A MOTHER has slammed the justice system after a man who was sent to prison for sexually assaulting her daughter was freed on a legal technicality.
The 38-year-old Burnley man was jailed for five years in 2009 after being found guilty of sexual activity in the presence of a child and two counts of sexual activity with a child. But last week, judges at London’s Court of Appeal declared the convictions unsafe because of mistakes made by the trial judge. The convictions were quashed and he was released from prison.
Now the mother of the teenager, neither of whom can be named for legal reasons, has branded the judicial system “disgraceful”, saying the Crown Prosecution Service should have pressed for a re-trial.
The CPS has sent a written apology to the teenager and her mother explaining a re-trial was not sought as the man was due for release in July or August. But the letter has fuelled the family’s anger and upset. They are now seeking legal advice.
The mother said the decision not to call for a re-trial was taken without consulting the family and has left her daughter distraught.
“I am disgusted with the CPS. It appears they decided not to bother with the re-trial because he was due to be released. It feels like they have just ignored my daughter. It’s a cop out.
“She is gutted. She said she would go through a re-trial. She said she would stand up in front of him and tell the court exactly what happened but now she will never get the chance to do it. She feels really, really let down. I think it is absolutely disgusting. For her not to be able to have her say on it is absolutely disgraceful.”
The letter from CPS lawyer Tracey Wareham said: “In this case I decided it would not be in the public interest to ask the Court of Appeal to order a re-trial. I made the decision because the man has served nearly all of his sentence already. He was due for release in July or August of this year anyway.”
The letter said the decision was taken to spare the family more stress.
It continued: “I realise the decision about your giving evidence for a second time is a decision I should have asked you to make for yourself.
“I should have done this before the appeal hearing and am very sorry I did not. I am afraid the decision about the re-trial was taken at the very last minute - late in the afternoon of the day before the appeal - and there was not time to consult you.”
The mother claims that from the start her daughter was never given any victim support help and the family were only notified of the appeal 24 hours before the court hearing in London.
The girl’s mother added: “It is no good saying sorry as an after thought. I feel like they are laughing in our faces. Surely we should have been notified? I would not want another family to have to go through this.”