MP cleared of rape demands national review of evidence failures

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Dec 21, 2017
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Nigel Evans, who was cleared in 2014 of raping a student, said police were “cherry-picking” evidence to get prosecutions

Peter Byrne/PA

An MP who was cleared of rape has called for a nationwide review of police processes on the disclosure of evidence in sexual abuse investigations, The Times reports.

Nigel Evans said evidence was being cherry-picked in “too many cases” after Britain’s biggest police force ordered a review of all current rape and sexual abuse cases yesterday. The Tory MP, who was cleared in 2014 of raping a student, called for the review to be expanded after a second rape case collapsed within a week.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday: “It seems to be in too many cases that police are cherry-picking the evidence that is there in order to get a prosecution. That is not what the justice system is about; it should follow the evidence. Because of the failures in the system . . . quite frankly, lives have been ruined.”

Charges against Isaac Itiary, 25, of rape and sexual activity with a child were dropped yesterday after text messages from the alleged victim showed she lied about her age. Several days earlier, the trial of Liam Allan, 22, collapsed after messages from the woman who accused him of rape showed she had lied.

Evans called for a “proper review” of cases by police forces across the country, not just the Metropolitan Police, which investigated Itiary and Allan.

The former deputy speaker has previously spoken of his “11 months of hell” after he was cleared of raping a university student and sexually assaulting six other men over ten years. The Crown Prosecution Service is reviewing its decision not to charge Evans for a separate allegation of sexual assault made by a civil servant under the victims’ right to review scheme.

Today the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association reiterated criticism from senior lawyers that the collapsed prosecutions reveal the “tip of the iceberg”. Bill Waddington, the association’s chairman and a partner at Hull law firm Williamsons, said: “Fair disclosure of evidence is essential to a fair trial, whether that be evidence suggesting an accused’s guilt, or evidence as in this case which shows a prosecution witness is being untruthful and supports the defence case. Sadly failures such as this are only too common.”

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