Charlotte Proudman on the Liam Allan Case

On the 21st December 2017, Charlotte Proudman had published in the Guardian an article on the Liam Allan case and its ramifications. She appears rather upset about it. Well, as a barrister she might very reasonably be upset about the issues that case raises around disclosure. But that is not what seems to upset her the most. What does is “the dampening effect” the case might have on encouraging other women to allege rape, and, of course, obtain convictions. (She does not use that phrase, but I believe that is the expression commonly used in this context).

I’d like to examine just three sentences in Ms Proudman’s article. You will need to be familiar with the Liam Allan case before reading further.

The first is this,

(However) the reporting on cases such as these, with a focus on a few text messages out of 40,000, may leave future victims less likely to come forward.”

I am all admiration.

I do appreciate the noble art of misdirection.

Note how that sentence acts like Novocain on the intellect. Its grammatical structure suggests that it contains a logical inference. But actually it is a logical miasma, a piece of verbal hypnosis. It gives the false impression that “a focus on a few text messages out of 40,000” acts to logically connect “the reporting on cases such as these” so as to make “future victims less likely to come forward”. But let’s pull it apart.

a focus on a few text messages out of 40,000”: The subliminal suggestion here is that because only a few text messages were pertinent in the Liam Allan case, and that constitutes only a tiny percentage of 40,000, that that somehow diminishes their importance. Eh? What? If there were a billion messages, all totally irrelevant bar one, but that one was “the sex was entirely consensual” – that’s all one need know, isn’t it? The allusion to “a few text messages out of 40,000” is merely an attempt to fog the reader’s brain.

the reporting on cases such as these…..may leave future victims less likely to come forward.”: Let us examine what “the reporting on cases such as these” means. It means the reporting of the fact that clear documentary evidence of the consensual nature of a sexual encounter will be taken by a court to negate a claim of rape. But that could only be a deterrent to potential complainants if such clear documentary evidence of consent existed. And that could only be the case if the person in question was considering making a false allegation, not a true one. So there is no way that “the reporting on cases such as these” could possibly “leave future victims less likely to come forward” if we consider only true victims. What Charlotte Proudman appears really to mean is that the Liam Allan case might leave future dishonest claimants less likely to make a fraudulent rape allegation – but, oddly, she regards this as a bad thing.

The sentence is a double non-sequitur.

That sentence is immediately followed by a short paragraph,

The reporting of the Allan case sends a message to women that your allegation of rape might not be believed if you claim that a sexual encounter was consensual and later report rape….. This contrasts with the law, which says a woman can withdraw her consent to sexual intercourse at any time.”

Now, I do not have Ms Proudman’s legal training. However, I strongly suspect that when the law says “a woman can withdraw her consent to sexual intercourse at any time” it is actually referring to any time during the incident in question. I don’t think the law is intended to legitimise retrospective withdrawal of consent.

And yet this is apparently what Ms Proudman has in mind.

Look closely at the tense of the verb. She is positing a case in which “you claim that a sexual encounter was consensual”. This clearly indicates an antecedent condition of a state of consent existing during the encounter. And yet, Ms Proudman appears to interpret the law in such a way that this would not invalidate an allegation of rape – because “a woman can withdraw her consent to sexual intercourse at any time.”

This is precisely apposite to the Liam Allan case because one of the text messages was “it wasn’t against my will or anything”. Note the tense.

Simply put – to the ordinary man and woman in the street – whose wisdom I generally hold in substantially higher regard than that of barristers – the existence of evidence that the complainant considered that the “sexual encounter was consensual” is sufficient to invalidate any allegation of rape.

Staggeringly, and chillingly given that this woman is a barrister, Ms Proudman is arguing otherwise. She does seem to believe that a woman (but seemingly not a man) should be able to withdraw consent retrospectively.

Ms Proudman appears to believe that women should be able to recharacterise any sexual intercourse as rape, unilaterally, at will, after the event.

If this is the way the law is to go, I suggest the public should be made more clearly aware of the fact. Perhaps it could be part of Sex and Relationship Education in schools. Of course, under such conditions, sex would not be legally advisable for men.

17 thoughts on “Charlotte Proudman on the Liam Allan Case

  1. Peter Crowley

    Good example of “misleading synecdoche” – which usually works the other way round (policeman murders black man therefore all policemen are murderous racists”.

    “I prepared my husband’s dinner for twenty years, and only poisoned hm on one day”?

    You need to watch Charlotte Proudman very carefully, not for what she says, but for what she leaves out. For example, the i article on Mason Greenwood – – no mention of his breach of bail conditions allegations, despite it being in the news 1-2 days previously. Would a true feminist ignore this?

    In her view, “Delilah” leads to violence – has she never heard rap music?

    Misleading synecdoche…….

  2. SydneyGuy

    It would be interesting if this found its way into common law. Everyone I had invited into my home for the last 10 years could be charged with trespassing now since I have now recharacterised those events retrospectively.

  3. honeycomb

    With a change of when th wimminz ™ can constent (or remove constent) .. I would say she’s right .. less than 3% are false claims ..

    Lawyers and th wimminz ™ are truly scum of the earth. She’Re’Uh Law for everyone .. lol


    My experience in the US Navy in the late 1980’s was 80%+ claims of rape / sexual assault were false .. It was an Army IG report.

    I know some 20 + year old (civilian) studies put it in the 40%+ range. Only to mean it’s much higher today. If only a study could be conducted today. /s

    1. William Gruff

      I’ve only seen one estimate of false rape allegations from anyone anywhere claiming (I’m not disputing the claims, merely recording that I cannot possibly know the truth of them.) to be involved in some aspect of policing that put the figure below 70%. The highest was 90+, from a writer claiming to be a woman. It would be interesting to read the evidence for such estimates, which I am inclined to accept as true but will accept as false if the rigorously collected, collated, analysed and criticised accounts can be disproved.

      Why do so many former and serving officers in ‘law enforcement’ make such high estimates of false rape allegations? Either there is a global ‘conspiracy’ to invalidate rape claims, that includes women operatives, or there is more than a grain of truth to them. Whatever obtains, the matter deserves disinterested investigation.

  4. Godfrey Sandford

    At the foot of Ms Proudman’s opinionated drivel masquerading as an article of journalism, the Manchester Guardian has printed the following statement: ‘Charlotte Proudman is a human rights barrister specialising in violence against women and girls’. Two points immediately spring to mind:
    1. This one sentence, as a simple statement of fact, contains more truth (i.e. verifiable, measurable & objective) than the summation of all the numerous claims that Ms Proudman asserts in her partisan opinion piece.
    2. Given the fact that she is a human rights barrister specialising in alleged ‘violence against women and girls’, Ms Proudman’s article could be viewed, in prosaic terms, as Ms Proudman’s advertising her professional services, i.e. Ms Proudman’s touting her wares like any enterprising fishwife. Ms Proudman’s inferences do not leave anything to the reader’s imagination: her clear implication is that she is happy to prosecute false allegations on behalf of the sisterhood. In essence, Ms Proudman is persuading and coaxing women and girls to give instructions directly to her, for she is a barrister who is happy to receive shekels for the prosecution false allegations. Furthermore, the Manchester Guardian is happy to give Ms Proudman free column inches of advertisement. This incestuous, nepotistic character of Cultural Marxism is something to note; this is how the long march through the institutions was executed; all Leftists share the same Common Purpose.

    1. William Gruff

      ‘ … Ms Proudman’s article could be viewed, in prosaic terms, as Ms Proudman’s advertising her professional services, i.e. Ms Proudman’s touting her wares like any enterprising fishwife.

      Or whore. That aside, Americans talk of lawyers hanging out their ‘shingle’, however, in England we know shingles as a very nasty condition that can leave sufferers with debilitating long term conditions, often not apparent for decades.

      That entirely irrelevant ramble aside, wasn’t Mizzz Proudman the scheming opportunistic little bitch vulnerable naif who claimed to have been debilitated by some social media exchange of photographs with a man whose job she fancied in the same profession who overstepped the bounds of propriety?

  5. Vincent McGovern

    I once met the fragrant Ms Proudman, about 3 months after her ‘ordeal’ following a private compliment from a man who triggered her self induced neurosis. Ms Proudman works primarily as a barrister in family law, the general legal refuge for the bottom feeders and gender vigilantes. She looked ok, certainly not as good as her famous photo. There are sadly far more intelligent female lawyers beavering away in the legal profession advising domestic violence agencies and charities on how to interpret legislation from a purely gendered viewpoint. But I do love how William Collins as usual takes this liquid spoof apart. Education is enjoyable when delivered in this way.

  6. James Murphy

    Wonderfully dry as ever! Interestingly, in the Neo-Platonic philosophy, which I personally love, a ‘dry’ soul was evidence of intellectual maturity in the deepest sense of that term. In this context I particularly love your reference to barristers’ learnèd inferiority comparative to the miraculous common sense of the ordinary man and woman in the street! And, of course, the excellent last paragraph warning all men of the legal inadvisability of sexual intercourse in Ms Proudfoot’s dystopian paradise.

  7. Nick Langford

    “The law, which says a woman can withdraw her consent to sexual intercourse at any time.” I confess I have looked and cannot find this provision. Does the law say this? Is it in legislation (the Sexual Offences Act 2003, for example) or in case law? It seems highly unlikely that the law would single out women in this way, or be so vague.

    Proudman is rather cavalier with her statistics, stating that only 3% of rape allegations are false. Estimates of false allegations range from 0% up to the high 90s, depending upon whom you read. The reality is that we cannot know; most allegations do not reach the courts and even where there is a trial – which is the best way we have of determining the truth – the results cannot be relied on. Dogmatically promoting one particular figure, therefore, from the many available, is indicative of a very dogmatic mind.

    She professes bafflement that rape is treated differently from other crimes; I should have thought that feminists only have themselves to blame for that. The irony is that articles like Proudman’s only serve to spread the myth that genuine victims of rape will not be believed and discourage them from coming forward.

    1. William Collins Post author

      I was also sceptical regarding what the letter of the law actually “says” in this respect, but didn’t bother to challenge it – partly to keep my piece (unusually) brief – but also because I suspect the de facto practice in the courts would be to regard a woman’s withdrawal of consent at any time during the act itself as validating a rape claim.

      The 3% claim (which references a dead link) is insupportable. I didn’t challenge that either because I’m planning a post specific to the issue. I agree with your remarks on the matter – there would appear to be no secure position on this statistic, but wildly diverging estimates from 2% to 90%.

      1. Nick Langford

        If the lady asks the gentleman to withdraw during the act and he refuses, that is rape, but if she decides days or months later that what she had thought was consent was not in fact consent, I would have thought that no rape is committed, unless there has been some case law which shows that it is.

        Proudman is a family lawyer, and this is criminal law, so she may well be mistaken. I imagine the Guardian doesn’t check these things.

      2. CitymanMichael

        There was a case in the High Court a few years ago where the judge ruled that a woman could withdraw consent at any time – even at the point of the man’s orgasm. The case is covered to some extend here and although it specifically mentions agreement to withdraw prior to ejaculation, my memory is that it was understood that consent can be withdrawn at any point – if the man does not stop, rape is committed.

        1. rob

          I’m not sure its that simple. If the man believes he has consent then that would not be rape even if she had made a request to stop. . He could for instance not have heard the comment or believed that it wasn’t a genuine request. The rapist has to know there was no genuine consent. Then we could get onto conditional consent which is an all new can of worms. Such as you can have sex a s long as you do the dishes tonight. He fails to do the dishes so hes guilty. Or in julians case to continue to wear a condom instead of washing the dishes.

  8. AJ

    “The reporting of the Allan case sends a message to women that your allegation of rape might not be believed if you claim that a sexual encounter was consensual and later report rape”

    This statement is undoubtedly true. The amazing thing is that anyone should consider this remotely surprising, comment worthy or anything but desireable. Anyone with any common sense would know that this incident has made no difference at all to women considering an allegation of rape because anyone with the slightest intelligence knew this already.

    Miss Proudlove damaged her legal career in showing her unreasonableness and (at best lack of judgement) over a compliment. This article must destroy it in its quite overt unreasonableness and lack of any concern for equity.

    She will probably continue to have a career as a ‘commentator’ although clealry a very flawed one.

  9. Elizabeth Smith

    You may recall Ms Proudman ‘s track record. An extremely ungracious, shall we say, response to an admittedly clumsy compliment that cost the man concerned everything.


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