18:47, February 24 149 0 theguardian.com

2020-02-24 18:47:04
Alleged UK victims of Harvey Weinstein hail guilty verdict

Alleged victims of Harvey Weinstein in the UK, who are bringing their own cases against the former Hollywood producer, have hailed the women who came forward to bring him to justice.

Weinstein, 67, who could be sentenced to as much as 29 years in prison after a jury in New York found him guilty of rape and sexual assault on Monday, also faces a series of claims that he abused women during regular visits to London over the past four decades.

“This is the day that truth has won. This is a momentous day and this is the day that hiding behind vicious, petty, transactional defence was slaughtered,” said the actor Lysette Anthony, who alleges that Weinstein raped her at her London home in the 1980s. “That’s what we did and I am very proud to be part with you all.”

The Hollyoaks star paid tribute to the women who testified in court and attacked Weinstein’s defence team for the way they attempted to shield a “very rich, serial, predatory rapist”.

Jill Greenfield, a partner at the London law firm Fieldfisher, is representing six women in civil compensation claims against Weinstein. She said the producer’s conviction was “fantastic news” and “a relief for everybody”.

She said: “People underestimate the way in which juries can see through these things. Lots of women don’t get to bring claims for sexual assaults, but they should.” Greenfield said British police were still investigating the claims against Weinstein.

Anthony went on: “This is a seismic moment for victims of sexual assault around the world. Victim-blaming is too easy a sport and the arrogance with which the victims were dealt with was distasteful.

“The important thing here is that these women have been believed – that is a hugely positive message to send to anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault. All credit to the jury for seeing the truth of the situation.

“This will change the way people perceive rape within a so-called relationship and make it easier for women to report rape who had feared previously they wouldn’t be believed. No one is above the law – not even Harvey Weinstein.”

Rowena Chiu, Weinstein’s former assistant and one of the British women who alleges he sexually abused her, said: “I’m staggered that it took over 100 brave women to come forward, six of whom harrowingly had to take the stand, only to achieve some measure of justice.”

Following the verdict, Chiu said it was “surreal” to hear Weinstein had been led away to prison in handcuffs, where he will now await sentencing on 11 March. She added that it had been a “momentous day” but was puzzled that the jury found Weinstein not guilty on the most serious charges of predatory sexual assault.

Chiu called it “partial justice”, but added: “I don’t want to diminish the accomplishments of these six women and the solidarity and sisterhood that the group of survivors have. They’ve come together and called for a common goal. So, obviously, today is momentous and I don’t want to take away from that.”

She said she had been expecting an acquittal. “You’re often expecting the worst and I feel hugely relieved and somewhat vindicated that there’s been some conviction.”

Chiu, who worked for Weinstein in the 1990s, accuses him of attempted rape. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Weinstein’s lawyers have already said they will appeal in the New York case. He is also facing charges in Los Angeles.

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