Jan Logie
The Roastbusters- rape club and what it tells us about our justice system

If you need proof that there is something seriously wrong with how rape is talked about and prosecuted, look no further than the revelations about the Roastbusters rape club on TV last night and radio this morning.
While the police talked girls getting drunk and taken advantaged of it took a National radio reporter this morning to ask directly what possible charges could be laid before the word rape was used.
The phrase getting drunk and taking advantage is a euphemism and one that has been in common usage in a way that undermines the seriousness of rape.
I also see in the TV3 report the police commenting that “None of the girls have been brave enough to make formal statements to us so we can take that to a prosecution stage”. Detective Inspector Bruce Scott went on to say “clearly they are traumatised by what’s happened.”
I’m sad that this is being presented as an issue of the girls’ bravery.
I’m angry that it took media intervention for this facebook page to be taken down. I’m angry that we have a justice system that requires girls to be brave to make a complaint.
I am also angry that over the weekend I was told of a case where the police would not charge because the victim had a mental illness and they couldn’t make that work in court. I was also told that this is also common in cases of sexual violence against people with learning disabilities.
Judith Collins’ refusal to progress the Law Commission recommendations on alternative pre-trial and trial processes means many victims of abuse will continue to be either traumatised by the police and court process or not lay charges at all. This means only 1 in 100 victims get justice.
I want a justice system for victims of sexual violence that serves people regardless of their level of bravery or vulnerability.

22 thoughts on “The Roastbusters- rape club and what it tells us about our justice system

  1. I was appalled to hear an official say on National Radio this morn that young women involved in the Roastbusters abuse who lay complaints would be publicly named. Surely they should be able to be assured of name suppression. How else can you get them to come forward.
    Decades ago as a student, one evening I had a drink or two & was raped at our own flat by a flatmate’s friend. To this day I regret not laying a complaint.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 (+5)

  2. it will only matter to those high up officials with powers if their daughters or someone close to them got raped…

    Imagine a university you went to disappears from this country because of the financial hardship after earthquake.
    luckily someone really important who attended that uni…

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  3. The New Zealand police issued this press release earlier this afternoon
    Investigation into allegations involving “Roastbusters”

    Waitemata Police investigating rape allegations involving a group calling themselves the “RoastBusters” say a full and thorough investigation has been conducted, but in the absence of significant evidence such as formal statements, there is not enough evidence to prosecute the alleged offenders at this time.

    Or read the full New Zealand Police press release

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  4. Many years a young cousin of mine was raped by more than one youth. A doctor examined her and gave antibiotics, the police were informed and kept the girl and her mother in the police station for hours, never offered them a cuppa. She was fifteen and daft enough to wear safety pins in her ears and laddered stocking, The police man said she was a tramp. When the court case came up the doctor got in a locum so she could give evidence but the constable did not show, he claimed he was out of range in the bush on leave. When the second trial came up she was told to sit waiting in the same room as the defendants. By this time she was ill with fear. She asked for the case to be dropped. Our local constable was quoted in the paper as saying, ‘These young girls egg the lads on and then cry rape.. Nothing changes!

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  5. A little bit has changed, in that we’re having this conversation.

    I’m told that videos of sex involving 13-yr-olds were put onto facebook. I wonder if the people who put them up could be charged for publishing kiddie porn.

    There are lots of local/global problems, where what would make sense for the society as a whole does not make sense for the person who would have to do it. If not very much has changed, then the girls are caught in such a problem, and may be being locally rational. This goes to Jan’s request for non-abusive trial procedures.

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  6. There are a few odd things here.

    The first is that these guys, on the video shown on the telly.

    The Law Commission itself notes:

    When the evidential test boils down to an assessment of credibility, as it often does with sexual offence cases…

    I’ve done jury service a few times, I know how it works. These guys look like the kid of fellas that juries like to convict because, “they look the type”. Yes, thats a quote from a juror. So on the face it it, a complaint of rape, particularly one involving an under-age girl, ought to succeed.

    But in this case there is, apparently, a third side to the coin, an impartial witness, often held to be trustworthy by the courts, and that is the cellphone video footage.

    You would think that if there were video evidence of rape then the Police would go in guns blazing, secure in their knowledge of a virtual certainty of getting “a result”. But they haven’t. So one has to suspect that the video doesn’t support the allegation of rape, and thus the reasonable inference is the video doesn’t contradict the boys statement that the sexual act was with consent.

    Furthermore the boys stated that girls “know what they are like”, and apparently seek them out.

    So my guess is that there aren’t rape charges flying around because a rape didn’t take place. Perhaps these girls would like to set the clock back, and expunge these events, and a successful rape conviction would do just that. Perhaps if the video “evidence” didn’t exist, then perhaps they would make a complaint, and perhaps it would succeed. Would that be justice?

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  7. I’m undecided on how I feel about the way the police have been approaching this. It’s easy to cite heaps of examples of embedded Police culture, but I suspect there are complexities going on which still make it a very difficult situation when deciding how to proceed. Chances are whatever happens, nobody wins.

    Surely they should be able to be assured of name suppression.

    I don’t think name suppression would make a jot of difference for the victims in this type of case.

    It’d stop most media from spouting their names if they would have otherwise.. seriously?, but there’s little doubt that everyone who those people already been humiliated in front of, or who they would be humiliated in front of if it hasn’t already happened, will know exactly who it was who laid a complaint and exactly what they said happened to them. Especially once it goes through the courts.

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  8. @dbuckley 10:02 AM

    So one has to suspect that the video doesn’t support the allegation of rape, and thus the reasonable inference is the video doesn’t contradict the boys statement that the sexual act was with consent.

    If the girls are under 16, and it is reported that one was as young as 13, it is a matter of law, regardless of the facts, that they cannot give consent.

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  9. If the girls are under 16, and it is reported that one was as young as 13, it is a matter of law, regardless of the facts, that they cannot give consent.

    Not quite correct, toad.

    A minor can give consent, but it is still a crime even if that consent is provided – unlawful sexual connection with a minor.

    This is of course different from rape in which coercion is implicit.

    It gets murky where stupefication – also a crime – is an aggravating factor.

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  10. you know these ,i’m trying to hold back my F.n.bs these turds have made themselvs look like possums caught in 1000watt heligin spotlights I feel sad for there folks.but phewww this ones right up there with the big league law breakers and you can be sure some of those law breakers have daughters so they,d certainly have something to say ”well” express with action and we all know what that is.

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  11. It gets more odd, from TVNZ:

    Roast Busters case referred to IPCA

    In an unprecedented move, Police Minister Anne Tolley has called for an independent inquiry into the handling of the Roast Busters case as new evidence is seized.

    Ms Tolley confirmed to ONE News that she has asked the Independent Police Conduct Authority to investigate the handling of the case by police after it was revealed that four complaints had been made, one of them formal. Police earlier said they were unable to proceed with a prosecution as they had not received an official complaint during their two-year investigation.

    The minister said “both her and the Commissioner have learnt more about the case through the media than police” and added the media announcements had been poorly handled.

    The Tolley is pissed.

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  12. This story started out with the police saying that they don’t know whether ‘having group sex with’ a person too intoxicated to give consent is rape, to the police not being able to press charges for various reasons including no formal complaints, to the discovery that formal complaints were actually made and that the sons of actors and police officers were/are involved.

    The police have so, so much to answer for in this case. And this is one case, in how many other cases have they ignored victims plus evidence and covered up for their own?

    The New Zealand Police force should be disbanded and then rebuilt from the groudwork legislature on up.

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  13. There is a sick culture within the nz police.

    And it always gets worse under national as they lead by example in breaking rules and their contempt for ordinary citizens rights. Ex-tax lawyer crusher collins was a borderline corrupt police minister and between her and Tolly the dogs they let of the leash are shitting all over the place.

    Police rape culture and sexual abuse was publicly exposed by the deeds of Clint Rikards and his charming gang raping fellow police officers.
    We only got to see the tip of the iceberg of how bad things were in the following Commission of Inquiry into police conduct. The police association and their president fought the Inquiry and it was all about damage control for them. Rapist pick their victims and with police targeting people like criminals and street kids only a small tiny fraction of those abused by police ever came forward.

    The disturbing thing about Rikards is that he was recruited into the police after being expelled from school for a serious assault on his teacher. He was a criminal thug.

    And then while abuseing woman with his police buddies he was FAST TRACKED up through the police ranks

    Another senior cop, the Hamilton area commander of a few years ago who was found not guilty of raping a fellow police woman when they were young cops . I bet she still thinks it was rape though.

    Or the present Hamilton area commander who thought a 12 year old girl was ‘up for it ‘ in the sexual assault against her

    Or the Wellington detective sent over to clear a back log of child abuse cases in the Waiarapa who hid most of the files and claimed the back log was cleared. He’s since been promoted to a senior role in Auckland, perhaps he was handling this present non-investigation of rape ?.

    But the really disturbing thing to me is WHO keeps promoting these creeps ? .

    Why do the bad ones get promoted ?. Why do the police as a whole keep re-electing greg o’connor to represent them?

    Those who abuse power are drawn to positions of power.

    I’ve often thought some-one needs to do a NZ ‘ good cop, bad cop’ face book page or website.

    Because there are good cops and they should be acknowledged and hopefully promoted.

    The bad cops of course should be fired, but failing that naming them and their deeds on the web should kill their promotion prospects.

    The culture, rape or otherwise of the NZ police needs to change.

    Encourage the good ………… Expose and condemn the bad
    - See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/11/07/breaking-police-threaten-daily-blog-editor-with-6months-imprisonment-5000-fine-for-parodying-their-roast-buster-rape-inaction/#sthash.RnsUKdMM.dpuf

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  14. Maybe the Greens can set the standard the police need to perform to.

    We have the police over reaction to the surveillance tapes from the Ureweras (that led to convictions) , and the under reaction to the facebook postings of what is suggestive rape (that may not lead to convictions due to lack of evidence).

    What should the police reaction be?

    Remembering that ALL the evidence has to stand up to scrutiny in a court of law. And that the perpetrators are if under the age of 17, are before the youth court.

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  15. Just maybe the police should actually open an investigation, instead of watching child rape for two years and doing nothing.

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  16. Jan, you are way off base, this is not about what the roast-busters says about our justice system, or even the police for that matter, it is about what roast busters says about our society, both the police and the justice system reflect the society we live in. We need to look at society as a whole and look at why these boys think it is okay to do this, why the police feel they are unable to act in this case. It isn’t one thing, it’s not a so-called ‘rape culture’ in police, it is not prevalence of pornography, it isn’t a lack of values in the boys, nor is it a prevalence of violence in movies and tv, or a no-blame culture we are creating through a lack of discipline and excusing criminal behaviour, it is a combination of some of these, a proportion of these or all of these.

    Society has created an environment where victims are blamed, criminals excused because of aggravating factors such as poor upbringing, abuse or coming from a low socio-economic background, an environment created through lack of discipline, a refusal of many to hold those who commit criminal activities to account, a belief that criminals are not responsible for their actions and ineffective punishment and deterrence.

    This has become about police bashing and not looking wider at society and why these boys think this is okay, and why they think they can get away with it.

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  17. On the matter of on-line activity, there needs to be an addition to cyber bullying legislation to prevent boasting of a crime in a public media where this boast may be offensive to the victims of the crime – such as in sex/sexual violence/violence related offending.

    Possibly expanding this to include a ban on any on-line discussion of having sex with a named other person under the age of 18.

    In the matter of under age females, there is no age related offense if both parties are under 16 (as in the case of a 13 year old female and 15 year old male). If we want females under 16 protected from youths there needs to be a second level of protection – such as no valid consent under 14, where the partner is also under 16.

    I am uncertain as to the likelihood of any prosecution where the male is 16 to 17 years and their partner is under 16, as it is usually only applied when the male is over 18.

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  18. Actually rape is a crime of power and the abuse of it.

    The police had a very strong rape culture as shown by Clint Rikards getting fast tracked through the police force and was to be commissioner before a civilian woman he had raped brought his stinking career with them to an end.

    They have failed and continue to fail to meet the standards to get rid of their rape culture.

    The national party abuse and negative stereotyping towards the poor and powerless fits well with New Zealands rape culture.

    When we no longer accept the abuse of powers and value EVERYBODY as having equal human rights then New Zealands rape disease would not be so endemic.

    Current to this issue we should note that Crusher collins has rejected reforms to fix the justice system and the second raping of victims whose cases do go to court.

    Which sits well with nationals continual starving of funds for vital services like rape crisis and others who help victims of sexual abuse.

    Nationals failure to properly regulate the alcohol drug industry and their rampant pushing of booze also ensures sexual abuse and violence harm a greater number of young and old New Zealanders than needs to be.

    Abuse of power, money before people, booze pushing, rape culture .
    Welcome to our Brighter future .

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  19. SPC – changes to the law should certainly be considered, but just looking at a wider range of laws might be enough. Are these boasters breaking libel or slander laws for example? Could they be charged with inciting others to commit a crime?

    Trevor.

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  20. Trevor, the problem with libel and slander law options is the need for the victims to litigate the events – and demonstrate an untruth to the published account. Youth would be better protected before such on-line publicity, or by remaining anonymous. The intent being to prevent cyber bullying rather than provide redress afterward.

    The charge of incitement would apply to subsequent copycat crime, it would be a tenuous connection to try and make. More likely would be a charge of organised crime/criminal conspiracy to gather people into a group for the purposes of their participation in criminal acts – offending against minors/stupified females.

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  21. SPC – as I understand it, it is not necessary for any further crimes to be committed for a charge of incitement to be proven. Also I think that there is an opportunity under slander/libel laws if the statements are malicious and derogatory even if they are not untrue.

    I like your thinking about conspiracy though.

    Trevor.

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  22. Judith Collins and John Key tell us promoting personal responsibility is the way to go rather than government regulation but when the leaders of the booze industry abandon any notion of their personal responsibility in favour of exploiting the vulnerabilities of our teenagers for profit then it’s time to put them on a tight leash. – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/11/13/booze-pornography-rape-culture-and-social-education/#sthash.L5J9uxb3.dpuf

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