Oyston rape case review

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The Independent Online
THE Owen Oyston rape case is to be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Commons was told by a Labour MP last night.

Raising the case of the Lancaster millionaire who was jailed for six years in May 1996 for the rape of a 16-year-old girl in 1992, Dale Campbell- Savours said: "I feel very, very strongly that something is wrong in this case and that the truth has got to come out."

While the MP at no point claimed that Mr Oyston was innocent, he argued on a number of counts that the verdict was unsafe - although the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal last December.

Mr Campbell-Savours, MP for Workington, said: "Oyston admits that he had sexual relations with young women; he has consistently denied rape though this may have adverse implications for parole; no scientific evidence for rape exists; no medical evidence exists; there is no firm date for the offence; the police lost the original interview notes; the incident was not reported until two years after the incident took place ...; the friend of the victim, who was present throughout, insists that no rape took place; and the victim admitted to being a regular user of hallucinatory drugs."

But one of the key points raised by the MP - the point on which he said the case should be reviewed - was that there might have been a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights during the trial.

He said that under Article 6 of the convention anyone charged with a criminal offence had a right to have prosecution and defence witnesses examined under the same conditions. But in the Oyston trial, the alleged rape victim was granted anonymity and protected from certain lines of cross-examination under Section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 1976, while her friend - who denied a rape had taken place - was identified and full details of past promiscuity were exposed, to discredit her evidence for the defence.