Bad defense

Lawyer comes under fire after saying that rapist’s crime is ‘not the worst’

Newcastle Crown Court (Twitter).

A defense attorney in the U.K. has drawn heavy criticism for downplaying the severity of the crime committed by his client, a convicted rapist, and arguing that the brutal attack is “not the worst” kind of crime that can be committed. The jarring remark came last week at the trial for Derrick Mutambuka, a 19-year-old migrant from Rwanda who was convicted of carrying out a brutal attack on the street in December 2015.

Ekwall Tiwana, Mutambuka’s lawyer, argued in Newcastle Crown Court that his client was young and drunk at the time of the attack and had never been charged with a crime before, and that the brutal rape of two women was not the worst type of crime that’s possible

“The general nature of this case is that it is a very serious offense. Although it is very serious, it is not in fact the most serious,” Tiwana told the court, adding that Mutambuka was 17 on the night of the crime. Prosecutors, however, laid bare the depravity of his crimes. After leaving a nightclub in Sunderland, a city in northeast England, late one night, Mutambuka, “sexually aroused,” attacked one woman and sexually assaulted her on the street by forcibly reaching his hand down her pants. A passerby managed to interrupt the attack and safely walk the woman away from Mutambuka, but prosecutors said he wasn’t finished. After the attack ended, he raped another woman in an alleyway, fighting off more good Samaritans until a man was able to successfully intervene. The second victim was left with dozens of physical injuries after what the prosecutor described as a “prolonged and sustained attack.”

Women’s rights advocates took issue with Tiwana’s line of defense. Aisha Ali-Khan said the lawyer’s argument was “sickening” and shouldn’t go unchallenged in court. “This was an appalling, premeditated attack that has left two women with life-long psychological scars,” she told The Daily Mail. “For the defense to downplay the impact and seriousness of the attacks shows a complete lack of empathy and compassion for what the victims had to endure.” Khan also said such arguments are what cause women who are raped and sexually assaulted to avoid reporting the crimes to authorities.

Ultimately, the judge didn’t buy the lawyer’s ill-advised defense as Mutambuka was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison.

Read the full story at The Independent.


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