Women’s rights activists lambast rapist’s defence lawyer who argued his client’s crime was ‘not the worst’
‘Although it is very serious, it is not in fact the most serious’
Women’s rights activists have scorned the defence lawyer of a rapist who argued his client’s crime was “not the worst”.
Derrick Mutambuka was jailed for nine years and nine months for sexually assaulting two women who were walking home after a night out in Sunderland and assaulting two men who tried to intervene as he raped the second woman in an alleyway.
His lawyer, Ekwall Tiwana, said: “The general nature of this case is that it is a very serious offence. Although it is very serious, it is not in fact the most serious.
“This defendant was 17 at the time and had no previous convictions.”
Mutambuka was accused of forcing his hand down a woman’s trousers, but another man intervened and walked her home.
This young man was passed from pillar to post between his mother, father and grandmother, and passed from country to country,” the lawyer added.
“He went back to Rwanda for a short time, so, in his very young years, he was subject to a very unsatisfactory family life.”
Mr Tiwana could not be immediately reached for comment by The Independent.
Campaigner Aisha Ali-Khan said the comments were “shocking”.
“This was an appalling, premeditated attack that has left two women with life-long psychological scars,” she told The Daily Mail.
“For the defence to downplay the impact and seriousness of the attacks shows a complete lack of empathy and compassion for what the victims had to endure.
“It also goes a long way in explaining why so many women would rather suffer in silence than report their sexual assaults to the authorities.”
Rape Crisis England and Wales statistics show that just 15 per cent of those who experience sexual violence report it to the police.
Detective Chief Inspector Phil Bond said in a statement: “Mutambuka is very clearly a dangerous individual and I’m pleased he is in prison where he cannot cause further harm.
“I would like to praise the bravery of both victims for coming forward in these cases. The strength and courage of victims in incidents such as this can never be underestimated and ensuring they have the support they need is an absolute priority for us.”
Judge Robert Adams told Mutambuka, as reported by the Sunderland Echo, “You were sexually aroused dancing in the club and that continued when you were going home until you committed the offence.
“You were determined to have sex with a woman regardless of her views or who she was or whatever her circumstance.
“You used violence, judging by the numerous injuries that the victim sustained.
“It is a start that you are experiencing some remorse although it is now too late in the day. Only a lengthy custodial sentence is appropriate.”
The defence lawyer’s controversial comments come after several high-profile cases regarding the treatment of rape and sexual assault survivors around the world.
An alleged rape victim in Canada was asked in 2016 by a judge why she “could not keep her knees together”. In California, Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock Turner last year to just three months in jail for sexual assault and said he wanted to “be fair to both sides”.