Friday 19 January 2018

Women may now hold the top legal roles - but a male majority still limits our choices

Attorney General Máire Whelan and Chief Justice Susan Denham are among the women at the top of the country’s public legal system. Photo: Collins
Attorney General Máire Whelan and Chief Justice Susan Denham are among the women at the top of the country’s public legal system. Photo: Collins
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

The complainant will never admit that she consented, and counsel must seek to show, that at the time of the offence, her character and behaviour were such that she would be likely to have consented, or that she has invented the evidence which she is giving."

This is not a quotation from a 19th-century novel. These are the words of an Irish Supreme Court judge in 1978.

At the time, courtroom evidence of a woman's 'sexual experience' was admissible in order to prove that her allegation of rape or sexual assault was unreliable.

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