Dispute, Delay, Derail

Whatever might be said of Jude Collins – and there has been a tsunami of warranted criticism directed his way – it is difficult not to accord him some grudging acknowledgement. Not because anything he might generally say, as part of his seeming fixation with deflecting criticism away from Sinn Fein. comes remotely close to passing muster. Rather it is due to him having the cojones to stand up in full public view, no mask, no moniker, and express the most unpopular, even obnoxious, views for little appreciable gain. At a time when the internet is infested with anonymous toxic trolls venting the most hateful and intimidatory spleen at abuse victims and their proponents, someone shunning the shield of anonymity in defence of the unappreciable is most welcome. No point in critics demanding a free speech facility and then flagellating those merely for availing of it. 

What is worrying rather than challenging about Jude Collins’ views on people who come forward to recount their experience of being raped is not his concern to uphold the principle of innocent until proven guilty but a determination to block any view of a person’s experience other than a judicial one. 

Examples showing the utter redundancy of that reasoning are legion. If we were to follow it, investigative journalism would be redundant. The BBC’s searing and celebrated Tonight programme in March 1977 which broadcast Keith Kyle’s interview with Enniskillen school teacher Bernard O’Connor about RUC torture would be rendered valueless on the grounds that a court is the only proper place to hear these things. Nor would society be free to infer that any prisoners were beaten during the blanket protest because no court convictions of prison staff ever took place. We don’t have to think too hard to see how limiting on public understanding the Collins model for understanding would be. 

Earlier this morning Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform tweeted that "In USA when inmates were asked it revealed 15 times the rate of sexual abuse than official figures."

Now if we consider that the bulk of official figures are most likely vast compared against court determined guilt, how much would we know about prison rape if we relied on the courts? How much would we know about rape in wider society? Universally, rape is so widely under-reported to police that "no other major category of crime – not murder, assault or robbery – has generated a more serious challenge of the credibility of national crime statistics" than this form of sexual violence. 

When examining these things there is a need to separate out the account of the person who says they were raped and the issue of proof required to obtain a conviction. In the non-rarefied world we live in rather than the lofty chambers of the judicial beak, we can easily accept, on the balance of probability, a person's claim to have been raped if it measures up, sounds plausible and is not contradicted by alternative evidence. It does not follow from that claim that a person accused of that rape should be automatically found guilty. The problem with Jude Collin's view is that it is predicated on the securing of a conviction before we can say a rape took place. The upshot: the actuality of rape must always be commensurate to the convictions recorded. This flies in the face of everything we know about rape and other acts of sexual violence. Because we do not know something judicially can never be allowed to mean we do not know it. 

What is really happening via the pen of Jude Collins here is an attempt to recruit the ideological rule of law into the echeloned defence mounted by Sinn Fein: dispute the authenticity of the account, delay any judgement by placing it the other side of a future court verdict in the hope of derailing any present societal verdict that might adversely affect electoral fortunes and political careers.


  1. Anthony,

    There is something deeply callous about the "Dispute,Delay,Derail" nature of the commentary provided by 'Jude The Dutiful' on these matters to date. His dismissive and undermining manner towards the testimony of victims of sexual abuse, I find repugnant. It flies in the face of the natural instinct.

    ' is not his concern to uphold the principle of innocent until proven guilty but a determination to block any view of a person’s experience other than a judicial one.'

    'Jude-isprudence' may well provide useful coinage to describe this application of judicial means to thwart justice.

    The Bishop Of Louth would expect nothing less, I'm sure, from those eager to serve. Just another example of the innovations and inversions required of those caught up in the allure of his toxicity.

  2. Robert,

    the strange argument made a few years ago that Mary Travers may not have been "murdered" because she was not the intended target of a "murder" attempt at least implied an attempt to deflect criticism away from the gravitas of what happened to Mary Travers. By the same reasoning he could have argued that she was not dead as according to his argument no attempt had been made to kill her.

    Whatever case could have been made at the time that he was engaging in some form of abductive reasoning rather than Provo Apologetics has surely gone down the plug hole given the modus operandi he has employed to these matters since. In my view he does not seek to explain SF but to defend and cover for it.

  3. It may simply be the case that if such things were left to the courts,then as we know with super injunctions etc and political control of the courts ,such cases would never see the light of day, Collins the crafty cunt knows this,ignorance is bliss would be the new q$£ and their cronies mantra ...

  4. There's a case out there, Derry in fact, that was before the PPS for 18 months before it was dropped by the victim as it seemed to be going nowhere.

    The accused not only remained in his job but was promoted.

    Leaving aside the dogs in the street, members of The Unionist parties are aware of it as are members of the SDLP.

    For legal reasons I can't say much more other than wonder why the PPS choose to sit on this case for so long.

  5. Dixie,

    the unionist parties and the SDLP were aware of it. Was SF not?

  6. Anthony,

    'In my view he does not seek to explain SF but to defend and cover for it.'

    Abductive reasoning, reductio ad absurdum or whatever, he cuts a jesuitical figure with the verbal gymnastics. Filling the void left by Alec Reid perhaps?

    As always, enjoying the analysis Anthony and the education and the reflection that your writing provides and provokes.

  7. Oh SF are aware of it Mackers they promoted him. They could hardly claim that they didn't know the case was before the PPS yet he continued to hold a prominent position in the party.

    In fact it's no secret that there was a lot of talk among MLAs about it in the corridors of Stormont after the debate on abuse.

    The Sunday Life had earlier made reference to him as Provo F.

  8. Interesting revelation from Shafted Adamsite Cllr Brendan Curran on Monday Night...

    Henry Reilly UKIP Newry & Mourne council
    · Absolutely incredible scenes in the Council Chamber tonight - Cllr Brendan Curran announced his resignation and made very damaging allegations against former Sinn Fein colleagues - He alleged that he had advised SF of a paedophile Priest who had abused 100's of children in Newry and was instructed to not disclose this information .

  9. Here is what Jude Collins had to say about Paudie McGahon:

    "Is Paudie McGahon a victim of rape? He may be, but as yet he has not produced supporting evidence for his charge."

    This is ridiculous. Paudie McGahon says that he was raped when he was a teenager in the early 1990s. Apart from his own testimony, what possible "supporting evidence" would he be able to produce more than twenty years later?

    Indeed, this is the case for most child sex abuse victims since most of them do not report the abuse until years afterwards. Whether Jude Collins likes it or not, such testimony is accepted by the judicial system as evidence. It is also considered to be a kind of evidence by journalists, historians and academics. In order to evaluate it, we must decide if the testimony is consistent, coherent, and credible.

    This same standard is applied to the testimonies of all sex abuse victims, including victims of Catholic priests. Apparently though, Jude Collins believes that victims of Provo abusers must meet a different and impossibly high evidential standard. He needs to explain why.

  10. Robert,

    thanks for the continued interest.


    we can expect more to emerge about the Newry thing I imagine including the bull that Curran is out to wreck the peace process.


    they are fine points which show the regime of truth Jude Collins is trying along with others to impose.

    I think we are well up to disrupting that.