First man convicted in a private prosecution for rape has sentence cut

The first man convicted in a private prosecution for rape, by an English court, had his 14-year jail sentence cut to 11 years by the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Christopher Davies, 46, a chef from Margate, Kent, was taken to court by two prostitutes after the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to proceed against him because of "insufficient evidence". He was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court in May last year. Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Balston said prostitutes had as much right to say "no" as any other women. Today, three appeal judges agreed, but said the sentence on Davies was "somewhat higher than it should have been".

The prostitutes told how, on separate occasions, they were forced into degrading sexual acts at Davies's flat. One was tied by her hands to the head of his bed and told to smile as Davies took Polaroid photographs which, he told her, were his "insurance" if she went to the police. The women's solicitor, Kevin Jones, said: "This judgment demonstrates that the women were right to pursue their own prosecution and that the Crown Prosecution Service were wrong to have discontinued the case."

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