Scotland Yard has announced a major review of rape and sexual assault investigations after two cases collapsed within a week amidst claims that police withheld vital evidence.
The announcement that every live sex crime investigation on the books will be reviewed came as a child rape case against Isaac Itiary was thrown out on Tuesday, when it emerged that the 15-year-old victim had insisted she was 19.
Days earlier, the case against Liam Allan also collapsed in similar circumstances when lawyers were handed messages which showed the complainant had rape fantasies about the 22-year-old, who she had begged for sex after she told police he attacked her.
In a remarkable development, it has emerged both cases were being led by the same man, Detective Constable Mark Azariah, who remains on duty. In both cases, the police were accused of having failed to disclose evidence that would have exonerated the accused men.
Prosecutor in the Allan investigation, Jerry Hayes, said Azariah was guilty of “sheer incompetence” in failing to pass on more than 40,000 SMS and WhatsApp messages which proved the student’s innocence. The DC had previously claimed the correspondence was “too personal” to hand over, reports the Daily Mail.
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Speaking with the Daily Telegraph, Conservative MP Nigel Evans accused police of making basic errors in a quest to drive up rape conviction rates, which feminists have branded “appallingly low” over the years.
“There has been an absolute systemic failure in the disclosure of evidence that might result in people not being charged … it is putting people through a mental torture, it is a colossal admission of failure.”
The Ribble Valley representative, who was himself acquitted of any wrongdoing after “months of hell” facing a string of sex abuse charges, called for changes in police practice which would see forces “ensure [that] full disclosure is given at the earliest possible moment.”
“I have a suspicion there is a desire to ensure that the number of convictions increases,” he told the newspaper.
And columnist Allison Pearson demanded Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions be sacked or resign, accusing Alison Saunders of being “obsessed with pursuing the VAGW (violence against girls and women) agenda”, in which “the “victim” is always to be believed and men like 22-year-old Liam Allan must take their chances.”
Commander Richard Smith, who oversees the Met’s rape investigations, said: “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.”