A judge has criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for shoddy evidence and said a case should never have been brought to court after a former pupil at a £30,000 a-year public school was cleared of sexually assaulting a friend.It was a shambles from start to finish. Nor was it just the hapless CPS on the hook:
Judge Morris said he would never have allowed the case to go ahead if he had known that the allegations had not been properly investigated.
When the CPS opted to press ahead despite the judge’s reservations, the trial was beset with problems as gaping holes in the police investigation emerged.Oh, surely not!
The jury struggled to follow a video interview with the alleged victim, and it was left to the defence team to produce a transcript. Police experts had been unable to download key texts sent and received by the woman, and had resorted to taking photos of the screens which were barely legible.
Forced into yet another adjournment because evidence was not ready, Judge Morris exclaimed: “I would never have started this case if I had known it would take this course.”
It then emerged that vital messages sent by the alleged victim hours after the incident had been wiped. Police were forced to admit they had not seized her phone after she first complained, and waited six months before starting to analyse it.
An increasingly exasperated Judge Morris said: “I would have expected that to be taken from the complainant at the time of her interview and examined there and then.
“That is a shortcoming of the investigation of this matter.”You’re not kidding…
When he learned that the alleged victim had not been questioned about the missing texts, the judge criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for opting to pursue the case. “Sometimes it would be helpful for someone from the CPS to be in court and see the problems created at cases which aren't investigated properly, and the consequences, instead of being at the end of the phone opining whether cases should go ahead or not.”
In terse exchanges with Ms Chan, the judge asked whether the CPS knew “what a mess had been made of the telephone evidence”.Perhaps he would have been better off asking if they cared, so long as this ticked another ‘we’ve prosecuted a man’ box..?
He walked free from court after being discharged by the judge. His barrister Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC said she was considering making a wasted costs application in addition to her client's defence costs because of the way the case was handled.
The judge said any costs application would be heard at a later date.Perhaps it ought to come out of the pockets of the gender warriors in the CPS and the complacent ‘investigators’ in the police, who insist on forcing through these cases for ideological reasons, rather than from public funds?