‘Disappointed’ detectives hint of CPS obstacle behind decision to drop investigation
By Mark Conrad | 17 May 2014
Police were keen to deny to Jane that they were failing to follow up her rape claim because the alleged attacker became a cabinet minister.
At a meeting with Jane, two detectives said that the Metropolitan Police Service had passed a file on the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), but without identifying him.
They explained how prosecutors assessed the evidence, which centred on Jane’s allegations, without knowing that the alleged attacker was a former cabinet minister, enabling them to reach an objective view.
To Jane, the detectives seem deeply disappointed by what was presented to her as a CPS decision not to proceed.
Jane says: “I am not sure that they were surprised. I think that they were upset. They really want to be able to move forward on this, and they could not because of the CPS’s response.”
While there is no DNA evidence, and nothing to support her testimony about the attack itself, the detectives say that her account of the circumstances that led to the “blind date” was corroborated by others, such as Jane’s former flatmate.
“And they said that they fully appreciated what I had gone though, and felt for me, but that there was nothing more that they could do.”
Jane asks whether it would help if she brought a private prosecution.
Jane recalls the liaison officer’s reply: “Well, if you want to lose your home.”
The detectives say that her allegations will be kept on file.
Then came more silence.
After a while, Jane telephones her liaison officer to ask for a letter from the CPS to confirm, as detectives had implied to her, that it had decided against proceeding. At Empress State Building, the base in Earl’s Court in west London for the Met’s detectives who investigated Jane’s case, there is a problem.
They cannot provide Jane with any such letter from the CPS.
There is no CPS letter.
There was no CPS decision.
The police had not formally referred the case to the CPS for a charging decision.
Meanwhile, Exaro reported that the Met had opened two new lines of enquiry in their investigation of a former Conservative cabinet minister.
But there was a setback, we said. The CPS had “privately advised detectives to drop allegations that the ex-minister raped a young woman.”
The report said that police had “taken very seriously an allegation from a woman who came forward to claim that the ex-minister raped her in the 1960’s.
“According to her account, she was a young woman at the time, and looked even younger than her age. She also told police that she had gone willingly to the ex-minister’s home, where she was attacked.
“She has provided police with a detailed description of the home.
“However, one source close to the investigation said that the CPS, in a controversial view, has told detectives that it cannot prosecute on the basis of her claims because guidelines at the time of the alleged attack – unlike now – would not have convicted in a case where the woman had not made explicit that she was refusing consent.”
Jane realises that the police did not formally submit a file on her case to the CPS. They had sought advice.
As Jane reads the Exaro report, she thinks to herself that, yes, she did agree to go to the ex-minister’s home. But, she says, he duped her.
And, yes, police did tell her that she had not explicitly refused consent. But, she believes that she made it clear.
Seven months after that Exaro report, she says: “I am quite mindful of the fact that there have been cover-ups after cover-ups.”
“I am realistic about what has gone on with regard to this person, and how much has been done to cover up.”
“I simply wanted to help the police in some way, to be able to get things out in the open, which they have not been able to do.”
Exaro is protecting the real identity of “Jane” and “Michael”.
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