Judge calls for compassion as rape-claim wife is freed

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The Independent Online

A woman jailed for "falsely retracting" rape allegations against her violent husband has been freed on the orders of the lord chief justice.

Lord Judge, the head of the judiciary in England and Wales, said sentences should "recognise and allow for the pressures in which the truthful complainant in such a relationship has been exposed".

The eight-month jail term imposed on the woman this month was reduced to a sentence of community service with a two-year supervision order. There should, he maintained, be a "broad measure of compassion" for a woman who had been "victimised".

The woman, from Powys, had, the Court of Appeal was told, withdrawn the allegations she had made against her husband which resulted in his acquittal at Mold Crown Court on six charges of rape when the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence.

It was ruled by the sentencing judge that she had to be treated on the basis she had perverted the course of justice "by falsely retracting a truthful allegation that her husband had raped her".

However Lord Judge, sitting sitting in London with Mr Justice Calvert-Smith and Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said: "On her account – and we emphasise that we have not heard his – she was subjected to violent abuse and became very fearful of him."

Women who were raped by a partner, whose behaviour involved "dominance, power and control over her", became "extremely vulnerable", he said.

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