In tonight’s WDD: the victims of John Worboys successfully challenge his prison release, Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant, Zelda Perkins, speaks out about the non-disclosure agreement she was forced to sign and the hashtag #IBelieveHer trends on Twitter following the verdict of the Belfast rugby rape trial.
Victims of ‘black cab rapist’ win challenge to overturn his release
The women targeted by John Worboys, also known as the ‘black cab rapist’, have won a high court challenge which forces the Parole Board to reconsider its decision to release him from prison.
Worboys was found guilty in 2009 of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 female passengers, and one case of raping a woman. Earlier this year, after Worboys had served eight years in prison, it was announced he would be released on parole, evoking a reaction of widespread criticism of the Parole Board.
One of the women who brought the High Court challenge (who cannot be identified) said she was “thrilled” that Worboys would be staying in prison and explained that she fought the case in order to spare victims of sex offences the aguish that she’s been through.
She said: “I have always said one of the reasons I am doing this is to give women the confidence that they can come forward and it will be dealt with. I wouldn’t want another woman to go through what I have been through in the past 10 to 15 years.
“I want women to be able to go to the police, report a crime and have it dealt with adequately.”
Prime Minister Teresa May praised the women who pushed for Worboys’ parole as “brave”. The head of the Parole Board, Nick Hardwick, resigned ahead of the ruling, in a move that was welcomed by Justice Secretary David Gauke.
Gauke said: “I accept Professor Hardwick’s resignation and believe this is the correct decision in light of the serious failings outlined in today’s judgment.”
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Harvey Weinstein’s ex-assistant’s non-disclosure agreement prevented her from seeking medical help
Zelda Perkins, former assistant to the film producer Harvey Weinstein, has spoken out about the severe non-disclosure agreement she was forced to sign after quitting her job at Miramax.
Perkins worked with Weinstein in the Nineties while he was in the UK and Europe, but decided to leave the company following allegations of sexual assault against him. One allegation was made by a colleague of hers, who claimed that he tried to rape her.
Speaking to Parliament’s women and equalities select committee, she described how the agreement she signed was “morally lacking on every level”. She said it prevented her from speaking to “friends, colleagues, family members or any medical practitioner or legal representative about anything involving the case”. It also meant that Perkins struggled to speak to a trauma counselor or seek the physiological support she needed.
Perkins never even had her own copy of the agreement that she was made to sign and is calling for reforms to laws around such documents.
Read more on this story here.
The Belfast rugby rape trial verdict sparks outrage on social media
The pair, who play for Ireland and Ulster rugby team, had both denied allegations of raping the same woman in Jackson’s house on 28 June 2016.
The jury also found Blane McIlroy to be not guilty of exposure and Rory Harrison to be not guilty of perverting the course of justice and withholding information.
The verdict, which was delivered after a nine week trial, sparked outrage on social media, with thousands of users taking to Twitter to defend the alleged victim. Within hours of the verdict being announced, the hashtag #IBelieveHer was trending on Twitter, with people criticising the justice system and calling for improved support for rape victims.