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"I did not rape her, I did not take advantage of her"

Victoria Derbyshire | 09:24 AM, Friday, 10 April 2009

Last week on the programme we heard from a criminal lawyer who claimed she'd been raped; the man she accused of raping her had been cleared by a jury of the charge in just 45 minutes.

That man is Peter Bacon, a 26 year old student at Canterbury University. He heard the interview with his accuser and today you can hear from him.

Peter BaconHe had sex with the woman after they'd drunk several bottles of wine at her home in Kent. She is still adamant that she was so drunk she couldn't have agreed to consensual sex.

Despite being an innocent man, he's considering changing his name. He sounds traumatised by what he's been through in the last 13 months or so. Click below to listen to the interview here:

BBC News: Chef cleared of 'drunk sex' rape
BBC News: Rape trial woman seeks law change


  • 1. At 10:29am on 10 Apr 2009, macknzieviz wrote:

    An excellent interview! Hearing Mr Bacon's courageous testimony was an inspiration. Hearing his accuser made me feel angry that someone with all the privileges of her profession could seek to extract her 'pound of flesh' for a mistaken night-time liaison. Increasingly people seek some kind of compensation through the courts for their own silly mistakes. In this isntance, however, to ruin a man's reputation is to go too far.

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  • 2. At 10:33am on 10 Apr 2009, digitl wrote:

    A woman accuses a man of rape, his name is published, he endures a trial, he is found not guilty, he has to rebuild his life.

    Meanwhile, his accuser continues to enjoy anonymity and 5 Live gives her a platform to continue to make her allegations.

    Where is the justice?

    Mr Bacon deserves better.

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  • 3. At 10:46am on 10 Apr 2009, James Williams wrote:

    This government has been the most sexist and anti-male one in history.
    Why is it only men who are responsible for a sexual act when it goes wrong? It assumes that women have no libido and have no responsibility for their actions. The 'low' conviction rate is a myth. It is a comparison of convictions against accusations. An accusation does not equal automatic guilt. Those who are accused of a sexual crime should have anonymity and people who are found not guilty should also be awarded substantial compensation to allow them to get their lives back together again

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  • 4. At 10:50am on 10 Apr 2009, easterbuunny wrote:

    I'm not really relating this to the story above but feel extremely strongly about the fact that when someone is found not guilty this doesn't necessarily mean their innoncent, it just means there has been some doubt in the jurys mind and therefore cannot say they are guilty. Victoria Derbyshire refered not guilty to been innocent and this is not correct as the justice system simply doesn't work Not guilty does not mean innocent. Please note i am not relating this to the case of Mr Bacon.

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  • 5. At 11:09am on 10 Apr 2009, James Williams wrote:

    So, Easterbunny, you believe in permanent stigmatization of men regardless of innocence whilst the accuser can walk about freeely and get on with their lives? Also women should not carry any responsibility for having seduced a guy before going sour and screaming rape?
    How about true equality, where men AND women are to be made accountable for their actions? How about her being accused of raping him through her behaviour? Why not? Is it only men who have an untamed sexual drive?

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  • 6. At 11:09am on 10 Apr 2009, Squonk wrote:

    easterbunny, what a stupid comment !

    Not guilty means exactly that.

    An accusation and a trial do not mean guilty in any way shape or form.
    Innocent until proven guilty means not guilty equals innocent its written in to law.

    ............................and put something as crass as this in a thread about Mr Bacons case then say im not relating is just mealy mouthed, by posting here by implcation you are relating it.

    I havent heard the interview with Mr Bacon yet just the heads up snippets but thought last week how wrong it was that Victoria gave his accuser a national platform to continue her accusations against Mr Bacon especially under the cloak of anonimity.
    I agree totally with Mr Bacons assessment about the calculating use of her new found "salvation"
    " I've found god therefore i must be telling the truth but its ok because now im religious i forgive him his trespasses " forgive an innocent man, for what.

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  • 7. At 11:32am on 10 Apr 2009, Squonk wrote:

    Having now listened to the full interview my view put above is reinforced 10fold.
    The anguish in Mr Bacons voice is heartrending.
    The fact that Mr Bacons future career path may now be blocked to him through security checks makes this sorry episode all the more tragic.

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  • 8. At 11:39am on 10 Apr 2009, nicenormalguy wrote:

    Dear Victoria - first of all I really appreciate you bringing this matter to the radio.

    I was flabberghasted when I saw this man's picture on the front page of a newspaper under the caption - "This man may have raped me" - on reading the full story I could quickly tell that the woman in question was manipulating law - being a law student she was without excuse. But this man's name and was put in the paper - her name not publicised at all.

    Her words in the morning indicated immediately that she was up to no good.

    I was delighted to see that he was aquitted but - what happened to Innocent till proven guilty.

    Peter should not change his name but should take it to the European Court of Justice and demand that false accusation must be expunged from any CRB - it is terrible that a person's life and career can be broken by a scheming person.

    Papers should be prevented from publicizing the name and identity of a person accused of a crime until the case is concluded and the guilt proven.

    Rape especially has such a negative connotation.

    Rapists do not stay to be accused - if he was raping her - taking advantage as she was saying of her drunkenness - he would have done the deed and disappeared and she would still be trying to remember who the person was. He on the other hand was in bed with her and it was entirely consentual.

    While I'm pleased she found God - she must know that she has ruined Peter's life and that she should be willing now to expose her own identity - and publicly admit to her wrong in bringing accusation - even if that may result in her own conviction of wasting police time. In fact, Police should have arrested her on the day Peter was cleared and prosecution on that charge should send a message that a false allegation is a terrible crime - perhaps even a violent crime. (Using the police and a law system as weapon to get back at another person - is as wrong as using a knife or a gun).

    It wastes public resources but more importantly it destroys an innocent person. To have such accusations on a CRB also means that anyone wanting to work with young people or old or vulnerable people cannot. It is absolutely unfair.

    NOT only was her false allegation an insult and assault on Mr Bacon, but it is an insult to every woman and child who has been subjected to actual rape.

    My heart goes out to all those men who spoke on your programme about being falsely accused of rape.

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  • 9. At 11:47am on 10 Apr 2009, digitl wrote:

    I think that Victoria should explain on air, and today, why she thought it right to allow the woman to repeat her allegations when a jury, in just 45 minutes, had found them to be false.

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  • 10. At 12:17pm on 10 Apr 2009, AndyC1959 wrote:

    I think we need to give anonymity to the men in cases like this, but not just for the usual, (and very good,) reasons.

    One of the defenses given by men in cases like this is that the woman, for whatever reason, is using the accusation as a weapon against the man. If you give the man anonymity, you take away this defense.

    Therefore in the end this would obviously lead to less persecution of innocent men, but also, more convictions of the genuinely guilty.


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  • 11. At 12:43pm on 10 Apr 2009, Squonk wrote:

    Whilst i agree anonimity for accused men should definitely be looked into i also understand the other point of view that publicising cases often bring forward other victims who often don't for fear of being disbelieved.
    Its a very tricky issue to deeal with but i do think that its gone to far one way and is prejudicial to the accused person.
    On a different track i also believe that spurious ( and i dont include this case )
    accusations should be dealt with severely, i know of a case where a friend of mine was accused of rape and was set to go to trial until one of his accusers best friends gave a staement to the police proving absolutely that he hadn't done what he was accused of, in that case she was cautioned to her future behaviour and that was an end to it but my friend had had a few very uncomfortale weeks with the acusation hanging over him.

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  • 12. At 1:13pm on 10 Apr 2009, wendymann wrote:

    they both appear to be quite suited for one another.

    if one cant control ones drinking , it is no ones fault but ones own.

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  • 13. At 1:14pm on 10 Apr 2009, wendymann wrote:

    any way i thought the abuse of women only existed in muslim countries.

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  • 14. At 1:37pm on 10 Apr 2009, Goff Goodwithnee wrote:

    Is this sarcastic?

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  • 15. At 1:50pm on 10 Apr 2009, Goff Goodwithnee wrote:

    From what I have heard she couldnt remember if she had consented or not. Since the assumption that Guilt is beyond all reasonable doubt then Mr Watson was innocent.
    Some of the comments seem to indicate that if women are lying about drunk sensless then it is acceptable to have sex (rape?) with them. What nonsense. I used to get drunk a lot - would it acceptable for a male to have homosexual sex with me? Would it be right for someone to steal my wallet?
    The problem seems to be that he is innocent in the eyes of the Judical Court, but not yet in the eyes of the Public Court that Harriet Harman has created.
    One sad piece of information I would to mention is that I read an article some years ago that indicated that a lot of complaints of rape were false and were used to hide affairs etc.
    This would sound very sexist and offensive, except the reasearch was conducted by a female.
    As one of the top judges once said - better 10 guilty men go free, than one innocent person goes to jail.

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  • 16. At 03:17am on 13 Apr 2009, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    "I did not rape her, I did not take advantage of her"

    In some jurisdictions in the U.S., this gentlemen would be able to bring a lawsuit against her for DEFAMATION of his character and...I hope that he changes his name for the best interest of his life and family!

    ~Dennis Junior~

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  • 17. At 00:14am on 15 Apr 2009, ccw310 wrote:

    I am writing this as someone who has experienced a very similar scenario myself. I was accused at the age of 18 after a party and spent the next 17 months unable to plan for my future, go travelling or to university as all my friends were doing. People I had known for years lost interest in being my friend and I was unable to sleep in any other house other than my own every single night.
    There was a 9 day trial with a not guilty verdict within 10 minutes of deliberation, I was even awaited on the steps of the court by the jury when they shook my hand, congratulated me and comiserated the fact that i'd lost so much of my life to such an awful situation. Many of the jury were bemused as to how the case even got as far as court as much of the story was laughable.
    Thankfully the case never got publicised (through pure luck) however despite my enormous sympathy for Mr Bacon in this case due to the publicity surrounding his case, I am pleased that finally there has been some recognition on a national scale of the horrendous ways men are treated in cases such as these; from beginning to end of my case I was treated as a guilty man.
    6 months on from the end of the trial I am finally starting to get past what has happened to me, and the anger and hurt i feel at the fact that it happened at all. I have been travelling with my girlfriend and am now about to start working a job with a future and move on with my life.
    I was lucky to have the unwavering support of my family, girlfriend (who I met after the accusations) and an amazing group of friends through what is without question the most difficult time of all of our lives to date.
    I did not pursue any legal pathways I could have gone down in suing the prosecution as I just wanted to start moving on, however Karma seems to have done its job and those involved have suffered enormously socially and were very publically aired as liars and, in essence, promiscuous.
    I sincerely hope that the ignorant people of this world catch on and realise that no, easterbunny, not guilty does not mean the jury couldnt decide, in the majority of cases if that were to happen, there would be a hung jury followed by a retrial. Or days and days of deliberation, certainly not 45 minutes as in Mr Bacons Case.
    Things need to change in the way cases such as this are dealt with, and Mr Bacon, I can only hope that things improve for you a fast as possible.
    I realise that this post may seem somewhat on a tangent, but I wrote this with the vain hope that Mr Bacon himself, or anyone else suffering a situation like this, realises that there are people who understand, because when i was there it felt like the whole world was against me, and that loneliness is impossible to explain.

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  • 18. At 4:11pm on 17 Apr 2009, hattyfarbuckle wrote:

    I have now listened to both interviews with Victoria, the accuser and the accused. The argument that seems to have been made is that "if I do not remember consenting then I can’t have done so...". It would be ridiculous to expect a jury to accept this. It is even more surprising it is from a law student. This is similar to the defence - “I don’t recall being told to stop therefore she couldn’t have said it“. Both are rightly unacceptable in court. What she doesn’t seem to see is that she is actually offering the jury only one witness to events - Mr B, as he is the only person with a memory of events.
    I don’t wish to make this case sound trivial, but what evidence do I see before the jury– a woman who drank too much, had sex and had a (drunken) night sleep until a normal hour and woke up in bed with (by his own admission before the complaint was made) the accused. She had no memory of sexual events.
    To her credit she could have lied and said she refused to have sex but did not physically resist, but even so it would be hard to see a conviction. This type of case highlights why, in so many cases of what the media call “date rape” the conviction rate is so low – the evidence of sex is the easy part, the evidence of “rape” is lacking.
    What I find disturbing is the comments regarding suggested law changes made by a law student. She appears to be expecting the same (lack of) evidence would have led to a conviction if a less serious version of rape was on the statute book. She seems to expect a jury would convict on her wishes/beliefs rather than the evidence if the punishment was lower.

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  • 19. At 4:31pm on 12 Oct 2009, robrob71 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 20. At 2:21pm on 14 Oct 2009, Cheapjack wrote:

    From what I can work out, the male is supposed to take the lead in initiating sex. Women can't ask men out in this country, or certainly where I am. They would be denigrated if they did and would be asking to be taken advantage of and treated badly. It's a cloudy area. I think women should be allowed to ask men out, or initiate, in no uncertain terms and should not be treated badly or lose their reputations, if they did.l

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