A man has had a rape conviction quashed after spending four years in jail because police did not thoroughly investigate Facebook messages between him and his accuser.
Messages which “supported his side of the story” had been detected by the woman accusing him and moved to an archive folder which was not checked by officers.
Danny Kay, 26, had denied rape at Derby Crown Court in 2013, but was jailed for four-and-a-half years. His sentence was quashed by the Court of Appeal this Friday, the Derby Telegraph reports.
During the initial trial, Mr. Kay had said the sex was consensual and insisted they had spoken after the event. However the woman had claimed there had been little contact between the pair, giving an “edited and misleading” version of their message history that fitted her claims.
However, years later, when appeal judges heard that police had asked the woman to retrieve Facebook messages she and Mr. Kay exchanged, they also asked to see them.
This time, it was revealed to jurors that some had been deleted, allegedly to free up storage space.
Lord Justice Simon, Mr. Justice Goss, and Judge Walden-Smith said defence lawyers claimed the archive of 29 messages had been “selectively” deleted by the complainant.
Police Chief: ‘Automatic Belief’ of Rape Accusers Needs Review, Restore ‘Innocent Until Proven Guilty’ https://t.co/JR5uYeoTrS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 21, 2017
“We have come to the conclusion that, in a case of one word against another, the full Facebook message exchange provides very cogent evidence both in relation to the truthfulness and reliability of [the woman] … and the reliability of [Mr. Kay’s] account and his truthfulness,” judge Mr. Justice Goss said, according to the Derby Telegraph.
“This further evidence does raise a reasonable doubt as to whether [Mr. Kay] would have been convicted had it been before the jury, thus rendering the conviction unsafe.”
The decision comes after two other rape cases – that of Isaac Itiary, 25, and Liam Allan, 22 – collapsed in quick succession, with one young man being kept on bail for two years and the other spending time in jail.
In both instances, the police had failed to disclose text message evidence proving the young men were innocent. One woman had routinely lied about her age and the other admitted to enjoying her relations with the young student she accused.
And this Saturday, a Tory MP’s chief of staff who was cleared of rape attacked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for believing his accuser’s account of events despite little evidence.
The failings have led top police officers, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, and a retired High Court judge to call on police to reconsider their policy of always automatically believing rape accusers.
Currently, a national police policy, backed by the National College of Policing, says rape accusers should always be “believed”, echoing the language of far-left radical feminists who believe we all live in a “rape culture”.
Critics say police have gone too far, and that the policy abandons the core justice principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.