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Bullfinch gang victim cannot face witness box again
10:30am Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
A VICTIM of the Bullfinch gang cannot face court again despite knowing the identity of more gang members and customers.
The victim, who was raped and sold for sex from the age of 13 to 15, was “devastated” by the way her abuser’s lawyers treated her on the Old Bailey witness stand.
Her mother told the Oxford Mail: “She was devastated by it and will certainly not give evidence in any future trials because of it.
“She is aware of several more Oxford offenders but has made it very clear that she can't go through that ordeal again.”
Neither women can be named for legal reasons.
Last night, Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Victoria Bartlett said the force was “very grateful” to all the victims who gave evidence in the trial and said the convictions were almost entirely down to their “immense courage”.
She added: “We do appreciate the stresses they faced and I don’t think anyone would be being honest if they tried to say that giving evidence in these kinds of trials is an easy process.”
She stressed that the force would do all it could to support victims through court, adding: “The courts system is changing for the better to make it easier for witnesses in these types of trials and we would ask anyone to do what they can to bring their abusers to justice.”
It comes come after the Lord Chief Justice last week rejected calls to create specialist courts to deal with similar trials, but said experienced judges would be han d picked.
Seven men were jailed for a total of 95 years in June for their roles in the gang which groomed, drugged, and sold girls for sex in Oxford from 2004 to January last year.
The 18-week London trial saw six girls aged between 16 and 21 give evidence.
The unnamed 21-year-old known as Girl 3 was abused by the two sets of brothers Mohammed and Bassam Karrar and Akhtar and Anjum Dogar from 2005 to 2008. She faced questions from five different lawyers over five days.
Her mother said it was unnecessary for victims to be questioned by so many “intimidating” lawyers dressed in wigs and gowns, and said she would also like to see victims given lawyers.
But she said it was more important that barristers were trained to deal with child sex exploitation victims.
The mother of 16-year-old Girl 5, who was abused by Zeeshan Ahmed and Assad Hussain, also said her daughter would never testify again.
She said: “She will never stand up in court ever again because of what she has had to go through and relive.”
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, who was part of the Home Affairs Select Committee which lobbied for changes, said specialist courts were needed.
Victims needed specially-trained prosecutors, defence barristers, witness support staff, and ushers, she said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is consulting on new guidelines for prosecuting child sexual abuse cases until September 3. To have your say, visit cps.gov.uk/consultations/ csa_consultation_index.html
- VICTIMS of child sex exploitation can call the specialist Kingfisher team at Cowley police station in confidence on 01865 335276.
- Victims can also call the Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre on 01865 726 295.