Student Liam Allan 'betrayed' after rape trial collapse

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Media caption,

Liam Allan talks about what it is like being falsely accused of rape

A man whose rape trial collapsed after detectives failed to disclose vital evidence to the defence said he felt "betrayed" by police and the CPS.

Liam Allan was charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault but his trial collapsed after police were ordered to hand over phone records.

The 22-year-old student said his life had been "flipped upside down" and he wanted lessons to be learned.

The Met Police said it was "urgently reviewing this investigation".

The case against Mr Allan at Croydon Crown Court was dropped after three days when the evidence on a computer disk containing 40,000 messages revealed the alleged victim pestered him for "casual sex".

He told the BBC his life had been "torn away" by the process, which included being on bail for two years.

"You just think the worst case scenario... People have to start planning for life without you," he said.

Mr Allan faced a possible jail term of 12 years and being put on the sex offenders register for life had he been found guilty.

He said he felt "pure fear" when he learned he had been accused of rape but would never be able to understand why the accusations were made.

Image caption,
The 22-year-old student had been charged with 12 counts of rape and sexual assault

"There was no possible real gain from it other than destroying somebody else's life... It's something I will never be able to forgive or forget."

But he said he wanted to use his experience "to change the system".

"This wasn't a case of people trying to prove my innocence, it was a case of people trying to prove I was guilty," Mr Allan said.

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Rape prosecutor: It's just sheer incompetence

It is understood police had looked at thousands of phone messages when reviewing evidence in the case, but had failed to disclose to the prosecution and defence teams messages between the complainant and her friends which cast doubt on the allegations against Mr Allan.

Prosecution barrister Jerry Hayes accused police of "sheer incompetence" over the case.

Before the trial the defence team had repeatedly asked for the phone messages to be disclosed but was told there was nothing to disclose.

Mr Hayes, who demanded the messages to be passed to the defence, said he believed the trial had come about because "everyone is under pressure".

"This is a criminal justice system which is not just creaking, it's about to croak," he said.

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The BBC's legal correspondent Clive Coleman gives his analysis of the case

Mr Allan's lawyer Simone Meerabux said it had been "a very traumatic experience" for her client.

She said it was "amazing" the case had got to the stage it did "but it's not uncommon" because of problems with disclosure.

A Met spokesman said the force was "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," he said.

A spokesman for the CPS 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."