Following a trial at Bolton Crown Court that lasted over four weeks the jury unanimously acquitted H of nine very serious allegations. Three sample counts of rape, two offences of controlling and coercive behaviour, two offences of sexual assault and two offences of sexual activity with a child. The jury was unable to agree on a further allegation of controlling and coercive behaviour and were discharged. Two other allegations of sexual activity with a child were stopped by the judge at the conclusion of the Prosecution’s case.
It was the Crown’s case that H, when aged 15 and 16 sought out vulnerable girls, aged 13 to 15, a relationship would begin which was at first good but would quickly deteriorate. The Defendant was himself vulnerable, he has been diagnosed as having Autism and learning difficulties. The trial was extremely complex, involving five complainants, many hundreds of pages of phone records and difficult legal issues. Given the obviously highly sensitive nature of the allegations and the youth of the Defendant and Complainants, considerable time and skill was required in the preparation of submissions, cross-examination of the alleged victims and in examining the Defendant, whose evidence spanned three days.
Successful applications were made during the trial to exclude evidence, introduce evidence of a non-defendant’s bad character, vacate a guilty plea and ask questions of a complainant pursuant to s41 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.
Richard English and Rachel Cooper worked closely with Liam Kotrie and Thomas O’Brien of Mary Monson, Solicitors in Salford in preparing the case for trial. Preparation that was made all the more difficult because of Covid restrictions and the Defendant’s own mental health difficulties.
Needless to say, the Defendant and his family were delighted at the result. H is due to be sentenced in relation to a number of other offences he admitted earlier on in the proceedings.