Student’s rape trial collapses because police 'sat on evidence proving his innocence'

Liam Allan’s trial was dramatically halted on Thursday (Facebook)

The trial of a student accused of rape has dramatically collapsed after it was revealed that police had ignored vital evidence.

Liam Allan, 22, was accused of six counts of rape and six sexual assaults and had been on bail for almost two years.

The criminology undergraduate had always claimed that the sex between himself and the alleged victim had been consensual – and shocking new evidence supported his claim and caused the trial to collapse.

40,000 messages taken from the woman’s phone showed that she had pestered Mr Allan for “casual sex” and told friends that she enjoyed sex with him.

This evidence only came to light when a new prosecution barrister demanded access to the records the day before the trial began.

Scotland Yard is carrying out an “urgent assessment” after this late disclosure of evidence undermined the case.

The trial 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.

 

The trial was held at Croydon Crown Court (Google Street View)

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

Speaking outside court, Mr 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.”

Writing in the paper, prosecuting barrister and former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes said: “I told the judge that this was the most appalling failure of disclosure that I have ever encountered.

“The CPS are under terrible pressure, as are the police. Both work hard but are badly under-resourced.

“Crown court trials only work because of the co-operation and goodwill of advocates and the bench – but time pressures are making this increasingly difficult.

“Because of the swingeing cuts that the Treasury continuously imposes, the system is not just creaking, it is about to croak.”

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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.”