A student who was cleared of rape after text messages were released said he understands why his accuser should remain anonymous.
Liam Allen was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but the trial collapsed after police were ordered to provide phone records.
The 22-year-old was cleared when lawyers were passed messages showing the complainant had been begging him for sex and discussed having ‘violent rape fantasies’.
How on earth did it get to this point? For almost two years 22 yr old Liam Allan lived in purgatory awaiting a rape trial- which collapsed yesterday because police failed to reveal evidence proving his innocence. The prosecuting barrister is coming on my @bbc5live show 10am pic.twitter.com/SNQo3M3QYF
— Emma Barnett (@Emmabarnett) December 15, 2017
Liam has now sued the police after it emerged they hid 40,000 text messages from the person who accused him.
He described how he has experienced a ‘terrible limbo’ lasting two years after the accusations were made and hopes to use his experiences to push for changes within the criminal justice system which will benefit both those who have been wrongly accused.
Talking to Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on ITV’s This Morning earlier today, he said as rape complainants are entitled to lifelong anonymity by law, it’s a right which should be extended to the accused until conviction.
He told This Morning:
I think it’s fair would remain anonymous throughout the whole thing and even afterwards.
For her to remain anonymous I can completely understand at this current point in time.
His mum, Lorraine, was also on the ITV show and said she ‘never doubted’ Liam’s innocence from the ‘moment police arrived at their South London flat’ in September 2015.
I knew it’s not in his nature to do it.
I did question myself and if I was looking through rose-tinted glasses, you have to. But deep down I never doubted my son.
Reactions by viewers were clearly mixed as they aired their thoughts on Twitter:
So that poor man gets falsely accused and is named without being found guilty. But his accuser is kept anonymous so she can ruin other men’s life by doing the same thing #ThisMorning
— ☃️Ashley☃️ (@bramwell_ashley) December 18, 2017
My heart goes out to the lad. The girl who threw out that accusation should be totally ashamed of herself! Absolutely disgusting #ThisMorning
— Cass (@cass_ann25) December 18, 2017
Both victims and the accused should remain anonymous until a guilty verdict is produced. That poor young lad has had his name dragged through the mud for 2 years. Mud sticks unfortunately! #ThisMorning
— Gem (@gemmalouiseann) December 18, 2017
Naming and shaming accusers does NOTHING but open them up to attack. Both the accused and accuser should remain anonymous. #ThisMorning
— [ • • ] Jacquie (@JCH999) December 18, 2017
But text messages don’t give consent…I feel like I’m missing most of this story or something #ThisMorning
— Amy Miller (@XxAmyMillerxX) December 18, 2017
How is that proof? Just because she said she wanted a sexual relationship in texts doesn’t mean that he didn’t rape her #thismorning
— Olivia Tatum (@extremenapper91) December 18, 2017
Don't believe naming and shaming. Because of vigilantes. But I do believe that the accused are entitled to anonymity. #ThisMorning
— [ • • ] Jacquie (@JCH999) December 18, 2017
Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of ‘sheer incompetence’ over the case.
Prior to the trial, Allen’s defence team had ‘repeatedly asked for the phone messages’ to be disclosed but were told there was ‘nothing to disclose’, writes the BBC
Mr Hayes said:
This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it’s about to croak.
Allan’s lawyer Simone Meerabux said it had been ‘a very traumatic experience’ and said it was ‘amazing’ the case had got to the stage it did ‘but it’s not uncommon’ because of ‘problems with disclosure’.
"The publicity has added a different kind of stress"
Liam Allen says he plans to sue the Met Police and Crown Prosecution Service after they failed to pass on crucial evidence proving his innocence in a rape trial. pic.twitter.com/iS4DTCUwHY
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) December 18, 2017
A Met spokesman said they were ‘urgently reviewing this investigation’ and will be working with the Crown Prosecution Service to understand exactly what has happened in this case.
The Met understands the concerns that have been raised as a result of this case being dismissed from court and the ongoing review will seek to address those.
And a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said:
In November 2017, the police provided more material in the case of Liam Allan. Upon a review of that material, it was decided that there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
We will now be conducting a management review together with the Metropolitan Police to examine the way in which this case was handled.
Hopefully a proper investigation will shed light on the case and its failings.