The 'Grotesque Spectacle' that is Barbara Hewson's Argument

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So, in the wake of the scandals of Jimmy Savile, Bill Roache and most recently Jimmy Tarbuck, one female Barrister is arguing that the age of consent for sex should be lowered to 13. Obviously, that would solve this kind of problem…

Barbara Hewson, a barrister at Hardwicke Chambers, has described the arrests of Rolf Harris and Max Clifford as entirely wrong, claiming that they have nothing to do with ‘justice or public interest’. Is it really in the public interest to allow pre-pubescent teenagers to run around sleeping with each other? Her argument is also ill-timed as Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree only recently released a report that revealed Savile had committed sex offences on 450 people across the UK. Whilst lowering the age of consent might mean many of his offences would disappear, the damage caused by them would not.

Ms Hewson’s argument has caused public backlash from individual comments such as, ‘I cannot believe a barrister would make such a comment. A woman barrister at that. She should know better. At 13 a girl is still a child especially to her parents.’ Officials have been quick to answer too with the NSPCC stating that to hear such opinions from a woman of her status was ‘beggars belief’.

Whilst it may be true that you’re innocent until proven guilty, recently re-arrested Gary Glitter’s criminal record, including possession of child pornography and child sex abuse, paints a tainted picture of a world of entertainers who abused their positions of trust. Ms Hewson added further insult by claiming that Stuart Hall’s acts were ‘low-level misdemeanours’ that would not normally be prosecuted.

Ms Hewson stated she believed the allegations were a result of the ‘manipulation of the British criminal-justice system to produce scapegoats on demand.' But her attempt at trivialising the impact of such actions is most definitely the more grotesque spectacle.

Amelia Sweeney

I'm an English Lit and Greek Civilisation student at the University of Leeds and I am a complete self-confessed film and book fanatic.

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