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Scotland Yard carrying out ‘urgent assessment’ after rape trial collapses


The Guardian

Met officers failed to disclose messages between complainant and her friends – which cast doubt on the case – until the trial was about to close

crime

A judge called for a review of disclosure of evidence by the Metropolitan police. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

Scotland Yard is carrying out an “urgent assessment” after a rape prosecution collapsed due to the late disclosure of evidence that undermined the case.

The trial of Liam Allan, 22, was halted at Croydon crown court on Thursday and the judge called for a review of disclosure of evidence by the Metropolitan police, as well as an inquiry at the Crown Prosecution Service, the Times reported.

Police are understood to have looked at thousands of phone messages when reviewing evidence but it was not until the prosecution was close to trial that Met officers disclosed messages between the complainant and her friends that cast doubt on the case against Allan.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it offered no evidence in the case on Thursday as it was decided “there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”.

Speaking outside court, Allan told The Times: “I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years. I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing – the system I want to work in.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We are aware of this case being dismissed from court and are carrying out an urgent assessment to establish the circumstances which led to this action being taken.

“We are working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service and keeping in close contact with the victim whilst this process takes place.”

A spokesman for the CPS said: “A charge can only be brought if a prosecutor is satisfied that both stages of the Full Code test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors are met, that is, that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is required in the public interest.

“All prosecutions are kept under continuous review and prosecutors are required to take account of any change in circumstances as the case develops.

“In November 2017, the police provided more material in the case of Liam Allan. Upon a review of that material, it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

“Therefore we offered no evidence in the case against Liam Allan at a hearing on December 14 2017.

“We will now be conducting a management review together with the Metropolitan police to examine the way in which this case was handled.”

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