Friday, 19 November 2010

Whistleblowing may lead to false allegations of sexual assault

Whistleblowing is a high risk activity which is beneficial to public but can be extremely dangerous for the whistleblower. Mr Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks was issued with a warrant for his arrest because of the allegations of rape made by two women in Sweden. He was giving a public lecture there and was approached by the women. He had sex with them because these women were interested in him which is not surprising. However, it would appear that they felt he did not give them sufficient attention and subsequently the allegations have been made.
WikiLeaks has fought over 100 legal actions against them so far, and won.
WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified material such as war logs in Iraq and Afghanistan recently.
There have been attempts to destroy WikiLeaks financially (one example: attempted withdrawal of PayPal facilities for donations to WikiLeak website) and to forbid international travel to Mr Julian Assange.
His lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig appealed to Swedish Court to remove the arrest warrant as Mr Assange efforts to assist investigations have been refused by the Swedish authorities. He won in August.

Interestingly, Mr Assange was seeking residence in Sweden in the belief that laws there would protect him. But there is another sort of politics that has to be considered such as attempts to eliminate sexual bias from court proceedings. It is well known that conviction rate is low for rape and that various governments would be keen to improve the appearances because the overwhelming majority of victims are women who are also the majority of voters. One quick way of improving conviction figures is finding suitable scapegoats. Those who are different e.g. foreign are always more likely to be attacked, generally speaking. Mr Julian Assange is Australian.
Male Whistleblowers, especially are likely to be attacked in this manner.
While the Assange case is happening in a very public way there are other cases I know of where the accused experience a great deal of distress, public humiliations of court case against them, regulatory persecution (for example, by the General Medical Council) as well thrown in when the accused man is a doctor. The psychological torture does not end at the end of the court hearing as it may be repeated as in cases of hung jury. Thus the wrongly accused man has to go through all the stress once more.
British Medical Association has failed to protect many whistleblowers over the years but following the election the new government has decided to introduce policies in keeping with the law.
Women whistleblowers are more likely to be subjected to allegations of mental illness than rape and in addition suffer like men from sham peer review, restrictions on their license to practice which may include restrictions to working abroad.
Perhaps, British lawyers should learn something from Bjorn Hurtig so that all the wrongly accused men still waiting for their trials are spared too.
I wonder for how long will Swedish prosecutor who ordered arrest warrant for Mr Assange keep her job.
Dr Frederic Whitehurst is an FBI whistleblower who saved some men already in jail when he blew the whistle on police presenting false DNA evidence.

More allegations have been made and in the light of so called new evidence a warrant has been issued again. It is as if in Sweden they never heard of teleconferencing. Surely if any of the prosecutors wanted to speak with Mr Assange this could have been arranged without the warrant. This disproportionate measure should have been appealed straight in the European Court.


Anonymous said...

The title should have been better -something like -' Do whistleblowers face false allegations incuding sexual assault?
or Foreigners face more sexual assault charges ?
or Why is sexual assault charges are so easy to raise but so hard to prove?
Just some suggestions. otherwise,
To my knowledge foreign doctors get a lot of rap when even there was a baseless allegations of sexual nature, like inappropriate examination, sexual touching , and some times rape is alleged . I know one guy who spent two years in jail after doing examination on a lady with abuse at home history . The law targets the minorities , people of different colour . A GP who had been doing several inappropriate examinations on women patients for more than 25 years was not convicted . It's not a coincidence he is white old male, though convicted by the GMC after his retirement !!!!
So we can see the effects of discrimination in the system including the defence solicitors , judge, jury and the prosecution and the allegers. If it is a white guy who is alleged it is much likely no action is taken promptly, but if the alleged guy is a foriegner the media and the criminal judicial system jump on him without a fair trial or proportionate response.

Doctors4Justice said...

I agree, not a great title. I was not really happy with it when posted,and shall try something better.

Please, could you email more information to me of the case GMC took after doctor retired. For example, the name of the doctor.

Anonymous said...

The GP Rodney tate of Brighton and Hove area was struck off the register very late . in 2009,five years after he was suspended by the GMC. Why this doctor was allowed to keep abusing patients for more than two decades ? The system , participating people do not raise the issue promptly if it is a white midfdle aged guy.

Anonymous said...

In the US, whistleblowers are rewarded for speaking up as can be seen in the following link,,,5917709,00.html

but unfortunately in the UK, they are persecuted/prosecuted. A cultural shift and change of attitude is vital to avoid unncecessary litigation.

_anachronisme said...


You mention here that "Bjorn Hurtig appealed today to Swedish Court to remove the arrest warrant as Mr Assange efforts to assist investigations have been refused by the Swedish authorities. He won."

Where did you find that information? Do have any links stating that the appeal was won? As far as I knew the appeal was still being considered, I hadn't heard that he'd won yet..

Anonymous said...

Is your website and association a charity? Or who pay for the expenses?
If there are any funding sources like Drug companies?

Doctors4Justice said...

We get donations through our website from some people who have been helped by us.
We have not received any funding from any organization whatsoever. (This would include any drug company).
We are not a charity and we are not an association in the usual sense of the word.

Doctors4Justice said...

Anachronisme, thank you. I have made it clear that up to now the successful appeal was in August 2010 and that the new warrant has been issued.

Anonymous said...

You should apply for a charity status as that will get you income tax relief and gift aid donations from the Revenue. Woul;d you not agree?

Doctors4Justice said...

Look, if money was our primary objective we would not have lost millions as we did when we stood up for what was right for our patients and public but was contrary to government policies at times e.g. pushing religion onto mentally ill people by Blair administration.

Secondly, although charities can get engaged to an extent in political activities it is restricted by the government.
You would have to read it all and see how it is limited.
For example, it there has to be a prospect of success to political campaigning. There are situations in life when the chances of success are low and the most one can hope for is to be heard. Sometimes, people do not get a chance even to be heard as there is suppression of free speech too.

Joan AYLING said...

I've just been made aware of the Rodney Tate GP case (allegations of sexual abuse despite acquittal at court - complaints being taken to court by the solicitor Sarah HARMAN. I see your comments also refer to the case. The question is when is 'whistleblowing' really 'whistleblowing' and when is it a trumped up activiy to suit some other agenda? I am the daughter of former GP Clifford AYLING whose high profile case led to the AYLING INQUYIRY REPORT. Lots of evidence of false allegations was totally ignored - Sarah HARMAN produced conflicting statements at various stages of the various proceedings she was involved in - and all the powers that be (courts, health authority, Ministry of Health, 'independant' inquiry) pretended not to notice. Yes, we should have better support for real whistleblowers (like the nurse who was shocked by the treatment she saw of old people), but not for whistlemblowers whose agendas have nothing to do with patient care (whether they are personally motivated or put under pressure by others, and most certainly not when their allegations are proved to be false.