Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Are the courts biased against men?

Women with AIDS guilty of sexual assault gets 1 yr community service?

She had unprotected sex with the man who would become her common-law husband for 5 years before she threw him out with a DV charge. Sometime in the first 6 months of their relationship she disclosed her previously known condition and after that, he took precautions. He has apparently not been infected, although we are expected to "feel sympathetic" for this Quebec women as she must take drugs to treat her AIDS condition. Both identities are protected.

Further west, Trevis Smith (shown), a former-football player has sex with 2 women without disclosing he had AIDS but says he did NOT have unprotected sex with them. One women who was a nurse has tested positive for AIDS and it is not clear if he infected her as she claims. She said she broke off their relationship because Smith was involved with other women. Another women came forward after charges were laid and also testified against Smith. Smiths testimony was ignored by the judge as he was deemed "not-credible" and his appeal was thrown out. His picture and reputation was splattered all over the place, plus he was released from his pro contract once the charges were laid (ok, it was only the Saskatchewan Rough-Riders - but still he is out of a job.)

He gets 6 1/2 years "hard time" (less time served while at trial) - why the difference?

Harsher legal treatment for men than women has long been evident in Canada 1.
  • Woman's conviction rates are lower than men (55% found guilty vs 59% for men) 2.
  • Women are "half as likely as men to receive a prison sentence (19% vs 38%) and more likely to receive probation (56% vs 37%)" when found guilty of crimes against the person (i.e major assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm) in adult court. This "bias" holds regardless of the severity of the crime.
  • Women also receive lower sentences for property crimes such as "robbery (62% versus 76%), break and enter (41% versus 61%) and fraud."
  • When found guilty in youth court - regardless of the crime - a boy is more likely to "do time" (24% of males get prison sentence vs 16% of females) than a girl and she will be out in 2/3 the time (average sentences are 48 days for females vs 71 for males).
The question is why?

1. 2008 January - Female Offenders in Canada, Statscan Juristat - Vol. 28, no 1. Table 5 & 6.
2. Higher conviction rates for men may be related to fact that men face more "multiple-charge" cases than women (52% vs 45%) and as women are more often first-time offenders they receive more lenient treatment.

Volto Di Mae West 1934/35

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