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DPP hits back at judge in 'victim-blaming' row over rape cases

England and Wales's most senior public prosecutor has accused a judge of propagating a "victim-blaming culture" around rape cases.

Judge Philip Shorrock, a barrister for almost 40 years, said in most trials the alleged rapist was "unsurprisingly" acquitted because both people involved had been drinking or taking drugs and there was no independent proof of what happened.

It came after Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson accused Justice Secretary Liz Truss and Crown Prosecution Service head Alison Saunders of creating a "militant sisterhood", part of a "man-hating agenda" over reforms that could see alleged rape victims no longer facing cross-examination live in court.

Writing in the newspaper, Judge Shorrock criticised Ms Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, saying that in many cases the complainant and defendant know each other.

He wrote: "One or both has or have been drinking and or taking drugs before the events giving rise to the complaint taking place.

"If my experience is any guide, I fear that Allison Pearson's analysis is closer to the mark than that of Alison Saunders."

Ms Saunders hit back, saying: "It is always disappointing to hear views expressed that lean in favour of the 'victim-blaming' culture that allowed sexual predators to offend with assumed impunity in days gone by.

"It is our job, as prosecutors, to make objective charging decisions based on the evidence, rather than the discredited rape myths that skewed the system against victims."

The attack comes just weeks after judge Lindsey Kushner warned women they are at greater risk of being raped if they get drunk.

In her final case before retiring, the judge insisted that while women were entitled to "drink themselves into the ground", their "disinhibited behaviour" could put them in danger and they were "less likely to be believed" than a sober victim.

Judge Kushner said there was "absolutely no excuse" for sex attacks but warned that men gravitate towards vulnerable women

But she was accused of "victim-blaming" by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird, who said her comments would deter victims from coming forward.

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