Woman who was fired for stress-re­lated sick days be­fore trial is re­in­stated

Daily Record - - INFO - JAMES MONCUR j.moncur@dai­

A SEX at­tack vic­tim who was sacked by the tax­man has got her job back – thanks to the Daily Record.

The call han­dler, a can­cer sur­vivor, was axed just weeks after she gave har­row­ing tes­ti­mony at the trial of the se­rial sex beast who as­saulted her.

The 48-year-old was one of three women tar­geted by rapist Ja­son Ok­wara in Dundee be­tween 2004 and 2012.

A judge at the High Court in Glas­gow blasted the brute for his “sense of en­ti­tle­ment to women and sex” as she jailed him for nine years last De­cem­ber.

We told last month how the woman lost her job be­cause it was ruled she had taken too many sick days off work in the build up to last Novem­ber’s trial.

But on Mon­day she was given the shock news that she’d been re­in­stated.

Last night we ap­proached the woman, Sharon – which is not her real name – for com­ment but she de­clined to speak to us.

A source close to the case said: “If it hadn’t been for the Daily Record’s sup­port and cover­age she would never have got her job back – the ar­ti­cle def­i­nitely threw the cat amongst the pi­geons.

“She’s been told her job has been re­in­stated with im­me­di­ate ef­fect and all she wants to do now is get back to nor­mal­ity and start work­ing with her old col­leagues again.

“She’s been told she’s get­ting a new fe­male team leader and that all her old col­leagues are root­ing for her.

“As well as the Record, the PCS union have also re­ally helped her and kept the pres­sure up on HMRC.

“She hopes this leads to changes at the way the HMRC treats its em­ploy­ees.”

Sharon had worked for HMRC for two-and-a-half years be­fore her dis­missal.

She claimed her bosses were aware of the case and the stress the trial was caus­ing her but ig­nored it – which they de­nied.

The mum of two, who was on the verge of at­tempt­ing sui­cide, said pre­vi­ously: “The at­tack has af­fected me and my part­ner very badly – we have re­ally strug­gled to deal with it.

“At the start of last year, I was told I would have to give ev­i­dence at Ok­wara’s trial in Novem­ber.

“I was very wor­ried about it and my health and work suf­fered even more.

“No one warned me how ter­ri­fy­ing giv­ing ev­i­dence would be. Ok­wara’s lawyer stood there like a mata­dor and I was his bull.”

Ok­wara, 45, who is orig­i­nally from the US, pled not guilty to all charges, forc­ing his vic­tims to give ev­i­dence and re­live the hor­ror of the at­tacks.

The first rape was car­ried out on a “par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble” woman in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, in 2004.

Ok­wara struck again five years later when his vic­tim “sim­ply froze” as he told her “your body says yes” while rap­ing her. Sharon

SUP­PORT Our front pages ex­posed vic­tim’s or­deal

was at­tacked in 2012. In her dis­missal let­ter from HMRC, bosses claimed she had taken 79 days off sick in 12 months.

The let­ter stated she “did not ad­vise her ab­sences may be linked to the se­ri­ous sex­ual as­sault”.

In a fur­ther blow to Sharon, her daugh­ter dis­cov­ered Ok­wara was work­ing at a ben­e­fits of­fice in Dundee’s Well­gate be­fore his trial last year. She took a photo of the beast be­hind a desk and alerted the of­fice man­ager.

She was con­cerned that the sex at­tacker would have ac­cess to her files and those of vul­ner­a­ble women, in­clud­ing sin­gle fe­male par­ents.

A Depart­ment for Work and Pe­nions source said Ok­wara did not have ac­cess to the depart­ment’s full data­base and in­sisted crim­i­nal con­vic­tion checks are car­ried out on all tem­po­rary staff.

Re­fer­ring to Sharon’s re­in­state­ment, an HMRC spokesman said: “We do not com­ment on in­di­vid­ual cases. We have ro­bust em­ploy­ment poli­cies to en­sure we meet our le­gal obli­ga­tions to our peo­ple.”

We have ro­bust poli­cies to en­sure we meet our obli­ga­tions HMRC

MON­STER Evil Ja­son Ok­wara was found guilty of three at­tacks

VIC­TIM ‘Sharon’ was trau­ma­tised by prospect of re­liv­ing at­tack

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