I was a juror on the trial at Sheffield Crown Court, back in October last year of the eight men accused of a range of sexual crimes against four teenage girls.
I am sure you will recall that five were found guilty of at least one charge against them. This and other cases have recently been reported in the press and several prominent politicians and others are now commenting on the wider picture that is emerging, predominantly that the vast majority of offenders are Pakistani men.
Some background about why I feel the need to comment so fully: I was Director of Victim Support Sheffield ten years ago, having previously worked over ten years for Victim Support in North London. I am familiar with the facilities for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses and how the video-link system works and have supported several victims through giving evidence in Court. I have also provided extensive training for people in how to support victims of serious crime and this has included several police officers.
After a brief introduction by the prosecuting barrister, we were shown several video recordings detailing several hours of the victims’ interviews that had taken place between 20 and 24 months previously. Some of the audio quality was very poor and we strained to hear much of it. On several occasions Court was adjourned while transcripts of the interview (available to barristers already) were prepared for us.