Using “Angela” as a means to an end is not just

1 Dec

At Melinda Tankard Reist’s website she comments thus: Today I am thinking about a 15-year-old Tasmanian girl and what she thinks of the Australian justice system. I’m wondering if she is questioning if it was worth taking her harrowing ordeal to the courts to find no justice at the end of the process.

Tankard Reist then goes on to re-publish the article by Professor Caroline Taylor  in which she calls for the prosecution of some 120 men who allegedly paid for sex with the allegedly eighteen-year-old “Angela.”

There appears to be no awareness of the contradictory nature of these two posts. Tankard Reist admits the harrowing ordeal of subjecting “Angela” to a court process that results in “no justice,” yet she supports and re-iterates Taylor’s demands that “Angela” be subjected to 120 more such experiences because it’s in the public interest.

As well, both women believe the Tasmanian DPP ought not to be permitted to decide “behind closed doors” that there isn’t sufficient evidence against the men to make a case that has a reasonable chance of attaining justice. Rather they believe the 120 men ought to be brought to court, where a jury can make that decision in clear sight.

In order for this to occur, both women are apparently willing to subject “Angela” to 120 more harrowing experiences, every one with little potential for offering her justice.

This makes no sense. It sounds like the kind of blind, vengeful fury that inevitably destroys everything in its path. In this case blind fury is willing to sacrifice “Angela” to attain it’s own ends, those ends being the humiliation of 120 men. That there will be anything more than humiliation for the men is unlikely. However, for “Angela” there will be years and years of  unrelenting “harrowing ordeals” and no justice at the end of it.

The fact that “Angela” has refused this fate is apparently irrelevant to these enraged seekers of “justice.” In their worldview, society is entitled to demand that “Angela” satisfy it’s need for retribution, no matter that she’s suffered unspeakably, and doesn’t want to fulfil society’s needs.

Do they really believe that there can be any justice for “Angela” in a system that will do little more than temporarily humiliate her abusers? Do they really believe the suffering she will endure throughout the process will be adequately compensated by seeing the men named and temporarily shamed?

Tankard Reist and Taylor are ready and willing to turn “Angela” into a means to their end. A human being is not a means to another’s end, no matter how righteous that end might seem.  To treat her as such is to dehumanize her. It is appalling that people dedicated to advocating for women and children are apparently more than willing to use “Angela” to further their own personal agendas, and in the process, deny her voice, and her humanity.

29 Responses to “Using “Angela” as a means to an end is not just”

  1. Paul December 1, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    The responsibility lies with the adult perpetrators at law while the parent/guardian of the juvenile victim seems to escape scrutiny.


  2. Tiga Bu December 1, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    “The fact that “Angela” has refused this fate is apparently irrelevant to these enraged seekers of “justice.” In their worldview, society is entitled to demand that “Angela” satisfy it’s need for retribution, no matter that she’s suffered unspeakably, and doesn’t want to fulfill society’s needs.”

    Jennifer, while I agree with you on the rights of “Angela”, I am yet to see where she has actually said she did not want to testify. The only ‘evidence’ I have seen of her denial is this, from the original DPP precis in the Mercury (source: :

    “I spoke to the complainant’s father on 24 August 2010. I discussed with him the possibility of the complainant giving evidence and outlined some of the problems the prosecution faced. He stated that this would be very traumatic for her and he doubted whether she would wish to give evidence. He told me he would discuss it with her and get back to me. I telephoned him on 13 September 2010 and he stated neither he nor the complainant wish her to give evidence in these cases.”

    Now, not to nit-pick, but the father said that neither he nor “Angela” wish her to give evidence. His say-so, not her explicit refusal. She testified in court (remotely) against her mother and Devine, but we only have here her father’s refusal and say-so that she has refused to give further evidence or to submit to further trial…

    @Paul – I’m unsure whether you are aware that both “Angela’s” mother and the ‘pimp’, Devine, received custodial sentences for their involvement in the carrying out of this crime. I don’t see how this is an ‘escape of scrutiny’, unless I have missed your point…


    • Jennifer Wilson December 1, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Do you mean we shouldn’t accept “Angela’s” father ‘s statement that his daughter doesn’t want to testify?


      • Tiga Bu December 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

        In a nutshell. It would remove all doubt, and if there has been any collusion on the father’s part to avoid further ‘doubts’ that he might have when speaking on behalf of his daughter. If the court required her to enter the testimony herself in the earlier cases, why is now deemed that her father is a suitable person to speak for her in the latter case.

        We’ve all, so far, based our arguments and points-of-view on “Angela’s” refusal. It wasn’t from her, it was from her father.

        Can we be certain that she isn’t being manipulated in another direction? Is it possible that the father has decided he does not want further embarrassment, and has made the decision for her?

        I don’t want her to go through 120+ cases, and I still believe it is possible for her to give evidence against these men. I doubt though that she would even recognise the majority of them, so the point is moot.

        I just don’t like the fact that on the one hand we have a case of her testifying, willingly and of her own accord, yet when the decision that is made to not follow up on the 120+ men is based on a third party (albeit, her father, and where was he when all of this was running its course) saying that she doesn’t want to proceed any further… Well, I find the anomaly quite breathtaking.

        If I were the DPP, which again is a moot point, I would like to be 100% certain that this was her refusal, and not someone else wanting to avoid further issues – too many inconsistencies in this whole affair for me, which is why the case should have been more transparent.

        Yes, I have children. Yes, I believe that if my children decided not to testify, then I would agree to their wishes. The difference here is, I would ask them to express that wish themselves, and for the words to come from them, not me.


  3. Sam Jandwich December 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    This really is one of the most extraordinary and tragic news stories I have heard for a long time. I can certainly understand the depth of feeling surrounding it and I think it’s important to be respectful of everyone’s need to express their views. In a sense I can say that I am glad that this has been played out in such a public way. Of the many cases of paedophilia convictions that we read about, the emphasis is always on the “disgusting, perverted” perpetrators and the desire for them to be shamed and punished, but the interests of the kids involved rarely gets acknowledged in such an overt way – but for me, that’s progress. And of course I qualify this by saying that we don’t actually know what “Angela” makes of it all, and perhaps you could say that nobody, herself included, will know this for many years to come.

    I’m trying to take this as an opportunity to look for lessons as to how such situations can be averted, or perhaps better-handled in the future. I don’t think the authorities have handled this as well as they perhaps could have given that it was obvious the public interest in the case would be so huge. They could have been more transparent about exactly what evidence exists for example. I’m pretty sure their hands would have been tied far tighter than they would have liked, and I can imagine that the impetus for an internal review would be pretty strong as a consequence. But I have to say I see no reason for thinking things could have been different. If my understanding is correct, one of the main reasons for creating a justice system based on proof is to prevent the lynch mob from taking their brutal revenge. But hopefully, existing systems can learn from this particular case, and improve their ability to deal with similar situations in the future.

    It does seem odd to me that anyone can come along and advertise sexual services to the public just by placing an ad in a major newspaper (and to this oh-so-innocent mind it seems amazing that any sex worker could see 120 separate clients, some numerous times, over the course of few months, simply though placing a little ad in a little newspaper. Who are these men? Do I know any of them? What do they do with the rest of their lives?). You would think there could be some sort of accreditation required before being permitted to advertise sexual services… but then this implies that we would need to be a lot more fearless about ensuring the sex industry was allowed to function in a completely open and legitimate way. I think one of the dangers of the approach taken by MTR et al is that suppressing this stuff will just force it underground. After all, most organised child sexual abuse happens within very tightly controlled circumstances, and it takes sophisticated, intensive collaboration amongst the world’s police forces to identify it. I’m pretty sure it would just get worse if we pretended it didn’t happen.

    Finally I think this issue really does raise some serious questions about the position of teenage girls vis-à-vis those members of society who are sexually attracted to them. A good point made in a paper by Abigail Bray that I read recently, was that “if the statistics on the prevalence of child sexual abuse are to be believed, paedophilia is much more than a marginal sexual preference”. Is it a “legitimate” sexual preference, like most other sexual preferences, I say on the day that for the first time an Australian state has allowed civil unions for homosexual couples? Normally the reason paedophilia is considered a “deviant perversion” is that the object of desire is incapable of “consent”, and inevitably damaged, and so in this sense it is always rape no matter how you look at it. But are paedophiles aware of this, or is their lack of awareness/denial a pathological “mitigating circumstance”? If it is really that common, what does that mean for the people who feel it? A lifetime of frustration? A system of early intervention rehab to “cure” them? I just think this whole case and the reaction to it is somewhat tinged by the unenunciated understanding that there are existing cultural codes surrounding paedophilia that we are mostly prepared to accept as inevitable.

    Alright, promise that’s it for me!


  4. Beste December 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    Great interview with Tim Ellis DDP.

    “To keep her[Angela] going just to satisfy a blood lust lynch mob mentality that’s being stirred up by people with certain agendas, I don’t think is in the public interest.”


  5. Beste December 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    From Collective Shouts facebook group

    On the Terry Martin case

    Collective Shout: “Hi all, we are investigating how we might approach this now. Justice has not been done. We will update you again asap.”

    This advocacy group is getting a little arrogant.


    • Jennifer Wilson December 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

      They just don’t give a stuff about ‘Angela’ do they? Nice one Collective Clowns


    • Jennifer Wilson December 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

      Beste, I don’t do Facebook so would really appreciate it if you could tell me when you spot anything interesting from this crowd. Thanks 🙂


  6. Vs December 1, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    For how long was dear soul ‘Angela’ being paid for sex, and how many men per day? I don’t know the case but this doesn’t sound right. My guess is it’s a lot more than 120 men. Five each day with days off (sorry, to say this but the point is below) would have meant one month only. Did she ‘work’ for longer? Would there have been more men per day?

    The reason why that figure should be questioned is that in a public case such as this, the real figure may well be too alarming for the public to accept. And the real figure may not be believable by the public, creating perhaps all sorts of problems with the case and further cases. (From a prosecution perspective).

    The 120 seems arbitrary, prosecuted in the court of public opinion as high enough to message the horror, that message being necessary and factual enough.

    The real figure might be horrifically worse.. much much worse. It’s difficult to imagine ‘Angela’s’ personal situation with the case as stated (120). It is worth a moment to reflect on what she might be going through privately at the publicly stated 120 – if the number is horrifically worse and she knows the true number is beyond any public comprehension, that singular happenstance alone is unimaginably traumatic. Just knowing the public are so far distant from her, regardless of anything else, that is, for her, must surely threaten to break her.

    Let alone what she actually went through, should the real number be publicly uncomprehendingly higher.

    Let alone, for her, privately, having to revisit one more ‘man’, in this.

    I haven’t expressed this well – it’s not easy. I guess, if without being presumptuous you put yourself in her shoes and imagine the real number might be horrendously higher than 120, such that that number of 120, you know (being in her shoes) is the maximum the public can handle, is unrepresentatively, disconnectedly, irrelevently, hurtfully (to you) low.

    And then follow through, from within dear ‘Angela’s’ shoes as best you can, with what these two women mentioned at the top of the post want.


    • Tiga Bu December 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

      I am incapable of walking in dear “Angela’s” shoes – I’m a man after all…

      Be it one, one hundred or one thousand, the crime is no less reprehensible. To say that I can not or do not comprehend her situation is for you to know me and the circumstances that have shaped my life. You know nothing of either.

      I do not wish for “Angela” to suffer any further trial, which is what I stated above, and insist that where men have confessed to have engaged in intercourse with her, that the same deliberations be applied to them as has been applied by Justice Porter in the Martin case, but in a court of law in front of a jury of their peers.


  7. gerard oosterman December 1, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    While the sex with a twelve year is abhorrent and wrong, paid for or not. Here is something I gleaned from an article that deals with consensual sex of minors in The Netherlands.

    1. Has no sodomy laws, the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, sex between an adult and a young person between the ages of 12 and 16 is permitted by law, as long as the young person consents. It may only be prosecuted by complaint from the young person or the young person’s parents. The question remains whether the public prosecutions department would proceed to prosecute if the young person themself had consented and their parents filed the complaint.

    I noticed in the interview on the ABC News with the DPP, that many of the men charged with the offence of sex with someone underage, took the girl to be much older. This was also one of the reasons that the DPP did not proceed.

    What is the case in Australia? Is sex permitted between those below (or above) the AOC, if the sex is consensual?


    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 7:00 am #

      No, it’s a crime to engage in sexual acts with an underage person in Australia.


  8. gerard oosterman December 2, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    So, all those teen agers below the age of 16 and having consensual sex are committing a crime in Australia, and the police can chase them all into a court?
    May I point out that the AOC is also 16 in the Netherlands, however, while it is technically against the law, (as is marijuana) a practical approach is used by the Dutch police to not prosecute if sex is consensual and there are no complaints by either the consensual sex person or the parents.
    There would be very few at 16 that haven’t had sex, would there, or are they all eating apples in Australia?


    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 8:10 am #

      No they certainly aren’t all just eating apples but they may be eating apples as well!
      Yes, that’s right, they can be charged if they have underage sex – just as they can be charged with child pornography offenses if they send explicit photos of one another via their mobile phones.


  9. gerard oosterman December 2, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    So, when a teenager below the age of sixteen is pregnant,( a sure proof of underage sex) the police turn up at the hospital to lay criminal charges against her and the boyfriend? ( if he is below 16 as well). Gee, the police would be busy in Australia seeing the rates of teen pregnancies is one of the highest in the OECD.


    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Well they exercise the same kind of common sense as do the Dutch police and only take action if a complaint is made.


      • Sam Jandwich December 2, 2011 at 11:12 am #

        I think the laws differ for each state… but my understanding, which as you know is usually based as much on urban mythology as it is on fact, is that in most states the “blanket” legal age of consent is 16, but that anyone aged 12 and over can consent as long as the person they are having sex with is no more than two years older than they are.


  10. Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    The law in Tasmania (as part of the Criminal Code Act 1924) is clear and too my knowledge, no such mutual agreement applies to those under the AOC:

    335. Rape

    Upon an indictment for rape the accused person may be convicted of –

    (a) sexual intercourse with a young person under 17 years of age;

    (b) sexual intercourse with a person with a mental impairment;

    (c) . . . . . . . .

    (d) aggravated sexual assault;

    (e) incest;

    (f) indecent assault; or

    (g) assault.

    336. Sexual intercourse with young person

    Upon the indictment of sexual intercourse with a young person under 17 years of age, the accused person may be convicted of –

    (a) sexual intercourse with a person with a mental impairment;

    (b) . . . . . . . .

    (c) indecent assault;

    (d) assault; or

    (e) aggravated sexual assault.

    337B. Maintaining sexual relationship with young person

    (1) Subject to subsection (2), upon an indictment for maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under the age of 17 years the accused person may be convicted of one or more of the following crimes:

    (a) . . . . . . . .

    (b) . . . . . . . .

    (c) sexual intercourse with a young person under the age of 17 years;

    (d) sexual intercourse with a person with a mental impairment;

    (e) . . . . . . . .

    (f) indecent assault;

    (g) aggravated sexual assault;

    (h) incest;

    (i) rape.

    (2) The accused person may only be convicted of a crime specified in subsection (1) if the trial judge is satisfied on the evidence adduced at trial that the accused person was capable of being tried on indictment for that crime.


  11. Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    No, I tell a lie:

    124. Sexual intercourse with young person

    (1) Any person who has unlawful sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 17 years is guilty of a crime.


    Sexual intercourse with a young person under the age of 17 years.

    (2) It is a defence to a charge under this section to prove that the accused person believed on reasonable grounds that the other person was of or above the age of 17 years.

    (3) The consent of a person against whom a crime is alleged to have been committed under this section is a defence to such a charge only where, at the time the crime was alleged to have been committed –

    (a) that person was of or above the age of 15 years and the accused person was not more than 5 years older than that person; or

    (b) that person was of or above the age of 12 years and the accused person was not more than 3 years older than that person.

    (4) This section is to be taken to be in force from 4 April 1924.

    (5) Subsection (3) is not a defence to a charge under this section in the case of anal sexual intercourse.

    (6) Nothing in subsection (4) impugns or otherwise affects the lawfulness of a conviction arising from conduct that occurred before the commencement of the Criminal Code Amendment (Sexual Offences) Act 1987.


  12. Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    To throw another complete whammy into this discussion, and forgive me if you think it should be back in the other thread, but can I run this scenario past you…

    I drive to a house to go to a party.
    The house is darkened for the mood of the party.
    I get invited in by a young person who I’ve never met before.
    I get handed an alcoholic drink by the young person who has engaged me in conversation.
    I meet other people in the house who are there for the party.
    We all talk and consume alcohol throughout the course of the evening.
    I decide to leave the party, and feeling fine and able to drive (I only had like six beers or something…), I get into my car and drive.
    En route to my house, I am pulled over for a RBT, and I blow over the .05 limit.
    When question I say in my defence, “It was dark, I couldn’t verify the alcohol % on the label because I couldn’t see it, I only had 6 (I think), I have no idea what it was (a beer of some kind). I thought I was under the limit, I thought I was safe to dirve, I did not set out to intentionally drink/drive, I didn’t intentionally set out to commit a crime, etc…”

    Do you reckon they’ll let me off…


    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      Well, no, they won’t let you off. I’m guessing you’re running this as a comment on Martin’s prescribed drug defense? It doesn’t really work, because drinking is a choice made in full knowledge of possible consequences, while Martin was prescribed the drug for Parkinson’s by his doctor, without any knowledge of its alleged side effects. That’s my lay person’s understanding, anybody got legal knowledge on this matter?


      • Tiga Bu December 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

        No, I’m running this comment as to why did the others who did not have Martin’s drug-addled excuse, yet confessed to the same crime, were allowed to walk away. If the other men, in full knowledge of what they were doing, believing they had done nothing wrong, and admitting culpability were then told they had committed a crime, despite the circumstances, why have they not been charged?

        Did they enter in to this without knowledge of the full consequences? If Martin was told by Justice Porter ‘he ought have known’, then it seems reasonable that they ought have known her true age (the legal limit) and surely they can’t have lesser capacity for reasoning?


        • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

          My piece is up on On Line Opinion today – there may be comments there as well.


        • Jennifer Wilson December 3, 2011 at 7:14 am #

          The Martin case was different because he took photographs I think, and he also paid for “Angela” to go to his house, so there was extended contact. In the DPPs Memorandum there’s some explanation of how some of the men were dealt with by the police and this has a bearing on his decision as well.


  13. Beste December 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Well it didn’t take long for one of Melindas fans to make an “even she WAS 18 he is still a vile pig” type comment.

    “”The tragedy that this girl & others are failed by the adults in their lives disgusts & enrages me. There are too many of these vile, revolting pigs, (& I will not be diplomatic here), who are sick, & research has shown they cannot be rehabi…litated. Even IF he/they couldn’t tell she was 12, this is in itself raises alarm bells to me, as it would seem they are so used to being with young girls, maybe they can’t recognize an older female. And really, do others feel as I do, that even if she WAS 18, it is still disgusting for a man of 52(?) to be seeking sex with someone that young? It makes my skin crawl to think what this dear child endured. I also wonder what happened to the woman that gave birth to her? She should be in jail too. No level of poverty or desperation could be an excuse for selling your child in this era. # It may not be of any comfort or help to her now, but I wish the thoughts & caring we feel for this girl could somehow give her some hope & peace.””

    Funny how this fan is also unaware that her mother was jailed for 10 years. Maybe that’s because Melinda is little too focused on the cilents rather than the real perps who are already in jail.


    • Jennifer Wilson December 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      Well that sounds like a pretty typical comment from a MTR groupie. Ill-informed and full of rage. Vile pigs, sad tossers, I don’t know, but none of that helps the situation or does anything to prevent it happening again.

      I wonder a lot about “Angela.” She’s with her father now and it sounds as if her family have rallied round and are taking care of her. I hope so.


  14. gerard oosterman December 3, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Don’t start stirring MTR into howling or uncontrolled sobbing with rage. It seems that there has been a spate of sexual encounters( attacks-rapes) by females, almost like an epidemic, as well.

    Those poor boys, often as young as 18, runed for life. Oral sex and all. The female teachers jailed for ten, twelve years. Good riddance, traumatizing young boys and sometimes even girls for life. Terrible, the horror-the horror.
    Hang on, mustn’t slip into hypocrisy. It would have been my dream come true. So much better than the cold embrace of a double decker bus (sorry Jennifer)


    • Jennifer Wilson December 4, 2011 at 6:54 am #

      I sometimes think you are an unreconstructed male, Gerard, but it doesn’t matter you’re fabulous anyway. 🙂


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