No misconduct found in collapsed rape case

A detective has been cleared of misconduct over a rape trial that collapsed on its first day due to a lack of evidence.

Jun 27, 2017

A detective has been cleared of misconduct over a rape trial that collapsed on its first day due to a lack of evidence. Detective Constable Ben Lewis was accused of “stark and very serious omissions” that allegedly caused the prosecution to offer no evidence in the trial of four Gloucestershire students last year. Judge Jamie Tabor QC said Det Con Lewis had become too close to the complainant and did not properly understand his role as disclosure officer. However, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now ruled there is no proof the officer committed misconduct. A supervising officer was also found to have no case to answer. IPCC associate commissioner Guido Liguori said: “We have established that despite the criticism which arose following the trial collapse, the evidence shows that Det Con Ben Lewis did what was asked of him by the Crown Prosecution Service, and acted in accordance with relevant policies and procedures. “Wider recommendations for learning have been made to Gloucestershire Constabulary, which they have accepted, that will hopefully prevent some of the systemic issues identified as part of the criminal investigation from occurring again.” Det Con Lewis was lead officer in an investigation into Thady Duff, Leo Mahon, Patrick Foster and James Martin, who were cleared in 2016 of raping a woman at the Royal Agricultural University’s summer ball. The four men, all students at the university, were due to face trial in March last year but the trial was delayed until May after the case against them collapsed. Defence barristers criticised Det Con Lewis for allegedly “cherry-picking” supportive evidence and “airbrushing out” anything that could have helped the men. During the course of the investigation, it also emerged that Det Con Lewis may have inappropriately shared information on a defendant’s phone with the complainant. While the IPCC found there was no case to answer for misconduct, his actions could amount to unsatisfactory performance. Gloucestershire Constabulary has agreed with this finding and will deal with the matter through management action.

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