Police must stop training officers to believe rape complainants automatically says ex-High Court judge
- Sir Richard Henriques slammed the crisis following collapse of rape cases
- The cases he referred to included Liam Allan, Samuel Armstrong and Isaac Itiary
- Former High Court judge said complainants shouldn’t automatically be believed because it can cloud the judgement of the officers working on the case
Rape complainants must not automatically be believed by Police a former High Court judge said last night – following the collapse of three high profile cases.
He slammed the crisis and said that police forces shouldn’t train their officers to presume that suspects are guilty.
Ex-High Court judge, Sir Richard Henrique’s comments reflected the collapse of several rape cases where it was found that police had failed to investigate properly. Which included police withholding evidence from defence lawyers.
This was seen in the cases of Liam Allan, Samuel Armstrong and Isaac Itiary.
In two cases text messages revealed the men’s innocence. In Mr Allan’s case messages showed that the complainant had told friends she had enjoyed having sex with him.
Similarly messages revealed that Isaac Itiary, who had been charged with statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl, did not know her age as in the messages she had claimed she was 19.
Tory MP’s aide, Samuel Armstrong, 24 was cleared of rape as it emerged evidence was only disclosed eight days before trial said today police and CPS do it because it ‘makes getting convictions easier’.
Liam Allan was acquitted after messages showed that the complainant had told friends she had enjoyed having sex with him
Following the collapse of the unrelated cases of the three young men last week the Metropolitan Police announced that it would be reviewing 30 rape inquiries.
Both men were acquitted after evidence was brought to light that should have stopped them ever being in court.
It is believed that the officer that worked on Mr Allan and Mr Itiary’s cases, Detective Constable Mark Azariah, claimed that text messages he didn’t send to the defendant’s defence teams were irrelevant.
Yesterday, reported by the Sunday Express, he said: ‘The obligation to believe all complainants at the start, and automatically treat them as victims, handicaps police disclosure officers in their duty to disclose evidence that assists defendants or undermines the prosecution case.
Samuel Armstrong said he and the woman had consensual sex after drinking in the Houses of Parliament. He was found not guilty of two counts of rape and two of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court
His claims are supported by the College of Policing and follow the belief that police officers should approach each case with an open mind due to the fact that treating all complainants as victims can handicap them.
To restore confidence police officers should be trained to investigate complaints with the possibility that it may be genuine or false, the High Court judge said.
Claims previously made by Chief Constable Simon Bailey of the College of Policing that only 0.1 per cent of allegations are false were rejected by Sir Richard Henriques.
Arguments from charities that most survivors don’t report sexual crimes out of fear of being believed were also rejected by the former Judge who.
He added: ‘The cases that have emerged over the last week demonstrate that the burden of proof is being reversed. It’s flawed.’
‘Somebody who has been a genuine victim of crime doesn’t need to be encouraged to go to the police. They go to the police because they’re a victim of crime.’
Isaac Itiary, who had been charged with statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl, did not know her age as in the messages she had claimed she was 19 and was therefore also
Sir Henriques called upon Home Secretary Amber Rudd to arbitrate after 16 months had passed since chief Constable Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe accepted his claims that obligation to believe complainants was criticised in his report.
The former High Court judge’s 2016 report suggested that the Metropolitan Police force mishandled many historic sexual abuse claims.
His main query was that the immediate presumption of a the suspects guilt had shaded the way the investigations were handled.
A spokesman for the College of Policing confirmed that following Sir Richard Henriques review into Operation Midland the College is looking into recommendations in the report.
A Home Office spokesman confirmed it had already begun a review into the disclosure process.