Rape ruling by family court judge criticised for ‘outdated’ views made public

A ruling by a family court judge who concluded that a woman who said she was raped by her partner did nothing “physically” to stop him has been made public.

Judge Robin Tolson made decisions about the woman’s rape allegations at a private hearing in the Central Family Court in London in August 2019.

The judge’s detailed ruling, which runs to more than 4,000 words, has been published online.

His findings were overturned by a High Court judge in December after the woman appealed and complained that he had “outdated” views on sexual assault.

Ms Justice Russell, who analysed the appeal at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the woman’s allegations should be re-examined by another judge.

The woman and her partner had separated more than three years ago.

Judge Tolson was asked to analyse a dispute over their son.

The boy lives with his mother and the man wants to spend time with him.

His mother objects.

She says the boy’s father was controlling and had raped her.

The man disputed her allegations.

Judge Tolson concluded that the man had the “better of the argument”.

He says, in his ruling, that the outcome turned entirely on the evidence of the two parents.

The judge said he was in “particularly difficult territory”.

“How do I find out precisely what happened behind the closed doors of a family home years after the event, based only on the evidence of the parties, neither of whom can be said to be independent?” he said.

“It is also relevant to bear in mind that the burden of proof in cases of this kind is on the person who makes the allegations. In respect of the schedule of allegations in this case, that is the mother.”

Judge Tolson said the man was “the more convincing witness” and had given evidence in a “straight-forward, forthright” manner.

He said the woman, who gave evidence from behind a screen, had been “highly anxious” and “very quiet”.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kate Collins / PA Wire.