Cathy McCulloch writes that as of last week, she hadn't read Fifty Shades of Grey ("honest!"). The barrister is intimately familiar with portions of it now, however, due to a case that she describes as "exceptional" in a blog post spotted by the Independent. Her client was a father charged with eight counts of incestuous rape that allegedly occurred over a six-year period; he "had absolutely no real defense other than 'I did not do it.'" His daughter, on the other hand, had given a "compelling interview" to police, explaining in detail what had allegedly occurred. There was just one thing that nagged at McCulloch: "the use of certain words, phrases, and descriptions of how she felt which seemed beyond her years." Then her client mentioned his daughter's favorite book (which he was unfamiliar with): Fifty Shades of Grey.
An instructing solicitor on the case who also had not previously read it picked up a copy and uncovered "too many striking similarities" between the girl's statement and the novel. In all, the team discovered 17 examples that "appeared to have been lifted from the book," per a more technical description of the case. McCulloch analyzed the passages and the girl's interview as part of her cross-examination preparations. On the trial's third day, the girl took the stand, and McCulloch began "gently." Just seven minutes later—during which McCulloch brought up those striking similarities—"we were finished." The girl admitted she had made up the allegations to teach her "strict" father a lesson. The prosecutor re-examined the girl and she confirmed that it had all been a lie. An immediate acquittal followed. (This Fifty Shades "re-enactment" landed a student in jail.)