there's an excellent piece in this month's werewolf magazine by catriona maclennan, about the need to change consent laws:
Judge Wade concluded by saying that one of the most disturbing features of the case was the fact that it had gone totally unreported, as did nearly all of the cases at the Manukau District Court. He said that the court was wasting its time in imposing deterrent sentences if the public was left in total ignorance of what went on at the courthouse.
“It is anachronistic to prevent the prosecution commenting on the fact the accused did not give evidence in the context of what is still an adversarial process. Either the accused’s silence should be open to comment or it should not.” He described it as “nothing short of a gross injustice” to complainants when the accused did not give evidence and no adverse inference could be drawn from that silence.
Justice Thomas said that there was a growing consensus that, without overriding basic adversarial structures, proceedings for sexual offences should be more concerned to arrive at the truth. He said that it was essentially unfair for the accused to be able to cross-examine the victim and seek to cast doubt on her credibility and integrity, but for the accused to be able to remain silent without any inference being drawn. Justice Thomas suggested that, in sexual cases, it should be open to the jury to draw adverse inferences from an accused failing to give evidence.
please read the whole thing. it gives a very good summary of the issues and of the work done to date in this area. it's great to see the minister of justice, hon simon power taking these issues seriously. let's hope we see some changes happening soon.