Barrister who called 13-year-old sex abuse victim 'predatory' is barred from similar cases
Meanwhile he will not be used in similar cases - and complaints against judge being considered
The barrister who called a 13-year-old abuse victim sexually "predatory" in court will not be used in similar cases pending an investigation, it has been announced today.
Separately, the Office for Judicial Complaints said it would be considering complaints against the judge in the case, who appeared to accept the prosecutor’s comments when sparing the girl’s 41-year-old abuser jail.
The action follows a campaign by an equalities group – first reported by The Independent – against “victim blaming” after details of the case emerged earlier this week.
The sexual-abuse survivor who started the petition on the Change.org campaigning website, which by last night had received the backing of nearly 30,000 people, said: “This is incredible news. When I heard what this man had said I was sure he would end up getting away with it – but 30,000 people sent a huge message that we will not stand for blaming the victims of sexual abuse for what has happened to them.”
The woman, Jo, added: “This has been a real victory in the fight against victim blaming which results in so many sexual-abuse cases going unreported and unpunished. I hope it’s the start of a real step change in how the legal establishment deals with these kinds of cases. Now I hope that the CPS agrees to meet with victims groups so we can work together to stop this happening again.”
In a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said that Robert Colover, QC, the prosecutor in the case at Snaresbrook Crown Court should not have used the word “predatory” and confirmed that he would be investigated by Director of Public Prosecution Keir Starmer. The statement added that the use of the word is “of real concern to the CPS”. It said: “It is not consistent with the work that we have undertaken alongside the judiciary and others in the past year to improve attitudes towards victims of abuse. We expect all of our prosecutors, including self-employed barristers who act on our behalf, to follow our guidance in these very difficult cases.
“The DPP will be undertaking a review of this case to determine what happened and to decide what action needs to be taken. We are now considering the involvement of this barrister in sexual-offence prosecutions and have advised his chambers that we will not instruct him in any ongoing or future cases involving sexual offences in the meantime.”
The Office for Judicial Complaints said it has “received a number of complaints about the remarks made by HHJ Peters, QC, during the sentencing of a defendant at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 5 August 2013. The complaints will be considered in accordance with the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedure) Regulations 2006 (as amended)”.
Labour MP Emily Thornberry, shadow Attorney General, said: “It is appalling that, after the scandals of Jimmy Savile and Rochdale, these awful Lolita prejudices are still being served up in court, and by the prosecution of all people.”
Ms Thornberry has asked the barristers’ regulator, the Bar Standards Board, to examine whether Mr Colover may have violated its code of conduct.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home
Sophia Loren: How I rejected Cary Grant and 'pulverised' Marlon Brando with my eyes
Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
- 1 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 2 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
- 5 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party