Technicality Ends Trial Against Kid-Show Magician

 

Judge Griffith Williams, QC, of the Cardiff Crown Court, dismissed charges against 62 year-old children’s magician, Eric Blackledge alleging he had sexual intercourse with his then 14-year old female assistant.  The judge blasted the magician’s “dishonesty” in the criminal proceedings as well as his acts against the young woman. 

 

The Court said the case against the magician known as Uncle Eric, had to be dismissed after he and the lawyers became aware of a binding judgment from the House of Lords in a similar case. 

 

The judgment, published on Wednesday, said prosecutors must charge a defendant accused of having sexual intercourse with a person under 16 with unlawful sexual intercourse and not indecent assault.  This new rule eliminates the Prosecutor’s ability to bring charges against a rapist if his victim does not complain within 12 months of the act. 

 

The prior practice in cases where the victim first accused the rapist more than 12 months after the act was to charge the defendant with Indecent Assault.  This charge would include any indecent touching of the victim; including sexual intercourse. 

 

By charging the defendant with indecent assault, the prosecutor could bring a rape charge even though the young child had not accused the rapist before 12 months passed.  The new ruling would carve out an incongruous exception to the practice and statute normally thought to protect young victims.  

 

Thus Mr. Blackledge benefited from having sexual intercourse with the child rather than stopping just…

 

Judge Griffith Williams, QC, of the Cardiff Crown Court, dismissed charges against 62 year-old children’s magician, Eric Blackledge alleging he had sexual intercourse with his then 14-year old female assistant.  The judge blasted the magician’s “dishonesty” in the criminal proceedings as well as his acts against the young woman. 

 

The Court said the case against the magician known as Uncle Eric, had to be dismissed after he and the lawyers became aware of a binding judgment from the House of Lords in a similar case. 

 

The judgment, published on Wednesday, said prosecutors must charge a defendant accused of having sexual intercourse with a person under 16 with unlawful sexual intercourse and not indecent assault.  This new rule eliminates the Prosecutor’s ability to bring charges against a rapist if his victim does not complain within 12 months of the act. 

 

The prior practice in cases where the victim first accused the rapist more than 12 months after the act was to charge the defendant with Indecent Assault.  This charge would include any indecent touching of the victim; including sexual intercourse. 

 

By charging the defendant with indecent assault, the prosecutor could bring a rape charge even though the young child had not accused the rapist before 12 months passed.  The new ruling would carve out an incongruous exception to the practice and statute normally thought to protect young victims.  

 

Thus Mr. Blackledge benefited from having sexual intercourse with the child rather than stopping just short of the physical act. By engaging in sexual intercourse with the 14 year old girl, he gambled that she would not tell anyone for a year. 

 

If she kept the attack secret for more than one year, as he urged her to do, the Crown could not charge him of a crime.  Amazingly, under the new rule, the Crown could not charge Mr. Blackledge if he physically penetrated her and  for whatever reason she did not tell authorities of the attack. That crime must be charged as unlawful sexual intercourse and can only be brought if the victim brought told authorities within 12 months of the attack.

 

The Court was apparently appalled at the House of Lord’s decision and declared the new rule to be discordant with the way the courts practiced criminal law in Wales and England since the 1950’s.  Indeed, the law in other common law countries, such as the United States, is to put the onus on the perpetrator rather than the under-aged victim of a rape. 

 

The concept of statutory rape assumes there may be coercion by the older rapist over the young victim.  The rapist may attempt to convince the child that she should not tell others or the authorities, or that the violation of her body was in fact consensual. 

 

The statutory rape doctrine protects the victim by saying any such touching or intercourse is considered rape and there can be no defense that it was consensual or that some how the 14 year old child “asked for it.”

 

This is a horribly tragic decision and as the Court noted, it required the young victim to twice testify about the criminal act in dramatic detail and then be subject to cross-examination about her recollection.  In this sense, Mr. Blackledge and the House of Lords have victimized the poor girl a third time.   

 

See, Luke 17:2

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