Court of Appeal overturns another rape conviction

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The failure of a judge to state just a few words on a particular issue when he was summarising the evidence in a child-rape case in 2014, has come back to save Verbin Bowen whose conviction and sentence were tossed out yesterday.
Bowen had been sentenced to 12 years in prison on two counts of rape of the child, but he walked out a free man yesterday.
The court of appeal quashed the conviction on both counts, saying that the High Court trial judge Albert Redhead ought to have properly instructed the jury on the question of credibility.
The appellate court decided that since that was a “live issue” at the trial, the credibility limb of the direction should have been properly given.
The issue of credibility relates to whether a person is of good character and whether such a person is more likely to be truthful than one of bad character.
In this case, the alleged rape was reported a year after it occurred and it was hinged on the girl’s word against the word of the man she accused of raping her.
The appellate court said that had there been any other evidence to convict Bowen, then the failure to give the direction would not have had the effect of making the conviction unsafe.
Back at trial in 2014, Bowen’s lawyer, Ralph Francis, had challenged the timeline of the events as reported by the child, while the doctor who examined her could not conclude whether her hymen was broken due to penetration by a penis.
Before Bowen was found guilty at his trial in May 2014, the court had heard that the then 42-year-old man committed the offence on two occasions in April 2010.
During the trial, the complainant wept uncontrollably while she testified.
She recounted the two occasions when Bowen, a trusted family friend with whom she shared a father-daughter relationship, picked her up from after-school lessons and drove her to some bushes in Bendals and raped her in his vehicle using a condom.
The complainant said she had never seen a condom before, but later realised what it was after her class was shown one during a sex education lesson.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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