A student with a rape charge hanging over him for “two years of hell” has been acquited after it emerged police had failed to provide 40,000 texts, which proved his innocence.
The trial collapsed on the first day, when the new information emerged, with the prosecuting barrister apologizing for what he said was a “very serious miscarriage of justice.”
British 22-year-old criminology student Liam Allan had been told he could face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty, before the apparent blunder by Britain’s largest police force came to light.
He described how he had started to have panic attacks in the run-up to the trial.
Allan had been accused of six rapes and six sexual assaults. Allan maintained that their actions had been mutually consensual.
“I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years,” said Allan, according to The Times.
“I feel betrayed by the system, which I had believed would do the right thing—the system I want to work in,” said Allan, who is currently studying criminology at Greenwich University.
He told the BBC his life had been “torn away” and that he had had to consider the worst possible outcome. “People have to start planning for life without you,” he said.
London’s Metropolitan Police had repeatedly refused Allan’s lawyers access to the telephone records of his accuser, claiming that they were “too personal” and insisting that there was nothing of interest for the prosecution or defense, the court was told, according to The Times.
Then a new prosecution lawyer, Jerry Hayes, was assigned to the case who ordered the phone records to be handed over.
— Jonathan Allan (@meolscop1978) December 15, 2017
On the first day of the trial Hayes told Croydon Crown Court on Dec 14. that he would offer no evidence. “I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable,” he said, reported The Times.
“It appears the [police] officer in the case has not reviewed the disk, which is quite appalling,” he said.
The defence quickly saw the information and knew that it “blew the prosecution out of the water” he said.
According to The Times, the phone texts contradicted her claims that she did not enjoy her liaisons with Allan. The texts, send to Allan, and friends and acquaintances showed how she continued to pester Mr Allan for “casual sex,” and painted a very different picture of her appetites than her claims of disinterest that her case was built on.The judge demanded a review of disclosure of evidence by the Met police force, and called for an inquiry Crown Prosecution Service at the “very highest level.”
Allan said he would never be able to forgive or forget the actions of his accuser.
“There was no possible real gain from it other than destroying somebody else’s life …” he said, according to the BBC.
The prospect of the trial had created a feeling of “pure fear.”
“I’ll be honest, I did start to have panic attacks a couple of weeks before the trial,” he said, according to the Sun. “You can’t go through this and remain strong.”
His mother, Lorraine Allan, told The Times, “In the current climate, in these sorts of cases, you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent.”
“The assumption is there is no smoke without fire,” she said.
Re the Liam Allan rape trial, I really do think in cases where rape accusers flagrantly lie in court, reporting restrictions should be lifted so they can be named and rightly shamed #WATO @BBCNews https://t.co/PYByxlTY7P
— Atheist/Sceptic (@atheistsceptic) December 15, 2017
A Met Police spokeswoman said they were aware of this case being dismissed and are carrying out an urgent assessment to establish the circumstances, according to the BBC.
A spokesman for the CPS said, “We will now be conducting a management review together with the Metropolitan Police to examine the way in which this case was handled,” reported the BBC.