One of the central duties of the Director of Public Prosecutions is to inspire society’s faith in the criminal justice system. But through a number of wayward judgments, current incumbent Alison Saunders is hardly succeeding in that task.
Following the furore sparked by her refusal – subsequently overturned – to bring charges against Labour peer Lord Janner over serious allegations of child abuse, she finds herself embroiled in another row, this time over the incendiary issue of rape.
In a controversial statement this week, Ms Saunders urged that a woman who wakes up in a man’s bed with no memory of the previous evening should seek support from a rape counsellor and contact the police if there is any suspicion that an offence could have been committed.
Loss of memory due to extreme drunkenness should be no bar to making a complaint, argued Ms Saunders.
‘We would encourage anyone who has thought they might have been raped and weren’t capable of consenting to go to the police,’ she said.
The hardline feminist lobby will no doubt be cheering her comments to the echo. But her dismissal of any idea that intoxication might play a role in an unfortunate or regretted liaison paints women as perpetual, helpless victims who are not to be held responsible for their actions.
Furthermore, it suggests that all men are dangerous predators eager to exploit them, and the only form of protection for women is the full rigour of the law. Common sense, restraint, self-preservation and rationality don’t come into it.
Alison Saunders’s contribution – in which she even argued that women should go to a support group ‘if they can’t remember what happened’ – is exactly in line with utterances of other feminists who see the judicial system as a vehicle for promoting their agenda.
Indeed, earlier this year, Dame Elish Angiolini QC, former Lord Advocate of Scotland, called for a change in the law so that a woman would be deemed incapable of giving any sort of consent to sex if she had been drinking heavily.