A Discussion of Recent Cases

 

 

 

Script:

(Words are taken from articles linked – dates refer to date of publishing for articles linked)

 

Liam Allan (15-12-17):

Liam Allan was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but his trial collapsed after police were ordered to hand over phone records. The case against Mr Allan at Croydon Crown Court was dropped after three days when the evidence on a computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim pestered him for “casual sex”.

He told the BBC his life had been “torn away” by the process, which included being on bail for two years. “You just think the worst case scenario… People have to start planning for life without you,” he said. Mr Allan faced a possible jail term of 12 years and being put on the sex offenders register for life had he been found guilty. He said he felt “pure fear” when he learned he had been accused of rape but would never be able to understand why the accusations were made.

There was no possible real gain from it other than destroying somebody else’s life… It’s something I will never be able to forgive or forget.” But he said he wanted to use his experience “to change the system”. “This wasn’t a case of people trying to prove my innocence, it was a case of people trying to prove I was guilty,” Mr Allan said.

It is understood police had looked at thousands of phone messages when reviewing evidence in the case, but had failed to disclose to the prosecution and defence teams the messages between the complainant and her friends which cast doubt on the allegations against Mr Allan. Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of “sheer incompetence” over the case.

Before the trial the defence team had repeatedly asked for the phone messages to be disclosed but was told there was nothing to disclose. Mr Hayes, who demanded the messages to be passed to the defence, said he believed the trial had come about because “everyone is under pressure”. “This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak,” he said.

Talking about the texts being withheld, Jerry Hayes said “it happens every day” (see Isaac Itiary source for quote).

 

Isaac Itiary (19-12-17):

Isaac Itiary, 25, was released from prison yesterday after it emerged that his 15-year-old alleged victim routinely posed a 19-year-old and lied about her age. Last Thursday Liam Allan’s rape trial collapsed because police failed to disclose damning text messages that showed his lover fantasised about being raped and asked Mr Allan for casual sex after she said she was attacked. Both cases were led by Met Detective Constable Mark Azariah who has not been suspended but is reportedly off active investigations while Scotland Yard reviews 30 cases approaching trial.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said it was “absolutely right” for the Met to carry out a review, adding: “The basic principle of British justice is at stakeThe proper disclosure obligations in these two cases have not been discharged, and that is deeply worryingWhat we need to know now is quite how widespread that is and whyThis is not a new thing. It should be made easy by technology. It’s a very basic thing why it’s not happeningI don’t want to prejudice a review which is going to be under way but I do think the CPS and the police do need to have a pretty hard long look in the mirror about this.”

Isaac Itiary was remanded in jail for four months after being charged with raping a child under 16 but had insisted that the girl told him repeatedly she was 19. His defence team demanded the police hand over her texts in September but only got them last week and found that the alleged victim, who was 15, had constantly lied about her age and posed as a 19-year-old.

Incredibly, his prosecution involved the same officer as the Liam Allan case, which collapsed last Thursday when it emerged he had failed to disclose thousands of damning text messages that showed a woman who said she was raped fantasised about being raped and asked Mr Allan for casual sex after she said she was attacked.

Mr Itiary was a month away from trial after being charged with six counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one count of making indecent photographs.

As a result he was deemed a risk to the public and placed in custody. But police had texts that showed that she had posed as a 19-year-old but this evidence was only released by detectives last week. The CPS said Mr Itiary’s prosecution had passed the ‘threshold test’ until the extra evidence arrived. A spokesman said: “On December 17, 2017, the police provided new material to the CPS, which had previously been requested, and this was reviewedProsecutors decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

The case has caused a crisis for police.

 

Samuel Armstrong (21-12-17):

A Conservative MP’s chief of staff has been cleared of raping a woman after they had sex in the MP’s Westminster office. Samuel Armstrong, aide to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, said he and the woman had consensual sex after drinking in the Houses of Parliament. He was found not guilty of two counts of rape and two of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court. The jury returned its verdicts after five-and-a-half hours of deliberation. CCTV captured the aide, from Danbury, Essex, and the woman – a parliamentary worker – dancing in an empty Westminster Hall before they headed off with her holding his arm on the evening of 13 October 2016.

Speaking at the end of the two-week trial, Mr Armstrong said: “My whole life has been turned upside downFor a year now I’ve not slept or eaten and I was innocentWere it not for the fact that crucial evidence was disclosed to my defence team just eight working days before trial there could well have been yet another miscarriage of justice in this case.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “The disclosure of evidence in this case was undertaken properly and in line with our legal obligationsWe disclosed additional material to the defence on 30 November – only a day after the police officer in charge and the CPS had first examined it.

The woman said she had given the story to journalists 15 hours after she and Mr Armstrong had sex. She sent a message to her boyfriend: “Keeping you in the loop. I’ve given it to Harry Cole who works for the Sun. It will either be in the Mail on Sunday or the Sun front page on Monday.” A later message said: “The media already knew so this is my way of controlling it to ensure I get a sympathetic writer.”

 

Danny Kay (22-12-17):

A man jailed for rape four years ago has had his conviction overturned after new Facebook evidence emerged. Danny Kay’s sentence was quashed by the Court of Appeal after deleted messages were found in an archived folder backing his version of events. The 26-year-old had denied rape at Derby Crown Court in 2013 but was jailed for four-and-a-half years. Judges ruled on Thursday the new evidence supported his claim the sex was consensual. The messages showed that jurors at the trial had been given an “edited and misleading” picture of the conversation between the pair, the court heard.

In his ruling, Mr Justice James Goss said: “We have come to the conclusion that, in a case of one word against another, the full Facebook message exchange provides very cogent evidence both in relation to the truthfulness and reliability of (the woman) … and the reliability of (Mr Kay’s) account and his truthfulness.”

Judges heard police asked the woman to retrieve Facebook messages that they had exchanged. Three pages of messages had been printed and the woman, who cannot be identified, told jurors she had deleted some to free up storage space. She had said there had been little contact after sex, but defence lawyers argued the new evidence showed otherwise.

Despite providing tampered evidence and perverting the course of justice, she is still protected by the law. She is quite evidently not a victim of a sexual assault yet, is still afforded full protection as if she were. Disgraceful.

 

Valentin Krzyzyk (23-12-17):

A judge has slammed the “reprehensible” failure by prosecutors to disclose evidence after a businessman was cleared of sexual assault. Valentin Krzyzyk was accused of groping a woman and calling her a “thot” — short for “that ho over there” — at a posh nightclub.

The complainant gave evidence saying she had been hysterical and crying after the alleged incident. But CCTV showed her drinking with pals by Mr Krzyzyk’s table before he shooed them away. She then appeared to carry on drinking before complaining to security, who ejected him. The video was only released to his barrister Narita Bahra on Monday after months of requests.

It should have automatically been sent to the defence as far back as February (withholding evidence – see Mackele Tekleliaimanot). The Southwark crown court jury decided the case as those involved were obscured for five seconds of the film. Mr Krzyzyk, 27, who lives near Buckingham Palace, was cleared of sexual assault at the Cirque le Soir nightclub in West London.

Recorder Michael Bromley-Martin later told the jury there had been a “serious failure on the part of the prosecution to disclose the CCTV” and has ordered an inquiry. He also said Ms Bahra’s persistence could have prevented a “serious risk of injustice”.

 

Brendan Powell Jr, Richard Condon and Sean Mooney (27-12-17):

Three jockeys questioned by police on suspicion of the rape of an 18-year-old woman in Wiltshire last year will not face any action. Brendan Powell Jr, Richard Condon and Sean Mooney are no longer under investigation by police. The men had denied any wrongdoing following an alleged incident at a house in Swindon on 3 November 2016.

The men were arrested during a ‘weigh-in’ before a race.

They had been released on police bail and were allowed to carry on riding competitively. “Following a detailed investigation by Wiltshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service has reviewed this case and has decided to close it as no further action,” a police spokesperson said.

Powell’s lawyer – Paul Morris, of BCL Solicitors – said: “Brendan Powell was arrested last year in relation to an allegation of a serious nature… Having co-operated with the police and maintained his innocence throughout, he is obviously pleased to have received confirmation from the Crown Prosecution Service that there will be no further action in respect of the allegation.”

Why this one failed, I do not know, I could not find much information on their exoneration only article after article deriding them for being ‘rapists’.

 

Mackele Tekleliaimanot (07-01-18):

A judge has blasted police and prosecutors after a man who spent a year behind bars was acquitted of a sex attack due to withheld CCTV evidence (see Valentin Krzyzyk).The man escaped a conviction after it emerged mid-way through his trial that police had failed to hand over crucial footage of him and his alleged victim. It is the latest sex attack case to collapse due to failures by police to hand over evidence which showed the suspect to be innocent.

Recorder Bruce Houlder, QC, said: “Incidents of failure in the disclosure process are daily becoming more apparent”. Mackele Tekleliaimanot spent a year in custody awaiting trial for the attempted rape of a woman who claimed she was attacked on her way home after a night out in London. The 29-year-old, who had no previous offences, was accused of pouncing on the drunken woman after she fell asleep on the Tube, dragging her into a park and attempting to rape her against a tree. He claimed their sexual encounter had been consensual.

But mid-way through his trial at the Old Bailey it emerged police had failed to hand over CCTV showing the alleged victim walking hand-in-hand with the suspect in a ‘happy frame of mind’ as the pair strolled to the park – having travelled together for at least two hours before the alleged attack.

The footage was not mentioned on disclosure schedules that are meant to be reviewed by the CPS well ahead of trial. Instead it was only disclosed to the defence after barristers reviewed the evidence at the start of the trial. The case was halted while the prosecutor reviewed the footage – which the investigating officer had said contained “nothing of relevance”.

On Friday, Mr Tekleliaimanot was then acquitted of attempted rape and assault by penetration when the prosecutor dropped the case as there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction” (look at that wording!!!). Judge Houlder has ordered an inquiry at the highest level of the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service into the blunder “to ensure that lessons are learnt” (we’ll look at lessons later). He said the footage had shown the allegations made to be “inaccurate in some important detailsThis case shows that something continues to be seriously wrong with the process of proper disclosure” he said.

 

Samson Makele (15-01-18):

Lawyers are calling for urgent action to avoid miscarriages of justice after another rape case collapsed because key evidence was not disclosed by police. Samson Makele, 28, feared being deported to Eritrea if he was found guilty of raping a woman he met at Notting Hill Carnival. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped its case four days before he was due to go on trial after Mr Makele’s lawyers presented photos showing him and the complainant “cuddling and smiling” in bed.

The 35-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons (emphasis mine), told police Mr Makele raped her and prevented her from leaving his flat in August 2016. She said she only managed to escape the flat after he fell asleep, but the photographs undermined her account. Mr Makele consistently denied the charge and said sex with the woman was consensual, but an initial request to see the photographs was turned down. Paris Theodorou, Mr Makele’s solicitor, said prosecutors told his team that apart from selected text messages nothing else on the defendant’s phone could be disclosed.

So we got the telephone and commissioned our own forensic download,” he told The Independent. After being sent more than a dozen photographs, showing Mr Makele and the complainant naked, smiling and “snuggling” together in bed, the CPS announced it would offer no evidence against him. Prosecutors formally dropped the case at a pre-trial review hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, because there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

Mr Makele said he was relieved but described the effect the 18-month ordeal had, adding: “I cannot sleep, I can’t go anywhere, even for a day.” As a suspected rapist he had been subject to restrictive bail conditions including a curfew and the seizure of his passport and travel documents. “It was a huge restriction of his liberty,” Mr Theodorou said. “Not only could he potentially go to prison but he could have been deported to Eritrea.”

 

Stephen Glascoe, Patrick Graham and three other men (19-01-18)

Charges against five men accused of being in a pedophile ring have been dropped two weeks before trial and their accuser labelled “serial fantasist” after it was revealed the woman had made false allegations on multiple occasions. A medical expert also said that the woman’s account of her backyard abortion – allegedly performed on her by one of the accused – had been lifted from TV show portrayals of abortions on programs like ‘Call the Midwife’ and the film ‘Vera Drake’.

In 2016 the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons (what!?), made accusations against the men, saying that she had been abused at parties between 3 and 15 years of age. She said she was forced to have an abortion and help the men torture other kids. The allegations saw retired GP Stephen Glascoe, 67, retired social worker Patrick Graham, 61, and three other men due to stand trial on January 29 for their alleged involvement in a Cardiff paedophile ring in the 1990s.

During her most recent rape accusations, the woman told police that one of the men had sent her a package from Amazon that included wires twisted in the very same way that her hands had been allegedly tied while they abused her. She later conceded that she had actually ordered the parcel herself.

She made another complaint in 2012 that saw her awarded £22,000 in damages from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, despite refusing to cooperate with police during the investigation. As a teenager, the woman had admitted to making false rape allegations. Ten years ago she also alleged on a BBC program that she had been raped by another guest, but no charges were ever brought.

The five men, who were due to stand trial on January 29 over the woman’s most recent accusations, have now called for a national inquiry into how police handle rape and sexual abuse allegations. Glascoe said while his solicitors had been cautiously optimistic, he felt the case was on a “knife-edgeWe have been living in fearThis issue of automatically believing complainants [in sexual abuse cases] conflicts with the requirement of an objective investigation.”

Glascoe hit out at director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders over her comments that many men cleared of rape were not falsely accused. Defence lawyers called for prosecutors to drop the charges after receiving evidence about the woman’s therapy and her close relationship with Detective Constable Beverly Norman.

Glascoe’s lawyer Christopher Clee wrote that the woman had “throughout manipulated the proceedings, disclosing incidents of alleged abuse as and when it suits [sic] her purposes; these allegations emerging through counselling sessions which in themselves are of dubious standingShe has found a powerful ally in the police, who have acted upon her allegations without question, ignoring obvious lines of inquiry and seeking to undermine potential evidence that contradicts her allegations”.

A South Wales police spokesman said: “Throughout any investigation we regularly communicate with the victim in order to offer them support and keep them updated on progressThis particular case involved a vulnerable woman who required additional support, not only throughout the investigation but in the lead-up to the court caseShe lived outside Wales, which meant that officers had to rely on electronic means of communication, such as text messages and email.

 

Oliver Mears (19-01-18):

The case against an Oxford University student who had a rape charge “hanging over his head” for two years has been dropped on the eve of his trial. Oliver Mears had been on bail since his arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault in July 2015, when he was 17. A judge criticised prosecutors’ “last-minute” decision to drop the case, made after new evidence emerged last week. Surrey Police admitted its initial investigation into Mr Mears, now 19, had been flawed.

He learned this week that prosecutors would offer no evidence against him after a diary which supported his case was uncovered. At Guildford Crown Court, where the case was formally thrown out, Judge Jonathan Black heard the diary “tips the balance” in favour of the defendant. Prosecutor Sarah Lindop said it contained previously unseen evidence which was “not of assistance to the prosecution” (there it is again!). Other “third-party” material had also contributed to the decision, she said. Surrey Police said it is now reviewing all of its rape cases “to ensure that investigations are thorough, timely, effective and compliant with policy and guidelines”.

A file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in May last year and Mr Mears was charged a month later. The judge criticised “unnecessary delays” in the case, which Mr Mears and the complainant had “hanging over their heads” for two years. “Had the investigation been carried out properly in the first instance, [it] would not have led to this position”, he said.

Judge Black demanded the head of the CPS rape and sexual offences unit write to him within 28 days “with a full explanation of what went wrong”. He would then decide whether any action was required. As Mr Mears’ mother left court, she said she was “delighted” at the result.

 

Discussion/Response(s):

 

Police failing to disclose crucial evidence about defendants, report finds:

The police and Crown Prosecution Service have been accused of failing to disclose crucial information about cases, resulting in defendants’ right to a fair trial potentially being undermined, according to a new report.

Compiled by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, it found that it was rare for police officers to tell prosecutors about evidence that could undermine their case or assist the accused’s – known in legal terms as unused material.

Their recording of sensitive and non-sensitive evidence was “routinely poor”, it said, adding that prosecutors in turn were failing to challenge the poor recording of material and carry out their duty to consider what to hand over to the defence throughout a case. This lead to delays and even to trials collapsing, it said.

Inspectors drew their conclusions after examining 146 crown court case files, including 56 that the CPS identified as failing as a result of disclosure issues.

Inspectors found that in 55.5 per cent of the cases they reviewed there were obvious disclosure issues before a defendant was charged. Prosecutors only dealt fully with these issues in only one in four cases and in 38.3 per cent of cases they were not dealt with at all.

Mr Atkinson, partner at Tuckers Solicitors, said the problem did not just come down to police who deliberately disregarded their duties, however. “There are some police officers for whom that is true but there are others who do not understand the significance of material they have in their possession or think it’s that important” he said.

The new report has made nine recommendations, including training police officers to deal with disclosure more effectively. Kevin McGinty, co-author of the report and HM Chief Inspectorate of the CPS, said a failure to address disclosure “undermines the principles of a fair trial which is the foundation of our systemIt adds delay, cost and increases the stress faced by witnesses, victims and defendantsThe findings of this inspection will surprise no one who works within the criminal justice system as there appears to be a culture of defeated acceptance that issues of disclosure will often only be dealt with at the last moment, if at all. If the police and CPS are ever going to comply fully with what the law requires of them by way of disclosure, then there needs to be a determined cultural change.

Lawyers welcomed the new report as a first attempt to fix the root cause of the problem. In a digital age where vast quantities of evidence no longer need to be copied into paper files and can be simply stored on a hard drive, there was less reason to restrict disclosure due to the costs involved, the report said.

I specifically failed to give the date of this article when I introduced it because, when do you think it was published? In response to these cases I just mentioned?

Nope, it was published on Monday 17 July 2017! Yes, six-whole-months before the first of these cases broke the news.

 

Review of all cases:

 

Rapists across the UK could try to appeal their convictions after two cases collapsed because police sat on texts that proved the men in the dock were innocent, a leading barrister said today. Isaac Itiary, 25, was released from prison yesterday after it emerged that his 15-year-old alleged victim routinely posed a 19-year-old and lied about her age.

Last Thursday Liam Allan’s rape trial collapsed because police failed to disclose damning text messages that showed his lover fantasised about being raped and asked Mr Allan for casual sex after she said she was attacked. Both cases were led by Met Detective Constable Mark Azariah who has not been suspended but is reportedly off active investigations while Scotland Yard reviews 30 cases approaching trial.

Barrister Jerry Hayes asked the judge in Mr Allan’s case to end the Croydon Crown Court trial and said today: “If there’s an ongoing investigation and you’re about to go to trial I would demand in writing a letter for police and the CPS that there’s nothing that could undermine the prosecution”. When asked about convicted sex offenders, he said: “They need to look at it again. There is a possibility there have been some very serious miscarriages of justice”.

Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry, the Metropolitan Police announced that every live case being investigated by its Child Abuse and Sexual Offences squad was now being reviewed to ensure that all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared.

A top QC says police automatically believe complainants in sex attack cases. Mark George QC says the policy is what got officers in trouble over the case of Liam Allan.

Writing on his blog he said: “The attitude of the police officer who failed to consider that the material easily passed the statutory test for disclosure was engendered by the very idea now written into the official policy of the College of Policing that means that a complainant in a sex case must be believedAny police officer who considered that her or his duty was to investigate the case fearlessly and with a view to seeing if the allegation would stand up in court or was likely to fail should have considered the text messages between the complainant and the accused in this case.”

 

How did Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, head of the CPS, respond to this!?

Photographs and social media accounts do not necessarily need to be fully checked in rape cases, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service has suggested. Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, insisted she does not believe anyone is in jail after being wrongly convicted because of failures to disclose crucial evidence.

Ms Saunders’ insistence that the justice system is working comes after Scotland Yard launched an urgent review of approximately 30 sex cases due to go to trial after the collapse of two rape prosecutions in a week in December. Anna Soubry, the Tory MP and former barrister, said she was “appalled” at Ms Saunders’ “ill-informed comments” relating to disclosure.

I’m appalled as well – I’ve listed TEN cases that have come to public attention in a little over FIVE weeks, all of which show gross negligence that could have falsely imprisoned SIXTEEN men.

Ms Saunders rejected suggestions that it should have been obvious to check for photographs.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well it is not because if you have a case where people have briefly known each other there is nothing that says there will be photographs. What the police obligation is is to pursue all reasonable lines of enquiry.

>Reasonable lines of enquiry

>Don’t bother looking for photographic evidence

Pick one

That doesn’t mean going into every single avenue of your life. They would look to see if there was contact as in text messages which they did and which we looked at and we served. But they did not know what else was on the phone.

They did not know what else was on the phone!? Because they didn’t look!

Ms Saunders said as a result the “prosecutors had no idea that there were photographs there”.

She rejected the accusation that failure to check for photographs was a glaring omission as she suggested trawling a person’s social media and pictures was not always necessary. She said: “We don’t look into every single aspect of everybody’s life. There has got to be a proportionate response.

 

She was then accused of complacency over justice failures. I cannot fathom, even for but a moment, how someone could come to that conclusion!? Alison Saunders was described by one Tory MP as “part of the problem” and by a judge was “complacent” after she said that the justice system was working even though failures with evidence have led to a string of trial collapses.

 

Alison Saunders then featured on BBC Radio 4 “Woman’s Hour and argued that there’s too much data on phones, laptops, etc, for the police to analyse – they simply don’t have the time and resources! But, wait a second, that’s the job of the police! You can’t expect the police to do a half-assed job and get away with it because “muh, it’s too much work”. The barrister who cleared Liam Allen did so because she went through the messages and did so in ONE NIGHT! 40,000+ messages in one night and she did it! Yet, Alison Saunders DPP thinks that’s too much to ask!

Then she argues that information, pictures, etc shouldn’t be shown in court (as is already illegal thanks to Section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999) because it might harm the complainant’s reputation – drunken pictures of them at a party might be too much!

Ultimately, in the cases of Liam Allan; Isaac Itiary; Samuel Armstrong; Valentin Krzyzyk; Mackele Tekleliaimanot; Samson Makele; Stephen Glascoe, Patrick Graham & three other men and, finally, Oliver Mears, police had evidence that would exonerate the accused from these outrageously false allegations but refused to do so on the grounds it would damage their chances of conviction. In the case of Danny Kay, they were provided with tampered evidence yet, still accepted it. That’s right, the police were not operating in the pursuit of truth and justice but, in the pursuit of incarceration. You are no longer seen as a recipient of an allegation but a person destined for prison, by any means necessary. Look at the case of Mark Pearson where the police themselves tampered with the evidence in an attempt to increase the chances of a conviction.

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