Prosecutor says teen rape victim of Asian grooming gang was grilled by 11 barristers for six days and branded a liar – The Sun
A PROSECUTOR has told how a teenage rape victim of a grooming gang was grilled by 11 barristers for six days.
She was called a liar in court before the men who had abused her in Rochdale were eventually jailed.
Nazir Afzal reopened the case of two girls who had been raped by British Asian men and dumped on the side of the road.
The Crown Prosecution had decided against taking the cases to court as the teen victims weren't "credible".
But in 2011, Mr Afzal became Chief Prosecutor for North West England and revisited the harrowing evidence.
One of the girls appeared in court via video-link and was questioned by 11 barristers.
Mr Afzal wrote in his new book: "It was exhausting enough for us, so I couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for her.
"The defence had no other strategy than to say this didn’t happen, and day after day she’d be told she was a liar.
"When she had been questioned by the ninth barrister, she finally lost her temper – much to the lawyer’s delight.
"‘Now we see the real you!’ he exclaimed.
"I watched in despair. Facing such scrutiny would be gruelling for anyone and it was no surprise that, worn down in this way, a witness might lash out – particularly one who had been through so much already."
Eventually nine men who ran a Rochdale child sex abuse ring were jailed for a string of offences in 2012.
The men from Rochdale and Oldham were found guilty of offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.
The vile group exploited girls as young as 13 and were initially given sentences ranging from four to 19 years.
The court heard how the men – eight of Pakistani origin and one from Afghanistan – gave their victims drink and drugs before “passing them” round for sex.
Speaking in 2012 Judge Gerald Clifton said the men treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect".
In his book The Prosecutor, Mr Afzal told of his relief that the two victims had got justice.
He added: "The right of powerful people to abuse people from lower social classes, seemingly impervious to justice, was over. A dirty secret in Rochdale that had been ignored for too long had given us the impetus to look hard at Britain’s landscape of sexual abuse.
"I look back now and see that the Rochdale grooming trial was one of the most important cases not only in my career, but in the history of modern British justice.
"Child-grooming had fully established itself in the public consciousness as an abhorrent, highly emotive crime."
His work lead to the launch of the Child Sexual Abuse Review Panel, which also lead to the Metropolian Police's Operation Yewtree.
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