An attorney in the UK, defending a man convicted of rape and brutal attack, has drawn a lot of flak for saying that the crime his client committed is “not the worst” kind of crime that can be committed. 

The lawyer is defending Derrick Mutambuka, a 19-year-old migrant from Rwanda who was convicted of carrying out a brutal attack on the street in December 2015. His lawyer, Ekwall Tiwana, said that Derrick was young and drunk at the time of the crime, and that his raping two women was not the worst type of crime. “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,” Tiwana said.

“This young man was passed from pillar to post between his mother, father and grandmother, and passed from country to country. He went back to Rwanda for a short time, so, in his very young years, he was subject to a very unsatisfactory family life,” the lawyer said. 

Derrick had been in Sunderland, a city in northeast England — when after leaving a nightclub — he attacked a woman and forced himself on her by reaching his hand down her pants. Luckily, a passerby saved the woman. However, a few moments after that, he raped another woman in an alleyway. The prosecutor has described it as a ‘prolonged and sustained attack’.

The judge has sentenced Derrick with 10 years in prison.

Women’s activist Aisha Ali-Khan said that the comments were shocking.

“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,” she told The Daily Mail. She also said such arguments are what cause women who are raped to avoid reporting crimes against them. 

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