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Jury Find Teenager Not Guilty of False Rape Allegation

Not guilty verdict - client exonerated
3 December, 2018
Sexual Offences
Rape Accusations

Lead Lawyer

Case study summary

Our vulnerable teenage client was found Not Guilty of a violent rape and a serious sexual assault by a jury at Oxford Crown Court. The police and CPS had treated our client shockingly. We battled hard for our client to the very end to get to the truth.

Case study

Our client was a vulnerable 17 year old boy accused of a violent sexual assault by a classmate. He was a young American who had moved here with his Irish father to help care for a sick relative. At first, he felt new and exotic and had some success in making friends. After a while, the honeymoon period wore off and he became increasingly lonely and isolated. It was at this time that he met a girl who would go on to accuse him of despicable acts.

She was also 17, but had a troubled past. She told police that he had twice invited her into his home where he gave her enough alcohol to cause her to pass out. On the first occasion, she said she woke up while being sexually assaulted, strangled and suffocated with a pillow. The girl went even further, and claimed that she had accepted another invitation from our client the following week where he again plied her with alcohol until she passed out. When she woke up this time, he was violently raping her. Fearing for her life, she claimed that she had pushed him off and had run downstairs from the attic room where they had been. She claimed she had passed the client’s mother and little sister on her way out.

A complaint was made to Thames Valley Police. It came through the girl's grandma who had confronted the complainant after finding an empty bottle of vodka in her bedroom. Fearing the wrath of her family the allegation of rape had apparently come tumbling out as a way of deflecting the attention away from her own behaviour. During her outburst, she claimed that the client had cut her with a knife and poured hot wax on her breasts. When they were called and heard the girl's account, they immediately treated our client as a potentially dangerous rapist. They raced out to arrest him at home before he could hurt anyone else.

Being under 18, he required special treatment at the police station – something they could not provide in his local area. He was bundled in the back of a van and driven 300 miles away. Once at a suitable police station he was subjected to a gruelling interview. For reasons unknown, the duty solicitor who was allocated at the time actively encouraged him to tell the police everything. This was poor legal advice.

During his interview, he made a passing comment that the voices in his head told him what to do. Almost unbelievably, the police asked him to explain a potentially complex and undiagnosed mental health condition to them. Even more staggering was that his duty solicitor allowed him to try. Because of this horrible mistake, the client was transported to a secure unit where he underwent a series of long and invasive psychological assessments. All the while his parents were kept in the dark by the police who refused them access to their own teenage son.

When the police finally released him, having charged him with the offences, the family were so traumatised that they didn’t know where to turn. Thankfully, they did their research and found our specialist rape solicitors. We were immediately shocked and appalled by the treatment he had received and promised the family that no stone would be left unturned in the search for justice for their son.

We immediately got to work with the client. He was a genuine and sweet-natured young man who appeared to be the victim of his own naivety. He had accepted the friendship of the complainant as she offered a way out of his isolation and loneliness. She was well known in the community for being a liar and someone who had issues with alcohol and drugs. Despite this, the client’s parents never judged her and were just pleased he appeared to have made a friend.

We knew this was a very serious allegation so we set out to speak to various witnesses in person, and we visited the house where the assaults were alleged to have taken place.  Immediately we saw things were not adding up. The house was too small for her account to make sense. You could hear everything from every room, no matter where you were. The attic 'stairs' were a tall skinny ladder that no normal person could ever run down. The client’s mother described her standing in the doorway of the living room after she said she had been drugged and raped, chatting about her plans for the coming weekend.

As we prepared for a Crown Court trial we battled with the CPS for information we felt might hold the key to unlocking the case. Eventually, that information came to us in the form of an iPad that belonged to the accuser but not until we had argued with a judge to order its release.

When we got it we could scarcely believe that the CPS had failed in the most fundamental way possible. The internet history of the iPad contained page after page of Rape Porn. Not light role-play but brutal and disturbing videos, some of which played out exactly the scenarios that had been alleged against our client. All of them pre-dated the allegation.

Almost unbelievably, the CPS dismissed the Rape Porn evidence off as irrelevant and pressed ahead with the trial. We had no choice but to present our evidence to a jury who, like us, immediately realised our client was innocent. They found him Not Guilty of all charges.

He went home with his family after four days at trial a free man. Winning his case will never fully compensate him from the trauma of the false complaint, nor from the poor and unprofessional conduct of the CPS. However, with our support and the jury's verdict. He now has the opportunty to start to rebuild his life.

 

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