Lawyer brands 13-year-old sex abuse victim 'predatory'

Illustration: members of the judiciary walk from Westminster Abbey to Westminster Hall in London on October 2, 2006. The Crown Prosecution Service has condemned a lawyer for describing a 13-year-old sex abuse victim as "predatory"

The Crown Prosecution Service has condemned a lawyer for using "inappropriate language" in court after he called a 13-year-old sex abuse victim "predatory" and "sexually experienced".

Judge Nigel Peters let Neil Wilson, 41, walk free from London's Snaresbrook Crown Court after handing down an eight-month suspended prison sentence despite Wilson's admission that he engaged in sexual acts with the teenage girl at his home.

Prosecutor Robert Colover reportedly earlier told the hearing on Monday: "The girl is predatory in all her actions and she is sexually experienced.

"She appeared to look around 14 or 15 and had the mental age of a 14- or 15-year-old despite being younger than that," he added.

"There was sexual activity but it was not of Mr Wilson's doing, you might say it was forced upon him despite being older and stronger than her," he said.

A CPS spokesman later said that the language used by prosecution counsel was "inappropriate".

"The transgressor in this case was the defendant and he bears responsibility for his criminal acts," he added.

Judge Peters said he took into account the girl's mature appearance and behaviour when passing sentence.

However, the Attorney General is set to investigate the ruling over fears the punishment was too light.

"The case has been drawn to the attention of this office as a possibly unduly lenient sentence," said a statement.

"This means it'll be considered by a law officer (the Attorney or Solicitor General) who will decide whether it should be referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme."

Wilson admitted two counts of making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a child.