Six children who bravely gave evidence of being groomed and used for gang sex were accused by a defence lawyer of claiming serial abuse because “it’s better to be a victim than a slag”.
The Cambridge-educated QC, Michael Magarian, QC, who specialises in gang related cases, said the schoolgirls could have been 'brainwashed by social workers', according to The Times.
Mr Magarian also claimed during the trial at Oxford crown court that the prosecution was 'a police-manufactured case' and suggested that the young complainants could have been “brainwashed by social workers”. He said: “It’s better to be a victim than a slag. Once you are a victim who has been groomed you no longer have to take any responsibility for anything that you did.”
The lawyers’ comments, made in closing speeches to the jury, were condemned as completely inappropriate by Jon Brown, of the NSPCC. He said: “They show 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.”
Girls were selected and initially befriended by the gang. For two years until 2013 its members, all of African origin, subjected them to repeated sexual abuse in cars, houses, parks and woods.Stuart Trimmer, QC, for the prosecution, said that victims were marked for abuse on social media and at under-18s parties known locally as Fiddy Events.
Ahmed Hassan-Sule, 21, whose nickname was Fiddy, was found guilty of 13 counts of sexual activity with a child and one of assault by penetration.
Mohamed Saleh, 21, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child. He was found not guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of rape
Kagiso Manase, 20, was convicted of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of sexual assault.
Takudzwa Hova, 21, was found guilty of one count of rape, one count of sexual activity with a child and two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He was found not guilty of one count of rape
Alexandru Nae, 19, was acquitted of one count of sexual activity with a child and one count of rape
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of rape.
Said Saleh, 20, was convicted of one count of sexual activity with a child but was found not guilty of another count.
Senior investigating officer, Det Insp Steve Raffield, from Banbury Force CID, said: 'These offenders abused the trust of the vulnerable young victims for the purpose of their own sexual gratification. The girls were subject to horrific sexual offences including, in some cases, rape at the hands of these defendants. These horrific crimes will have a lasting impact upon the victims' lives. The fact that the offenders maintained they were not guilty of the offences resulted in the victims having to relive their experiences by giving evidence in court.'
The men will be sentenced on 17 April.
Jen L. Jones
I'm not entirely sure what "slag" means - it's outside of my vocabulary and not commonly used here in Canada (I think). But I've no doubt that, in the way Magarian used it, it was intended as a slur on the reputations of the young victims - most likely aimed at their sexuality. It's hard to believe that such a learned man as this could stoop so low. I thought that the days of "blame the victim" - so easy when it's a female - were mostly behind us now. He is criticizing the young girls for not taking responsibility for their actions - but surely far greater responsibility lies with the accused. The court must see it that way too, since several gang members have been found guilty of rape and sexual assault. Magarian shows his utter and arrogant cluelessness as to the reality of the victims' social milieu and the virtual powerlessness they experienced. They needed protection, not exploitation, and the system (guided by the powerful in British society) failed them.