A leading children’s charity has condemned comments made by a defence lawyer who accused six children of claiming they were sexually abused by a gang because “it’s better to be a victim than a slag”.
The girls, aged between 13 and 16-years-old, gave evidence at Oxford Crown Court in the trial of Ahmed Hassan-Sule, the ringleader of five men and a youth who were convicted of multiple child-sex offences including rape, The Times reports.
They were targeted at under-18s parties organised by Hassan-Sule, whose nickname was ‘Fiddy’, known as “Fiddy Events”. The parties were described by one child as “a place where girls would go and the boys would choose their targets”.
Stuart Trimmer, QC, for the prosecution, said they were then groomed and passed between friends for sex at various locations. He described the girls as “emotionally immature” and said some were seeking “friendship”.
Michael Magarian, QC, for the defence, claimed during the trial the victims may have been “brainwashed by social workers”.
He suggested the motivation for the girls coming forward could be because “it’s better to be a victim than a slag”, adding: “Once you are a victim who has been groomed you no longer have to take any responsibility for anything that you did.”
In his closing speech, he told the jury the trial was a “witch-hunt” and a “police-manufactured case”.
Clare Dowse, also for the defence, suggested the children “might be enjoying all the attention from police and social services” in her closing remarks to the jury.
Jon Brown, of the NSPCC, condemned the comments which he said demonstrated “a total lack of understanding” of how children are groomed.
“Any suggestion that they may be to blame for the horrendous things that happened are totally wrong,” he said.
Hassan-Sule, 21 was found guilty of 13 counts of sexual activity with a child and one of assault by penetration.
Mohamed Saleh, 22, was convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child. Said Saleh, 20, was found guilty of the same offence.