In 2013, a British man was wrongly convicted of sexually assaulting a woman and served four-and-a-half years in prison. In 2017, his conviction was overturned thanks to evidence suggesting the woman had not been honest about the encounter.
The man, who will not be named by The Daily Wire because the accuser isn’t being named in media reports, was released from prison and sued for damages, but his request was denied after a judge determined that the new evidence wasn’t enough to “positively disprove” the allegations against him.
When the man, whom The Daily Wire will refer to as John Doe, was released, he requested compensation for his false imprisonment, but his request was denied, the BBC reported.
During his original trial, prosecutors presented Facebook messages provided by John’s accuser, whom The Daily Wire will call Jane Roe. John asked prosecutors at the time to obtain the full exchanges, saying the messages presented were incomplete, but he didn’t think he could access them from his own account anymore.
The full messages were not seen at trial, but John’s family and attorneys later found them and used the full exchanges as part of an appeal to get his conviction overturned in 2017. As the BBC reported in 2017, John’s sentence was overturned “after deleted messages were found in an archived folder backing his version of events.”
The complete messages “showed that jurors at the trial had been given an ‘edited and misleading’ picture of the conversation between the pair, the court heard,” the BBC reported. At the time, Judge James Goss said: “We have come to the conclusion that, in a case of one word against another, the full Facebook message exchange provides very cogent evidence both in relation to the truthfulness and reliability of [the accuser] … and the reliability of [John’s] account and his truthfulness.”
Jane claimed she had deleted some of the messages to free up storage space and claimed she had little contact with John after their allegedly nonconsensual encounter. The Facebook messages proved otherwise, though the contents have not been released to the media.
While the messages won John his freedom and had his conviction overturned, Britain’s Ministry of Justice denied him compensation for his wrongful imprisonment. Lady Justice Julia Macur ruled that the messages had to “positively disprove” his conviction, “not merely undermine it” in order for him to be awarded compensation.
Macur, according to the BC, said the messages “did not explicitly or implicitly discuss the act of sexual intercourse or the issue of consent, nor establish that the nature of the ongoing interaction was inconsistent with an offence of rape.”
Macur did acknowledge that John “has suffered greatly because of his conviction and imprisonment,” but he was not entitled to compensation, even if the new evidence cast doubt on his accuser’s credibility.
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
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