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‘Arrogant and led by his ego’: Feminist campaigner slams The Secret Barrister over John Worboys article

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Star law blogger defends position, amid strong support from legal profession

A feminist campaigner who slammed The Secret Barrister on Twitter has told Legal Cheek the anonymous blogger is “arrogant, apolitical, and appears to be led by his ego as opposed to a thirst for change for the better” following a massive online row sparked by a blog post about serial sex offender John Worboys (pictured above).

Since bursting on the scene three years ago, The Secret Barrister has generated a huge following of lawyers and non-lawyers alike, garnering effusive praise and snaring the prestigious ‘Independent Blogger of the Year’ gong at the Comment Awards two years in a row. Despite his considerable success, he has attracted remarkably little sniping — a reflection of how on the money his writing tends to be.

But the love-in came to a dramatic end this weekend, when Julie Bindel, a journalist and feminist campaigner on sexual violence, called The Secret Barrister “an arrogant cocking crashing bore” on her very popular social media account.

The remark came in response to a piece written by the anonymous criminal barrister and blogger about the release of serial sex offender John Worboys. Former taxi driver Worboys, described by the press as “one of Britain’s most prolific rapists”, is believed to have drugged and attacked hundreds of female passengers, yet served just nine years in prison.

In his article, The Secret Barrister encourages readers to “peek behind the headline” and realise the events leading up to Worboy’s release are “complicated”. He adds:

“One presumes that there will have been highly persuasive evidence and strong recommendations by Worboys’ offender managers to convince the usually risk-averse parole board to direct his release, and there will be stringent restrictions on his movements with the threat of an immediate return to custody hanging over him at all times, but as to the details we are largely, and regrettably, in the dark.”

Bindel, again on Twitter, took issue with the tone of the article, comparing it to an earlier piece by The Secret Barrister on the Ched Evans case. The Secret Barrister has written a number of articles about Evans — the footballer who served two-and-a-half years in prison for rape before his conviction was quashed — including one called: ‘Why the Ched Evans verdict does not set a dangerous precedent’.

Standing by and expanding on her tweets, Bindel has told Legal Cheek she thinks a “calm down dear” tone runs through the Worboys and the Evans pieces “like a stick of Blackpool rock”.

She takes particular issue with a line in the piece which she claims has since been amended. The line, she says, once read that Worboys had “only” twelve complainants. “What does that tell you?” she asks. The Secret Barrister accepts he has made this change, but stressed the word “only” was not in any way intended to minimise the seriousness of the offending. Bindel adds:

“The ridiculous notion that the parole board and the probation service will effectively manage any risk on his release reminds me of the many tragedies that have occurred when dangerous men have been released in this manner and have tracked down either their previous victim, or targeted new ones.

”

Bindel, who thinks it’s “likely” she knows more about sexual violence and the law than The Secret Barrister does, continued her barrister-directed attack by saying:

“
The defence of the status quo is so hardwired into the male legal profession, that it makes me appreciate radical lawyers all the more. The idea that lawyers merely have to abide by the law as opposed to fight to change it shows an attitude of complacency, laziness, and lack of political drive… The Secret Barrister is arrogant, apolitical, and appears to be led by his ego as opposed to a thirst for change for the better.”

In true legal blogosphere form, The Secret Barrister’s blogging pals were on hand to defend him. Family law barrister Lucy Reed, who writes at Pink Tape, said:

While Jaime Hamilton, from A view from the North, went with:

When contacted by Legal Cheek, The Secret Barrister defended his Worboys article as “a neutral legal explainer”, and called Bindel’s interpretation of it “wholly unsupported by the text (for example accusing me of using words, such as ‘hysterical’, which I have not used and would not use)”. The comment continues:

“I am, as ever, more than happy to discuss this directly with Julie Bindel, but she has blocked me on Twitter so that I cannot respond to her criticisms, nor to the ad hominem attacks that she is posting about me to her followers.”

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44 Comments

Trumpenkrieg

Hoist by his own petard.

(6)(30)

Real Feminist

Julie Bindel is so aggressively anti-male that the same treatment targeted at a [insert minority Middle Eastern religion here!] journalist would lead to clear charges of racism. Why doesn’t anyone ever call out sexism when any idiot goes beyond the “each gender is equal” line of real feminists?

(2)(1)

TFG

Yeah, like you’ll be signing up to join any feminist clubs anytime soon..

Fact of the matter is the subject matter is highly emotive and lawyers are conditioned to be dispassionate and objective (they wouldn’t survive, let alone thrive, in the profession if they weren’t).

However, a lot of people (like Bindel) just fly off on their base instincts. Result = clash of this nature. Hence why you also have an issue with him – you and Bindel certainly make strange bedfellows though (which I’m sure she would construe as an appallingly sexist comment as I have used the word “bed” *sigh*), that’s for sure and all..

Can’t find much fault with The Secret Barrister to be honest. That shouldn’t surprise you though obvs

(0)(0)

A barrister

Not really. Nothing in this article explains what Bindel objects to. It’s not clear that she has explained this either. Expressing her personal dislike for The Secret Barrister isn’t newsworthy and doesn’t move the debate on.

(40)(1)

Anonymous

Why do you refer to SB as ‘he’? Has s/he ever confirmed his/her gender?

(34)(1)

Lady J

All SB needed to do was show some empathy. The law doesn’t exist in a vacuum. He/she also failed, in the article, to address the disastrous police investigations that led to the low number of convictions. That outrage is real and understandable. That’s what many women found so patronising and disappointing. It’s not the first time – Ched Evans, the recent #MeToo piece for Counsel magazine. I could go on and on.

(13)(29)

Trumpenkrieg

The real cause of low number of convictions is not “disastrous police investigations”. The police as a corporate body is infected with Feminists and Marxists, especially on the training and leadership side, so if anything, police investigations are zealously anti-defendant and pro-victim, even to the extent that police officers will trample on defence rights to disclosure in order to obtain convictions. The real cause of the low conviction rate is the high rate of false allegations (post-one night stand retroactive withdrawal of consent, post-uni hookup turns into rape after encounter with feminist extremist rape counsellor on campus, false allegation predicated on the need to secure the upper hand in family proceedings, simple and straightforward attention-seeking, etc ad nauseam) coupled with the inherent wisdom of juries in being able to suss out those false allegations and return a verdict of not guilty.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Bloody Ched Evans – how dare he be cleared of wrong doing!

(1)(1)

Anonymous

“He” has, from time to time, stated that she is a woman

(12)(0)

Anonymous

I recall that one of his blogs he wrote about being called babyface and deciding to grow a moustache. He’s probably therefore male.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I don’t know, I’ve come across some lawyers in my time that identify as female yet still have a penchant for facial hair!

(1)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

He made a name as a ball-achingly PC commentator (albeit with a strong commitment to fair trial rights) and now he is being hung out to dry by other ball-achingly PC commentators.

Hence, hoist by his own petard.

They always turn on each other.

(12)(33)

Benny Goodman

I prefer to divide the world into reasonable vs. unreasonable people.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I find the ‘insult’ of the TSB’s being apolitical rather curious. In matters of law, especially criminal law, being able to bring to bear an apolitical mind to a question is a great asset. It’s also very useful in life generally.

It strikes me as similar to the form of language that the very religious use: ‘godless’ is an insult in the minds of fervent believers but a matter of fact to atheists, for example.

(28)(2)

Lad on the lash in Magaluf and loving it

I had assumed from the odd use of the word and the fact that Julie Bindel is an idiot that she meant to say ‘amoral’.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

Katie must be really conflicted when she wrote this article

(8)(2)

Anonymous

those juicy (non existent) lips thou

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I don’t read the Secret Barrister regularly and have no skin in this game, but I think Bindel’s on the money this time.

The article opens with a straw man argument — the idea that outrage at this decision comes from the fact it is thought that this man assaulted more women than he was convicted of having assaulted. This is unsubstantiated and doesn’t accord with any of the reporting of this that I have seen (admittedly I don’t read DM/Sun etc). Everything I have read about this has correctly reported the convictions and made an appropriate distinction between these and the possibility that he may have committed further offences.

In short, you don’t have to think that Worboys should be punished for crimes for which he has not been convicted in order to take issue with the decision of the parole board, and plenty of intelligent commentators have criticised with a full understanding of what exactly he has been convicted for.

The idea that criticisms stem mainly from a lack of understanding of the idea that you can only be sentenced for crimes of which you have been convicted is bizarre and, yes, patronising. There was a barrister from Matrix Chambers (I think) on Newsnight last night criticising the decision, for example — clearly she was not making the distinction the Secret Barrister assumes everyone who is outraged by this is.

I am sure there is a debate to be had over this decision, but a patient explanation of the fact that he can’t be punished for crimes he hasn’t been convicted of is deeply unhelpful and tone deaf. Bindel is correct to identify that it plays into a wider narrative of women ‘hysterically’ misunderstanding what is going on – whether or not this was the conscious or unconscious intention of the piece.

(18)(22)

Sleepy lawyer

I, frankly, find it astonishing you’d say none of the media commentary you read was about the 200 Victims so widely reported. I’m yet to read an article that didn’t mention hundreds of victims or this figure. It strikes me as disingenuous to be honest.

Every major paper that I saw the story on was running a piece on how a serial rapist was being released, despite him only having one conviction. Papers have (I believe deliberately) mislead people as to the number of convictions to promote public hysteria and attack early release and parole generally, and I think had it not be a sex crime their would be more support for that argument.

I don’t think it’s really fair to say it’s a promoting the idea of hysterical women to call out the baiting of public opinion, especially with misinformation.

Having said all that, I would add that the parole board decision is, on the face of it, remarkable and completely mad. The idea he does not pose a threat to women,(even with that one rape conviction he has several others for sexual assault which landed him with the public protection sentence to start with) is obviously wrong.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

As I said in my comment, I agree the hundreds of potential victims line was widely reported, but I didn’t read anything that didn’t make a clear distinction between this and the number of women he was convicted of having assaulted.

“Every major paper that I saw the story on was running a piece on how a serial rapist was being released, despite him only having one conviction.”

I’m wondering if you haven’t understood properly: you realise he has in fact been convicted of serial rape?

(0)(4)

Sleepy Lawyer

He was convicted of one count of rape contrary to section 60 of the sexual offences act and a series of sexual assault. There is no crime called serial rape in England and Wales.

Also, I’ll please tell which papers you read? I’d like to see them? As I said, I didn’t see any papers but I’m happy to be directed to one.

Lastly, that was a well chosen truncation of what I said. I mention it was one count of rape and a series of sexual assaults (I believe it as 14, but I’m less sure of that).

(3)(0)

Sleepy Lawyer

Sorry should read “also, please” not “also, I’ll please”. Aplosgies for that.

(0)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

I led the “Justice for Ched Evans” campaign online for a while, my view is valid, man hating Mizz Bindel’s is not. Oh check out her links to the far from anonymous “Jean Hatchet”.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

Look, while Shed was in jail, he wasn’t causing agony and suffering to any supporters of whatever football club he would have been “playing” for (quotes because I use the term in its loosest possible fashion). There is that..

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Typical jumped up over sensitive feminist. The feminist mantra-no proof pertaining to their assertions just childish name calling; whose arguments summed up as spoke back to me and because my pathetically superficial ideology lacks the basis for me to defend my position I will resort to name calling i.e you’re misogynist, condescending, or sexist or egotistical.

Modern feminism is predicated on hysteria. It’s precepts are premised on the baseless assumption that assumes that men are predisposed predtory behavior and only men commit sexual assault. This ignores the occurance of such activity in same sex relationships and by women. This is severely underreported. Bindel has not provided any credible proof that undermines the intellectual integrity of SB’s article just pedantic name calling.

Moreover, Bindel’s anxiety seems to be attributable to a noxious strain of feminism that is antithetical to the values of our legal system such as proportionate justice.

Despite being cleared by those qualified to assess danger posed by the driver. Bindel and her hysterical feminist nutters don’t believe in the legal systems capacity to reform. Instead they promote a brutish and non constructive form of justice based on irrational fear and perpetual retribution.

(15)(6)

Anonymous

Well said.

I hadn’t heard of this Ms. Bindel until very recently, so I did a quick ‘Google’ and discovered the ramblings of, in my view, quite a confused and angry individual.

It seems that to her that Hell is men – apologies to Sartre.

(She also does not think much of a woman who shares a bed with a man)

The attitude of Ms. Bindel exemplifies the reason why we need calm, educated and rational men and women to deal with issues of law – to both draft and implement

P.S. I am not a lawyer.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

It would be equitable to disempowered women to change the burden of proof in sex cases so that the onus is on the man to prove he is not guilty, because women don’t just accuse people of rape for nothing.

What is controversial or hysterical about that?

(1)(1)

Define equitable

Well, the pathetically naive assumption that all women never lie or only men are capable of lying to further a vendetta or some other cynical cause.

The whole point of innocent until proven guilty is that the accused should be convicted only on the basis of credible evidence alone, not prejudice, or a vindictive accusation.

Why should we abandon a key principle that is essential to preserving fairness in our legal system because of gender? I thought feminists were against sexism?

Are you so blinkered by naive gender biases that you cannot see that this is a slippery slope?

The fact that you believe ignoring principles which promote objectivity and fairness is equitable highlights the capacity of modern feminism to undermine rational thought processes, in favour of irrational identity politics.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

I think Anon’s suggestion that reversing the presumption of innocence would be uncontroversial is a wind up.

Nobody could be that stupid.

(0)(0)

Another Anon

I don’t subscribe to the idea that it was a wind up. I think many people are more than capable of being that stupid to be honest. Look at Brexit – that’s all the evidence anyone needs 🙁

(0)(0)

Private Solicitor

One blogger, without any sense of irony, slagging off another for having a big ego!

(6)(0)

Just Anonymous

Julie Bindel: “The idea that lawyers merely have to abide by the law as opposed to fight to change it shows an attitude of complacency, laziness, and lack of political drive”

Oh Lord…

Lawyers are not politicians. Our job is to uphold and apply the law. Our personal opinions about the law are irrelevant. Sometimes, we may fight a case that actively involves trying to change the law (extreme example – the assisted dying challenges) but if we do, that is only because we are instructed to do so by our clients.

The very point of lawyers is to have cases argued by individuals who have no emotional connection to the outcome – so they can present the best arguments objectively without getting sidetracked by their own personal prejudices.

Bindel’s shoddy reasoning here is characteristic of her attack as a whole, which I found to be irrational, emotional, and totally devoid of sensible argument.

By contrast, I found the Secret Barrister’s analysis to be logical, reasonable and entirely sensible.

(43)(2)

Sleepy lawyer

Careful now-your comments on emotional etc are getting awfully close to the hysteria pushing she accused the SB of.

(2)(8)

Anonymous

I just find it incredibly strange the tone Mrs Bindel applies when talking about women- “hysterical”, “if only women could be more logical”, “silly”-as if they are direct quotes from the anything but inflammatory Secret Barrister. Very strange indeed.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Silly old moo

(0)(1)

Anonymous

God knows what she thinks of St Jerry of Hayes for his actions in a recent case

(1)(0)

simonocerous

Why do people insist on calling Bindel a journalist? The proper term for what she does is an opinion columnist.

(4)(0)

Julie Bindel

Possibly because I am a journalist? I travel the world conducting major investigations into unsolved crimes, and other important issues. I was the very first national journalist to report on the grooming cases in northern England, and have also broken other stories of public interest. I have gone undercover to expose Christian fundamentalist gay conversion therapy practices, and other such atrocities. Does that answer your question okay?

(0)(9)

FemBar

Why block @SecretBarrister so no discussion can be had?

Cowardly.

(7)(0)

Julie Bindel

Actually, this secret barrister blocked me first. Then for some reason unblocked me. Probably so he could pretend he never had. The reason I blocked it was because he was encouraging a pile-on by his groupies. It was really irritating me to get all of those @s

(0)(6)

Anonymous

I know for a fact it’s a woman by the way. 100%

(0)(0)

FemBar

Interesting also you should single out Christians on the gay conversion therapy but not mention the religion of those organising the grooming rings in Northern England.

More PC cowardice?

(6)(0)

Scep Tick

Looks to me like it is Mx Bindel who is the arrogant one here. TSB patiently explaining why the Parole Board might have released Worboys and rightly lamenting that everything is behind closed doors. Bindel accusing someone WHO IS ANONYMOUS of inflating their ego rather than informing.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

I would like to add that my understanding is that the head of the parole board has been called in by the relevant mp or organisation to justify why he made the decision for early release

The decision appears to the relevant regulator or mp to have been perverse.

If sb did not mention that, his article is either of poor quality or it has been overtaken by events.

If jb is correct that sb blocked her First, yet he does not mention it, that is disengenous.

(0)(0)

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