This case emphasised the value in careful preparation and review of all unused material which can reveal the signs of material investigators don’t think is relevant but shows obvious gaps in the investigation that should not go unexplained.
The investigation, details of which are restricted as a youth case, lacked objectivity and balance in putting an innocent young man’s liberty in jeopardy and this is why the defendant was acquitted.
The fantasies of his accuser should have been recognised and tested early in the investigation. Witnesses refused to support the account and material was withheld from the defence on the pretext of it being irrelevant. Unfortunately, investigators failed to follow up on obvious leads that would have corroborated the accused’s account which should have raised the alarm as to the veracity of the complainant’s story.
Andrew, who works with police forces to improve their investigative practises and who mainly prosecutes in the Crown Court, says “early challenge of issues in disclosure and in questioning those obvious lines of inquiry unexplored by way of a carefully drafted defence statement, consideration of previous behaviour evidence and timely character applications is absolutely invaluable.”