Barbara Hewson has previous called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 (Hardwicke Chambers)
Barbara Hewson has previous called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 (Hardwicke Chambers)

A prominent human rights barrister has described some victims of child abuse as "often not much better" than the men who had abused them.

Barbara Hewson, a barrister for Hardwicke Chambers, was responding to criticisms of a judge and prosecutor who described Neil Wilson's 13-year-old child abuse victim as a "sexual predator".

Wilson, 41, was given an eight-month jail term suspended for two years after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Hewson, who has previously called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13, said on Twitter that some girls are not much better than the men in abuse cases and "it takes two to tango".

She added: "Disgusting though these men are, frankly the girls are often not much better - and no shrieking martyrs."

Hewson was responding to comments by prosecutor Robert Colover who described Wilson's victim as "predatory in all her actions" and "sexually experienced".

Upon sentencing, judge Nigel Peters also told Wilson that he had "come as close to prison as is imaginable" but took into account that the 13-year-old looked and behaved older than she was and "was predatory and egging you on".

The Attorney-General's Office has said it was now looking at whether Wilson's suspended sentence was unduly lenient.

In a series of posts which seemed to agree with how Peters and Colover described the 13-year-old, Hewson said: "Interesting how moral crusaders pretend that teens are kids. Convenient for teens to be excused.

"Nasty teens can force suicide. Why pretend they cannot be utterly vile and obnoxious? We all know otherwise."

She added: "Then as now these girls had to be tough or they were toast. They're hard as nails, and punch your teeth out soon as look at you".

Outdated and ill-informed

Hewson previously caused controversy by suggesting the age of consent should be lowered to 13 to end the "witch-hunt" against celebrities in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex scandal.

Speaking after BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall was originally sentenced to 15 months in jail for indecently assaulting girls as young as nine, Hewson said: "Ordinarily, Hall's misdemeanours would not be prosecuted, and certainly not decades after the event.

"It's time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest."

She added:"My recommendations are remove complainant anonymity, introduce a strict statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions and civil actions and reduce the age of consent to 13."

The NSPCC described Hewson's views as "outdated and simply ill-informed".

Hardwicke Chambers said they were "shocked" by the views and "completely dissociate ourselves from its content and any related views she may have expressed via social media or any other media outlets".