What is missing in the George Bell case?

Dec 18, 2017 by

by Ian Paul, Psephizo:

Liam Allan was studying criminology at Greenwich University—but after he started, a woman with whom he had had a sexual relationship accused him of repeatedly raping her and sexually assaulting her. He was on bail for two years, and in court for three days, before the case against him collapsed and was dismissed. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had failed to disclose a disk containing information about phone records, either to the defence team or to their own prosecution barrister, in order to save money in pursuing the case. When the judge ordered the disclosure, the disk turned out to hold 40,000 messages in which the woman had repeatedly pestered Liam Allan, talked of boasting to her friends about their sexual relationship, and discussed her fantasies of being raped and having violent sex.

Not surprisingly, Allan has been devastated by the process.

I can’t explain the mental torture of the past two years. I feel betrayed by the system which I had believed would do the right thing — the system I want to work in.

Even the prosecuting barrister, Jerry Hayes, has been shocked.

I would like to apologise to Liam Allan. There was a terrible failure in disclosure which was inexcusable. There could have been a very serious miscarriage of justice, which could have led to a very significant period of imprisonment and life on the sex offenders register. It appears the [police] officer in the case has not reviewed the disk, which is quite appalling.

In his interview with the BBC, Hayes attributed the failure to financial pressures, and believed that a further reduction in Government funding would make such problems worse in the future. But he fails to mention the wider issue in this case—the court of public opinion. Liam Allan’s mother highlighted this:

In the current climate, in these sorts of cases, you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent. The assumption is there is no smoke without fire.

This is the climate which has seen high profile figures including Cliff Richard, Paul Gambaccini, Leon Britton and Ted Heath accused, the last two posthumously, without the following of proper process. Cliff Richard testifies to the personal impact:

Read here


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