Wales

Rape case woman wins appeal bid

A woman jailed for falsely retracting rape charges against her husband has won the right to appeal her conviction for perverting the course of justice.

The woman, 29, from Powys, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for eight months after admitting the charge, but was freed on appeal last November.

The appeal court judges ordered her to serve a community sentence with a two-year supervision order instead.

Despite going free, the conviction still stood which she is now appealing.

She was granted permission on Tuesday to challenge the "unjust" conviction and take the case to a full court of appeal hearing.

The woman, who has not been identified, initially complained to police that her violent and abusive husband had raped her on three occasions.

No evidence

Soon afterwards, she tried to withdraw support for the prosecution, telling the authorities that she did not want to give evidence against her husband.

But, faced with the prospect of a summons forcing her to give evidence, she went back to police and said her whole story had been a pack of lies.

Initially, she was charged with perverting the course of justice on the basis of making a false complaint, but she later said it was the retraction, rather than the allegation of rape, which was false.

Believing her first account to be the genuine one, the CPS prosecuted her for perverting the course of justice by withdrawing a true allegation.

Ultimately, no evidence was offered against the husband and not guilty verdicts entered, but the CPS still says it believes the allegations were true.

Rape and violence

On Tuesday, the woman's barrister, Niall Quinn QC, said subsequent guidance given by the director of public prosecutions meant such a prosecution would be very unlikely to happen again.

"It is said that this is a case in which it cannot be said that justice has been seen to be done. It is also a case, we say, in which justice has not been done, in fact," he said.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions has refined and altered the guidance to prosecutors in relation to matters of this kind, fortunately uncommon, but it was at the time, we submit, unjust and wrong to pursue someone who was known to be a victim of crime.

"The fact is that, as a result to some extent of this case, it is now less likely that somebody would find herself in the position of this applicant.

"And that is all to the good, but it does not alter the fact that proceeding against this victim of rape and violence was wrong."

Lord Judge, sitting with two other appeal judges, said the only basis on which a conviction could be quashed was if it could be said to be "unsafe", and in this case there had been a guilty plea.

But leave would be granted for a full appeal hearing when evidence would be put forward about the events leading up to that plea of guilty, he said.

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