Undercover Inequality: Help challenge sexism in the justice system

by Monica

Undercover Inequality: Help challenge sexism in the justice system

by Monica
Monica
Case Owner
I formed a long-term intimate relationship with someone I later found out was an undercover police officer. Now I'm fighting for all women who have their consent undermined by deceit.
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Monica
Case Owner
I formed a long-term intimate relationship with someone I later found out was an undercover police officer. Now I'm fighting for all women who have their consent undermined by deceit.
Pledge now

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Latest: Feb. 3, 2020

Appeal Lodged

Monica’s appeal was lodged on 10 December 2019. The DDP filed its Notice of Objection on 20 January 2020 and which is supported by James Boyling, the former undercover police officer in the cas…

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When does lying in a sexual relationship undermine consent? 

The criminal justice system currently imprisons young women found guilty of impersonating men in a sexual relationship. But, when male undercover police have sex with women in order to gather intelligence on social justice and environmental movements, they have committed no crime. 

Help us challenge this sexism and clarify the criminal law.

In December 2018, the High Court dismissed a challenge to a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute a former undercover police officer, Jim Boyling. Boyling’s deceitful sexual relationship with an environmental activist known by the pseudonym of 'Monica’ should, it was argued, have been prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and for Misconduct in Public Office. The Court dismissed the argument that Jim Boyling’s state sponsored deception as to his identity served to negate Monica’s consent. Permission to appeal was refused.

This means that as the law stands, well paid state actors who spy for the state can continue to infiltrate the lives, hearts and beds of female political activists with impunity. 

Those affected by this institutional sexism have, and will have, no effective remedy. Contribute now and share this page to help us urgently challenge this sexism and clarify the criminal law.

The law on consent is changing all the time, and the current state of the law on sexual deception is confusing and contradictory.  For example, the court has been willing to penalise some forms of sexual deception, such as ‘stealthing’ cases where a man pretends to use a condom. However, the law fails to prosecute in ‘catfishing’ cases, where a man creates an entirely false persona on line to lure a woman into a sexual relationship.  On the other hand vulnerable young women, like Gayle Newlands or Victoria McNally, who impersonated men in sexual relationships can be imprisoned for years. Right now, the law in relation to consent in sexual relationships is a mess and appears to discriminate against women. 

Monica wants to challenge this bad law which has wider implications for cases involving sex by deception.


How much are we raising and why?

The Legal Aid Agency has refused funding for an appeal. Yet the confusion in the criminal law cries out for clarification by the Supreme Court. The costs incurred by the Defendants' in opposing  Monica’s appeal are a significant financial risk for Monica. Can you help her cover the court’s £3,500 issue fee for the application for permission to appeal and help pay towards a cost capping order for the Defendants’ costs if she loses? Please donate to help challenge this bad law.

If we are successful and money is left over, it will be used to fund other legal cases on behalf of women subject to deception in sexual relationships by undercover police officers. 

Thanks so much for you support. 


Case Background

Monica was the first of three women involved in the protest movement, ‘Reclaim the Streets’, with whom Boyling formed a long-term intimate sexual relationship. Boyling, who used the cover name Jim Sutton, claimed also to be an environmental activist and played a key role in a number of ‘actions’. He was in fact an undercover officer, operating under an entirely false identity to conceal the fact he was a police officer who was actually gathering intelligence on the activities of Monica and her fellow activists. Had Monica, or the other women, been aware of Boyling’s true identity they would never have formed any kind of relationship with him, let alone a long term intimate sexual relationship.

The Court rejected Monica’s detailed submission that developments in the law over the last 100 years mean that whether an individual’s conduct has vitiated or negated consent depends on the extent to which any deception has deprived a complainant’s freedom to choose whether to engage in sexual intercourse and that it is a matter for the jury to determine whether that has occurred. In its view this amounted to a fundamental change in the understanding of consent which ought to be brought about by the legislature rather than the judiciary.

Instead, the Court accepted the CPS’ restrictive interpretation of the law by which it concluded that Boyling’s deception was not sufficient to vitiate consent as it did not relate directly to the sexual act or a fundamental aspect of the identity of the perpetrator. 

The Court also held that, despite statements made by the Metropolitan Police that such sexual relationships by undercover police officers were ‘deceitful, abusive, manipulative and wrong’  and should not happen, they did not amount to the crime of ‘misconduct in public office’


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Update 1

Monica

Feb. 3, 2020

Appeal Lodged

Monica’s appeal was lodged on 10 December 2019. The DDP filed its Notice of Objection on 20 January 2020 and which is supported by James Boyling, the former undercover police officer in the case. Police Spies out of Lives and The Centre for Women’s Justice have both sent  ‘Rule 15’ letters providing additional evidence to show why the case raises a wider public interest because of the number of women affected by this form of abuse by undercover police officers and because of other cases which raise similar issues which demonstrate the need for a higher court to provide clarification on the law.  Other organisations are considering intervening too.

You will remember that the reason for the Crowdfund is to ensure that Monica is not hit with a bill for the legal costs should this application fail. Unfortunately the Court fee and the Defendant’s costs  for this stage of the proceedings (Monica’s legal advisors are acting on a no win, no fee) exceed the amount raised to date and the Defendant has confirmed they will oppose any costs capping application. We are very grateful to all those who have donated thus far and would appreciate it so much if you could help us push this campaign to ensure that Monica does not have to pay anything out of her own pocket for pursuing such an important issue.  

Please donate to help challenge this bad law and please forward this notice to any friends associates and social media contacts who may wish to support this important challenge. If we are successful and money is left over, it will be used to fund other legal cases on behalf of women subject to deception in sexual relationships by undercover police officers. 

Thanks so much for you support. 

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