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Student found Not Guilty of rape- St Albans Crown Court

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
9 December, 2021
Sexual Offences
Rape Accusations

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Case study summary

Our client was a 22-year-old man who had been accused of rape by his ex-partner. We found inconsistences in the prosecution case and presented a strong defence. After waiting four years for his trial, he was unanimously acquitted following only 2 hours of jury deliberation.

Case study

We were instructed by a university student who had been accused of rape by his ex-partner. The allegation had a serious effect on his mental health, resulting in him being placed in a psychiatric ward for a large portion of the investigation. He had never been involved with the criminal legal system and came to us after he was charged, when he realised he needed specialist lawyers to prepare his defence.

The single incident was alleged to have occurred in 2017 but our client was not charged until 2020. This was far too long for anybody to wait for justice.

Our client explained that his relationship with the complainant was loving and compassionate at first. When intimate they would both engage in consensual 'rape play' which would involve a fantasy of removing this consent. Both of them ensured rules and safe words were agreed upon. This would remove the risk of miscommunication whilst acting on their fantasy.

Neither our client nor the complainant had ever felt the need to use their safe word. In fact, neither of them had endured any sexual issues before. However, this all changed when the complainant began to cheat on our client with another man.

The prosecution case was that our client had raped his then partner after a long argument in her home. She said that she screamed for him to stop but he did not. The prosecution's key witness was a man hiding in the adjacent room. He stated that he could hear her being raped.

Our expert lawyers could see clear issues just from the initial facts. We worked tirelessly for just over a year to prepare our client's defence ready for a four-day trial. We instructed a barrister who specialised in sexual offences and worked closely with them to identify the inconsistencies in the prosecution's case.

We discovered that the key witness in the case was having an affair with the complainant. He provided two completely different witness statements, the second of which matched the account that the complainant had provided. We made enquiries as to why these statements were so different and found that the police had allowed him to listen to the complainant's account before providing his second statement. It was clear to us that the investigation had not been conducted properly and there were genuine errors in the way the case had been prepared. There was also a question as to why the witness had not come to help the complainant if he believed she was being raped.

Across the days of trial, our successful questioning placed doubt in the minds of the jury. We made it clear that the sexual intercourse was consensual and brought in witnesses to testify in support of his good character.

Through our efforts, the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after only two hours of discussion. Our client's long wait to clear his name was over. He left court that day acquitted of a serious offence and was able to continue his studies. He eventually went on to publish his works in marine biology.

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