UK Police and Prosecutors Say Sorry After Student Wrongly Accused of Rape
Sputnik/ Vladimir FedorenkoEurope19:59 30.01.2018(updated 20:00 30.01.2018) Get short URL1
The Met and the CPS carried out an urgent review into the Liam Allan, who has said he plans to sue the Met over the failures to disclose key evidence before his trial at Croydon Crown Court in south London.
The Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have apologized after text messages which proved a student’s innocence were never shown to the defense.
Liam Allan, 22, was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but his trial collapsed last month.
The prosecution was dropped three days into the trial when it was revealed 40,000 text messages had been found on a computer disk which suggested the alleged victim had pestered him for “casual sex” and had discussed her sexual fantasies.
“University is meant to be the best years of your life and the last two years have been spent worrying and not concentrating on anything. It has completely ripped apart my normal personal life,” he told the BBC last month.
Faced 12 Years in Jail
Mr. Allan could have been jailed for up to 12 years and been put on the sex offenders’ register for life if he had been found guilty.
Earlier this month another young man had a rape charge dropped against him on the eve of his trial.
Oliver Mears, an Oxford University student, had been on bail since his arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault in July 2015, when he was 17.
Surrey Police admitted its investigation into Mr Mears, who is now 19, had been flawed.
Apology Given to Liam Allan
Commander Richard Smith, from the Met, and Claire Lindley, the CPS Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South, have met with Mr. Allan and apologized to him in person for his ordeal.
“It is clear from our review that both the MPS and the CPS did not carry out disclosure procedures properly in this case. Although we are confident there was no malicious intent in this case, it was important that we carried this urgent review and learn lessons from it,” said Cmdr. Smith.
Following the review the CPS has agreed a joint protocol with all police forces in the UK governing the examination of digital media.
There will also be more training on disclosure to all police officers and a number of other changes that were included in a National Disclosure Improvement Plan which was agreed by the CPS, National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing and published on Friday, January 26.
600 Rape Cases Reviewed
The Met and the CPS is also reviewing 600 cases where people have been charged with rape and are heading for trial, to check whether full disclosure has been made in those cases.
This has involved the secondment of 120 police officers, who have been taken off the work of catching criminals.
“This case has highlighted some systemic and deep-rooted issues that have been apparent to those working in the criminal justice system for some time,” said Ms. Lindley.
“The prosecutors involved in this case did not sufficiently challenge the police about digital material. That meant that it took longer than was necessary to drop the case against Mr Allan. For that, the CPS has offered an unreserved apology to him and his family,” she said.
“There are important lessons for us to learn from this case. Equally there are important lessons for the criminal justice system,” said Cmdr. Smith.