Virtual Reality

“The intentions behind this are often benign, aiming to encourage more genuine victims of rape and sexual abuse to come forward without fear of confronting their abusers in court, but it is achieved by gravely eroding or eliminating the traditional legal safeguards, such as the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive, judicial independence and objectivity, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right to due process, the right to be tried in public, the right to confront one’s accusers, the right to equality of arms, the right to consult an expert of one’s choice, and even the right to communicate in confidence with one’s own lawyers.

The result may be fewer perpetrators escaping justice, but there is also a huge rise in the number of false allegations and a commensurate fall in the ability of the innocent to defend themselves. The presumption of innocence, the fundamental rock upon which the criminal law is founded, is stood on its head; the onus on the complainant to provide sufficient evidence to prove the accused guilty is inverted.”


In Moscow, a woman called the police, claiming she had been raped by a Pokémon character.[1]  For the uninitiated, these are imaginary cartoon figures in a children’s virtual reality game played on smart-phones.  She said that it had entered her bedroom at night and raped her in her sleep; when she woke, she found the huge character lying on top of her.  She jumped out of bed and it disappeared.

He husband didn’t believe her and said she needed to seek psychiatric help.  Her friend, Ivan Makarov, however, said that there were too many of these characters in her home and that her dog could sense them.  The woman booked an appointment with a psychiatrist.

Now, imagine that the woman had accused, not an imaginary cartoon character, but her husband of rape.  Imagine that her equally nutty friend, Ivan, had confirmed the allegation.  Imagine that the allegation was…

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