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back to article Anons torn over naming 'n' shaming of 17yo's gang-rape suspects

Anonymous hacktivists have withdrawn threats to expose the identities of boys accused of gang raping a 17-year-old girl before her death. But rogue Anons may defy the decision and publish the information anyway. Rehtaeh Parsons, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, was allegedly sexually assaulted while drunk by four lads in …

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

It seems like Anon don't know the difference between suspected of and guilty of a crime.

I think this is a terrible situation, but a bunch of self elected Internet vigilantes blackmailing police into action is not the way to go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

Police action? Someone needs to. There is photographic evidence here, somebody severly dropped the ball.

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Re: Hmm...

A girl is dead because four hooligans raped her, and even spread photos of the act. Yet somehow the police have 'insufficient evidence'?

Bullshit. This is just another example of how people would rather protect the guilty than provide justice to the victims of rape. This is just like that stupidity from CNN where the correspondent was wringing their hands and saying "woe to those poor boys, how their lives are ruined."

It should go without saying that if a system that is *supposed* to provide justice, won't, then people will give up and start taking justice into their own hands. For good or ill.

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Re: Hmm...

I don't approve of blackmail and have not seen the pictorial evidence, but that said, if pictures of the act in progress were indeed taken and distributed, then I would believe that the pictures should be sufficient to demonstrate guilt.

I do not AT ALL support releasing names for vigilante justice, but obviously the girl is receiving no justice from the proper authorities so far. I feel sorry for the girl and her family. I'm sure the family just wants peace, and blackmailing the police is not going to give them that.

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Ah, no. On this occasion I do not question the postion of the activists involved.

The entire thrust of their statement was a demand that the police actually do their job. Your pompous posting was about as ill judged as it possibly could be.

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Re: Hmm...

I dunno..."investigate it properly or else" doesn't sound too unreasonable, as Anonymous statements go. There's photographic evidence and they could have just broadcast the names and let the baying pack go at them.

"We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims. That would mean we approve of violent actions against these [alleged] rapists at the hands of an unruly mob. What we want is justice. And that’s your job. So do it." - Anonymous

Seems fair enough to me. Surprisingly mature for Anonymous. Have to say that I agree with them on face value; and if someone's favourite son is being shielded then this is absolutely the right thing to do.

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Re: Hmm...

<quote>

I think this is a terrible situation, but a bunch of self elected Internet vigilantes blackmailing police into action is not the way to go.

</quote>

Sometimes this is the only way, I am sure if you think about it carefully, you may see the argument in a different perspective.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

If the case is not prceeded due to some lack of evidence or legal loophole, then Anon releasing the names IS calling for vigilante action else why do it?

Reminds me of that Australian woman who kept getting attacked in the UK for looking like Maxine Carr, who helped Huntley murder those girls in Soham.

Vigilante Justice is only worth the risk when there is NO DOUBT AT ALL, but still is illegal

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

It seems like Anon don't know the difference"...

You seem to be assuming anon is a specific group able uniquely to authenticate its identity in relation to anything claimed under that handle. I very much doubt that's the case. Anon is also you and I my friend, given the mask we wear in relation to this exchange.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

Hence their use of the word alleged. What exactly is the difference between a collective group of non appointed citizens and a group of appointed, voted for and campaigned for by groups of people who are "representative of the people" ?

Either way they are groups of people with agendas, who is to say which is the correct group. Anon are just us, the different factions just represent the "unapointed sayers" of our society.

This girl maybe have consented to being gang fucked. Or perhaps a bunch of boys took advantage and shitholed her. Maybe she was naive, maybe she was too young to consent. Who knows. But in my opinion leaving it to the "authorities" who we never voted for to decide either which way is the same as censoring the media. i.e. Crimes remain hidden unless they are brought to our attention.

We are an open society. Let the anons do their business. This is what makes us.

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IT Angle

Re: Hmm...

"It should go without saying that if a system that is *supposed* to provide justice, won't, then people will give up and start taking justice into their own hands. For good or ill."

correct.

as to the people who are defending the alleged offenders. sit down for 5 minutes and pretend, and I mean really imagine its reality that your mother/sister/daughter was raped and no-one was prosecuted. Close your eyes and really put yourself in that situation and then let me know you still feel the same. If you do, then i salute you sir, you are a better man than i am.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

"Anon is also you and I my friend, given the mask we wear in relation to this exchange."

So in other words, people sitting behind computers doing searches on the internet? Call me crazy, but I tend to be more trustful of professional people in their particular field who are accountable/employed by the government and have full access to ALL the information and evidence, including everything from witness statements to forensic reports, and a ton of other information they would have access to during their lines of enquiries.

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Probably not very good photos...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Campbell,_Duchess_of_Argyll is a divorce case in which either one or two faceless men - apparently they don't even know -that- - were photographed in (I'm assuming) consensual sex acts with the Duchess. And this apparently with "the only Polaroid camera in the country". Granted, there may have been important people -that- time wanting the issue clouded, and an unusually large set of men that it -might- have been. But they never really found out.

As for -this- case, I am sorry to hear of it. I thought Canadians were nice people?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

If you read the article properly, you will see that the word 'alleged' was inserted by The Register.

If you know anything about Anonymous, you will know that they are so arrogant as to believe they are never wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

Suspects went and posted pictures on the net? Sort of, like, Advertising for some vigilante action!

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Re: Hmm...

You're right. The police could have acted on sooner. They should have. They didn't, they failed. Then they continued to fail. Now they go all misty because they're being blackmailed, in the meantime still continuing to fail. If they have to be blackmailed to do their job, they should be fired, then tried and competent people should be hired and put on the case.

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Holmes

@Jordan Davenport - Re: Hmm...

Wrote :- "I don't approve of blackmail"

This is not blackmail. Blackmail is threatening to expose something in order to get money (or some other favour) for the blackmailer). In this case, Anon are seeking no favour to themselves.

If I had evidence of a crime and the police did not bother to prosecute, I would go public with the evidence too.

I think Anon are a bunch of shites, but evidence is evidence, no matter who comes up with it.

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Re: Hmm...

"I think this is a terrible situation, but a bunch of self elected Internet vigilantes blackmailing police into action is not the way to go."

You're right. Blackmailing the police isn't the way to go; the police doing their job in the first place is the way to go.

When that doesn't happen, though...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably not very good photos...

"...I thought Canadians were nice people?"

Are, usually. Of course there's a percentage of dweebs. That percentage gets high when dealing with immature teenagers and too much alcohol.

This part of the greater Halifax municipality is still under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Feds, in spite of it being inside the city. The RCMP have become a defective organization; they are the laughing stock - except it involves outrage and anger rather than humour. Unbelievably many of their members will literally engage in perjury for their own purposes; and to the very last man they will cover-up for their brothers' mistakes and crimes. This default approach gets them in trouble when the almost inevitable mobe video turns up later.

Who knows what happened in this case. There's probably something as yet unknown that led to the series of obviously defective decisions in this case. Plenty of blame (not just the police, the whole chain), pretty much exactly as written in the Anonymous posting.

This case is tragic. There's some small consolation that it has exposed just how defective these organizations really are.

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IT Angle

Re: Hmm...

Think about it? This is the internetz - we just have to respond viscerally. Grrrrr, meow-ow-ow.... woof & a hee-haw to you.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm...

@moiety:

while i tend to agree with your sentiments, the quote from anonymous would seem to be a little confusing... i have to wonder if they even really understand their desired action...

let's put it in another perspective, shall we?

"We do not approve of vigilante justice as the media claims. That would mean we approve of violent actions against these [alleged] rapists at the hands of an unruly mob. What we want is justice. And that’s your job. So do it." - Anonymous

ok, so... put the plods in prison where they can face vigilante justice by the confined populace of the prison and be raped or have other violent actions performed against them at the hands of an/the unruly mob in there...

[sarcasm] yeah, that's the ticket... [/sarcasm]

what, exactly, is justice? an eye for an eye? a hand for theft? being raped for having raped?

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Re: Hmm...

The police are bound by duty -and paid pretty well for- looking out for the weaker members of society. That clearly didn't happen here; despite photographic evidence (on the internet yet!). Whether they couldn't be bothered; were covering up for the Superintendent's son; or just plain lost the paperwork (I am speculating, of course...I don't know why the investigation didn't go ahead) the job of the police clearly did not get done in this instance.

While your Straw Man argument of throwing everyone involved into prison to be ass-raped is misrepresenting my argument somewhat; if the police fucked up then the people responsible should accept the responsibility and the consequences...whether that be written warning; sacked or whatever. If it was a deliberate cover up then -fuck yes- prison is an option.

More importantly than that though, the dead girl and her family deserve a proper investigation and they should damned well get one...it is a service that they have already paid for and haven't received if you want to look at it in strictly social contract terms and not get into a concept as slippery as justice.

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Re: Hmm... @AC 1

>There is photographic evidence here

So you've seen the photographic evidence and concluded that it clearly shows the faces of all involved? No, didn't think so, so STFU.

The attack took place after the girl had passed out from alcohol consumption in the very early hours. It was indoors with the only light being from whatever was available in the room and possibly a feeble led flash on the phone. Quality is not a word to be used here. A room is not the ideal place to take group shots so presumably the photos show the business end of the rape and last time I checked one knob end looks surprisingly like another unless your name is Baldrick.

Even if the photos were of studio quality there is no guarentee that they hadn't been tampered with so cannot be used as evidence of a crime.

In short, such photographic evidence is worthless.

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@moiety

Having the police investigate all crimes to an acceptable standard, is indeed a laudable aim, but who put Anonymous in charge of determining the acceptable standard?

Protests outside the station, or online, strike me as an entirely appropriate response to a perceived insufficient investigation, but releasing the identities of the suspects would be uttetly irresponsible.

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FAIL

Funny thing getting in touch with the top

If I read an article correctly it is the top man's district in which the crimes were committed. Who is to say they are not protecting family. Would not be the first time someone in power snuffed a horrendous crime.

James

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Pint

For once I agree

I hate to admit it, but this is something i can agree with them on.The ones that said F*** it and released the info to the public are ok by me. +1 for having balls to go against their own guys and doing what is right!

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Anonymous Coward

There's a lot more to this story than covered in this article (for example it took police 10 months to start an investigation, and even then they interviewed people who had been sent a picture & NOT the suspects).

I don't know who in the family requested that Anonymous not release the names, but looking at the Fathers message on his blog I would hazard a guess and say it wasn't him.

I would suggest reading further before jumping to any conclusions against or for Anonymous.

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"If I read an article correctly it is the top man's district in which the crimes were committed. Who is to say they are not protecting family. Would not be the first time someone in power snuffed a horrendous crime."

Yeah, thats what I was thinking.

Is this the same case where the poor girl was taken to several addresses, pretty much unconcious, to be raped by a succesion of partygoers? I seem to remember there was some pretty disturbing cellphone footage of the crime. If there were pictures, and deffinately if it is the same case, then there is a coverup going on.

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@mickey mouse

No that was in Ohio, two of the boys (according to wiki) were convicted as minors, one got 1 year another got 2, plus an extra year for distributing child porn.

I cant comment on this, mixed feelings part of me thinks anonymous are would be doing the wrong thing if they released the names, another part of me thinks them blackmailing the police to investigate in this case is laudable.

The thing that disgusts me most apart from the sheer horrifying crimes (I guess alleged in this case) both of these are is the sheer reluctance of the police to investigate in this case and the previous, (as well as the subsequent low sentencing).

Not sure what you are supposed to think when you have to blackmail the people who are supposed to protecting you into actually doing that.

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Re: @mickey mouse

"No that was in Ohio, two of the boys (according to wiki) were convicted as minors, one got 1 year another got 2, plus an extra year for distributing child porn."

Those sentences are pathetically short considering what they did to that girl, who`s life they have probably ruined. You would probably get more years inside for pirating films or petty drug offences. Nice to see the legal system has its priorities right eh?

I bet these individuals reoffend as well, you would have to be a pretty nasty sociopath to do something like that to another human being.

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Re: @mickey mouse

I am not a lawyer or anything like that, but I think the problem is that law doesn't and shouldn't* consider the offenders state of mind (when not insane that is). It does take into account intent, but we do not judge the individual as a person, just the act. For instance if I drive down my wife and kill her it the resulting punishment is highly dependent on my intention. If it was an accident it comes down to how careless I was, if I wanted to kill her it comes down to if I had planed it or if it was in the heat of the moment. But, if I am a sadist and take pleasure in it, it won't factor in unless it results in a behaviour from me that the law cares about.

And there you have it. The eternal problem for the lawmaker, how to write a law that covers all cases. Because as moral beings we can easily judge and say that one crime is worse than another, how to write that down into a law, and make it possible to prove, is another thing.

Because I agree with you. Anybody doing that are not fit to live among the rest of us, and I retain little hope that they will ever reach a state where they are. However, there are rapists that I think could. And with the principle that law is there to protect everybody and if you are not able to separate between the two, then you have to judge the two as mildly as the second group.

When that is said, I do think that the law treats these things too mildly. Basically that it has inherited an outdated view that women that have put themselves in a position where they can be raped are some to blame for their own misery. It is a severe form for violence with highly likely long term harm, and it is hard to prove. (I also think that false accusations of rape should carry the same punishment (has to be proven of course).) So we can argue that rape in general should carry longer sentences, but any aggravating circumstances has to apply for all cases and the law can't be so specific that it mentions "if the victim is carried from house to house over an evening and...". We are using our morals to judge the offender in these cases, but Justice is blind and I think she should be. It doesn't make her perfect, but the alternative is worse.

*Well, "shouldn't" depends on your personal opinion of course. Also, for some reason it carries some weight in USA after all, but when it is the other way around. "The defendant comes from a well respected family and is important...." or some other crap like that.

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Re: @mickey mouse

I'll have to correct myself, apologies.

The sentence seems like it was low because they were tried as juveniles, and it was actually a minimum sentence they can apparently be kept in detention until the age of 21. (Still low though that's 5 years and 4 for them)

Looks like a grand jury is being convicted to look into how the case has been handled as well.

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Trollface

hmm Canada

Progressive policies are the way to go unless you are a victim of crime. Then in general you want people that hold the individuals and not society responsible for the crime.

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Boffin

Those accused of rape and similar crimes...

... should be given anonymity unless and until they are proven guilty, otherwise this just panders to the lynch mob mentality of the readers of certain Tabloids amongst others and they will most likely be "tried in the media", have their lives torn apart and their (potential) careers destroyed such that even if or when they are found not guilty, they'll find it incredibly difficult to recover.

"Naming and Shaming" like this will have the same sort of effect from those who think that "there's no smoke without fire" because if you throw enough mud, some of it will stick.

Imagine if you were one of those people but were innocent, yet every time someone looks for your name (such as a prospective employer!) it came up "suspected rapist"...

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Re: Those accused of rape and similar crimes...

"Imagine if you were one of those people but were innocent, yet every time someone looks for your name (such as a prospective employer!) it came up "suspected rapist"..."

Sadly, this can happen anyways, you can googlebomb anyone. Yes, it sucks, I completely agree.

I stand axis with you here though...

"... should be given anonymity unless and until they are proven guilty, ..."

These boys are currently innocent, and you are stating that with blind allegiance to the law. That means, if the only names released were the names of the boys in the pictures committing rape, you would feel they have similar rights to a person who has yet to be convicted of a traffic violation.

I do stand by your statement in regards to the boys they have absolutely no evidence on, but I can't close my eyes to a crime older than the language the laws themselves are written in.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Those accused of rape and similar crimes...

Yes they should .. If they are accused. The problem here is that not only is no-one being formally accused, there appears to be no appetite for any investigation at all.

Big +1 to anon from me for what is a grown up and nicely nuanced approach to this.

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Re: Those accused of rape and similar crimes...

"... should be given anonymity unless and until they are proven guilty"

While I would normally agree with this, this case is different in that the perpetrators breached their own anonymity. One of the perpetrators took photos of the 15 year old victim being raped and being sick and subsequently distributed the photos, as part of a campaign of harassment and humiliation of the victim.

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There are pictures of the crime circulating - one of the reasons she felt persecuted. If the rapists faces are in any of the pictures, or if they are identifiable through the pictures, and the crown still didn't proceed then something is wrong. It is ultimately the crown who decides whether or not to proceed with charges. If the mounties didn't do their job properly then the blames lies with them.

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Stop

If there are pictures of people having sex circulating, that doesn't prove if it was rape or consensual.

So, like most rape cases, this comes down to the man (or men in this case) claim consensual sex, the woman claims rape. Hard to prove and get right, like most rape cases.

*If* the authorities did not investigate this properly then yes this needs to be investigated and addressed.

As you point out its up to the Crown to decide whether or not to prosecute and this will be based on the evidence supplied to them by police. I haven't read anything to suggest that they (the crown) made a bad call in this case. (Although, obviously I don't have all the facts in this matter)

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If the girl was under 18, surely that makes it child pornography. That should be enough to put the scumbags away for a while, shouldn't it?

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What is the difference between these accused names being released and the names of several high profile celebs who were arrested but not yet charged after the Jimmy Savile scandal in the UK. I know its different countries legal systems but still supposedly free countries.

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Holmes

Sickeningly, one of the gang took photos of the attack. The images were distributed

So, "insufficient evidence" means that they didn't post the required number of pictures of themselves committing the crime? Note to all Sexual Perverts: make sure you only put nine pictures of yourself on the net instead of ten. The boys in blue have strict guidelines on how to handle their "evidence".

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Re: Fehu

".....So, "insufficient evidence" means that they didn't post the required number of pictures of themselves committing the crime?....." No, it probably means the pics are either of not good enough quality to identify anyone or that they do not show conclusive proof of coercion. The police would need to build up enough evidence to convince a prosecutor to take the case to court, and if the girl did not report the case until four days after the event she probably cleaned up all the physical evidence and left the cops with nothing but her word. Tragic, I'm sure the coppers involved would love to take the "rapists" in question into a windowless room for five minutes of truncheon practice, but that's not how the law works.

What the Anons are doing is saying "investigate but you had better reach the conclusion we have decided on or else" - that's just vigilantism by computer.

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Re: Fehu

"No, it probably means the pics are either of not good enough quality to identify anyone or that they do not show conclusive proof of coercion."

Your faith in the competence and willingness of the law is touching.

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Re: Franklin Re: Fehu

".....Your faith in the competence and willingness of the law is touching." Your blinkered and reflexive desire to think the worst of The Man is simply moronic.

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Due Process is Hard, Let's Go Shopping

Insufficient Evidence typically means there is, and that the victim has, provided exculpatory statements to the police about the nature of the offense. This is why we have due process. If for example, she'll be proven a liar or worse on the stand, then of course the authorities are going to have a hard time pressing charges.

Pictures of people having group sex with a girl is simply pictures of people having group sex with a girl. Was it consensual at the time of the act? What was her level of intoxication at the time of the act? Unless it's video, you can't really tell if someone is passed out or not.

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I guess it will turn out that one of the boys is the son of the police chief...

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous action.

Justice must prevail, and dropping it just because the girl is dead would only result in the guilty getting away with it and maybe doing it again.

I support the actions of Anonymous in this case.

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As a dad...

I'd want them hung by their balls (my 5-year-old son recently took part in nationwide assemblies in his school against bullying, this is a Big Deal here in Canada).

As a rational person though, there should be an inquiry into the handling of the case to determine if it should be reopened or not. Suspected rapists should not be walking free if their faces are all over a rape video. Even more so if Anonymous has the names of the people involved.

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Rape IS a hard crime to prove...

...let's face it, it's often a 'he says / she says' situation.

But, it seems to me there's plenty evidence for any number of charges in the area of production and distribution of child pornography in this case, and a significant number of people who could and should be so charged.

Convictions for THAT are the next best thing to a conviction for rape.

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