Crown Court Acquittal

Head of Trinity Chambers, Toby Hedworth Q.C. and Trinity criminal barrister, Caroline Goodwin recently secured the acquittal of a 28 year old man charged with 10 counts of rape and sexual assault of two female relatives.

The Defendant had previously been convicted of rape. The trial at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court involved difficult to critical decisions in relation to the prosecution’s application to adduce the previous conviction as evidence of bad character. The decision was made to allow the conviction to be included by agreement at the start of the trial because the conduct of the defence case was likely to involve a substantial attack on the characters of the two complainants.

Dealing with the conviction at this early stage allowed its impact to be managed effectively. When the prosecution thereafter sought to persuade the Judge that the conviction could be used by the Jury to demonstrate a propensity to commit offences of this type the defence successfully resisted the application. 

The conduct of the defence case involved careful selection and development of parts of substantial local authority education and social services records, the disclosure of which had been obtained via carefully drafted applications. 

The case also involved detailed analysis of telephone data and records to allow the contradiction of important parts of the complainant’s accounts. 

The consequences of further convictions for rape and the complexity of the background material allowed the unusual grant of a representation order to cover both Queen’s and Junior counsel. Toby Hedworth Q.C. and Caroline Goodwin are members of Trinity Chambers Criminal Practice Group operating from Chambers in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

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