Nine friends and family of a footballer convicted of rape have been ordered to pay compensation to his victim after naming her on social networks.
They launched abuse at the victim, calling her names like “money grabbing whore” and “poor little victim”, Prestatyn Magistrates’ Court heard today. In one of the first cases of its kind, they were each ordered to pay £624.
Noting that rape was one of the only crimes punishable by a maximum sentence of life, District Judge Andrew Shaw said: “It’s a crime against women which subjects them to the most intimate personal violation. He said the defendants named the woman and abused her, adding: “You did so without proper knowledge of the facts and without any heed of the feelings of the victim.”
He said their comments were posted online with “deliberate malice” and added: “Your actions have re-victimised this woman again.” Victims of rape are given lifetime anonymity. The group said they were not aware of that fact and all nine pleaded guilty.
Dominic Green, 23, Benjamin Davies, 27, and Gemma Thomas, 18, all from Rhyl in North Wales, as well as Michael Ashton, 21, from Llanddulas, and Craig MacDonald, 26 and Holly Price, 25, from nearby Prestatyn were all found guilty of publishing material likely to lead members of the public to identify the complainant in a rape case, contrary to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 1992. Paul Devine, 26, and Daniel Cardwell, 25, and Shaun Littler, 22, all Sheffield, also pleaded guilty to the same offence.
Some criticised what they saw as a weak punishment, drawing parallels between the sum they were ordered to pay and sentences handed out for different offences, such as the eight week sentence handed to Stuart Rodger, a protester who hid in a toilet to evade security and shout at David Cameron.