Victims advocate says Grace Millane trial was 'abhorrent' and pushed acceptable limits of defence

A victims advocate says the treatment of women in court needs to change.

Louise Nicholas told The AM Show the trial of the man convicted of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane was "brutal".

"What happened in Grace's trial was just abhorrent and for her family to hear all that really pushed the limits," she said Friday.

Nicholas, a New Zealand campaigner for the rights of women who have been victims of sexual violence, said Millane's treatment during the court proceedings made it appear as if she was the one on trial.

"She didn't have her voice, she couldn't defend it but... why should she have to? Why defend yourself when you're not on trial?"

The trial of Millane's killer drew intense public interest, and intimate details of her sexual interests and encounters were revealed in court.  

The defence argued that Millane's death was the result of consensual rough sex gone wrong. The Crown said the 28-year-old man intended to kill her by strangling her. 

Details of Grace's sexual preferences and behaviour were brought up by the defence in court to prove she was interested in rough sex.

Nicholas says she understands defence lawyers need to question evidence.

"But they don't have to do it in such a brutal way."

Nicholas says courts and the public need to remember victims do not go out looking for terrible things to happen to them. 

"It is a crime that happens to them. They don't go out looking for it. As a society let's stop judging our women."

Millane's killer will be sentenced on Friday in the Auckland High Court, three months after he was found guilty of her murder.