She told online magazine Spiked that there should be an end to the “persecution of old men” after the Jimmy Savile storm and following Yewtree investigation. She also said that complainants should no longer receive anonymity reports the BBC.

The NSPCC said to hear these views “from a highly experienced barrister simply beggars belief”, calling them “outdated and simply ill-informed” 

The Yewtree investigation found that BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall had indecently assaulting 14 girls, including one aged nine, between 1967 and 1985.

Ms Hewson said Hall’s crimes were “low-level misdemeanours” which “ordinarily… would not be prosecuted. What we have here is the manipulation of the British criminal justice system to produce scapegoats on demand. It is a grotesque spectacle,” she said.

“It’s time to end this prurient charade, which has nothing to do with justice or the public interest.”

She said that “touching a 17-year-old’s breast, kissing a 13-year-old, or putting one’s hand up a 16-year-old’s skirt” are not crimes comparable to gang rapes and murders and “anyone suggesting otherwise has lost touch with reality”.

The Hardwicke chambers, where Ms Hewson works in London, quickly distanced itself from her comments. In a statement, Hardwicke said: “We are shocked by the views expressed in Barbara Hewson’s article in Spiked.

“We did not see or approve the article pre-publication and we completely dissociate ourselves from its content and any related views she may have expressed via social media or any other media outlets.”

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