Barristers admit denigrating rape victims in court

The report from Sussex University's Professor Jennifer Temkin also reveals that barristers who prosecute rapes are often inexperienced. This is backed up by Government figures which show that QCs are ten times more likely to defend alleged rapists than prosecute them.

Lord Chancellors Department figures show that between April 96 and April 97, 170 payments were made to QCs defending rape trials, compared with just 17 made to prosecuting QCs.

The study – Prosecuting and Defending Rape: Perspectives from the Bar – reveals the courtroom strategies of ten experienced rape trial barristers.

Temkin says the principal strategy employed by the barristers was to undermine the alleged rape victim's personality, by making out she had acted foolishly or that she has brought it all on herself.

One leading QC, says Temkin, admits he will always apply to the judge to bring up the woman's sexual history. As he put it, if the complainant could be portrayed to be a slut, an acquittal was highly likely.

One female barrister says she justifies bringing up the woman's sexual history because many women who cry rape "would sleep with the local donkey".

Defence solicitors, says Temkin, regularly use women barristers to defend sex offenders, reasoning that it sends a message to the jury that as a woman she believes the man