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Sturm case "disturbing, homophobic"

Wed 12 Apr 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

A jury verdict which found Auckland bar owner Philip Sturm guilty on charges of stupefaction and violation, has wide-ranging implications relating to social behaviour, drug use and sexuality, according to gay social commentator David Herkt, who has followed the progress of the case with interest. "Where do you actually draw the line? Is buying someone a drink, sleeping with them, and them regretting it in the morning a reason why you should be charged?" he asks. "This verdict means that any ‘heterosexual' male who has had a sexual encounter may wish to claim that his judgment was befuddled, he didn't really mean to do it." Herkt says he was also disturbed by the fact that the complainants' evidence was held in a closed court. "Nobody but the jury and the judge know exactly what transpired," he says, something he finds problematic.  "When you're dealing with issues that are of social importance, justice is not being seen to be done." He also sees an element of rampant homophobia in the pursuit of the case by police and the Crown. "I've said consistently that if any woman had walked into a police station and said, I met this guy, voluntarily took ecstasy, slept with him, now I want to charge him with a sexual offence, she probably would have been laughed out of the police station."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 12th April 2006 - 12:00pm

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