Monday, 2 June 2014

Age of Consent - a discourse

The English age of consent, that is the age at which a person can choose to lawfully engage in sexual intercourse is 16 years of age.

Historically, there has been a different AoC for Homosexual activity, but this is now standardised across the board at 16 years of age. At that age, a person is considered to be endowed with enough sense and capability, and enough knowledge of the consequences of their actions to enjoy sexual activity with a consenting partner.

But why is the AoC 16? On what basis was the decision for 16 made?

Originally the age of consent in England was set at 12. However, in 1875 the Offences against the Person Act 1875 raised it to 13 in Great Britain and Ireland. The Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 raised it to 16, where it has remained ever since.

Additionally, until 2003, this age of consent only applied to women, as men were deemed capable of consenting to sex, and therefore committing rape, at age 14 (Nowadays, in this enlightened age, a boy of ten can be charged with rape)

And against this you need to look at the age of majority in the UK.

Up until 1970, a person was considered a child until their 21st birthday. As a result, the Age of Consent at that time was 5 years before you achieved adulthood. Prior to the change in the law, it was 9 years before reaching adulthood. By comparison, nowadays, it's two years before you achieve your majority.

If you look at other countries, even in Europe, the average age of consent is 15. And virtually every country in Europe has a "Close in Age" defence or exemption. Except the UK.

This means that if your 15 year old son sleeps with his 16 year old girlfriend, she is a sex-offender.

Yet, and in my view, crazily, the UK High Court has decided that while a 15 year old girl can't consent to sex, she can ask her doctor for contraceptives, and the doctor cannot tell her parents, or the authorities about this? So the Doctor knows this girl is about to be abused (after all, Child Sex Offences are Child Sex Abuse) yet not only can't tell anyone, but gives her the tools she needs to be safely abused with!

So, back to how this Age of Consent was determined. Research about the maturity of our young folk? Or maybe by questioning people around that age themselves about what they want or need to protect them? No. A few stuffy old men in Parliament voted for it in 1885, when Teenagers hadn't even been invented.

And despite the age of consent bearing no relevance to the teenage pregnancy figures in the UK, successive governments have made the penalties for breach heavier and heavier to the point where merely asking his 15 year old girlfriend to show her breasts can get an 18 year old imprisoned for 10 years, even if she is on the pill. A 13 year old girl pregnant by a 12 year old boy? He's going down for 14 years, she's going down for life!

And in this environment, the authorities will argue that they never charge teenagers with sex offences in their own peer group. So why not enshrine that in law? Have a "Close in Age" defence. or even a "Close in Age" exemption. If two 14 year olds want to get down and dirty, and it's consensual, who gets hurt?

Age of Consent in UK? Time for reform.

Remember, the people causing the most sexualising of our youth is... our youth.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Writer's block!

Nothing to report...

It's been a good few months, moved from one job to another, Lisa is doing well, I'm doing well.

What to say?


I've been, entirely reasonably, asked

"You pleaded guilty in order to spare your victim any further ordeal; however, you don't remember your offending. You did what they said you did, but you didn't harm anyone. You were punished for something you thought, not something you did. If Lisa is 20 now, then she was 13 in 2006."

And it is only fair that I answer those questions.

So

1) I don't remember what I am alleged to have done. However, the evidence against me was overwhelming. There was no point in pleading not-guilty to put Lisa through what, at the time, would have been the agony of a trial.

I took a gamble in two respects, firstly that she would, as promised, wait for me, and secondly that pleading guilty with good mitigation would get me a minimal sentence.

2) My offending was entirely non-contact. At no point did I physically do anything to or with Lisa. What I was accused of was all non-contact.

3) I've discussed the strange and convoluted definition of sexual grooming before.

4) Lisa is now 22, 23 this year. She works for a Mental Health charity as a Service User Advocate. We are a couple but live apart.

Friday, 10 May 2013

New House...

It will never cease to amaze me how quickly things can be done in this country when there is a will to do so.

I no longer live in Northants. As of this Monday just gone, I live in Buckinghamshire.

MAPPA decided that given the circumstances of my case, and the fire, it would not be safe for me to continue to reside in Rothwell, and as a result, they approached my employer and other agencies to move me to a different location.

AS a result, massive cooperation a housing association, an employer, the DWP and two local councils and a couple of charities. A moving van, everything that has been usefully recovered from the old flat, and a donation of a complete lounge and bedroom suite means the new maisonette is not completely emply either.

My employer, who was fully aware of who I was, agreed to 2 weeks compassionate leave and a transfer to an office in Luton, and I now live in a large urbanised area famous for Concrete Cows. I'm sure it will take a time to get used to, especially as I've been transferred to Thames Valley Police for MAPPA purposes, but it's gone surprisingly smoothly, and I have had telephone and interweb connected up today. I start at my new office on Monday, having been introduced to everyone yesterday (though not as Fenrir).

So... the saga begins again - how to cope with a new life in a new place. Do I hide my past or brazen it out this time? I think the former is better than the latter, even though I'd prefer to openly say "yes, I did the crime, I dd the time, so what..." which is what Lisa still wants me to do.

In the meantime, be ready for the next instalment of R v Lukoi, when your hero appeals against his sentence and conviction. And additionally applies to the police for compensation for unlawful arrest and detention.

It's all coming up in the next exciting episode of Diary of an Ex Offender.




Saturday, 27 April 2013

What Chance the ex-offender (2)

As some of you will recall, just before my licence expired last year, a company who can remain nameless decided that they were going to try to expose me to win a court case.

It did not work, and the company and its directors were ordered to recompense me for their unlawful conduct. And they did recompense me, and I got a new car out of it.

However, it appears that the directors, rather than pay up and get on with their lives, decided that it was their aim in life to expose the "pervert" that I am, and despite police and other interventions  they decided to write to my neighbours (and my employer) and tell them the good news. Needless to say that the directors in question have been arrested, but that didn't help me.

And as a result, I'm currently living in temporary accommodation, and will not, under any circumstances be returning to my fire damaged home in Rothwell.

Now I understand why it is that sex offenders (which I am not, and have not been since 2006) are disliked, but surely trying to burn me out, or kill me, is actually not going to help anyone. If I am forced out of a place where I am stable and not offending, the most likely result is I won't return. Not only to the house, but to the town, or even the county. And, if I change my name and move, and "forget" to register - for my own protection, of course - who benefits? The community I'm living in doesn't...

And be assured that I would be entitled to not register, as I would have a legal defence of committing a lesser offence to ensure a greater one was prevented.

Thankfully, I'm not like that - but just imagine if I was.

Oh, the Neighbour who set the fire has also been arrested, charged and remanded, so that will be a fun trial.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Fame(ish)

Ben mentioned me - though not by name, of course.

And boy, did it drive Traffic - 70 new readers this weekend alone.

Thanks all - makes me wonder whether I should start turning this into a criticism of penal policy as well...

Thoughts, as ever, are welcome

Please return thefavour - Ben Gunn is far more eloquent than I can hope to be.

http://prisonerben.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 2 November 2012

How the ordinary can be extraordinary

What a fantastic day I have had.

The last blog post I made mentioned Ben Gunn's blog, which I try to read regularly. You can find this at http://prisonerben.blogspot.co.uk/ and I would encourage everyone to go and take a look.

Today, I was in Winchester on business, when I got a message - from Ben himself. It appears he occasionally reads this blog (a surprise in itself) and wondered if I cared to meet in a neutral location for coffee.

As Lisa was with me (that's why I was in Winchester, she was appearing this morning) I wrote back asking for a location, and threw the address into the crap-nav.

After a couple of hours drive, I met Ben in a coffee shop not too far from Shepton Mallet prison, and we had a really good discussion. And oh boy, was it good.

Ben Gunn is, in some prisons, a legend. Some think him a fool, some think him a hero, but there are very few prisoners who do not know his name. As a result  I will admit to being a little awestruck that Ben wanted to meet me, and wasn't sure what to do or say. Lisa broke the ice, and then conversation just flowed. There were several frank exchanges of views about our respective offending; Ben is very open about his own past.

In respect for Ben's privacy and anything he might want to say on his own blog or elsewhere I won't discuss our conversations, but a few things became very clear.

1) Ben is not even close to the monster that many have tried (and failed) to paint him.

2) For a man that spend over 30 years in prison on a 10 year tariff, he is an educated, intelligent man who should be listened to by those who claim to be "in power" over prisoners and the Criminal Justice System.

3) There is no way that he should have spent over 30 years in prison for an unplanned killing , where Robert Thompson spent 8 for a carefully planned and executed joint enterprise.

It is also clear that while his experiences of custody have shaped him, they have not tainted the man, unlike mine.

Lisa and I both left with a changed view of the man - changed for the better. Having had the genuine privilege of meeting Ben Gunn, I hope that in the future I can consider him to be among the very few real friends I have.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

How hard is it to blog?

I check Ben Gunn's blog almost daily, and try to catch his posts every evening.

Yet despite this, I don't find the time to write my own posts - this is, I think, my fourth this year.

The reason for this is simple - my life is not nearly as complex post-conviction as it was predicted to be. I have a home, a car, a job, a passport. I can travel if I choose, and within reason can do anything I was able to before conviction.

More importantly, my local community do not have an issue with me, my local police are no longer harassing me, and I am simply getting on with my life.

So, dear reader, I need to know - are you interested in the minutiae of that life, or do you only want to know about the "big things" that happen for me?

Please let me know by commenting, and I will look towards a revitalised blog incorporating your thoughts over the next few weeks.