
because a victim may have been naive, unwise or imprudent, this cannot in
itself affect the seriousness of the rape." Paras 22 to 26 also touched on
the thorny problem of prior sexual knowledge (Re Berry) and that ".. the
offender may have been subject to an unusual degree of provocation or
stress .. "

Another reason, why we believed 'Billam' was redundant was that it denied
female equality and responsibility. It held that women are so infantile that
they cannot make up their own minds sensibly and assess the risks of, for
example, accepting a lift from a stranger. No where were women held
accountable for their actions and decisions. This endorses the notion that
women are defenceless and can not commit DV.

The sentencing Panel adopted another of our proposals in agreeing that
'vulnerability' be linked to age range.

We believe the 'industry' surrounding the whole issue of rape needs
re-assesing. Are we getting 'results' and value for money ?

Using Feltham jail, in England, as the standard, the average cost of jailing
a rapist in England is £52,000 per annum. (£1,000 per prisoner per week, HMP
'Unlock' Conference, Nov 2001). The cost over the average sentence of 7
years and 1 month is, therefore, £369,000 (1,000 p/w x 85 months).

The number of rapists (around 515 in 1999) therefore costs the Exchequer
around £190m   (£190,300,000).

How would women's groups, if given the same amount, better spend it ? Would
compensation packages be far more generous than at present ?

Of the 515 sentenced 17% were juveniles aged between 10 and 17. The average
sentence for them was 3 years 9 months. In all, 503 persons received a
custodial sentence for rape in 1999.

Rape Sentencing Panel - Tel: 0207-271-8336

Email : sap-secretariat at


also from Panel report :-


"Advice to the court of appeal" - 9 (Page 11)

A1. In 2000, the latest year for which figures are available, 515 offenders
were sentenced for rape in the Crown Court, of whom 481 (93%) were aged 18
or over and 34 (7%) were aged 10 - 17. A total of 503 offenders (98%)
received a custodial sentence.

A2. For the 503 offenders sentenced to custody in 2000, the distribution of
sentence lengths is set out below.

1 - 2 years and under: 4% (9 offenders, of whom 6 adults and 3 juveniles)

2 - 3 years: 4% (23 offenders, of whom 12 adults and 11 juveniles)

3 - 4 years: 6% (40 offenders, of whom 32 adults and 8 juveniles)

4 - 5 years: 11% (63 offenders, of whom 59 adults and 4juveniles)

5 - 6 years: 16% (69 offenders, all adults)

6 - 7 years: 13% (64 offenders, of whom 62 adults and 2 juveniles)

7 - 8 years: 12% (66 offenders, of whom 65 adults and 1 juvenile)

8 - 10 years: 16% (88 offenders, all adults)

10 - 12 years: 5% (27 offenders, all adults)

over 12 years: 2% (14 offenders, all adults

life imprisonment: 10% (40 offenders, of whom 39 adults and 1 juvenile)


>From report :


As we pointed out in our consultation paper, relatively few cases of male
rape have been prosecuted since the change in the law. In 1999, 36 men were
sentenced for rape of a male aged under 16, and only 9 for rape of a male
aged 16 or over. In the same year, 246 offenders were sentenced for rape of
a female aged under 16, and 268 for rape of a female aged 16 or over. There
are no reported appeals against sentence for rape of an adult male, and only
one for attempted rape where the victim was a man. There are, however, some
earlier cases of buggery of a male without consent, in which the Court of
Appeal adopted the aggravating and mitigating features identified in

Reference cases:-

Billam (1986) 8 Cr App R (S) 48..

R v R [1991] 4 All ER 481, marital rape House of Lords ruling

Mendez (1992) 13 Cr App R (S) 94 and Bowley [1999] 1 Cr App R (S) 232 Court
of Appeal expressed view that anal rape of a woman (formerly non-consensual
buggery), was 'worse than normal vaginal rape'

Berry (1988) 10 Cr App R (S) 13, rape of a former wife or mistress may have
exceptional features which make it a less serious offence than otherwise it
would be. . . To our mind . . . in some instances the violation of the
person and defilement that are inevitable features where a stranger rapes a
woman are not always present to the same degree when the offender and the
victim had previously had a longstanding sexual relationship.' [Italics

W (1993) 14 Cr App R (S) 256: Following the criminalization of marital rape,
Lord Taylor CJ;  " .. Where the parties were cohabiting normally at the time
and the husband insisted on intercourse against his wife's will, but without
violence or threats, the consideration identified in Berry . . . will no
doubt be an important factor in reducing the level of sentencing.

M (1995) 16 Cr App R (S) 770, the Court of Appeal (per Lord Taylor CJ) made
a distinction between cases of marital rape where the parties were
estranged, and those where they were still living together: the husband.
Husband is still living in the same house, and, indeed, with consent
occupying the same bed as his wife.

Harvey (1987) 9 Cr App R (S) 124, the victim was a friend of the offender's
cousin, and had known the offender himself for about a year. Lord Lane CJ
said: 'There was no unnecessary violence: by that I mean violence beyond
that which is necessarily involved in the commission of the crime of rape.
There were no sexual indignities as unhappily one all too frequently finds
in these cases nowadays imposed upon a girl. There was no weapon used or
threatened. The parties were known to each other. There were no physical
injuries suffered by the girl - that was the doctor's evidence. . . .'
[Italics added]

R v Roberts and Roberts (1982) 4 Cr App R (S) 8) that 'Rape is always a
serious crime.

Collier (1992) 13 Cr App R (S) 33) the presence of children when the offence
is committed


cf. The US has 25% of its incarcerated rapists defined as children, ie not
adults ( whether this means under 18 or under 21 is not clear).

In the UK around 60% of men accused and then found guilty (rightly or
wrongly) face a sentence of between 5 and 10 years. A further 10% face life
imprisonment for an offence that did not take another person's life (70%).

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