Saturday, February 26, 2011

So Judge Hawkesworth, what is a paedophile then?

OK technically the term should be hebephile or ephebophile for the more pedantic amongst you. However what I'm referring to is this... (caution Daily Mail alert)

Daily Mail.
A judge has been criticised for failing to jail a pervert who groomed a 14-year-old girl for sex after ruling he was being 'simply a young man'. 
Turon Ali, 26, groomed the schoolgirl by sending her explicit text messages and then arranged a secret meeting where he planned to abuse her.
He was only prevented from sexually assaulting the girl when her older brother found one of the texts and alerted police. 
But Ali avoided jail at Cambridge Crown Court with a 12-month suspended sentence after a top judge ruled he was 'not a paedophile as such'. 
'You are not a paedophile as such. You are simply a young man who was unable to control his sexual urges.'
Now I could just possibly understand Judge Hawkesworth's decision if the defendant were say 16, though most 16 year old's don't go in for grooming, however he's 26 and really should have known that he was breaking the law as it appears he did know the girls age, so I wonder when the limit comes in, 36? 46? 56? Grooming is still grooming after all and I doubt any of us would take kindly to anyone grooming a 14 year old daughter of ours no matter the age.
However Judge Hawkesworth does have a history of lenience when it comes to sexual offences...
Judge Hawkesworth came under fire in September 2008 when he refused to jail a Cambridge University academic convicted of downloading sick child porn 
Judge Hawkesworth also refused to jail child sex offender Jonathan Jenkins, then 21, after claiming his 'studies would be ruined' if he was put behind bars.  
So is this really someone we want in a position to deal with what most in society believe to be a serious crime involving the abuse of minors? I wonder what the Judge might have done had it been his daughter? I also believe if we had elected judges, Judge Hawkesworth just might be out of a job by now.

14 annotations:

tris said...

I agree with the thrust of this argument, and above any other argument that we might have on the rights and wrongs of teenage sexuality, what we have here is a 26 year old trying to get a 14 into a sexual situation.

But the word paedophile is maybe not really appropriate in this case. After all in some European countries and in some states in America and provinces in Canada, the age of consent is as low as 13 (often with a qualifier, like England used to have), of parental consent.

The law in Scotland and presumably England says that the age of consent is 16. That is the end of that argument. It is illegal.

It has to be said that many 14 or 15 year old girls look as if they are in their 20s. (God help them when they are 35 and look 50). They dress and act provocatively and most certainly NOT like 14 year olds. But as you say, in this case the girl had been honest. (Teenage girls have been known to lie about their age. Many in my class at school did, and got away with it because they looked a lot older once they slapped on makeup. They were getting into pubs with their older boy friends, while we were still playing outside, being skinny youngsters).

Paedophilia has come to mean having sex with anyone under the age of consent, and that is simply untrue. Paedophilia is in fact about sex with pre or peri-pubescence children.

In certain places the age of consent is 18. Given that my mother was 17 when she married my 29 year old father, that means that they would consider him to be a paedophile, although they were married by a Church of Scotland minister.

It’s a hugely difficult subject given that sexual awakening comes much, much earlier than the age at which it might be considered safe, physically or emotionally, to have children. It is complicated by the fact that children want to grow up, and that many, even most parents seem to allow their children to wear teenage fashion, dye their hair, and have it in adult styles. Given that teenage and young adult fashion is designed to be provocative and sexually alluring, is this not a tad stupid?

What we have is kids who look older than they are, who lie about their age and who are wearing adult styles. Whilst condemning this person who was wilfully trying to date a 14 year old, he was not technically a paedophile and should have been changed with the crime to trying to engage in sex with a person below the age of consent, rather than with paedophilia.

Anonymous said...

Tris makes good points, particularly in para 5 but I cannot allow the same to prejudice a rare moment of agreement with QM.

Perhaps we should have more sympathy for and tolerance of, those upper class folk handicapped by the idiot gene. Whatever order exists in the neuron firing sequence of the Old Etonian, it can only be decoded by a fellow Etonian.

No need to run an actual check on the Judge's background. If it looks like a Boris, talks like a Boris and acts like one, by jingo it is a Boris. He should be found a position where he can do the least harm to us; say in banking. Hang on a moment....

MTG

Woodsy42 said...

Could the bloke have had a level of learning difficulty? If so he might be 'simply a young man' into is old age and the court would correctly take note of his mental age.

Quiet_Man said...

I agree he's not a paedophile as such, though the term is now fairly broadly used to describe any sort of sexual relations with a minor (both legal and real). The problem here being the age difference which at 14 to 26 is a massive gap in maturity compared to say 34 and 46 where no-one would even blink. The law itself was changed in 1875 raising the age of consent from 12 to 16 simply to prevent child prostitution by the upper class of the urban poor. Perhaps Judge Hawkesworth should have remembered why the age was raised rather than give out a derisory sentence and a very poor message to those who desire sexual relations with a minor.

Quiet_Man said...

@ Woodsy,

It may be the case, though I suspect that anyone capable of grooming which is what he was guilty of, would probably not be that immature.

JuliaM said...

Where are the usual suspects, decrying this awful shifting of blame onto the 14 year old girl?

Why is this case not a cause celebre for the perpetually offended legions of womyn that take to the streets over other such legal screw-ups?

I wonder...

James Higham said...

And then these judges say their hands are tied. Total bollox.

tris said...

With respect QM, the term may be widely used, but it is incorrectly used to describe such things.

It may be fair enough, as is the habit today, to use some words to mean something entirely different from what their original meaning was. (Eg: Decimate once meant, and still does mean reduced by 1/10th but people, and even some semi academic works now use the word to mean utterly obliterated.) But ‘paedophile’ is such a derogatory term, bringing with it such hate and potentially retribution, that it deserves to be used only for what it is. There must be no doubt about paedophilia. So that when we describe someone as a paedophile it should be utterly clear to everyone, that we are not talking about someone who fancies someone a few months off legal age in a particular jurisdiction ( when 2 miles up the road, and across what could well be a non-existent border it is not illegal). I noted that perhaps a year ago, in England, a man in his 30s took up with a 15 year old girl as a result of chatting on line. They met at a railway station, caught a train to France, where they booked an hotel room, perfectly legally.

Quiet_Man said...

I'm aware of that Tris, which is why I put the correct terms at the top, though the actually charge was of grooming a minor for sexual purposes. Which is illegal here until said minor is over 16. Yes he could have smuggled her out to Spain (legal age 12) or waited a year to take her to France. However that would technically be kidnapping (even consensual) as she is reckoned to be a child in the UK and would need parental permission to travel out of the UK.

Anonymous said...

"Julia M, you have your opinion and you trot it out with boring regularity....Please bear us in mind."

The sense of their own view riding over any other, is the blogger's sustaining motive. You would think they would have formed an Association of Bigots for mutual support....oh, wait...
MTG

Quiet_Man said...

Copy and paste MTG?

I'm shocked, that you would descend to such lowly bloggers tricks, but I'll forgive you as I'm no bigot ;-)

Anonymous said...

A shock for each of us then, QM. You were surprisingly prompt on Julia's blog but she was expected to do her own pasting here, five minute ago :)

Quiet_Man said...

Julia is answerable to herself, not to me or to you, also I suspect many people would believe that those who falsely cry rape are doing the real victims any favours, nor those who point this out are bigots.

But that's just my opinion.

Jeremy Poynton said...

No shortage of such. Judge Compston, a circuit Judge but usually sitting in Oxford County Court has a long record of letting sex abusers off scot free. Indeed, in a hearing I attended last year, he implied that anal rape and aggressive buggery is part of the normal spectrum of human sexual beahviour.

Mind you,he is a member of the professional classes of North Oxford, who on the whole consider themselves Brahmins, and as such,. not subject to the judgement of the little people.

Judge Cuntston, you might call him.