England’s Top Prosecutor Stepping Down After ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ Rape Trials


England’s top prosecutor is to leave her role after her contract expires, following the collapse of several high profile rape trials.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders had urged police to automatically believe female accusers and told women who “wake up in a man’s bed with no recollection of the night before” to “seek advice from a rape counsellor”.

Critics branded this system “guilty until proven innocent”, and it led to a number of fiascos culminating in a major scandal when 22-year-old Liam Allan narrowly avoided prison after the court discovered key evidence showing his “victim” had pestered him for sex was withheld from the defence.

This led to all pending rape trials being called in for review. Saunders said she did not believe anyone had been wrongfully imprisoned at the time, but one man’s conviction was quashed shortly afterwards.

“It was felt a clean break was needed. Alison’s tenure has been highly contentious, to say the least, and we want someone who can come into this job with a clear agenda. It was made clear that her contract would not be extended,” a Whitehall source told The Telegraph.

“It has been a disastrous tenure, it has reduced the credibility of the role,” added a senior lawyer.

However, despite attempts by “sources” to suggest that the departure of Saunders is a belated reaction to public calls for her to be sacked, the DPP herself has insisted “it was my decision to leave” on BBC Radio 4.

DPPs serve a term of five years,” she said. I was clear that five years was a good term to serve and I have already decided what I’ll be doing when I leave in October.”

The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed she had not asked for an extension, according to The Telegraph.

The newspapers says she will be leaving the CPS for the legal firm Linklaters with a £1.8 million pension, having enjoyed an annual salary of £250,000 during her time as top prosecutor.

While much mainstream media attention has been given to Saunders’s controversial stance on rape, this is not the only controversy of his tenure.

Prosecutors have also declined to take action against a number of Islamic State fighters who have returned to Britain – to avoid “creating a lost generation”, according to the Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation – and persistently failed to secure or even give the impression of seriously pursuing convictions for Female Genital Mutilation, which affects thousands of girls in Britain every year.

The CPS has also encouraged the police to aggressively pursue thousands of people for so-called “hate speech” online, like their counterparts in Scotlands Procurator Fiscal Service.

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