“I just thought, ‘What the hell is going on?’” her mother said. “I knew what perverting the course of justice meant, so I knew they were arresting her for lying about the rape. So at that time my daughter had just turned 18 and I insisted because of mental health problems that I sit in on the interview.
After her arrest, the girl was on police bail for months while Hampshire police consulted the Crown Prosecution Service about whether to charge her. “It was horrible, because it was like she might have gone to prison. And what would she do, how would she cope, how would I cope, how would the family cope?” her mother said. She added that her daughter’s mental health deteriorated as they waited for the charging decision, and that she began self-harming and attempted suicide twice. “We didn’t find out until a later date that they hadn’t done the forensics on the clothes. And that was partly the decision to arrest her, for perverting the course of justice.”
That’s right, this young lady from Hampshire went out clubbing, alleged she had been raped, then informed her mother. The police were given her statement and her t-shirt which contained the alleged rapist’s sperm. No effort was made to have the t-shirt forensically examined in order to trace the gentleman concerned, because they didn’t believe her story. Lucky for her alleged rapist (because he could pretty much spend the next six months having sex with women regardless of whether they’d consented to it or not) not so lucky for her.
Detectives from Hampshire police decided within two days of the rape report that the girl was lying. A detective inspector, who was supervising the inquiry, told a junior colleague: “Fucking nick her.” But six months later – after a complaint by the girl’s mother about her treatment – a new team of officers reviewed the investigation and informed the mother and her daughter that they believed her. The T-shirt was sent for testing, and the suspect, Liam Foard, was tried and found guilty.
The officers involved in the initial ‘investigation’ were disciplined, three of them chose resignation and early retirement from the police force (a good result all round) one received a written warning. The victim eventually received justice and the police force jettisoned three lousy police officers, but the bottom line is this. With 17,000 police officers cut over a four year period and the demands on the service continuing to grow, more of these kinds of cases are inevitable, because in the words of Debaleena Dasgupta, the young woman’s lawyer, “Many people wrongly assume the police have a legal obligation to investigate crimes. However, the only way victims of crime can seek justice for these sorts of issues is using the Human Rights Act, which imposes a duty on the police to properly investigate very serious offences.”
Properly investigate….the police service has a Comprehensive Spending Review in 2015 with more cuts in expenditure still to be made, leading to a reduction in the service being offered and a reduction in policing numbers. Not excitely an encouraging state of affairs for those who report a rape and are accused of crying wolf.