Justice Abandoned: rape victim appalled that charges are dropped against her alleged rapist

Imagine the scene.  Your 16-year-old daughter attends a weekend party.

You’re right, she probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but she was.  That doesn’t make what follows her fault though.  It’s the fault of the depraved individuals who [allegedly] drugged her and repeatedly raped her, as well as the profoundly morally bankrupt individuals who videotaped, photographed and watched the entire sordid event but did nothing to stop it.

To make matters worse, the cretins posted photographs of her rape in progress on the internet for the entire world to see.

That’s what happened to a young woman during a rave party in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia on Saturday, September 11, 2010.

The morally bankrupt teenage boy who videotaped and photographed the rape was charged with and eventually pled guilty to making and distributing obscene material.  He was sentenced to 12 months probation.  The morally bankrupt youth cannot be named because of the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, the father of the young woman was understandably upset at the appalling sentence, calling it nothing more than a “slap on the wrist.”

Dennis John Allen Warrington of Langley faces charges of producing and distributing child pornography for his [alleged] part in videotaping the young woman’s rape.  That trial has yet to take place.

Worse, the only man charged in his daughter’s [alleged] rape, Colton Ashton McMorris, will not even face trial.  Crown prosecutors dropped all charges against McMorris days before he was scheduled to go on trial.

Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie had plenty of rationalizations about why the case could not go to trial. They now believe they might lose the case and their precious conviction rate stats might fall.  They couch their reasons in more official language than that, but you get the point.  No point going to trial if we might lose.

It’s bad for the resume.

This is what happens when prosecutorial statistics are deemed more important than justice for a 16-year-old rape victim.

“No one in their right state of mind, including myself, would let something like that happen to them willingly,” the teen told reporters, as her father sat next to her in a small community centre in Pitt Meadows, B.C., a bedroom community east of Vancouver.

“I’ve often wondered why women never reported when they were sexually assaulted, and now I know. It’s a ‘he-said, she-said’ thing.”

“To anyone who thinks this is OK, I’d like you to take your mother, girlfriend, wife, sister, niece, daughter — any female you know — and go do this to them. It’s wrong and we all know it,” said the teen, reading with a steady voice from a prepared statement.

It’s a brave move for a young woman who has had her life destroyed by what was done to her, and one that I hope reaches the people she was speaking to.

There were many people watching what happened to her that tragic night but who have remained silent, preferring to stonewall police instead of helping bring justice to this young woman’s attackers.

Pitt Meadows RCMP strongly believe that more than one person raped her despite the Crown’s unwillingness to prosecute Colton Ashton McMorris.

“I can assure you, knowing the content of these photos, it was not exaggerated what happened to this girl,” said Sergeant Peter Thiessen, who has two daughters of his own.

“Absolutely not. And I would say that if anybody heard the details of what this girl experienced, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter was also appalled at the news that Crown Prosecutors lacked the will to move forward with this prosecution.

“’Not enough evidence’ means police and Crown failure. We refuse to accept ‘the unlikelihood of conviction’ as a reason to keep this man from facing justice.”

I couldn’t agree more.

There is an excellent movie starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx called “Law Abiding Citizen” in which a man seeks to educate the District Attorney played by Foxx that making deals with murderers is unacceptable.

Foxx’s character, Nick Rice, has a confrontation with Clyde Shelton, played by Butler, in which the DA makes the statement that he might have lost the case and the murderers of his family might have gone free.

“You didn’t care, Nick.  You didn’t even try.  You could have walked out of that courtroom with your head held high.  I could have lived with that, Nick.”

That, I imagine, is precisely how this young woman and her father feel in the wake of the Crown’s awful decision to drop all charges against Colton Ashton McMorris.

A video of her plea to the public can be seen on The Globe and Mail’s website.

If anyone knows anything about this case that can help bring rapists to justice, please contact your local RCMP detachment.

5 thoughts on “Justice Abandoned: rape victim appalled that charges are dropped against her alleged rapist

  1. Prosecutions require that the Crown have enough evidence to proceed. A case that on the whole must be strong enough to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    It is the standard in Common-Law countries. It is designed to prevent the conviction of innocent persons, something that would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

    That is understandable in a system where the right to a jury of one’s peers exists. Where the accused has a right to full disclosure of the Crown’s evidence. And where the accused has the right to be presumed innocent.

    Cases proceeding by indictment, the more serious ones, with potentially longer sentences, have a preliminary hearing.

    This is where the Crown Prosecutor must present enough evidence to persuade the judge that the Crown has sufficient evidence to be allowed to proceed to a full trial. The accused’s defence attorney is able to cross examine the witnesses at a preliminary hearing.

    Yes, it’s a high standard. It’s designed to protect the citizen against the abuse of a very powerful state.

    Otherwise, it is too easy for the state to convict both the guilty and the innocent.

    The right to be presumed innocent is not a right in most countries legal systems.

    Do guilty people escape prosecution sometimes? Yes, they do.

    To attempt to punish an accused by simply putting them through a trial process unlikely to convict is expensive, so much so to mean some other case(s) can not be prosecuted.

    The justice systems resource are not unlimited, unlike TV and the movies.

    In Canada, accused persons have a Constitutional protection against double jeopardy, whereby a person can not be tried twice for the same offence. Thus to proceed with a weak case resulting in an acquittal prevents a second trial at a later date if further evidence is discovered.

    Many, if not most serious criminals in prison have been convicted of only some of their crimes.

    In a multiple attacker situation where witnesses are compromised by intoxication or drugs or refuse to testify out of fear are always difficult cases.

    Where I live teens going to the wrong party, where there are people with a criminal mentality, too often end up dead or maimed for life.

    The legal and social controls exerted on youth to guide and control and hold them responsible for their actions in Canada are very much weaker than they were a couple of generations ago.

    The authority of parents, guardians and teachers is much reduced now. And while allowed to acquire a driver’s licence at 16, they are not held to be fully legally responsible until 18. That is a contradiction.

    Also, public shaming which is cheap and effective with teens, has been eliminated. Our system currently rejects the wisdom of our ancestors.

    No long drawn out legal system can replace those preventive measures. Also, with the effective elimination of self-defence, youth street gangs are easily able to wield power of intimidation and commits crime like never before in our history.

    By the time many are 18, they are already hardened criminals.

    1. Somewhere in all this is a parental responsibility which must be seen as lacking. At the ripe old age of 16 children should be quietly but closely monitored, as it’s an age where experiences are sought out, many times without the conseqsuences being looked into. Some years ago a similar, though unpublisized incident took place in a community I’m quite familiar with. Booze was the undoing of the young lady’s evening, leading to what is usually assumed to be rape. That lady has since matured and has three teenagers in her happy family. She keeps a very watchful eye on them.
      The years have gone by and now she talks about her experience quite openly. As it turns out, at sixteen, she had been jilted by her steady boyfriend. She now claims she went to the party to “show him” and her entire planned event got entirely out of hand.
      As adults I wonder if we aren’t “too adult” in our handling of these events, calling them violent incidents when in actuality they are the outcome of an immature mind entirely focused on one key factor which was decided on without addressing the what ifs?

      1. Hi Kenneth,

        While I definitely agree with you that parental responsibility and the lack of it plays a role in society today (stanley cup riots, for example) and I start out my article basically saying that, from everything I’ve been able to find on this case the Crown Prosecutors are about the only ones who don’t think there is ample evidence of a gang rape. It does not appear to be one of those cases of “cry wolf” like the one you describe.

        1. Hello! You may well be correct Christopher. From a personal point of view I was deemed to have been involved in a rape situation by the RCMP some fourty years ago. My car was supposedly identified by the victim as I was driving down a highway on my way home from a party in the early morning. I was living at the time on my own farm and by myself. The RCMP came to my farm a couple days later and at gunpoint I was ordered off my combine and taken to the station. I have never had any sort of record, not even a traffic ticket. Once at the station I was harrassed and eventually put through a lineup of local men (including the Mayor of St. Albert!)

          The victim was ushered through, said she could identify her assailant and taken out. Fifteen minutes later another lineup was formed and in I went again. This time she was asked to point out the assailant, and she pointed to the only man in the line who I didn’t know, but he had been in the first line as well. As the victim walked out the Staff Sargeant laughed and said to the “assailant” “well constable, (in civilian clothes)you won recognition twice” Everyone but me laughed and they went on their merry way.

          I was held back and put in a room with two cops who hammered at me for two hours. The result was I had to make the RCMP aware of my comings and goings for what they said would be one year. Seven months later I read in the Edmonton Journal that the assailants (two of them)had been nabbed. Both men were under 5’6″, I’m 6’4″ and one had a cast on his leg at the time. The only thing we had in common was the fact we each drove red cars! I went to the RCMP and learned later that the assailants car had a bench seat while mine had a console and gearshift. The RCMP still would not back off harrassing me. I later found out the reason for my problem was I was dating a lady whom a corporal fancied.

          I accidently met that man in civvies outside a local dancehall. He followed me out to my car. I have no idea how it happened but the poor fellow must have slipped on something. He had broken his jaw and a rib or two. I wanted to help him up but he didn’t seem to want any assistance. Two local fellows stepped forward and suggested if I ever required wintnesses they would testify as they had seen the whole thing. Nothing ever came of it and I don’t know to this day what the fellow slipped on!

          One thing I do know is the male suspect is pretty well as good as convicted unless he is super clean and the real assailants continue to do something stupid and get caught! The whole aspect of “innocent until proven guilty” is a lot of bunk. I spend a lot of time in Mexico where the system is “guilty until proven innocent” and I can tell you there is very little difference.

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