“Not proven” verdict in rape trials

The second debate was on the motion THW introduce a verdict of ‘not proven’ in rape trials. It was a great pleasure to see Sergejs debating in the 2Opp team.

  • Plan proposed

In cases of rape trials a court will be able to have another verdict – “not proven”. There will also be three conditions:
– proposed label would be taken into account in later cases (?to decide on the punishment, not the guilt?);
– plan would not be used for previous cases;
– the new verdict can only be used if the verdict under SQ is “not guilty”.

  • Gov’t arguments

– Rape is different from all other crimes as there are usually two people involved, few evidences and it is hard to prove the guilt. Hence rape can & should be treated different, so an extra verdict should be introduced. This verdict would increase the efficiency of the court as it will provide another choice for the judge, especially in cases where there will be not enough proof to understand if the potential offender is guilty or not;

– In case the rape happened, the victim would feel some remedy as the guilty person wouldn’t walk away freely. Furthermore, it would save victim’s dignity because if the verdict is “not guilty” one could say that the victim is a liar.

  • Opp arguments

– There would be a great opportunity for blackmailing as the person would be said guilty in the second rape case (only if plan doesn’t contain a condition about how the label is used + blackmailing doesn’t work really often in debating because it is crime itself & the motivation for people is not high enough to do it);

– People won’t be deterred as no one thinks about immediate label if the final sentence is rather harsh. The label itself won’t change the situation;

– Label motivates various involved people to commit rape or not to punish it. Judges have incentive to make “not guilty” if the decision is too harsh; potential rapers have more positive outcomes (2 to 1 under plan vs 1 to 1 under SQ), defense has higher motivation to defend less as also more positive outcomes.

  • The Result

1GOV’T – reasonable plan, arguments, no good opposition;
2GOV’T – not well developed extension, refuted 1OPP Blackmail argument, reasonable whip speech;
1OPP – not great arguments, 2GOV’T refuted Blackmail argument;
2OPP – great incentive analysis; however, there have been a small detail in the plan that prevents it all 😦

The greatest problem of the debate was the small detail in the plan that the verdict “not proven” can only be given to people currently said “not guilty”!

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