Highlands & Islands

Rapist jailed in England acquitted of charges in Scotland

A rapist has been acquitted of sex offence charges against underage girls after a judge upheld a no case to answer submission.

Ryan Henderson, 28, formerly of Fort Augustus, was last year jailed for 18 years in England for raping a three-year-old and a woman.

Henderson has been on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh facing further sex charges beginning when he was aged 12.

The proceedings have come to an end with his acquittal.

Judge Lord Ericht decided that rules on mutual corroboration could not apply because of the time gap of almost eight years between the alleged offences.

No case to answer

Previous legal authority had held that the Moorov doctrine, where evidence from different witnesses linked in time, circumstance and character can establish a course of criminal conduct, did not apply with such an interval between charges.

Lord Ericht told jurors when they returned to court after a legal debate: "The issue which had arisen was whether the Crown had led sufficient evidence in law to justify any possible conviction of the accused."

He said he had made a decision to the effect that in law Henderson had no case to answer in relation to the matters on which he was charged and acquitted him.

By that stage of the trial Henderson was facing two indecency charges and one of attempted rape against a girl alleged to have been committed in Fort Augustus between 2000 and 2003.

The abuse was alleged to have begun when the girl was aged nine.

He faced a further charge of sexually assaulting a teenager at a house in Bannockburn, near Stirling, in 2011 with intent to rape her.

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