The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, held a Post Case Review into the case of R v Neil Wilson last week to address the comments made by prosecuting counsel at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 5 August. Counsel used the term ‘predatory’ during the sentencing hearing to describe the behaviour of a 13-year-old victim of a sexual offence.
The DPP found there was nothing in the instructions given to counsel, including information from the police, the prosecution papers or the pre-sentence report, that could have expressly or implicitly supported describing the victim’s behaviour in such terms. Indeed, the facts of the case made clear that the adult defendant invited the victim to his home, where the offence took place.
Following the Review, the DPP was clear that he found the language used to describe the 13-year-old victim grossly inappropriate. Counsel in the case agreed that he should not have used the expression that he did and deeply regretted his choice of words. It was agreed that he would resign from the CPS Rape Panel of advocates and will no longer undertake prosecutions involving serious sexual offences or child sexual abuse. He will remain on our general advocate panel and will still be instructed in other criminal cases. The DPP is satisfied that no further action needs be taken in relation to this case.