Fresh Gynaecological Evidence: Conviction Quashed

28 June 2012

The Court of Appeal has today handed down judgment in R v S & Ors [2012] EWCA Crim 1433 (28th June 2012). S was linked to the other 3 cases which were referred by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. The court was considering the scenario where fresh gynaecological evidence is called after conviction which demonstrates either the evidence of abuse given at trial was untrue or was significantly undermined. This might be due either to simply wrong expert work or developments in the interpretation of the signs of sexual abuse. S, B and C had their convictions quashed, but R, due to other fresh evidence against him, lost his appeal.

The Court concluded in S, who was convicted in 2002 at Truro Crown Court of Rape, Attempted Rape and Indecency, that all of his convictions were unsafe. The prosecution expert at trial alleged damage to the complainants genitalia consistent with sexual abuse. Fresh evidence heard at the appeal cast serious doubt on those findings.

The Crown accepted the fresh evidence but sought to argue it only related to certain counts and other counts remained safe. The Court however agreed with submissions made on behalf of the appellant that the evidence of the expert at trial went to the heart of the case and that evidence must have weighed heavily in the jury’s consideration.

As Mark Barlow, instructed counsel for S, pointed out “the medical evidence at trial shone like a beacon”. The Court of Appeal adopted that analogy in its judgment [70] in quashing the all convictions.

This case demonstrates the importance of thorough investigation in sexual offence cases and that evidence of sexual abuse should not be accepted on face value. It also demonstrates that the Court of Appeal will always be open to receiving such fresh evidence which clearly undermines the safety of the convictions.

S was represented by Mark Barlow of Garden Court North Chambers, instructed by Mark Newby and David Crossling from QualitySolicitors Jordans.

Chambers news

Chambers news

Hillsborough Families Let Down Again

After a significant delay, described as ‘too long’ by the Justice Minister Alex Chalk, the UK Government has published its response to a report written...

Chambers news

Join us!

Due to significant demand across our core practice areas and our programme of strategic growth, Garden Court North Chambers is recruiting across all core practice...

Chambers news

UK Covid-19 Inquiry round-up: 27/11/23-1/12/23

This week GCN members Pete Weatherby KC and Anna Morris KC have questioned several prominent witnesses at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. On Monday Pete questioned...

Chambers news

Joint Enterprise: the debut novel from GCN’s Brigid Baillie

Joint Enterprise is the debut novel from GCN’s Brigid Baillie, drawing on experiences from her time as a solicitor and as a barrister. On a...

Sign up to our mailing list

Our mailing list is dedicated to professionals with an interest in our work.

Sign up