The Guardian reports, Detective criticised for ‘getting too close’ in alleged rape case, 9 May 2016.
A senior judge has criticised a police detective and the Crown Prosecution Service for their handling of an accusation of gang rape after the case against four young men collapsed just as their trial was due to begin.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC said DC Ben Lewis of Gloucestershire police had got too close to the complainant and did not understand his job properly.
Tabor said the officer and the CPS had to bear responsibility for not disclosing “game-changing” material to the defence teams of the men who were due to stand trial.
The trial had been due to begin at Gloucester crown court but at the last moment the prosecution offered no evidence and the four defendants were cleared.
After the case collapsed, the defendants’ legal team accused Lewis in court of “cherry picking” evidence supportive of the prosecution’s case and “airbrushing out of the picture” anything that could have helped the men.
It also emerged as the trial was due to begin that police failed to disclose that the complainant was a witness to an alleged rape on an army base in October 2014 and that there were inconsistencies in her evidence. The alleged rapist, a soldier, was later cleared.
Tabor, the recorder of Gloucester, said Lewis had a “limited grasp of responsibilities” as disclosure officer – the person responsible for handing over relevant information to the defence.
You will have read or heard me talk about confirmation bias at work among MCIO’s and Trial Counsel. I heard today of a military case where the MCIO was actually having an affair with the complaining witness at the time of the investigation and trial, and allegedly the prosecution initially failed to disclose this to the defense.