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UK to proceed with rape law reform despite objections from judges

[JURIST] The UK government is planning to proceed with proposals [consultation paper, PDF] designed to increase rape convictions despite objections [JURIST report] from the Council of Circuit Judges (COCJ) [official website], the Guardian reported Monday. Solicitor General Mike O'Brien [official profile] said that the reforms, including a proposal to allow expert testimony to dispel rape myths and the automatic introduction of videotaped interviews with rape victims when they first go to authorities, must proceed because of record low [BBC report] rape convictions in the UK.

The government is likely to drop a proposal to legally define the point at which an individual becomes too intoxicated to consent, which the COCJ criticized as being too complicated to apply. The COJC said it would prefer to leave the issue to be decided on a case-by-case basis by juries. Rape convictions in the UK declined from 33 percent of reported rapes in 1977 to 5.7 percent in 2006. The Guardian has more.

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