A number of years ago, when the rise in rape allegations and fall in convictions came to prominence, word went round about the unluckiest man in London.
He'd been accused of rape by five different women from different parts of London, none of whom were known to each other, and acquitted each time. Why on earth this should happen to him, he just couldn't understand.
They nailed him in the end - despite his plea of "Why does this keep happening to me, it is so unfair".
UPDATE - Squander Two vehemently disagrees. I'm not generally in favour of such evidence being used either - but rape is an offence which often comes down to one word against another. I'm not Julie Bindel, but it is a special case crime. If all the five women were friends, that would be different - but the allegations by five separate women seem to be stretching coincidence too far and are IMHO pertinent. There is no doubt that this should very much be the exception rather than the rule.
I'm more concerned by the fact that Richard Benson QC, having unsuccessfully defended Edwards in two previous rape cases, was happy to procure acquittals for himn in the next five.
But today Mr Benson, 54, a QC for five years, rejected suggestions that he should have considered standing down when the pattern of the allegations against Edwards was clear. "I am not Edwards's judge, the jury are," he said, pointing to the "cab rank" principle that a barrister should accept the briefs which come round. "In each case I looked at the evidence together with those who assisted me and I advised him accordingly."
Asked if he had ever considered whether he might have been ethically compromised by his knowledge of Edwards, Mr Benson replied: "I would not have defended him if I had thought that was the case ... I am happy, of course, with the decisions I have taken. Every man charged with an offence is entitled to proper legal representation. If the system was otherwise there would be a risk of serious injustice."
Mr Benson must be as unlucky as Mr Edwards - that the same rapist should by chance have him as his QC in seven consecutive prosecutions - plus of course the one which finally nailed his client.
This isn't the only similar (though not identical) case.
Even as Alison was swearing to tell "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth", she knew it was a lie. What she was about to tell the jury of 10 women and one man was anything but the whole truth.
Her former gynaecologist was standing trial for raping her. But what the jury didn't know was that the apparently caring and upstanding professional man they saw in the dock was being brought to Preston crown court in a prison van every morning from Strangeways jail in Manchester. Also, the man respectfully addressed by counsel as "Dr Darwish" was in reality no longer a doctor. He had been struck off by the General Medical Council and was serving a six-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting nine other patients.
Alison had more reason than most alleged rape victims to want to see justice done. Her family's life had been turned upside down by the discovery that her youngest daughter, then 12, had been fathered by Darwish Darwish and not by Jim, her husband of more than 30 years. Alison told her daughter that she had been conceived as a result of rape and says it was one of the most difficult things she had ever had to do.
But the family was to feel let down badly again, this time by the legal system. Although a DNA test proved that Darwish was Karen's father, the jury acquitted him of rape. It was only after they delivered their verdict that they learned that he had been found guilty two years before of nine other indecent assaults and acquitted of one rape. All the assaults happened under hypnosis, when patients were undergoing "relaxation therapy" suggested by Darwish for sexual problems.
End of an era - this time
2 hours ago