Victory for Rape Crisis & sexual violence survivors as CPS promises review

7 Aug 2013

Rape Crisis (England and Wales) cautiously welcomes the release this afternoon (Wednesday 7th August) of a belated statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) regarding the handling of the Neil Wilson case and, in particular, the behaviour of the prosecuting barrister.

The statement comes after nearly two days of campaigning by Rape Crisis and a number of other groups and individuals representing sexual violence survivors. It follows a much shorter and less satisfactory CPS statement issued late yesterday.

Where the previous comment described the prosecutor's language as 'inappropriate', this new paragraph claims it is of 'real concern' and promises a review into the case to determine what action needs to be taken. The longer statement also acknowledges that the prosecutor in this case did not follow CPS guidelines and confirms that he will not be instructed in sexual offence cases while the review is carried out.

Rape Crisis yesterday welcomed the Attorney General's announcement into a review of the sentencing in this case but called on the CPS to take urgent action.

Spokeswoman Katie Russell said:

"This episode has been a stark reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that all those affected by sexual violence of any kind receive the social and criminal justice that want and deserve. This work includes challenging the victim-blaming myths and stereotypes that create an environment in which it is currently so difficult for survivors to speak out and seek support. Rape Crisis hopes the CPS will renew its commitment to improving outcomes for victims by following today's encouraging words with decisive action."

CPS statement on the case of Neil Wilson:

“The word predatory in this context should not have been used and is of real concern to the CPS. 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 on-going or future cases involving sexual offences in the meantime.”