Police apologise to Liam Allan over rape trial collapse

Police have apologised to a man accused of rape after a review found mistakes were made in the disclosure of evidence which resulted in the trial against him being stopped.

The problems with disclosure in the case of Liam Allan were caused by "a combination of error, lack of challenge, and lack of knowledge", a joint review by the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service found.

Messages between the complainant in the case and others were only passed to the defence days before the trial collapsed at Croydon Crown Court.

Commander Richard Smith, of the Metropolitan Police, and Claire Lindley, chief crown prosecutor for London South, spoke to reporters at Scotland Yard after a review into the case.

Mr Smith said: "Claire and I met with Mr Allan yesterday afternoon where he received a personal apology from us both and I was really pleased to have that opportunity to meet with him face-to-face, allow him to read the report and apologise for the errors that were made."

The officer in the case admitted he was mistaken in his belief that he had looked through an entire download of more than 57,000 messages in the alleged victim's phone.

Ms Lindley said: "This is not about resources. This is about a mistake being made by an officer and a lack of check and challenge by the prosecutor involved."

Mr Smith added: "The amount of cases he was investigating at the time, he feels, was a contributing factor to the mistake he made, compounded by the lack of recording and mistakes in the system."

Last week the CPS announced it was reviewing all live rape and sexual offence cases after a string of defendants facing such allegations had the charges against them dropped when critical evidence emerged at the 11th hour.

Mr Smith confirmed the Metropolitan Police is reviewing 600 cases of rape and sexual assault.

Thousands more are under review nationally, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Mr Smith said: "We have moved in 120 officers to assist with the review of the 600 cases we have which are post-charge at the moment."

Ms Lindley said: "The 600 cases live in the system presently are still being reviewed. That process has not yet finished."

"During the review some cases have given cause for concern. Some cases are discontinued in the normal course of events."

She could not give a figure on how many cases are involved in a national review of all rape cases, but said: "There must be thousands."

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