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.

News
i100
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices