Met Police announces review into how it investigates rape cases following collapse of second trial

Scotland Yard confirms the same detective was the investigating officer in both cases which collapsed following failure to disclose evidence that disputed the prosecution case

Rachel Roberts
Wednesday 20 December 2017 01:28
Scotland Yard will review all alleged rape cases being considered for prosecution
Scotland Yard will review all alleged rape cases being considered for prosecution

The Metropolitan Police has launched a sweeping review into its investigation of sex crimes following the collapse of two rape cases in the past week.

The force has confirmed the same detective was the investigating officer in both collapsed cases, and that he remains on full duty in the sexual offences investigation unit.

Scotland Yard said every case currently being considered for prosecution will be looked at again “to ensure that all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared with the CPS to meet obligations under disclosure".

The prosecution against Isaac Itiary for alleged child rape collapsed on Tuesday following last week’s halted rape trial of student Liam Allan, 22, following problems relating to the disclosure of evidence.

In the child rape case, the CPS offered no evidence against the defendant Mr Itiary at his trial at Inner London Crown Court.

The Met said material had not been disclosed to Mr Isaac’s defence team until lawyers asked for it, in a breach of procedure.

The defendant was charged in July this year, but police only disclosed further “relevant material” in response to the defence case statement submitted on 15 December.

A CPS spokesman said: “On December 17 2017, the police provided new material to the CPS, which had previously been requested, and this was reviewed.

"Prosecutors decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction and we offered no evidence against the defendant at a hearing today (Tuesday)."

The Met announced a review of the Itiary investigation as well all other live probes by the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences (CASO) command, where Scotland Yard is in discussion with the CPS.

Commander Richard Smith, who oversees Met rape investigations, said: "I completely understand that this case may raise concerns about our compliance with disclosure legislation given the backdrop of the case of R v Allan last week.

“The Met is completely committed to understanding what went wrong in the case of Mr Allan and is carrying out a joint review with the CPS, the findings of which will be published.

"Rape investigations are by their nature very complex, and often hinge on the contradictory accounts of the alleged suspect and the complainant about what has taken place.

“We are reviewing all our investigations, where we are in discussion with the CPS, to assure ourselves that we are meeting our disclosure obligations in an acceptable timescale based on the volume of data that some cases involve.”

Mr Allen’s trial for multiple counts of rape was halted at Croydon Crown Court after it emerged that police had been too slow to disclose phone messages between the complainant and her friends that cast the prosecution’s case into doubt.

Announcing the review, Scotland Yard said: “As a precaution, every live case being investigated by the child abuse and sexual offences command, where the Metropolitan Police Service is in discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service, is being reviewed to ensure that all digital evidence has been properly examined, documented and shared with the CPS to meet obligations under disclosure.”

The Met was not immediately able to say how many cases will be reconsidered or which officer would have overall responsibility for the review.

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