A judge has ruled that members of the Newcastle sex abuse gang didn't target their victims due to race or religion, but because they were "young, impressionable, naive and vulnerable."
Last month former director of public prosecutions Lord McDonald had claimed the abuse of white women by mostly Asian men was a "profoundly racist" crime, according to The Independent.
But Judge Penny Moreland said the men were not choosing their victims by race, as she sentenced members at Newcastle Crown Court.
During the trial the court heard that teenagers and young women were given drugs and alcohol by the men and then forced to have sex.
Prosecutor John Elvidge QC pointed out that all of the victims giving evidence in court were "white British."
However he added that the ethnicity of other victims was unclear, as one alleged victim was black but didn't talk to police and it was also claimed an Asian girl was spotted at one of the gang's parties.
He said "there is no evidence the defendants expressed any racial malice to the complainants" and claimed the victims were chosen on the basis they were less likely to inform the police.
Two gang members were sentenced yesterday (September 5) and sentencing is expected to continue today (September 6).
Jahangir Zaman was convicted of raping a girl by forcing her to take part in oral sex and was jailed for 29 years. He was also convicted of drug offences, conspiracy to incite prostitution and, in another investigation, conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.
Mohammed Azram has been imprisoned for 12 years and six months and prosecutors claim he played a “leading role." So far 17 men have been convicted in relation to the grooming gang.
During the investigation of the grooming gang Northumbria Police paid a former child rapist nearly £10,000 to work undercover, however it was widely criticised for doing do.