Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I think you may be overlooking something.

Out of Australia comes the unfortunate news of a cabbie who raped his drunken passenger. Okay, that doesn't quite capture it. Specifically, he waited until her friends had left her in the cab to be taken home and then went really, really out of his way to do the deed:

The Court of Criminal Appeal judgment said a GPS tracking system in the taxi showed Rahmanian travelled towards the victim's house in Adelaide's southern suburbs but then veered off course.

He took her to his own house at Dover Gardens and had sexual intercourse with the unconscious teenager.

The victim remembers nothing of what happened, except for waking up some hours later with some clothing removed.

It was not until months after the rape that police tracked Rahmanian down, when he went to the victim's house and left a jar of honey on her doorstop, then tried to call her.

So as you can see, we're already hip deep in whatthefuckery here. Cabbie kidnaps random drunken stranger, rapes her in the comfort of his own home, then completes job? Pretty bad. He then returns and leaves her honey later? What the hell? I don't know how I'd respond to that even if the honey wasn't from my rapist, much less if it was.

The defense is, perhaps unsurprisingly, suggesting that all this isn't Rahmanian's fault:

He said the Iranian immigrant did not fully appreciate the severity of the crime under Australian law.

"There is a very reasonable possibility that given his cultural background and limited insight into laws and sexual behaviour, he didn't realise that having intercourse with somebody who is unconscious and therefore not consenting is a very serious crime," Mr Algie told the court.

Frankly, I would think that one's a no-brainer, but maybe it's just me? Regardless, however, I'm not writing about this because I want to call the defense attorney's argument stupid. Don't get me wrong, he may be right that due to his background, Rahmanian didn't "appreciate the severity of the crime," but his behavior makes it pretty clear that he understood that he shouldn't be doing it and, at least in the U.S. legal system, that's sufficient. Ignorance of the law is not, after all, a defense. I leave it to my Australian readers* to let me know if there's a relevant legal distinction there of which I should be aware.

No, I think the part of this story that weirds me out is what the prosecutor argued:

Prosecutor Chris Edge said Rahmanian abused his position of trust and the crime warranted a significant prison sentence to deter other taxi drivers from such crimes.

"The public should be able to trust taxi drivers to take them or their friends home safely," he argued.

"It's not uncommon for intoxicated people, including lone females, to rely on taxi drivers to take them home."

And that's absolutely true, but here's the thing: I think that the public should be able to rely on other people not to rape them even if those others aren't taxi drivers. More bluntly- the relevant facts of the case are that a sober adult male had sexual intercourse with an intoxicated teenage female who was unable to give consent. Moreover, the facts indicate intent (i.e. it was not something that just happened in the heat of the moment) as well as the perpetrator's desire to conceal what he had done. The fact that he is a damned cabbie, while of concern, is just not relevant to the actual crime.

So sure, yes, ask for a stern sentence, but do so because a man raped an unconscious woman and not because he was a cab driver.

* Believe it or not, I do actually have a few. No idea why, though. Hell, I still can't figure out why Americans read this blog.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Australian legal system does not recognise a defence of ignorance any more than the US does. Given they both derive from the English system, this is hardly surprising. Once difference is we don't call laywers "attorneys." :)

I do think you're missing the point of the prosecutor's argument, though. He's basically suggesting that a taxi driver is in a position of trust, not entirely unlike that of a school teacher or even a doctor. There's plenty of case history dealing with the abuse of trust.

Friday, May 21, 2010 8:17:00 PM  

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