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Review of sex crime cases after rape trials collapse

The Metropolitan Police has launched a major review of all current sex crime investigations after tw..

By admin , in UK , at December 20, 2017

The Metropolitan Police has launched a major review of all current sex crime investigations after two rape trials collapsed in the space of a week.

Scotland Yard announced every live case being handled by the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences command, where the Met is in discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), will be examined.

This will involve making sure that all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared with the CPS.

The two rape trials collapsed over problems relating to disclosure of evidence, and both of the cases involved the same investigating officer.

The detective concerned remains on full duty in the sexual offences investigation unit, the force said.

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The trial of 22-year-old student Liam Allan at Croydon Crown Court collapsed and was thrown out last week after it emerged that a detective had failed to hand over text messages on the accuser's phone.

On Tuesday, the trial of Isaac Itiary collapsed at Inner London Crown Court after concerns were raised over a failure to disclose vital evidence to prosecutors and the defence.

He had been charged in July with the rape of a child under the age of 16, along with other offences. However, police only disclosed further "relevant material" in response to the defence case statement on 15 December.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: "The MPS will carry out a review of this investigation to ensure that all reasonable lines of inquiry were pursued at the earliest practical opportunity."

Commander Richard Smith, who oversees rape investigations in the Met, added: "I completely understand that this case may raise concerns about our compliance with disclosure legislation given the backdrop of the case of R v Allan last week.

"The Met is completely committed to understanding what went wrong in the case of Mr Allan and is carrying out a joint review with the CPS, the findings of which will be published.

"Rape investigations are by their nature very complex, and often hinge on the contradictory accounts of the alleged suspect and the complainant about what has taken place.

"We are reviewing all our investigations, where we are in discussion with the CPS, to assure ourselves that we are meeting our disclosure obligations in an acceptable timescale based on the volume of data that some cases involve."

Angela Rafferty QC, the chair of the Criminal Bar Association, suggested "unconscious bias" stops the police and the CPS "impartially and thoroughly investigating and scrutinising complaints in sexual offence cases".

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"It should be remembered that it is not the job of the police or CPS to judge the truthfulness or otherwise of any allegation made," she said.

The Metropolitan Police says it is unable to say at this stage how many cases would be affected by the review.

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