Crime, Law, recent

How Due Process Fell Victim to Good Intentions: A Veteran Court Reporter Looks Back

The essay that follows is adapted from remarks delivered by the author upon receipt of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms’ George Jonas Freedom Award on June 14 in Toronto.

I find it amusing that we’re here, celebrating freedom, at a time when Canada’s federal justice committee unanimously has agreed to rewrite recent history. In the last week of May, Conservative MP Michael Cooper dared to quote three lines from New Zealand terrorist Brenton Tarrant’s dreary manifesto in response to a bit of a hectoring from a Muslim witness who’d appeared before the committee, which was studying online hate. The witness was Faisal Khan Suri, the president of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, and among the things he said was this:

We’ve seen a lot of recent tragedies happen across the world. In January 2017, the Quebec City mosque killer, Alexandre Bissonnette, gunned down six Muslim men in execution style when he came into the mosque with two guns and fired more than 800 rounds. The evidence from Bissonnette’s computer showed he repetitively sought content about anti-immigrant, alt-right and conservative commentators, mass murderers, U.S. President Donald Trump and the arrival of Muslim immigrants in Quebec.

Suri then went on, as did many other speakers, to mention the March, 2019, terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where 51 Muslims were murdered. After yet another speaker, Cooper told Suri that he took great umbrage with his efforts to link “conservatism with violent and extremist attacks,” and that he should be ashamed.

Then, he read into the record three lines from Tarrant’s 74-page manifesto, in which Tarrant said “conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it,” and that the nation whose values most aligned with his own was the People’s Republic of China. To judge by the reaction of his fellow committee members, you’d have thought Cooper had just relieved himself on the desk. I agree he probably had overreacted to a pretty mild comment, but he’s a conservative, and probably takes such matters seriously.

MPs from the left-of-centre Liberals and NDP sputtered with fury, and the committee immediately went in camera. When they emerged, Cooper withdrew his comment that Suri should be ashamed, and the hearing proceeded.

But a week later, the committee adopted a motion condemning Cooper for having been “discriminatory, hurtful and disrespectful” to Suri, noting that he’d read from the Christchurch attacker’s manifesto—though hardly with approval—and resolved to expunge the attacker’s name and the three lines Cooper had quoted.

The Tarrant manifesto is banned in New Zealand. This is ridiculous, I think. How can you know a thing if you’re not allowed to name it? But the manifesto isn’t banned in Canada (yet), though Tarrant’s name and words apparently are verboten in our Parliament.

For voicing his opinion, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer kicked Cooper off the justice committee, and he was also “voluntold,” as soldiers put it, to apologize again. Thus did a committee of the federal government literally rewrite history, just as Winston Smith did for the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

As Smith reminded himself as he went about his work, “Nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and re-inscribed exactly as often as was necessary.” At another point, he adds: “Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated; vaporized was the usual word.” And so perhaps begins that process for Michael Cooper.

Christie Blatchford, Toronto, June 14, 2019. (Image courtesy of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms)

I cannot tell you how shocking I find this, even though it’s the logical result of a whole lot of things I’m old enough to have witnessed first-hand as a veteran journalist.

Perhaps the key thing, because it led to the current importance placed upon “feelings,” was the development of the victims-rights movement. Have you noticed how many people now rarely say “I think it rained,” but rather, “I feel like it rained”?

This began, as so many bad things do, with arguably noble intentions. Long ago—and I’ve been covering criminal trials since 1978—it is true that victims and their families were sometimes given short shrift by the Canadian justice system. Prosecutors would forget to tell a homicide victim’s parents about the accused’s court dates; occasionally, relatives wouldn’t be able to get a seat in a crowded courtroom.

But these things didn’t happen routinely, or even often. I was there. Generally speaking, no one is more aware of, and more sensitive to, a victim or a victim’s family than a homicide cop; most of those I know remember the birthdays of all their victims. But in the ’80s there emerged this idea that, as one victims-rights advocate put it at the time, “The politicians long ago recognized the needs of criminals, but they forgot about us. A justice system that doesn’t want fair treatment for both sides is not a fair system.”

The problem is, victims of crime were never meant to be one of the two sides. Justice in this country, as in most Western democracies, isn’t supposed to be a matter between victim and perpetrator, but rather between state and perpetrator. Thus, it’s “State of New York versus Blatchford.” Or, in Canada, “Regina versus Blatchford.” It’s not “Blatchford versus her poor victim.” (And trust me, I have a list of likely candidates.)

Of course, the broader societal interests of public safety and protection incorporate the narrower interests of those who have been hurt or damaged by crime. But, traditionally, that’s where the victim’s role began and ended. That’s as it should be. And that’s what the rule of law, at its simplest, is: We all agree that we will not seek vengeance and take the law into our own hands. If you burn down my house, I will not burn down yours in retaliation and perhaps rape your wife for good measure. Instead, I will call the cops. The cops will investigate, and you may be charged. And at some point, you may go on trial.

But in 1989, the Canadian government passed the Victims Bill of Rights, and over the next decade, this being Canada, the provinces passed their own versions. All these bills really did was provide victims with the right to information—about court appearances, release dates of offenders, and so forth. But before you knew it, there was also something called the “victim impact statement,” which is delivered at sentencing and allows a victim or a victim’s family to talk publicly about their loss. These turned out to be just the first steps.

In May, 1995, came the trial of Ontario serial killer Paul Bernardo. I suppose, if I were truly modern, I wouldn’t name him either. But I’m not, so I will.

I remember that trial like it was yesterday, and could talk about it for days. But for these purposes, let me just say that it turned the notion of victims being an uninvolved third party on its ear.

Bernardo was accused, and convicted, of genuinely terrible crimes. He was a serial rapist who moved on to murder, with his then-wife Karla Homolka at his side. They were co-stars in the deaths of three young women—Homolka’s own younger sister Tammy, and teenagers Leslie Mahaffy and Kristin French. Bernardo was way ahead of his time. Long before Tarrant live-streamed his slaughter in the Christchurch mosque, well before Luka Magnotta posted a video of his 2012 killing of student Jun Lin in Montreal, Bernardo taped his attacks on young girls.

The trial of Homolka, which went first, was closed to the public and to the U.S. press, and was subject to so many publication bans that it was essentially held in secret.

Then, at Bernardo’s trial, the presiding judge, a lovely human being named Patrick LeSage, decided, at the behest of a lawyer representing the Mahaffy and French families, that the public and press wouldn’t be able to see the videotapes that were the single most critical piece of evidence against Bernardo. This was because, the lawyer for the families said, if the tapes were played in public, the families would have to watch them, too, which would violate their daughters’ dignity and privacy rights. The families, through their lawyer Tim Danson, asked for formal intervener status in the trial. Though he said he was doing it “as an indulgence” and not a right, LeSage granted it to them.

But the rights of victims were also expanded in another way at that trial. Because the videotapes originally were missed by the cops in their search of the Bernardo-Homolka home, the government determined it needed Homolka as a witness against her former husband. And fair enough. For a time, they did need her. And she was more than happy to oblige.

Prosecutors duly lined up an array of experts to paint her as a victim of Bernardo herself: She was a battered spouse. She was “the compliant victim of a sexual sadist.” She had PTSD, or traumatic amnesia.

But six months before Bernardo’s trial started, the tapes were belatedly found. And those tapes showed Homolka not as a victim, but as Bernardo’s accomplice, an eager, lip-licking participant in the sexual assaults of those three dead young women and several others. On tape, she seemed as perfectly capable of murder as her husband.

The tapes showed she had, er, forgotten about some of the sexual assaults, or, heaven forbid, lied about them. At least one police chief and one prosecutor wanted to breach her plea deal because of that, but there was no will to do that at the Ontario attorney-general’s office. There, they had all bought in to the vision of Karly Curls, as she called herself, the victim of a very bad man.

In fact, Homolka was a long-time co-participant in Bernardo’s rape and murder spree. Only in the end, and only then for about five minutes, was she his victim. Yet her plea deal—12 years in jail for her involvement in three deaths—survived. And after serving every last day of it, she was freed in 2005. To this day, many people persist in seeing her as a victim—just another sad victim of a toxic male.

One of those people was the lawyer who represented her while she was still in prison, a Quebec woman who really believed in Homolka’s victimhood. Her name is Sylvie Bordelais, and she was a true believer. Years later, I learned that it was Bordelais’ brother, Thierry, who married Homolka in 2007.

The Homolka-as-victim narrative did untold harm to the idea of gender equality in my view. If, no matter what a woman does, no matter how heinous her crimes, we persist in seeing her only as a victim of a man, we infantalize her. We aren’t granting that she is as capable of the full spectrum of human behaviour, good and bad, as are men.

Fast-forward almost a quarter century, and where are we now? For decades now, in each province there has been some sort of assistance office for the victim-witness. These are the soothers. They accompany every victim—but especially in sexual assaults—and guard them like attack dogs. They are always patting shoulders and comforting; they are the handers-out of tissues and the dispensers of hugs. A victim, especially a woman, must always be supported and, of course, believed.

Case in point: The 2016 sexual-assault trial of former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi, in which the three main accusers were revealed in cross-examination—by lawyer Marie Henein—to be duplicitous, self-serving complainants with big axes to grind against Ghomeshi. To varying degrees, they all had said that after they were allegedly attacked by Mr. Ghomeshi, they were so traumatized they either had nothing to do with him or made sure to see him only in public places, where they would be “safe.” This is what they told Toronto police officers, who had conducted a sleepy #MeToo-type investigation. It’s also what this trio testified to in court, under oath, in examination-in-chief.

Alas and alack for them, it turns out that after the alleged attacks, all three had variously sent Ghomeshi sexy pictures, or in the case of one, given him a friendly hand job at her house after a dinner out. In the case of Lucy DeCoutere, she actively stalked him for months, wrote him an email in which she said “I want to fuck your brains out,” and sent him flowers, and a six-page handwritten love letter in which she said, “I love your hands”—the same hands that allegedly had slapped and choked her.

Ghomeshi was acquitted, properly and rightly, and not on a “technicality,” and not because his lawyer had played dirty, but because his accusers had revealed themselves as utterly unreliable. They simply couldn’t be believed. And yet, it was as if the verdict didn’t matter, or hadn’t happened.

The same day as the verdict was announced, women marched in at least two Canadian cities, Ottawa and Toronto, in support of their three sisters. On social media and in the mainstream press, people who had never come within a hair of that courtroom confidently raged against the verdict and the rebirth of old “rape myths.” Inspector Joan McKenna, then head of criminal investigations for the Ottawa police force, tweeted a picture of six unidentified women and the line #WeBelieve, #selfcare@OttawaPolice and #EndtheStigma.

That tweet was duly retweeted by the chief of Ottawa Police, Charles Bordeleau. The chief of a major police force apparently is an adherent of believing women, no matter what, even after they have been revealed as untruthful.

Meanwhile, the leader of the federal NDP at the time, Thomas Mulcair, tweeted out: “Today and every day #IBelieveSurvivors.”

Ghomeshi was still being casually called a rapist, and still is to this day. And the complainants themselves carried on as though nothing had happened. They continue to describe themselves as “survivors.” How do you survive a thing that didn’t happen?

Yet Ghomeshi, vilified and unemployable though he remains, was actually one of the lucky ones. The allegations against him went to court, where they were tested, and found woefully lacking. Consider other men, most of whom had no such opportunity to confront their accusers. These include John Furlong, the former boss of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics; former Liberal MPs Massimo Pacetti and Scott Andrews, whose political careers and reputations were ruined by allegations of “serious personal misconduct”; politicians Patrick Brown, Kent Hehr, Tony Clement and Rick Dystra; CTV television reporter Paul Bliss; the brilliant writer Steven Galloway and the impeccable TVO talk-show host Steve Paikin, who was falsely accused of demanding sex by a perennial political candidate named Sarah Thomson. What they all have in common is that none of them had due process. None of them had the chance Jian Ghomeshi had.

The allegations against them were handled by “private” investigations, most of which were kept secret. Some of them never even learned what the allegations were. Erin Weir, for God’s sakes, was exiled from the federal NDP for being, and I’m not making this up, “a close talker,” as they said on Seinfeld.

Yet they were done in—and in some cases had their careers vaporized, as Winston Smith put it. Even one of those who simply gave Ghomeshi a chance to tell his side of the story was fired. That was the fate of Ian Buruma, who was, until he dared publish an essay by Ghomeshi, the editor of The New York Review of Books. It was no longer enough for the mob to denounce Ghomeshi (who, remember, was acquitted). Now, even those who would give him a voice must be mobbed, too.

Of course, a good part of the population—those of you in pants—can’t really say anything about #MeToo that isn’t wholly supportive of the movement. Men have been pretty much silenced on this subject. And if they do want to speak, they first have to check their various privileges—their maleness, their whiteness if they are white, their heterosexuality if they are that, and, of course, the collective entitlements granted them because of the all-pervasive patriarchy.

Honest to God, shoot me now. I’ve worked with men all my life, often wildly outnumbered by them, as when I was one of a half-dozen female sportswriters in North America. And I can honestly never remember ever fretting or thinking about my purported safety.

Anyway, I have a voice because I have breasts. So even though I’ve been deemed a rape apologist for saying what I think, at least I am able to say it.

Ghomeshi is luckier than Patrick Witt, who, as a 22-year-old undergrad at Yale, had an informal complaint filed against him by his ex-girlfriend with the then brand-new university-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. We all know, from the Lindsay Sheppard story at Laurier University, what bastions of fairness and freedom universities have become.

First, Witt was summonsed to a sort of mediation. He asked to bring a lawyer, but was told he couldn’t. He asked that fact-finding be done, so he could clear his name, but was told, “There’s nothing to clear your name of.” He demanded a formal complaint be lodged, but was told he couldn’t initiate it, only his accuser could. And guess what? She didn’t want to. And somehow, despite the confidentiality that was supposed to surround this Kafkaesque process, word leaked out. Witt lost his chance at a Rhodes scholarship, after having been announced as a finalist.

He’d been Yale’s starting quarterback and had been invited to the National Football League Scouting Combine, an annual invitation-only showcase for the best college players. Guess what: He was uninvited. And guess what: The New York Times somehow learned of the complaint against him and ran a story.

Four years later, Witt was a student at Harvard Law School, which had just adopted a similar policy to Yale’s. Witt wrote in the Boston Globe: “If considered in the abstract, many might wonder how a policy with such a laudable aim could draw any serious objections. And I might well have been among them, were it not for the fact that such a policy nearly ruined my life.” As he put it:

The complaint launched against me caused me and my family immense grief, and as a simple Google search of my name reveals, its malignant effects have not abated. It cost me my reputation and credibility, the opportunity to become a Rhodes scholar, the full-time job offer I had worked so hard to attain, and the opportunity to achieve my childhood dream of playing in the NFL. I have had to address it with every prospective employer whom I’ve contacted, with every girl I’ve dated since, and even with Harvard Law School during my admission interview.”

He ended the piece with this: “The reader might note that I have yet to even address the question of whether I was innocent of the accusation. I was. But it does not come up at any point above for the same reason that it never came up in any of the actions taken against me—because by the nature of the proceedings that follow from these new policies, it simply doesn’t matter.”

As it turned out, it didn’t matter for Ghomeshi either. The established narrative goes like this: The complaining women had been abused by a callous system; the deck was stacked against them; they hadn’t been colluding, heaven’s no, just merely talking, as chicks do; they were just simple women who had been deeply wronged. For the record, the Ghomeshi accusers were 41, 33 and 32 respectively at the time. DeCoutere was a fairly successful actor and an air force captain. All three had been around the proverbial block a time or two.

And now, we have new amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code that give complainants in sexual-assault trials the automatic right to have counsel and to get standing in arguments about whether they can be questioned about their previous sexual history. That’s a long way from the “indulgence” granted to the victims’ families in the Bernardo trial all those years ago.

Sexual assault trials across the country are on hold for months as these issues involving third parties are worked out. In the trial of former Afghan captive Joshua Boyle, for instance, the trial already has been sidelined for two months so his former wife’s lawyer could appeal the judge’s ruling that she could be asked a few questions about the couple’s previous sexual history.

The estranged wife, by the way, one Caitlan Coleman, testified via video from a different room, the so-called kiddie room, so she could feel safe and supported—a practice that used to be reserved for children of tender years testifying against their parents or abusers. In another case between former spouses, where the defence has launched a constitutional challenge against the new amendments, the wife testified with a support dog with her in the witness box.

We all talk a lot about the erosion of freedoms on campus, the lack of free expression on social media. These are worthy subjects. But the most important rights we have are those we need when we’re charged with a crime and face the ultimate loss of freedom. Those are the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time; to be informed of the charges against you; not to be denied bail without reasonable cause, and the right to be presumed innocent.


Christie Blatchford is an award-winning reporter for Canada’s National Post. She has published four non-fiction books. Follow her on Twitter at @blatchkiki.

Featured image: Jian Ghomeshi, centre, alongside his lawyers, following his acquittal on sexual assault charges in 2016. 


  1. By trying to alleviate perceived past injustice like victims of rape who were humiliated in court we go to an opposite extreme. That is that women never lie. The trial of a serious crime involves a terrifically difficult balance. It was ever so.

    I think, though, something new is in the air. Powerful groups such as politicians, the media and academia are convinced that women remain victims and that only men (and most men at that) perpetrate terrible harm.

    The slur on the men who are just (flawed) human beings is gross but I wonder if, as the writer points out, that by removing agency from women, removing the possibility that they can behave abominably, women are being made children. Not people responsible for their lives and actions, unable to cope with the world.

    The women I work with are fabulous. They work in a predominantly male environment but they seem to like us, they joke and play around with us. I never hear women I know disapprove of men in general and they are never slow to tell us when we fuck up. These women, amongst whose numbers the writer seems to be numbered are sidelined and ignored.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Jonathan Andrews

      Great comment. For anyone who is interested, it’s worth typing into YouTube Uber and false accusation- their used to be a number of videos that showed drunken women making false accusations of sexual assault to police against Uber drivers, in one instance because because he had said that they couldn’t smoke in the back- unaware that it is standard practice for drivers to fit cameras in their vehicles.

      Another instance in a similar vein was the failure to disclose scandal in the UK, in which UK police lacked the resources to check through social media posts and the CPS failed to turn over evidence to the lawyers of the accused in a timely fashion- and 49 men were exonerated by the subsequent texts that their accusers had sent to them. Presumably, the number would have been higher, as this figure only includes those women who did not realise that, just because you delete a text on your own phone, it does not delete it everywhere. This also cuts both ways though- in a UK court case a man accused of coercing fellatio from a female acquaintance, was convicted on the basis of a text to his friends stating that ‘she was not that into it’.

      The FBI puts accusations that are provably false at 2% and provably unfounded at 8%, which in the latter instance and contrary to the beliefs of some who have posted on Quillette in the past, means that Law Enforcement has proven that there is no case to answer. On the Factual Feminist, Christina Hoff Summers at AEI, has cited various research that suggests that the true level of false or unfounded accusation at somewhere between 8% and 40%. There was also a great article in Slate awhile back called ‘Crying Rape’ that is well worth a read. It should be noted there still remain a significant percentage of women who remain silent when raped or sexually assaulted, which would undoubtedly bring these percentages down.

      The reasons for false or unfounded accusation are many. There are the tragic instances of traumatised women and cases of mistaken identity. There was the UK undergraduate a number of years back who had consent, whose accuser made the accusation in the moment after the event, because she was being ridiculed by her peer group for sleeping with him, only to admit as much under cross examination. There are the known felons and con artists, with a long history of false accusations and extortion. Alarmingly, there are the growing number of women who believe it is possible to withdraw consent after the event, because they felt emotionally pressurised, not realising that coercion in the legal sense, implies physical intimidation or threat, in most jurisdictions. In the UK at least, for rape to have occurred, it is still necessary for both parties to know that consent was not given- which can lead to some tragic circumstances.

      Historically, in the workplace, there were a lot of creepy men who used their power nefariously. But in the modern context, I do wonder about the guileless and the witless. Years back, I witnessed a young man, undoubtedly on the spectrum, copy a far more attractive and charismatic male’s flirtatious behaviour, which women always actively encouraged. His blundered attempt to seem confident towards a woman he liked backfired. His banter was unappreciated. Luckily, no action was taken. The woman knew him. The only real harm was his hurt feeling in realising that different standards of behaviour were expected of him, than for some other men.

      On the subject of the New Zealand shooting, it’s worth noting that the shooter saw the American Conservative movement in particular as a hindrance and obstacle to his cause. He stated as much in his manifesto. It’s why he attempted to smear Candace Owens and PewDiePie- in the hopes that they would be censored and that this in turn would dismantle the impediment conservatism represents to the far right radicalisation of white young men. Unfortunately, it’s a narrative that activists in journalism have a long pre-existing history of indulging, branding centrist or centre right figures like Jordan Peterson as a Nazi, or Joe Rogan and Tim Pool as ‘alt-right adjacent’.

      Great Article by the way. Very courageous.

      • David of Kirkland says

        @Geary – Many (most?) men who are victimized don’t call the police either. I’ve been successfully mugged once, and an attempted mugging before that, neither of which were reported. In the end, reporting to police a crime in which you have no evidence is a fool’s errand, one more likely to end up causing you grief that help the police reduce the crimes they cannot prevent.

        • Robin says


          It’s worse than that. I’ve had a women try to drive over me in a mini-van while I was riding a bicycle. She missed me on the first pass and then tried to ‘get me’ on the second but since I was on a mountain bike I jumped the curb without a problem. She blew her front tire on the curb wrecking her vehicle and stopped her chase.

          She then gave me a foot chase. Now imagine a 40 year old lard-ass chasing me down the road with two kids in tow, about 4 and 6 years old, trying to squirt me with pepper spray, shouting obscenities at me and trying to pick a fight through a residential neighborhood. Cops came, checked out our stories and let me go.

          Nothing happened to her though. They told me “they didn’t want to arrest her in front of her kids” but then they never arrested her later either. The investigating officer made a quick call to the police in her home town and they knew her well. (She’s nuts). The cops just don’t care when crime happens to guys unless you are grievously hurt or dead. Now imagine if the scene was reversed and if a guy had tried to run over a women in a mini-van with two kids in it.

          The point is that men don’t call the police because the police don’t give a sh*t. The law exists strictly to punish men only. Women for the most part get a free pass unless they do something particularly heinous.

          My anecdotal story does beg an obvious question. If men aren’t entitled to justice from “their” legal system why should they continue to support it?

          • @ Robin,

            I’m not sure it is the sex of the victim that matters so much. It is the sex of the perpetrator that matters most. Even a female victim of a woman won’t stand much chance of seeing the criminal punished.

            I had an interesting talk with a retired policeman some while back. He was explaining to me that police, like most people, have targets and expectations even those these might be only loosely applied. The public expect them to take criminals off the streets, the politician look for successful prosecutions. Yet the police know that if they want prosecutions, which is the way to get criminals off the streets, they need to concentrate on cases where the criminal is believed to be male. See here for the UK’s sexism against me by the public prosecutors and the courts:

            So I doubt the police are the primary problem here, though they add to it. There is a case that they are just using their limited resources to get the best result they can. The fix has to be that the courts and prosecution must start to deal with everyone equally under the law, regardless of colour, religion, but especially sex..

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ David of Kirkland

          I got mugged once after a company Christmas party. Got too drunk, got lost after the party, got offered a blow job for money by a bloke who was a perfect stranger and got punched. Just goes to show, you should never take money out of a cash machine in a city, at night, when you are alone.

      • Geary Johansen,

        I generally like your comments and thank you for the time in typing them out. You say “Historically, in the workplace, there were a lot of creepy men who used their power nefariously.”.
        I have no doubt that there were (and are) some creepy men who used their power nefariously, just as I have no doubt that there were (and are) some creepy women who used their power nefariously.

        But I wonder what (other than the feminist indoctrination we have all be subjected to) makes you believe that there were ever a LOT of creepy men. I can’t think of a period in history when this was ever likely to have been the case, though I am mostly aware of British and US history.

        • Geary Johansen says

          @ Douglas Milnes

          Good point. What I mean is a lot from the point of view of women. What we know from crime figures in general, is that of those who do commit crime, many do so disproportionately- so a rapist might have a total of 9 victims, before one or more of their victims steps forth to report them- and the situation is even worse when crime is committed over a wide dispersal zone, as law enforcement might struggle to see a pattern emerging.

          With historical workplace harassment, this problem is likely to have been far more pronounced, because of a culture of keeping silent. So out of 100 men, only one might have been what amounts to a sexual predator in the workplace, but he might have harassed 30 women over the course of a long career.

          I read an article a while back on corporate psychopaths in relation to book research I was doing about visionary narcissists, it might have been in Psychology Today. Apparently, whilst a ‘normal’ manager will often split an office into two teams to compete against each other (and try to balance the teams, to increase competition and hard work), a corporate psychopath will chose all the best people to be on one team, and then get them to mercilessly bully the other team.

          I went away and thought about it for a while, and wondered whether this might be some form of masking behaviour, a way to normalise their own pathology socially, so that they can indulge their aberrant proclivities with impunity. What this might mean, both in a historical sense and in the modern context (though hopefully less so), is that toxic workplace environments where males are somewhat socialised into negative behaviour towards women, might be the result of a leader who is one of the dark triad personality types.

      • JA M says

        “Years back, I witnessed a young man, undoubtedly on the spectrum, copy a far more attractive and charismatic male’s flirtatious behavior, which women always actively encouraged.”

        Being on the spectrum myself, I now live in a constant state of fear regarding a minority of women who believe if a guy comes across as (a vaguely -if ever- defined) “creepy” in any way or if he makes them uncomfortable, then it is some sort of “proof” of his toxic masculinity and/or the potential for violence. While I generally dismissed this thinking as silly, I have in the past several years had individual experiences which have swung things the other way, including being accused of “undressing with eyes” someone I wasn’t even looking at, being accused of “walking like a creeper,” and being forced to document that I was “fit for duty” before being allowed to return to work due to “concerns for my mental health” after one individual decided they felt unsafe (and upon documentation and return was sat down with a lawyer from HR who said their actions were fully justified because I was a “potential school shooter” and they needed to “ensure the wellbeing of all faculty and students”).

        It has always been hard enough coming across as “normal enough” to avoid being the subject of suspicion, derision, insult, accusation, and exclusion in the workforce when one cannot read social cues, facial expressions, or understand the wildly inconsistent social “norms.” But the past several years have gotten so very much worse than the preceding 20.

  2. Stephen says

    This is a fantastic piece. The people being critical, at least the first couple of comments, don’t seem to have read it.

    • I agree. I enjoyed reading this a good deal. The writing is very polished, making reading it a pleasure. I wish I could find more material like this one.

    • One of several malfunctioning chat bots made by Richard Spencer and the Kekistanis. Pay it no mind.

    • JFM says

      Ignore the trolls (a.k.a., individuals who hurl ad hominems and post screamy messages). They are attention seekers who see this as the only way to gain status in their group. Starve them and they will move elsewhere.

    • Wayne Allen says

      you are not bright enough to be clueless

    • Harold Porter says

      “why would anyone read it”…you clearly haven’t…

    • Robert Samery says

      Is there something thats made you upset, do you need help to read the entire piece, are you OK?

    • Shut up, Spence–or say something of substance.

  3. Typically it’s nice to elaborate when name calling, rather than just name calling.

    And it’s interesting to find you here if you view quillette as trash. Do you often wallow in trash?

  4. Michael Johnston says

    Just to correct the record, contrary to an implication in the first paragraph, Tarrant is an Australian, not a New Zealander, and seems to have come to New Zealand solely to commit his atrocity. I’m not pointing this out to have a dig at Australians, nor because I’m touchy about New Zealand being wrongly impugned.

    Even before the atrocity was over, there was a great deal of shrieking from the hard left – including from some members of the government – about what a racist place New Zealand is. This was followed by calls for ‘hate speech’ laws to control the multitudes of white supremacists who were clearly responsible. When it transpired that Tarrant had acted alone and was not a New Zealander, many of those doing the shrieking seemed oddly disappointed. It didn’t stop the shrieking, nor the calls for totalitarian speech laws, but it did deprive them of a trump card. The fact that Tarrant is not a New Zealander therefore has some political import.

    • Jonny Sclerotic says

      Reading that part back, it need only say ‘terrorist’ or perhaps ‘Christchurch terrorist.’

      Tbf, I believe the author deliberately said ‘New Zealand’ rather than ‘New Zealander’ or ‘Kiwi’ but I agree it’s misleading in a politically relevant way, due to the original rush to judgement.

  5. Just for the record, in New Zealand the peculiar social and political settlement that country has calls for state institutions to be sensitive to the traditional values of the indigenous Māori population (the reasons for this are too boring and arcane to go into here).

    The traditional Māori view of justice is restorative, so you’ll find that the idea of justice being partly a matter between victim and perpetrator has worked its way into the NZ legal system, even though it is still recognisably similar to the systems of the UK, Australia, and Canada.

    • David of Kirkland says

      Restorative justice seems wise when it can be applied. Like you can’t unrape or unmurder a victim, but compensation to victims needs to play more of a role than simply incarceration, a one-size-fits-all centrally planned solution that clearly doesn’t prevent crime.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ David of Kirkland

        Restorative justice, where the victim confronts similar types of offender, works best when the offender is using moral justifications to minimise the harms caused by their crime. It works well for burglars, as they often see their crime as simply stealing stuff, and rarely have an insight into how it can make a victim feel unsafe in their own home, or violated. Muggers who use the threat of violence, rather than actual violence, can be induced to see the long-term trauma they cause.

        But generally, the efficacy of restorative justice drops to zero, when the perpetrator is already fully aware of the harm they are causing in advance. In particular, I would be very wary of putting potential psychopaths and sociopaths in rooms with victims- as, if anything, they are likely to revel in the process. I once looked up treatments for psychopathy on YouTube, and the only advice available was for how therapists could limit their contact with suspected psychopaths- although there was also some interesting material on how psychopaths raised in more ideal home circumstances, might form ‘cognitive morality’- or the idea that playing by the rules would benefit their position.

  6. Ray Andrews says

    Gawd another troll. Well nevermind, they come and they go, this is just a bad week.

    • Out of Nowhere says

      You put it well into perspective 🙂

  7. Peter from Oz says

    We keep on hearing these stories, yet we do nothing about it. The best way to stand up to bullies is to fight back using their own methods. That is now what we have to do all PC whingers.
    We must make it socially unacceptabloe to be PC. People must lose their livelihoods for trying to limit the freedom of others.

    • We must make it socially unacceptabloe to be PC.

      Please, no.

      Mao Zedong passed laws like that during the Cultural Revolution. He equated being polite and civil as a dog whistle of the bourgeoisie, and that anyone exhibiting that behavior would be seen as an enemy of The People.

      As a result, a lot of the older generation Chinese immigrants in my country are fucking assholes. They cut and shove in line-ups, they hork and spit and blow their noses all over the sidewalk, they smell like shit, their teeth are horrible and they smoke EVERYWHERE.

      It’s not that they’re actually bad people. It’s that they were programmed to behave this way as a means of survival when they were at a young age back in their homelands, so they don’t understand that it’s unacceptable over here in Canada. When you’re taught to behave a certain way as a matter of life or death, you stop caring about what other people think, so long as you make it through the day alive. It’s actually really sad, when you think about it.

      But yeah, I completely agree that politically correct people are assholes, but making it unacceptable to be PC will turn everyone into assholes eventually, anyway. What’s important is that people can choose to be polite or to be an asshole, and that people have the right to call each other out when they’re being assholes. That includes when the reason for being an asshole is acting too fucking polite.

  8. I would not be surprised if Tarrant is pleased by government censors’ attempts to elevate him to the status of a real-life Sauron or Voldemort. “He Who Cannot Be Named” indeed!

  9. Andrea Ng says

    I have worked with rape victims, mostly female and some male, over 25 years- mostly on financial rehabilitation which is but one aspect of righting the wrong. The system was, for a long time, against the (mainly female) victim. But of late I have seen some horrendous things done by the Me Too movement and by lawyers AGAINST rape victims. There is a small trend to older women abusing boys.As a women it is just beyond repulsive. One other instance recently I was involved in had a dodgy female family lawyer getting a Violence Order against a victim, and then offering to do a financial settlement to withdraw the order. “Violence” includes “yelling” you see. Yes, about the rape. Yes they are dished out by looking at paper clips, not by considering the evidence. So I thank Christie Blatchford for opening up what is an important dialogue. And Quillette, as ever, raises issues of substance that others prefer to pretend just never happens.

    • JA M says

      “There is a small trend to older women abusing boys.”

      In my opinion, the trend is more that it is (slightly) less unacceptable for a male to say it happened. Even now, males frequently are harassed, dehumanized, and dismissed when they come forward and state that a woman has sexually assaulted them. My experiences even trying to talk about it privately with some bona fide “progressives” who I used to believe were friends (who were actually using my to boost their “we support the lessers” “woke” street cred, and who actually treated my like garbage while telling me how considerate they were being for including me) led to a whole lot of cruelty and accusations of lying, supporting the patriarchy, and trying to minimize the struggles of womankind. And from a the few guys I tried to talk to about it (and even some women), I have to deal with the “how could you possibly have been raped by a woman” mindset.

  10. Farris says

    The author views “victim rights” legislation as the inception and impetus of for ignoring basic due process. I would offer as an alternative “hate crime” legislation. “Hate Crime” legislation has the effect of prioritizing the same crimes over one another. For this reason black on black murders are practically ignored, treated as “dog bites man” and not as the crisis that is actually occurring. However white on black murders comparatively rare by comparison are evidence of a national emergency. Blacks who are victims of blacks are ignored because they don’t fulfill a narrative.
    Similarly accusations of rape fulfill a narrative and the greater the number of rapes fulfills the narrative of a crisis afoot.
    Due process is an impediment to the narrative and thus must be abrogated. The idea of favored or preferred victims or crimes, is at cross purposes with impartial enforcement of criminal laws. “Hate Crimes” legislation has made the accumulation of the correct victims a political necessity.
    “Hate Crimes” are unnecessary as an accounting of hate is already built into the criminal code. If hate can be demonstrated it elevates the mens rea to either intentional or malice aforethought. Additionally proof of hate or animus towards the victim’s group serves as an aggravating factor when sentencing a defendant. When alleged victims, actually witnesses, are not being utilized to prove an offense but rather serve to prove a point, due process suffers.

  11. NashTiger says

    “Good Intentions”

    I don’t think Good Intentions is quite the adequate descriptor. DoGooders trying to Do Good are motivated by more than just having purest of intentions in a particular trahedy. They are trying to right society’s wrongs by balancing the scales for members of Groups who have been done wrong in the past.

    Doing Right is quite different than doing Good. Doing Right requires looking at every case, every accuser, ever accused, on its own merits, without the baggage of perceived past injustices.

    • Heike says

      “We’re going to show that perpetrating injustice is wrong by perpetrating injustice!”

    • David of Kirkland says

      Indeed, they are about revenge, the very idea that due process tries to resolve.

  12. Wayne Eugene Allen says

    The problem lies in the legal community who are demonstrably corrupt, and the media who are complicit cowards for not informing us of the rampant corruption in our courts.

  13. Nakatomi Plaza says

    I can’t wait for all the articles Quillette is going to publish about Jeffrey Epstein and everything he got away with because he was a rich white guy who knew how to pervert the justice system.

    Or are we only doing stories on the rare exception of the tendency for white males dodge consequences?

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Nakatomi

      For once I agree with you- there should be long and extensive article about Jeffrey Epstein and the ways in which the Democratic Party establishment may, or may not, have shielded him from prosecution for so many years.

      • Barney Doran says

        Not to mention Harvard, to which he was a major donor, although not an alum. Yes,, Quillette, we need a thorough and insightful piece on this guy. Who’d a’ thunk, NP got it right.

      • Bab says

        I’ll lend my vote as well. I would also like to know why the police didnt even bother to enforce the already lenient reporting conditions that he had as part of his parole, and also why politicians (of both stripes) and other well-wishers continued to fly on his “Lolita Express” long after it had acquired that nickname.

      • Shlamazel says

        Of course Jeffery Epstein should get the trial he deserves. He is one of the very few men of great wealth who actually has the power to get away with so much. That is real power, not the “white male privilege”. It is not limited to men or caucasians. It’s because of this powerful injustice that the fired up hoards want to get any man at all for any crime. What do we call this? Collective punishment, it’s a war crime.
        Great article as usual Christie. Thank you Quillette.

    • David of Kirkland says

      There was a time when having sex with females beyond puberty was considered nature. Puberty used to mean something before prudes thought having sex was criminal.

      • Harbinger says

        ….”being in the presence of a woman while in possession of male sex characteristics”. The soon to be crime.

    • Over at NRO, Andrew McCarthy is saying that it is much more likely than not that the plea deal Acosta signed-off on when he was US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida is going prevent the Southern District of NY from prosecuting Epstein; double jeopardy, you know.

    • Andrew Ervin says

      Ah yes, Jeffrey (((Epstein))) the “white guy.” I do agree that Quillette should do a lengthy expose on how he managed to schmooze his way out of trouble & how his connections with power brokers in the Democratic party may have helped.

  14. Harold Porter says

    Given that you cannot cite any errors or fallacies in her agument, as outlined above, I’ll take it you are in tacit agreement with it then.

  15. The two key issues are that even if you get a trial it won’t be fair and even if you are found not guilty your life will still be destroyed.

    To be fair it is essential that evidence is collected in an even handed way, that all of the relevant evidence is presented and that all evidence is tested in court. None of these things are currently true, the police are not interested in collecting any evidence which might be exculpatory and in the case of historic cases in paticular trawl for accusations over decades, defendants cannot necessarily present evidence of their accusers previous sexual history despite it being some of the most relevant evidence available when trying to chose between two conflicting accounts and the evidence of the accuser is not tested in court in the same way as the accused.

    In the UK the case that still stands out in my mind is the Ched Evans case, fundamentally he and another man testified that the woman concerned had consented to sex (actually requested it) she testified she could not remember anything. There was a video showing the woman drunk but still capable of walking and talking to a hotel receptionist. That was sufficient to convict Ched Evans. There was a public outcry, the women was named which was against the law and as a result of he rbeing named a man came forward who gave evidence that she had done exactly the same with him in an earlier incident. A judge ruled that under these exceptional circumstances the evidenc eof her past sexual history could be admitted and as a result Ched Evans was found not guilty on appeal.

    What is shocking is that:
    1. That a prosecution was undertaken at all given there was no evidence of anything except a drunk woman having sex.
    2. That there was a conviction and this despite the fact that the woman’s evidence, such as it was was, being weakened by the toxicology report undermining what she said.
    3. That the result of Ched Evan’s being found not guilty was a campaign by female MPs to ban the admission of the evidence the proved him innocent under any circumstances in the future!
    4. That he received no compensation whatsoever.

    It is a dangerous time to be a man.

  16. Robin says

    Nice article Ms Blatchford. Always interesting to see someone get pilloried for suggesting that women lie. Stating the obvious now marks you as ‘brave’ but now we live in a #metoo world so the bar has been lowered.

    You circled two key concepts but didn’t address them directly. Male disposability and the fact that the legal system is not about justice… It’s an extension of the political system. Now in Canada you have a government of open man-hating feminists so don’t be surprised when they pass anti-male legislation. Similarly you should not be surprised when Pence Rules becomes the norm.

    Now expect the usual parade of feminists declaring you a traitor for firing a puck into the net of ‘team female’! But if you are feeling frisky you could write an article about the family court system in Ontario. Explain to us why it is that whenever women get formal power over men they always throw them under the bus.

    • Uomo Qualunque says

      Most men, despite what feminists say, have a protective instinct towards women. Women on the other hand have no such instinct towards men as a group, and today they grow up in a society where misandry is completely normalized. We should be very afraid of giving women political power.

  17. Declan says

    The irony is that Spence is talking down to and insulting women; the very thing he pretends to be against.

  18. Jesse says

    There is a solution to this problem. All lawyers who recognize the current unjust state of affairs must start taking libel and slander cases—pro bono, if possible—despite their notorious difficulty. Anyone who knows a lawyer in a position to do this must make the above case to them. This is as close to a moral duty as we as (largely) classical liberals are likely to accept. Why is it a duty? Because the West has become sclerotic and legalistic, and (unfortunately) using the legal system to fight for justice is the best hope we have. Slander and libel laws, if aggressively enforced, would shut down 90% of the bullshit—and I don’t use that word casually—that’s going on. You cannot casually write or say things about a person that are demonstrably untrue: that is unambiguously illegal. The laws are on the books. We must insist that the rule of law be respected.

    It’s no coincidence that the idea of law is associated with masculinity. It’s also no coincidence that deceit is considered a predominantly feminine mode of aggression. In a fluid, chaotic social environment, males are desperately overmatched. Females are simply far superior at navigating and manipulating such environments.

    The rule of law is a masculine defense against feminine chaos. When it goes too far, you get rigid, unforgiving, and often—yes—fascist dystopia. But it is possible to go too far the other way. The other extreme is a bottomless pit of disorder, in which those few males deemed fit by the collective female unconscious are made as gods, and all others are crushed, quite literally by the force of nature. We need to avoid both extremes. Right now the West is in absolutely no danger of falling into hypermasculine dystopia, but it is in very serious danger of falling into the opposite. If and when men are lining boys up against a wall and shooting them because they’re deemed degenerate, I will rail against the hypermasculine.

    Needless to say, today is not that day.

    • I am aware that it’s odd that the West is both legalistic and in danger of careening into chaos. I don’t have the time or the energy to explain my thoughts on this apparent paradox at this time, but I will say that I do believe that there’s no real contradiction.

      • Kencathedrus says

        @Jesse: when people are no longer guided by an internal moral compass, their behavior descends into selfishness and chaos. More laws are needed to counteract that.

        ‘The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws’ – Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

    • Robin says


      I think all lawyers recognize that the legal system is ‘for profit’ and ‘for sale’. Expecting altruism and morality from someone in the legal profession is a bit of an ask… Frankly the very last group on the planet I would go to expecting morality and compassion are lawyers.

      As for the association of masculine order vs feminine chaos is you getting all Jordan Petersonesque on us. It suffices to say that the more you feminize any system it becomes more anti-male.

      Legal dystopia is already here and I don’t believe there is any chance of fixing it. Since it no longer dispenses justice to men, men will stop defending it. Things are so bad now that society has incentivized men to want to see it burn to the ground.

    • David of Kirkland says

      I’d be interested in what happens to all religions, all politicians and all advertising if telling something you cannot prove (or reasonably expect) to be true were criminalized.

    • Harbinger says’s too late to insist on the rule of law being respected in the ‘old’ sense. Women are already numerically dominant in the most influential legal systems.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      Cogent remarks with real, doable advice.
      Yes, taking to the law in the face of slander, libel. (which Facebook, twitter etc count as because its published if only by the poster/writer) and other defamation is the key. Longstanding laws address this problem from the days of the (last) Gutenberg revolution and must now be (re)deployed.

      Already. the SPLC has successfully been sued and Oberlin University and many more should be in the sights. Casual and false accusations of nazism, fascism etc are enormously destructive and illegal for good reason

      • Rev. Wazoo! says

        That is the SPLC and Oberlin both have been successfully sued. I await the day a man falsely deemed a rapist by a university kangaroo court refuses to settle out of court and nails Yale etc with a Gawker like 500million award.

    • Ole says

      “The rule of law is a masculine defense against feminine chaos. When it goes too far, you get rigid, unforgiving, and often—yes—fascist dystopia”

      I do believe that is precisely how one Prof/Psychologist Jordan Peterson would state it (if I could put words into his mouth).

      The irony in the the hysterics of #ME2, is that that many women will or will not take offense to a man’s glance, words, suggestion or touch, based precisely on whether or not they become moist in his presence.

      Woe to the chap who attempts exploratory coitus in word or deed, who has not [without his knowledge] preemptively been deemed worthy of a quicky in the supply room.

  19. Fraser Parsons says

    One can hypothesize about how toxic ideologies are hunting down and imprisoning innocent men – simply because it is becoming increasingly possible – even easy to do so. The real threat is that many women,or other “victims”, don’t yet understand how easy it is for them to wield their new power — but they will learn. And many police are still not ideologically possessed – yet – but they will be when the education system and the recruiting system have a bit more time to work. And the Attorney General’s Office is staffed – with a majority now or soon to be – by young female ideological soldiers in a war against men. Guilty pleas, not convictions, are the goal – even in the absence of any crime or any evidence. But why such motivation for this change? Why do powerful people in the legal fraternity accommodate, encourage and support it? Well, look where the money goes. Every arrest is a minimum of $5000 easy money into the hands of a lawyer. Scores of millions every year into the hands of a small community with few prospects of alternative income. And every bail is $2500 to $5000 . .. cash .. . or else feel free to languish in prison for a couple years without trial until those Crown Attorney SJWs are convinced you will plead guilty just to avoid returning to prison. And every trip to prison is a destroyed life, a lost job, and loss and suffering for family and others who depend on the support of the accused. . . . and a lawyer just stole my $5000 . .. because she could. If I return to Canada – I get put in prison indefinitely – without trial. So I live in exile – and I will likely not see my Mother or my brother’s family alive again. I am one of the thousands of men who are currently experiencing the problem – and there is no help from any source, governmental or otherwise. . . no one listening . . . no one caring about truth or facts . . . and certainly not about justice. This is the rise of Evil . .. .and its just getting started.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      Contact The Canadian organisation, the Lighthouse Project immediately!

  20. Bab says

    Lawyer here. A couple of things I’ve noticed from recent jury trials on sex crimes based on historical allegations:-

    a) the notion of proof beyond reasonable doubt is pretty much shot. As far as I can tell, juries are making their minds up based on whose version they prefer. Traditionally, most barristers would advise their clients not to give evidence at trial, so for the most part the juries don’t actually get to hear the defendant’s version. I think that probably has to change. Juries want the defendant to sit in the dock and say that he didnt do it. If he doesnt, then the only thing they have to go on is the complainant’s evidence. You can cross-examine the complainant, but honestly, its a two-edged sword. Sure, you can pick apart her story, but get too aggressive in doing it and the jury will condemn you as a bully.

    b) it sounds hackneyed, but the jury system really relies on Henry Fonda types from 12 Angry Men – principled, rigorous, liberal skeptics. Like it or not, most conservatives tend to accept the authority of police and don’t readily question what they say. Most people who are prepared to question the police tend to be liberal, but they are increasingly putting aside any such skepticism where the allegation is one of rape. Essentially, conservative disregard for the rights of the criminally accused dovetails neatly with the contemporary liberal unwillingness to question the veracity of the survivors. The result is that convictions are easier to obtain now more than ever. For that reason, I think a lot of people accused of these crimes, particularly if they are high-profile, would be well advised to consider opting for a judge-only trial over a jury.

    • Tim says

      I served on an Ontario jury 15 years ago. Seven women, five men and we acquitted a young man accused of rape. 12 random citizens can get it right and do not necessarily require a Henry Fonda to ensure a just outcome. The weight of responsibility in determining a man’s future was taken very seriously as was the innate desire to for fairness in our deliberations. For the record, the complainant lied.

    • David of Kirkland says

      If “beyond a reasonable doubt” had any meaning, there wouldn’t ever be gasps when verdicts are announced.

    • Peter from Oz says

      ANother lawyer here.
      My experience is that conservatives do challenge authority when they see it is left-wing and authoritarian. Liberals will doubt the police, but only when the police are not PC.
      I agree that rape trials held years after the alleged events are not in the interests of justice, unless there is some evidence other than the word of the complainant.
      What I find annoying is the fact that feminists treat the justice system as an excuse to catigate all men in the form of a man accused of sexual assault. It’s the same patter we see so many activists take. It’s OK if we forget individual cases and proper justice because [insert vicitm group here] have been mistreated in the past.

    • I’ve been hoping a lawyer would chime in here. I have a question for you:

      Why is it that none of the lying women seem to be charged with perjury? I thought that’s what happens when you lie under oath, isn’t it?

      You’d think that especially with high-profile cases like Jian Ghomeshi, where his accusers not only lied but colluded with one another to create a false narrative, it would result in prison for those who wasted the court’s time.

      Why are women free to lie in a court of law, whereas men are expected to always tell the truth?

      • Bab says

        Occasionally complainants are charged with making false complaints; in fact it happened in NSW recently when CCTV footage established that a complainant was lying, although not before the defendant was labelled a “predator” by a magistrate and remanded in custody for a week. His name was Kenan Basic, if you wanted to google him. Generally speaking though, false complaint charges are only made if there is categorical proof that the complainant lied, whereas an uncorroborated allegation is enough to convict someone of rape.

        Its a difficult issue. On the one hand, if you rule that uncorroborated allegations are insufficient proof, then you are basically giving men licence to rape because most rape allegations are uncorroborated by dint of the fact that rapes tend to occur in private.

        On the other hand, I think an uncorroborated, historical allegation, particularly one made where there is an obvious reason to lie (for example, in the context of a bitter custody dispute) should be treated with some caution, unless there is some reason for believing it to be true (for example, because multiple complainants who have not been in contact with each other come forward with allegations against the same individual).

        It will be interesting to see the appeal decision relating to Cardinal Pell (google him if you’re not from Australia). A jury conviction on an uncorroborated allegation that was logistically improbable on its face – if the court quashes the conviction it will be interesting to see whether this results in a sea change.

  21. ga gamba says

    How do you survive a thing that didn’t happen?

    In clown world anything is possible. It’s an upside-down, back-to-front, inside-out kind of place.

    The fastest growing place on Earth.

  22. Kevin Herman says

    Because I say so makes it true. Truest sign of a fraud. Even if you could give a few reasons even if most found them unconvincing you would be 1000 times more legitimate.

  23. David of Kirkland says

    @Jesse – Yes. Though could he simply get around it by saying “X is absolutely a rapist in my opinion”?

    • David,

      I don’t think so, because he’s making a factual claim, not expressing an opinion. Either a man is a rapist—has, in fact, committed rape at least once—or he is not. It would clearly be libelous to falsely claim that a man raped a specific woman on a specific date. The claim that a man raped some woman at some point in the past is no less a factual claim—it’s just more vague. Adding “in my opinion” to what is clearly a factual claim doesn’t change the true nature of the utterance: it just makes it less coherent, and the law ought to render it coherent by disregarding the nonsensical disclaimer, not the claim itself. Otherwise it’s a libel free-for-all in which you only need to add some meaningless fine print as a footnote to your libelous publications in order to shield yourself from prosecution.

  24. David of Kirkland says

    “Based on what I know…”
    “It seems to me…”
    There’s a reason why libel/slander isn’t prosecuted often because it’s hard to untangle from free speech, especially since so many free people are ignorant or mean, and many more can adjust to work around the law. The entire CPA industry and much of the legal system is designed around the latter.

  25. 370H55V says

    Michael Cooper in Canada, Rep. Steve King in the US. Two REAL conservatives, not the cucks who betrayed them.

  26. 370H55V says

    It is even worse than described by Christie Blatchford. Now it’s not just “believe all women”, but your life can be ruined by a THIRD PARTY who did not observe the offending incident. Cf. case of Matt Boermeester, a star football player at USC, so accused–even though his girlfriend Zoe Katz, the purported “victim” denied that anything untoward had taken place and continued to date him.

  27. Jim Harvie says

    Blatchford is a national treasure. So of course we Canadians either revile or ignore her. More Christie please Quillette

  28. Peter from Oz says

    Freedom of speech is not limited, because defamation and incitment are not merely speech, but deeds done with a purpose.
    If I am arrested for marching down the middle of the publlc highway with a protest sign, my speech is not the issue, but my refusal to obey the highway regulations. It is my deed that cause me trouble, not my speech. it is the same with libel and incitment. The crime there is not the speech but the intention to harm others’ reputations or bodies without justification.

  29. Closed Range says

    Part of the problem is the rather total impunity of third party institutions, especially employers, who drop anyone touched by even a faintest accusation without waiting for due process to be complete. It is fundamentally against the principle of innocent until proven guilty to be fired from a job just as an accusation arises. There must be much more punishment for employers who do this, as this fundamentally wrecks people’s lives. I no longer think that awarding damages for loss of income is sufficient, as the people making the decisions to fire never pay out of their own pockets, and rarely lose their jobs when the institution is found guilty of unfair dismissal.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Closed Range

      Great comment. It also hands a disproportionate amount of power to the 2% of ‘woke’ liberals who create 90% of Twitters content. Never in human history, has so much power been ceded by so many, to so few.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Geary Johansen

        Hence, my hope that a second term for Donald Trump would drive Twitter into such a state of madness that The Common People will destroy it out of a well-founded fear of being destroyed themselves.

  30. michael farr says

    what a strange meaningless post.
    May i suggest you read George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the english language” and then embark on a reasoned critique of the article above.

  31. Barb Justason says


    My name is Kathryn Borel. In December of 2014, I pressed sexual assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi. As you know, Mr. Ghomeshi initially denied all the charges that were brought against him, but today, as you just heard, Jian Ghomeshi admitted wrongdoing and apologized to me. It’s unfortunate, but maybe not surprising, that he chose not to say much about what exactly he was apologizing for. I’m going to provide those details for you now.

    Every day over the course of a three-year period, Mr. Ghomeshi made it clear to me that he could do what he wanted to me and my body. He made it clear that he could humiliate me repeatedly and walk away with impunity. There are at least three documented incidents of physical touching. This includes the one charge he just apologized for. He came up behind me while I was standing near my desk, put his hands on my hips and rammed his pelvis against my backside over and over, simulating sexual intercourse.

    Throughout the time that I worked with him, he framed his actions with near-daily verbal assaults and emotional manipulations. These inferences felt like threats—declarations like I deserved to have happening to me what was happening to me.

    It became very difficult for me to trust what I was feeling. Up until recently I didn’t even internalize that what he was doing to my body was sexual assault. Because when I went to the CBC for help, what I received in return was a directive that, yes, he could do this, and, yes, it was my job to let him.

    The relentless message to me from my celebrity boss and the national institution we worked for was that his whims were more important than my humanity or my dignity. So I came to accept this. I came to believe that it was his right.

    But when I spoke to the police at the end of 2014 and detailed my experiences with Mr. Ghomeshi, they confirmed to me what he did to me was, in fact, sexual assault.

    That’s what Jian Ghomeshi just apologized for. The crime of sexual assault. This is the story of a man who had immense power over me and my livelihood, admitting that he chronically abused his power and violated me in ways that violate the law.

    Mr. Ghomeshi’s constant workplace abuse of me and my many colleagues and friends has since been corroborated by multiple sources, a CBC Fifth Estate documentary, and a third-party investigation.

    In a perfect world, people who commit sexual assault would be convicted for their crimes. Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of having done the things that I’ve outlined today. So when it was presented to me that the defence would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego the trial. It seemed like the clearest path to the truth. A trial would have maintained his lie—the lie that he was not guilty. And it would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I’m currently trying to stop.

    Jian Ghomeshi has apologized, but only to me. There are 20 other women who have come forward to the media and made serious allegations about his violent behaviour—women who have come forward to say that he punched and choked and smothered and silenced them. There was no way that I would have come forward if it weren’t for their courage. And yet Mr. Ghomeshi hasn’t met any of their allegations head on, as he vowed to do in his Facebook post of 2014. He hasn’t taken a stand on any charge. All he has said about his other accusers is that they’re all lying and that he’s not guilty. And remember: that’s what he said about me.

    I think we all want this to be over, but it won’t be until he admits to everything that he’s done. Thank you.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      Why should he admit to sexual assault, when he’s been found not guilty of the charges of sexual assault in a court of law? It wouldn’t make sense.

      • Barb Justason says

        He apologized to avoid likely conviction of workplace sexual assault. There were witnesses. His victim got the apology she wanted and deserved. In the other cases, the witnesses made a mess of it, which resulted in his acquittal.

        • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

          That doesn’t sound right. An apology doesn’t get you off of being charged for a crime. If I apologized for robbing a bank they’ll definitely charge me, because then they have evidence of my crime. If there were witnesses, that is evidence. He apologized for being treating her badly, not for assault.

    • Sassy Skeptic says

      Every day over the course of a three-year period…

      Oh, shut the fuck up, you dumb, lazy cunt. You should have said something after three seconds, not three years. What the hell is with you women who don’t get how this shit works? Do we need PSAs with cartoon rabbits telling you how to report a crime properly?

      Nobody just puts up with rape for three goddamn years.

      You were NOT RAPED.

      You fucked him for three years, then jumped on the bandwagon of accusers once the news went public, because it would be too damaging to your reputation to be known as someone who actually enjoyed having sex with him.

      Go sell a book or something.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      He wasn’t charged with anything. So that’s why he didn’t face his accusers in court. He dropped his lawsuit against Laura Robinson because she lost her defamation suit against him.

      • Barb Justason says

        He dropped his lawsuits against Georgia Straight and Robinson long before her defamation lawsuit.

    • Citizen XY says

      Furlong dropped his lawsuit against the Georgia Straight and Robinson the day after the last of 3 lawsuits against him in the outcome of Robinson’s reporting failed.
      The two preceding lawsuits had also failed. Earlier, no case had been found for criminal charges against him from the accusations made in Robinson’s reporting.

      One might surmise that after all that vindication, he didn’t feel like bothering to pursue Robinson further in court.

      Shortly later, the lawsuit from Robinson against him also failed in court.

      Feminist rhetoric is that when a woman doesn’t want to pursue a trial it’s because the process will be “retraumatising”, or whatever personal reasons, and we mustn’t question her decision.
      When a man doesn’t pursue a trial, Barb has no compunction about implying it’s because he’s guilty or has something to hide.

      • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

        It was a real witch hunt, citizen XY, and years later he was barred from speaking at UBC, when he was found guilty of nothing. The University later apologized. He keeps a real low profile now. As does Robinson.

  32. Fuzzy Headed Mang says

    I should say that Laura Robinson lost her defamation suit after John Furlong dropped his lawsuit. Robinson’s lawsuit was to test whether Furlong’s statements about her were defamatory, as opposed to testing the abuse allegations themselves. However, the judge heavily criticized Ms. Robinson’s reporting.
    Justice Wedge said Ms. Robinson should have taken “the greatest of care” to ensure the events described by former students were “completely spontaneous and not influenced in any way by the interviewer.” Instead, the judge said, Ms. Robinson telegraphed both the target and subject of her story in a written announcement seeking people to interview.

  33. Barb Justason says

    Like I said, he dropped his lawsuit against Robinson long before her suit.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      John Furlong dropped his lawsuit against Robinson in March 2015. Her suit got underway June17, 2015.

  34. Fuzzy Headed Mang says

    He dropped his lawsuit in March 2015. Robinson’s suit was underway in June 2015.

Comments are closed.