Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sexism, Human Rights and Paedophilia

I have to thank Brian for flagging up this story to me. Last week saw an interesting case before the Scottish courts in which a teenager accused of having sex with an under-age girl claimed the law is unfair to heterosexual men, and sought to bring a case case under article 8, read in conjunction with article 14, of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also sought a declaration in terms of section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 that section 5(3) of the 1995 Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act is incompatible with the Convention in these respects.

The law does (as the opinion makes clear) seem relatively straight forward in this area but the teen at the centre of this case does raise an interesting question about what he regards as our sexist attitude towards paedophilia. The very words paedophilia or paedophile are avoided in the reports about this case but that is what the law is saying this teen is - as someone 17 or 18 having sex with a girl aged 14. The teens point is that we would be less inclined to prosecute a girl in the same situation. I'm not sure I agree but it's an interesting one to mull over.

The full opinion can be read here.

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