Home Australia The bravery of a rape survivor who embarrassed a top lawyer

The bravery of a rape survivor who embarrassed a top lawyer

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Victim Ellie Wilson said she was portrayed as the villain
  • Trial Attorney Guilty of Unsatisfactory Conduct

A rape victim has spoken of the “brutal” treatment she received from a defense lawyer found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct during her attacker’s trial.

Ellie Wilson crowdfunded to prepare a claim against Lorenzo Alonzi after her rapist, Daniel McFarlane, was jailed for five years.

Alonzi questioned whether he suffered from narcissistic personality disorder and told jurors it was “hard not to imagine some feeling of injustice” for McFarlane, 25, who the lawyer said had fallen in love with the “wrong person.”

Victim Ellie Wilson said she was portrayed as the villain

The College of Lawyers’ complaints committee concluded that his behavior constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct on six of the 11 issues raised.

Last night Mrs Wilson, 26, from Glasgow, told the Mail: “The whole complaints process was definitely challenging, time-consuming and even re-traumatizing.

‘With some of the comments he made to the jury after the conviction, I felt like he was trying to punish me and put me in my place for winning the trial.

“When he asked me if I had narcissistic personality disorder, there was no basis for it: he was trying to portray me as the villain.”

Wilson, who waived his anonymity, said he hoped the finding would show that defenders “cannot act with impunity.”

Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, said Alonzi’s behavior “really seems like the Middle Ages”.

McFarlane, Wilson’s ex-boyfriend, was found guilty of two rapes between December 2017 and February 2018 when he was a medical student at the University of Glasgow following a High Court trial in 2022.

Ms Wilson crowdfunded the £3,000 needed to access transcripts of the court proceedings before making an official complaint about the defense lawyer.

She complained that Alonzi failed to follow rules designed to protect women in rape trials from inappropriate questioning about their sexual history and character.

The College’s grievance committee concluded that the attorney “crossed that line repeatedly even after several rather lengthy exchanges with the trial judge.”

Did Lorenzo Alonzi cross the line repeatedly?

Lorenzo Alonzi ‘crossed the line repeatedly’

One of the judge’s interventions came after Alonzi asked Wilson if he had heard of narcissistic personality disorder and if he suffered from it.

Mrs. Wilson, who attempted suicide after the rapes, responded no.

The complaints committee found that asking questions without having seen a report or diagnosis made by a qualified medical professional was “discourteous to the court and abused the privileged position” Mr Alonzi occupied.

It also concluded that, during the closing speeches, Mr. Alonzi deliberately referred to

matters that had been declared inadmissible, despite knowing that the trial judge would probably be forced to order the jury to ignore them.

Wilson said Alonzi’s comments in court were misogynistic.

He added: ‘I think they were designed to bring me down. We talked about why victims don’t come forward… because they know they’re going to face such a brutal court experience.’

The Scottish Government said it recognized that current legislation on the regulation of legal services and complaints was “complex and outdated”.

The complaints commission of the Faculty of Lawyers has yet to decide what sanction it will impose on Mr. Alonzi. It could range from a written warning to a compensation order to be paid to the claimant of a maximum of £3,000.

A spokesperson for the Faculty of Lawyers said: ‘The process is ongoing. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to comment.”

Edinburgh-born Mr Alonzi was contacted for comment.

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