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Age of Kali – Form III

Okay, a nerd reference to Star Wars but for those who don’t wish to be embedded into a massive chunk of Star Wars lore, Form III is a defensive style of fighting with a lightsaber said to make you nearly impossible to hit. An elegant defence in a less civilised age.

If you haven’t already heard, Manohar Lal Sharma has been named as the Defence Lawyer for the Delhi Rape/Murder case which he is planning to plead “not guilty” to. And boy is he a real piece of work. Remember how Anil from AVfM said “women have it better than men”? I probably have to apologise to him (And to Astrokid), because Sharma has it figured out.

Well Manohar Lal Sharma is all about women. In his infinite knowledge about the female body has analysed the case meticulously and found that in his experience there are no rapes of “respected ladies”. In addition the male companion was wholly responsible for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets, particularly with such a weed since he was incapable of defending her against six armed dudes. It’s his fault for being so bad in a fist fight and it’s her fault for not checking his ability to fist fight.

“Until today I have not seen a single incident or example of rape with a respected lady,” Sharma said in an interview at a cafe outside the Supreme Court in India’s capital. “Even an underworld don would not like to touch a girl with respect.”

And here we were thinking that Indian women have it worse! Apparently I (PZ Myer’s Indian Minion) was wrong to think women have it worse than men.

Oh don’t worry, a Sadhu called Asharam said that “had the girl chanted the name of Krishna and fallen at the feet of the attackers” the attacks would have stopped. These two plans are fool proof. Now you know ladies! Having respect stops rapists and if you don’t have respect then you can stop rape by invoking Krishna (who was notoriously absent at this rape).

(In the Mahabaratha he stops a rape through what can only be described as his “Clothes Beam“.)

Oh that’s not enough? Well Mohan Bhagwat who is a pretty fucking big deal (He is the head of the RSS which is a part of the opposition to the Congress and one of the major Hindutva groups) said that this sort of rape doesn’t happen in the villages but in the cities because women there adopt western lifestyles.

Other politicians have claimed that this is to distract from other issues. Let’s blame mobile phones and women being free rather than women being treated like well…. women. Let’s hide women away from the dangerous dangerous men (You may or may not be a dangerous man. If you are not a dangerous man then this statement doesn’t apply to you. If you are dangerous but not to women then this statement may apply to you depending on the level of danger and the target. I for example am dangerous to cake and while you are all safe, your cakes are not…)

It must have been KFC and Jeans that made 6 young men drive around in a “rape bus”. Clearly if she had invoked the powers of Krishna and if her boyfriend could fight better she would still be alive. It’s all Jyothi’s fault. Case Closed. Good Job Everyone! High Fives and Cigars all around! How are you getting back tonight? Bus? Fancy stopping for some chicken?

More Signs

More Signs

Chicken...

Chicken…

Form III is not what Manohar Lal Sharma is about. If this case hadn’t made the world media, Manohar may have won his case with his “respectable ladies don’t get raped” strategy. But frankly he is going to lose. The government wants a death penalty for this to satiate the mob, his idiocy will get them killed. If you are talking about defending rapists then don’t send this bag of dick to defend them. The best hope he had was for a plea bargain, not by demonstrating how terrible he is as a human being. I fear that Sharma may be using this case to be the “go to guy” for rape defences for shitty cases.

It is not an elegant defence, it’s a moronic one. Jokes and Sarcasm aside, this attitude is demonstrative of the misogyny entrenched in India.

Comments

  1. S M says

    Yeah, ‘respected’ ladies don’t get raped, what great words of wisdom! Now I’m going to say something crazy that will blow the asshole lawyer’s mind — decent men don’t commit rape! So what does that say about his little clients?

  2. says

    Now I’m going to say something crazy that will blow the asshole lawyer’s mind — decent men don’t commit rape! So what does that say about his little clients?

    THIS. A hundred, million times this. Bravo.

  3. says

    >> in his experience there are no rapes of “respected ladies”<<

    Either Sharma's experience is limited, or he is lying, or he does not know what 'respect' means.

    I am confounded as to how anyone could possibly plead 'not guilty' in this case once their presence on the bus during the event was established. One person is dead, another seriously injured. There is no question of self-defense, no ambiguity in their actions, no way to weasel out of premeditation.

    Absent the publicity, could such a defense actually have had any chance in the Indian courts? If so, why?

  4. says

    But would pleading not guilty and transparently blaming the victim actually work as a defense in a case like this, absent the publicity? I’m trying to understand just how bad the entrenched misogyny is.

  5. F [disappearing] says

    He seems to have forgotten a third prong for his defensive attack, namely that it is easier to run with your skirt up than with your pants down.

  6. shash says

    I think you’re being unnecessarily harsh on the lawyer… Remember, a good defence is a prerequisite for a valid trial, and we definitely don’t want a trial to be set aside by the higher courts on the technicality that the defence wasn’t vigorous enough. You know the news: a large group of lawyers decided that they would have nothing to do with the defence, even if asked to by the court. Remember also that this is the Delhi police we’re talking about; it’s fairly possible for them to arrest anyone off the street and frame them for the crime. After all, this is the same department that we’ve been railing against for their inaction. I don’t think that this is the case here, but it is still something to be proven in court. Without a fair trial with a full defence, a conviction would be invalid. This guy’s doing the right thing.

    I expect every single dirty trick; victim blaming, place adding torture (already happening), mistaken identity, the works… The prosecutor is also experiencd, so I expect a conviction anyway. But the main concern now should be that nobody can question the validity of this trial.

  7. shash says

    @3:

    I am confounded as to how anyone could possibly plead ‘not guilty’ in this case once their presence on the bus during the event was established. One person is dead, another seriously injured. There is no question of self-defense, no ambiguity in their actions, no way to weasel out of premeditation.

    At this point, all we have are statements from the police repeated by the media, not a verdict in court. It’s open to any defendant to plead not guilty to a crime, and it’s really upto the prosecution to prove that they actually are the perpetrators of the crime. Let the evidence come out in court. Personally, I don’t doubt that the main accused really are guilty and culpable to the full extent. But that’s still something that should be decided by a competent court, not the media.

    Absent the publicity, could such a defense actually have had any chance in the Indian courts? If so, why?

    In most courts, no. Especially most of the high courts, where it’s quite possible that the judge/bench would just laugh it out, or even censure the advocate (I expect that to happen in this case, quite frankly). But there’s always that one misogynist on the bench.

    Absent the publicity, I think the real question to ask is whether there would have been a thorough investigation in the first place. The cops are just as likely to ask the victim to withdraw the complaint because it’s too much work (or because they know the accused, or because they themselves are the accused), as to investigate. Actually, scratch that – more likely to ask the victim to withdraw. Once it reaches court, it’s more probable that the accused gets off on a technicality, or inadmissible evidence, or whatever. The one good thing about the media coverage and publicity in this case is that it actually kept the cops and investigators on the job.

    Now, however, the wrong type of publicity could be fatal to the case – as also to the chances for any real reform.

  8. says

    @shash:

    Thanks for explaining. I am reassured by your assessment of the courts, but dismayed by that of the police. Is this almost a self-perpetuating cycle, with the crime rate being too high to properly investigate leading to low rates of conviction leading to higher crime rates? (At least to the extent that crime rate is correlated with the performance of law enforcement)

    Re. this particular case: you’re right. I have been working on the assumption that the media reports are accurate and we shouldn’t attempt conviction by media. But I am still confused as to how the defense attorney can think that his incredibly offensive public statements about the victims would help his case.

    He does not seem like a good defender, but I recognize that my knowledge of court law is limited and biased. I’m most familiar with US law, and that only by culture and by knowing a large number of lawyers. Here, if the evidence was sufficient for conviction beyond reasonable doubt, a good defense would negotiate a plea bargain and enter in a guilty plea immediately. I understand that the Indian legal system uses plea bargaining much less frequently.

    But none of this addresses the real problem of changing society so that stuff like this does not happen.

  9. shash says

    I doubt that a plea bargain would work in this case – the prosecution must be fairly confident of a conviction, since they’ve practically rejected an attempt by some of the accused to turn evidence (though, again, we’re working on assumptions from media reports). Besides, they can change their plea at any time later.

    Also, interestingly, I haven’t seen this particular report in the Indian media – here, the report is mostly about him saying that his client(s) confessed under torture, that they’re innocent, and that he’ll prove that in court. As far as I can see, he’s going to use the torture-in-police-custody story in court (which is actually probable), not the victim blaming.

    But none of this addresses the real problem of changing society so that stuff like this does not happen.

    Exactly. Saying “change society” is like saying “demolish that mountain” – you’re talking about changing the society of 1.2 billion people. Not a task that happens overnight. The only positive thing (if there can ever be anything positive about an incident like this) is that urban society is finally waking up and realising that there’s a problem. This is hardly the first such incident in the country, but the upper-middle class urban elite haven’t been as touched by it. Now, we just need to extend the movement to rural India…

  10. says

    >>Here, the report is mostly about him saying that his client(s) confessed under torture, that they’re innocent, and that he’ll prove that in court. As far as I can see, he’s going to use the torture-in-police-custody story in court (which is actually probable), not the victim blaming.<<

    Which illustrates the importance of proper police procedure being strictly followed. We don't want false convictions, and we also don't want legitimate ones to be tainted by illegalities.

    But it is good for the victim-blaming to be exposed and publicized. If nothing else, it illustrates the problem.

    And isn't the number of people involved 7 billion rather than 1.2? Other places (quite obviously including here in the US) have similar problems – just to greater and lesser degrees.

  11. shash says

    Which illustrates the importance of proper police procedure being strictly followed. We don’t want false convictions, and we also don’t want legitimate ones to be tainted by illegalities.

    But it is good for the victim-blaming to be exposed and publicized. If nothing else, it illustrates the problem.

    And isn’t the number of people involved 7 billion rather than 1.2? Other places (quite obviously including here in the US) have similar problems – just to greater and lesser degrees.

    Agreed on all points!

  12. bradleybetts says

    So respectable women don’t get raped, and therefore the victim must not have been respectable? OK, let’s just step into la-la land for a second and pretend that’s true; why does it matter? Are non-respectable women not deserving of justice? Is that his argument? I would hope that the Indian Constitution would disagree…

  13. grignon says

    Sounds to me like he’s just operating at the dogfish level of lawyering- These defendants are already screwed; might as well get some play out of it.

  14. shash says

    I would hope that the Indian Constitution would disagree…

    Yes, actually…

    Article 14: “The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”
    Article 21: “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

    It only matters because he’s trying to find something to use as a defence. Like I said, I expect him to use these dirty tricks – as long as he doesn’t cross over into coercion or bribery (kind of hard in a case where the defendants are slum-dwellers who can’t rake up the kind of cash that film star defendants can), this is good. Like I said, prosecution is good in this case, and the court will work according to the law (more so because there’s real scrutiny – not only from the media, but the upper judiciary). At best, he may obtain a reduced sentence for one of the accused, and at worst, they won’t have much of a ground for appeal.

    My fear is that they’ll be able to prove police brutality, that will make their confessions inadmissible. That may just manage to earn them a reduced sentence. Not that there isn’t enough other evidence (forensic, eyewitness, etc), but it’ll make sentencing more complicated. Worse, I fear that it’ll make reform more difficult. What we need is a professional police force that investigates crimes, but isn’t crossing the line into illegal punishment. What some of the people protesting want is for the accused to be handed over to the mob, that can then tear them to pieces. I don’t see how justice, reform, or any other goal beyond revenge is served by that.

  15. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Remember, a good defence is a prerequisite for a valid trial, and we definitely don’t want a trial to be set aside by the higher courts on the technicality that the defence wasn’t vigorous enough.

    Are you saying that it’s a defense attorneys job to knowingly and deliberately keep dangerous criminals from being accountable for their crimes? That a “vigorous defense” requires a defense attorney to blatantly victim-blame with massive doses of misogyny? This is justice?

    I’ve never been able to grasp this. You expect him to use these “dirty tricks”, and we shouldn’t be too hard on him, because being a disgusting rape-apologist misogynist is required by his job?

    This likely sounds like flame-bait, and I apologize if it does. That’s not my intent. I just genuinely don’t understand how this is supposed to constitute justice.

  16. S M says

    Why does this lawyer need to make all these public statements? His job is to argue for his clients at the trial, not on the street. Also, from his statements about ‘respected ladies’ and whatnot, he seems to not realise that what his clients did was a CRIME.

  17. shash says

    Are you saying that it’s a defense attorneys job to knowingly and deliberately keep dangerous criminals from being accountable for their crimes?

    Who says that they’re dangerous criminals? They’re accused of being dangerous criminals, not proven to be so. The lower judiciary – the magistrate’s court – will pass judgement on whether they are, for which a key component is that they are allowed to face their accuser and examine the evidence presented by the prosecutor, present contrary evidence (showing that they are innocent) if it exists, and generally explore every possible angle to the case. If that’s not done at this stage, we run into the risk of a mistrial.

    Yeah, this statement, if true, is probably a little over the top – especially if given to the media, but it’s still his job to explore every possible angle that would help his clients’ case. But it’s still part of his job description.

  18. bradleybetts says

    @Shash #15

    “What some of the people protesting want is for the accused to be handed over to the mob, that can then tear them to pieces. I don’t see how justice, reform, or any other goal beyond revenge is served by that.”

    Well obviously it doesn’t, what we’re asking for here is real justice, not mob rule. Quite frankly if these men are not convicted then that would be a rather damning indictment of the Indian legal system.

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