Woman loses false rape claim appeal

 

A woman who spent time behind bars after "falsely retracting" rape allegations against her husband lost her bid to overturn her "unjust" conviction for perverting the course of justice today.

Her challenge was rejected at the Court of Appeal in London by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Mr Justice Silber and Mr Justice Maddison.

They had been urged to rule that the 29-year-old mother's conviction was "unsafe".

But dismissing her case today, Lord Judge said the court was "not entitled to interfere with this conviction".

The woman, from Powys, was originally sentenced at Mold Crown Court to eight months imprisonment, but that was overturned by the Court of Appeal in November 2010 when judges quashed the custodial penalty and replaced it with a community sentence with a two-year supervision order.

The woman's husband was charged with six counts of rape in 2009 to which he pleaded not guilty, but she later said the allegations she had made were false.

The prosecution offered no evidence against him when he appeared at Mold Crown Court and not-guilty verdicts were entered.

Initially she was charged with perverting the course of justice on the basis of making a false complaint, but she later asserted that it was the retraction, rather than the allegation of rape, which was false.

Giving the decision on her conviction appeal today, Lord Judge said: "The reality of this case is that the appellant was undoubtedly guilty of a serious crime, from which police officers did all they reasonably could to dissuade her.

"Compassion for her position, and indeed for any woman in the same or a similar position, should have produced a non-custodial sentence.

"That is why this court acted speedily to quash the custodial sentence and replace it with a community order which would offer practical assistance to the appellant in the immediate aftermath of her release from prison."

He added: "The court also expressed itself in clear and direct language, which was immediately considered by the Director or Public Prosecutions, who has now issued fresh guidance about how cases involving false retractions of true allegations by vulnerable defendants will be addressed in the future."

Lord Judge said: "All that acknowledged, we cannot dispense with or suspend the statute, or grant ourselves an extra statutory jurisdiction.

"Accordingly, we are not entitled to interfere with this conviction. The appeal must be dismissed."

Lord Judge said the woman, who pleaded guilty to making a false retraction of a rape allegation, was convicted of "making false retractions of a most serious allegation of sexual crime when she would otherwise have been in a position to assist the Crown to prosecute the perpetrator to conviction".

He added: "On this basis she deliberately enabled her husband to escape justice for the crime of rape for which she was the victim.

"On both occasions when the case has been before this court, the prosecution has proceeded on the basis that the allegations of rape and domestic abuse suffered by the appellant at the hands of her husband were true."

The appeal judges proceeded "on the same basis", but Lord Judge pointed out: "Nevertheless, it is only fair to the appellant's husband to record that he has consistently denied the allegations and has not had any opportunity publicly to challenge or refute them."

He referred to observations made by the court during the woman's sentence appeal - including the fact that perverting the course of justice was not confined to making and pursuing false allegations or giving false evidence, but extended to the retraction of truthful allegations or evidence.

Lord Judge said the issue of "duress" in the form of the "physical, sexual and mental abuse inflicted on her" was at the heart of the appeal - whether on the facts of the case duress might have provided a realistic potential defence.

He said: "The contemporaneous evidence available to the appellant's legal advisers, once she had decided to tell the truth, provided a great deal of mitigation, but no viable defence of duress."

She did not suggest to her lawyers or police that when she "falsely retracted her truthful complaints she was acting under the threat of serious ill-treatment or violence at the hands of her husband or anyone else".

Even her most recent statement did not suggest she was threatened with violence at the time when she made her false retractions.

Lord Judge said: "We immediately recognise that the appellant felt under huge pressure, but although feeling concerned for or even fearful of her husband, or a sense of guilt, or concern about what would happen to her children if her husband was in prison for 10 years or thereabouts, taken in combination undoubtedly creates difficult problems and provides significant mitigation, but does not constitute duress."

The judge said the court "can see no basis for concluding that the appellant felt exposed to violence or the threat of violence when she made the false retractions on which her prosecution was founded".

PA

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker